9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 22nd, 2022

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

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

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

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

Source: This post is based on the article “Win for daughters: But more needed to ensure women’s property rights” published in Times of India on 22nd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS1- Salient features of Indian Society

Relevance: Equal property rights to women

News: Recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that daughters will have equal rights to their father’s property even prior to the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act (HSA) of 1956.

How the judgement is a win for women’s right to inheritance?

First, the daughter now can inherit property by inheritance and not by survivorship if a property of a male Hindu dying intestate is a self-acquired property or obtained in partition of a joint heirship or family property. This was not the case before 1956.

Second, the apex court in 2020 clarified that daughters had coparcenary rights by birth. Coparcenary refers to a person who has the capacity to assume a legal right in ancestral property.

Why such interpretation was needed by the court?

One, in India women face social and legal hurdles to inheritance due to deep patriarchal custom and rural-agrarian settings.

Two, property is seen as a primary source of wealth and generally passed on to male heirs.  It deprives women of agency, financial independence and entrepreneurship.

Three, the released National Family Health Survey-5 says that 43% of women respondents reported owning house/land alone or jointly. But there is lack of ability to actually access and control property. A 2020 University of Manchester working paper found only 16% of women in rural landowning households own land.

Four, complex inheritance laws for agricultural land with conflicting central personal laws and state laws make the scenario difficult for women.

For example, Punjab, Haryana, UP and even Delhi has backward looking inheritance provisions. Haryana twice tried to take away the progressive rights given to women through HAS. In UP since 2016 married daughters aren’t considered primary heirs.

What is the way forward?

First, there is need of removing complexities and legal challenges.

Second, women’s empowerment and property rights remain an unfinished project. Hence, we need to reduce ground-level resistance to registering land for women.

ForumIAS is now in Hyderabad. Click here to know more

GS Paper 2

Evolution of New India: The ground rules of ‘the one land of many’

Source: This post is based on the article “The ground rules of ‘the one land of many’ published in The Hindu on 22nd January 2022.

Syllabus: GS2  Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions.

Relevance: Understanding rule of law and Indian nationalism.

News: The idea of India emerges from the nationalist movement and its institutionalization in the republic. On the 72nd anniversary of republic day, India must relook at the direction of the Indian republic.

How did the idea of New India emerge?

Earlier conceptions of India drew from mythology and theology. The modern idea of India had a mystical influence of Tagore and the spiritual and moral influence of Gandhiji.

Read here: Nationalism | Gandhi’s idea of pluralism and Secularism

Yet, under the guidance of Ambedkar, Nehru and Patel – the foundations of a secular republic were laid. They were based on conceptions of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity with rule of law as the foundation or bedrock of the national project. Liberal constitutionalism shaped the civic nationalism of India, aiding in the evolution and modernisation of Indian society.

How did the modern ideas shape new Indian citizens?

The interrelation of the legal system and society leads to the formation of communities. These communities become societies that then become civilizations and these civilizations acquire national and historical character.

Dr Ambedkar specifically mentioned that the loyalty of Indians should not be affected by any competitive loyalty of religion, culture or language. He laid a special focus on caste identity and the operation of weaker sections.

The establishment of constitutional democracy in post-colonial India attempted to free Indians from categorization and social inequalities. In this process, Constitution transcended all those identities which defined and divided Indians.

The Constitution provided a legal structure to the idea of India. It’s reflected the idea that one nation may incorporate differences of caste, Creed, culture, colour etc. and may still rally around a democratic consensus. The consensus is around the simple principle that in a democracy, under the rule of law, one doesn’t need to agree all the time. But should agree on ground rules.

How did Dr Ambedkar incorporate the weaker sections into New India?

Ambedkar was sceptical that national independence would lead to the social and political domination of the upper class. To end caste tyranny, he believed Dalits must support India’s freedom from British rule and at the same time pursue their struggle for equal rights within the framework of the new Constitution.

How to save the spirit of the Constitution in the new India?

It is possible to pervert the Constitution by merely changing the form of administration. Dr Ambedkar thus enshrined directive principles. The principles confirmed that whoever captures power will not be free to do what he likes with it.

The spirit of the Constitution cannot be allowed to be perverted by those in power. Hence, the spirit of the Constitution has to be followed as a guide as India head towards the 75th anniversary of independence.


Setting sail for a powerful India-German partnership

Source: This post is based on the article “Setting sail for a powerful India-German partnershippublished in The Hindu on 22nd January 2022.

Syllabus: GS2  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India.

Relevance: Understanding the importance of Indo German relations.

