9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 8th, 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

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Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

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China’s new land boundary law fits in its expansionism

Source: This post is based on the article “China’s new land boundary law fits in its expansionism” published in The Indian express on 8th Jan 2022 

Syllabus: GS2-India and its neighbourhood- relations. 

Relevance: Indo-China relations. 

News: China has been over the years aggressively pushing for consolidating its claims on border territories disputed with India through various steps like building Border Infrastructure, modernising its armed forces etc. 

The latest in line of these measures is the introduction of a new land border law. 

What is this new land border law? 

Read here. 

How will this new law affect India? 

China with the help of this law will try to convert a territory dispute over borders into a sovereignty dispute and prevent any give or take of territory.  

Also, China will attempt to settle its Han population in the border villages of Tibetan regions, reversing established demographic patterns. 

It will also help it to make any negotiation beyond the limits of these villages an impossible process. 

As according to the Border Defence Cooperation Agreements of 2005 and 2012 , any negotiations for border settlements will be done keeping in mind the convenience of the local population in the border regions. 

What has been China’s history in terms of its expansionist tendencies? 

Chinese have always been an expansionist civilisation. 

From the days of Qing dynasty to the 20th century they have resisted several occasions where the other parties have involved to delineate the boundary with China. 

Even during the Simla Convention of 1913-14, China refused to recognise any demarcation of boundaries between Tibet and China. 

Note- Simla Convention officially the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet was an ambiguous treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet and Great Britain. 

Since then, China has attempted to increase its territorial reach through alleged ancient maps, ambiguous treaties and declarations. 

What is the Current Chinese expansionist strategy like? 

China has till now used the strong-arm tactics with both India and Bhutan but has now changed its strategy of dealing with Bhutan.  

China strengthening connectivity in Chumbi valley: Eastern Command chief - The HinduIt has offered to forgo its claims in the larger parts of North Bhutan in lieu of gaining a relatively smaller area in West Bhutan. 

This will help China in expanding into the Chumbi Valley in the South, threatening the narrow and strategic Siliguri corridor in India. 

It has also made a new claim on Sakteng sanctuary in Bhutan which may form a launchpad for future operations against Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. 

China has also strengthened its operation with its all weather friend Pakistan. China has a lot of army personnel exchange program with it. 

China has been giving “confrontational training” to its troops and officers to prepare them for any emergency action. 

What can be the reasons for the recent aggressive expansionist tendencies of China? 

The recent stand-off at Ladakh may be triggered due to following factors apart from the general expansionist tendencies of Beijing:

– Abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. 

India’s rapid development of communications in the border areas (roads, habitats and airfields). 

Modernisation of India’s Armed Forces. 

Attempt by China to physically link with Pakistan in the Northern Areas by removing the Indian wedge of DBO (Daulat beg oldie) which can serve as the doorway to the Karakoram Pass. 

What is the way forward? 

India cannot rely exclusively on purely military actions and will need a comprehensive strategy to overcome its disadvantages and secure a long term solution. 

ForumIAS is now in Hyderabad. Click here to know more

As parties get an EC raise, the high ambition and low reach of poll expense limits

Source: This post is based on the article As parties get an EC raise, the high ambition and low reach of poll expense limits” published in The Indian express on 7th Jan 2022 

Syllabus: GS2- Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. 

Relevance: Election expenses. 

News: Election Commission has raised the expenditure limit of candidates to Rs 95 lakh (up from Rs 70 lakh) each for Lok Sabha elections, and up to Rs 40 lakh (up from Rs 28 lakh) for Assembly polls. 

Similarly, for smaller states the new limit is Rs 28 lakh, up from Rs 20 lakh. 

What is meant by election expenditure limit? 

Expenditure limit refers to the amount a candidate is allowed to legally spend on election campaigning, including public meetings, rallies, advertisements, posters and banners, and vehicles.  

All candidates are required to submit their expenditure statement to the EC within 30 days of completion of an election. 

There is no limit on how much a political party can spend on elections, but they have to submit a statement of their expenditure to the EC within 90 days of completion of the elections.  

The money spent on star campaigners is credited to the party’s account rather than the candidate. 

What are the reasons for the revision of the election expense? 

