9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 4th, 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.
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Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

A Chinese threat should not muddle Indian policy

Source: This post is based on the article “A Chinese threat should not muddle Indian policy” published in Livemint on 4th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Relevance: The economic policy fallout of the tense Indo-China relations

News: The proposed buyout of general insurance company RahejaQBE by Paytm Insuretech was rejected by the insurance regulator, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

In trying to insure India against injury, India shouldn’t push money away that could aid the rise of its economy.

Why the buyout has been rejected?

As per reports, the insurance regulator is not comfortable with the investment pattern offered by One97 communications, mainly because Chinese companies like Ant Financial and Alibaba are involved.

What are the issues with the IRDAI’s decision?

Paytm’s proposal does not flout FDI limits, and while concerns associated with the influence of the parental investors may be valid, the harm it might expose India to has not been spelt out.

What are the implications?

The rejection of the deal will hamper the investment plans of several domestic and multinational insurance companies like Swiss Re that are hoping to expand their presence in India’s fast-growing general insurance business.

What is the way forward?

The actuarial and other Indian data could be leaked from any insurer’s database. What calls for a strict vigil is how investor funds are applied, not their source.

With China set to add large sums to the globe’s capital stock, we need a proper cost-benefit analysis of the blockade we opted for in response to the border hostilities of 2020.

India needs to balance its need for security with the freedom of enterprise.

An approach that’s codified formally and calibrated closely by risk calculations is the need of the hour.

ForumIAS is now in Hyderabad. Click here to know more

India’s rights record, America’s blinkered vision

Source: This post is based on the article “India’s rights record, America’s blinkered vision” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – India – U.S bilateral relationship

Relevance:  India – U.S relations

News:  India’s friendly diplomatic relation with the U.S is providing India a certain immunity from international criticism.

Instances where the U.S has taken an accommodating view w.r.t India, despite some concerns?

Firstly, the issues of purchasing S-400 from Russia. Despite the US voicing out their disinterest in purchasing military equipment, their administration did not think it was necessary to penalize India’s actions.

Secondly, the US has taken an accommodating view despite India’s downgrades in democratic norms and human rights. For instance,

The U.S. State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices itself recorded “significant human rights issues” in India. It includes extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, violence against minorities, unjustified harassment of journalists, and censorship and blocking of websites.

India is rated poorly by the U.S.-based Freedom House which called it ‘partly free’.

Sweden’s V-Dem Institute dubbed India as an ‘electoral autocracy’.

India was ranked 142 in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has for successive years recommended that India be listed as a ‘country of particular concern’ due to its treatment of Muslims and Christians.

India is ranked in the Open Doors World Watch List for ‘extreme’ Christian persecution below Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. government has ignored all these findings due to Narendra Modi’s positioning India as an indispensable partner.

Thirdly, criticism of India in world media has also been shielded to some extent due to India’s close relationship with the U.S.

Western countries manage to shield their viewpoints, because, world media is being dominated by a handful of western capitals.

What are the issues/ concerns associated with the US?

West-dominated English-medium news ecosystem dominates globally. Western countries can direct unjust criticism towards their opponents using this dominant media system. Many times other countries have tried to create rival media platforms, however, they have failed to compete.

Following are some of the unjust actions of western countries, shielded by western media.

Dubious Sanctions: Unilateral sanctions based on uncertain international laws have been the West’s instrument of choice for penalising political adversaries. For instance, Threats of “massive consequences and severe economic cost” against Russia by G7 countries and the European Union.

Selective criticism: A boycott of the Winter Olympics in China by irrelevant western officials was promoted. However, the Football World Cup in Qatar was not opposed, even though, it is an absolute monarchy where there are scant civil and political rights, workers’ rights are negligible and homosexuality is deemed illegal.

U.S tries to protect fundamental rights in other countries, whereas, in the last 12 months, its police have murdered 37 African-American people per million against 15 per million whites. African-Americans comprise only 13% of the population.


Forex party is ending: ON US Fed Balance Sheet Tapering

Syllabus – GS Paper 2 – International Relations – Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 

Source: This article developed based on the article “Forex party is ending: ON US Fed Balance Sheet Tapering” in Times of India on 4th January 2022. 

News: US Federal Reserve (Fed) is increasing the speed of balance sheet tapering.  

As mentioned in the news, US Federal Reserve (Fed) will double the pace of its balance sheet tapering and end its net asset purchases by mid-March 2022.  

Balance sheet tapering means gradual slowing of the pace of the Fed’s large scale asset purchases, which was aimed at providing monetary stimulus to the economy. It may also lead to increase in interest rates.  

US balance sheet policies always have a major effect on the economies of emerging countries. When US cuts interest rates and expands balance sheet, it triggers capital inflows, local currency appreciation and higher asset prices in emerging markets. 

Why India is better prepared against any ill-effect of US balance sheet taper? 

Unlike 2013 taper, this time the affect will not be substantive in India, due to the following reasons:  

First, federal reserve has communicated its intentions a bit early this time. It has provided some time to the economies, to be prepared. 

Second, India is less vulnerable to external vulnerabilities now. It is because Rupee is not overvalued, as was the case in 2013. Also, India’s current account is in surplus and Foreign Currency reserve currently cover nearly 12 months of imports. 

Third, basic balance of payments (BBOP) is in surplus (BBOP is the sum of current account and net FDI inflows).  

What are the causes of concern? 

However, there are also, reasons of concern:  

The Current Account trend is changing. Merchandise trade deficit is widening.  

Higher commodity prices such as crude oil, metals, etc., and improvement in domestic demand is increasing India’s import bill. 

Gold imports have surged over the last year, rising to $55 billion in the 12 highest since 2013.  

India’s BBOP is going into deficit from surplus.  

High relative inflation, compared to competitor Asian countries can erode it’s export competitiveness. 


The road to regulatory capture isn’t paved with good intentions

Source: This post is created based on the article ”The road to regulatory capture isn’t paved with good intentions”, published in Live Mint on 4th January 

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Indian Polity – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies 

News: Regulatory Capture is affecting Indian Economy.  

