9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 5th, 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:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- 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:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- 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.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- Poshan Abhiyan- Its time for national self reflection
- Pangong message-India’s border infra better than before. But China far ahead. Project turnaround has to improve
- The bottom line in Blinken’s foray into Southeast Asia
- The state is not what one thinks it is
GS Paper 3
- Taiwanese manufacturers face unfamiliar conditions in India
- Climate crisis in Kerala: An integrated approach is needed to mitigate impact
- Expect a torrid pace of policy action in our tech space
- A partnership to carry India into net-zero future
- Some ideas for the budget
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- Understanding IC15, India’s first crypto index
- India questions China’s developing country status on per capita basis
- Why can’t we throw all our trash into a volcano and burn it up?
- YEAR END REVIEW-2021: DEPARTMENT OF POSTS
- Year End Review – 2021 for Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- New education policy follows Mahatma Gandhi’s “Nai Talim” in terms of mother tongue: Vice President
- ISRO gearing up for multiple space missions in 2022
- ICMR approves indigenous kit to detect Omicron
- Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences launches eOffice
- Project Beacon and Project Vijayak: Border Roads Organisation breaks record at ZojiLa battling extreme weather conditions
- Multi-Agency Centre(MAC): States told to share intel on common grid
- Non-Proliferation: World powers vow to stop spread of nuclear weapons
- Automatic Generation Control(AGC): Union Minister of Power and NRE dedicates Automatic Generation Control to the nation
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source: This post is based on the article “Poshan Abhiyan- Its time for national self reflection” published in Livemint on 4th Jan 2022
Syllabus: GS2- Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Relevance: Nutrition status, Child care.
News: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) which was released a few months back indicates slow improvement in India’s malnutrition situation.
What have been the positives regarding nutritional status in India?
Substantial improvement in maternal-child health services, including antenatal care (ANC) services, child immunizations and diarrhoea management.
Significant improvement in fixing the underlying causes of undernutrition, such as improved sanitation services, a lower total fertility rate, 10 years of schooling etc.
These positive outcomes were achieved through greater political commitment, and initiatives like Jandhan Yojana ,Mission Indradhanush and Janani Suraksha Yojana under the National Health Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Ujjawala Scheme, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao .
What are the areas where India needs improvement?
NFHS also presents some negatives facts and figures like
Every third child under five and a fifth of women is undernourished, while more than every second child, adolescent and woman is anaemic.
Lack of essential nutrition interventions during the first 1,000 days of life (270 days of pregnancy and 730 days 0-24 months).
No maternal nutrition policy and weak implementation of Infant and young child feeding policy
Although, there has been an Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) policy since 2000. Caregivers are not well-informed about what, when and how often to feed a child over six months, contributing to obesity, micronutrient deficiencies and increased chances of adult-onset non-communicable diseases.
Behavioural Changes: Some studies show that 20% of undernourished children are from communities with the highest wealth index which highlights that the main reason behind these issues is a failure to effect behavioural problems and lack of awareness.
Nutrition care is divided into prevention and care between our health system and ICDS: ICDS is the main government program to improve the nutritional status, but has no opportunities for direct contact with the young mother to influence nutrition practices.
On the other hand public health system that is in charge of ANC (Ante-Natal Care), child delivery and immunization has an advantage of a minimum of 15 contact occasions with mothers, from the start of pregnancy.
What is the way forward?
Training mothers for early care and breastfeeding: Only 9.8% of the children of such trained mothers were underweight at six months, compared to 18.1% of the children of untrained mothers.
Complementary feeding of semi-solids also needs attention. Only one in 10 children above 6 months receives an adequate diet in line with the recommended frequency of semi-solids.
Frequent interpersonal counselling by health workers/medical teams at the right time can be a game changer.
Merging the human resources of ICDS with India’s primary healthcare system would strengthen maternal-child nutrition and healthcare workforce and teamwork. This could cost-effectively lower child mortality, as 68% of India’s under-5 mortality is associated with undernutrition.
Pangong message-India’s border infra better than before. But China far ahead. Project turnaround has to improve
Source: This post is based on the article “Pangong message-India’s border infra better than before. But China far ahead. Project turnaround has to improve” published in Times of India on 4th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Relevance: Border infrastructure along Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indo-China relations.
News: China already has a superior border infrastructure than India and has recently also finished a lot of projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
Years of investment and an easier bit of topography of the Tibetan plateau gives China an advantage.
What have been the recent Chinese advancements on the border areas?
China is ramping up its infrastructure along the LAC.
This includes a new bridge across the Pangong Tso as well as additional troop shelters, gun positions, helipads and jetties in the area between Finger 8 and its military bases at Sirijap-I and II.
What have been the efforts form the Indian side to counter China’s border development?
India has for the longest time believed that inaccessibility on its side would actually deter the Chinese from intruding across borders. But the border clashes over the years have proved the contrary.
So, India changed its approach, especially in the last 15 years. Since the Galwan clash in June 2020, the pace of Indian border infrastructure development has quickened.
– In June 2021, 63 bridges across six states and two Union territories along the LAC went operational.
– Government implemented the Shekatkar Committee recommendations regarding border infrastructure that enhanced the Border Roads Organisation’s procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore.
What is the way forward?
India needs to focus on overcoming the problem of lack of inter-ministerial coordination and the delayed environmental clearances. For instance: Failure of the project involving the construction of over 40 integrated border outposts along the LAC due to poor coordination between the ministries of home affairs and Jal shakti.
To be able to counter China successfully, India must utilise its limited resources smartly by cutting red tape and clearing border projects quickly.