Rise in number of electors: Number of total voters in the country has increased from 834 million in 2014 to 936 million now.  

This means that each candidate is covering a much larger group of electors.  

Cost Inflation Index (CFI)– has gone up from ‘240’ in FY 2014-15 to ‘317’ in current FY. 

It is used to estimate the increase in prices of goods and assets and fall in purchasing power of money year-on-year due to inflation. 

EC had also set up a committee in 2020, comprising retired IRS officer Harish Kumar, and other senior officers of the election commission to consider the change in the expense limits. 

Demand by Political Parties-Political parties have time and again argued that the limit on the legal expenditure of candidates is not realistic. 

They also wanted the election expense to be revised to cover the added expense parties had to bear due to digital campaigning on account of Covid.  

What are the legal provisions regarding election expenditure? 

Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 mentions that every candidate must keep an account of all expenditure incurred from the date on which they are nominated to the date of declaration of the result. 

Section 10A of the Act also states that an incorrect account or expenditure beyond the cap can lead to disqualification of a candidate for up to three years. 

Have there been any studies about election expenses in India? 

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in 2021 did a study analysing election expenditure statements of 538 of 543 MPs elected in 2019.  

This showed that they had on paper spent an average amount of Rs 50.84 lakh, or 73% of the expense limit. 

Instability in Kazakhstan will resonate in regional geopolitics

Source: This post is based on the following articles:”Instability in Kazakhstan will resonate in regional geopolitics” published in the Indian Express on 8th January 2022.

Russia led troops deployed in Kazakhstan” published in The Hindu on 8th January 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 International Relations.

Reference: Understanding the ongoing crisis in Kazakhstan.

News: Violent unrest has been taken in Kazakhstan after the increase in fuel prices.

What are the reasons for the crisis in Kazakhstan?

1) Rise in LPG prices 2) Inflation 3) Unrest against the authoritarian government.

Read more: India – Central Asia Relations – Explained, pointwise
What are the consequences of the protest?

– Killings of dozens of security and police personnel and arrest of over 2000 protesters.

– Possibility of bringing disturbance in the Central Asian region, especially after the Taliban takeover.

– It can complicate India plans to bring stability in the region.

Also read: Explained: Why is India hosting an NSAs’ meeting on Afghanistan with regional players?
Importance of Kazakhstan

Despite having an autocratic government and having a deeply unequal society, the country holds significant strategic importance in the region. This is the reason that neither China nor Russia can afford political instability, and Russia continues to be the main security provider in the region.

How is the Kazakhstan government handling the crisis?

Kazakhstan is seeking military aid from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation — a Russia-led security alliance of former Soviet republics and Russian “peacekeeping” troops to bring stability to the region.

Read More: India’s quest for connectivity to Central Asia

Suggestions to Improve the performance of BIS: BIS celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Source: This post is based on the article BIS celebrates its 75th Anniversarypublished in PIB on 8th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 

Relevance: Ways to improve the performance of BIS.

News: The Union Consumer Affairs Minister has addressed the 75th-anniversary event of the Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS).

Click Here to Read about Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS)

What are the key suggestions given by the Union Consumer Affairs Minister to Improve the performance of BIS?

Firstly, BIS should move from the concept of 3S- Speed, Skill and Scale to 4S – Speed, Skill, Scale and Standards.

Secondly, BIS has been contributing to the national economy through its core activities of “Standardization and Certification”. Now it is time for BIS to plan and chart out a 25-year agenda until 2047.

Thirdly, BIS should be a facilitator, not an obstructer. It should develop as a global organization by learning from the experiences of other countries and integrating with international standards.

Fourthly, BIS should bring a quality or standard revolution through One Nation One Standard. But while ensuring quality, it should not become expensive.

Fifthly, BIS should work on GAP analysis to assess attesting laboratory needs of the country and set up high-quality modern labs across India.

Note: A GAP analysis is the process companies use to compare their current performance with their desired, expected performance. 

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

DNA from air may help identify, track animals in the wild: Studies

Source: This post is based on the article ‘DNA from air may help identify, track animals in the wild: Studies’ published in Down To Earth on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

Researchers have found that environmental DNA (e-DNA) can boost biodiversity conservation efforts across the world.

What is Environmental DNA (e-DNA)?

