9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 10th, 2022

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

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

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

What three recent cases say about our labyrinthine legal system

Source: This post is based on the article “What three recent cases say about our labyrinthine legal system” published in Indian Express on 10th February 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Structure, organisation and functioning of the Judiciary.

Relevance: Understanding problems associated with the functioning of the judiciary.

News: Old laws, difficult to interpret language and long-running cases create obstacles to justice.

What are the factors contributing to the obstacles to justice?

Archaic Laws: 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. Although, the judgement is welcome but the case should have been settled much earlier. Indian constitution is certainly lacking a proper framework for personal laws for the 21st century.

Read here: Win for daughters: But more needed to ensure women’s property rights

Long-running cases: Court recently acquitted an actress from obscenity and indecency charges from the case which was registered under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act and Sections 292, 293, and 294 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) in 2007.

The case took 15 years to decide. The courts should be more cautious about the case which need to be admitted in courts if admitted has to be resolved quickly.

Incomprehensible language: Recently, two judges of the SC couldn’t understand a judgement authored by another judge in 2017.

Contempt of Court: Contempt of court act 1971 deals with civil contempt when a court judgement does not comply. It also deals with criminal content which scandalizes or lowers the authority of the court. Scandalising” is neither contempt by interference, nor contempt by disobedience. This was inherited from Britain. In 2013, after the Law Commission report (2012), the UK crime and courts act was abolished scandalizing the court as a form of contempt of court.

Read here: CONTEMPT OF COURT

The classroom is important, not the uniform

Source: This post is based on the article “The classroom is important, not the uniform” published in Indian Express on 10th February 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Fundamental rights.

Relevance: Understanding why a homogeneous dress code is not required in school.

News: Karnataka is seeing bitter clashes over the banning of hijab and the imposition of dress code in educational institutions.

Must read: Explained: Freedom of religion and attire

Why inclusive nature of the classroom is a must for child development?

Students came from different religions, caste, nations, etc and have different dietary habits, cultures, customs, and traditions accordingly. For example, some wore the markers of their married status, some wore the symbols of their religion and caste, etc. So, it should be important to provide democratic access to students from all sections of society.

Coming together of many social worlds within classrooms makes it a location of constant learning. Where learning not only takes place through institutionalized pedagogy but also from dialogues with classmates, a student, a teacher which slowly becomes a community that will help live together as social groups. This inclusive nature of the classroom space also provides the space for students to think across the lines of gender and caste and religion and nationality.

Why dress code should not be allowed in the school curriculum?

If classrooms become means of disciplining students, then teaching gets replaced by indoctrination, and learning is replaced by parroting of political ideologies.
When education is embroiled in heat, creativity, and the joy of learning are destroyed.

When teachers become gatekeepers of parochial political interests, they forfeit the trust and responsibility that the community places on them.

Schools are such places students are taught uniformity, teachers close up the process of thinking and questioning. By banning hijab from classrooms, students are taught mistrust and hate and are trained in violence and anger. And educational institutions shut down the process of learning and experimenting to build an equal, inclusive, compassionate and intelligent society.

So it is important to listen to the faintest voice coming from every corner of the classroom. Students have a world of their own that should be heard and understood.

Read more: The interpretative answer to the hijab row
What should be the way forward?

Students and teachers, together, should have unfolded knowledge and has to function as companions, as friends and equals. Education has to be shaped by an egalitarian space provided by classrooms. It is important that the classrooms are protected and do not fall apart.


Explained: Governor’s powers, friction with states, and why this happens often

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Governor’s powers, friction with states, and why this happens often” published in Indian Express on 10th February 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2  issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

Relevance: Understanding the reasons behind friction between governor and state governments.

News: There have been some incidents that show the friction between the delicate relationships of the constitutional head of state and elected government. For example, West Bengal CM blocked the governor on Twitter over his statements against the state governments.

Read here: Breach of Constitutional Propriety by Governor
What are the powers of the governor?

The governor acts on the advice of the council of ministers. But, Governor also enjoys certain powers granted under the Constitution like he can withhold assent to a Bill passed by the state legislature, can determine the time needed for a party to prove its majority, or which party must be called first to do so.

However, there is no provision on how the Governor and the state should engage publicly when there is a difference of opinion.

Read here: Governor’s discretion has its limits
What are the friction points between the governor and state governments?

Allegations of the Centre using the Governor’s position to destabilise state governments have been made since the 1950s. These are mostly related to the selection of the party to form a government, deadline to prove majority, sitting on Bills, and passing negative remarks on the state administration. Below are some examples:

Dismissal of state governments: Kerala’s government was dismissed based on a report by the Governor. Several state governments have been dismissed since then, including 63 through President’s Rule orders issued by Governors between 1971 and 1990.

