9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 7th, 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
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Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

India’s ‘return’ to Central Asia

Syllabus – GS Paper 2 – International relations  

Source: This post is created based on the article “India’s ‘return’ to Central Asia” of The Hindu, published on 7th Feb. 2022.  

News: Recent development depicts India is giving due importance to the Central Asia  

In the past four months, 1st India-Central Asia Summit, the India-Central Asia Dialogue, and the Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan have been orgnanised.  

India’s Central Asia mission reflects response to the new geopolitical realities in the region.  

What are the factors behind increasing India Central Asia relations? 

Decline of US presence 

US withdrawal from Afghanistan led to the reassertion by China and Russia to fill the vacuum in the region. While China is a geo-economic power, Russia dominates through its politico-military power in the region. In the end geo-economic force i.e. China, will dominate the region. 

Thus, Russia will seek India’s help to handle the increasing Chinese influence in its backyard and India will find Russia useful in getting out of nutcracker situation i.e. a possible China-Pakistan- Taliban nexus. 

Entry in Afghanistan 

Unlike previous regimes in Afghanistan, Taliban is not friendly towards India, thus Central Asian Region (CAR) and Russia will be helpful in engagement with Taliban. For instance, Tajikistan holds immense geopolitical significance for India due to its location bordering Afghanistan and close geographical proximity to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  

How Russia can be helpful for India in ensuring regional stability? 

India’s non-critical stance on the developments in Ukraine and Kazakhstan and President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi are indicators of growing India-Russia relations.  

First, Russia is a traditional and trustworthy partner of India.  

Second, Russia is close to China, CAR and becoming close to Pakistan. Thus India can work on creating rift between and China and Russia and get closer to CAR by engaging with Russia.  

Third, Both India and the CARs use Russian defence equipment. Informal discussions explored the possibility of joint Indo-Russian defence production in some of the existing Soviet-era defence facilities in the CARs to meet local and Indian demands.  

Fourth, discussions are also taking place for potential trilateral defence exercises among India, Russia and the CARs.  

What are challenges in front of India –Central Asia relations? 

First, China shares a land border with the region and it is also a major investor there.  

Second, Iran is the only viable option for India to reach CAR countries i.e. via sea to Chabahar and then by road/rail through Iran (and Afghanistan) to the CARs. However, India-Iran relations will depend upon the result of Iran nuclear deal. If it is successful, Iran will come closer to western countries and away from China.  


A new form of untouchability

Syllabus – GS Paper 2 – Polity and constitution – Fundamental rights 

Source: This post is based on the articles “A new form of untouchability” of The Hindu, Published on 7th Feb. 2022.  

News: Lately, a video appeared online, in which people in a religious assembly were taking oath of an economic boycott of a minority religious section.  

Constitutional protection against economic boycott 

Limits of the scope of untouchability under article 17 has been contested from the beginning. In the Constituent assembly, it was argued that the scope of untouchability should be restricted to practices related to religion and caste, however it voted against such restrictive definition. While the conservatives restrict it to caste-based discrimination, the progressives argue that it includes other forms of untouchability as well. 

However, there is consensus that only those acts which are motivated by the ideology of purity and pollution are considered within the ambit of untouchability. These include social and economic boycotts. 

Issues associated with untouchability laws  

Mere provision to protect rights have been insufficient to prevent marginalisation due to the untouchability practice.  

For instance, 2 laws i.e. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, explicitly make social and economic boycotts punishable. But, the scope of both is restricted to criminalising caste-based discrimination and boycotts. 

Thus, limiting scope of anti-boycott or untouchability laws to the tenets of purity and pollution and caste-centric boycotts makes them ineffective to counter the calls of economic boycott.  


Social justice opportunities are too unevenly spread across India

Source: This post is based on the article “Social justice opportunities are too unevenly spread across India” published in Livemint on 7th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population

Relevance: Issues with reservation in India

News:  Recently the Supreme Court has upheld reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in medical seats for the All-India Quota (AIQ).

What is the case?