Source: This post is based on the article “The bottom line in Blinken’s foray into Southeast Asia” published in The Hindu on 5th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Relevance: Indo-Pacific, ASEAN centrality
News: Both China and the U.S. are trying to attract the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries to their side. The US wants to overcome the Chinese domination in the ASEAN by pitching the issue of ASEAN Centrality and by countering China’s aggressive rise.
How the US is employing the ASEAN centrality tactics to attract South Asian nations?
In his speech at Universitas Indonesia on December 14, Mr. Blinken laid out the five core principles shaping the American strategy of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Alongside, he also underlined the mechanisms that the U.S. is adopting to implement these core principles.
He also stressed the following concerns made by ASEAN nations about China’s aggressive actions. For example,
-Claiming open seas as their own,
-Distorting open markets through subsidies to its state-run companies,
-Denying the exports or revoking deals for countries whose policies it does not agree with,
-Engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities.
How the US is trying to counter China’s rise directly in the Indo-Pacific?
The US is trying to counter China mainly in two areas. One is the South China Sea and the second is the investment in the infrastructure development of Southeast Asian countries.
1. South China Sea
The U.S. has continued its Freedom of Navigation Operations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea to challenge unlawful maritime claims by China.
The US has also brought up the 2016 international tribunal ruling which had rejected the Chinese nine-dash-line claims.
2. Infrastructure development
Through infrastructural investments under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has attracted many ASEAN nations. For instance, Chinese investments have driven countries such as Cambodia and Laos to do China’s bidding in the ASEAN, even at the cost of compromising ASEAN’s unity.
To counter this, the US has reiterated that it remains committed to closing the infrastructure gap.
The US has pointed out that the members of the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.) have provided more than $48 billion in government-backed financing for infrastructure for the region.
Further, the U. S is promising to do more under the Build Back Better World initiative and the Blue Dot Network.
The U.S. is also trying to showcase a comprehensive economic framework in the Indo-Pacific.
What is the way forward?
Providing proper alternative models of investments for development in sectors such as infrastructure, digital economy, supply chain, and health for the Southeast Asian nations will be critical.
The economic framework, investment plans, and promises outlined by Mr. Blinken need to be made operational quickly if the US is to show that it is indeed serious about sustained commitment toward the Indo-Pacific.
Source: This post is based on the article “The state is not what one thinks it is” published in Business Standard on 5th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – issues related to governance
Relevance: Idea of State
News: Conferring a limited form of legitimacy to traditional institutions is one way to bring society, nations and super-states back to reality.
The biggest challenge the world faces today is steady collapse of traditional institutions. For instance,
From the United Nations and supra-national bodies like the European Union or the World Trade Organization, not one functions with any amount of efficacy.
Monetary authorities have failed which is why we see such economic disruption and growing belief in non-state currencies like cryptos.
The judiciary has failed almost everywhere except in small countries with a common ethnicity (like the Nordics).
The rise of cult-like leaders in many countries is a desperate move by citizens to see if strongmen can do somewhat better than their failing institutions.
What is the reason for the collapse of traditional institutions?
The reason is we have defined the word “state” to largely conform to the Westphalian idea of it. State does not mean just government, legislature, judiciary or law enforcement. It has to include all institutions that exert authority on the individual.
The reality is many kinds of state which we can loosely define as any institution with some authority over individuals exist. For instance,
The family is a micro-state, for it exercises some control over a few individuals.
The tribe and community also constitute a state, for they influence how their members behave.
Corporate institutions are quasi states, for they can enforce behaviours among employees, vendors, and distributors.
Google, Facebook (now Meta), Twitter and Microsoft are cyber states, and often they exert more influence and know more about their “citizens” than the regular state authorities do.
How the idea of flawed state is impacting Individual rights?
The idea of liberal state was originated to destroy the legitimacy of every other institution because other institutions had not been reformed, or were seen as instruments of oppression.
Though it is important to acknowledge that traditional institutions were oppressive to a greater or lesser degree, but using state power to destroy them completely makes state power itself illegitimate after a point. For example,
After some time when all traditional institutions are destroyed, state will gain so much power as to threaten individual rights itself.
This will force non state actors to overthrow the state and the state, allegedly to protect citizens, demands more powers to invade privacy and make laws that would have not been accepted earlier.
What is the way out?
Need to legally build some legitimacy back into traditional institutions and subject some freedoms of individuals to their rules and internal regulations.
State should be given overriding powers over traditional institutions, and individuals can always be given a right to appeal over the heads of these traditional forms of authority.
The social capital that exists within such traditional institutions, from religious authorities to khap panchayats, must be used for the greater good by making them more accountable and self-regulating.
GS Paper 3
Source: This post is based on the article “Taiwanese manufacturers face unfamiliar conditions in India” published in Livemint on 4th Jan 2022
Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Relevance: Ease of doing business in India, labour issues.
News: Taiwanese firms like Foxconn, Wistron ,Pegatron and Quanta Computer have come to dominate global electronics manufacturing Industry and have had a very strong presence in China till now.
But, recently, they have started to shift their base to India as China is facing labour shortages and to cut their overreliance on China.
However, they are facing some challenges in adapting themselves to the Indian business environment.
What have been the recent incidents that point out towards this?
Incidents at Foxconn and Wistron’s plants in India point out at the difficulties the Taiwanese firms are facing in adjusting to the local business ecosystem.
– Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese supplier of Apple is facing labour upsurges due to concerns about food safety and accommodation standards. More than 17,000 people work at the facility, and in mid-December hundreds of workers contracted food poisoning. More than 150 were hospitalized.
