9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 18th, 2023

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2


New free foodgrain scheme as an illusion, doublespeak

Source– The post is based on the article “New free foodgrain scheme as an illusion, doublespeak” published in The Hindu on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to poverty and hunger. GS3- Food security

Relevance– Food security Act and related schemes

News– The article explains the recently announced new version of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Under the new avatar of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, NFSA beneficiaries will receive five kilos of free food grains every month in 2023.

What is the difference between the earlier format and the new format of the scheme?

The only difference is that now a family of five can collect 25 kg for free. Earlier, under this scheme, they get 25 kg free under the PMGKAY and 25 kg at ₹3 under the NFSA.

So, a family will now have to purchase the remaining 25 kg from the market at the cheapest possible price of ₹450. It implies an additional expense of ₹375 to their monthly budget.

What are the issues with PMGKAY?

Election angle– The latest scheme seems politically motivated to appeal to voters in nine States that go to polls in 2023.

The Indian political landscape is impacted by ethnic heterogeneity and increasing electoral competition. In this scenario, all political parties prefer to differentiate themselves based on such patronage politics.

More than 20 central government programmes have been named or renamed to credit the ‘Pradhan Mantri’.

Exclusion related issues– The PMGKAY lacks universal coverage. The ration records have not been updated since the 2011 Census. At least 100 million beneficiaries, especially children born in the last decade, are missing from ration.

As per estimates, more than 40% of India’s population is currently excluded from both the NFSA and PMGKAY.

The most marginalised castes and communities, especially migrants, sex workers, the homeless and transgender persons are often without NFSA ration cards.

Undermining MGNREGA

The scheme is being systematically undermined by acute Budget cuts, delayed payments and technological hurdles. In the period 2022-23, only 57 million households received NREGA work unlike 73 million last year.


The illogical rejection of the idea of South Asia

Source– The post is based on the article “The illogical rejection of the idea of South Asia” published in The Hindu on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- India and its neighbourhood- Relations

Relevance– Regional cooperation in South Asia

News- The article explains the challenges and obstacles for regional cooperation in South Asia. It suggests the solution for boosting regional cooperation in the region.

What are the main points of a recent World Bank study on air pollution in South Asia?

It concludes that about two million people die prematurely in South Asia each year. Particulate measure concentrations put nine South Asian cities among the world’s top 10 worst affected by air pollution.

In Bhutan, the average PM2.5 concentration from 2018-2020 was three times World Health Organization-prescribed limits.

The solution to the problems of air pollution lies in a “whole of region” approach. South Asian countries should begin talks between scientists, officials and leaders to create a mechanism for the cooperative management of air pollution.

What are the challenges faced by the South Asian region?

Climate change crisis led to floods in Pakistan. The Ukraine war has increased the cost of procuring energy, grain, fertilisers.

There are chances of persistent global economic recession. South Asia is facing threats from variants of the COVID-19 virus, terrorism, especially arising from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

The Region has failed to build a regional defence to the issues arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and NATO sanctions, trade ban and weapons stockpiling. South Asia has missed the chance to build an energy “cartel” that can command a better price for the region.

Bangladesh, Pakistan and India buy more than 50% of their liquefied natural gas through the spot market. It is an indicator of their vulnerability to global energy trends.

What are the obstacles for regional cooperation in South Asia?

Pakistan has refused talks with India. It has missed out on being part of the South Asia energy grid that is boosting regional connectivity within BBIN grouping.

India and Pakistan continue to hold up the SAARC Summit for nearly a decade. If New Delhi can virtually hold a special meeting for the “Global South”, there is no reason why it cannot convene or participate in a regional dialogue.

They have missed opportunities for regional cooperation in health security. Although, India has worked bilaterally with most of its neighbours to provide COVID-19 medicines.


In light of China-Russia alliance and Ukraine conflict, India and the new Eurasia

Source: The post is based on an article “In light of China-Russia alliance and Ukraine conflict, India and the new Eurasia” published in The Indian Express on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relations

Relevance: changing relations between Asia and Europe

News: The article discusses the changing geopolitical scenario between Asia and Europe.

How is the geo-politics between Asia and Europe changing?

Japan – The PM of Japan is determined to build strong military partnerships with Europe. He has also said that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific is indivisible.

South Korea – it is also joining the party by raising its profile in Europe. For example, it is selling major weapons platforms in Poland.

Australia – It has joined the US and UK in the AUKUS arrangement, and is equally eager to bring Europe into the Indo-Pacific.

Together Japan, South Korea and Australia are bridging the divide between Asia and Europe which was once seen as separate geopolitical areas.

Moreover, the partnership between Asia and Europe has increased by Russia’s war in Ukraine and due to the alliance between Russia and China. Thus, leading to the emergence of a new Eurasia.

How did the ties between Russia and China help in the emergence of new Eurasia?

Putin signed an agreement with China declaring an alliance “without limits” and no “forbidden areas”.

China in the past tried to make an alliance with Europe but was unsuccessful in that. So, it joined Russia by blaming NATO for the crisis in Ukraine.

However, their alliance resulted in strengthening the Western alliance in Europe and emergence of a new kind of Eurasia — an alliance between China’s East Asian neighbours and Russia’s West European neighbours.

Further, the US invited key Asian partners to participate at the NATO summit held in June last year.

The prime ministers of Australia, Japan and New Zealand as well as the president of South Korea joined the summit. This was the first time that Asian leaders joined NATO deliberations.

It is expected that NATO’s engagement with Indo-Pacific issues and East Asia’s engagement with European security will continue to be new features of Eurasian geopolitics.

Moreover, the US is eager to encourage its partners, including India, to build their capabilities and strengthen regional balances of power in Europe and Asia.

How did the alliance between Russia and China impact Japan?

Japan, which has faced a bilateral maritime territorial dispute with China and looking at China’s expansionary policies, changed its security policy.

It has planned to double annual defence spending over the next five years, and build a large missile arsenal to deter China and North Korea.

It also wants to revive its domestic defence industry as well as build military capacities on the Chinese border by exporting arms.

What are the implications for India due to the emergence of new Eurasia?

The emergence of new Eurasia brings challenges for India. Earlier, India had a maritime coalition (the Quad) in the Indo-Pacific and at the same time had continental coalitions led by Russia and China.

However, the conflict between the US, Europe, and Japan on the one hand and China and Russia on the other will bring challenges for India in balancing its relation with these countries.

Further, the alliance between Russia and China will bring more challenges to India towards its security policies.

However, in presence of these events the relation of India with the US. Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia have become stronger.