 Read here: https://blog.forumias.com/9-pm-daily-current-affairs-brief-february-5th-2022/#gs11

How does one’s domicile influences access to social justice when it comes to medical seats?

First, 85% of the seats for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees are reserved for candidates from within the state itself and the rest of the seats are listed under the All-India Quota (AIQ).

Hence, the access to medical seats for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), or OBC candidates is primarily dependent on the number of seats available within their own state.

Second, there are state-level differences that cause a disproportionate distribution of benefits.

For instance, in Bihar, the number of seats per million of the population is only 20.8. West Bengal has 42.1 and Tamil Nadu has 135.2 seats per million of its population. Thus, a resident of Tamil Nadu has a clear structural advantage over any resident of West Bengal and Bihar.

Three, reservation criterion also matters a lot. For instance, 97.2% of Tamil Nadu’s population is categorized as OBC, SC, or ST and it has reserved 69% of its MBBS seats for them. In Bihar, the total proportion of the OBC, SC, and ST population is nearly 79.8%, and it has reserved half its MBBS seats for them.

Whereas Bihar has 11.1 seats reserved for every million of the reservation-beneficiary group, West Bengal has 42.4, whereas Tamil Nadu has 81.6. Hence, from the perspective of social justice, an OBC/SC/ST in Bihar is more than seven times worse off as compared to an OBC/SC/ST in Tamil Nadu.

What is the way forward?

First, the introduction of OBC reservations in the 15% All India Quota needs scrutiny to understand the state-level differences. If OBC candidates from different states are competing against one another, it may mean that an OBC from Tamil Nadu who is in the 97th percentile in that state would be competing against a 38th percentile OBC from West Bengal.

Second, the problem of one-sided benefits of reservations has been noted by Rohini Commission report with respect to caste. This one-sided benefit should also consider the dimension of ‘geography’. OBC quota should be normalized for state-level differences to reduce structural inequalities between states.

Three, there is a need to create a data-oriented framework to ensure equality of opportunity.


Weighing in on a health data retention plan

Source: This post is based on the article “Weighing in on a health data retention plan” published in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors

Relevance: Need for a robust policy to collect health data

News:  Recently, the National Health Authority (NHA) has initiated a consultation process on the retention of health data by healthcare providers in India. NHA administers the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

Why a privacy-centric policy is needed for health data retention plan?

One, health care access is not in good shape in India. Thus, many patients may not think about data factors while choosing healthcare providers in practice.

Two, the SC of India has declared that privacy is a fundamental right and any interference into the right must pass a four-part test: legality; legitimate aim; proportionality, and appropriate safeguards. The mandatory retention of health data is a form of interference with the right to privacy.

Three, NHA is not a sector-wide regulator. Hence, it has no legal basis for formulating guidelines for healthcare providers in general.

Four, the consultation paper has suggested a classification system to retain data. But it exposes individuals to harms arising from over-collection and retention of unnecessary data. Also, a one-size-fits-all approach can also lead to the under-retention of data that is required for research or public policy needs.

Hence, data should be classified based on its use. Health data that is not required for an identified purpose should be anonymized or deleted.

Five, there is a need to balance the benefits and risks involved with health data retention. Health data provides greater convenience, choice, promotes research and innovation. But globally, health data are considered sensitive and improper disclosure can cause significant harm.

Six, according to Indian law, if an individual’s rights are to be curtailed due to anticipated benefits, then those benefits must be clearly defined and identifiable.

What are the challenges associated with health data retention?

First, there are issues with the informed consent of the individual. In India, patients rely on the expertise and advice of doctors. Hence, the idea of informed consent is difficult to apply.

Also, if consent is made necessary for accessing state-provided services, then many people will agree because they do not have any other way to access that care.

Second, the standards for anonymization and methods of anonymization are still developing. Also, anonymization is not the least intrusive solution to safeguarding patients’ rights in all scenarios.

What is the way forward?

First, efforts must be made to minimize the extent of data collected, and it should be stored only for the required amount of time so that the likelihood of any breach can be prohibited.