J&K Governor in 2018: dissolved the Assembly amid indications that various parties were coming together to form the government. This paved the way for the Centre to later bifurcate the state into two Union territories, by considering the Governor as the government.

Maharashtra Governor in 2019: quietly invited BJP leader and administered him oath as CM. This government lasted just 80 hours. Six months later, the governor refused to nominate CM to the Legislative Council.

Kerala Governor in 2020: turned down a request to summon a special sitting of the Assembly to debate the three central farm laws.

Read here: Discretionary powers of the governor: Some Raj Bhavans are on the war path
What are the reasons behind the tussle between the governor and state governments?

Political appointees: According to a constitutional expert, although the Constituent Assembly envisaged the governor to be apolitical. But the truth is, politicians, become Governors and then resign to fight elections.

Answerability: The CM is answerable to the people. But the Governor is answerable to no one except the Centre. This is the fundamental defect in the Constitution.

Impeachment of governor: There is no provision for impeaching the Governor, who is appointed by the President on the Centre’s advice. While the Governor has a 5-year tenure, he can remain in office only until the pleasure of the President.

No guidelines:  There are no guidelines for the exercise of the Governor’s powers, including for appointing a CM or dissolving the Assembly. There is no limit set for how long a Governor can withhold assent to a Bill.

What should be the way forward?

Several panels and reports like the Administrative Reforms Commission of 1968, Sarkaria Commission of 1988 suggested reforms regarding

1) Selection of the Governor through a panel comprising the PM, Home Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and the CM, 2) fixing his tenure for five years, 3) Provision to impeach the Governor by the Assembly, etc.


India must reform the very way that reforms are brought about

Source: This post is based on the article “India must reform the very way that reforms are brought about” published in Livemint on 10th February 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

Relevance: Understanding the need for reforms and the process of how government should bring the reforms.

News: Every section of society want reforms to make their life easier. The government is also introducing various reforms in various sectors. But still, various voices came who are against the method which government is adopting while introducing any reform.

What are the mistakes government is doing while introducing reforms?

The government is in a rush to make big announcements and to make bold reforms to attract large investments. This process, it does not follow the democratic process where consultation of various stakeholders and states is required.

Due to this, the government had to withdraw its proposed reforms in land acquisition. Reforms of environmental regulations to enable large industrial projects are resisted by organizations representing concerns of local communities, Reforms of agricultural institutions to double farmers’ income have been stalled because of farmers’ protests who are the intended beneficiaries of these reforms.

How the process of reforms should be followed?

Purpose of reforms: Government should be clear about the purpose of bringing reforms. For example in Agriculture reforms- the government has to be clear whether the government aimed at increasing the income of farmers or attracting corporate investments to build supply chains.

Rightful Approach: Government should adopt the righteous approach. It should know about who is going to benefit from reforms, Who will be most affected, Will the reforms supported by those who will be more affected, Have all the stakeholders have been considered honestly, etc. These type of questions needs to be properly addressed.

Collaborative approach: Government should listen to the views of all stakeholders who are going to be affected favourably or unfavourably by the reforms. Accordingly, the government should make the decision on a consensus basis.

Process of consultation: Government should design the consultation in a fair and well-coordinated way. This will help to produce good insights and well-rounded solutions.

What should be the way forward?

India should reform its process of democratic governance. It should also reform its economic institutions to enable income and wealth to increase so that every section of the society can take benefit from it. Economic reforms which are going to affect the masses should not be developed only by the experts but also with the people who are going to benefit from it.


Indo-Australia bilateral relations: The significance of S Jaishankar’s Australia visit

Source: This post is based on the article “The significance of S Jaishankar’s Australia visit” published in Indian Express on 10th February 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interests.

Relevance: Understanding Quad foreign ministers meeting.

News: It was announced that Quad foreign ministers meeting is going to take place in Australia. This brings Indo-Australia bilateral relations back into focus.

What are the drivers of Indo-Australia bilateral relations?

Friendship is based on shared values and interests. India remains the top source of skilled migration for Australia. The population of Indian-born people has doubled in the last decade in Australia.

However, the challenge of economic relations and an early harvest CECA – a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement is pending.

Read here: India, Australia aim to finalise trade pact by end of next year
What are the drivers of multilateral relations in Indo-Pacific?

QUAD foreign ministers will be meeting in person after two years. The new centre of gravity of international politics is shifting towards Indo-Pacific. The assertive rise of China, its aggressive nature and revisionism is upsetting the peace and prosperity of the region. The strengthening of supply chains through supply chain resilient initiative is needed to check economic dependence on China.