Regulatory capture is common in all industry segments that have a sectoral regulator. It is a situation, when act in favor of companies or special interest groups of the sector, instead of protecting and promoting the public interest.  

One example from US defines regulatory capture perfectly. An addictive medicine OxyContin was labelled by regulator Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a non- addictive medicine, on the lobbying of drug maker Purdue Pharma. 

What are the examples of regulatory capture in India? 

First, the case of Yes Bank’s repeated attempts to recover its money from defaulter Dish TV.  In this case, Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) ruling frozen the Yes Bank’s voting rights in Dish TV. The Delhi High Court in this case observed that the DRT’s orders exhibited complete lack of judicial discipline. Not only that, but a state’s police also attempted to freeze Yes Bank’s voting rights in this case.  

Second, on many occasions, SC has criticized National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for its rulings. On 13 September 2021, SC expressed its concern over the NCLT’s long delays in resolving insolvency cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). A parliamentary panel report showed that over 70% of IBC cases were pending for more than 180 days.  

Third, the Director General of Civil Aviation is the part of the civil aviation ministry. Its majority of duties, written on the civil aviation ministry’s website are mostly linked to airlines and aircraft. Thus, it tends to rank airline viability and profitability over the protection of passenger rights.  

Fourth, the trend of regulatory capture in India is not practiced just by industries, but also by governments. It is done by either influencing the existing regulators or creating new ones. For example, proposed Digital Protection Authority, which will not only exempt the state from most data privacy norms, but would also wield the power to select the chairperson and other board members. 


Is GDP data a reliable way to measure the health of the economy?

Source: This post is based on the article “Is GDP data a reliable way to measure the health of the economy?” published in Indian Express on 4th   Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues related to the development of the Indian economy.

Relevance:  GDP calculation

News: There are serious problems with India’s GDP data. Any analysis of recovery or growth forecast based on this data must be discarded.

The primary yardstick analysts use to measure the economy’s health is GDP. The RBI and multilateral agencies use GDP statistics to make claims about the future growth path.

The NSO released the current GDP series in 2015, using 2011-12 as its base year. Since then, the new series has been involved in controversy.

Scholars have pointed to measurement issues, both in the nominal and real GDP growth rates. Yet none of those issues has been addressed. As a result, the measurement errors still persist.

Why the GDP data, as a measure of economic recovery, is questionable?

First, the issue of Double deflation.

The NSO calculates real GDP by gathering nominal GDP data in rupees and then deflating this data using various price indices. The nominal data needs to be deflated twice. Once for outputs and once for inputs. But the NSO, deflates the nominal data only once. It does not deflate the value of inputs.

How it affects GDP numbers: Consider the following scenario. For instance, when the price of imported oil goes down, input costs will fall and the profits recorded by Indian firms will rise. Since NSO doesn’t deflate away the increase in profits, it records a purely nominal increase as a real increase in GDP. Thereby, it ends up overstating growth.

Similarly, in the opposite scenario, when the oil price rises, the growth rate could be underestimated.

Some have argued that the deflators were improved in the new series by shifting to the CPI. But the fact is that in many cases, the WPI (the cost of inputs is measured by the WPI) is still used for deflation.

Second, NSO has not updated the sectoral weights.

When NSO calculates GDP, it takes a sample of activity in each sector, then aggregates the figures by using sectoral weights.

To make sure that the weights are reasonably accurate, the NSO normally updates them once a decade.

It has now been more than 10 years since the weights were changed, and there are no signs of a base year revision.

As a result, the sectoral weights are still based on the structure of the economy in 2010-11. The fast-growing IT sector is being underweighted, which implies that GDP growth is being underestimated.

Third, NSO has not made any adjustments to its methodology for estimating the growth of the unorganized sector.

Usually, to estimate the growth of the unorganized sector, NSO assumes that the sector has been growing at the same rate as the organised sector.

However, starting in 2016 the unorganised sector has been disproportionately impacted by a series of shocks. For example, demonetisation, the implementation of GST, the problems in the NBFC sector, and the Pandemic. All these have severely impacted the unorganised sector more than the organised sector.


For sports heroes-Government must consider innovative funding, including legalizing betting

Source: This post is based on the article “For sports heroes-Government must consider innovative funding, including legalizing betting” published in The Times of India on 4th Jan 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors. 

Relevance: Development of sports in India 

News: At a recent sports university inauguration, the PM of India said that Indian youth should be motivated to take up sports as a career.  

Although India has had its best performance of the history at the Tokyo Olympics this year by winning 7 medals including a gold in Javelin, but the fact remains that except cricket other sports in the country lack an ecosystem of professionalism and excellence.  

Must Read: Sports sector in India: Issues and challenges – Explained, Pointwise
Why is sports not a preferable career choice for most Indians? 

Sporting infrastructure in the country remains very underdeveloped and insufficient. 

The lack of funding at the grassroot level: Funding is mostly directed towards the few top athletes with international medal-winning potential. This makes sports a less viable career option for the majority of the others who lack the resources to pursue it. 

Must Read: Preparing India for a sporting future
What is the way forward?  

Lessons from other countries: India can learn from the sporting models followed by other countries. For instance: USA has strong sporting cultures in universities that not just produce top-ranked athletes but also employ trainers, sports doctors and scientists. However, India lacks any such university ecosystem. 

Legalising betting: It can yield substantial revenue in the form of taxes for creating sports talent hubs across the country. For instance: UK’s national lottery funding for sports works on legalising the sports betting. 

Also, Legalised betting would also check illegal bookmaking and its link to match-fixing mafia. 

Once the foundational sports ecosystem are set up, the flow of private investment in the sector will be easier. 

Must Read: Making India a sporting nation | Every sportsperson is a champion | Why funding sports is an Olympian hurdle

Why is the IMF trying to be an aid agency?

Source: This post is based on the article “Why is the IMF trying to be an aid agency?” published in Business Standard on 4th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate.

Relevance:  IMF

News: There are strong arguments for revamping the financial structure of the IMF.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempting to modify itself into an aid agency, instead of embracing its traditional role of helping troubled debtor countries.