Environmental DNA or eDNA is DNA that is collected from a variety of environmental samples such as soil, seawater, snow or air rather than directly sampled from an individual organism. 

Example sources of eDNA include faeces, mucus, gametes, shed skin, carcasses and hair.

Note: e-DNA isn’t a new idea. Biologists have frequently observed aquatic organisms by sequencing e-DNA from water samples.
What are the findings of the study conducted by the researchers?

Researchers have found that Airborne DNA (Sampling the air around animals) can yield valuable genetic material that can identify ecological interaction between different species, besides recognising the animals.

Method to identify the animal using DNA from air: After extracting DNA from the air, the researchers made copies using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The last step is DNA sequencing. They then compared the sequencing results with known sequences to identify the animal.

Significance: Airborne e-DNA could help understand the composition of animal communities and detect the spread of non-native species.It can also aid in tracking long-distance migratory birds and other birds’ flying patterns.

India climbing up the ladder of emerging tech patents, shows data

Source: This post is based on the article ‘India climbing up the ladder of emerging tech patents, shows data’ published in Business Standard on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

According to data from global IP research and consultancy firm Sagacious IP, Intellectual Property(IP) regime in India is exploding with patent applications.

What is the data regarding patent applications in India in emerging technologies?

Domestic and global companies in emerging technologies have filed over 80,000 applications in India between 2016 and 2020.

Areas: Around 70% of all technology patents have been filed in areas ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data to cloud, Edge, cybersecurity, and real time processing. 

Patents in Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI accounted for 6% of all emerging technology patents filed in the last five years. Consumer electronics, personal computing devices and healthcare are the key focus areas for patents in India in AI. 

Patents in Internet of Things (IoT):  In the IoT space, around 5,300 patents were filed in India in the last decade. But 87% of these patents were filed only in 2016-2020. Among them, 40%  of the patents filed in IoT in India originated in the US, followed by India with 33%.

Vehicle Infotainment (electric vehicles): China filed the highest number of patents in the last five years in this sector. It was followed by US, India and Taiwan.

What can be inferred from the increase in patents in India in emerging technologies?

India is being seen as an important market at par with the US and China in areas like AI, IoT, and electric vehicle technology. Hence, that’s why more patents will be filed in India in the coming years.

Govt’s clean cooking scheme may leverage roof-top solar energy

Source: This post is based on the article Govt’s clean cooking scheme may leverage roof-top solar energypublished in Livemint on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The Government of India is planning to take several steps to transition towards clean energy.

What are the steps planned by India to transition towards clean energy?

Firstly, Clean Cooking Mission: Under this mission, the Government of India is exploring a hybrid model to leverage the roof-top solar energy for cooking.

The plan may also comprise in-house battery infrastructure for energy storage to provide uninterrupted electricity to around 250 million households.

Benefits of this proposed mission: a) It will reduce imports of costly fossil fuels b) add heft to India’s green energy credentials and c) help create demand for a solar equipment manufacturing ecosystem for ingots, wafers, cells and modules.

Secondly, the Government of India may waive the ₹400 per tonne cess on coal used by power projects that meet certain emission norms.

Thirdly, the Government is planning to launch a Roadmap for Sustainable and Holistic Approach through National Energy Efficiency (ROSHNEE) scheme. The scheme is aimed at helping India meet the climate commitments made at the Conference of Parties (COP-26) summit in Glasgow.

Fourthly, the Government of India has made it mandatory for coal-fuelled projects to use at least 5% biomass pellets as part of fuel mix to generate electricity and help farmers earn about ₹15,000 crore annually.

Year End Review 2021 for Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Source: This post is based on the article Year End Review 2021 for Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industrypublished in PIB on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the news?

The Department of Commerce has taken several steps during the year 2021.

Measures taken by Commerce Ministry

Merchandise Exports: Department of Commerce has set a target of US$ 400 billion of merchandise exports by the year 2021-22. Currently, merchandise exports have reached 65% of the target of USD 400 Billion till November 2021.

Services Exports: India’s share in world commercial services exports has increased from 3.5% in 2019 to 4.1% in 2020 leading to improvement of India’s rank in leading exporters of commercial services from 8th to 7th in 2020.