An apple investigation has found that food sanitation and employee accommodation is below the optimal standard.
– A year earlier, workers at a Wistron plant near the tech hub of Bengaluru ransacked that factory after being fed up with delayed and underpaid wages.
How are Chinese and Indian business environment different from each other?
India has its own unique traits and characteristics which are as follows-
Language and cultural barriers: Common language and successive leaders’ pro-business policies in China made it easier to set up production units and hire workers there. In India, they face language barriers, cultural differences and changed political set up.
Infrastructure: India lacks the infrastructure Taiwanese companies are accustomed to relying upon when setting up local facilities.
Management style: Taiwanese businesses generally used their own executives in China, while in India they will have to increasingly rely on local leaders to set up and run operations. This requires adequate training and support so that they can mix the rigid Taiwanese approach to operations with a more relaxed worker culture found in India.
Local governments: Local governments in China will mostly side with companies over workers. That’s less likely in India, where leaders need voter support at election time.
Time availability: When they were setting their plants in China the Taiwanese companies faced similar challenges like in India, but then they had decades to adapt to the local landscape and the demand was also low.
Source: This post is based on the article “Climate crisis in Kerala-An integrated approach is needed to mitigate impact” published in Down to earth on 4th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS3- Disaster and disaster management.
Relevance: Kerala and its vulnerability to climate disasters.
News: Kerala has seen various instances of heavy rains, floods, landslides and droughts over the last few years.
What are the natural disasters that Kerala is prone to?
Landslides: These are triggered by the slope of an area, rainfall intensity, soil saturation capacity, soil depth and geological structure of a location.
Flash Floods: Low-lying areas in the western part of Kerala are prone to flash floods. If the construction is done in areas with drainages, the natural flow of water can be obstructed. It is then highly likely that water will flow into areas where it can flow. It can sometimes be through cities or even places where houses are located. Example: Flood in Kochi airport in 2018.
|Must Read: Has Kerala learnt anything from extreme weather? Apparently not, say experts|
Drought: Although Kerala receives an annual average rainfall of 3,000 mm, but there is possibility of drought also. Kerala experienced drought in 2017. The southern parts of the state (Kollam), central Kerala (Palakkad) and North Kerala (Kannur and Kasaragod districts) generally experience summer droughts (February to May).
What factors make Kerala more vulnerable to the climate change induced disasters?
It is a densely populated (859 per sq km) and geographically small state (38,863 sq km)
The maximum distance between the eastern and western parts of Kerala is only 120 km (in some places it is only 35 km). Within this 120 km, there are places above 2,695 metres (Anamudi, Idukki district) and places up to 2 metres below sea level. Therefore, in case of heavy rainfall, water needs to flow smoothly from the eastern hills of Kerala to the west coast. When this is interrupted, the effects worsen.
Further, Kerala has around 41 rivers and around 58 dams.
|Must Read: Did poor Govt handling in Kerala cause 2018 floods? Yes, says CAG|
What are the reasons for these recurrent natural disasters in Kerala?
Climate change in Kerala is likely due to the combined effect of geography, land-use change, urbanisation, development activities and population density of the state.
Large number of dams impede the natural flow of rivers. Those living along the river banks are most affected when the dams are opened during the rainy season.
Migration of people to the foothills of the Western Ghats for agriculture and housing. The origin of many rivers in Kerala starts from these portions of the Western Ghats. Buildings, roads, agriculture and construction activities obstruct the natural flow of rainwater.
Quarrying, mining and large-scale construction activities can impact the ecological stability of the landscape and can even cause landslides. There are over 5000 quarries in Kerala.
|Must Read: Floods in Europe and lessons for India – Explained, Pointwise|
What is the way forward?
Flood risk zones should be prepared at the micro level to identify, locate and manage the regions most vulnerable to floods.
Rainwater harvesting and protection of watersheds can help alleviate drought to some extent, as this will replenish the groundwater level also.
There’s also a need to create awareness in Kerala
An integrated approach is needed to manage climate change impacts
Source: This post is based on the article “Expect a torrid pace of policy action in our tech space” published in Live Mint on 5th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3– Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
Relevance: Reforms in tech space
News: In 2022, the tech policy space is going to witness a number of new regulations across a number of areas.
Over the past year-and-a-half, the government has undertaken a number of bold and progressive regulatory reforms. We need to ensure that there is no let-up in the pace and progressive approach to regulatory reforms, especially in the tech space.
What were the recent reforms/steps taken in the tech policy space?
Personal data protection Bill: The Joint Parliamentary Committee has submitted its report, and, even though there is some dissent, the bill is on track to becoming a law.
Replacing the Other Service Providers regime with a more benign framework.
Opening up map-making
Enacting new, industry-friendly drone regulations.
Account Aggregator ecosystem for lending. As more banks and financial institutions come on board, many innovative lending products will enter the market.
Launch of the health ID and the establishment of registries for healthcare professionals.
What more reforms are required?
One, the government can establish an easy-to-use framework that enables companies to generate valid, electronically-signed contracts. It would help to significantly streamline a major business bottleneck.
Two, measures should be taken to make it possible to pay stamp duty digitally and electronically register documents that need registration. It will radically simplify business processes, resulting in cost and time savings.
Three, by encouraging mediation and enabling online dispute resolution, the government could make our judicial system much more efficient. It will help in diverting the most contentious disputes away from the courts.
Four, integration of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) into the administrative machinery of courts, will allow us to pay court fees digitally, resulting in more streamlined processes and greater accountability.