India’s new proposal for migrant voting

Source: The post is based on an article “India’s new proposal for migrant voting” published in The Hindu on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Electoral Reforms in India

News: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced that it has developed a prototype for a Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM). However, the ECI could not demonstrate a prototype of RVM.

Functioning of Present EVMs

The use of EVMs started in 1992 and it is in use in all Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections since 2000.

The latest version M3 model started manufactured from 2013. From 2017, the use of VVPATs has become universal in elections.

Read more

Concerns associated with EVMs

EVMs autenticity should be machine-independent, or software and hardware independent. It means, that even if the voting machine is tampered, the same should be detectable in an offline audit.

Presently VVPAT is the mechanism to ensure the above. However, it has its own set of problems as per as per Former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan.

VVPAT printout appears behind the VVPAT’s glass for seven seconds. it does not mean they have verified it. Presently, if a voter gets a wrong slip, she/he can test vote in the presence of an election officer. But if the test vote is correct, the voter can be penalised or even prosecuted.

Considering the fact that VVPAT generate voting slips, it has to be refilled with slips, which requires it to be connected to a laptop. It questions the ECI’s claim that the EVM-VVPAT system is not connected to any external device.

Mr. Gopinathan states in his report that a fixed number of votes cast at the beginning of the polls in each polling station to know its proper functioning. But a hack can easily bypass the first few votes, thereby preventing detection of foul play.

Is RVM different to EVM?

The EC states in its concept note that the Multi-Constituency RVM for migrant voting will have the same security system and voting experience as the EVM. Therefore, it will have similar challenges.

Second, the commission repots that RVM can handle multiple constituencies (up to 72) from a single remote polling booth. It will have an Electronic dynamic ballot display instead of fixed ballot paper sheet. This would raise questions about how these new devices communicate with each other.

Third, RVM will present logistical and administrative challenges besides the technichal ones.


Democide, step by step

Source– The post is based on the article “Democide, step by step” published in The Indian Express on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Polity

Relevance– Democracy and its different forms

News– The article explains the challenges and threats to democracy in recent times.

What are challenges before democracy in current times?

Inflation and middle class anxiety is increasing. Breaking party systems, Populism and demagogues are creating threats for democracy. There is increasing bigotry, religious intolerance, and media untruths.

There has been a spate of violent attacks against elected governments. Washington witnessed a well-organised mob assault on the Capitol Hill by thousands of protesters.

In Frankfurt, a 20,000-strong network of far-right extremists known as Reichsbürger, was arrested on suspicions of leading a plot to storm parliament and violently overthrow the elected government.

In Brazil, thousands of pro-Bolsonaro citizens invaded and occupied the Three Powers Square.

What are threats to the destruction of democracy?

Democracy can be destroyed in multiple ways, in different tempos. There’s no single Iron Law for it.

Democracy can perish more gradually through high-level political plots and behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings. The military coup against the elected governments of Egypt, Myanmar, Chad, Mali, Guinea and Sudan during the past decade are examples.

Then there is the populist road to destruction of democracy. It is slower destruction. Populist demagogues take years to win out, to prove that ballots can be used to ruin democracy just as effectively as bullets.

The cases of Hungary and Serbia suggest that around a decade is required for populist governments to have ruinous effects on democratic institutions.

Democracies can perish in still other ways, and even more gradually. Different explanations of destruction of democracy neglect civil society and environmental foundations on which any given democracy rests. Democide can happen through the slow-motion convergence of social deprivation and environmental decay.

The slowest form of democide is the most lethal. It happens when citizens and their chosen representatives become victims of thoughtlessness. It stops them from seeing extreme weather events and other environmental catastrophes that breed power grabs and get people used to emergency rule.

What is true democracy?

Democracy is much more than pressing a button on a ballot paper. It goes beyond the election results, majority rule and lists of minority rights. It can not be reduced to lawful rule through independent courts or attending local public meetings.

Democracy is a whole way of life that has delicate geo-social foundations that can not be ignored.


New rules on online gaming

Source: The post is based on the article “New rules on online gaming” published in Indian Express on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 –

News: Recently, Union Ministry of Electronics and IT released the draft rules for online gaming for public consultation.

About the new rules

Need for new rules?

India’s share of the global online gaming industry is currently just 1 per cent. However, it is expected to rise at a very high pace.

According to industry estimates, in 2020, the worth of India’s online gaming industry was around $1.8 billion. With a 38 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), the industry is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2025.

There are about 400 million online gamers in India and their numbers are expected to grow to 450 million by 2024.

The self-regulatory approach could help attract investments that has, been very subdued due to the variety of conflicting legal positions across states.

What more can be done?

The regulatory approach will have to target the menace of offshore gambling platforms and illicit entities that advertise their products in several media. The onus is on the SROs to ensure a healthy ecosystem for online gaming.

GS Paper 3


Cleaning up FCI’s operations

Source: The post is based on an article “Cleaning up FCI’s operations” published in Business Standard on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Issues Related to Development

Relevance: measures required to bring reforms in Food Corporation of India (FCI). 

News: CBI carried out “Operation Kanak” that revealed the corruption in Food Corporation of India (FCI).

What is the issue with the FCI and what has been the response of the government?

The FIR filed by the CBI reveals that FCI officials charged between Rs 1,000 and Rs 4,000 per truckload from rice millers for accepting substandard grains and extending other favours to them.

The nexus, involving FCI officials, private grain traders, rice millers, and various others, has been revealed through raids.

Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal called it a “wake-up call” and also urged to follow the “zero tolerance policy for corruption” in the FCI.

However, there are views that there might be more corruption involved in the FCI, given its scale of operation. Therefore, there is a need to bring reform in the FCI.

What reforms are required in the functioning of FCI?

There is a need to bring strict vigilance and use of technology in FCI operations and making its functioning fully transparent.

The suggestion given by the food minister in a five-point agenda such as the use of transparency-oriented technology, including CCTV, in the entire chain of operations, from procurement to delivery, can be inculcated.

There is also a need to set up a grievance redress mechanism for those who have to interact directly with FCI functionaries.

However, the urgent need is to carry forward the process of structural and functional reforms suggested by the Shanta Kumar Committee.

One of the recommendations of the committee was the decentralisation of the food management system by giving greater responsibilities to state governments.

Most states now produce enough cereals to meet their requirements. So, they can be asked to procure, store, and distribute these grains on their own with the supervision of the FCI.

This would reduce the workload of the FCI, thereby reducing the scope for corruption.