India and Mauritius signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA)

Foreign Trade Policy(FTP) 2015-20 was extended for the year 2021-22 i.e. up to 31st March 2022.The policy outlines government strategies and steps to promote domestic production and exports to drive economic growth.

Scheme for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP)

Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) 

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have launched negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

India Pavilion at World Expo 2020 at Dubai: World Expo 2020 is being held in Dubai.The main theme of World Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. 

Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

National Logistics Policy: The Policy targets to reduce the cost of logistics by about 5% over the next 5 years, achieving a ranking in the top 25 of major global logistics-related performance indices, and encouraging environmentally sustainable, inclusive and future ready logistics.

PM Gati Shakti NMP

Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES): The scheme aims to enhance export competitiveness by supporting development of export linked infrastructure that can be utilized by multiple exporters. The scheme has been extended further for 5 years, i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Agriculture Export Policy

Blockchain Technology in GrapeNet: APEDA implemented a Blockchain solution as part of its GrapeNet traceability system. The Blockchain technology helped to track all the activities and steps involved in the grape life cycle, right from farm allocation to the delivery of grapes.

Coffee Development Programme in Odisha: Coffee Board has initiated a programme with the Government of Odisha to promote coffee and black pepper cultivation by tribals in Koraput District.

Rubber Census: Rubber Board is conducting national census on rubber by using digitized mobile application, ‘RUBAC’, developed in association with Digital University, Kerala. The census aims to ascertain the area under rubber, new-planted area, re-planted area, the age profile of trees among others.

Year-End- Review of Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution– 2021

Source: This post is based on the article Year-End- Review of Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution– 2021published in PIB on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has taken various steps in the year 2021.

Measures taken by Min of Consumer Affairs

Price Monitor Cell: It monitors wholesale and retail prices of 22 essential commodities (Rice, Wheat, Atta, Gram Dal, Tur Dal etc)

Consumer Protection Act, 2019 

Bureau of Indian Standards

South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO): It is a Specialized Body of SAARC. It was established in 2011 to achieve and enhance coordination and cooperation among SAARC Member states in the fields of standardization and conformity assessment. It is having its Secretariat at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Product Certification Scheme: BIS operates a Product Certification Scheme under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016. The certification scheme is voluntary in nature, except for products that have been made compulsory by the Central Government on various considerations.

Mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery/artefacts

BIS CARE mobile app: It facilitates stakeholders to verify authenticity of ISI mark, Registered Jewellers and marked electronic goods under Compulsory Registration Scheme (CRS).The app also facilitates users in submitting complaints. Feature for ‘Know Your Standards’ and finding laboratories empaneled/recognized by BIS have also been added.

Conformity Assessment Portal: It enables domestic manufacturers to apply for grant of licence for use of Standard Mark (ISI) on their products, renewal of such licences, payment of fees among others.

Laboratory Information Management Software (LIMS): BIS has developed the LIMS application for complete digitization, automation and efficient operation of its own and recognized laboratories. 

Amendments to Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011

World Consumer Rights Day: It has been celebrated on the 15th March with the theme Tackling Plastic Pollution.

National Consumer Day: It was celebrated on 24th December with the theme of National Consumer Day was Consumer: Know your rights.

KVIC rolls out innovative “Mobile honey processing van” to support farmers and beekeepers

Source: This post is based on the article “KVIC rolls out innovative “Mobile honey processing van” to support farmers and beekeepers” published in PIB on 7th Jan 2022 

What is the news? 

Chairman of KVIC launched country’s first Mobile Honey Processing Van. The Mobile Van has been designed in-house by KVIC and is a part of its Honey Mission. Under Honey Mission, KVIC has so far distributed nearly 1.60 lakh bee boxes across the country and created over 40,000 employment.  

What is a mobile honey processing van? 

The Van can process up to 300 KG of honey in 8 hours. 

It is also equipped with a testing laboratory, that can instantly examine the quality of honey. It will have a laboratory technician and a technical assistant to look after the honey testing. 

It will help further the cause of “Sweet Kranti” (Sweet Revolution) which focusses on honey production. 

What will be the advantages of this processing van? 
For Beekeepers and farmers: They will get a fair price of their honey produce.  