It is now important to deliver on these promises and forge a strong regional and global partnership.

GS Paper 3


Income tax on our rich should’ve been rejigged

Source: This post is based on the article “Income tax on our rich should’ve been rejigged” published in Live mint on 10th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Government Budgeting

Relevance: Need for direct tax reforms

News: This article discusses the view of former Reserve Bank of India governor C. Rangarajan on taxation. The article says tax rules should be made easier for better tax collections. India needs direct tax reforms because tax relief is not enough.

How the government missed the opportunity to simplify the tax rate?

Pandemic has increased government spending, which has also increased fear of increasing tax burden. However, the Union Budget 2022-23 has not increased this burden, with no rate hike for all income brackets. It has given relief to taxpayers, but the government missed the opportunity to make some changes to simplify taxes with minimum fiscal damage.

Why the view of former Reserve Bank of India governor C. Rangarajan on taxation should be considered?

One, he suggested that the multiple cesses and surcharges that are levied should be withdrawn. A clean new slab should be created at the top with a rate of over 35% but under 40%. It will bring clarity on what top earners must pay and also help out states which are in need of fiscal space.

Two, bringing clarity on the tax rate is required. For example, in the mid-2019 budget, it was declared that a surcharge on the tax liability of individuals earning over ₹5 crores a year will be levied. It resulted in a peak effective rate of almost 43%. This tax on tax increases complexity, and it is against the principle of simplification of taxation.

Three, tax claims which are near the 50 percent mark of what one earns create disharmony among taxpayers. Hence, a burden level above 40% is perceived as punitive.

Four, high tax rates are also one of the reasons which are enabling people with high incomes to leave India for friendlier tax regimes overseas. Also, multinational employers are willing to relocate executive talent abroad as a retention strategy. For example, an increasing option of work-from-anywhere after the pandemic, which basically means ‘any tax jurisdiction’.

What is the way forward?

First, the peak rate on top earners should be under 40%, the same way corporate tax rates are dropped to attract investment.

Second, a clean 35% slab for multi-crore incomes is needed without any tax on tax. Also, India needs to phase out dual-rate system because it goes against the basic principle of keeping taxes simple. Furthermore, cesses were meant to be temporary, hence they must be withdrawn.


It’s time to take a relook at privatisation

Source: This post is based on the article “It’s time to take a relook at privatisation” published in The Hindu on 10th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Changes in Industrial Policy

Relevance: Privatization and its shortcomings

News: This article discusses that privatization and the short-term gain associated with it should not overshadow the long-term interest. Hence, there is need to take a relook at privatization.

 Why privatization is being considered as panacea?

India’s fiscal deficit (for the Centre) in FY22 is expected to be at 6.8% of the GDP and with the debts of States, it will be 12.7% of the GDP. Fiscal deficit is growing wider every year and there is a consensus that privatization is the panacea.

Why privatization is not panacea?

One, the gap in growth between public sector undertakings (PSUs) with autonomy and private firms is not significant. For instance, British privatization initiative of British Airways, British Gas, and the Railways led to no systemic difference in performance.

Two, privatization has mixed results in developing countries. There are examples like VSNL and Hindustan Zinc, but growth post-privatization is due to multiple factors like better funding and better business cycle. The issue with PSUs is government apathy and their inability to generate tax revenues.

Three, privatization as a policy has failed to raise significant funds and actual receipts from disinvestment have always fallen short of targets. For example, by FY20, ₹50,304 crore was raised against a target of ₹1 lakh crore (PRS India, 2021). In total, between FY11 and FY21, about ₹5 lakh crore was raised that is, about 33% of just FY22’s projected fiscal deficit.

Four, considering social and institutional constraints, India’s ability to privatise firms will be slow in the future. For example, BPCL.

Five, since interest rate is rising, this is not the right time to privatize. For example, the recently held auction of 21 oil and gas blocks had only three firms participating, of which two were PSUs and 18 blocks ended up with just a single bid.

Six, there is also a challenge of valuation. For example, about 65% of 300 national highway projects have recorded significant toll collection growth. The valuations of such assets should ensure that they capture potential growth in toll revenue.

Seven, there are also serious social consequences. PSUs generates employment and have multiplier effects on economy. Hence, a push for privatisation is a push for mass layoffs when there is already low job creation.

Eighth, another major concern is greater concentration of public assets in selected private hands. For example, telecom has only three players left. It will increase higher usage fees, inflation and also a loss of strategic control.

What is the way forward?

 First, stake sales can be considered a preferred route. It gives time to ensure price discovery, allowing improved performance to raise valuations over time.

For example, the Maruti model. The government had a joint venture with the Suzuki Corporation. Exits from Maruti were conducted in small tranches which ensured a better valuation for the government.

