9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – December 29th, 2021
Dear Friends We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- 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.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
GS Paper 2
- E-com competition as a worthy policy response
- Centre’s push to merge film archive and other film bodies will ill serve their original mandates
- An opportunity for Digital India
- Edtech’s teachable moment
- Step Motherly? Is the denial of FCRA renewal for the Mother Teresa founded NGO at all justified?
- In Tamil Nadu, a lack of political will to end the Palk Bay conflict
- Judiciary is Indian democracy’s only flicker of hope
- Medical postgraduates: Omicron’s Here, Doctors Aren’t
GS Paper 3
- Why online gaming in India needs regulation
- Trade defence: On anti-dumping duty on Chinese goods
- Strengthening IBC
- What the pandemic has taught us about the economics
- Farm reform: the Achilles’ heel of any Indian government
- The capital market: Then and now
- The value and vulnerability of centralized data storage
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- DRDO hands over technology of extreme cold weather clothing system ECWCS to five Indian companies
- Union Health Ministry engages with States/UTs to review the rollout of vaccination for the age group 15-18 yrs and Precautionary dose for identified vulnerable categories
- Ministry of Skill Development launches a project to upskill the cane and bamboo artisans of Nagaland
- Sri Lanka to sign Trincomalee oil tank farm deal with India in a month, says Minister
- YEAR END REVIEW-2021: DEPARTMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS
- Explained: What is Molnupiravir, the Covid-19 pill approved by India?
- ‘Indianising’ the legal system and SC’s views
- India to chair Counter Terrorism Committee of UNSC in January 2022 after ten yrs
- CESL achieves 50 lakhs LED bulb distribution milestone under flagship Gram Ujala
- India has achieved its NDC target with total non-fossil based installed energy capacity of 157.32 GW which is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity
- 2021- A Year of Game Changing Reforms for Ministry of Textiles
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
Source: This post is based on the article “False stereotypes must get out of gender equality’s way” published in Livemint on 28th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS1- Social issues, issues related to women
Relevance: Gender inequality in employment
News: The failure of labour markets and institutions in addressing gender-specific constraints has led to gender inequality in employment.
What is the situation of Gender equality in India?
Women make up only a fifth of ISRO’s workforce. Women form 0.56% of our army, 1.08% of the air force and 6.5% of the navy
In the Indian judiciary, only 11 (or 4.2%) of Supreme Court judges over the past 71 years have been women, and not a single woman has headed it since 1950.
What are the reasons for gender inequality in employment?
Perceptions and stereotypes– perceptions that boys are naturally more talented contribute to women’s under-representation in fields like computer science and physics.
Socio-cultural myths: A World Bank study shows that socio-cultural myths have induced “nearly four in ten people, globally to believe “that when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to jobs than women“.
Gender-sorting of jobs: A International Labour Organization study states that gender sorting of jobs by educational streaming, stereotypes and biased expectations often relegates women to less-productive enterprises and lower-paid jobs.
Low self-esteem– Even if women have the skills and talent to succeed in the STEM fields, they shy away from such a career, because of weak self-confidence and poor self-belief.
Role of the educational and domestic environment have a huge role in shaping a student’s professional interests. For example-male preference for the masculinised and realistic occupations and females “choosing the social and artistic occupations such as teachers.
|Must Read: Breaking the Glass walls|
The sole responsibility of child-rearing rests on a woman, which reduces a woman’s labour supply by almost two years during her reproductive years.
Discrimination and harassment-Women are treated differently at every level and remain vulnerable to sexual harassment.
What are some examples that things are changing in India?
Increase in enrolment: India now has more female graduates (43% of all) in STEM subjects than the developed nations like US (34%), UK (38%), etc
Also, Supreme court in 2020 ruled in favour of women holding commanding roles in the armed forces.
What is the way forward?
Economic development and women’s empowerment are correlated, are too weakly connected.
Thus, growth doesn’t guarantee gender equality, so efforts need to be made to liberate the upbringing and learning process so that young minds are free from the outdated prejudices and stereotypes.
GS Paper 2
Source: This post is based on the article “E-com competition as a worthy policy response” published in Livemint on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors
Relevance: Regarding the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) project
News: The commerce ministry’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) project is reportedly getting final touches for an online debut within a few months.
While India’s experience of state market ventures is bad, this project is indeed a worthy move.
|Must Read: How ONDC seeks to democratize digital commerce?|
Why state’s interference in the e-com market via ONDC project is needed and why it’s the right move?
In general, the state must not interfere in a functional market. The role of a government should be to frame policies that allow for market forces to operate freely, and it should refrain from pursuits better left to private enterprise.
But, due to the following factors, the state’s interference in the present case is justified:
– Network effects and the internet’s low-cost reach have given e-com majors a major hold over a growing sector. This clearly requires the Centre to intervene against potential abuses of dominance.
– Unfair practices by big players: Shopkeeper lobbies and seller collectives have accused big e-com businesses of unfair practices that threaten their survival.
Why ONDC is the right move?: Moreover, as the biggest platforms (websites) are privately run, they deserve the liberty to operate without being stifled by over-regulation.
Hence, the ideal policy response, therefore, would be to set up an optional platform that can challenge private players. As the principal aim is to counter a concentration of market power, the creation of a competitor is the best way out.
How ONDC can achieve its objective?
Brand name: It will need a brand name that signals what differentiates it. As ONDC draws inspiration from the UPI, the value of openness could be pitched at people by a mass campaign.
Platform design, operational efficiency and other factors need to be taken care of.
ONDC must not drain investor funds on loss-leader discounts.
Govt’s policy must not be abused to tip the e-com market’s scales in this initiative’s favour. An open network should attract customers like any other venture.
Source: This post is based on the article “Centre’s push to merge film archive and other film bodies will ill serve their original mandates” published in The Indian Express on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors
Relevance: Merging of public-funded institutions with NFDC
News: The Centre has set a January deadline to merge four public-funded institutions, the Films Division (FD), National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), and Children’s Films Society of India (CFSI), with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
This is an ill-conceived move.
What is the rationale behind this move?
The primary reason behind the push for restructuring these institutions seems to be that they are loss-making entities.
The NFDC is expected to turn around its finances once the merger takes place. This is a flawed assumption premised on comparing these cultural bodies with industrial units in the red.
Why these institutions should not be merged?
Contributions to nation-building process: The NFAI, FD, DFF, CFSI are institutions with a history. They have been a part of independent India’s nation-building process and have made stellar contributions to producing, disseminating and preserving the labour and creativity of diverse film cultures in the country.