It will enable the processing of honey at farmers and beekeeper’s doorstep and thus save the hassle and the cost of taking the honey to processing plants in far off cities. 

It will make beekeeping a more profitable business for small beekeepers (who incur extra cost for bringing their honey to other cities for processing and packaging and sometimes have to sell their honey to the agents at a very low price)

Will benefit the beekeepers in rural areas of states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. 

For Consumers: This will help maintain purity and eliminate any scope for adulteration of honey. 

Raksha mantri Shri Rajnath Singh flags-in India’s First multidimensional adventure sports expedition conducted by NIMAS in France

Source: This post is based on the article “Raksha mantri Shri Rajnath Singh flags-in India’s First multidimensional adventure sports expedition conducted by NIMAS in France” published in PIB on 7th Jan 2022. 

What is the news? 

Raksha Mantri, on January 07, 2022, flagged-in India’s first multidimensional adventure sports expedition conducted by National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) in France.

What is this expedition about? 

The expedition was organised as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. 

It was conducted in November 2021 and the team was led by Director NIMAS Colonel Sarfaraz Singh, comprising 12 people – eight Army personnel and four youths of Arunachal Pradesh. 

100 hut walks in the Alps - day and multi-day walks | Cicerone PressWhat all areas and activities does the expedition covered? 

It included activities like 250 kilometres of winter trekking in the Alps Mountain Ranges, cycling from Alps Mountain Ranges to English Channel near Dunkirk via France, Switzerland and Belgium and also scuba diving in Mediterranean Sea. 

About the Alps mountain range

The Alps are a chain of mountains in Europe, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea. Mont Blanc is the highest peak of the Alps.

The Alps mountain chain in Europe is the most densely populated mountainous region in the world, and a large fraction of people in countries like Switzerland, France, Germany, etc. live in these mountains.

Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Spain on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters

Source: This post is based on the article “Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Spain on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters” published in the PIB on 6th January 2022.

What is the news?

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved an Agreement between India and Spain on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters.

What are the provisions of the agreement?

– The correct assessment of customs duties, especially information belonging to the determination of the customs value, tariff classification and the origin of the goods traded between the two countries.

-The authenticity of any document produced in support of a declaration (like the certificate of origin, invoices etc.) made to the requesting authority.

Customs offence concerning the illicit movement of the following:

1) Arms, ammunition, explosives and explosive devices. 2) Works of art and antiques, of significant historical, cultural or archaeological value. 3) Toxic materials and other substances dangerous to the environment and public health. 4) Goods subject to substantial customs duties or taxes. 5) New means and methods employed for committing Customs offences against Customs legislation.

What are the benefits of the agreement?

It would provide a legal framework for sharing of information between the Customs authorities of the two countries. This would help in the proper administering of Customs laws and detection and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.

The Agreement will further help in making available, reliable, quick and cost-effective information and intelligence for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences and apprehending of Customs offenders.

Read more: India and Spain’s call for ‘Zero Tolerance’ to Terrorism

Union Jal Shakti Minister Announces 3rd National Water Awards

Source: This post is based on the article “Union Jal Shakti Minister Announces 3rd National Water Awards” published in the PIB on 7th January 2022.

What is the news?

Ministry of Jal Shakti has recently announced the 3rd National Water Awards-2020.

What is the significance of water for India?

India has more than 18% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the world’s renewable water resources. India’s current water requirement is estimated to be around 1,100 billion cubic meters per year, which can go up to 1,447 billion cubic meters by 2050.

Read more: 6th India Water Impact Summit Concludes
About National Water Awards

It was first launched by the Jal Shakti Ministry in 2018. Award has been given under 11 different categories – Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Media (Print & Electronic), Best School, etc. Winners will be awarded a citation, trophy and cash prize.

Under the 3rd National Water Awards, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu enlisted as top three under the Best State category.

Read more: New CAG report exposes wide gap between India’s groundwater management regulations & implementation
What is the objective of the National Water Awards?

It was introduced to recognize and encourage meritorious work and efforts made by States, individuals, organizations, etc across India in attaining the government’s vision of a ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’Under this, stakeholders are encouraged to adopt a holistic approach towards water resources management in the country.

National Water Awards strives to create awareness among the people about the importance of water and attempts to motivate them to adopt best water usage practices.