Second, a PSU with greater autonomy with the government retaining control via a holding firm can be a solution. For example, in China growth has been led by corporatised PSUs, all of them are held under a holding company (SASAC), which promotes better governance, appoints leadership and executes mergers and acquisitions.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Finance focuses on policymaking, while Temasek (the holding firm) is focused on corporatizing and expanding its PSUs.


Budget 2022: Some musings

Source: This post is based on the article “Budget 2022: Some musings” published in Business Standard on 10th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Government Budgeting

Relevance: Analysis of Budget 2022-23

News: Recently, union budget 2022-23 has been presented. This article analyses the positives of the budget and suggest way forward to deal with the challenges.

What are the challenges currently faced by the economy?

This Budget is presented in an extremely challenging economic situation. Pandemic has disrupted the economy and it has not recovered completely from the shocks of the lockdown.

The fiscal deficit is widening and debt-GDP ratios is also growing with high unemployment and underemployment. The informal sector has suffered more, which reduced consumption. Also, private investment is not growing due to an uncertain global economic environment. This all calls for fiscal consolidation.

What are the positives of Budget 2022-23?

The budget has showed commitment to transparency with proper accounting of budget numbers. Also, the initiatives are continuing to help the most badly hit sections of society. There is also a major expansion of capital expenditure which will act as multiplier effect and help in strengthening medium-term growth potential.

Which issues are left unaddressed?

One, the government debt ratios are around 85-90 per cent of GDP but the budget has only promised a modest fiscal consolidation of 0.5 per cent of GDP.

Two, though, the special programs to assist the pandemic affected sections of the population have also been maintained. But there are no new taxes on the super-rich or any other significant tax-raising measures.

Three, also there are no marked reductions in protective Customs duty structure, which act against sustained growth of exports and successful global value chain participation.

What are the adverse consequences of a high fiscal deficit?

First, interest payments of the Centre have jumped by nearly 40 percent between 2020/21 and 2022/23. It is shrinking the share of non-interest expenditures from over 80 percent to just 76 percent.

Second, high deficits have increased market borrowings, which will pose serious monetary and debt management problems. This will increase inflation, which hurts the poor. Also, it will make exports less competitive and ultimately reduce economic growth. All this will increase the risk of crowding of private investment.

What are the signs of optimism currently visible for the economy?

First, the budget has shown conservatism in estimating revenues and expenditures have been exaggerated. It shows that government will have a sizable cash balance to reduce the market borrowings.

Second, due to “low base effects” because of Delta and Omicron in the several months of 2021-22, real GDP growth in 2022-23 can be around 7 percent and the GDP deflator is likely to be in the 6-7 per cent range.

This suggests that nominal GDP growth can be around 13-14 percent. Hence, net taxes of the Centre could be around Rs 0.7 trillion higher than estimated. That is why market borrowings will be Rs 2-3 trillion less than projected.

What is the way forward?

First, Budget Estimates can be affected by an unforeseen domestic or international shock. Hence, macroeconomic management is needed with lower fiscal deficits.

Second, trade policy reforms are needed to consolidate and strengthen the rebound in foreign trade.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Govt. issues new media accreditation guidelines

Source: This post is based on the article Govt. issues new media accreditation guidelinespublished in The Hindu on 9th Feb 2022.

What is the news?

The Central government has released the Central Media Accreditation Guidelines-2022.

What is media accreditation?

Media accreditation issued by PIB allows journalists access to government offices and official functions.It can be seen as a media pass that allows entry into government offices including Parliament and events which wouldn’t be possible without it.

What are the key provisions of Central Media Accreditation Guidelines-2022?

Provisions for Granting Accreditation:

Accreditation is only available for journalists living in the Delhi NCR region. 

Click Here to read the accreditation criteria

— No accreditation will be granted to freelance journalists working for foreign news media organisations.

Formation of a Central Media Accreditation Committee (CMAC): The Government shall constitute a Committee called the Central Media Accreditation Committee.

The Committee will be chaired by the Principal Director General, Press Information Bureau (PIB) and composed of up to 25 members nominated by the government to discharge the functions laid down under these guidelines.

The CMAC would function for a period of two years from the date of its first meeting and shall meet once in a quarter or more frequently, if necessary.

Conditions for Withdrawing/Suspending Accreditation: A journalist can lose accreditation – 

– if they act in a manner which is prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement of an offence.

– if they are charged with a serious cognisable offence.

– if they violate any of the terms and conditions of the accreditation.

– if they furnish false/fraudulent, forged information/ documents. 

– if the news media organisation on behalf of which the accreditation has been granted “recommends the withdrawal of accreditation”.