Second, a use-based classification process will bring the ABDM ecosystem in compliance with the data protection bill which has proposed limitations for collecting, processing, sharing, or retaining data.

Three, the test for retaining data should be clear, and a rigorous process should be followed under the suitable authority.

Four, data should be anonymized if collected for research purposes, unless a specific case is made for keeping personally identifiable information. If neither of these safeguards is applicable, then the data should be deleted.


The interpretative answer to the hijab row

Source: This post is based on the article “The interpretative answer to the hijab row” published in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Indian Constitution

Relevance: Religious freedom, Essential religious practice

News:  Recently, six students were banned from entering a college in Karnataka’s Udupi district for wearing a hijab.

Read more here: https://blog.forumias.com/9-pm-daily-current-affairs-brief-february-5th-2022/#f4

What is the implication of the essential religious practices test?

It assured traditionalists that the Court would be sympathetic to their respective religious faiths. But on the other hand, it also supported state-sponsored reform and gave the power to the judiciary to determine religious practice and belief.

However, there is difficulty in front of the court in determining essential practice. For instance, in Sabarimala case, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has said that it is not an easy task because scriptures and customs have numerous complexity which merges into superstition and dogma.

For instance, in case of hijab, according to an observant Muslim woman, verses from the Koran mandate her to keep her head covered.

What is the current issue of hijab?

One, there is no one uniform code that is mandated throughout the State. But still, the State is interfering in deciding uniforms for all college students throughout the State of Karnataka.

Two, it raises legal questions. For instance, whether covering head mandated by some religions violates any legal tenet or whether the ban on female hijab will be applied to turban worn by a male Sikh, or whether the State can deny education to those who are violating a uniform code etc.

Three, there is also an issue of competing rights. For example, the issue between article 25 and article 26 was raised in Sri Venkataramana Devaru vs State of Mysore. In this case, the court was examining whether the bar on a person from entering into a temple for worship is a matter of religion according to Hindu ceremonial law. The court had said that competing rights should be harmonized in a way that both were given effect to.

What is the way forward?

First, the court should pay attention to Justice R.F. Nariman’s dictum in the Sabarimala review which says, that the “holy book” of India is the Constitution of India.

Second, in the hijab case, the courts should protect an essential religious practice in a manner that is consistent with imparting education in an orderly fashion

GS Paper 3


Our broken system of clearances

Source: This post is based on the article “Our broken system of clearances” published in Business Standard on 7th Feb 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Environmental Impact Assessment

Relevance: Issues with Environmental Impact Assessment

News:  Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has said that it will rank the state environmental impact assessment authorities based on the speed at which environmental approvals are given.

What is the issue with such ranking?

Read Here

How the EIA process of assessment has been systematically destroyed over the years?

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) started in 1994. The development projects were few at that time and the process remained unchallenged. During the 2000s, building projects due to their huge environmental footprints were also included in the system of scrutiny.

But the problem was that the system was not upgraded to handle the huge volume of “building” projects, which led to delays, high transaction costs, and corruption.

That’s why in 2006, the ministry decentralized the process and outsourced the work to states by setting up the state environmental impact assessment authorities. Different Categories were created, but there were overlaps and discretion. Hence, the quality of scrutiny did not improve.

What is the issues with EIA exercise?

First, the project proposer pays the consultants to do the EIA.

The terms of reference (ToR) are approved by the Central or state environmental impact assessment authority. Category A projects come to the Centre and Category B projects go to the state. Then, the state authority decides if it is B1 (projects requiring detailed assessments) or B2 (that do not require detailed assessments).

The committee can approve the ToR, ask for more information, or reject it. The draft EIA is then put out for public consultation. A detailed process is in place for holding the public hearing. Then, the appraisal committee has to scrutinize the draft, ask for more information and accept it with conditions or reject it.

Why EIA has become a useless exercise?

One, projects are rarely rejected. Between July 2015 and August 2020, out of the 3,100 projects submitted, only 3 per cent were not recommended.