For instance: NFAI was set up in 1964 to archive Indian cinema history. Despite its delayed birth, the NFAI has done a commendable job of preserving Indian cinema history. Like any national archive, it is involved in the task of protecting national heritage. Countries such as the US and France allot public funds for their film archives precisely for this reason.
Even regional archives are necessary so that justice can be done to diverse, vibrant cinema cultures in numerous languages in India.
Production of art-house cinema: All these years, India’s public-funded cinema bodies have focussed mostly on making of art house cinema and documentaries that would not find support from the market. This resulted in the production of works that boldly questioned the very systems and processes that enabled their existence. This fine balance b/w a film industry that defines itself in market terms & a cinema focussed on the politics and aesthetics of art production, should not be disturbed.
|Must Read: Draft Cinematograph Bill – Explained, pointwise|
Source: This post is based on the article “An opportunity for Digital India” published in Indian Express on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS 2- issue related to e-governance
Relevance: Digital public goods, e-governance, External security
News: India is pioneering the concept of digital public goods. This provides India an opportunity to take its made-in-India digital public goods to hundreds of emerging economies across the world.
Further, owing to the advantage of digital goods over physical goods, the supply of digital public goods to other countries will act as a strategic counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
How India is pioneering in digital public goods?
Children have access to QR-coded textbooks across state boards and languages
Economically disadvantaged have access to the public distribution system
Beneficiaries of government schemes: Direct money transfer into their bank accounts.
Further, it is transforming the way we make payments, for example, withdrawing our PF, getting our passport and driving license and checking land records, etc.,
What are the advantages of digital goods over physical goods?
The digital codes are highly reusable, so the cost for setting up the digital infrastructure is very less.
The investments required for transporting digital public goods are minuscule, and there is no chance of a debt trap.
Digital public goods have short gestation periods and immediate, and visible impact and benefits.
Finally, the continuous growth of technology, the network effect, and the rapid creation of new layers of technology ensures that the digital public goods infrastructure intensifies the growth aspects. For example, the surge in UPI-based payments in India and the use of Diksha, the school education platform.
Since building digital public good infrastructure is more effective than building physical infrastructure, it will help India to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
How made in India digital tools can help other emerging economies?
Emerging economies are characterized by gross inefficiencies in the delivery of government services and a consequent trust deficit.
In this background, the use of digital goods will make governance more inclusive, transparent, and effective.
Some advantages of using digital tools in governance are:
Digital infrastructure can plug leaks.
– It eliminates ghost beneficiaries of government services.
– It makes the individual-government-market interface transparent
– Processes get streamlined and wait times for any service come down dramatically.
– Productivity goes up and services can be scaled quickly.
Benefits can be rapidly extended to cover a much larger portion of the population.
How India will benefit?
It will provide India, with a chance to create digital diplomacy. It will take made-in-India digital public goods across the world and boost India’s brand positioning as a leading technology player in the digital age.
Furthermore, It will benefit India’s partner countries and earn India immense goodwill.
Source: This post is based on the article “Edtech’s teachable moment” published in Business standard on 28th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education.
Relevance: Edtech sector, need for its regulation.
News: Government has issued an advisory to citizens that caution should be exercised while using the services of companies that offer online and remote learning courses.
These companies have been accused of delaying refunds, suppressing information about auto-debit facilities and luring subscribers to sign up for tuitions without explaining the financial implications.
What is the need for such an advisory?
Sector has seen very high growth, specially with the closure of schools during the pandemic.
The K-12 (kindergarten to class 12) segment operates largely unregulated and has seen the most unfettered growth.
China has put a lot of restrictions on the Edtech companies, one of which is that they can’t raise foreign capital. This has redirected investor interest towards India.
Example: Sector attracted $4 billion in funding since 2020 compared with around $500 million in 2019. Moreover, India now boasts five edtech unicorns against just one in the pre-pandemic era.
What are the challenges in regulating Edtech sector?
Edtech has a wide presence and has been growing exponentially which makes regulating it a complex task.
The business model in Edtech sector is more conducive to delivering revenues rather than quality education, with investors typically seeking an exit in five years.
What is the way forward?
Government should plan for standards-setting and certification process for online schooling
Need for introducing long lock-in for investors.
There is need for a more extensive campaign that spreads awareness regarding this advisory to more and more people. This will save many parents in lower-income families from financial ruin.
Govt should introduce public distance learning education modules, as this will increase access to education specially for the disadvantaged.
Source: This post is based on the article “Step Motherly? Is the denial of FCRA renewal for the Mother Teresa founded NGO at all justified?” published in Times of India on 28th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2- Development processes and the development industry-the role of NGOs.
Relevance: NGOs and their functioning
News: Missionaries of Charity (MoC), an NGO founded by Mother Teresa has been denied the renewal of its FCRA registration by the home ministry.
It should be noted that the FCRA registration is mandatory for any NGO or association to receive foreign funds or donations. MHA is the controlling authority of FCRA, and it conducts inspections and audits of NGOs to establish if their books are in order.
|Must Read: Impact of new FCRA rules on relief work of NGOs – Explained, pointwise|
Why is this refusal under criticism?
The government has given the reason for refusal as the presence of adverse inputs, while the FCRA rules only allows this refusal in case NGOs are involved in activities detrimental to the national interest.
What are the allegations faced by MoC?
A key suspicion it faces today can be seen in the FIR filed against one of MoC’s children’s homes in Vadodara earlier this month.
This followed allegations of religious conversions.
What have been previous instances of NGO facing charges under this law?
Amnesty International exited the country last year as a result of facing issues regarding flow of its finances.
Why are the challenges posed by these restrictions?
Services of NGOs are invaluable in a country where the state isn’t always there for everyone.
NGOs serve the most needy, so it should be ensured that they don’t have to face administrative bottlenecks.
Source: This post is based on the article “In Tamil Nadu, a lack of political will to end the Palk Bay conflict ” published in The Hindu on 29th Dec 2021. Syllabus: GS2- India and its neighbourhood relations.
Relevance: Bilateral disputes, Fishing industry
News: Palk Bay (an important marine zone between south-eastern India and northern Sri Lanka) has been a source of dispute for long.
It has come under news once again due to arrest of 68 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities.
More on this arrest here.
What has been the history of the issue?
Efforts for delimitation of the Palk strait and Gulf of Mannar had started since 1921, but the agreements were finally signed in 1970 only.
The concept of International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) for Palk strait came into being through these agreements.
The IMBL made some former parts of India, a part of Sri Lanka.
So even these agreements were not free from disputes and thus could not settle the issue boundary and fishing jurisdictions permanently.