News: German navy frigate Bayern recently arrived in Mumbai after visiting Japan, Australia and other countries. This move is for strengthening the relationships between India and Germany. Bayern has also participated in NATO missions and operation Atlanta in the past.

Read here: India-Germany relations: After 16 years
About Indo-Pacific region

It is home to around 65% of the global population and 20 of the world’s 33 megacities. The region accounts for 62% of global GDP and 46% of the world’s merchandise trade.

The region is also the source of more than half of all global carbon emissions. This is why Indo-Pacific countries are key partners in tackling global challenges such as climate change, sustainable energy production etc.

Also read: How India and Germany can work together to tackle climate change
How India and Germany are important players in the Indo-Pacific region?

Germany has realized that the world’s political and economic centre of gravity is shifting to the Indo-Pacific region. Further, India will be the key player and strategic partner in this region. The visit of Bayern is a concrete outcome of Indo-Pacific guidelines that Germany adopted in 2020 and EU’s Indo-pacific strategy.

Read here: EU, India and the Indo Pacific

Germany is a trading nation. More than 20% of German trade is conducted in the Indo-Pacific neighbourhood. Just like India, for Germany too it is vital for trade routes to stay open, to uphold freedom of navigation and to ensure peaceful resolution of disputes based on international law.

How did Germany and India cooperate with each other to tackle Climate Change?

Germany cooperates with India to the tune of €1.3 billion a year in development projects. 90% of which goes in fighting climate change, saving natural resources as well as promoting clean and green energy. It is also helping India in the construction of the solar plant in Maharashtra’s Dhule, having a capacity of 125 Megawatt. This will serve 2,20,000 households and generate annual CO2 savings of 155,000 tons.

Read here: How India and German should collaborate?

How the Quad can help climate action

Source: This post is based on the article “How the Quad can help climate action” published in the Indian Express on 22nd January 2022.

Syllabus: GS2  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India.

Relevance: Understanding the importance of Quad in tackling Climate Change.

News: After the pandemic world is cautiously opening up with increasing vaccination and businesses getting back on track. The QUAD is harnessing its energy to addressing the pandemic.

Significance of QUAD

The Quad was born in response to a natural calamity, the tsunami of 2004. It is unified in saving the planet from environmental degradation with economic development and sustainable growth.

Read here: The importance of Quad meeting amidst current geopolitical flux
What are the areas in which QUAD can work together?

Energy: QUAD can drive inclusive energy transition in technology, manufacturing and finance. In terms of technology, QUAD nations like Australia, Japan and USA can provide technical expertise to aid energy transition. The framework like International Solar Alliance, One sun one world one grid can benefit from this.

India is in a good position to provide manufacturing infrastructure to build these technologies. India can thus replace China and generate employment at home. But, energy transition needs adequate funding. Climate finance from developed countries of Quad to developing countries can help to move towards sustainable forms of energy.

Read here: A Quad alliance for emerging technology

Climate Action: Plans like building a new technical facility through coalition for disasters resilient infrastructure to provide technical assistance in a small island developing states and setting up of a climate and information services task force are good steps by Quad nations.

Read here: Quad Leaders’ Summit on Climate change
What is the way forward?

With Japan hosting the second in-person meeting of the Quad group next year, the focus should be more on vaccine diplomacy, supply chain security and infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region. There is a need that the Quad summit must not overlook or forgo a follow-up on energy and climate action tasks.


Challenges associated with the 10th schedule: How to fix the anti-defection loophole

Source: This post is based on the article “How to fix the anti-defection loophole” published in the Indian Express on 22nd January 2022.

Syllabus: GS2  Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions.

Relevance: Understanding the provisions of the 10th Schedule.

News: There is a need to take urgent steps to fix the Tenth Schedule if the system wants to get rid of open corruption.

Read more: Explained: Anti-defection law, for independent legislators
What are the challenges associated with the 10th schedule?

Paragraph 3: It was omitted by 91st Amendment Act, 2003. This clause protected defectors as long as 1/3 members of the political party formed a separate group. Often the speaker was seen collaborating with a political party to protect the defectors.

Paragraph 4: It provides protection to defecting members if two-thirds of the members of the legislative party merged with another political party. However, this provision has been misused many times like in the case of Manipur, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and other jurisdictions.

Constitutional Flaw: Paragraph 4(1) protects disqualification if the original party has merged with another party. However, Paragraph 4(2) provides that such a merger would be valid only if 2/3rd of the members have agreed to it. This allows for clandestine corruption where 2/3rd members of the party can be bought over.

Partisan role of the speaker: It has come to light that the proceedings are prolonged so that the term of assembly comes to an end before proceedings under the 10th schedule have been concluded. This was seen in Goa, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh.