Also, these projects proposers can come again with more information. The committees “clear” the project, and to protect themselves they put some conditions that are never monitored.

Two, the committees are not held responsible for the quality of decisions after clearance. The monitoring is left to the understaffed regional offices of the ministry.

Three, state pollution control boards are not empowered to monitor impacts because clearance is done under the Environmental Protection Act and not under the laws governing air or water. Hence, there is duplication and lack of scrutiny.


How to create a better power distribution Network

Source-This post is based on the article “How to create a better power distribution Network” published in Indian Express on 7th Feb 2022.      

Syllabus-GS3- Infrastructure: Energy. 

Relevance– To understand the ways to improve Discoms and Power sector. 

News: The Government in July 2021 launched Revamped Distribution Sector Reform Scheme (RDSS). This is the latest of many central government grant-based programmes towards electricity distribution network investments. This has been introduced to increase access and improve performance in the electricity distribution sector.   

What is the Revamped Distribution Sector Reform Scheme (RDSS) scheme? 

The scheme will support financially-strained electricity distribution companies. The scheme includes provision for better feeder and transformer metering and pre-paid smart consumer metering, power loss reduction and strengthening networks.  

What are some limitations still present in the scheme? 

It has complex processes and conditions for fund disbursal. Many schemes of the past have had similar problems. 

The scheme also suffers from a Lack of public review and regulatory oversight in states. 

RDSS emphasises loss reduction investments over system strengthening. However, high losses are typically connected to sustained poor quality service which, in turn, is affected by inadequate investment in system strengthening.   

There is alsoneed for evaluating whether measures suggested in the scheme such as privatisation and franchisee adoption are suitable or not. 

Despite these limitations, the Scheme can bring a lot of positive changes for India’s power sector. 

Must read: DISCOM sector in India: Challenges & solutions – Explained, pointwise
How to effectively implement the RDSS to strengthen the Indian power distribution sector? 

Strengthen rural networks – Actual investments in the rural sector have been much less than planned. Also, connections given to rural homes were optimal for lower electricity consumption like for operating few lights, fan and TV.

This does not account for use of appliances such as refrigerators, heaters, etc. Without incorporating this, the risk of power outages is high. This can be fixed through the RDSS system’s strengthening plans. 

Separate feeders for agricultural consumers – Farmers currently receive highly subsidised, but erratic and poor-quality power supply.  

This can be addressed by leveraging the KUSUM scheme’s day-time, low-cost supply. The KUSUM Scheme benefits can be provided to a large number of farmers by installing large megawatt-scale solar plants. Under this, there is a supply of eight hours of quality power directly to dedicated agricultural feeders. This would address farmers’ demand for reliable supply and almost half of the discom’s cost and subsidy requirements. 

Must read: Revitalising PM-KUSUM

Automatic metering of distribution feeders – This will help in accurate energy accounting and loss monitoring. All feeders must be equipped with meters capable of communicating readings without manual intervention. States should leverage RDSS’s emphasis on automatic meter reading for this.  

RDSS prescribes a phase-wise roll-out of consumer smart meters, starting with commercial and industrial consumers and urban areas. This approach will provide states with an opportunity to understand implementation issues, adopt suitable strategies for metering and evolve frameworks for assessing benefits vis-a-vis the costs. 

Electrical vehicles – Grants under RDSS can be used to address the demand for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. This can accelerate a shift away from petrol and diesel fuels. 


About Green clearances: The missing green

Source-This post is based on the article “The missing green” published in Indian Express on 7th Feb 2022.      

Syllabus-GS3- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. 

Relevance– To know the reasons behind ineffective Green clearances to infrastructure projects. 

News: For many years, many environmentalists have raised the apprehension that a large number of infrastructure projects in the country are implemented without mandatory due diligence. They often complain of irregularities in green clearances. There have also been reports that mega initiatives proposed in the country in the last 15 years have failed to fulfil their green commitments. 

Must read: Environmental Impact Assessment and the Star Rating System – Explained, pointwise

What are the reasons for ineffective environmental protection in the country? 