What is the issue with the IMF’s financial structure?

Due to the absence of strict conditionality requirements, the vast bulk of the funding they provide takes the form of outright grants, rather than loans. Some recent cases are,

One, Argentina received a massive $57 billion loan in 2018 with uncharacteristically weak IMF conditions attached and is now resisting repaying.

Two, Unconditional loans to the Nigerian government that is restricting food imports to an under-nourished population. Thereby exacerbating the problems caused by the government’s own exchange-rate controls.

Third, giving approval to countries with exploding debt-to-gross domestic product ratios based on very optimistic assumptions. For instance, the 2021 Article IV report for Ghana is a case in point.

Similarly, providing funds for large emerging markets such as Brazil and South Africa, arguing that dealing with the pandemic is the absolute top priority, despite soaring debt levels, rising inflation.

Consequence of irresponsible lending: Since the IMF is still very much structured as a lending agency, it eventually will have to be repaid or go bankrupt itself.

What is the root cause of such problems?

The root cause lies in its faulty design.

Firstly, the Rapid Financing Instrument, a lending facility that does not require countries to enter into a “full-fledged” adjustment program and that in practice requires few conditions or none at all.

Secondly, it has persuaded its members to approve an emergency issuance of $650 billion in special drawing rights, which also have essentially no conditions. SDRs are basically direct aid that goes to every IMF member, including Russia and Iran.

What are the suggestions to reform the IMF financial structure?

One key condition should be that IMF funds are not used simply to repay private creditors. Forceful IMF conditionality is essential to establish financial stability and ensure that its resources do not end up financing capital flight, repayments to foreign creditors, or domestic corruption.

In a world where private capital flows far outweigh official lending, traditional IMF programs still have a critical role to play in mitigating and managing financial crises.


The future of trade

Source: This post is based on the article “The future of trade” published in Business Standard on 4th Jan 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.. 

Relevance: RCEP, India and global value chain 

News: Regional comprehensive Economic partnership (RCEP) which was signed in 2020 , came into force on New Year’s Day. India was part of the RCEP process but eventually pulled out of joining. 

RCEP’s arrival is a reminder that the future of the international trading architecture increasingly seems to be coalitions of the willing i.e. plurilateral or regional trade pacts. 

Why India didn’t join the RCEP? 

India has its reasons for not joining the RCEP like,

The excess influence China will have in the pact

Apprehensions regarding its impact on dairy sector 

Presence of a broader pessimism about trade may also be an underlying reason

However, some recent happenings show that India is softening its approach towards trade agreements.  

Must Read: India exits RCEP
What are these positive developments? 

Renewal of discussion on FTAs, such as with the European Union, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, UK. 

Attempts at “early harvest” agreements with larger and more problematic trading partners like the UK

Though these will have a limited effect as compared to joining a trade pact like RCEP. 

Must Read: India must tread with caution on early-harvest deals, say experts
What is the way forward?

India’s continued observer status in the RCEP can be utilised to examine its pros and cons for the Indian economy, if India joins it in the future.

Also, there is need for a keener understanding of the domestic reforms necessary to become part of the value chains of the future. 

Govt should work towards introducing reforms and tariff rationalisation. New-age trade agreements are as much about “behind the border” adjustments such as regulatory harmonisation as they are about tariffs.

Lastly, the tendency to increase tariffs on average in the Union Budget must end.


CSR and NGOs: Aiding in governance

Source: This post is based on the article “Aiding in governance” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – The role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Relevance: To understand the cooperation between CSR and NGOs.

News: Recently, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused the application for renewal of FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC). Similar such instances impact the synergy between NGOs and Government. But, the research shows that it is the synergy of NGOs, Government and corporates is the way for development.

Must read: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and NGOs – Explained, pointwise
About the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and NGOs

Section 135 of the Companies Act mandates corporates who are beyond a certain level of profits and turnover to pay at least 2% of their net profits before tax to the development space. This law gives corporates the necessary impetus to collaborate with non-state actors like Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) grants have assumed importance to provide the much-needed sustenance to NGOs and CSOs as key players in non-state governance. This strengthening of citizenry-private partnerships is a major component of development activities.

Read more: FCRA Amendments are Crippling Work of NGOs
How do CSR and NGOs help in India’s development?

-Non-state actors bring capital to corporate companies and help the state by engaging in welfare activities. When non-state actors take a large load off the state’s shoulder, the state can focus more on governance.

-NGOs and voluntary groups/organisations have played a significant role in building the capacities of citizens to hold governments accountable.

-The Right to Information (RTI) campaign became law after decades-long efforts by NGOs. The law has brought a dramatic change in the degree of transparency in India, with most Government ministries falling under its ambit.

-The District Collector calls on vetted NGOs/CSOs to implement various schemes during the normal course of the day.

-NGOs and CSOs sometimes do the heavy lift and ensure that schemes reach the last person, even in the face of disaster.

The CSR law created a legal framework for corporates to work with NGOs and CSOs. NGOs and CSOs in India will play a major role in mobilising citizen action to right various wrongs. They can help contribute to the better polity as well as better governance. Most importantly, they have the legitimacy to operate as integral cogs in the wheel of good governance.


The 21st century challenge for democracy

Source: This post is based on the article “The 21st century challenge for democracy” published in Indian express on 4th Jan 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 2

Relevance: Democracy, Nationalism, Erosion of democracy 

News: The 20th century was seen as the century of democracy’s expansion.  

But the recent factors like rise of authoritarian regimes, parties with huge majority and hype of nationalism have somewhat endangered democracy. 

If it has to be prevented from this decay, then the public discourse around questions of its meaning, purpose and limits needs to be revived.

What are the factors that are/may harm the institution of democracy? 

An oversized image of the leader: Excessive majority and unbound faith prevents constructive criticism, which may lead to turning a democratic polity into an autocratic one. 

If elected leaders are left unquestioned then they may use it for not just changing the physical structures of the polity, but to affect even the ideological foundations on which  it stands. 

Electoral majorities are sometimes projected as representing the view of a single community which may create divergence between different communities and may even lead to prejudices and conflict in the society. 