A case for reassigning GST to States

Source– The post is based on the article “A case for reassigning GST to States” published in The Hindu on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy and mobilisation of resources

Relevance– Issues related to fiscal policy

News- The article explains the fiscal imbalances between centre and states. It explains the need for assigning the entire GST to states.

What are some facts about GST?

The Union and State governments concurrently levy GST on commodities with 50% as Central GST and 50% as State GST. There is an Integrated GST on inter-State trade, so that 50% of it goes to the final destination State.

The GST is a harmonised tax on commodities across the country. Individual States have little power to unilaterally change this tax. The GST Council gives the Union government a veto to thrust its preferences on the States.

What are some statistics and facts about fiscal imbalances between centre and states in recent times?

The simplest empirical measure of vertical fiscal imbalance is the formula- ‘VFI equals one minus the ratio of the State’s own revenue to own expenditure’.

If this VFI ratio is zero, the States have enough own revenue to meet their own expenditure and there is no need for financial transfers.

If we look at the data for all the States over the periods of the last three Finance Commissions, the VFI ratio shows an increasing trend. For the latest period of 2015-16 to 2020-21, the ratio was 0.530. It means that only 47% of the States’ own expenditure was financed by their own revenue in that period.

In this period, four major changes took place. First, the divisible taxes of the Union government expanded from two to all the Union taxes. It enlarged the revenue base to be shared with the States.

Second, fiscal responsibility legislation was implemented to constrain the fiscal deficits of the States. States directly borrow from the market subject to limits imposed by the Union government.

Third, the Union Planning Commission was dissolved. It led to the withdrawal of Plan grants. Fourth, GST was introduced in 2017.

These changes have considerably altered the States’ revenue structure. States have little revenue autonomy and are more dependent on the Union government.

What is the way forward to reduce fiscal imbalances between centre and states?

CGST and the excise duty on petroleum products should be assigned to the states. There is a need to bring all commodities, including petroleum products, under GST.

The Union government should continue to collect IGST only to settle revenue on a destination basis. This will ensure harmonisation of GST across States.

GST shall continue as a tax determined by the GST Council. However, the veto power of the Union government should be removed. This may once again require some constitutional amendments.

Commodity taxation should be moved to State List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, with a rider that harmonisation of commodity taxation should be maintained.

The tax base of the GST, namely consumption, is not equally distributed among the States. It creates horizontal fiscal imbalance among the States. Therefore, the Union government should effect equalisation transfers to address this issue of horizontal fiscal inequality.

What will be the impact of these measures?

The assignment of excise duty on petroleum products to the States will hasten the process of integrating taxes on petroleum products into GST. It will remove the cascading effects of the current excise duty on petroleum products.

The reassignment of tax will increase the tax revenue of the States. This will also improve accountability of the States to their people on fiscal matters.

VFI will come down. All the States’ own expenditure can be financed by their own revenue resources. The need for assigning share in Central taxes and grants in aid does not arise.


Role of private sector in space: India’s rocket dreams ready for a lift-off

Source: The post is based on the article “INDIA’S ROCKET DREAMS READY FOR A LIFT-OFF” published in the Livemint on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Achievements of Indians in science & technology.

Relevance: About the role of the private sector in space.

News: Barring ISRO, no other organization was building satellites (or rockets) in India in 2008. The role of private players has increased manifold since then.

Though India has a long way to go to catch up with the likes of the US, Russia and China, it is an endeavour well begun.

How has the role of the private sector in space increased since then?

-Chennai’s SRM University has built the SRMSat. It was designed to address pollution by monitoring carbon dioxide and water vapour in the atmosphere.

Dhruva Space: The company launched Thybolt-1 and Thybolt-2. Now many foreign entities are in talks with Dhruva Space to build and launch their satellites. It is a part of India’s space odyssey 2.0.

Agnikul Cosmos: It works to capture a small satellite launch market. It is developing rockets fuelled by its patented semi-cryogenic engines and 3-D prints the rockets.

Digantara: The company wants to address the problem of space debris and has developed an in-orbit device that will track it. It also plans to launch a constellation of 40 satellites to gather data on space junk in low-earth orbit (LEO).

Pixxel: The company wants to build a constellation of 24 hyper spectral micro satellites (launched three demo satellites in 2022), which will act as an “MRI scanner” of Earth.

They will monitor deforestation, track air and water pollution, check forest biodiversity, as well as coastal and marine health apart from changes in the urban landscape.

Skyroot Aerospace: Recently, it launched Vikram-S, India’s first private rocket, from Isro’s launch facility at Sriharikota.

Airtel-backed OneWeb is in the process of launching 648 small satellites in LEO mode to provide its high-speed satellite internet service.

Read more: Year-End Review -2022: Department of Space

What led to an increased role of the private sector in space?

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe): It is the regulatory entity facilitating the private sector’s participation in the space industry.

Ever since its operationalization, over 100 companies have come up in this sector and in 2022 they raised as much as $110 million, which is more than what private space players had raised cumulatively till 2021.

The success of SpaceX: With its Starlink satellites, SpaceX demonstrated the profit for private players.

Advantages of smaller satellites: Smaller satellites use industry-grade rather than space-grade components. Further, these smaller satellites are parked closer to earth, where radiation is lower and has a shorter lifespan. Moreover, while an INSAT class satellite will cost at least ₹400 crores, smaller satellites can be built for just ₹10 crores.

Above all, they do not need large launch vehicles such as the PSLV or GSLV, which cost ₹300 crore and ₹450 crores, respectively.

Note: According to European Space Agency data, anywhere between 70,000 to 100,000 satellites will be launched in the next 15 years and over 80% will be small satellites weighing less than 500 kg. 

What are the limiting factors in increasing the role of the private sector in space?

Funding: India’s space budget of $1.7 billion (in 2022) was minuscule compared to the US’s $30 billion and China’s $14 billion (which includes $1 billion from its private players).

Space assets: While the US had 1,650 space assets and China had 450, India’s, at last count, had less than 100.

Long neglect of the commercial space market: India’s share in the $440 billion global space market is just 2%. The government wants to increase this share to 10% through the private sector, which will be able to attract large-scale private capital.

What will be the role of ISRO if the role of the private sector in space is the future?

a) The private sector will rely on ISRO for infrastructure—be it launch facilities, tracking systems, technology transfers and capacity building, b) ISRO will focus on scientific missions such as focussing on deep-space missions, and putting an Indian in space through its Gaganyaan mission. There by passing on the commercial business to the private sector.