Finally, need to ensure that the digital systems reference a common, standardized data taxonomy. It will enable us to use data to provide insight into how the system can be improved.
What further developments are expected in the technology space in 2022?
Re-imagining digital commerce. With all the building blocks are in place; such as robust payment infrastructure, delivery and fulfillment capabilities, and a large mobile-first consumer base. There will be significant progress in building this new paradigm over the year
Crypto Assets: With more effort being invested into integrating these technologies into the mainstream, there will be more activity in this space. India is also more likely to enact some sort of regulatory framework for crypto that will establish an enabling environment for crypto in the country.
Web 3.0 and Metaverse: Though no clarity exists on these technologies, their arrival is imminent.
Greater global cooperation between like-minded countries: With more and more countries having begun to realize the value of developing population-scale data-sharing systems. There will be global cooperation to agree on a set of common principles that will guide the development of these systems.
Source: This post is based on the article “A partnership to carry India into net-zero future” published in Indian Express on 5th Jan 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 -Issues related to Climate change
Relevance: Net zero emission
News: With active cooperation from the private sector, India will be able to help build a more sustainable world.
What are the steps taken by India to reduce GHG emission?
New climate targets have been pledged by India at COP26: Read here: https://blog.forumias.com/indias-panchamrita-pledge-at-cop26-explained-pointwise/
New cutting-edge renewable technologies: India has already announced a Hydrogen Energy Mission for grey and green hydrogen.
Energy efficiency: the market-based scheme of Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) has avoided 92 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions during its first and second cycles.
e-mobility transition: with the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles Scheme. It helps to support the electric vehicle market development and enable its manufacturing ecosystem to achieve self-sustenance. The government has also announced a slew of incentives for customers and companies to promote e-vehicles.
Emission norms Upgraded: India leapfrogged from Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) to Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms by April 1, 2020. A voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles now complements these schemes.
Transition from coal: Indian Railways is targeting the full electrification of all broad-gauge routes by 2023.
Deployment of clean energy: The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has benefitted 88 million households with LPG connections. More than 367 million LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme. It has led to energy savings of more than 47 billion units of electricity per year and a reduction of 38.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
INDC commitment: India has already achieved a reduction of 24 per cent in the emission intensity of its GDP between 2005 and 2016, and is on track to meet its target of 33 to 35 per cent by 2030.
Contribution from Indian Industries: for instance, The Indian cement industry has taken pioneering measures and achieved one of the biggest sectoral low carbon milestones worldwide.
Why the role of Private sector is important?
Since industries also contribute to GHG emissions, any climate action will need to reduce or offset emissions that emerge from industrial and commercial activity.
Transition is relatively easier for Service Sector companies. However, the low-carbon transition is a challenge for bigger companies that are largely coal-powered and contribute more than half of our country’s emissions.
The business fraternity must make the best possible use of this opportunity to invest in climate technologies and expand the use of renewable energy sources.
Syllabus: GS3 – Government Budgeting.
News: Budget serves as an appropriate way in the hands of government through which it can shape the nation’s destiny. Article presents with ideas for the upcoming Budget.
What are the reforms that the government needs to take in the upcoming budget?
1) Free Trade agreements: Impact of the reforms like GST, IBC, and labor codes etc, can be considerably enhanced by improving access to the world markets for entrepreneurs and exposing them to global competition via Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
– FTAs with EU, UK, Canada, Australia and the UAE will serve our economic interests as well as our geopolitical objectives.
– Duty-free access for Indian products to these large markets would accelerate growth.
– These will also help in countering China’s growing influence in the world and specially in Asia.
2) Introducing some changes in the SEZ law: This would make Indian manufacturing firms globally competitive.
– Firms within SEZs need to be given the right to lay off the workers after due compensation. This would contribute to the emergence of large-scale forms in labor-intensive sectors in SEZs.
3) Need to bring some of the very high custom duties down: This unjustifiably punishes the buyers while highly inefficient producers.
4) Education: Govt should bring Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Act that was promised in the budget of 2019-20. Bodies such as All India Council for Technical Education and National Council for Teachers’ Education should be subsumed in HECI.
– India needs to give similar autonomy to at least its leading colleges and universities like that given in the UK on which we have modelled our education system.UK abolished its own University Grants Committee in 1983.
– India must open the door to foreign universities to establish campuses on its shores and to domestic institutions to do the same abroad.
– Finally, research should be moved to universities from the councils, as they have not been very effective.
5) Disinvestment: The government has been setting very huge targets for disinvestment and consequently failed to meet those targets. For instance: In the Union Budget for 2020-21, the target was Rs 2.1 trillion, and it was missed by almost Rs 1.8 trillion.
– The government needs to detach the disinvestment and privatisation programme from the year-to-year fiscal needs.
– It can introduce an institutional set-up which identifies the companies for privatisation on some set rules and standards, and not on the basis of the revenue they are likely to bring in. There is also a need to improve the standards and quality of their paperwork to the levels expected by private sector bidders.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: This post is based on the article “Understanding IC15, India’s first crypto index” published in Livemint on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
Superapp CryptoWire recently launched India’s first cryptocurrency index, IC15. It will measure the performance of the 15 most widely traded cryptocurrencies listed on leading crypto exchanges by market capitalization.
Aim: a) To increase awareness and knowledge of the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, and b) To help investors understand how virtual coin trading works.
How is IC15 constructed?
An Index Governance Committee (IGC) of domain experts, industry practitioners, and academicians will select cryptocurrencies from the top 400 coins in terms of market capitalization. It will also be in charge of monitoring and maintaining the index, including reshuffling of the top 15 cryptos.