Article 164(1B): It provides that a member of the Legislative assembly who is disqualified from being a member of the house is also disqualified from being a minister. This disqualification extends till the current term of the house. If reelected, s/he can be a Minister. So the members have incentive to topple the government, as fresh elections would allow the members to be re-elected.

Read here: Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution has failed to prevent defections
What provisions can be adopted to fix the imperfections in the 10th Schedule?

-Upon election, Speakers should resign from the party to which they belong. At the end of their term, there should be a cooling-off period before they can become members of any political party.

– Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule and Article 164(1B) should be omitted by moving a constitutional amendment.

– All those disqualified under the Tenth Schedule should neither be entitled to contest elections nor hold public office for five years from the date of their disqualification.

– All petitions for disqualification of members under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule should be decided, by adopting a summary procedure, within a period of three months counted from the date of filing of petitions for disqualification.

– An appeal should be provided for under the Tenth Schedule only to the Supreme Court.

Also read: Functioning of Parliament: Challenges and way forward – Explained, pointwise

The Case for Liberal Democracy

Source: This post is based on the article “The Case for Liberal Democracy” published in ToI on 22nd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – issues related to Indian Democracy

Relevance:  Democracy

News: India’s political system has always risen to challenges facing the nation.

After Independence, India’s democracy was faced with numerous challenges. However, it was able to self-correct and rise against all odds. Democracy functioned as a safety valve, managing and mediating pressures that emerged from our vast country.

Having said that, contemporarily India’s democracy is facing many issues and our democracy and our economy need a course correction.

What are the challenges/issues posed to India’s democracy after independence?    

With the passage of time, some concerns were raised about our initial design. Some concerns are,

First, enormous power given to the state against the citizen became problematic and there was no safeguarding mechanism against this. This led to issues like authoritarianism during the 1975-76 Emergency.

Second, the Constitution decentralised only to the state level. It did not empower, fund, or staff government at the village or municipality level to any significant degree.

Third, the economic system was undetermined. So, the state could not establish strong protection for contracts between the citizen and the state, or for private property.

Fourth, private sector was given a limited role, whereas the public sector was allowed to occupy the commanding heights of the economy.

Finally, the delivery of public goods to improve the lot of the ordinary citizen, especially the poorest, was abysmal in the initial years. For example, education. In 1950, Indians had, on average,1 year of education. In comparison, the then Chinese average was 1. 8 years. By 1970, after 20 years of democracy, India had crept up to 1. 7 while China had progressed to 4. 2 years.

How India’s Democracy was able to self-correct itself?

After the Emergency, India strengthened its democratic institutions.

Regional parties, some representing the underprivileged, captured more of the vote and refocused the government on providing better public goods.

The Constitution was amended to enable Panchayati Raj.

The private sector’s role was given more importance after the liberalization of the economy.

The average years of education in India more than doubled during 1970-1990 to 3. 6 and doubled once again by 2015 to 7. 4, narrowing the gap with China to1. 3 years.

Why our democracy and our economy need course correction now?

First, decay of a range of democratic institutions, be they Parliament, the judiciary, the Election Commission, academia.

Second, misguided attempts to associate the national political consciousness with a religious identity is alienating our religious minorities. Our relationship with friendly neighbouring countries has deteriorated.

Third, by reverting to the populist and protectionist policies of the past, we are doing injustice to the demographic dividend.


Relocating the Amar Jawan Jyoti to National war memorial is logical, and beyond approach

Source– This post is based on the article “Relocating the Amar Jawan Jyoti to National war memorial is logical, and beyond approach” published in Indian express on 22st Jan 2022.  Syllabus– GS2- Government policies and interventions. 

Relevance– National war memorial. 

News 

Indian government’s recent move to shift the Amar Jawan Jyoti from its location under India Gate to the National War Memorial (NWM) has been seeing some protest. 

Some sections of the society are apprehensive that this may have some political aims. 

Why is the current place inappropriate? 

India Gate is a war memorial erected by the British, in 1921 in memory of soldiers who died in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The monument does not celebrate a national war. 

The NWM is a place for citizens to pay homage to our fallen military heroes. Co-locating the Amar Jawan Jyoti with the NWM seems a logical step, and need not become a subject of political controversy.  

Amar Jawan Jyoti is an eternal flame which honours India’s “unknown soldier” and its rightful place is the National war memorial. 


GS Paper 3

Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders

Source: This post is based on the article “Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders” published in Indian Express on 22nd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

Relevance: Need of single security agency for Indian borders

News: The unending threats to Indian borders and recent developments call for a comprehensive review of border management to ensure the all-weather security.