Note: ISRO has set up NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) to handle the commercial end of the business. 

At present, India needs a space policy, which can be clear and liberal on private players.


Crisis in the Himalayas

Source: The post is based on the article “Crisis in the Himalayas” published in the Business Standard on 18th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster and disaster management.

Relevance: About protecting the Himalayan Ecosystem.

News: The Himalayan town Joshimath is under tremendous stress, and a portion of it has started sinking. The real issue has always been about pursuing development without working on environmental sustainability.

About Joshimath

Read here: Who Tunnels Through A Sinking Town?
What are the other major disasters that happened in the Himalayan Ecosystem?
Read here: Reckless spree – Authorities must heed science and people living near mines, dams

What are the challenges faced by Hilly areas?

Read more: A mountain reeling under human aggression

-Environmental impact assessment of a particular project does not capture the cumulative impact of a series of such projects in a river basin.

-In recent years, the twin demands of both religion and defence have been added to the development argument. This kept aside environmental and terrain considerations.

What should be done to protect the Himalayan ecosystem?

In the Himalayan zone, hydro projects should generally be of the run-of-the-river variety since large-scale water storage reservoirs can greatly disturb a terrain that is seismically unstable and still shifting.

Respecting religious sentiments should not mean constructing six-lane highways to sacred pilgrim spots deep in the Himalayas. Similarly, for defence, improved access in the short term should not come at the cost of seriously disrupted communications in the longer term due to disasters.

There is an urgent need to undertake a detailed survey by multidisciplinary expert teams. This is to understand the nature and scale of the challenge with the Himalayan ecosystem. The government must both halt and then reverse the disturbing trends that are intensifying day by day.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

James Webb telescope discovers its first Earth-sized exoplanet: What are exoplanets?

Source: The post is based on the article “James Webb telescope discovers its first Earth-sized exoplanet: What are exoplanets?” published in Indian Express on 18th January 2023.

What is the News?

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has discovered its first new exoplanet named- LHS 475 b.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

Click Here to read

What is LHS 475 b?

LHS 475 b is an exoplanet. It is roughly the same size as Earth.

Located just 41 light-years away, the planet orbits very close to a red dwarf star and completes a full orbit in just two days.

What are Exoplanets?

Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars and are beyond our solar system. According to NASA, to date, more than 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered. 

Exoplanets come in a host of different sizes. They can be gas giants bigger than Jupiter or as small and rocky as Earth. They are also known to have different kinds of temperatures — boiling hot to freezing cold.

How are exoplanets discovered?

Discovering exoplanets is quite tough as they are small and hard to spot around their bright host stars. Scientists rely on indirect methods, such as the transit method which is measuring the dimming of a star that happens to have a planet pass in front of it.

Why should one need to study exoplanets?

Studying exoplanets not only broadens human understanding of other solar systems but also helps us piece together information about our own planetary system and origin.

However, the most compelling reason to learn about them is to find the answer to one of the most profound and thought-provoking questions of humankind — are we alone.

Another important element of the study is finding out the distance between an exoplanet and its host star. This helps scientists determine if a discovered world is habitable or not. 

When a planet is at a distance that enables it to have liquid water, it is said to be in the “Goldilocks zone” or the habitable zone.

What are Red Dwarf Stars?

Red Dwarf Stars are the most common and smallest in the universe. As they don’t radiate much light, it’s very tough to detect them with the naked eye from Earth. 

However, as red dwarfs are dimmer than other stars, it is easier to find exoplanets that surround them. Therefore, red dwarfs are a popular target for planet hunting.


Europe’s largest known deposit of rare earth elements found in Sweden: Could the discovery change geopolitics?

Source: The post is based on the article “Europe’s largest known deposit of rare earth elements found in Sweden: Could the discovery change geopolitics?” published in Indian Express on 18th January 2023.

What is the News?

Swedish state-owned mining company, LKAB has announced that it has discovered more than one million tonnes of rare earth oxides in the northern area of the country. This is the largest known deposit in Europe.

What are rare earth metals?

Click Here to read

What are rare earth metals used for?

These elements are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defense among others.

For instance, 1) Scandium is used in televisions and fluorescent lamps, 2) yttrium is used in drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer and 3) Cerium, the most abundant rare earth element, is essential to NASA’s Space Shuttle Programme.

Why has demand for rare earth metals increased in recent years?

In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for green energy. Hence the demand for elements like neodymium and dysprosium, which are used in wind turbine motors, has increased.

Also, the push for switching from internal combustion cars to electric vehicles has also led to a rise in demand for rare earth magnets — made from neodymium, boron, and iron — and batteries.

What does this rare earth metals discovery mean for Europe and the world?

Relief for European countries: Against the backdrop of the fraught relations between China and other western countries, the new discovery of a deposit of rare earth elements in Sweden has come as a relief for the latter.

Challenges China’s monopoly: Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe and it mostly imports them from other regions. According to a report, 98 percent of rare earths used by the European Union were sent by China.

– China has repeatedly used its monopoly in the rare earths market for furthering its geopolitical agendas. In 2010, China blocked Japan’s access to rare earth elements over Tokyo’s detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain.

Strengthens Minerals Security Partnership(MSP): In 2022, the US and 10 other partners came together for this alliance known as MSP. The goal of the MSP is to secure supply chains of critical minerals, aimed at reducing dependency on China. This discovery in Sweden will give a boost to the partnership.


SEBI moots ASBA-like payment system for secondary market stock trade

Source: The post is based on the article “SEBI moots ASBA-like payment system for secondary market stock trade” published in Business Standard on 17th January 2023.

What is the News?

Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) has given details of a proposed framework for shifting to a new payments system for secondary market trades. 

The move is primarily aimed at safeguarding investors from potential misuse of their funds by brokers.

What is the present payment system for secondary market trades?

Currently, brokers coordinate the payments between the clearing corporation and investors in the stock market settlement process. 

An investor must send the funds for purchasing shares to the broker, who then transfers it to the clearing corporation through a clearing member. 

This system has the risk that a client’s collateral retained with a stockbroker or clearing member can be misused. Similarly, the pay-out due to the client can also be at risk in case the stockbroker and/or fellow client(s) defaults.

What is the new proposed system for secondary market trades?

secondary market trades
Source: ET

Under the proposed system, client funds would remain blocked in his/her account and would be directly transferred to the clearing corporation. 

A similar system is implemented for the primary market and is popularly known as ASBA (application supported by blocked amount). 

This system would safeguard the market from the risks emanating from default by brokers.