The Public hearing requirement in the Environmental Impact Assessment notification was diluted. 

There is an absence of an effective mechanism to ensure environmental compliance. This is due to reasons like lack of manpower in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, state pollution control boards and environmental tribunals. 

Governments at the Centre and states have been relying on procedures such as post-facto clearances instead of strengthening the monitoring mechanism. This is despite the supreme court in 2020 calling the practice of allowing project developers to report a violation retrospectively as “a derogation of the fundamental principle of environmental jurisprudence”.  

Read more: Centre to rank states on faster green nods, fewer details sought
What is the way forward? 

Sites of developmental projects are often located in ecologically fragile zones. As India strives to grow into a $5-trillion economy, which will involve rapid infrastructural development, the government needs to ensure that such prosperity doesn’t come at the cost of the environment. 

This can be done by providing autonomy to institutions mandated to protect the environment. As green clearance will require a strong foundation of strong checks and balances.  


5g technology: Fixing frequencies first

Source-This post is based on the article “Fixing frequencies first” published in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022.      

Syllabus-GS3- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.  

Relevance– To understand the challenges in implementing 5g technology in India. 

News: In the recent budget, the Finance Minister announced that the Government proposes to conduct the “required spectrum auctions” in 2022 to facilitate the roll-out of 5G mobile phone services in fiscal 2022-23. 

The government has been keen on implementing this technology due to its ability to serve as an enabler of economic growth and job creation. 

What is 5G technology? 
Must Read: What is 5G in telecom, and how will this tech work in India
What are the possible challenges that can arise in 5G implementation? 

The government needs to come up with more information on the issues like particular frequencies that it is likely to recommend, its plans on pricing the spectrum, and most crucially, the very viability of the new technology.  

The Telecom sector is currently financially stressed, and thus the sector’s appetite for the highly capital intensive 5G technology is unlikely to be substantial at the moment. 

Even most countries that are more developed than India have commercialised 5G, deploying it as an upgraded replacement for 4G in terms of end-use. They still don’t have the industrial and public utility applications that India is targeting. 

Read more: 5G technology in India – importance, challenges and solutions
What is the way forward? 

For the new technology to work at its optimum potential, the Government would need to not only offer the key operational frequencies but also crucially enable the transport or backhaul of signals between the base stations. 

Government should also focus on expanding the reach of existing mobile networks so that cost to benefit ratio for 5G deployment is positive. 

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Black Percher: Rare insect sighted in Seshachalam

Source: This post is based on the article “Rare insect sighted in Seshachalampublished in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

Black Percher was sighted for the first time in the Seshachalam Hill ranges recently.

What is Black Percher?

Black percher or black ground skimmer (Diplacodes lefebvrii) is a species of dragonfly.

It belongs to the phylum arthropoda, class insecta and order odonata.

Range: It is a very widespread and common species in Africa and southern Eurasia.

In India, it has been sighted in forest locations of Karnataka and coastal Andhra Pradesh. But this appears to be its maiden appearance in the Seshachalam ranges. 

Habitat: It is recorded from almost all kinds of well-vegetated freshwater habitats, including seasonal. It is also known to move near forest streams.

IUCN Status: Least Concern


Centre plans to tweak no-build zone around monument

Source: This post is based on the article Centre plans to tweak no-build zone around monumentpublished in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Culture is working on amendments to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958. 

What is the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958?

AMASR Act provides for the preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance. 

It also provides for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for the protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects. 

The Act was amended in 2010 to declare the 100-metre radius of protected monuments as prohibited areas and the next 300-metre radius as regulated areas. However, this amendment was brought about without any inputs from the Archaeological Survey of India.

Read more: The Chalcolithic cultures of Central India are adequately investigated and studied: Shri G.Kishan Reddy

What are the amendments proposed in the AMASR Act?