What are the current developments in border areas?

One, China is trying to take over territory. For example, Doklam and Galwan crisis. The recent China’s Land Border Law (LBL) will enhance its aggressive posture and it is aimed at resolving border disputes on its own terms.

Two, the continued Pakistan-backed infiltration of terrorists poses fresh challenges to India.

Three, China has planned to build 628 “Xiaokang model border defence villages” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It aims to consolidate Chinese claims over disputed areas and gain local support.  Also, villages have already come up in the disputed area across Arunachal Pradesh.

Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders?

 One, most of the border areas are disputed and not clearly demarcated. India shares land borders with six countries which stretch approximately 15,106 km.

India shares approximately 3,323 km-long LoC with Pakistan, which further extends to “Actual Ground Position Line” (AGPL) dividing the Siachen glacier region. In east, India has the 3,488 km LAC with China.

Two, India has long maritime border with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Three, the complexity at border is increased due to the involvement of four agencies with six neighbours unlike maritime borders which is guarded by the Coast Guard.

For example, the army is deployed along the LoC and AGPL, the Border Security Force (BSF) looks after the international border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. LAC security is assigned to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Assam Rifles.

On the other hand, most countries have specialised and dedicated armed bodies for border security. For example, China has People’s Armed Police and Pakistan has a Frontier Corps for its western border and the Rangers looking after the Indo-Pak Border.

Four, in India there is a lack of a coherent policy on training, planning and the conduct of guarding operations. Hence there is lack of coordination.

Five, the peace-time scenario is now militarized and the modus operandi of neighbours have undergone a qualitative change. For example, sub-unit tactics such as sniping, launching raids and surprise attack on the Loc/international border.

What is the way forward?

First, India needs a single security agency which is better equipped, armed and trained in advanced military drills and sub-unit tactics.

Second, there is need of merging the resources of the CAPF and Assam Rifles to have adequate manpower and resources. A fixed percentage of manpower should be drawn on deputation from the army to enhance efficiency.

Third, the single security agency should have explicit mandate to retaliate against cross-border transgressions and stabilise the situation till the operations are taken over by the armed forces.

It should be designated as a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Defence and operate under the army.

Fourth, to create an efficient force, the ITBP and the SSB should be fully merged into the new outfit.


Negotiating pitfalls: Are there basic lacunae in India’s practices?

Source: This post is based on the article “Negotiating pitfalls: Are there basic lacunae in India’s practices?” published in Business Standard on 22nd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Effects of Liberalization on the Economy

Relevance: Lacunae in India’s tactic of negotiations

News: India’s tactics of negotiations has not worked the way China’s tactics have worked. Hence, India needs to prepare ground by negotiating better deals.

 What is China’s tactic in negotiations?

 First, it accepts some principle but do nothing in practice or make a commitment with no intention of honoring.

Second, it tries to provoke a conflict or create new facts on the ground for fresh negotiations to extract some more concessions. Negotiation is thus a continuous process, there is no end point.

Third, similarly, on the trade front, China plays with rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and forces global companies into abiding by its order.

How India has used negotiation tactics?

One, India has tried unsuccessfully similar tactics, in the international arbitration forum. For example, Vodafone, Cairn, Devas, Amazon.

Two, the WTO has repeatedly ruled against India in trade disputes, which has sometimes led to the seizure of Indian assets overseas. India has also used Indian courts to try and nullify arbitration awards and offered deals to close disputes.

Three, the Coercive regulatory action has not worked. That’s why the government had canceled some 58 IGAs that it had signed since the 1990s.

What are the basic lacunae in India’s business/legal/political practice?

First, the government has used arbitrary change in the terms of engagement which results in careless drafting, or non-application of mind.

Second, most of the defence contract leads to charges of pay-offs which results in the blacklisting of suppliers, and thus India is running short of suppliers.

Hence, competitive defence tendering has become impossible and pre-selection becomes the default choice. For example, no bids had been invited in Devas case.

Third, there is an inadequate perception of costs. For example, the revenue from the Devas contract was Rs 1,000 crore, and the damages awarded were Rs 15,000 crore. In the Devas case, the government’s reason for canceling the contract was different from the Supreme Court’s. The court has declared it as fraud.

In the case of Enron, the negotiators had not internalized that gas-based power stations could easily achieve much higher capacity utilisation levels than coal-based ones. Hence, the contract was too generous.

What is the way forward?

First, these experiences teach us that unfocussed approaches are costing us more. That is why a lot of background work has to be done before signing and not after that.