These loopholes in the pacts gave way to new problems, including the recurring incidents of Tamil Nadu fishermen crossing the IMBL and getting caught by the Sri Lankan authorities.
What are the other causes of the problem?
Asymmetric nature of fishing practices in Tamil Nadu and the Northern Province of Sri Lanka: While the fishing community of Tamil Nadu uses mechanised bottom trawlers, its counterpart uses conventional forms of fishing, as trawling is banned in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan side of the Bay is considered to have more fishery resources than the Indian side which makes Indian fisherman to take the risk of crossing over to the Lankan side.
What is the way forward?
All stakeholders can decide to establish an international institution of stakeholders for regulating the fishing sector in the Bay.
Efforts to shift fishermen of Tamil Nadu away from bottom trawling: Government had launched the scheme by the name Deep sea fishing project for this, but it has not yielded the desired results.
There is need to incentivise deep sea fishing through subsidies and awareness as it has higher recurring cost per voyage and also is more time-consuming.
Government can promote seaweed cultivation, open sea cage cultivation, seaweed cultivation, and sea/ocean ranching.
Fish farmer producer organisations will encourage fisherfolk to adopt sustainable fishing practices.
Source: This post is based on the article “Judiciary is Indian democracy’s only flicker of hope” published in Indian Express on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.
Relevance: To understand the present challenges faced by Judiciary.
News: Even when other powerful institutions appear to be faltering and floundering, people continue to have faith in the judiciary as the last post of justice. But two issues that need immediate attention in Judiciary. These are 1. Lack of diversity, 2. The secrecy around the appointment of judges.
|Must read: The Collegium System – Explained Pointwise|
Why do these issues require immediate attention?
The appointment of judges requires attention because of inherent issues. Such as the selection is individual-centric rather than system-centric apparatus.
Particular caste domination: There is a massive under-representation of Dalits, OBCs, minorities and women in the Judiciary. Irrespective of who is in power, the Brahmin community hardly accounts for 4% of the population, occupying 30-40% of posts in the higher judiciary constantly. The Supreme Court didn’t have a judge from the OBC, SC or ST communities until 1980.
|Read more: Issue of Gender Gap in Judiciary – Explained, Pointwise|
What should be done to strengthen the Judiciary?
The executive, legislature, judiciary, the bar, the public must be represented in the judicial appointments commission. The general public should have a crystal-clear view of the people who are going to be the judges of our top courts.
Indian democracy requires a vibrant judiciary to guide the other organs of states.
|Read more: Pendency of Cases and Rising Vacancies in the Judiciary – Explained, Pointwise|
What should be done to strengthen Indian Democracy?
The legislature, judiciary and the media are crucial to ensure checks and balances in a democratic system.
-As per the words of CJI, the “sorry state of affairs” on law-making and parliamentary debate has to be addressed.
-The Chief Justice also rued the demise of investigative journalism in the country. Courageous journalism makes democracy robust, So it has to be revived.
A judge of Bombay High Court said “Governments will come and go but the idea of India, the constitutional idea of India, parliamentary democracy must be protected. In the constitutional scheme of things, there is no such thing as too much noise or too much dissent.”
Source: This post is based on the article “Omicron’s Here, Doctors Aren’t” published in TOI on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Relevance: To understand the present challenges faced by India’s health system.
News: Omicron is spreading faster than any virus in history. Latest reports from the UK show that patients with Omicron are 50-70% less likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment.
However, observations in Europe and the US show that this milder virus could still put pressure on hospitals because of the speed of spread, overwhelming the medical infrastructure, especially the Medical postgraduates.
|Read more: Omicron slow to infect lungs, says Hong Kong study|
Why India should worry about Omicron?
Recently, the US recorded more than 2 lakh cases in a day, which stressed its critical care capacity. Since the US is a populous country, America’s nurses and doctors are tired and exhausted, and several US states have called on the National Guard to provide extra support. This is the trailer of a movie about to be released in India.
How did India’s health system evolve during the pandemic?
At the start of the pandemic, India started with no PPE, N95 masks, less than 30,000 ventilators and very few critical care beds. With active intervention by the government, in no time we became self-sufficient in every requirement to face the Covid battle.
India has 542 medical colleges, 64 standalone postgraduate institutions under the National Medical Commission and over 1,000 postgraduate institutions under the National Board of Examinations. They together manage approximately 6 lakh beds. With the rigid regulations of the Medical Council of India, medical college hospitals have excellent infrastructure, adequate staff and expensive equipment.
But, India’s only weakness is the perpetual shortage of junior doctors in both public and private hospitals.
|Read more: Brain drain in the health sector – Explained, Pointwise|
Why does the shortage of Medical postgraduates important for the battle against Omicron?
When patients became very sick, they were invariably transferred to one of the medical college hospitals or postgraduate institutions for critical care. Sick Covid patients in the ICU are managed predominantly by young postgraduate students and nurses. Currently, over 2 lakh young doctors undergoing internship or postgraduate training programmes in various specialities.
Counselling of the NEET-PG 2021 batch has already been delayed by nearly eight months. Due to the delay, 1. Medical colleges and postgraduate institutions facing a shortfall of nearly 60,000 junior doctors, 2. Second and third-year postgraduate student doctors are being made to compensate for absent first-year postgraduate student doctors. Overworked and tired, resident doctors are protesting across the country.
What should be done to increase Medical postgraduates?
1. NEET-PG counselling should be conducted without any further delay by Medical Counselling Committee, 2. Ensure fresh resident doctors are posted in the ICU for a month to familiarise them with protocols and equipment.
If India tackled these challenges, India can emerge once again as able interdependent warriors in the battle against Covid waves.
|Read more: On Omicron: Before the third wave|
GS Paper 3
Source: This post is based on the article “Why online gaming in India needs regulation” published in The Indian Express on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life
Relevance: Regulation of online gaming
News: Online gaming has flourished during the pandemic. The average time spent on online gaming has gone up almost 65% from pre-Covid levels. More than 43 crore people have spent time on virtual gaming.
In light of this, this industry needs to be regulated in India. Moreover, regulation of online gaming will not only open up economic opportunities, but also address its social costs.
|Must Read: Delink the good, bad and ugly of online gaming for apt regulation|
What is the present legal framework wrt online gaming in India?
Presently, online gaming falls in a regulatory grey area and there is no comprehensive legislation with respect to its legality.
Games based on skills are allowed in most parts of the country, while games of chance are categorised under gambling, treated as immoral and prohibited in most parts of the country. As betting and gambling is a state subject, different states have their own legislation.
|Must Read: What are various types of online gaming?|
– Every state in India prohibits any sort of gambling, betting or wagering on games of chance. Exceptions: Goa, Sikkim, and the UT of Daman.
– Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have placed restrictions on games of skill as well.
Centre, in a recent advisory to states, has laid out useful dos and don’ts to educate parents and teachers.
|Chinese have announced rules to limit online video games for those under 18 to three hours a week. The Chinese state media has called online gaming the ‘opium of the mind‘.|
What are the issues associated with online gaming?
Gaming addiction: Numerous people are developing an addiction for online gaming. This is destroying lives and devastating families. Compulsive gaming by children is affecting their performance in schools and impacting their social lives & relationships with family members.
Impact on psychological health: Online games like PUBG and the Blue Whale Challenge were banned after incidents of violence and suicide. This addiction is also said to be causing near-sightedness in our youth.
Threat to Data privacy: Inadvertent sharing of personal information can lead to cases of cheating, privacy violations, abuse, and bullying.
Betting and gambling: Online games based on the traditional ludo, arguably the most popular online game in India, have run into controversy, and allegations of betting and gambling.
What are the benefits of regulation?
– This industry is expected to generate revenues in excess of Rs 29,000 crore in 2025 with over 65.7 crore users. It is estimated that more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.
– The GST and Income Tax generated from this industry will add to the economic multiplier.
– Potential to attract significant global investments — current investments in gaming companies like Dream11 are good indicators.
What is the way forward?
– Strengthening of KYC norms
– Implement an age-rating mechanism wherein minors are allowed to proceed only with the consent of their parents — OTP verification on Aadhaar could resolve this.
– No in-game purchases to be allowed without adult consent and wherever possible, the in-game chat option should be disabled.
– Gaming companies should proactively educate users about potential risks and how to identify likely situations of cheating and abuse. Anonymity of participants should be removed and a robust grievance handling mechanism needs to be built.
– A Gaming Authority at the central government should be created. It could be made responsible for the online gaming industry, monitoring its operations, preventing societal issues, suitably classifying games of skill or chance, overseeing consumer protection, and combatting illegality and crime.
– Moreover, various forms of self-regulation should also be encouraged for the industry.
Source: This post is based on the article “Trade defence: On anti-dumping duty on Chinese goods” published in The Hindu on 29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Relevance: Anti-dumping duty on Chinese goods
News: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently notified the imposition of anti-dumping duty on five products manufactured in China, including certain aluminium goods and some chemicals, for five years.
What is the rationale behind this move?
The step was taken in order to safeguard domestic producers from certain lower-priced imports.
The move is based on the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)’s findings that import of these items constituted ‘dumping’, and it was causing injury to local producers, thereby warranting a protective duty.
What is the anti-dumping duty?
It is a remedy sanctioned by the WTO to protect a member country’s domestic industry from imports that have been priced at levels below those prevailing in the exporting nation’s home market.
It has become one of India’s most widely used trade weapons, especially against a flood of cheaper Chinese imports.
As of February 2020, India had imposed anti-dumping measures on 90 Chinese products, with another 24 China-specific anti-dumping investigations in progress at the time.
What are some related concerns?
Imposition of anti-dumping duty, if the domestic applicant is a significantly large and relatively resilient manufacturer of the product, risks tilting the market dynamics in the Indian company’s favour. Both downstream industries, in the case of intermediate goods, and consumers likely face the consequences of reduced competition on final prices.
No impact on trade deficit: Also, efforts to narrow the sizeable trade deficit with China by targeted use of the levy have made little progress in addressing the widening gap, as imports have continued to largely outpace India’s exports.
Lack of personnel: The effectiveness of the measure in providing timely relief to smaller domestic manufacturers facing an existential crisis on account of suspected dumping has also been undermined in the past by shortage of personnel at DGTR.
What is the way forward?
In the wake of the COVID pandemic, companies worldwide, are looking to de-risk their businesses from an over-reliance on China. This means there is an increased likelihood of more capacity in that country turning surplus and being used to produce goods for dumping overseas.
Hence, Indian policymakers should be ready with their strategy to boost India’s trade defences.
Source: This post is based on the article “Strengthening IBC” published in Business Standard on 28th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth
Relevance: Proposed changes to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)
News: The need for quicker resolution of insolvencies cannot be overemphasised. It makes capital more efficient, improve credit culture, and help boost growth.
In this light, it is encouraging to see that the government is consistently working to strengthen the IBC by addressing the emerging gaps.
Recently, it proposed another set of changes that would help address insolvency issues more effectively by reducing delays.
|Must Read: IBC process needs a re-look – Explained, pointwise|
What changes have been proposed by the Govt in the IBC?
Fixed time for approval or rejection of a resolution plan: the Code should provide a fixed time for approving or rejecting a resolution plan by the adjudicating authority (AA).
The Supreme Court has noted that the resolution plan approved by the committee of creditors should not be delayed.
Record reasons in writing: If the resolution plan is not approved or rejected within 30 days, the AA will be expected to record reasons in writing. This proposal should reduce the time taken by the AA.
Also, written reasons for delays will enable the government to make targeted interventions in the future.
|Must Read: Has IBC delivered on its lofty promise?|
Authentication of records by Information Utilities (IUs): Further, the government has proposed that financial creditors may be required to submit records authenticated by information utilities (IUs) to establish default for admitting an application for insolvency resolution.
According to the Code, the AA is expected to decide within 14 days whether it should accept or reject the application, but in practice the time taken is much longer. Thus, it is envisaged that considering IU-authenticated records will help make quick decisions.
Change in the look-back period: The Code provides for a look-back period for avoidable transactions. The commencement of the insolvency process takes more time than the mandated 14 days. Hence, the Govt has proposed that the threshold for the look-back period be changed from the date of commencement of the insolvency process to the date of filing the application.
This would reduce the incentive for debtors to delay the admission and also help protect value for creditors. Besides, the government has proposed to make voluntary liquidation easier.
What is the way forward?
The changes proposed by the government are in the right direction and will help reduce the time taken to resolve insolvencies, which is critical to protect value.
However, the Govt should also consider augmenting capacity at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The NCLT would require about 360 members, given the caseload, and two-member Benches.
At present, its strength is just 63 members. The government would be well advised to provide an adequate level of human resources to the NCLT.
Source: This post is based on the article “What the pandemic has taught us about the economics” published in Livemint on29th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Relevance: Economic lessons from the pandemic
News: Economy is affected by two types of shocks exogenous and endogenous.
Exogenous shocks are those that come from outside the system, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Endogenous are those which come from within the system, like the 2008 North Atlantic financial crisis.
What are the economic lessons that one can draw from the pandemic?