Firstly, it proposes to change Section 20A of the Act, which refers to the prohibited area. This amendment would rationalise the prohibited and regulated areas. An Expert Committee would decide the prohibited area around a particular monument, which could be as wide as 500 metres for some sites like the Taj Mahal.

Secondly, it aims to enable the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) to act against encroachment by holding the relevant authorities liable in case of illegal buildings at a protected site. This would be similar to the enforcement powers under the Indian Forest Act.


Surety bonds: Slow take-off likely as pricing, reinsurance concerns remain

Source: This post is based on the article “Surety bonds: Slow take-off likely as pricing, reinsurance concerns remain” published in Indian Express on 5th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

In Budget 2022-23, the government has allowed the use of surety insurance bonds as a substitute for bank guarantees in case of government procurement and also for gold imports.

What are Surety Bonds?

A surety bond is a legally binding contract entered into by three parties—the principal, the obligee and the surety.

The obligee, usually a government entity, requires the principal, typically a business owner or contractor, to obtain a surety bond as a guarantee against future work performance.

What is the aim of Surety Bonds?

Surety bonds are mainly aimed at infrastructure development mainly to reduce indirect costs for suppliers and work contractors, thereby diversifying their options and acting as a substitute for bank guarantees.

These bonds are provided by the insurance company on behalf of the contractor to the entity which is awarding the project. When a principal breaks a bond’s terms, the harmed party can make a claim on the bond to recover losses. 

Hence, it can effectively replace the system of bank guarantees issued by banks for projects and help reduce risks due to cost overrun, project delays and poor contract performance.

What are the issues with the decisions taken in the Budget on Surety Bonds?

Firstly, the surety bond is a risky concept and insurance companies in India are yet to achieve expertise in risk assessment in such business.

Secondly, there’s no clarity on surety bonds pricing, the recourse available against defaulting contractors and reinsurance options. These are critical and may impede the creation of surety-related expertise.


PM dedicates to the nation 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality’ commemorating Sri Ramanujacharya

Source: This post is based on the article PM dedicates to the nation 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality’ commemorating Sri Ramanujacharya published in PIB on 7th Feb 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the Statue of Equality in Hyderabad. The statue commemorates the 11th-century Bhakti Saint Sri Ramanujacharya.

Who was Ramanujacharya?

Ramanujacharya was a Vedic philosopher and social reformer. He is the founder of Bhakti Marg. He is also considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.

He appealed for the protection of nature and its resources like air, water, and soil.

Read more: The nature Of the Bhakti literature and its contribution to Indian culture.

He is also credited with establishing the correct procedures for rituals performed in temples throughout India, the most famous being Tirumala and Srirangam.

He encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them.

He propagated the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”.

He spoke of universal salvation through devotion to God, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect which is known as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya.

Click Here to read more 


Basai Wetlands: An oasis in the heart of a concrete jungle

Source: This post is based on the article Basai Wetlands: An oasis in the heart of a concrete junglepublished in The Hindu on 7th Feb 2022

What is the news?

The Basai Wetlands has shrunk to a quarter of its original size over the years.

Where is Basai Wetland?

Basai Wetland is located in Gurgaon, Haryana.

The wetland lies in one of the paleochannel of the Sahibi River, a tributary of Yamuna which originates from the Aravalli range in Rajasthan and flows through west and South Haryana into Delhi where it is also known as the Najafgarh drain. 

It houses 20,000 birds of over 280 species including migratory birds and endangered birds.

It is recognised as a key biodiversity area by the IUCN and the Wildlife Institute of India

It is also recognized globally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.

However, it has not yet been declared a protected wetland by the Government of Haryana.

What are the threats faced by Basai Wetland?

Due to the accelerated expansion of Gurugram, the wetland continues to disappear under newly laid roads, modern housing constructions and other infrastructure development.

Moreover, an upcoming expressway cutting through the terrain of the wetland has majorly impacted the flyway of thousands of migratory birds from Europe and Central Asia.


Global analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19

Source: This post is based on the articleGlobal analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19published in WHO on 7th Feb 2022

What is the news?