And at the level of polity, this may lead to the sentiment of communalism/ hyper-nationalism overpowering the principles of democracy.  

All of these factors are so much a part of institution of democracy that it becomes difficult to tough to identify them, critique them and isolate them. That’s why scholars have been calling these as “democratic” ways of subverting democracy. 

What are the challenges that India faces in protecting its spirit of democracy? 

– Politicisation of Bureaucracy

Allegations on media of being biased towards ruling party of the day at any time. 

Allegations that Judiciary has in some cases failed to prevent erosion of democratic credentials. 

How can democracies adapt and overcome these concerns?

Path of Protests, agitations and movements: This has seen the involvement of students, farmers and many other sections of the society. While these protests may not substantially alter the course of democracy’s erosion, they do have the potential of rejuvenating people’s agency. 

Need of politics which is not person or one party centric: India is a multiparty democracy and only this normal politics will do justice to it. Normal politics means that no party, no leader, no idea, no dream is final or invincible. 

Need for ideological engagement at the intellectual level: There is need to ponder over the question that what we mean by democracy and what we need to do with it. 

Democracy can be practised in real terms only if there is emphasis on inclusion, institutions, procedures and deliberation and power-sharing. 

Globally, governments have turned into regimes. The challenge is to break this regime-ness and treat elected representatives for what they are — just power-holders, deservingly scrutinised for their use of power. 

These changes will not happen through any set grand political theory, but these pathways have to be utilised daily, in matters of routine nature where democracy is being compromised. Political criticism keeps democracy alive. 

GS Paper 3

The lethal use of drones can’t carry on as a global free-for-all

Source: This post is based on the article “The lethal use of drones can’t carry on as a global free-for-all” published in Livemint on 3rd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

Relevance: Increasing drone usage, Absence of global regulatory oversight

News: With the advancement in drone technology and a lack of global norms, the second drone age has been marred with high-end violence using drones.

Hence, the regulatory oversight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) should be an international priority. Without it, the only certainty is that drone technology will continue to advance everywhere. There will be more civilian casualties, and no one will be held accountable.

Must Read: Threats posed by UAVs – Explained, pointwise
What is the second drone age?

Today the international drone market has a vast range of offerings, like

Tiny startups selling $1,000-to-$2,000 off-the-shelf technology that can be easily weaponized by terrorist groups like the Taliban

High-tech unmanned vehicles that can carry laser-guided munitions and Hellfire missiles.

The proliferation of drones in the international market and the way these drones are shaping up the global military programmes, with equally significant applications in civilian sector, is being termed as the second age of drones.

The first age of drones, was dominated by the U.S. since its first attack using a remotely piloted craft in 2001. Now, it’s an ungoverned space with billions of dollars to be made and thousands of lives at stake.

How has drones impacted the global military programmes?

102 countries now run active military drone programmes. It’s replaced thousands of troops on the ground with controllers behind computers located in bases far away from the air strikes they are launching.

What are the issues/concerns with the widespread usage of drones?

There’s an absence of any overarching regulatory regime to protect civilians and uphold humanitarian laws, and to examine the operational and tactical ramifications of this remote-control warfare.

For instance: A US drone strike in Kabul in August 2021 that targeted terrorists instead killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. It was a failure of military intelligence. Hence, experts are calling for a better regulation and more public scrutiny of drone operations.

Drones are a gateway technology. They’ve opened the door to weaponized AI, algorithmic and robotic warfare, and loosened human control over the deployment of lethal force. Today’s armed drones, are tomorrow’s killer robots.

The Missile Technology Control Regime, an informal political pact among 35 members, seeks to limit the proliferation of and trade in missiles and missile technology, which covers attack drones. But there’s no enforcement mechanism. It’s not equipped to regulate armed and networked drones, which can take as many as 200 people to operate.

What are the implications?

Large-scale drone makers now negotiate sales directly with prospective buyers who have clear military and security uses in mind.

– Turkey sold weaponized drones to Ethiopia, where the government is suspected of using them against rebel forces in the Tigray region in a civil war that’s killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region saw Azerbaijan emerge as the winner, using Russian, Turkish, Israeli, and indigenous drones to overpower its neighbour’s less sophisticated military

It has allowed powers like the US to flout global norms (like the US drone strike that killed the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq in January 2020). 

What is the way forward?

There’s a need for a Drone Technology Control Regime. Nations should establish a multilateral process to develop standards for the design, export and use of drones, as well as stricter controls on the transfer of military technologies. Sales agreements, should include civilian protection and adherence to international human rights.


Food security policy formulation: What can India learn from other countries?

Source: This post is based on the article “Food security policy formulation: What can India learn from other countries?” published in Down to Earth on 3rd Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Food Security

Relevance: Lessons from other countries, for India’s Food security policy

News: India has transformed itself from a food-deficient country characterised by the ship-to-mouth situation of the 1960s, to the present day, when vulnerable sections of the population have enhanced access to food.

Many challenges still remain, and this is where India can learn from international experiences.

Must Read: Food security in India and its challenges – Explained, pointwise
What lessons can India learn from other countries?

Sri LankaHasty and irrational policy decisions can lead to problems for the citizenry.

Chemical fertilisers have played a key role in boosting agricultural production in Sri Lanka. But, the dependence on chemical fertilisers to boost agriculture production has serious long-term implications. Hence, the Govt of Sri Lanka recently decided to replace chemical fertiliser and shift to organic farming.

But, the ban on the import of chemical fertilisers led to a sharp decline in food grain production and severe inflation in their prices.

Moreover, scarce foreign reserves (due to decline in tourism because of COVID) were used to clear the government’s debts.

Thus, an ill-conceived policy led to food shortages and inflation in the country.

Pakistan: To overcome the food crisis in Pakistan, a central minister made a novel suggestion to people to reduce their consumption of wheat and sugar.

Such advice is not feasible when it is made to people suffering from malnutrition and hunger. At best, it can be considered as a short-term measure and not a long-run solution.

Venezuela: – Irrational policies may lead to economic disasters even in resource-rich countries. The economy of Venezuela, an oil-rich country, was severely affected due to its irrational policy of distributing highly subsidised food grains and providing unemployment relief. Consequently, people preferred to remain idle.