What is SWIFT and why is Russia being threatened with exclusion from the service?

Source: This post is based on the article What is SWIFT and why is Russia being threatened with exclusion from the service?published in Indian Express on 9th Feb 2022.

What is the news?

As tensions are increasing between the US and Russia over the Ukraine issue, experts have said that the United States could as a last resort exclude Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

What is SWIFT?

SWIFT is a messaging network used by banks and financial institutions globally for quick and faultless exchange of information pertaining to financial transactions. 

The network connects more than 11,000 banking and securities organizations in over 200 countries and territories.

Headquarters: Belgium

How does SWIFT work?

Each participant on the platform is assigned a unique eight-digit SWIFT code or a bank identification code (BIC). 

If a person, say, in New York with a Citibank account wants to send money to someone with an HSBC account in London, the payee would have to submit to his bank the London-based beneficiary’s account number along with the eight-digit SWIFT code of the latter’s bank. Citibank would then send a SWIFT message to HSBC. Once that is received and approved, the money would be credited to the required account.

Note: SWIFT is merely a platform that sends messages and does not hold any securities or money. It facilitates standardized and reliable communication to facilitate the transaction.
How is SWIFT governed?

SWIFT is owned and controlled by its shareholders (financial institutions) representing approximately 3,500 firms from across the world. The shareholders elect a Board of 25 independent Directors representing banks across the world, which governs the Company and oversees the management of the Company.

SWIFT is overseen by the G-10 central banks (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, and Sweden) as well as the European Central Bank (ECB), with its lead overseer being the National Bank of Belgium.

In 2012, this framework was reviewed, and the SWIFT Oversight Forum was established in which the G-10 central banks are joined by the central banks of India, Australia, Russia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the Republic of Turkey, and the People’s Republic of China.

What happens if one is excluded from SWIFT?

If a country is excluded from SWIFT, its foreign funding would take a hit, making it entirely reliant on domestic investors. This is particularly troublesome when institutional investors are constantly seeking new markets in newer territories.

Are any countries excluded from SWIFT? 

Iranian banks were ousted from the system in 2018 despite resistance from several countries in Europe.


Can battery swapping power EVs for the long term in a cost-effective way?

Source: This post is based on the article “Can battery swapping power EVs for the long term in a cost-effective way?” published in Business Standard on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the news?

In Budget 2022-23, , the Finance Minister has announced that the government would introduce a battery swapping policy and interoperability standards. 

What is battery swapping?

Battery swapping or battery-as-a-service allows EV owners to replace the discharged batteries with charged ones at the swap stations. When the battery is discharged, the owner can change it with a fully charged one. 

How will the Battery Swapping Policy work?

The policy is likely to focus on battery swap services for three-wheeled auto rickshaws and two-wheelers such as electric scooters and motorcycles. 

Under the policy, EV owners may get incentives of up to 20% on the subscription or lease cost of the battery. 

What are the advantages of Battery Swapping?

Firstly, it will address the problem of setting up charging stations and also reduce range anxiety of drivers.

Secondly, it can help EV owners save the cost of purchasing a battery. 

Thirdly, it is less time consuming and takes only a few minutes compared to charging at a battery station which could take hours. 

Lastly, it also requires minimum infrastructure.

What are the barriers to Battery Swapping? 1) High Cost of Battery (Batteries account for close to 60% of the cost for an e-two-wheeler) 2) Lack of standardization among batteries 3) Unsuitable battery pack design and 4) Higher GST on separate batteries (18% versus 5% for EVs) 


Fairbank’s disease and acromegaly cases in India

Source: This post is based on the articleFairbank’s disease and acromegaly cases in India?published in PIB on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the news?

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has informed the Rajya Sabha that Fairbanks Disease and Acromegaly Disorder’s patients are getting treatment at various tertiary health facilities like Medical Colleges, Central Institutes like AIIMS at free or subsidized rates.

What is Fairbank Disease?

Fairbanks disease or multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED) is a rare genetic disorder (dominant form–1 in 10,000 births) which affects the growing ends of bones.

Bones usually elongate by a process that involves the depositing of cartilage at the ends of the bones called ossification.This cartilage then mineralizes and hardens to become bone. In MED, this process is defective.

The majority of MED individuals are diagnosed during childhood; however, some mild cases may not be diagnosed until adulthood.

Fairbank’s disease patients usually require management of pain and orthopedic procedures, for which facilities are available at tertiary care institutions in India.

What is Acromegaly Disorder?

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone in the body.

In childhood, this leads to increased height and is called gigantism. But in adulthood, a change in height doesn’t occur. Instead, the increase in bone size is limited to the bones of the hands, feet and face and is called acromegaly.