UNSC 1267 Committee: UNSC’s sanctions committee blacklists LeT’s Makki after China lifts its hold

Source: The post is based on the article “UNSC’s sanctions committee blacklists LeT’s Makki after China lifts its hold” published in The Hindu on 17th January 2023.

What is the News?

The United Nations Security Council(UNSC) 1267 Committee has listed Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist.

What is the UNSC 1267 Committee?

It was first set up in 1999 (updated in 2011 and 2015). It maintains the list of terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS.

It allows any UN member state to propose adding the name of a terrorist or terror group to a consolidated list, maintained by the Committee, that has affiliations to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

It comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

What is the procedure for listing on the UNSC 1267 Committee?

Any member state can submit a proposal for listing an individual, group, or entity.

The proposal must include acts or activities indicating the proposed individual/group/entity had participated “in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” linked to “ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof”.

Decisions on listing and delisting are adopted by consensus. The proposal is sent to all the members, and if no member objects within five working days, the proposal is adopted. An “objection” means curtains for the proposal.

Any member of the Committee may also put a “technical hold” on the proposal and ask for more information from the proposing member state. During this time, other members may also place their own holds.

The matter remains on the “pending” list of the Committee until such time as the member state that has placed the hold decides to turn its decision into an “objection”, or until all those who have placed holds remove them within a timeframe laid down by the Committee.

Pending issues must be resolved in six months, but the member state that has placed the hold may ask for an additional three months. At the end of this period, if an objection is not placed, the matter is considered approved.


In a landmark shift, China’s population declines in 2022

Source: The post is based on the articleIn a landmark shift, China’s population declines in 2022published in The Hindu on 17th January 2023.

What is the News?

China’s population has decreased for the first time in more than 60 years.

About China’s Declining Population

China's population
Source: TOI

According to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the population of mainland China was 1.411 billion people at the end of 2022, a decrease of 850,000 over the previous year.

The number of births in China was 9.56 million, a more than 10% drop from 2021. The number of deaths was 10.41 million.

These new figures mark the first fall in China’s population since 1961 when the country battled the worst famine in its modern history, caused by Mao Zedong’s disastrous agricultural policy known as the Great Leap Forward.

Why is China’s population declining?

China’s fertility rates were already decreasing in the 1970s and by 1980 the Chinese government formally instituted the controversial one-child policy, legally restricting families from having more than one baby.

The policy was intended to further limit China’s population growth and help stimulate an economic boom. Ultimately it resulted in low fertility rates and a large ageing population. 

In 2015, China ended the one-child policy and began allowing married couples to have two children. It expanded the allowance again in 2021, permitting up to three kids.

However, the government’s efforts to boost birth rates have failed to reverse the trend. A survey carried out at the time of the introduction of the two-child policy found 70% of respondents cited financial reasons, including costs of education, healthcare and housing for not having many children.

Hence, these current trends reflect changing social values in China as families choose to have fewer children.

What will be the impact of this on China?

The real crisis for China is the decline in its population that is of prime working age. The share of China’s working-age population is projected to fall below 50% by 2045.

Where does India stand?

India has not conducted an official headcount Census since 2011.

But going by the United Nations’ projections, its population stood at 1,417.2 million in 2022 (more than China’s) and is expected to reach 1,428.6 million in 2023.

How can India utilize this opportunity?

India has just begun seeing fertility rates fall to replacement levels, including in rural areas. But even with the fertility rate declines, India’s population is projected to expand and de-grow only after touching 1.7 billion about 40 years from now.

More importantly, the share of the working-age population in the overall population crossed 50% only in 2007 and will peak at 57% towards the mid-2030s.

However, this is entirely contingent upon the creation of meaningful employment opportunities for a young population. In the absence of which, the demographic dividend can well turn into a demographic nightmare.


Archaeological Survey of India all set to begin Excavation at Purana Qila again

Source: The post is based on the article Archaeological Survey of India all set to begin Excavation at Purana Qila againpublished in PIB on 18th January 2023.

What is the News?

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is all set to begin  excavation at Delhi’s Purana Qila again. 

What is Purana Qila?

Purana Qila is the 16th-century fort. It was built by Sher Shah Suri and the second Mughal emperor Humayun.

The walls of the Purana Quila are made of enormous red stones having minimal ornamentation and decoration.

The major attractions inside the fort are the Qila-i-Kuhna mosque of Sher Shah Suri, Sher Mandal (a tower, which is traditionally associated with the death of Humayun), a stepwell and the remains of the extensive rampart which has three gates.

What did the earlier excavations at the site reveal about Purana Quila?

Excavations have revealed that the Purana Quila stands at the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas.

Purana Quila is also the only place in Delhi, which has cultural deposits of the last 2,500 years in its various layers, from the pre-Mauryan to the modern era. 

The findings and artefacts unearthed in earlier excavations comprise painted grey ware, belonging to 900BC, an earthen pottery sequence from Maurya to Shunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput, Sultanates and Mughal periods. 


India’s merchandise trade crosses the $1-trillion mark in 2022

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s merchandise trade crosses the $1-trillion mark in 2022” published in Business Standard on 17th January 2023.

What is the News?

India’s merchandise trade crossed the $ 1 trillion mark in the calendar year 2022 with the share of exports at $450 billion and imports at $723 billion.

About Merchandise Exports Trade in 2022

Exports witnessed robust double-digit growth in the range of 34-20% during the first six months of the year.

Thereafter, the growth started falling to single digits from July onwards, closing the year at a 12% contraction. This comes as recession fears in developed economies weighed on exports from India.

The sustained growth in exports can be attributed to the pent-up demand factor due to the opening up of most developed economies in 2021, with the easing of Covid restrictions.

Besides, India saw a significant jump in exports to developed markets such as the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and European nations such as the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Germany, among others.

About Merchandise Imports in 2022

Of the total merchandise imports of $723 billion in 2022, two-thirds comprised five items — 1) crude oil, 2) coal, 3) gold and diamond, 4) electronics and 5) machinery.


India, Russia begin manufacturing of AK-203 assault rifles in U.P.’s Amethi

Source: The post is based on the article “India, Russia begin manufacturing of AK-203 assault rifles in U.P.’s Amethi” published in The Hindu on 17th January 2023.

What is the News?

Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited(IRRPL) has started producing AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

This makes India the first country outside Russia which has started the production of AK-200 series assault rifles of the world-famous brand.

What are AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles?

Click Here to read

About India-Russia Defence Relationship

India-Russia military-technical cooperation has evolved from a buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.