Second, Indian negotiators have to be prepared as some may view a contract as the beginning of a relationship, while some see it as a defining word and others may view it as a temporary tool of convenience.


Why India is unwilling to discuss forests at the international fora” published in Down to earth

Source– This post is based on the article “Why India is unwilling to discuss forests at the international fora” published in Down to earth on 22st Jan 2022.  Syllabus– GS3- Conservation, environmental pollution 

Relevance– COP 26, Palm oil cultivation. 

News 

India at UNFCCC(COP 26) declined to join Deforestation declaration, this has been followed by India declining joining several such international platforms related to climate change. 

Apprehensions have been raised that the official reasons given for not joining these initiatives are not justified.   

Why India has not joined the Deforestation declaration? 

Read here. 

Consecutive Indian state of forest reports (2019, 2021) have shown a growth in India’s forest cover. Although, this may justify India not joining this initiative but its methodology has been questioned and thus puts the estimates under doubt. 

What have been other recent instances of India declining to join some international initiatives and what have been the official reasons? 

India declined to join the dialogue on Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) at the COP26. 

It is supported by 28 countries (including forest-rich tropical countries like Brazil and Indonesia) and seeks to encourage “sustainable development and trade of agricultural commodities while protecting and managing sustainably forests and other critical ecosystems”. 

India also voted against a recent draft resolution to allow for discussions related to climate change and its impact on international peace and security to be taken up at the UN Security Council.   

India was of the view that matters related to climate change should not be discussed at the UNSC as it largely deals with matters related to security. Also decisions at UNSC can be taken without developing countries involvement and will give a very biased view.  

Why are these official reasons are termed unjustifiable by some? 

Although India’s objections are justifiable on paper but they fail to acknowledge the diverse ways in which climate change is linked to global trade, deforestation, agriculture, and international peace, among other issues. 

For context, consider India’s palm oil trade. India is the largest importer of crude palm oil in the world and sources majority of this from Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Palm oil cultivation been the biggest driver of deforestation in the two countries endangering the critical wildlife and indigenous communities there. 

This has also caused forced displacement of indigenous communities, land conflicts between indigenous communities and palm oil companies. 

This shows that various issues like trade, climate change, deforestation are interlinked and that the official reasons may have failed to see the larger picture. 

Although government has recently taken some steps to cut down on import of palm oil. 

What has been this initiative? 

Government has decided to launch a National Mission on edible oils-Oil palm under which Palm oil cultivation will be promoted in the North East and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

However , there have been apprehension that the scheme may lead to similar kind of problems in the north east region that the South east Asia is facing due to palm oil cultivation. 

The problem becomes much more grave in the light of the fact that ISFR 2021 shows that there was a net decrease of 0.6 per cent of total forest cover in the North East states compared to ISFR 2019. 


Centre’s move to rank states on pace of green clearances will spark unhealthy competition, dilute regulation

Source– This post is based on the article “Centre’s move to rank states on pace of green clearances will spark unhealthy competition, dilute regulation” published in Indian express on 22st Jan 2022.  Syllabus-GS3- Environmental impact assessment. 

Relevance– Environmental clearance 

News 

Central government has recently put forth a proposal to rank state environment impact assessment authorities (SEIAA) according to the speed at which they issue environmental clearances. 

What are the concerns regarding the recent step? 

It undermines the role of regulatory oversight in environmental protection, which is recognised in several Supreme Court verdicts as one of the key instruments to ensure the right to life. 

Read more on this here. 

It will compromise SEIAAs’ function to assess the impact of industrial, real estate and mining schemes on the environment. It may lead to an unhealthy competition amongst states to clear the projects as early as possible. 

What are the other recent steps that are undermining the environmental protection regime? 

Environment ministry last year pointed out that the average time taken to issue environmental clearances had reduced by a significant margin in the past two years. However, it has not clarified if this reduction in time has improved the level of scrutiny of projects on critical environmental yardsticks.    

Several steps by the ministry have come under scrutiny, like, the extension of the deadline for compliance with emission norms for most thermal power plants, dilution of the Coastal Zone Notification and the proposal to amend the Forest Conservation Act to allow the use of forests for infrastructural projects. 

There has been fear that these steps may reduce the environmental protection regime in the country. 


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Amar Jawan Jyoti now merged with National War Memorial flame, says Government

Source:  This post is based on the articles:

 Amar Jawan Jyoti now merged with National War Memorial flame, says Government published in The Hindu on 22nd January 2022.

‘Explained: Significance of Amar Jawan Jyoti and why it was merged with National War Memorial flame’ published in Indian Express on 22nd January 2022.