This disorder is not inherited from a person’s parents.

Symptoms include enlargement of the face, hands and feet. Other symptoms may include joint pain, thicker skin, deepening of the voice, headaches, and problems with vision.

Complications of the disease may include type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.


Quad Ministers set to meet in Australia

Source: This post is based on the article “Quad Ministers set to meet in Australia published in The Hindu on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the news?

The External Affairs Minister will begin a visit to Australia to attend a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Quad (India, Australia, United States, Japan).

What is Quad?

Click Here to read about it 

What is the purpose of the Quad Foreign Ministers meeting?

The meeting is expected to discuss cooperation on vaccines, technology and regional security issues including related to China.

Note: US has said that Quad will discuss the challenges that China poses to the rules-based order in a number of sectors.

The meeting is also expected to lay the groundwork for the second Quad leaders summit.

Must Read: India-Philippines Brahmos Deal
What was China’s response on the Quad’s agenda?

China has said that the US despite its ruined democratic brand still forces other countries to accept its democratic standards and cobbles together countries by drawing the ideological line.

Note: China had earlier denounced the Quad as a Cold War construct and a small circle “targeting other countries”.


Kaziranga National park is a net carbon emitter, climate change may make it worse

Source: This post is based on the article “Kaziranga National park is a net carbon emitter, climate change may make it worse” published in Down to earth on 9th Feb 2022.        

What is the news?

A study conducted by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and some universities has found it to be a net carbon emitter. 

How was the study conducted? 

Sensors and instruments were installed to monitor carbon dioxide levels, water vapour concentrations, wind speeds and directions. This was done under the MetFlux India project sponsored by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. 

All the information from various sensors was analysed using a technique called Eddy Covariance Measurement to see that how much carbon dioxide the trees in the forest were able to absorb or release during various seasons of the year. 

Why this phenomenon is different from usual? 

Forests usually absorb more carbon (through photosynthesis) than they release, which makes them carbon sinks, and they are globally promoted to counter the carbon dioxide emissions from different human activities.  

A similar analysis of the teak forests in Madhya Pradesh by showed that the forest acted as a carbon sink, showing the uniqueness of the Kaziranga National Park ecosystem. 

Why is Kaziranga a net carbon emitter? 

Kaziranga National park is a deciduous forest situated in Assam and home to the largest-population of the one- horned rhinoceros in the world.

The biggest factor that makes Kaziranga national park a net emitter is its unique soil. The soil is home to a large population of bacteria that release carbon dioxide as they breathe, which adds to the carbon dioxide being emanated by other organisms, including trees.  

The photosynthetic activity of trees during the monsoon decreases due to increased cloud cover. Hence, the ability of the forest to absorb carbon dioxide also decreases. The situation remains the same during the post-monsoon and winter months, making the forest a net carbon emitter. 

Why global warming would further reduce the capacity of the forests in the region to absorb carbon? 

At many places in North East India, trees release a large number of heavier isotopes in the water through a process known as transpiration. 

Note – Isotopes of an element have the same atomic number but different atomic mass. 

The scientists analysed the isotopes in the transpired water and observed a strong link between the water and carbon cycles of the forest and that the transpired water is one of the causal factors for rainfall locally. 

They also witnessed a decreasing trend in the rainfall coming from the transpired water in the pre-monsoon months, which are responsible for the highest carbon absorption. This will be a major issue as the planet warms further and rainfall becomes more erratic. 


Suicides due to unemployment highest in Covid hit 2020

Source-This post is based on the article “Suicides due to unemployment highest in Covid hit 2020” published in The Hindu on 10th Feb 2022.       

What is the news?  

A reply from Ministry of home affairs to a question in Rajya Sabha has revealed that Over 16,000 people committed suicide due to bankruptcy or indebtedness while 9,140 people ended their lives due to unemployment between 2018 and 2020.  

How has pandemic led to this problem? 

The highest number of such cases were reported in 2020. The pandemic led to the imposition of a lockdown in the country, which resulted in large-scale job losses and economic slowdown in many sectors. 

What are the steps that govt has taken since the pandemic started for employment and income generation? 

Government had launched a number of programmes like Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana to incentivise employers for creation of new jobs along with social security benefits.  

The National career service (NCS) project for jobseekers and employers for job matching and also has a repository of career content for jobseekers. 

Apart from these Programmes such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh bharat mission, AMRUT, etc will also help in employment generation. 


Geomagnetic storm that killed Starlink satellite

Source: This post is based on the article “Geomagnetic storm that killed Starlink satellite” published in The Indian express on 10th Feb 2022.       

What is the news?