The index has a low correlation with other asset classes, as gains in IC15 would not mirror gains in other asset classes.
As of January 1, 2022, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Solana are sitting on the top four positions on the IC15 index.
Eligibility conditions: The eligible cryptocurrency
– should have traded on at least 90% of the days during the review period and
– Should be among the 100 most liquid cryptocurrencies in terms of trading value.
– Should be in the top 50 in terms of the circulating market capitalization.
The committee will then select the top 15 cryptocurrencies. The index will be reviewed quarterly.
What is its significance?
According to CryptoWire, IC15 can be replicated for creating index-linked products such as index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
IC15 is the first index in India that can act as a benchmark of the underlying cryptocurrency market and the performance benchmark for fund managers.
Moreover, robo-advisors, which provide financial advice with moderate to minimal human intervention, can use this index to create investment products at lower costs.
|Must Read: Cryptocurrencies in India: Ban or regulation – Explained, pointwise|
Can index-based crypto investing reduce risks?
Index investing can be an effective way to diversify against risks, as a fund invests in a basket of assets against a few limited coins.
However, index-based investing may not fully remove risks associated with investing in crypto assets. For instance: IC15 saw a 50% plunge in 2018, whereas other asset classes have seen a maximum drop in the range of 3-4%.
Further, bitcoin and Ethereum have a combined weightage of 77% in the index, making it highly vulnerable to any volatility in these two coins.
Can Crypto funds be launched in India?
Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman recently asked mutual fund houses not to launch crypto-based funds until the Centre comes out with clear regulations.
This means asset management companies for now won’t be able to launch crypto funds based on IC15.
However, in the absence of any regulations, crypto platforms can offer products based on the index. For instance: Global crypto investment platform Mudrex, in 2021, launched Coin Sets—crypto funds based on themes such as decentralized finance or market cap.
Source: This post is based on the article “India questions China’s developing country status on per capita basis” published in Business Standard on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
During the latest round of China’s trade policy review, India questioned China’s claim that it was a developing country.
Also, the US has been demanding that countries like China and India should voluntarily give up the benefits given to developing countries at the WTO, on account of their rapid economic progress. However, both India and China have opposed such a move.
How the World Bank categorises countries based on income?
The World Bank assigns the world’s economies to four income groups—low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries.
The classifications are updated each year on July 1 and are based on GNI (Gross National Income) per capita (in current $) of the previous year.
|Categorisation||Per Capita Income (PCI)||Examples (PCI)|
|High income||$12,696 or more||USA ($63,413)|
|Upper Middle income||$12,695 to $4,096||China ($10,435)|
|Low Middle income||$4095 to $1046||India ($1928)|
|Low income||$1045 or less|
Hence, China’s per capita income of $10,435 for 2020, makes it an upper middle income country, while India’s per capita income of $1928 makes it a low middle income country
What is the significance of this classification?
A member describing itself as a developing country can make use of the advantageous provisions available to such countries. All WTO agreements contain special provisions for developing countries, including longer periods to implement agreements and commitments, handle disputes and implement technical standards.
|Note: Owing to the lack of proper definitions, WTO members themselves declare whether they are “developed” or “developing” countries. (Members can challenge each other’s declared status)|
Have other countries questioned China’s developing status?
Apart from India, Brazil, Indonesia and the European Union have also questioned China’s developing country status.
How has China responded?
China, in its reply to India, said that
– The concept of developing countries is relative to developed countries, and international organisations do not have a unified definition of developing countries.
– India also asked China to explain its shift from a stage of high-speed growth to a stage of high-quality development, as it has claimed. China replied that under ‘high-quality development’ innovation becomes the first driving force. Entering the stage of high-quality development, the main characteristics of China’s economic development are: shifts from high-speed to medium-high speed in economic growth, from pursuit of scale and speed to quality and efficiency in economic development, from a focus on capacity increase to a balance between adjusting existing resources and optimising additional resources.
Replying to the EU, it said that,
– Though its economic and social development has made great progress after decades of reforms, the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development remains.
Source: This post is based on the article “Why can’t we throw all our trash into a volcano and burn it up?” published in Down to Earth on 4th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
Throwing all our waste into the volcano and burning is not feasible. The article explains the reasons.
Why can’t we throw all our rubbish into a volcano and burn it up?
Firstly, although lava at 1100oC can melt many materials in the trash — including food scraps, paper, plastics, glass and some metals — it’s not hot enough to melt many other common materials, including steel, nickel and iron.
Secondly, there aren’t many volcanoes on Earth that have lava lakes, or bowl-like craters full of lava, where trash could be dumped into. Of the thousands of volcanoes on Earth, scientists know of only eight with active lava lakes.
They include Kilauea, Mount Erebus in Antarctica and Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Most active volcanoes have craters filled with rocks and cooled lava, like Mount St Helens, or with water, like Crater Lake in Oregon.
Thirdly, dumping rubbish into active lava lakes would also be a very dangerous job. Lava lakes are covered with a crust of cooling lava, but just below that crust they are molten and intensely hot. If rocks or other materials fall onto the surface of a lava lake, they will break the crust, disrupt the underlying lava and cause an explosion.
Fourthly, When plastics, garbage and metals burn, they release a lot of toxic gases. Volcanoes already give off tons of toxic gases, including sulphur, chlorine and carbon dioxide.