What is the news?

The Government of India has put out the eternal flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti underneath India Gate and merged it with the one instituted at the National War Memorial in 2019.

What is Amar Jawan Jyoti (AJJ)?

Amar Jawan Jyoti, meaning the flame of the immortal soldier, was inaugurated in 1972. It was located underneath India Gate in central Delhi.

It was an iconic symbol of the nation’s tributes to the soldiers who have died for the country in various wars and conflicts since Independence.

Furthermore, it was also to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. 

What has been done now with Amar Jawan Jyoti?

Now, the flame has been put off and merged with another eternal flame at the National War Memorial.

This was done because a) AJJ eternal flame paid homage to the soldiers killed in the 1971 War, but does not mention their name and b) names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial.

Hence it is a true tribute to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there.

What is the National War Memorial

The National War Memorial was inaugurated in 2019. It was built to commemorate all the soldiers who have laid down their lives in the various battles, wars, operations and conflicts of Independent India. 

What is India Gate?

India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was unveiled by Lord Irwin in 1931. It was built to honour the soldiers of British India who died from 1914 to 1921. 


Year End Review 2021-Department of Higher Education

Source: This post is based on the article Year End Review 2021-Department of Higher Educationpublished in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the news?

The Department of Higher Education has taken several steps in the Year 2021.

Initiatives by Deptt of Higher Education in 2021

National Education Policy 2020

SWAYAM

AICTE Translation Automation Al Tool: It has been developed by AICTE with a vision to translate English language online courses into eleven different Indian languages for access to a more significant number of students in the rural areas.

National Apprenticeship Training Scheme

Academic Bank of Credit

National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT): It has been envisaged as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in teaching and learning process for the benefit of all the learners in Higher Education Institutions in any time anywhere mode. 

Common University Entrance Test (CUET)

Bhasha Sangam Initiative

Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University Students: It has been implemented by the Department of Higher Education since 2008. The objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to the meritorious students, to meet a part of their day-to-day expenses while pursuing higher studies. 

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA)

e-PG Pathshala: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under its National Mission on Education through ICT (NME-ICT) being executed by the UGC. It provides high quality e-content for PG programmes for the benefit of the teachers and students.


NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India release ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’ report

Source: This post is based on the articleNITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India release “Banking on Electric Vehicles in India” reportpublished in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the news?

NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and RMI India have released a report, titled ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’.

What is the purpose of the ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’ Report?

The report provides considerations and recommendations to inform the inclusion of Electric Vehicles(EVs) in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) priority-sector lending (PSL) guidelines.

What are the key highlights of the report?

Banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India have the potential to achieve an electric vehicle (EV) financing market size of Rs 40,000 crore by 2025 and Rs 3.7 lakh crore (USD 50 billion) by 2030.

But the retail finance for EVs has been slow to pick up. This is because buyers of EVs are unable to access low-interest rates and long loan tenures for EVs as banks are concerned about resale value and product quality. 

Hence, to solve these financing challenges in EVs:

RBI can consider including Electric Vehicles in Reserve Bank of India’s priority sector lending (PSL) guidelines. This inclusion can provide a strong regulatory incentive for banks and NBFCs to scale their financing to EVs. It also has the potential to increase investor confidence. Initially, electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers and commercial four-wheelers can be prioritized under PSL.

Moreover, the report also recommends a clear sub-target and penalty mechanism for priority sector lending to renewable energy and EVs. 

It also suggests recognition of EVs as an infrastructure sub-sector by the Ministry of Finance and the incorporation of EVs as a separate reporting category under the RBI. 


Union Minister says, start-up ‘Botlab Dynamics’ to light up the sky with 1000 Drones Light Show at ‘Beating the Retreat Ceremony’

Source: This post is based on the articleUnion Minister says, start-up ‘Botlab Dynamics’ to light up the sky with 1000 Drones Light Show at Beating the Retreat Ceremonypublished in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the news?

Union Minister of Science & Technology has said that Botlab Dynamics Private Limited, a start-up supported by Technology Development Board will light up the sky with 1000 Drones Light Show at ‘Beating the Retreat Ceremony’

What is the Beating Retreat Ceremony?

The Beating Retreat ceremony is organized every year after the Republic Day Celebration on January 29. 

The programme is organized in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan on Raisina Road.

The ceremony marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.

The chief guest during the ceremony is the President. 

The ceremony began in 17th century England, when King James II ordered his troops to beat drums, lower flags and organize a parade to announce the end of a day of combat.

In India, the ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s, when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.

The ceremony is currently held by Armed Forces in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India, among others.