Dozens of Satellites that were part of the Starlink Project were caught in a geomagnetic storm a day after they were launched. This is being described as an unusual and huge event, as around 40 satellites, most of a single launch batch, were lost in a single solar event. 

What are Geomagnetic or Solar storms? 

Solar storms are magnetic plasma ejected at great speed from the solar surface.  

They occur during the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots (‘dark’ regions on the Sun that are cooler than the surrounding photosphere), and can last for a few minutes or hours.  

The recent storm that caused this loss was was unusual, an unexpectedly extended event and of a kind not seen in the recent past. As the latter part of the storm, with its high density core, possessed speeds higher than what was recorded during the storm’s arrival. 

Why are they harmful? 

Although all solar flares do not reach Earth, but those that come close can impact space weather in near-Earth space and the upper atmosphere. 

They can effect operations of space-dependent services like global positioning systems (GPS), radio, and satellite communications, high-frequency radio communications and GPS navigation systems, Aircraft flights, power grids, and space exploration programmes. 

They can also create disturbances in the magnetosphere which is a protective shield surrounding the Earth.  

Also, Astronauts on spacewalks face health risks from possible exposure to solar radiation outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere.  

What is the way forward? 

Current computer models are capable of predicting a storm’s time of arrival and its speed but not its structure or orientation. 

As the global dependence on satellites is increasing day by day for almost every activity, there is a need for better space weather forecasts and more effective ways to protect satellites. 


Geomagnetic storm that killed Starlink satellite

Source: This post is based on the article “Geomagnetic storm that killed Starlink satellite” published in The Indian express on 10th Feb 2022.       

What is the news?

Dozens of Satellites that were part of the Starlink Project were caught in a geomagnetic storm a day after they were launched. This is being described as an unusual and huge event, as around 40 satellites, most of a single launch batch, were lost in a single solar event. 

What are Geomagnetic or Solar storms? 

Solar storms are magnetic plasma ejected at great speed from the solar surface.  

They occur during the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots (‘dark’ regions on the Sun that are cooler than the surrounding photosphere), and can last for a few minutes or hours.  

The recent storm that caused this loss was was unusual, an unexpectedly extended event and of a kind not seen in the recent past. As the latter part of the storm, with its high density core, possessed speeds higher than what was recorded during the storm’s arrival. 

Why are they harmful? 

Although all solar flares do not reach Earth, but those that come close can impact space weather in near-Earth space and the upper atmosphere. 

They can effect operations of space-dependent services like global positioning systems (GPS), radio, and satellite communications, high-frequency radio communications and GPS navigation systems, Aircraft flights, power grids, and space exploration programmes. 

They can also create disturbances in the magnetosphere which is a protective shield surrounding the Earth.  

Also, Astronauts on spacewalks face health risks from possible exposure to solar radiation outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere.  

What is the way forward? 

Current computer models are capable of predicting a storm’s time of arrival and its speed but not its structure or orientation. 

As the global dependence on satellites is increasing day by day for almost every activity, there is a need for better space weather forecasts and more effective ways to protect satellites. 


Vigyan Jyoti Scheme

Source: This post is based on the article “Vigyan Jyoti Scheme” published in PIB on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

The Vigyan Jyoti programme is being implemented in 100 schools in the country and all the schools are situated in rural areas.

What is the Vigyan Jyoti Scheme?

Nodal Ministry: Department of Science & Technology 

Aim: To address the underrepresentation of women in different fields of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the country.

The scheme envisages hand-holding and interventions right from the school level i.e., Class IX and which will continue till the PhD level to encourage girls to pursue a career in underrepresented areas of STEM. 

Activities under the scheme: Various activities such as science camps, special lectures/ classes, counselling of students and parents, interaction with role models, tinkering activities, and visits to Knowledge Partners/ Research Labs are being conducted in order to motivate girls. 

Implementation Partner: Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), an autonomous organization of the Ministry of Education, is the implementation partner of Vigyan Jyoti. 


HCNG: Hydrogen Fuel for Vehicles

Source: This post is based on the articleHydrogen Fuel for Vehiclespublished in PIB on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified the use of Hydrogen as an automotive fuel in the country. It has notified an 18% blend of Hydrogen with CNG.

Must Read: About Hydrogen Fuel

What is HCNG?

HCNG stands for Hydrogen-enriched Compressed Natural Gas. HCNG is produced by blending hydrogen with CNG. 

It can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel/LPG and its combustion produce fewer undesirable gases in comparison to normal automobile fuel.

What are the benefits of HCNG? The most important benefit of HCNG are:

– It emits 70% less carbon monoxide

– reduces total hydrocarbons emissions by around 15% 

– increases fuel efficiency by 3-4%

– The power output of HCNG is better than CNG

– HCNG is easier and safer to use than hydrogen as it contains very low energy content from hydrogen, i.e., up to 30% by volume.