The World Health Organisation(WHO) has released a report titled “Global analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19”.

What is the purpose of the report?

The report quantifies the additional COVID-19 healthcare waste generated, describes current healthcare waste management systems and solutions to reduce the impact of waste on human and environmental health.

What are the key findings of the report?

Waste Generated: Over 140 million test kits with a potential to generate 2,600 tonnes of non-infectious waste and 731,000 litres of chemical waste have been shipped. Moreover, over 8 billion doses of vaccine have been administered globally, producing 144,000 tonnes of additional waste in the form of syringes, needles and safety boxes.

Healthcare waste Management: Currently, 30% of healthcare facilities (60% in the least developed countries) are not equipped to handle existing health care waste loads, let alone the additional COVID-19 load. 

This potentially exposes health workers to needle stick injuries, burns and pathogenic microorganisms, while also impacting communities living near poorly managed landfills and waste disposal sites.

Note: Healthcare sector is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 4–5% of total emissions globally.

What are the recommendations given by the report?

Recommendations include using a) eco-friendly packaging and shipping b) safe and reusable PPE (e.g., gloves and medical masks) c) recyclable or biodegradable materials d) investment in non-burn waste treatment technologies such as autoclaves e) reverse logistics to support centralised treatment and f) investments in the recycling sector to ensure materials, like plastics, can have a second life.


Govt approved Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP)

Source: This post is based on the article “Govt approved Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP)” published in PIB on 7th Feb 2022

What is the news?

The government has approved the continuation of the Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP) from 2021-22 till March 2026.

What is the Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP)?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Aim: To develop infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, employment generation and increase in production.

Sub-Schemes under the Programme: The sub-schemes include: 1) sustainable technology and environmental promotion 2)  integrated development of leather sector(IDLS) 3) establishment of institutional facilities 4) Mega Leather Footwear and Accessories Cluster Development 5) brand promotion and development of design studios. 

Significance: The programme has a direct benefit towards quality employment generation especially for women, skill development, decent work, making the industry more environment friendly and prompting a sustainable production system. 


Explained: Chauri Chaura incident that led Mahatma Gandhi to halt the Non-cooperation movement

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Chauri Chaura incident that led Mahatma Gandhi to halt the Non-cooperation movement” published in AIR on 5th Feb 2022

What is the news?

The Prime Minister inaugurated the Chauri Chaura Centenary Celebrations and released a postage stamp to mark the completion of the hundred years of Chauri Chaura incident.

What is the Chauri Chaura Incident?

The Chauri Chaura incident occurred on 4th Feb,1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province, (modern Uttar Pradesh) in British India.

During this incident, a large group of protesters, participating in the Non-cooperation movement, clashed with police, who opened fire.

In retaliation, the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.

What was Mahatma Gandhi’s response to the Chauri Chaura Incident?

Mahatma Gandhi condemned the incident. He set up a Chauri Chaura Support Fund to demonstrate “genuine sympathy” and seek atonement.

He also decided to stop the Non-Cooperation Movement, which he saw as having been tainted by unforgivable violence.

Furthermore, he justified these actions on grounds of his unshakeable faith in non-violence.

What was the reaction of other leaders to suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement?

Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders like Motilal Nehru, C R Das and Subhas Bose recorded their disappointment with Gandhi’s decision.

C.R.Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party within the Congress to argue for a return to council politics. 

Moreover, the  disillusionment resulting from the suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement nudged many of the younger Indian nationalists towards the conclusion that India would not be able to throw off colonial rule through non-violence.

It was from the ranks of these impatient patriots that some of India’s most of the revolutionaries came into picture like Jogesh Chatterjee, Ramprasad Bismil, Sachin Sanyal, Ashfaqulla Khan, Jatin Das, Bhagat Singh and many others.


First of its kind Fly-off event to demonstrate use of UAVs/Drones for transport of Lakadong Turmeric happens in West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya

Source: This post is based on the article First of its kind Fly-off event to demonstrate use of UAVs/Drones for transport of Lakadong Turmeric happens in West Jaintia Hills, Meghalayapublished in PIB on 7th Feb 2022

What is the News?