The joint military programmes between India and Russia include BrahMos cruise missile programme, 5th generation fighter jet programme, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme, Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft and KA-226T twin-engine utility helicopters.

The military hardware purchased/leased by India from Russia includes S-400 TRIUMF, T-90S Bhishma, and INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme among others.

Russia also plays a very important role in assisting the Indian Navy with its submarine programmes. Indian Navy’s first submarine, ‘Foxtrot Class’ came from Russia.

INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier operated by India, is also Russian in origin.


Global Risk Report: Natural disasters, extreme weather second-most severe global risk in short term, says WEF report

Source: The post is based on the article “Natural disasters, extreme weather, second-most severe global risk in short term, says WEF report” published in Down To Earth on 16th January 2023.

What is the News?

The World Economic Forum(WEF) has released the 18th Edition of Global Risks Report 2023.

What is ‘Global risk’?

‘Global risk’ is defined as the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global gross domestic product, population or natural resources.

What is the Global Risk Report?

Click Here to read

What are the key findings of the report?

Global Risk Report
Source: WEF

Major global risks: 

In the next 2 years: Cost of living crisis, natural disasters and extreme weather events, geoeconomic confrontation, failure to mitigate climate change and large-scale environmental damage incidents, among others.

In the next 10 years: Failure to mitigate climate change and climate change adaptation, biodiversity loss, large-scale involuntary migration and natural resources crises amongst others.

Climate Action and Biodiversity Loss: The world has struggled to make the required progress on climate change despite 30 years of global climate advocacy and diplomacy.

– Failure of climate action to address climate change has continued to figure among the top risks in the report since 2011.

– Biodiversity within and between ecosystems is already declining faster than at any other point during human history.

– But unlike other climate-related risks, ‘Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse’ has not been perceived to be of concern over the short term. It has been ranked as the 4th most severe risk in the long term or over the next ten years (by 2033).

Dangerous interconnections: Over the next 10 years or by 2033, the interconnections between biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource consumption, climate change and socioeconomic drivers will make for a dangerous mix.

Major Risks to India

A cost of living crisis, digital inequality, geopolitical contest for resources, natural disasters and extreme weather events are the biggest risks for India over the short and medium term.

Extreme weather events in India: India recorded extreme weather events on 291 of the 334 days between January 1 and November 30, 2022.

– This means that the country witnessed an extreme weather event of some sort in one or more of its regions for more than 87 percent of the time over these 11 months.

– These extreme events have a link with human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis.


Delhi CM launches website showing real-time data on sources of air pollution

Source: The post is based on the article “Delhi CM launches website showing real-time data on sources of air pollution” published in The Hindu on 31st January 2023. What is the News? Delhi Chief Minister has launched a website called www.raasman.com. What is the purpose of this website launched by the Delhi CM? The website… Continue reading Delhi CM launches website showing real-time data on sources of air pollution

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I&B Ministry issues advisory on private TV channels’ ‘public service broadcasting’ obligation

Source: The post is based on the article “I&B Ministry issues advisory on private TV channels’ ‘public service broadcasting’ obligation” published in The Hindu on 31st January 2023. What is the News? The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued fresh advisories with respect to the Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels… Continue reading I&B Ministry issues advisory on private TV channels’ ‘public service broadcasting’ obligation

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Kelp forests losing unique traits due to climate change, says study

Source: The post is based on the article “Kelp forests losing unique traits due to climate change, says study” published in Down To Earth on 30th January 2023. What is the News? A recent study has revealed that Kelp forests are declining because of climate change. What are Kelp Forests? Kelp forests are large brown… Continue reading Kelp forests losing unique traits due to climate change, says study

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Soliga ecarinata: New genus of wasp named after Soliga community in Karnataka

Source: The post is based on the article “New genus of wasp named after Soliga community in Karnataka” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023. What is the News? The scientific community has named a new genus of wasp after the Soliga community. What is Soliga ecarinata? Soliga ecarinata is a new wasp that… Continue reading Soliga ecarinata: New genus of wasp named after Soliga community in Karnataka

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Scientists spot 1st gamma-ray eclipses from strange ‘spider’ star systems

Source: The post is based on the article “Scientists spot 1st gamma-ray eclipses from strange ‘spider’ star systems” published in The Space on 30th January 2023. What is the News? Astronomers have detected the first gamma-ray eclipses from a “spider” star system. What are Spider Systems? Spider systems develop because one star in a binary… Continue reading Scientists spot 1st gamma-ray eclipses from strange ‘spider’ star systems

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Plan in place to eradicate invasive plant species from Kerala’s wildlife habitat

Source: The post is based on the article “Plan in place to eradicate invasive plant species from Kerala’s wildlife habitat” published in The Hindu on 31st January 2023. What is the News? The Nodal Centre for Biological Invasions (NCBI) at the Kerala Forest Research Institute(KFRI) has come out with a management plan to eradicate Senna… Continue reading Plan in place to eradicate invasive plant species from Kerala’s wildlife habitat

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Process to set up Sixteenth Finance Commission set to kick off soon

Source: The post is based on the article “Process to set up Sixteenth Finance Commission set to kick off soon” published in The Hindu on 31st January 2023. What is the News? The government will soon kick off the process to set up the Sixteenth Finance Commission. What is the Finance Commission? Click Here to… Continue reading Process to set up Sixteenth Finance Commission set to kick off soon

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Groundwater Use and Governance in India – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction India has nearly 18% of the world’s population and occupies about 2.4% of the world’s geographical area. India consumes 4% of total water resources. A World Bank report has noted that India is the largest groundwater user. As India’s economy and population grow, the groundwater use is expected to rise… Continue reading Groundwater Use and Governance in India – Explained, pointwise

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UPSC CSE Aspirants: Boost Your Preparation with GS Foundation Program | 11th February, 4 PM

Dear Friends,   Chase your dreams and make your aspirations a reality. The road to success in the UPSC CSE starts with a strong foundation. With hard work and determination, you can become an IAS officer and serve the nation. But where do you start? Allow us to introduce you to the GS Foundation Program… Continue reading UPSC CSE Aspirants: Boost Your Preparation with GS Foundation Program | 11th February, 4 PM

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 31st, 2023

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a certain… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 31st, 2023

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Intellectual property rights sensitivity should not be at the expense of public health obligations

Source– The post is based on the article “Intellectual property rights sensitivity should not be at the expense of public health obligations” published in The Indian Express on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Issues relating to intellectual property rights Relevance– Innovation ecosystem News– The article explains the National IPR policy. It tells about changes introduced… Continue reading Intellectual property rights sensitivity should not be at the expense of public health obligations