What is different at this Beating Retreat Ceremony?

Botlab Dynamics Private Limited, a start-up supported by Technology Development Board and incubated at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi will light up the sky with 1000 Drones Light Show.

The drone show will be 10 minutes long in duration. It will showcase government achievements @75 through many creative formations in the dark sky.

India will be the 4th country after China, Russia & UK to carry out such a large scale show with 1000 drones.


To mark the year-long celebration of the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a grand statue of Netaji to be installed at India Gate

Source: This post is based on the article To mark the year-long celebration of the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a grand statue of Netaji to be installed at India Gate published in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the news?

In order to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Government of India has decided to install a grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate. 

Key points

The Statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at India Gate. 

The statue shall be a fitting tribute to the immense contribution of Netaji in our freedom struggle.

The statue will replace the Amar Jawan Jyoti which will be merged with the eternal flame of the National War Memorial Torch.

Till the statue gets completed, a hologram statue of his would be present at the same place.

Who was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

Click Here to read about it

What are the other decisions taken by the Govt to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

Firstly, the Government has declared 23rd January as Parakram Diwas to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Secondly, the Government has instituted the annual Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar to recognize and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management. The award is announced every year on 23rd January.

Thirdly, the Republic Day celebrations from this year will start on January 23 instead of January 24 to include the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,


Union Minister delivers India’s statement at the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

Source: This post is based on the article Union Minister delivers India’s statement at the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation published in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Environment Minister has addressed the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation.

What is the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation?

It was organised by the Government of Malaysia and the Global Tiger Forum(GTF).

At the conference, the 13 Tiger Range Countries(TRC) adopted the Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement on Tiger Conservation, which emphasised joint commitments towards tiger conservation.

Note: The 13 Tiger Range Countries(TRC) consist of Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

What are the key highlights of the Union Environment Minister address at the Conference?

Firstly, India will facilitate Tiger Range Countries towards the finalisation of the New Delhi declaration for the Global Tiger Summit to be held at Vladivostok, Russia.

Note: A “Pre-Tiger Summit” meeting was held at New Delhi in 2010, wherein the draft declaration on tiger conservation for the Global Tiger Summit was finalised.

Secondly, the minister highlighted the achievements of India in Tiger Conservation:

India has achieved a remarkable feat by doubling the tiger population four years ahead of its goal. 

– Conservation Assured |Tiger Standards (CA|TS) accreditation has already been awarded to 14 tiger reserves in India.

– India’s success with the tiger relocation could be replicated elsewhere. It has successfully translocated a tiger in the western part of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. Similar reintroduction has been planned for Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. 

– Frontline staff constitute an important pillar of tiger conservation and hence India has extended Rs 2 lakh life cover to each contractual/temporary worker under e-Sharm, a recent initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and Rs 5 lakh health cover under Ayushman Yojana.


PM inaugurates new Circuit House in Somnath, Gujarat

Source: This post is based on the article PM inaugurates new Circuit House in Somnath, Gujarat published in PIB on 22nd January 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the new Circuit House near Somnath Temple, Gujarat. The circuit house was needed as there was no guest house near the temple.

About Somnath Temple

Somnath temple is located on the western coast of Gujarat. It is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. 

It was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by several Muslim invaders and rulers. This temple is also referred to as Ahilyabai Temple since it was built by Queen Ahilyabai of Indore when she found that the old temple was in ruins.

The present temple was reconstructed in the Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951. The reconstruction was completed by Vallabhbhai Patel.


Explained: Strategic significance of bridge China is building on Pangong Tso

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Explained: Strategic significance of bridge China is building on Pangong Tso’ published in Indian Express on 22nd January 2022.

What is the News?

The ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh has led to the construction of infrastructure on both sides of the India-China border. One of the latest constructions is a bridge being built by China on the Pangong Tso. 

Where is China building the bridge?

China is building the bridge on the north bank of the Pangong Tso and the Chushul sub-sector on the south bank.

The bridge is around 20 km east of Finger 8 on the north bank(In India’s perception, the Line of Actual Control lies at Finger 8).

The site of the bridge is within India’s claim line, although the area has been under Chinese control since 1958.

How will this bridge help China?

The main objective appears to be the quick mobilization of PLA troops between the two banks at one of the lake’s narrowest points. 

The Kailash range is around 35 km west of the bridge site. Earlier, when India had carried out its operation, Chinese troops could not mobilize as quickly as they might have wanted.

But once this bridge gets completed, it will enable Chinese troops to simply cross over, slashing travel time to Kailash range from about 12 hours to about four hours.

What is India’s response?