The pandemic provides some economic lessons, as well as some lessons for economists
Strengthening the supply side: Pandemic has shown that broken supply chains can worsen both the economic cycle as well as inflation. Supply-side impacts growth over the long term. Strengthening of supply chain is not only important to tackle challenges of the pandemic, but also those posed by the climate change.
Human action matters: Controlling the pandemic is extremely dependent upon the human actions like wearing of masks and following government guidelines. In essence, the behaviour of the people also matter, other than things like the number of susceptible, infected and recovered citizens etc. It is essential to understand and incorporate understanding about human behaviour (both rational and irrational) when deciding on policies or economic models.
State capacity is important: Public health has externalities. It is believed that Indian state has ample capacity at the top, but get increasingly weaker down the line, till it is almost broken at the street level. But, the reality is far more nuanced. Frontline workers like Asha workers, police personnel, etc did a commendable job in the pandemic. They were the first line of contact that citizens had with the system. Thus, it needs to be strengthened.
Scenarios along with forecasting: Economic forecasts are often wildly off the mark, and epidemiological models too. The world is uncertain, in the sense that there is much that cannot be assigned objective probabilities. It is sometimes better to be data-driven, and then adjust to the emerging reality as the evidence emerges.
For the possibilities of the decades ahead, it is better to build scenarios, from an approach partly inspired by the work of the English economist G.L.S. Shackle.
Inequality: The pandemic era shows that, in India at least, both the costs of lockdowns as well as benefits of the economic recovery have been unequally distributed. This highlights the importance of reintegrating distributional issues into economic policy.
Usually, fiscal policy deals with distribution issues through taxes and spending. However, a new class of models called HANK ( Heterogenous Agent New Keynesian models) which take distributional issues into account are also becoming popular.
Source: This post is based on the article “Farm reform: the Achilles’ heel of any Indian government” published in Livemint on 29th Dec 2021.Syllabus: GS 3- Issues related to the Agriculture sector
Relevance: Farm reforms
News: The withdrawal of the farm laws has pushed back reforms that could have helped in commercializing this sector.
The farm reforms did not introduce anything that was not happening in the pockets of the country already. Yet, reforms have been rejected for vested interests. Reversal of these reforms will hamper the growth of the Agriculture sector, as has been discussed below:
Reversal of APMC reforms
First, selling outside the mandi is already possible where the Model APMC laws have been passed. For instance, over a dozen states have passed these laws.
Second, the operation of eNAM (e-National Agricultural Market) is well in progress. Yet, a national law that overtly allows farmers to sell their produce outside the mandi has been opposed.
Consequence: The farmers will continue to struggle within the ambit of the mandi system, where oligopolistic structures prevail and impede fair play.
Reversal of contract farming
The concept of contract farming is not new. For example, most of the supermarket groups have backend relations with farmers, which ensures that standardized products are available.
The same can be seen with fast-food chains, which have tie-ups with farms to get standardized quality of vegetables.
There was actually little reason to oppose this idea, but it has led to exaggerated claims of India Inc buying up the entire agricultural sector that will lead to pauperising the agricultural sector.
Banning future trade in agri commodities
The decision taken to ban futures trading in certain commodities to curb inflation is clearly not backed by economic rationale. Because the latest CPI and WPI inflation data for pulses shows that there has been low inflation.
Similarly, inflation in oil is not related to domestic reasons. The cause is global, with edible oil prices increasing sharply by 40 percent, according to the World Bank. Since India imports around 60 percent of its requirements, the same gets translated here
Consequence: The present ban, virtually ends the futures trading in Agri commodities. The efforts made by major agri exchange, NCDEX, to successfully reach out to farmer producer organisations and get them on board will become useless.
Why the government wants to replace MSP?
The government has been trying to use direct benefit transfers to replace the PDS to ensure that there are no leakages. Further, there is a need to abandon buffer stocks as the carrying cost is high.
Impacts of MSP: Read here: https://blog.forumias.com/legalising-msp-challenges-and-way-forward-explained-pointwise/
How MSP can be effectively replaced?
Guaranteed prices for farmers can be ensured: if farmers are brought on the futures platform for selling their grains, the government could pay the option premium to ensure they get a good price.
Food security can be ensured: The PDS beneficiaries can be served by cash transfers, where households buy their food grains locally. This will also reduce the pressure on FCI.
Source: This post is based on the article “The capital market: Then and now” published in Business Standard on 29th Dec 2021.Syllabus: GS 3 -Issues related to resource mobilization
Relevance: Capital markets, public issue, gross fixed capital formation
News: Public issues in capital markets are the route for corporate finance.
How the trends of capital markets in India are changing post-liberalisation?
Firstly, the share of the private corporate sector in Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) has increased sharply.
Secondly, the share of the public sector in GFCF has fallen. Further, the public sector, which accounts for nearly half the investment, is also now more dependent on market-based funding than on budgetary support.
Thirdly, the growing involvement of the private sector in infrastructure investments, which were largely budget-funded public sector projects in the pre-liberalization phase.
For instance, now the private sector owns;
– Practically all the renewable energy power capacity,
– Nearly 40 percent of the thermal capacity and
– It is involved in about 1,000 public-private-partnership (PPP) projects, mainly for roads and ports.
What are the steps taken to boost financial systems in the post-liberalization era?
The easing of the issue of shares by private companies.
Easing of trading: The establishment of the National Stock Exchange that introduced screen-based trading and the dematerialization of shares.
Opening up the mutual fund market to private asset management companies.
Opening of financial intermediation to private entities: the banking sector was opened to new private sector banks. Along with this, non-banking financial institutions have become a significant force in the capital market.
Liberalization of rules for foreign direct and portfolio investment.
Further, the spread of telecommunications and the internet and the spread of internet banking and digital payment systems has also boosted the financial system in India.
What further reforms are needed to strengthen the financial systems in India
First, the main issue, pending for decades, is the health of public sector banks. A large accumulation of NPA’s is affecting the health of PSB’s. Further, the finance ministry and the public sector banks need to be separated to allow them to function as market entities.
Second, the flow of commercial finance from the capital market (public issue of shares) is inadequate/ negligible. For instance, taking an average of the three years ending 2019-20, only 2 percent of the flow of commercial finance came from public issues. The major source remains bank credit, which accounted for 49 percent of the flows. This needs to be addressed.
What is the reason for low dependence on the public issue?
A family-dominated corporate management structure, and the reluctance to dilute control, is the reason. This has to change if India is to make a transition to a proper market-based economy.
In the more mature market economies, this happened when corporate ownership widened with indirect share purchases by retail investors through mutual funds and pension funds.