The foreign entrepreneurs left the country due to the non-availability of workers and remunerative prices. The decline in food imports due to the depletion of foreign reserves led to food inflation.

To appease the people, the government started printing currency notes recklessly, which led to hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe experienced similar hyper-inflation due to the reckless printing of currency notes

Uruguay: Diversification of agriculture is the key. Uruguay, for instance, focuses on enhancing dairy products along with traditional crops. There are about four cows for every person in Uruguay. Dairy products like milk, curd, butter and ghee are exported in large quantities.

Therefore, cattle are important in a tropical country with a pastoral culture.

Morocco: Excessive dependence on chemical fertilisers is not advisable. Phosphorous is a significant input in the production of chemical fertilisers.

About 70-80% of known world resources of phosphorous are available only in Morocco. The country may control the production of fertiliser by manipulating the price of phosphorous.

What is the way forward?

One, is to learn from the policy mistakes of the other countries as mentioned above.

Second, organic content of the soil needs to be maintained, because low organic content in soil reduces it to sand. In Punjab, it is below 0.5%. At least a quarter of cultivated land in India is likely to become desert in 10-15 years if this process continues.

Organic content can be enhanced by adding leaves from tree or animal waste. Thus, there must be a mandate to maintain a certain proportion of area under trees and adequate cattle herds.

Thirdly, to have environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture, excessive dependence on chemical fertilisers has to be reduced in a phased manner.


The deafening silence of scientists

Source: This post is based on the article “The deafening silence of scientists” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022. 

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

Relevance: Scientific temper, pseudoscience. 

News: Recently there have been various instances where many political representatives and public figures have presented ideas and boasted facts that are nothing but pseudoscience. 

But what is even more surprising is the lack of opposition from the leading scientists of the country. 

What are these instances?  

Many speakers at the 102nd Indian Science Congress which was held in 2015 proposed unscientific facts.

They argued that ancient ‘Bharat’ was a repository of all modern knowledge, some of which is yet to be invented in this century. 

Recently, a prominent public figure said that DNA of all the people in India has been the same for 40,000 years. His message clearly goes against the proven fact that Indians have mixed genetic lineages originating from Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eurasian steppes. 

– IIT Kharagpur has now issued a 2022 calendar. The purpose of it is to argue for a Vedic cultural foundation for the Indus Valley Civilisation — a theory that goes against all the available evidence. 

What are the implications of such incidents on the society?  

They encourage intolerance and superstition.  

– Endangers Freedom of thought: For the creation of knowledge, all stakeholders should be able to think and express themselves freely. One also needs to have a space for dissent, which is a fundamental requirement for democracies to thrive. 

Pseudoscience provides a foundational base for a huge money-making industry that successfully help sustain quackery by exploiting the people’s ignorance. Example: Cow products to cure COVID-19. 

What are the reasons for the lack of any opposition? 

Scientific research relies almost entirely on funding from the government, this makes dissent difficult. 

Contemporary science researchers remain entirely cut off from liberal intellectual discourse, unlike in the initial years after Independence. In the early 20th century, many leading scientists were deeply engaged with philosophy and always thought that how science will affect society. They were much more proactive about societal issues. 

 Globally, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students demonstrate less social concern than students from other streams. The is because of the pedagogy followed in our science education system. For many of them, exposure to the social sciences is minimal at university. 

We are also living at a time when scientific advice is marginalised in public policy debates ranging from natural resource use to environmental impacts. 

What is the way forward?

Science education must include pedagogical inputs that help learners take a stand against false theories that could undermine progress of society and democratic structures. 


Safety at all costs: On implementation of safety protocols in fireworks industry

Source: This post is based on the article “Safety at all costs” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022. 

Syllabus: GS3 – Disaster Management

Relevance: Accidents in firecracker Industry, reasons and way forward   

News: Four workers lost their lives in a blast at a fireworks unit in Tamil Nadu on the day of the new year. The accident happened due to mishandling of chemicals.  

What are the reasons behind the accident? 

Non enforcement of safety protocol.

Leasing out the industry unit to others and unauthorised manufacturing products. 

What can be done to prevent such incidents in future?  

Although the Firecracker Industry has seen some improvements like reduction in child labour, but adherence to safety protocols needs serious reforms. 

These incidents should not be termed as ‘accidents’. This absolves those who are responsible for the implementation and the enforcement of safety protocols from taking any responsibility for the incident. 

Govt should consider implementing some of the recommendations of the eight-member K. Kannan committee (former judge of Haryana, Punjab and Madras High Court) constituted by the National Green Tribunal after a blast in the district that killed over 20 people in February 2021.  

The panel had suggested that the Explosives Act be amended to make punishments more stringent than now. 

Only certified persons should be employed for operations including mixing, filling of chemicals and the making of colour pellets, and using drones for surveillance of various units 

Government should ensure that there is no compromise on the enforcement of the safety protocols. As it involves the question of precious lives and also their livelihood. 

What is the economic significance of Firecracker industry to Tamil Nadu?

The firecracker industry employs around eight lakh people, directly and indirectly, in a backward region of Tamil Nadu with no assured irrigation.

It also contributes to the economy of the state and thus of the Nation. 


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Explained: What is GitHub, at the centre of online sexual harassment probe?

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: What is GitHub, at the centre of online sexual harassment probe?” published in The Indian Express on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The open-source software repository service GitHub is in the news after it was used to create and share an offensively named app that sexually harassed Muslim women in India.

The app used pictures of the women, including journalists, stolen from their social media handles and invited “users” to bid for them. Further, the women targeted on the app alleged they faced threats, harassment, and ridicule after their pictures had been used without consent.

Is this the first time such an incident has happened?

No.

In June 2021, another app with a similar-sounding name, which too was hosted on GitHub, had been used to harass Muslim women in the same way.

Police in Delhi and Noida had registered FIRs, but the probe has not progressed. Delhi Police have said GitHub is not cooperating.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is the world’s largest open-source developer community platform where users upload their projects and code for others to view, edit, and tweak.