The Indian Government has been monitoring the bridge construction activity closely. This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now.

Hence, India is taking all necessary steps to ensure that our security interests are fully protected.

Moreover as part of these efforts, the budget for the development of border infrastructure has been significantly increased and more roads and bridges have been completed than ever before.

Read more: Disengagement agreement at Pangong Tso Lake – Explained

New Model for Asset Monetisation: People can soon invest in infra projects: Gadkari

Source: This post is based on the article People can soon invest in infra projects: Gadkari published in The Hindu on 22nd January 2022.

What is the News?

The Union government is awaiting approval of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the New Model for Asset Monetisation.

What is the New Model for Asset Monetisation planned by the Government?

Currently, most of the pension funds and foreign investors are investing in infrastructure projects. 

But under this new model, common citizens will be allowed to invest at least ₹1 lakh in infrastructure projects of NHAI (National Highways Authority of India).

For this investment, they will be given an assured income of 7.5% to 8%. This will be a great thing for common investors as they can contribute to infrastructure development as well as benefit from it.

Other News Covered in the Article

Ethanol Production

Flex Fuel Vehicles(FFV)

Vehicle Scrappage Policy


Rainfall changes could impact global manufacturing, services sectors

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Rainfall changes could impact global manufacturing, services sectors’ published in Down To Earth on 22nd January 2022.

What is the News?

According to a study, an increase in the number of rainy days leads to a downfall in economic output. 

What is the study about?

The study was conducted to look at how rainfall patterns hurt the economy. The group compared daily rainfall data with subnational economic output from 77 countries between 1979 and 2019.

What are the key findings of the study?

An increase in the number of days with rainfall exceeding one millimeter led to a substantial decline in growth rates. A rise in extreme rainfall days contributed further to this loss.

Impact of Extreme Rainfall: The study suggests that increasing wet days and extreme rainfall will likely hit prosperous countries harder. This is because these countries rely more on the manufacturing and services sectors.

How will India be impacted if extreme rainfall happens?

In India, the agriculture sector is the most impacted. This is because of the quantum of the people involved and the economic share that agriculture provides.

However, this can be overcome by altering sowing dates, investing in irrigation and availing insurance in addition to changing crop varieties.

Moreover, the study also offers important lessons for India as the country aims to become a manufacturing hub. The country’s manufacturing sector is heavily dependent on supply chains, and supply chains are heavily disrupted during extreme weather events.

Note: Manufacturing Sector currently contributes roughly 17% to GDP. Its share in employment was 7.3% in 2020-2021.


Mains Answer Writing

Agnipath is part of a larger process of defence reform and modernisation

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India’s economic constraints and an energy holdback to be eased

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5G technology will soon be here. India must prepare

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Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS

News: Recently, the BRICS Summit was held virtually. It included a high-level dialogue on global development. About the BRICS It was established to promote the global south cooperation mechanism. It was needed for both the strategic and economic purpose. For example, shielding from the domino effect of Western geo-economic compulsions and decisions. Developments so far before… Continue reading Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS

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The essence of time – Judicial intervention should strengthen anti-defection law, not undermine it

News: Recently, The Supreme Court granted time until July 12 to dissident legislators in the Maharashtra Assembly to reply to the Deputy Speaker’s notice under the anti-defection law. The political crisis in Maharashtra has brought focus back on the anti-defection law. What is anti-defection law? Read more: “Nominated members” and “Anti-defection Law” in India What are… Continue reading The essence of time – Judicial intervention should strengthen anti-defection law, not undermine it

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Bring the shine back on government jobs

News: At present, India has been witnessing a number of protests across the country over the Agnipath scheme. Some Facts and figures related to Unemployment problem in India According to the NCRB, an Indian citizen died of suicide every hour due to joblessness, poverty or bankruptcy in 2019. As per the government reports, about 25,000… Continue reading Bring the shine back on government jobs

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G7 is trying hard not to be yesterday’s club

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Explained: What is the US-led ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ initiative to counter China?

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Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested by DRDO & Indian Army

What is the News? Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) and the Army have successfully test-fired indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) from Main Battle Tank(MBT) Arjun. What is a Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile(ATGM)? Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile(ATGM) has been designed to be fired from tanks. Developed by: Two Pune-based facilities of the DRDO’s Armament… Continue reading Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested by DRDO & Indian Army

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Explained | The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative

What is the News? U.S President along with his G7 allies have launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment(PGII) Initiative. What is the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment(PGII) Initiative? Click Here to read about it What kind of projects will the PGII undertake? All PGII projects will be driven by four priority pillars:… Continue reading Explained | The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative

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