What are the suggestions to boost financial resources in India?
First, there is a need for formal financial arrangements for non-corporate enterprises and households. According to a 2018 study, out of the total debt of Rs 69.3 trillion incurred by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) only ₹10.9 trillion came from banks and other formal sources.
Second, domestic venture funds are required to fund MSME vendors and technology or business-model-driven start-ups in manufacturing and in socially desirable activities.
Source: This post is based on the article “The value and vulnerability of centralized data storage” published in Livemint on 29th Dec 2021.Syllabus: GS 3 – issues related to public data management
Relevance: Data governance
News: Data-sharing infrastructure projects in India are accelerating.
The most visible developments in Data-sharing infrastructure projects are seen in the financial sector. For instance, the recently-launched account aggregator framework made it possible for over 300 million users to share their data with different financial entities across the credit ecosystem.
Similar activity is also underway in many other sectors, notably the health sector.
In this situation, there is a debate on how to build robust digital infrastructure. This article analyses the challenges and advantages of the proposed options to build digital infrastructure in India.
What are the suggestions put forwarded to build robust digital infrastructure in India?
Data to be stored in the central repository: data should be extracted from the silos (repositories) in which they currently reside and aggregated into a central repository.
Federated model: data should be simply left where they are but interconnected, so that the data, at the directive of the user, can be transferred from one entity to another.
What are the challenges and advantages of the proposed options?
Data to be stored in a central repository
Advantage: A central repository makes data management easier by allowing individuals greater control over their data without the need to rely on data collectors to provide them access to their own data.
Disadvantage: A security breach in the central repository would place the sensitive personal data of the entire population at risk.
Advantage: it ensures that all this data does not end up in a single archive. If data can remain where it currently is and be transferred on request, this model offers the same benefits with significantly less risk.
Data users want their personal data to be available indefinitely so that they can use it many years and even decades into the future.
Data collectors, on the other hand, have no incentive to store the data any longer than necessary, particularly since storage comes at a cost and their liability for a data breach is on the rise.
Further, these entities could go bankrupt or change the focus of their business, and the data under their care could be lost forever.
What are the solutions proposed to tackle this issue?
The government should establish a centralized data repository and offer it as a public good for the benefit of all its citizens, along the lines of Digi Locker.
Data that is currently stored in different databases throughout the federated data architecture could be backed up by this repository. It will ensure that even if any one of the service providers goes down, the data is not lost.
What are the issues in the proposed solution?
It would be a bad idea because this is not a job for the state. The core function of government is to govern.
The government should only be involved in prescribing the data sharing protocols, establishing the regulations that will govern participants in the ecosystem, and ensuring compliance.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: This post is based on the article ‘DRDO hands over technology of extreme cold weather clothing system ECWCS to five Indian companies’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has handed over technology to manufacture indigenous extreme cold weather clothing systems (ECWS) to five Indian companies.
What is an Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)?
ECWCS is a three layered cloth required by the Indian Army for its sustained operations in glacier and Himalayan peaks.
Note: Till now, Indian Army has been importing extreme cold weather clothing and several Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment (SCME) items for the troops deployed in high altitude regions.
What are the key features of ECWCS?
Firstly, it is an ergonomically designed modular technical clothing that provides physiological comfort and thermal insulation over a temperature range of +15 to -50° Celsius.
Secondly, the cloth has several features like reduction in respiratory heat and water loss, rapid absorption of sweat, water proof, wind proof with adequate breathability and enhanced insulation as well as strength features required for high altitude operations.
What is the significance of ECWCS?
Considering the widely fluctuating weather conditions in the Himalayan peaks, the clothing is a viable import alternative for the Indian Army.
Moreover, it can only cater to the existing requirements of the Army but also can be exported.
Union Health Ministry engages with States/UTs to review the rollout of vaccination for the age group 15-18 yrs and Precautionary dose for identified vulnerable categories
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Union Health Ministry engages with States/UTs to review the rollout of vaccination for the age group 15-18 yrs and Precautionary dose for identified vulnerable categories’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
Union Health Secretary has chaired a workshop with all States and UTs to review the rollout of vaccination for the age group 15-18 and Precautionary 3rd dose for: Healthcare workers (HCW), Frontline workers (FLW) and those in the 60+ age group who have comorbidity.
|Click Here to read about new vaccination plans for Covid-19|
What are the new guidelines released related to new vaccination plans for Covid-19?
Vaccination for 15-18 Age Group: Those with a birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category.
Only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered in this population category.
Potential beneficiaries can either register themselves on Co-WIN from the 1st of January, 2022 or avail of a walk-in registration when vaccination commences from the 3rd of January.
Precautionary Dose: For the Beneficiary to be eligible, 9 month (39 weeks) must have elapsed since the administration of the 2nd dose.
Prescriptions/certificates of Doctors are NOT mandated to be produced for administration of the precautionary dose.
CoWIN will send reminder messages to all those eligible for Precaution dose. Moreover, precaution dose will also be reflected in the digital vaccination certificates.
Ministry of Skill Development launches a project to upskill the cane and bamboo artisans of Nagaland
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Ministry of Skill Development launches a project to upskill the cane and bamboo artisans of Nagaland’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched a pilot project for upskilling the cane and bamboo artisans of Nagaland under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), a component of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
About Pilot Project for upskilling the cane and bamboo artisans of Nagaland
Objective: To upskill the local weavers and artisans to enhance their productivity through RPL assessment and certification in traditional handicrafts.
Target: The project targets to upskill over 4,000 craftsmen and artisans.
What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a component of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).It is a skill certiﬁcation component to enable Indian youth to take on industry relevant skill certification which will help them to secure a better livelihood.
What are the objectives of RPL?
a) To align the competencies of the pre-existing workforce of the country to the standardized National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) b)To enhance the employability or entrepreneurial opportunities of an individual c) To provide opportunities for reducing inequalities based on privileging certain forms of knowledge over others d) Leverage technological interventions in programme delivery by providing standardized content on digital and financial literacy, online assessments and e) Create value by making it aspirational both from the standpoint of the candidate and the employer and f) Deploy demand-based selective RPL models.
Who can register themselves under RPL?
Individuals with prior learning experience or skills can register themselves and get assessed and certiﬁed under the RPL It focuses mainly on individuals engaged in unregulated sectors.
Who implements RPL Projects?
Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) such as private and public sector expert bodies in the sector and other agencies designated by MSDE/NSDC are being incentivised to implement RPL projects.
RPL also has 12 hours of orientation.