Main idea behind GitHub: any developer can upload whatever software code or app code or software idea they have on the platform, and have others collaborate with them to help improve it, find errors, and fix problems.

Any public project can be viewed by others on the platform. Most of the features of the platform are free for users. Organisations can use paid accounts to upload their software and projects for collaboration.

The platform uses the software Git, which was created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, to track changes in a set of files and for coordination in software development.

Torvalds is the developer of the open-source operating system Linux.
What action has been taken till now?

By GitHub: It has taken down the app, but has not revealed who was responsible for it.

By Indian Govt: The Indian Computer Emergency Response System (Cert-In), the nodal agency for monitoring cybersecurity incidents, has been asked to form “a high-level committee” to investigate. Delhi and Mumbai Police have registered FIRs on complaints by some of the women who were targeted.

Police said IPC Section 509 (word or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) and relevant sections of the IT Act have been invoked in the FIR.


China constructing bridge on Pangong Tso

Source: ​​This post is based on the following articles 

– ‘China constructing bridge on Pangong Tso published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022.

– ‘China builds bridge across Pangong, helipads in its territory to counter India’s quick reaction ability’ published in TOI on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

China is building a bridge across the Pangong Tso Lake.

Where is China constructing the bridge?

China is constructing a bridge in Eastern Ladakh connecting the North and South Banks of Pangong Tso.

The bridge is located in Chinese territory. But the bridge would significantly bring down the time for People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to move troops and equipment between the two sectors.

The bridge is located around 25 kms ahead of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and is just east of Khurnak Fort in Rutog county (Historically a part of India, Khurnak Fort has been under Chinese control since 1958). 

India-China Dispute on Pangong Tso Lake

5-point solution, but 27 'points of dispute between India and China - Times of India

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake. India holds just 1/3rd of the lake.

The lake has mountain spurs of the Chang Chenmo range jetting down referred to as fingers which are divided 8 parts.

The Chinese say that the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is at finger 4. But, India’s perceived LAC is at finger 8. This leads to frequent disputes in the area. 

The North bank of the lake has much higher differences in perception of LAC than the South bank (South Bank of Pangong leads to Kailash range and to the Chushul sector).

In 2020, as part of the first phase of disengagement, India and China have agreed for complete disengagement on the North and South Banks of Pangong Lake.

Currently, the Indian Army has a permanent position near Finger 3, the Dhan Singh Thapa post, while the PLA has a base East of Finger 8.


Bioenergy crops create cooling effect on cultivated areas: Study

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Bioenergy crops create cooling effect on cultivated areas: Study’ published in Down To Earth on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

According to a study, converting annual crops to perennial bioenergy crops can induce a cooling effect on the areas where they are cultivated.

The study was undertaken to look at the biophysical climate effects of bioenergy crops to fully assess their role in climate mitigation.

What are Bioenergy Crops?

Bioenergy is the energy derived from recently living material such as wood, crops, or animal waste.

Bioenergy crops are defined as any plant material used to produce bioenergy. These crops have the capacity to produce large volumes of biomass, high energy potential and can be grown in marginal soils. 

Some examples of bioenergy crops: Eucalyptus, poplar, willow, miscanthus and switchgrass.

What are the findings of the study?

Currently, cultivation area under bioenergy crops occupies 3.8% ± 0.5% of the global total land area. These crops exert strong regional biophysical effects, leading to a global net change in air temperature of −0.08 °C ~ +0.05 °C.

Researchers have found that the global air temperature decreases by 0.03~0.08 °C with strong regional contrasts and inter-annual variability after 50 years of large-scale bioenergy crop cultivation.

Moreover, researchers also demonstrated the importance of the bioenergy crop type choice. For example, cultivating eucalypt shows generally cooling effects that are more robust than if switchgrass is used as the main bioenergy crop, implying that eucalypt is superior to switchgrass in cooling the lands biophysically.

Further, the magnitude of changes in the biophysical effects also depends on the total Bioenergy crop area under cultivation


Year End Review: Department of Youth Affairs

Source: This post is based on the articleYear End Review: Department of Youth Affairspublished in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched and taken part in several initiatives in 2021.

Several of these initiatives are:

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme (EBSB) 

National Youth Parliament Festival: It was organized to hear voices of youth through deliberations at district, state & national levels.

National Road Safety Month: It was observed by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) in coordination with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway.

The aim of the month long campaign was to create awareness among youth to improve and follow the safety measures on roads and provide opportunity to all stakeholders to contribute in road safety.

International Yoga Day 

Young Warrior Campaign: It was launched by CBSE together with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and UNICEF. The campaign aims to help the youth to assume a leadership role during a global pandemic, and instil a sense of strong leadership skills, empathy as well as social consciousness among the youth.

Namami Gange

Swachhta Pakhwada: It aims to create awareness about swachhta and facilitate implementation across the country and motivate youth in taking a lead role for undertaking cleanliness & hygiene campaigns by mobilizing local resources. 

Catch the Rain Campaign

Fit India Freedom Run 2.0: It was conducted by NYKS with the objective to encourage people to take up fitness activities such as running and sports in their daily lives and to  make people adopt a healthy and fit lifestyle. 

Constitution Day (Samvidhan Diwas)

Clean India Programme: It was organized by NYKS. The program is aimed at creating awareness, mobilization of people and ensuring their involvement in the Clean India initiative which is unique in terms of scale and participation.

Parakram Diwas 

Investor Education and Awareness Programme (Ministry of Corporate Affairs): Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) started a collaborative project.

The aim is to provide training on Investor Education, Awareness and Protection, Community Awareness to NYKS field functionaries and members of Youth Clubs to spread the message of Investor Education Awareness and Protection to the last mile.


Defence Minister inaugurates Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh University

Source:This post is based on the articleDefence Minister inaugurates Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh Universitypublished in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The Defence Minister has inaugurated the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh University. He also launched a Scholarship Scheme, worth Rs 10 crore, for the wards of Defence Personnel of the three Services.

What is the purpose of Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology?

The Centre has been named after India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who lost her life in the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster.