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Green debut – Green bonds can help lower borrowing cost

Source: The post is based on an article “Green debut – Green bonds can help lower borrowing cost” published in Business Standard on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 – Economic Development Relevance: About green bonds News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week for the first time issued sovereign green bonds worth Rs 8,000 crore… Continue reading Green debut – Green bonds can help lower borrowing cost

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In NREGA reforms, prioritise the worker and her dues

Source– The post is based on the article “In NREGA reforms, prioritise the worker and her dues” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Government policies and interventions Relevance– Schemes for employment generation News– The article explains the issues with MGNREGA. It suggests the reforms needed for the scheme. What are the… Continue reading In NREGA reforms, prioritise the worker and her dues

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Welfare schemes will falter in the absence of accurate population data

Source– The post is based on the article “Welfare schemes will falter in the absence of accurate population data” published in The Indian Express on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS1- Population and associated issues Relevance– Population census News– The article explains the need for conducting the census, due in 2021. Why is conducting the population… Continue reading Welfare schemes will falter in the absence of accurate population data

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Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination

Source: The post is based on the article “Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination” published in The Indian Express on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 1 – Indian History Relevance: Ideals of Mahatma Gandhi News: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. The year 2023 marks the 75… Continue reading Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination

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Revisit the tax treatment of tobacco products

Source– The post is based on the article “Revisit the tax treatment of tobacco products” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy and mobilisation of resources Relevance– Taxation of products that generates negative externalities News– The article explains issues with taxation structure on tobacco products In 2017, the economic burden… Continue reading Revisit the tax treatment of tobacco products

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Why are milk prices so high, and what can be done about it?

Source: The post is based on the article “Why are milk prices so high, and what can be done about it?” published in Indian Express on 30th January 2023 What is the News? Since last year, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation has raised the maximum retail price (MRP) of its Amul brand full-cream milk… Continue reading Why are milk prices so high, and what can be done about it?

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Hindenburg report alleged fraud by its firms, Adani Group says ‘attack on India’

Source: The post is based on the article “Hindenburg report alleged fraud by its firms, Adani Group says ‘attack on India’” published in Indian Express on 30th January 2023 What is the News? Adani Group has issued a detailed rebuttal to the allegations of stock manipulation and accounting malpractices levelled by Hindenburg Research. It has… Continue reading Hindenburg report alleged fraud by its firms, Adani Group says ‘attack on India’

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India’s call to modify the Indus Waters Treaty

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s call to modify the Indus Waters Treaty” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023 What is the News? India has sent a notice to Pakistan calling for the ‘modification’ of the Indus Waters Treaty owing to Pakistan’s persistent objections regarding India’s Kishenganga (KHEP) and Ratle… Continue reading India’s call to modify the Indus Waters Treaty

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Nitrate radicals’ are likely making air pollution worse in China, India

Source: The post is based on the article “Nitrate radicals’ are likely making air pollution worse in China, India” published in Indian Express on 30th January 2023 What is the News? According to a study, certain regions of China and India are nighttime hotspots for the generation of nitrate radicals that could increase the amount… Continue reading Nitrate radicals’ are likely making air pollution worse in China, India

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Artificial synapse developed for brain-like computing with industry-compatible Nitride Semiconductors

Source: The post is based on the article “Artificial synapse developed for brain-like computing with industry-compatible Nitride Semiconductors” published in PIB on 29th January 2023 What is the News? A team of scientists at Bengaluru’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have developed hardware for neuromorphic computing.  They have used scandium nitride(ScN) to… Continue reading Artificial synapse developed for brain-like computing with industry-compatible Nitride Semiconductors

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Ragi poori to jowar upma, Parliament gets a new millet men

Source: The post is based on the article “Ragi poori to jowar upma, Parliament gets a new millet menu” published in Indian Express on 30th January 2023 What is the News? The menu of Parliament House canteens will soon have millet dishes such as jowar vegetable upma to bajra khichdi, ragi ladoo to bajre ka… Continue reading Ragi poori to jowar upma, Parliament gets a new millet men

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Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data show

Source: The post is based on the following articles: “Ministry of Education releases All India Survey on Higher Education(AISHE) 2020-2021” published in PIB on 29th January 2023 “Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data show” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023 What is the News?… Continue reading Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data show

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50,000 years on, ‘green comet’ comes visiting again

Source: The post is based on the article “50,000 years on, ‘green comet’ comes visiting again” published in TOI on 30th January 2023 What is the News? Comet C/2022 E3(ZTF), popularly known as the “green comet” which last visited Earth’s neighbourhood 50,000 years ago when the Neanderthals were still roaming its surface can now be… Continue reading 50,000 years on, ‘green comet’ comes visiting again

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Warning bells – India’s regulatory framework must infuse confidence in investors, savers

Source: The post is based on the article “Warning bells – India’s regulatory framework must infuse confidence in investors, savers” published in The Hindu on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. Relevance: About India’s regulatory environment. News: The latest stock… Continue reading Warning bells – India’s regulatory framework must infuse confidence in investors, savers

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India must focus on health and education post-budget

Source: The post is based on the article “India must focus on health and education post-budget” published in the Livemint on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health and Education. Relevance: About the status of healthcare and education. News: The government must focus… Continue reading India must focus on health and education post-budget

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[Kurukshetra January 2023 Summary] Cooperatives to FPOs: A Paradigm Shift – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction The cooperative movement is a voluntary movement of the people. The movement has been carried out democratically by pooling together of resources for completing a given activity. The purpose is to achieve or secure certain benefits or advantages that people cannot get individually. Cooperative Movement also aims to promote specific… Continue reading [Kurukshetra January 2023 Summary] Cooperatives to FPOs: A Paradigm Shift – Explained, pointwise

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Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology

Source: The post is based on the article “Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology” published in The Times of India on 30th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster and disaster management. Relevance: About the infrastructure construction across LAC. News: India is… Continue reading Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology

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Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan: A brief history

Source: The post is based on the article “Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan: A brief history” published in the Indian Express on 30th January 2023. What is the News? The Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House) in Delhi have been renamed as Amrit Udyan. About the long history of Mughal… Continue reading Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan: A brief history

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[Download] 9 PM Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

Hello everyone, We are posting a Compilation of the 9 PM current affairs brief for the 3rd week of the Month of January. Click on the following link to download Download About 9 PM Current Affairs Brief: The idea behind the 9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief is to make aspirants aware of the important news from… Continue reading [Download] 9 PM Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