Read more: India must prepare for changes in the great Himalayan water

Heartbeat stars: A star with a heartbeat & without a magnetic field discovered

Source: This post is based on the article “A star with a heartbeat & without a magnetic field discovered” published in The PIB on 7th January 2022.

What is the news?

Scientists have discovered a peculiar binary star named HD73619 in the Cancer constellation, one of the closest open star clusters to the Earth. The star shows heartbeat but no signs of pulsations/vibrations activity, contrary to the norm of binary stars sporting both heartbeats as well as pulsations.

What are the heartbeat stars?

The name heartbeat comes from the resemblance of the path of the stars to an electrocardiogram of the human heart. Here, each star travels in a highly elliptical orbit around a common centre of mass. The distance between the two stars varies drastically as they orbit each other.

When the stars are at their closest, there is a sudden increase in the brightness, with amplitude going up to several parts per thousand. As they move apart, the light variation falls and becomes almost flat. This results in alternating peaks and troughs in their light curves.

The pulsation activity of the stars is due to oscillations in the component stars when they are the closest.

What are the findings by the scientists?

A team of 33 scientists from Aryabhata research institute of observational sciences (ARIES) carried out photometric and high-resolution spectroscopic observations of HD73619. It was found that HD73619 is the first member of heartbeat systems in binary chemical peculiar stars that do not show any positional activity at the closest approach.

Chemically peculiar stars are the ones that have an abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium on the surface. The study also revealed an absence of a weak magnetic field, which reflect the unknown origins of the system.

What is the importance of the discovery?

It is important for the study of inhomogeneities due to spots in non-magnetic stars. It will help in the investigation of the origins of pulsational variability.

Read more: ARIES Tracked “Supernova explosion” in Wolf–Rayet stars

Asian Waterbird Census: Bird species density dips sharply at Okhla sanctuary

Source: This post is based on the article Delhi: Bird species density dips sharply at Okhla sanctuarypublished in TOI on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

The findings of the Asian Waterbird Census 2022 have been released.

What is Asian Waterbird Census?

Asian Waterbird Census(AWC) was started in 1987. It is an annual exercise to count the waterbirds and monitor the wetlands for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats along the Central Asian Flyway.

The census is conducted by wetlands International and forms part of a global waterbird monitoring programme called the International Waterbird Census(IWC).

In India, AWC is coordinated by the Wetlands International South Asia and the Bombay Natural History Society. 

Note: In this article, the census has revealed their findings for the wetlands in Delhi-NCR namely: Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Sanjay Lake and Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary.

What are the findings of the census?

Okhla Bird Sanctuary: It has seen a drastic drop in species density of birds this season. Only 47 species of migratory and resident birds were sighted, against 73 last year. Only one migratory species — northern shoveler — had arrived in large numbers recently.

Sanjay Lake: It found lower waterbird species diversity when compared to the count from the past three years. The two migratory species recorded were the Great Cormorant, which migrates from Southeast Asia and the Eurasian Coot, which migrates from Temperate Asia. 

Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary: It has reported better waterbird species diversity, from 38 last year to 45 this year. 

Exercise Sea Dragon: India and five other nations begin anti-submarine exercise with US

Source: This post is based on the article ‘India and five other nations begin anti-submarine exercise with US’ published in Indian Express on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

India is among the six Indo-Pacific nations participating in an Exercise Sea Dragon in the Pacific Ocean.

What is Exercise Sea Dragon?

Exercise Sea Dragon is an annual US-led, multinational exercise:

Aim: To practice and discuss anti-submarine warfare tactics to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Participating Countries:  United States, India, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

Note: India, Japan, Australia and America are also part of the Quad and also participate in the Malabar exercise.

Activities: The exercise will involve more than 270 hours of in-flight training and activities ranging from tracking simulated targets to tracking a US Navy submarine. Each event will be graded and the country scoring the highest points will receive the Dragon Belt award.

Read more: Changing dynamics of India-US Relations – Explained, Pointwise

NEET counselling can begin under existing EWS criteria: Supreme Court

Source: This post is based on the article NEET counselling can begin under existing EWS criteria: Supreme Courtpublished in The Hindu on 8th Jan 2022.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has allowed the commencement of the counselling process for NEET-PG and NEET-UG for 2021-22 admissions on the basis of the existing 27% quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the All India Quota(AIQ).