Sulphur gases can create acidic fog, which we call “vog,” for “volcanic fog.” It can kill plants and cause breathing problems for people nearby. Mixing these already-dangerous volcanic gases with other gases from burning trash would make the resulting fumes even more harmful for people and plants near the volcano.
Finally, many indigenous communities view nearby volcanoes as sacred places. Throwing garbage into volcanoes would be a huge insult to those cultures.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘YEAR END REVIEW-2021: DEPARTMENT OF POSTS’ published in PIB on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
Department of Posts (DoP) has been the backbone of the country’s communication.It has taken several steps in the year 2021 to strengthen the postal system of India.
Several of those steps are:
Supply Chain and e-Commerce
Nanyatha: It is an app-based monitoring system that contains data pertaining to the location of the letter box, date and time of clearance, number of letters picked up and postal staff number.
Automated Postal Bill of Export (PBE) Software: It is being developed by DoP.It will ease the process of commercial export through the Postal Channel by enabling customs clearance in digital mode.
International Business Center (IBC): It was inaugurated at Surat to provide a much-needed platform in the region to boost commercial export and will fulfill the demands of exporters.
Banking Services and Financial Inclusion:
Economic Empowerment of Girl Child: Sukanya Samriddhi Account(SSA) scheme was launched by Prime Minister in 2015. The main aim of the scheme is to encourage parents of a girl child in order to create a fund for the future education and marriage expenses for their child.
Approximately 86% of the total SSA accounts in the country are through Post Offices only.
Postal Life Insurance
Sankalan: It is a e-compendium comprising Post Office Life Insurance Rules, various Standard Operating Procedures, Forms among others.It was released for ease of officials working at various offices as well as for the use of customers and is also available on website.
Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana: It was launched to provide affordable life insurance services to people, particularly those living in rural areas of the country. Under this, at least one village (having a minimum of 100 households) will be identified in each of the revenue districts of the country. The endeavour will be made to cover all households of that identified village with a minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each.
DARPAN (Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office): It is a part of larger IT modernisation project being undertaken by the DoP.The project aims to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster(BPM) which will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to improve the level of services being offered to rural customers across all the states.
Year End Review – 2021 for Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Source:This post is based on the article ‘Year End Review – 2021 for Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry’ published in PIB on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
The Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has taken several steps in the year 2021.
Several of these steps are:
Production Linked Incentive Scheme: PLI schemes for 14 key sectors of manufacturing has been launched. These 14 sectors are: (i) Automobiles and Auto Components, (ii) Pharmaceuticals Drugs (iii) Specialty Steel (iv) Telecom & Networking Products (v) Electronic/Technology Products (vi) White Goods (ACs and LED Lights) (vii) Food Products (viii) Textile Products: MMF segment and technical textiles (ix) High efficiency solar PV modules (x) Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery (xi) Medical devices (xii) Large scale electronics manufacturing including mobile phones (xiii) Critical Key Starting materials /Drug intermediaries and API and (xiv) Drones and Drone Components.
Foreign Direct Investment: India registered its highest ever annual FDI inflow of US$ 81.97 billion (provisional figures) in the financial year 2020-21.
Insurance Sector: Government has raised the permissible FDI limit from 49% to 74% in Insurance Companies under the automatic route and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards.
Petroleum & Natural Gas sector: Government has raised the foreign investment up to 100% under the automatic route. It has happened in cases where the Government has accorded an ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) engaged in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector.
Telecom sector: Government has raised the foreign investment up to 100% under automatic route in Telecom services sector.
13th BRICS Summit: It was held under India’s Chairship in 2021. It was the third time that India hosted the BRICS Summit, after 2012 and 2016. The theme for India’s Chairship was ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.
Source:This post is based on the article ‘New education policy follows Mahatma Gandhi’s “Nai Talim” in terms of mother tongue: Vice President’ published in PIB on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
The Vice President of India recently said that the New Education Policy follows the ‘Nai Talim’ of Mahatma Gandhi by giving importance to the mother tongue as the medium of instruction at school level.
He was speaking at the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University.
What is Nai Talim of Mahatma Gandhi?
The phrase Nai Talim is a combination of two words- Nai Means ‘New’ and Talim – a Urdu word-means ‘Education’.
Mahatma Gandhi introduced the concept of Nai Talim in 1937.
The concept laid emphasis on making mother tongue as the medium of instruction in addition to free compulsory education and skill training to the students.
The concept was based on four basic principles:
– Education or learning in mother tongue along with handicraft work
– Work should be linked with most useful vocational needs of the locality
– Learning should be linked with vocational work and
– Work should be socially useful and productive.
About Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University
It was established to fulfil a dream of Mahatma Gandhi. He was of the firm opinion that Hindi should not only be the national language of the country, but it should also gain the status of a world language
The dream of Gandhi was reflected in the resolutions passed by the First World Hindi Conference organized in Nagpur in the year 1975.
The first resolution demanded Hindi to be made one of the official languages of the United Nations Organisation and the second resolved to establish an International Hindi University at Wardha.
Subsequently, the University was established by a bill passed by the Parliament in 1997
Source:This post is based on the article ‘ISRO gearing up for multiple space missions in 2022’ published in The Hindu on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for a number of missions in 2022.
What are the missions that will be launched by ISRO in upcoming years?
First unmanned mission of Gaganyaan: It is expected to be launched before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence (August 15, 2022).
Disha: It is a twin-satellite system that will study Earth’s aeronomy, the uppermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere.
Trishna: It stands for Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High-resolution Natural resource Assessment.It is a joint mission of ISRO and CNES, the French space agency.It is meant for accurate mapping of land surface temperature.It is scheduled for a 2024 launch.