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[Download] Mains Marathon Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

Hello everyone, We are posting a compilation of Mains Marathon for the month of January 2023 – Third week. Click on the following link to download Download About Mains Marathon Daily Mains Marathon is focused on UPSC Mains 2023. Under this initiative, we post, daily 2 articles, based on the provided weekly schedule. For More… Continue reading [Download] Mains Marathon Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 30th, 2023

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a certain… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 30th, 2023

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Question From The Homeless In Hills

Source: The post is based on an article “Question From The Homeless In Hills” published in The Times of India on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management   Relevance: problems related to land subsidence in Uttarakhand  News: The land subsidence of Joshimath has been caused due to the failure of the government as well as… Continue reading Question From The Homeless In Hills

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Regional RBIs: The case for baby RBIs

Source: The post is based on the article “The case for baby RBIs” published in the Business Standard on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy and mobilisation of resources  Relevance: Issues relating to monetary policy  News: The article explains the possibility of regional RBIs for India.  What is the need for regional RBIs in India? … Continue reading Regional RBIs: The case for baby RBIs

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Becoming The Global Factory: How To Nail It This Time

Source: The post is based on an article “Becoming The Global Factory: How To Nail It This Time” published in The Times of India on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy  Relevance: About the factors leading the improvement in the Indian economy  News: India has seen economic growth in recent years and received $84… Continue reading Becoming The Global Factory: How To Nail It This Time

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Why we need to focus on mental health

Source: The post is based on the article “Why we need to focus on mental health” published in The Indian Express on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to the development and management of health  Relevance: Issues related to mental health  News: The article explains the prevalence of mental health and its impacts. What… Continue reading Why we need to focus on mental health

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India’s groundwater governance is in better shape

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s groundwater governance is in better shape” published in The Hindu on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS1- Economic geography. GS2- Government policies and interventions  Relevance: Regulation and management of groundwater resources. News: The article explains the facts and statistics about groundwater in India. What are some facts… Continue reading India’s groundwater governance is in better shape

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The moral and intellectual crises in economic policies

Source: The post is based on the article “The moral and intellectual crises in economic policies” published in The Hindu on 28th January 2023.  Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy: growth, development and employment  Relevance: Paradoxes of GDP growth  News: The article explains the intellectual and moral crisis affecting the Indian economy. What is the crisis of employment… Continue reading The moral and intellectual crises in economic policies

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Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Raju

Source: The post is based on the article “Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Raju” published in PIB on 27th January 2023 What is the News? Shri C V Raju from Etikoppaka village, Visakhapatnam,Andhra Pradesh has been conferred with Padma Shri for preserving the traditional method of making Etikoppaka… Continue reading Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Raju

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MeitY Startup Hub and Meta shortlists 120 Startups and Innovators for the XR Startup Program

Source: The post is based on the article “MeitY Startup Hub and Meta shortlists 120 Startups and Innovators for the XR Startup Program” published in PIB on 27th January 2023 What is the News? MeitY Startup Hub(MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and Meta have announced the list of… Continue reading MeitY Startup Hub and Meta shortlists 120 Startups and Innovators for the XR Startup Program

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What is BharOS software and how different is it from Google’s Android OS?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is BharOS software and how different is it from Google’s Android OS?” published in The Hindu on 25th January 2023 What is the News? IIT Madras-incubated company has recently developed the BharOS system. What is the BharOS System? BharOS is an indigenous, or homegrown, mobile operating… Continue reading What is BharOS software and how different is it from Google’s Android OS?

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Ken-Betwa Link Project: Benefits and Challenges – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction The Steering Committee for the Ken-Betwa Link Project recently held its 3rd meeting in New Delhi. The Chairperson of the Committee (Secretary, Department of Water Resources) remarked that the Ken-Betwa Link Project is a ‘flagship’ project of the Government and ‘it is critical for the water security and socio-economic development of… Continue reading Ken-Betwa Link Project: Benefits and Challenges – Explained, pointwise

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Study explains migration events that brought genetic diversity among Nepalese population

Source: The post is based on the article “Study explains migration events that brought genetic diversity among Nepalese population” published in PIB on 27th January 2023 What is the News? According to a study, Tibeto-Burman communities were pre-historic Himalayan settlers, and their East Asian ancestry can be traced back to Neolithic immigration mostly from Tibet… Continue reading Study explains migration events that brought genetic diversity among Nepalese population

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Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, and criticism of the holy book

Source: The post is based on the article “Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, and criticism of the holy book” published in Indian Express on 28th January 2023 What is the News? Bihar Education Minister has said that the Ramcharitmanas spreads hatred in society. What is Ramcharitmanas? Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in the Awadhi language composed by… Continue reading Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, and criticism of the holy book

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12 cheetahs from South Africa to arrive in India by February-end

Source: The post is based on the article “12 cheetahs from South Africa to arrive in India by February-end” published in The Hindu on 28th January 2023 What is the News? India and South Africa have signed an agreement to translocate 12 cheetahs to India. About Cheetah’s Reintroduction Programme In India, the Cheetah’s population got… Continue reading 12 cheetahs from South Africa to arrive in India by February-end

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The Indus Waters Treaty, and why India has issued notice to Pakistan seeking changes

Source: The post is based on the following articles “The Indus Waters Treaty, and why India has issued notice to Pakistan seeking changes” published in Indian Express on 28th January 2023 “River Bends – Pakistan should stop subverting the Indus Water Treaty” published in The Times of India on 28th January 2023 What is the… Continue reading The Indus Waters Treaty, and why India has issued notice to Pakistan seeking changes

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[Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I January 27th, 2023

Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. 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 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I January 27th, 2023

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 28th, 2023

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a certain… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 28th, 2023

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[Download] Prelims Marathon Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

Hello everyone, We are posting a compilation of Prelims Marathon for the month of January 2023 – Third week. Click on the following link to download Download About Prelims Marathon Daily Prelims Marathon is focused on UPSC Prelims 2023. Under this initiative, we post, daily 10 MCQs, based on the provided weekly schedule. For More… Continue reading [Download] Prelims Marathon Weekly Compilation – January, 2023 – 3rd week

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A ‘Holocaust education’ for India to create a just present

Source: The post is based on the article “A ‘Holocaust education’ for India to create a just present” published in The Hindu on 27th January 2023. Syllabus: GS 1 – World History Relevance: learnings from the Holocaust News: 27th January is remembered as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Six million Jews were murdered by Nazi-Germany in the Holocaust.… Continue reading A ‘Holocaust education’ for India to create a just present

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