The objective of the Centre is to train students in space science, satellite development and meeting future challenges in space research.

The centre will also be the ground control station for Chandigarh University’s Student Satellite (CUSat) along with a Geo-Spatial Centre for research.

What is CUSat?

CUSat is a nano-satellite being designed by the students of the Chandigarh University.

The satellite will collect data related to border intrusion detection, agriculture, weather forecasting, natural disaster forecasting, which will be helpful in research and study of various problems in these areas.

The satellite will be among the 75 student-built satellites to be launched into space on the eve of the 75th Independence Day in 2022. 

Moreover, with the launch of CUSat, Punjab will become the first border state in India to have its own satellite in space.


PM pays tributes to Rani Velu Nachiyar on birth anniversary

Source:This post is based on the articlePM pays tributes to Rani Velu Nachiyar on birth anniversarypublished in The Print on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Rani Velu Nachiyar on her birth anniversary.

Who was Rani Velu Nachiyar?

Rani Velu Nachiyar is the 18th century queen from Sivagangai district in Tamil Nadu, who fought against British rule to recapture her kingdom. 

She was known as the first queen to fight against the colonial power during that time.

She is widely known as Veeramangai (brave woman).

Life of Rani Velu Nachiyar

Velu Nachiyar was born in 1730. She was the princess of Ramanathapuram. As she was the only child, she was trained in archery, horse riding, martial arts, and even handling different weapons.

At the age of 16, she was married to Sivagangai Mannar Muthuvaduganathur following which they had a daughter who was named Vellachi. 

In 1772, the British troops and the Nawab of Arcot came together and invaded Sivagangai. During the Kalaiyar Koil war, her husband died fighting for his kingdom.

Velu Nachiyar somehow escaped with her daughter Vellachi and lived in Dindigul for a few years. During this time, she formed an alliance with other kingdoms and plotted her revenge against the British.

Following a strong fight, Velu Nachiyar was successful in recapturing her kingdom and hence becoming the queen of Sivagangai again.

She proudly ruled Sivagangai for more than 10 years. During her reign, the queen also created a women’s only army called Udaiyaal.


Union Education Minister Launches NEAT 3.0 And AICTE Prescribed Technical Books

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Union Education Minister Launches NEAT 3.0 And AICTE Prescribed Technical Books’ published in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Education Minister has launched National Educational Alliance for Technology(NEAT 3.0) and AICTE-prescribed technical books in regional languages. 

What is NEAT?

The National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) is a Public-Private Partnership model between the Government (through its implementing agency AICTE) and the Education Technology companies of India. 

It is an initiative to provide the use of best-developed technological solutions in the education sector to enhance the employability of the youth on a single platform for learners’ convenience. 

These solutions use Artificial Intelligence for a personalized and customized learning experience for better learning outcomes and skill development in the niche areas. 

AICTE, Ministry of Education(MoE) is acting as the facilitator in the process. The ministry will also ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of socially and economically backward students. 

Read more: Scholarship scheme under AICTE to encourage girls students to pursue Technical Education
What is NEAT 3.0?

It is a single platform to provide the best-developed ed-tech solutions and courses to students of the country.

Read more: Govt launches Artificial Intelligence powered grievance management application
Why did the AICTE prescribe technical books in regional languages?

It was launched as India’s strength lies in its diverse languages, and harnessing them is a key for building an innovative society.

Moreover, education in regional languages will further help in developing critical thinking capacity and enable our youth to become global citizens.


Year End Review -2021- Ministry of Civil Aviation

Source: This post is based on the articleYear End Review -2021-  Ministry Of Civil Aviationpublished in PIB on  29th Dec 2021.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken several steps in the Civil Aviation Sector.

Several of these steps are:

Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN)

Krishi UDAN Scheme

Drone Rules,2021

Digital Sky Platform(DSP): It has been launched to regulate the entire gamut of activities pertaining to drone operations, as well as to function as a single-window online platform to ensure the smooth functioning of the applications.

PLI Scheme for drone manufacturers, component makers and software companies

Liberalized FTO policy to support the growth of the Indian Aviation Industry: In September 2021, the Airport Authority of India(AAI) announced a liberalized Flying Training Organisations(FTO) policy to support the growth of the aviation industry in the country. Under the policy, airport royalty was abolished, and the annual fee was rationalized significantly for new FTOs.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Policy framework, 2021

AirSewa: It is an initiative by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It provides a common platform for air travellers to submit air travel-related grievances and seek information about flight or airport operations in India.

Disinvestment & Strategic Sale of Air India

e-Governance in Directorate General of Civil Aviation(eGCA): It was launched in November 2021 with an aim of bringing about ease of doing business, transparency and automation of the processes and functions of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


AT1 Bonds: Did RBI Change its mind on YES Banks AT1 Bonds?

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Did RBI Change its mind on YES Banks AT1 Bonds?’ published in Livemint on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

In March 2020, news emerged that the Reserve Bank of India’s(RBI) reconstruction plan for Yes Bank would involve the write-off of Rs 9,000 crore worth of AT-1 bonds. This decision is being contested in courts by the bondholders and mutual funds that have taken the AT-1 bonds.

Read more: Green bonds
What are AT1 Bonds?

AT1 Bonds stand for additional tier-1 bonds. These are unsecured bonds that have perpetual tenure. In other words, the bonds have no maturity date.

Purpose: These bonds are typically used by banks to bolster their core or tier-1 capital. These bonds were introduced by the Basel accord after the global financial crisis.

Returns and Risk: These bonds offer higher returns to investors but compared with other debt products, these instruments carry a higher risk as well. 

AT1 bonds are subordinate to all other debt and only senior to common equity. Mutual funds (MFs) are among the largest investors in AT1 Bonds. These bonds have a call option, which can be used by the banks to buy these bonds back from investors.

Investors cannot return these bonds to the issuing bank and get the money. This means there is no put option available to its holders.

Banks issuing AT-1 bonds can skip interest payouts for a particular year or even reduce the bond’s face value, provided their capital ratios fall below certain threshold levels.