What was the issue?

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the 27% and 10% reservation for the OBC and EWS categories respectively while filling 15% undergraduate and 50% postgraduate AIQ seats under NEET.

On this petition, the Supreme Court raises questions about the ₹ 8 lakh income limit to identify the EWS category.

Read here: Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in India – Explained, pointwise
What is the Supreme Court decision now?

Firstly, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of 27% OBC reservation. There won’t be a further hearing on this aspect. 

Secondly, on the criteria to determine the EWS (Rupees 8 lakhs gross annual income cut-off), the Court allowed the existing criteria to operate for the current admission year so as to not delay the admission process further.

However, future application of EWS criteria will be subject to the final decision of the Supreme Court.


Mains Answer Writing

Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 24th, 2022

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers several newspapers such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, etc. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – January 24th, 2022

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Rainfall changes could impact global manufacturing, services sectors

What is the News? According to a study, an increase in the number of rainy days leads to a downfall in economic output.  What is the study about? The study was conducted to look at how rainfall patterns hurt the economy. The group compared daily rainfall data with subnational economic output from 77 countries between… Continue reading Rainfall changes could impact global manufacturing, services sectors

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

News  Central government has recently put forth a proposal to rank state environment impact assessment authorities (SEIAA) according to the speed at which they issue environmental clearances.  What are the concerns regarding the recent step?  It undermines the role of regulatory oversight in environmental protection, which is recognised in several Supreme Court verdicts as one of the key… Continue reading Centre’s move to rank states on pace of green clearances will spark unhealthy competition, dilute regulation

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

What is the News? The Union government is awaiting approval of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the New Model for Asset Monetisation. What is the New Model for Asset Monetisation planned by the Government? Currently, most of the pension funds and foreign investors are investing in infrastructure projects.  But under this new… Continue reading New Model for Asset Monetisation: People can soon invest in infra projects: Gadkari

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

News  India at UNFCCC(COP 26) declined to join Deforestation declaration, this has been followed by India declining joining several such international platforms related to climate change.  Apprehensions have been raised that the official reasons given for not joining these initiatives are not justified.    Why India has not joined the Deforestation declaration?  Read here.  Consecutive Indian state… Continue reading Why India is unwilling to discuss forests at the international fora” published in Down to earth

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

News  Indian government’s recent move to shift the Amar Jawan Jyoti from its location under India Gate to the National War Memorial (NWM) has been seeing some protest.  Some sections of the society are apprehensive that this may have some political aims.  Why is the current place inappropriate?  India Gate is a war memorial erected by the British, in 1921… Continue reading Relocating the Amar Jawan Jyoti to National war memorial is logical, and beyond approach

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

News: India’s tactics of negotiations has not worked the way China’s tactics have worked. Hence, India needs to prepare ground by negotiating better deals.  What is China’s tactic in negotiations?  First, it accepts some principle but do nothing in practice or make a commitment with no intention of honoring. Second, it tries to provoke a… Continue reading Negotiating pitfalls: Are there basic lacunae in India’s practices?

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Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders

News: The unending threats to Indian borders and recent developments call for a comprehensive review of border management to ensure the all-weather security. What are the current developments in border areas? One, China is trying to take over territory. For example, Doklam and Galwan crisis. The recent China’s Land Border Law (LBL) will enhance its… Continue reading Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders

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Setting sail for a powerful India-German partnership

News: German navy frigate Bayern recently arrived in Mumbai after visiting Japan, Australia and other countries. This move is for strengthening the relationships between India and Germany. Bayern has also participated in NATO missions and operation Atlanta in the past. Read here: India-Germany relations: After 16 years About Indo-Pacific region It is home to around 65% of… Continue reading Setting sail for a powerful India-German partnership

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How the Quad can help climate action

News: After the pandemic world is cautiously opening up with increasing vaccination and businesses getting back on track. The QUAD is harnessing its energy to addressing the pandemic. Significance of QUAD The Quad was born in response to a natural calamity, the tsunami of 2004. It is unified in saving the planet from environmental degradation with… Continue reading How the Quad can help climate action

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