To address knowledge gaps, PIAs also offer bridge courses to candidates along with the 12-hour orientation domain skills, soft skills and entrepreneurship tips.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Sri Lanka to sign Trincomalee oil tank farm deal with India in a month, says Minister’ published in The Hindu on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
India and Sri Lanka are going to sign the long pending deal to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farms.
Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms:
The Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms is located in ‘China Bay’ in proximity to the internationally coveted deep water natural harbour of Trincomalee.
The Oil Tank was built by the British during World War II as a refuelling station.
The Oil Tank comprises 99 storage tanks with a capacity of 12,000 kilolitres each, spread across Lower Tank farm and Upper Tank Farm.
The proposal of joint development of this tank was envisaged 35 years ago, in the Indo-Lanka Accord 1987.
However, things barely moved until 2003 when the Indian Oil Corporation set up its Sri Lankan subsidiary, called Lanka IOC, to work on this oil farm.
Currently, Lanka IOC runs 15 tanks. The new agreement is being negotiated for the remaining tanks.
What will be the significance of this deal?
Strengthens Partnership: The deal will strengthen India and Sri Lanka energy partnership to enhance Sri Lanka’s energy security.
Strategic Location: Trincomalee remains in the spotlight as a potential transit point for international trade routes.
Counterbalance to China: From India’s viewpoint, Trincomalee is an important counterbalance to the Hambantota Port backed substantially by China.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘YEAR END REVIEW-2021: DEPARTMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched several initiatives and implemented several reforms in the telecom sector.
Indian Telecom Scenario in 2021
– Increase in Telephone and Internet Subscription between 2014-21: a) Telephone connections registered a growth of 28% b) Urban telephone connections rose by 20% while the growth in rural telephone connections was 40% and c) Internet connections registered a growth of 231%.
– Increase in FDI: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecom sector rose by around 150% between 2014-2021.
Reforms in Telecom Sector
– Rationalization of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR): Non-telecom revenue will be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR.
– Spectrum Tenure: In future Auctions, tenure of spectrum increased from 20 to 30 years. Moreover, surrender of spectrum will be permitted after 10 years for spectrum acquired in the future auctions.
– No Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for spectrum acquired in future spectrum auctions. Further, Spectrum sharing is being encouraged as additional SUC of 0.5% for spectrum sharing is removed.
– To encourage investment, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route permitted in Telecom Sector.
Initiatives in Telecom Sector
– PM WANI
– High Throughput Satellites (HTS): These have the capability of delivering significantly enhanced data rate as compared to conventional satellites. The deployment of HTS in coming times will be instrumental in providing abundant capacity and connectivity to unconnected or sparsely connected regions.
– Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite: It is an emerging satellite technology which offers low latency communication by virtue of low propagation delay. Such new technology satellites may supplement availability of requisite bandwidth that could be utilized for rendering broadband services along with voice communication in difficult terrain and far-flung areas.
– Network Readiness Index: It was developed by the World Economic Forum in 2002 and now published by M/s Portulans Institute, Washington. India has jumped 21 rank from 88 in 2020 to 67th position in 2021.
– India ranks among top 10 in ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020
– 5G Test bed: It is funded by DoT. It will enable development, testing and proliferation of 5G technology system components, cross-sectoral use cases, besides setting up the foundation for the development of “6G Technology landscape” in the country.
– 6G Technology Innovation Group (TIG): It is constituted by DoT with the objective to co-create and participate in the development of 6G technology ecosystem through increased participation in capability description, standards development at international standard setting bodies.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Explained: What is Molnupiravir, the Covid-19 pill approved by India?’ published in Indian Express on 29th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
The Indian drug regulator has cleared the first anti-viral Covid-19 pill: Molnupiravir.
What is Molnupiravir?
Molnupiravir was initially developed to treat influenza. Now it is being repurposed as an oral antiviral candidate to treat Covid-19 patients.
How does the drug work?
It works by introducing errors into the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ genetic code, which prevents the virus from further replicating.
The drug has been cleared for the treatment of adult patients with Covid-19 and who have a high risk of progression of the disease.
The drug is not authorised for use in patients less than 18 years, and initiation of treatment in patients requiring immediate hospitalisation.
The drug can be taken orally every 12 hours for five days.
Has any other countries cleared Molnupiravir for Covid-19?
The United Kingdom (UK) became the first country to approve drug regulator Molnupiravir.
US has also cleared Molnupiravir in ‘certain adults’.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘‘Indianising’ the legal system and SC’s views’ published in The Hindu on 29th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
Two Supreme Court judges in the past few months have openly expressed the need to “Indianise” the legal system.
What did the Supreme Court judges say on ‘Indianising’ the legal system?
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana: Indianisation of the country’s legal system is the need of the hour. Here, Indianisation means the need to adapt to the practical realities of our society and to localise our justice delivery system. For example, parties from a rural place fighting a family dispute are usually made to feel out of place in the court as they do not understand arguments or pleadings which are mostly in English, a language alien to them.
Judge S Abdul Nazeer: There is a need to Indianise the legal system by drawing inspiration from the ancient Indian legal philosophies and by getting rid of the colonial influence. He emphasized the need to embrace the great legal traditions as per Manu, Kautilya, Katyayana, Brihaspati, Narada, Parashara, Yajnavalkya and other legal giants of ancient India.
|Read more: Why India’s ancient republics need to be recognised for their place in world history|
Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati in M.C. Mehta case(1986): We cannot allow our judicial thinking to be restricted by making reference to the law as it prevails in England or in any other foreign country. We no longer need the aid of a foreign legal order. India is certainly prepared to build up its own jurisprudence.
Supreme Court Judges on Manu and Kautilya
Justice Bobde in Right to Privacy Judgement: In the ancient and religious texts of India, a well-developed sense of privacy is evident. For example, Kautilya’s Arthashastra prohibits entry into another’s house, without the owner’s consent.
Joseph Shine judgement decriminalising adultery: The court referred to how the Manusmriti prescribes punishment for those who are addicted to intercourse with wives of other men by punishments that cause terror, followed by banishment.
Sabarimala case: The court points to the Manusmriti to observe that in these ancient religious texts and customs, menstruating women have been considered as polluting the surroundings. However, those practices which legitimise menstrual taboos due to notions of ‘purity and pollution’ limit the ability of menstruating women to attain the freedom of movement, the right to education and the right of entry to places of worship and, eventually, their access to the public sphere.
|Read more: How to grease the wheels of justice|
Source: This post is based on the article ‘India to chair Counter Terrorism Committee of UNSC in January 2022 after ten yrs’ published in AIR on 29th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of UNSC in January 2022 after 10 years.