What are the concerns associated with HCNG?

The physical blending of CNG and hydrogen involves a series of energy-intensive steps that would make H-CNG more expensive than CNG.

Need a change in the structural aspects of the engine and creation of new infrastructure for preparing HCNG.

Determining the most optimised H2/ NG (Natural Gas) ratio.


More women got maternity benefit

Source: This post is based on the article More women got maternity benefitpublished in The Hindu on 10th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

The number of beneficiaries who enrolled for the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) has exceeded the government’s target of 51.7 lakh per year in each of the last three years.

What is Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry for Women and Child Development

Purpose: It provides a benefit of ₹5,000 in three instalments to a woman for her first living child upon meeting certain conditions. This is meant as partial compensation for loss of wage during her pregnancy so that she can get proper nutrition. 

The scheme is only for those women who are not employed by the Central or State governments or a Public Sector Undertaking and don’t receive similar benefits under any law. 

The scheme is clubbed with the Janani Suraksha Yojana scheme which provides nearly ₹1,000 for institutional births so that altogether mothers get ₹6,000 in maternity benefit.

Why has the scheme been criticized?

The scheme has been criticized for under-funding and failing to cater to all targeted beneficiaries. 

Activists also call the scheme illegal as it violates the National Food Security Act, 2013, under which all mothers and not just mothers of the first living child should get a maternity benefit of ₹6,000.


Over 40% of teaching posts in IITs are vacant: govt.

Source:  This post is based on the article Over 40% of teaching posts in IITs are vacant: govtpublished in The Hindu on 9th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

According to data provided by the Ministry of Education, Over 40% of teaching posts in all 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are vacant.

What are the key highlights from the data on vacancies in IIT?

Faculty from Reserved Categories

Only 12% of the teaching staff are from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). 

Note: As per the reservation policies, the SCs, STs, OBCs, and EWS should be provided with a reservation of 7.5%, 15%, 27% and 10% respectively. This would mean that ideally at least 59.5% of the faculty must be from reserved categories.

Vacancies Institutions wise

IIT Dhanbad had 57.2% of posts vacant, followed by 53.4% in IIT Kharagpur. 

IIT Delhi was the exception, with just 9.4% of the posts vacant. However, it had one of the lowest representations of faculty from reserved groups (6.5%). IIT Bombay had the poorest representation from reserved categories with just 3.8%.

How is the Government filling the vacancies in reserved categories?

The government is filling the vacancies in a mission mode under the reserved categories. However, recruitment has already come under criticism as the problems posed by the flexible cadre structure in IITs have not been addressed.

As per the flexible cadre structure, the sanctioned faculty strength is not fixed at each category, viz. assistant professors, associate professors and professors but only at the overall level.

Mains Answer Writing

Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

Source: The post is based on an article “Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management Relevance: Indonesia’s football stampede and concerns associated with it News: The crowd at Indonesia’s Kanjuruhan stadium ran onto the pitch after their team lost. This led… Continue reading Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

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FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

Source– The post is based on the article “FABS: The East Asian lesson for India” published in the mint on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance– Semiconductor manufacturing News– The article explains the experience of East Asian countries in promoting semiconductor manufacturing. Recently the central government has announced some changes in the production-linked incentive… Continue reading FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

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Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

Source: The post is based on the article “Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – Functioning of Judiciary Relevance: benefits of live-streaming of SC hearing. News:  The Supreme Court has allowed the live streaming of the hearing of cases from 27th September 2022.… Continue reading Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

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There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

Source– The post is based on the article “There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Polity Relevance– Political parties in India News– The article explains the procedure for allotting symbols in case of conflict between two rival… Continue reading There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

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As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

Source– The post is based on the article “As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– India multilateral engagement News– The article explains the lessons India can learn from Indonesia on economic engagement. These will… Continue reading As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

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Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

Source: The post is based on an article “Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts” published in The Times of India on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 – Art and Architecture Relevance: concerns associated with repatriation artefacts in India News:  There has been a demand to return the Kohinoor diamond to India after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.… Continue reading Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

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The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

Source: The post is based on an article “The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 News:  The article discusses the change in the views of Gandhiji after returning to India from South Africa. Gandhi was greatly influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and John Ruskin.He adopted… Continue reading The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

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India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test” published in the Business Standard on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. Relevance: Russian war and India’s stand. News: Recently, India abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning… Continue reading India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

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Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

Source: The post is based on the article “Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. About SASTRA… Continue reading Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

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MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

Source: The post is based on the article “MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The government is now planning to bring convergence between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi… Continue reading MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

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