In a first of its kind, drones were used for the transportation of Lakadong turmeric from Meghalaya to other parts of the country with an aim to resolve first-mile connectivity issues of farmers from the hinterland.

What is Lakadong Turmeric?

Lakadong turmeric has been identified under the One District, One Product(ODOP) Initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

It has been identified as a product with huge potential for growth and export from West Jaintia Hills, a district of Meghalaya.

This turmeric has the highest curcumin content of 7-9% (in comparison to 3% or less in other varieties).

Meghalaya has also applied for a Geographical Indication tag for Lakadong turmeric.

What are the issues faced by Lakadong turmeric in transportation?

Lakadong turmeric faces severe market access issues due to the remoteness of the location, topography and terrain. Due to this, buyers have to incur additional costs to transport the goods.

Hence, the ODOP has partnered with AGNIi Mission to identify Indian innovative technologies such as drones that can play a transformative role in the end-to-end processing of Lakadong Turmeric.

Note: India is the largest producer and exporter of turmeric. India produces 78% of the world’s turmeric.

Mains Answer Writing

[Questions] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I August 12th, 2022

Good Morning Friends, Following are today’s Mains Marathon Questions. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2-3 questions based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam. Write your answers in… Continue reading [Questions] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I August 12th, 2022

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – August 12, 2022

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers several newspapers such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, etc. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – August 12, 2022

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Audio Visual Co-production Treaty: India, Australia to sign film treaty

Source: The post is based on the article “India, Australia to sign film treaty” published in The Hindu on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of an Audio Visual Co-production Treaty between India and Australia which is aimed at facilitating joint production of films between the two… Continue reading Audio Visual Co-production Treaty: India, Australia to sign film treaty

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Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launches “SMILE-75 Initiative”

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launches SMILE-75 Initiative” published in PIB on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has launched the “SMILE-75 Initiative”. What is the SMILE-75 Initiative? Launched by: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment under… Continue reading Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launches “SMILE-75 Initiative”

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Union Minister shares India’s roadmap for climate protection

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister shares India’s roadmap for climate protection” published in PIB on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Minister has inaugurated the International Conference on “Systems Analysis for Enabling Integrated Policy Making”. About Conference on “Systems Analysis for Enabling Integrated Policy Making” Organized by: … Continue reading Union Minister shares India’s roadmap for climate protection

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Big relief for livestock, Agriculture Minister launches indigenous vaccine for Lumpy Skin disease

Source: The post is based on the article “Big relief for livestock, Agriculture Minister launches indigenous vaccine for Lumpy Skin disease” published in PIB on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched the indigenous vaccine Lumpi-ProVac to protect livestock from Lumpy Skin disease. What is… Continue reading Big relief for livestock, Agriculture Minister launches indigenous vaccine for Lumpy Skin disease

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Cabinet approves ratification of the eleventh Additional protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union

Source: The post is based on the article “Cabinet approves ratification of the eleventh Additional protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union” published in PIB on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the ratification of amendments to the Constitution of the Universal… Continue reading Cabinet approves ratification of the eleventh Additional protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union

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The grammar of VIP security

Source: The post is based on the article “The grammar of VIP security” published in The Hindu on 11th August 2022. What is the News? There are huge similarities between the assassinations of Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Rajiv Gandhi such as both were killed during an election campaign. However, if enough checks are… Continue reading The grammar of VIP security

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Reduction in EMF Emissions

Source: The post is based on the article “Reduction in EMF Emissions” published in PIB on 5th August 2022. What is the News? The Minister of State for Communications has informed Rajya Sabha about the steps taken by the government to reduce Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Emissions. What are Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Emissions? Electromagnetic fields are a combination… Continue reading Reduction in EMF Emissions

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Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India

Source: The post is based on the article “Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India” published in PIB on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Government of India has released an “Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India”.The aim of the plan is to restore the only large carnivore, the Cheetah,… Continue reading Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India

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