EOS-4 and EOS-6: These are Earth Observation Satellites.They will be launched on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
NISAR [NASA-ISRO SAR] mission: It is scheduled for launch in 2023.It is optimised for studying hazards and global environmental change and can help manage natural resources better and provide information to scientists to better understand the effects and pace of climate change.
X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat): It is a ISRO planned space observatory to study polarisation of cosmic X-rays.It is planned to be launched in the second quarter of 2022.The telescope is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Raman Research Institute.
Aditya-L1: It is India’s first solar mission.
Chandrayaan-3: It is a third lunar mission of ISRO.It is planned to demonstrate India’s capability of soft landing on a celestial body, with the rover then communicating with Earth via the existing orbiter from Chandrayaan-2.It is planned to be launched in the third quarter of 2022.
Shukrayaan Mission: It is expected to be launched in 2024 by ISRO.It will study Venus for four years.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘ICMR approves indigenous kit to detect Omicron’ published in The Hindu on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the news?
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a kit named OmiSure. It will be used to detect Omicron.
What is OmiSure?
The kit is manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics.
The kit will be used to confirm Omicron in patients with its S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy.
What are S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) cases?
The Covid-19 tests such as RT-PCR target “multiple genes” of the virus so that a broad range of variants are covered.
For example, ‘S’ Gene, ORF, ‘N’ gene, ‘E’ gene etc are viral genes that are targeted to detect COVID-19 virus.
In case of the Omicron variant, the ‘S’ gene is not getting detected in RT-PCR test due to mutation in the gene while other gene targets are getting detected. This occurrence is called ‘S’ Gene Target Failure (SGTF) positive cases. Such samples can be presumptively reported as Omicron positive.
Other News Covered in the Article
WHO to setup SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium
WHO is proposing to set up a SARS-CoV-2 genomics consortium in Southeast Asia. The consortium will help enhance genomic sequencing and surveillance.
This will also help improve the timely use of genomic data for public health decision-making and to strengthen preparedness and response to future outbreaks/ pandemics.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences launches eOffice’ published in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences(CCRAS) has initiated the use of eOffice for its official purposes.
What is an eOffice Platform?
It has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Purpose: It is a digital workplace solution that comprises a suite of products and features that supports efficient and transparent governance by streamlining all workflow and making all procedures paperless.
Other Portals mentioned in Article
SPARROW: It stands for Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window (SPARROW). It is a project for online writing of the Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR).
AYUSH Research Portal: It is meant for disseminating the knowledge of AYUSH systems and the current research updates, purely meant for academic purposes.
|Read more: Role of AYUSH during pandemic and its challenges – Explained, Pointwise|
What is the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS)?
It is an autonomous body of the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).
It is an apex body in India for the formulation, coordination, development and promotion of research on scientific lines in the Ayurveda and Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine.
|Read more: Explained: Surgery as part of Ayurveda|
Project Beacon and Project Vijayak: Border Roads Organisation breaks record at ZojiLa battling extreme weather conditions
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Border Roads Organisation breaks record at ZojiLa battling extreme weather conditions’ published in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
Border Roads Organisation(BRO) through its frontline projects – Vijayak and Beacon has created a new record by keeping the Zoji La pass on the Srinagar–Leh National Highway open for vehicular traffic (Usually, it remains closed in winters due to high snow).
Zoji La: It is a high mountain pass located in the Kargil district of Ladakh. It links the Union Territory of Ladakh with the rest of the country.
What is Project Beacon?
It was launched in the 1960’s. This is the oldest project of the BRO. The project currently looks after road infrastructure development and maintenance in the important areas of Kashmir.
What is Project Vijayak?
It was launched by BRO in 2010. Project Vijayak along with Project Himank are responsible for the construction and maintenance of critical road infrastructure in Ladakh.
|Read more: Border Roads Organisation constructs strategic bridge in Arunachal Pradesh|
What are the other important projects of BRO?
Project DANTAK: It was established in 1961 with the objective of developing roads, telecommunication networks and other such landmark infrastructure-related projects in Bhutan.
Project Sampark: It was raised by BRO in 1975. It looks after the construction, improvement and maintenance of strategic roads in the border district of Jammu, Kathua, Doda, Udhampur, Rajouri, Reasi and Poonch.
|Read More: Project Himank and Umling La Pass|
Source: This post is based on the article ‘States told to share intel on common grid’ published in The Hindu on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
The Union government has asked the States to share more intelligence inputs through the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC).
What is a Multi-Agency Centre(MAC)?
MAC is a common counter-terrorism grid under the Intelligence Bureau. It was made operational in 2001 following the Kargil War.
Purpose: It is the nodal agency for the exchange of intelligence collected by various agencies and police forces across the country.
Headquarters: The national-level MAC is located in Delhi, while state capitals have subsidiary MACs(SMACs) where daily meetings are held to analyse inputs received in the previous 24 hours.
Note: Multi-Agency Centre(MAC) is different from Crime Multi-Agency Centre(Cri-MAC). Cri-MAC was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2020 to share information between various police forces on heinous crimes and other issues related to interstate coordination.
|Read more: National Intelligence Grid|
Source: This post is based on the article ‘World powers vow to stop spread of nuclear weapons’ published in The Hindu on 5th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
Five permanent United Nations Security Council members (China, France, Russia, the UK and US) have pledged to prevent atomic weapons from spreading and to avoid nuclear conflict.
This pledge was made ahead of a review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),1970.
What is the pledge made by the Five permanent UNSC members?