What is the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UNSC?
The Counter-Terrorism Committee is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council.
The committee was established by Security Council resolution 1373 adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
The Committee is tasked with monitoring the implementation of resolution 1373 which requested countries to implement a number of measures aimed at enhancing their legal and institutional ability to counterterrorist activities at home and around the world.
The measures include a) taking steps to criminalize the financing of terrorism b) freezing any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism c) denying all forms of financial support for terrorist groups d) suppressing the provision of safe haven e) sustenance or support for terrorists and f) share information with other governments on any groups practising or planning terrorist acts.
Besides, the Committee also monitors steps taken to cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest, extradition and prosecution of those involved in terror acts and criminalizes active and passive assistance for terrorism.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘CESL achieves 50 lakhs LED bulb distribution milestone under flagship Gram Ujala’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has achieved a remarkable milestone of distributing 50 lakhs LED bulbs Gram Ujala programme.
What is the Gram Ujala scheme?
Gram Ujala was launched by the Government of India with the aim to raise awareness against climate change and to save electricity.
Under the scheme, LED bulbs will be distributed at a highly subsidised rate at ₹10 across villages in five states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Residents can buy a maximum of 5 LED bulbs by paying for old 100 watts bulbs. The government will also install meters at these houses.
The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited(EESL)’s subsidiary Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL).
The programme will be financed entirely through carbon credits and will be the first such programme in India.
|Read more: Energy efficiency measures saved Rs 89,000 crore in 2018-19: Report|
What is the expected impact of the scheme?
The scheme will save 2025 million units (kWh) of electricity annually, while there will also be a reduction in carbon emissions by 16.5 lakh tons per annum. This will provide better lighting in homes at a cheaper rate.
|Read more: EESL and USAID Announce the “Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings” Initiative|
What is CESL?
Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) is a subsidiary of state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a joint venture of public sector companies under the Ministry of Power. CESL is focused on delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy.
|Must read: [Yojana December Summary] Self-reliance in Energy Sector – Explained, pointwise|
India has achieved its NDC target with total non-fossil based installed energy capacity of 157.32 GW which is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity
Source: This post is based on the article ‘India has achieved its NDC target with total non-fossil based installed energy capacity of 157.32 GW which is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
The Ministry of Renewable Energy has taken several initiatives in the Renewable Energy Sector.
India’s Renewable Energy Target at COP21
At COP 21, as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), India had committed to achieving 40% of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030. The country has already achieved this target in November 2021 itself.
Currently, the total non-fossil based installed energy capacity is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity. Among them, solar has currently the highest contribution followed by Large Hydro Power, Wind, Bio-power, Nuclear Energy and Small Hydro Power.
|Must read: [Yojana December Summary] Self-reliance in Energy Sector – Explained, pointwise|
Investment in Renewables
India’s renewable energy programme is driven by private sector investments.
FDI: India’s renewable energy industry received foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $7.27 billion from 2014-15 till June 2021.
The credit for the hike in FDI goes to a liberal foreign investment policy that allows the foreign investors to enter into joint ventures with an Indian partner for financial and/or technical collaboration and for setting up renewable energy-based power generation projects. Moreover, up to 100%, FDI is allowed under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects.
|Read more: [Yojana October Summary] Energy Security: Nuclear Power – Explained, pointwise|
Major Programmes and Schemes:
Wind Energy: India has the 4th largest wind power capacity in the world.The wind energy sector is led by the indigenous wind power industry.
Atal Jyoti Yojana: The scheme aims for the installation of solar street lights with a 25% fund contribution from MPLAD Funds. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is implementing the scheme.
New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme(NNBOMP): It aims to promote the use of biogas produced from cattle manure and other organic wastes available in rural areas.
Scheme to support Promotion of Biomass-based cogeneration in sugar mills and other industries: The scheme aims to support Biomass based Cogeneration Projects in Sugar mills and Other Industries for power generation in the country.
Programme on Energy from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Wastes/ Residues: It aims to promote setting up of waste-to-energy plants to recover energy in the form of Biogas or BioCNG or Power from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Waste / Residues for meeting certain niche energy demands of urban, industrial and commercial sectors in the country.
What are the issues and challenges in the Renewable Energy Sector?
1. Mobilization of the necessary finance and investment on competitive terms, 2. Land acquisition, 3. Creating an innovation and manufacturing ecosystem in the country, 4. Integrating a larger share of renewables with the grid, 5. Enabling supply of firm and dispatchable power from renewables, 6. Enabling penetration of renewables in the so-called hard to decarbonize sectors.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘2021- A Year of Game Changing Reforms for the Ministry of Textiles’ published in PIB on 28th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
The Ministry of Textiles has launched several initiatives and has implemented various reforms in the Textile Sector.
The textile and apparel industry contributed 2% to the overall GDP of India in 2019 and 11% to total manufacturing in GVA.
The textile industry is the second-largest employment generator in the country next only to agriculture. More significantly, women constitute 70% of the workforce in garment manufacturing and about 73% in Handloom.
Initiatives in Textile Sector
Jute-ICARE: It was launched by National Jute Board (NJB) in technical collaboration with ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres(ICAR- CRIJAF).The objective of the scheme is to support the small and marginal jute growers with adequate pre- and post-harvesting operations so that they can grow good quality jute & receive higher prices for their produce.
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News: There is a need to take urgent steps to fix the Tenth Schedule if the system wants to get rid of open corruption. Read more: Explained: Anti-defection law, for independent legislators What are the challenges associated with the 10th schedule? Paragraph 3: It was omitted by 91st Amendment Act, 2003. This clause protected defectors as long… Continue reading Challenges associated with the 10th schedule: How to fix the anti-defection loophole
News: India’s political system has always risen to challenges facing the nation. After Independence, India’s democracy was faced with numerous challenges. However, it was able to self-correct and rise against all odds. Democracy functioned as a safety valve, managing and mediating pressures that emerged from our vast country. Having said that, contemporarily India’s democracy is… Continue reading The Case for Liberal Democracy
News: The idea of India emerges from the nationalist movement and its institutionalization in the republic. On the 72nd anniversary of republic day, India must relook at the direction of the Indian republic. How did the idea of New India emerge? Earlier conceptions of India drew from mythology and theology. The modern idea of India… Continue reading Evolution of New India: The ground rules of ‘the one land of many’
News: Recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that daughters will have equal rights to their father’s property even prior to the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act (HSA) of 1956. How the judgement is a win for women’s right to inheritance? First, the daughter now can inherit property by inheritance and not by survivorship if… Continue reading Win for daughters: But more needed to ensure women’s property rights