9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 31, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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List of 9 PM articles

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 2

Synopsis: Non-permanent period at the UNSC is once in a decade opportunity for India. It should pursue the high national objectives with a balanced and clear approach.


India has got a two-year non-permanent period at the UNSC. But it is almost certain that India is not getting permanent membership of UNSC  anytime soon. Thus, this opportunity should be viewed as a once in a decade opportunity to pursue the national interests of the country.

What are the trends that will dominate UNSC?

New Delhi’s entry into the UNSC coincides with the rise of the new world order. There is an absence of global leadership. The world is divided into rival blocs for narrow national interests.

Currently, the relevance of the UNSC is in serious doubt, and it is not able to do justice to its primary objective i.e. “the maintenance of international peace and security”.

Biden’s administration will be busy undoing the policies of the previous regime for some time. Thus, nothing much should be expected from the US as of now.

India’s term at the UNSC comes at a time when its military rivalry with China is increasing. This has come to the UNSC table after china opposed the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to be chaired by India in 2022.

What are the focus areas in front of India at UNSC?

  1. India’s seat at the UNSC is important for keeping in check the further Chinese invasions along the line of actual control. 
  2. Terror is going to be a major focus for India at the UNSC. New Delhi’s approach on the issue is going to be on the lines of external minister’s statement: “Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable”.
  3. Recently India assumed the chair of the Taliban sanctions committee. India’s policy approach on Taliban will be very important for its global image.
  4. India should focus to use the platform and its engagement there to build alliances among like-minded states. It should set out its priorities for the next decade from climate change to non-proliferation.
  5. India would try to shape the narrative and global policy engagement regarding the Indo-Pacific concept. This would also provide an opportunity to improve its relations with Moscow.

The way forward

  • New Delhi must focus its energies on what it can achieve during the short period that it would be in the UNSC rather than expecting a permanent membership because UNSC is unlikely to admit new members anytime soon.

Focus areas of Economic Survey 2020-21

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development, and employment.

Synopsis – The Economic Survey 2020-21 outlines the status of various sectors of the economy.


    • The government presented Economic survey 2020-21 of India in the Parliament.
    • The Economic survey provides a summary of the annual economic development across the country during the previous financial year.
    • The focus of this year’s economic survey is on the following basic tenets:
      • Atmanirbhar Bharat in COVID times.
      • Shifting from entitlement-based approaches to an entrepreneurship-based policy framework.
      • Going beyond “nudging”.

Nudging is a method of changing people’s behavior by incentives and encouragement. It does not favour the use of force or penal actions for inducing behaviour change among people. It was used to discourage open defecation by communicating its advantages and financial incentives for toilet construction.

Key highlights of Economic Survey 2020-21

The Economic Survey 2020-21 examined the correlation of inequality and per-capita income with a range of socio-economic indicators, including health, education, etc.

  1. Economic recovery: The emphasis is mostly on the economic recovery routes after the damage due to COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the recovery will follow a V-shaped path. Now, the target of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2024 is also clear.
  2. Health expenditure: The survey recommends raising government spending on the healthcare sector [from the current 1 per cent to 2.5-3 per cent of GDP]. It will reduce out-of-pocket expenditures.
    • Health outcomes- The health results of the states that have adopted Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) have improved compared to those that have not adopted the scheme.
  3. Bare necessities- Access to the bare necessities such as water and sanitation, accommodation, micro-environment, and other facilities has improved across all States. The survey looks at how the bare necessities have changed.
  4. National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) will boost inclusive economic growth and employment opportunities during 2020-25. The NIP [introduced in 2020] has estimated a cumulative investment of 111 lakh crore over five years in infrastructure projects.
  5. Government consumption and net exports cushioned the growth from diving further down.
    • Strong services exports and weak demand leading to a sharper contraction in imports than exports.
    • India remained a preferred investment destination in FY 2020-21 with FDI pouring.
    • India’s forex reserves at an all-time high as to cover 18 months’ worth of imports in December 2020.

However, the survey should have focused more on the external trade aspect. India should try to establish value chains with South and Southeast Asia.

India should also reconsider the high cost of tariffs when 38% of our exports rely on imports.

Improving public health by Budget 2021

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS Paper II, Health Related issues

Synopsis-  The Union Budget 2021 must focus on increasing public allocation on health systems as it will enhance our economic growth. More money for health will lead to more health for the money. 

Introduction– The Union Budget of 2021 is between the year of COVID-19 pandemic and a year when India will celebrate its 75 years of Independence. The year of COVID-19 pandemic helped us to realize that health and the economy should be our topmost properties. They should remain the same even after the pandemic is over as a health crisis will derail our economy and on the other hand investments on health will enhance our economic growth.