Firstly, the spread of atomic weapons must be prevented. This is because a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
Secondly, they emphasized that the avoidance of war between the Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as their foremost responsibilities
Thirdly, they said that Nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war.
Fourthly, they have pledged to abide by a key article in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under which countries have committed to full future disarmament from nuclear weapons.
Note: Nuclear weapons have only been used in the conflict in the US bombings of Japan at the end of World War II.
Lastly, they have also expressed their intention to maintain and further strengthen their national measures to prevent unauthorised or unintended use of nuclear weapons.
|Read more: At the edge of a new nuclear arms race|
What is the significance of this pledge?
The pledge comes as tensions between Russia and the US have reached heights rarely seen since the Cold War over a Russian troop build-up close to the Ukrainian border.
|Read more: Ukraine conflict and its implications for India – Explained, pointwise|
Moreover, the statement also comes at a time when the world powers seek to reach an agreement with Iran on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which became toothless by the US walking out of the accord in 2018.
Automatic Generation Control(AGC): Union Minister of Power and NRE dedicates Automatic Generation Control to the nation
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Union Minister of Power and NRE dedicates Automatic Generation Control to the nation’ published in PIB on 4th Jan 2022.
What is the News?
The Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy has launched the Automatic Generation Control(AGC).
What is the need for Automatic Generation Control(AGC)?
Renewable energy (RE) generation in India has been on a steady rise. However, the fluctuating nature of energy from renewables requires power balancing in real-time to keep supply and demand in sync. Hence, the AGC has been launched.
|Read more: Green Energy Initiatives in Budget 2021- Explained|
How will Automatic Generation Control(AGC) help?
Operated by: AGC is being operated by Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) through the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC).
Function: Through AGC, NLDC can send signals to more than 50 power plants in the country every 4 seconds to maintain the frequency and reliability of the Indian Power System. This will ensure more efficient and automatic frequency control for handling variable and intermittent renewable generation.
|Read more: [Yojana December Summary] Self-reliance in Energy Sector – Explained, pointwise|
What is the significance of this launch?
This is expected to facilitate achieving the government’s ambitious target of 500 GW non-fossil fuel-based generation capacity by 2030.
|Read more: [Yojana October Summary] Energy Security: Nuclear Power – Explained, pointwise|
News: Air India and several other airlines have cancelled flights to the US. They are worried that the 5G roll-out there may affect aircraft and passenger safety, a concern raised by Boeing and Airbus in the past. Read more about the issue here; https://blog.forumias.com/why-5g-roll-outs-are-disrupting-flights-to-the-us/ How do flight radar altimeters help in safe flight operations? For… Continue reading Explained: The concern over 5G and flight safety
News: Experts discuss the perceived threats due to inflation and suggests what governments fiscal policy can do to contain inflation Some analysts believe that the government must limit its spending to prevent price rise from getting out of control. (Retail inflation is close to 6%, the wholesale inflation rate is in double digits). Other analysts,… Continue reading Should the government loosen its purse strings?
News: Supply-based interventions can help in increasing demand and thereby have a positive impact on the economy. That is why they are a popular public-policy choice. What is “Says law”? It says supply creates its own demand. However, John M. Keynes has refuted “Say’s Law”. According to Keynes, say’s law was the only major tenet… Continue reading Say’s Law works: Supply does create its own demand
News: Amazon’s legal dispute throws light on uncertainties, quality of legal and regulatory protection that investors face in India. What is Amazon’s legal dispute? Recently, Amazon was fined by the Indian competition watchdog. Its capital infusion in Future Coupons during 2019 was put in suspension. The Competition Commission said it was denied an opportunity to… Continue reading Amazon’s legal entanglement in India offers a cautionary tale
News: The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 has been released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). What is the Indian state of Forest Report 2021? ISFR 2021 shows an increase of 154 0 km² of Forest area. They also contain data on growing stocks, carbon stock, forest cover etc. The assessment is… Continue reading About the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021: Counting trees properly
What is the news? The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) has launched several initiatives in the year 2021. Initiatives by MeitY in 2021 Common Services Centers (CSCs) e-District Mission Mode Project (MMP): e-District is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) that aims at electronic delivery of identified high volume citizen centric services at the district… Continue reading YEAR END REVIEW 2021: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
What is the News? The Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI) has launched several initiatives in the year 2021. Initiatives by MoFPI in 2021 National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) Act 2021: It was passed in 2021 to declare NIFTEM and IIFPT as Institutions of National Importance (INI). The INI status will enable… Continue reading Year-End Review of Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI)
What is the news? The Ministry of Defence has launched several initiatives in the year 2021. Initiatives by MoD in 2021 Missiles: Brahmos, Tejas, Astra, Arjun Main Battle Tank, Shakti, Indigenous Aircraft Carrier(IAC) ‘Vikrant’, INS Visakhapatnam, INS Vela, Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo(SMART), Agni-P, Vertically Launched Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM), Akash Prime, Pinaka-ER,… Continue reading Year End Review – 2021 of Ministry of Defence
What is the news? Government of India’s recent draft proposal proposes to change the moisture content limit for wheat and paddy. This has made farmers worried ahead of the rabi procurement season that begins April 2022. What is Moisture Content? Moisture content (MC) is the weight of water contained in paddy or wheat expressed in… Continue reading Centre may reduce the moisture content limit for wheat, paddy. Why this will hurt farmers
What is the news? An improved version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha. What is Brahmos Missile? Click Here to read about it How was this Brahmos missile test different from earlier? Firstly, the BrahMos that was originally built… Continue reading 70% indigenous BrahMos cruise missile test-fired