If the RBI feels that a bank is on the brink of collapse and needs a rescue, it can simply ask the bank to cancel its outstanding AT-1 bonds without consulting its investors. 

Read more: Oil bonds and other associated issues – Explained, pointwise

Space issues: China and Musk’s row in space

Source: This post is based on the articleChina and Musk’s row in spacepublished in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

Recently, China has said that its astronauts aboard the Tiangong Space Station had to take evasive measures to avoid a potential collision with two of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. After this, China has also complained to the United Nations detailing the alleged space incidents.

Why did China approach the UN?

Both the U.S and China are parties to the Outer Space Treaty. The treaty provides the basic framework for international space law.

China has referred to articles V, VI and VII of the treaty in the complaint filed with the UN.

Article V: It requires parties to immediately inform other parties or the UN Secretary-General of any phenomenon they discover in outer space which could constitute a danger to the life or health of astronauts.

Article VI: Nations will be responsible for national space activities, whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.

Article VII: It states that nations will be liable for damage caused by their space objects, such as satellites.

How does the UN help with space issues?

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs was created to service the ad hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space(COPUS). The committee was established in 1958 shortly after the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1. It has been serving as a focal point for international cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

Moreover, several multilateral treaties have been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to enable the orderly conduct of activities in outer space. The cornerstone of these is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

Four other treaties were also adopted to reinforce the framework set by the Outer Space Treaty. These treaties are: 

The Rescue Agreement of 1968 requires States to assist an astronaut in case of accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing.

The Liability Convention of 1972 establishes the standards of liability for damage caused by space objects.

The Registration Convention of 1975 requires States to register all objects launched into outer space with the United Nations.

The Moon Agreement of 1979 elaborates on the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty as they apply to the Moon and other celestial bodies.

Read more: Space Debris
Can such space incidents happen again?

Space-related conflicts have occurred in the past and will most likely continue to happen in the future as well, considering the growing number of activities in space involving different parties.

For instance, the cosmos 954, a nuclear-powered surveillance satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1977, crashed in northern Canada in 1978. It scattered an enormous amount of hazardous radioactive debris over Canadian territory. The USSR paid C$3 million to Canada as compensation for the clean-up operation.

Read more: India and the geopolitics of the moon
Mains Answer Writing

Year-End- Review-2021- Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare

What is the News? The Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has taken several initiatives in the year 2021. Several of them are Jeevan Pramaan: It was launched in 2014. It is an online system for submission of life certificate “Jeevan Pramaan”. Through this platform, a pensioner can… Continue reading Year-End- Review-2021- Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare

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FVTPL Account: Banks may get a new investment category

What is the News? The Reserve Bank of India proposed a new investment category for banks—fair value through profit and loss(FVTPL) account. This is a part of its initiatives to align lenders investment portfolio regulations with the global accounting standards. What is the Investment Portfolio of Banks currently? Currently, the Investment Portfolios of Banks at… Continue reading FVTPL Account: Banks may get a new investment category

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GIS-based automated water connection and online booking of community halls in full swing under e-Chhawani in cantonments

What is the News? The Union Defence Minister has launched a GIS-based automated water connection and online booking of community halls under e-Chhawani Portal. What is a GIS-based automated water connection? The Geographical Information Systems(GIS) based automatic water supply system is the first of its kind in the country to automate the granting of the… Continue reading GIS-based automated water connection and online booking of community halls in full swing under e-Chhawani in cantonments

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ONDC: Govt’s e-comm net in talks with companies

What is the News? The government has said that a small-scale implementation of the Open Network for Digital Commerce(ONDC) will be rolled out across two cities to see how the technology-enabled infrastructure works before it is officially launched. What is ONDC? ONDC is basically a Unified Payments Interface(UPI) equivalent but for the e-commerce space. It… Continue reading ONDC: Govt’s e-comm net in talks with companies

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Baricitinib and Sotrovimab: Explained: How two drugs newly recommended by WHO work against Covid

What is the News? The World Health Organisation(WH0) has recommended two drugs, baricitinib and sotrovimab, for treatment of Covid-19. What is Baricitinib? It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase(JAK) inhibitors that suppress the overstimulation of the immune system. It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Now, it has been strongly recommended… Continue reading Baricitinib and Sotrovimab: Explained: How two drugs newly recommended by WHO work against Covid

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Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: UGC launches Training of Master Trainers in Community Based Participatory Research

What is the News? University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched the Training of Master’s Trainers program in Community-based Participatory Research under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0. What is Unnat Bharat Abhiyan? It was launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Education. Mission: To enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in… Continue reading Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: UGC launches Training of Master Trainers in Community Based Participatory Research

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CBSE announces holding of 27th edition of National Conference of Sahodaya School Complexes

What is the News? The Central Board of School Education(CBSE) has announced the holding of the 27th edition of the National Conference of Sahodaya School Complex. What is the Sahodaya School Complex Concept? Sahodaya School Complex is a concept literally meaning ‘rising together’. This concept was first mooted by the Education Commission,1966. The National Policy… Continue reading CBSE announces holding of 27th edition of National Conference of Sahodaya School Complexes

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Consumer Affairs Minister suggests 5-point reform agenda for FCI

What is the News? The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has suggested a five-point reform agenda for the Food Corporation of India(FCI) on the occasion of the 58th Foundation Day of the FCI. What is the five-point reform agenda suggested by the Food Minister for FCI? – Change the public perception… Continue reading Consumer Affairs Minister suggests 5-point reform agenda for FCI

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Union Minister says India has taken a lead in Asian Continent to provide Weather and Climate services to South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle East countries

What is the News? Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences has said that India has taken a lead in Asian Continent to provide Weather and Climate services to South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle East countries. What were the initiatives launched by the Minister? Four Doppler Weather Radars launched Four Doppler… Continue reading Union Minister says India has taken a lead in Asian Continent to provide Weather and Climate services to South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle East countries

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Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT): Year-End Review 2021

What is the News? The Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has taken several initiatives in the year 2021. Several of them are National Recruitment Agency Lateral Entry: To achieve the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as to augment the availability of manpower at… Continue reading Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT): Year-End Review 2021

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