What should be the focus areas for Union Budget 2021?

1) Higher allocations to health– At present, our public expenditure on health is 1.3 percent of India’s GDP. In a country like India, where much of the workforce is in the informal sector, insurance paid through mandatory salary deductions (“labour taxes”) is not a good option. Coverage from employer-paid and privately purchased insurance are low.

  • Public expenditure on health should be raised to 2.5 per cent of India’s GDP by 2025.
  • Budget 2021 must increase 20-25 percent in the overall allocation to health in comparison to the past year. 

2) Reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure on health– The World Bank and the World Health Organization recommended that programmes of universal health coverage should aim to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure to 15-20 per cent. Our out-of-pocket expenditure on health is still around 58 per cent. The total health expenditure should rise but with the largest share of public financing. The states should also increase their allocations for health.

3) Building stronger health systems- In the budget, health allocations must focus on both the priorities of pandemic response and building a stronger health system. 

  • A broad range of health services will facilitate sustained efficiency and equity. 
  • To strengthen pandemic response, the focus should be on Health literacy for COVID-appropriate behaviour, Early case detection and contact tracing.  
  • Home care for most infected persons and chronic care for long-term effects of the virus.
  • The Urban Health Mission must be activated to detect and care for co-morbidities. Primary healthcare offers the largest package of services and is cost-optimising both in low-cost services and high-cost care.
  • The budget must reflect the National Health Mission’s goal  to allocate two-thirds of health financing to primary care. 

4) Financing mechanisms-  It must include primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care. 

  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana must link with the National Health Mission to provide coverage for out-patient care, including essential drugs and diagnostics.
  • It should expand coverage to cover the “missing middle” of our population who too are vulnerable to health shocks. 
  • Elderly care must receive greater attention, as must disability services and mental health. 
  • Higher taxes on all varieties of tobacco products, ultra-processed foods and beverages, alcohol and luxury vehicles can raise more allocation to health.

5) Upgradation of medical health system- Upgrading of district and medical college hospitals must also be accorded high priority.

  • Surveillance systems and laboratory capacity must receive support, including One Health eco-surveillance.
  • Expansion of a multi-layered, multi-skilled health workforce
  • Expansion and investments in training institutions in partnership with the states.
  • Multi-disciplinary public health expertise.
  • Creating public health cadres at the Centre and states. The centrally financed mechanism and guidelines will help to establish such cadres as  recommended in the National Health Policy 2017.
Note: One Health eco-surveillance traces microbial migration from wildlife to veterinary and human populations.

6) More funding for health research– We need to increase funds for health research mainly in the area of implementation research. Health technologies need to be incentivised to enhance the effectiveness and equity of health services. “Make In India” must support domestic pharmaceutical, vaccine and medical equipment makers for improving both quantity and quality.

Way Forward

To deliver sustained benefits of better health and a brighter economy to the nation, a strong financial allocation is a step in the right direction. The budget is a clear indication of the government giving values to health. Hence, Budget 2021 must focus on increasing public allocation on health.

Contribution of Chidambaram Subramanian

Source: Click here

Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and Technology – Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Synopsis:  Jan 30 is the birth anniversary of Chidambaram Subramanian. He had trust in science and believed that technology can resolve the problem faced by society.

About Mr. Chidambaram Subramanian (CS)

  1. He was born on 30 January 1910.
  2. He was concerned about the problem of food security in India. Also, an architect of public policy for Indian science and the Green Revolution.
  3. He was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1998.
  4. His call was for “Science of the humanity”.

What were the contributions of Mr. Chidambaram Subramanian?

Firstly, Food sufficiency goal-

  • Chidambaram Subramanian is known as the architect of India’s modern agricultural development policy.
  • His initiatives led to a record harvest of wheat in 1972 – an achievement termed the Indian Green Revolution.
  • He introduced high-yielding seed varieties and more intensive application of fertilizers as Minister for Food and Agriculture. It paved the way for increased production.
  • The site used for storing food grains during the Green Revolution became the Technology Bhavan that continues to house the Ministry of Science and Technology.

According to Chidambaram Subramanian, the economic independence of any Indian was heavily dependent on the four E’s: Education, Environment, Economy, and Empowerment of farmers.

Second, Institutional mechanism

  • National Agro Foundation (NAF) was set up as a Public Charitable Trust in 2000 by Chidambaram Subramanian to revive rural India through rural innovations. NAF institutionalized his will through farmer-centric programs.

Way Forward

  • In the time of novel coronavirus pandemic, when millions of people have been pushed below the poverty line. The best way out is to look for solutions by connecting to science.


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