9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 10th, 2021

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 
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.  

  • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick here
  • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

The Hindu

Indian Express

Down To Earth

GS Paper 3


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

The bar on criticism that muzzles the advocate

Source: The Hindu 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Judiciary

Relevance: Bar Council of India is a statutory body. Keeping an eye on its functioning of national importance is important from an exam point of view.


The new Bar Council of India rules undermines the constitutional guarantees of free speech and freedom of profession guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. They should be duly reviewed and changed in consonance with the spirit of fair criticism in a democracy.


  • On June 25, 2021, amendments to the Bar Council of India rules were announced. These rules govern the professional conduct and etiquette of advocates.

About the new rules:

  • They render advocates liable for disciplinary proceedings for making derogatory statements about a court, judge, the Bar Council of India (or State Bar Councils), or its members. The consequences include suspension and disbarment. 
  • The amendments clarify that healthy and bona-fide criticism, made in good faith, shall not be treated as a ‘misconduct’”.

Rationale behind their introduction:

  • The bar introduced the amendments as the current framework was not able to prevent the sanctity of the courts and bar council of India.
    • For instance, in May 2020, some lawyers wrote an open letter urging the Supreme Court of India to intervene in the migrant crisis. Later, a former SC judge condemned SC’s inaction on the letter.
    • The Bar Council of India (BCI) characterised the criticism as a sustained and synchronized attack on the SC by disgruntled members of the bar and some unhappy former judges.
    • Similarly, BCI was seen criticising a live law article wherein the reputation of the Chairman of BCI was jeopardised and the use of office was portrayed in a bad light.
  • The new rules will save the judiciary’s time that is spent by the institution on hearing cases related to contempt of court. 
    • The Court spent a significant amount of time charging individuals (including advocating Prashant Bhushan) with criminal contempt even during the pandemic. 

Problems associated with new rules:

  • First, it undermines basic constitutional guarantees of free speech and the freedom of profession under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Second, they perpetuate the fiction that the authority of these public institutions rests on the fragile foundation of ‘public faith’. As per this notion, the dissent would reduce the ability of powerful institutions such as courts and government bodies to carry out their duties.
  • Third, it would impair the exercise of fair criticism that is essential to hold public institutions accountable.
  • Fourth, the pain of the disciplinary process and the possible consequences, for the careers of advocates, would have a chilling effect.
    • Chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction.

Way Ahead:

  • The Bar Council of India has kept the rules on hold, pending a review by a committee comprising senior advocates, members of bar associations, and the Bar Council of India. 
  • The amendments also require the Chief Justice of India’s approval before coming into effect, which has not yet been obtained. 
  • Thus, the Chief Justice of India along with the Committee reviewing the new rules still have an opportunity to prevent a further assault on free speech by rejecting the amendments.
Terms to know: Bar Council of India 

The Afghan knot

Source: Indian Express  

Syllabus: GS 2 – India and Neighbourhood relations


India is entangled in the Afghan Knot, as the ground situation is fast turning in favour of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The future course will be full of complexities and challenges post the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. 


  • The United States Armed Forces are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021.
  • The Taliban are on the brink of capturing Afghanistan. They remain in contact with al Qaeda, as documented by a UN report earlier this year. 
  • The chaos the US leaves behind in Afghanistan for the second time in 30 years poses a heightened risk of instability in the entire region. 

Why is the US leaving?

  • The withdrawal is the result of a bad deal made between the former US president (Donald Trump) and Taliban.
  • The US had already spent millions of dollars but was unable to establish sustainable democracy in Afghanistan. 
  • The war is now unwinnable, it had been going on for too long and claimed too many American lives.
    • The only success which the US can claim is elimination of Osama bin Laden (on Pakistani soil).
  • Further, as per Joe Biden (current US president), nation-building was never an objective and this task should be undertaken by the Afghan people.

Future course of action for India:

  • India now faces the prospects of dealing with the Taliban, largely a proxy of Pakistan, as a potentially powerful force in the neighborhood. 
    • Fellow travellers such as the Haqqani network, Laskhar e Toiba and Jaish e Mohammed are waiting in the wings
  • Delhi could either forget the collusion between Pakistan and Taliban, and incidents such as the IC 814 hijack and do business with the Taliban, or 
  • The country must be ready to face a potentially destabilising force. This would add a multiplier element to the two-front threat on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Sedition law has no place in a modern democracy

Source: Indian Express 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Relevance: There should be a fine balance between fundamental rights and statutes.


The sedition law was born out of an authoritarian mindset and a zeal to ensure the fixation of order. It’s been done away within most of the world (including U.K and U.S) and should be removed from India as well owing to its persistent misuse.


  • Justice D Y Chandrachud commented that the law on sedition needs to be relooked, especially in the context of increasing incarcerations of media persons under this law.
  • The comment holds immense significance, as this is the first instance in recent times when a sitting judge of the Supreme Court has publicly “questioned” this questionable law.
  • However, it covers only a myopic view of misuse against media persons and ignores repeated instances of misuse against the common masses.

About Sedition Law:

  • In India, Sedition falls under section 124A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).
  • It is defined as any action that brings or attempts to bring contempt or hatred towards the government of India.
  • Sedition cases are punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
  • Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, or the sedition law, is the illegitimate child of two fathers — one is a monarchy and the other a fixation with “order”. Both aim to quash dissent for maintaining the status quo and order in society.
  • Sedition was retained by the Supreme Court in the Kedar Nath Versus State of Bihar Case. The court said:
    • This species of offence against the State was not an invention of the British Government in India, but has been known in England for centuries.
    • Every State, whatever its form of Government, has to be armed with the power to punish those who, by their conduct – 
      • jeopardise the safety and stability of the State, or 
      • disseminate such feelings of disloyalty as to have the tendency to lead to the disruption of the State or to public disorder.

Misuse of Sedition against media persons:

  • In June, the Supreme Court quashed sedition charges against media person Vinod Dua. 
  • However, more than six months ago, a journalist from Kerala, Siddique Kappan, was charged with sedition (among other things) by the UP police. His bail application is still not accepted as he is not a high-profile journalist. 

Why should the Sedition law be abolished?

  • First, it is prone to misuse, as police officers and lower courts are more concerned with the law as it exists on the books. Further, the Kedar Nath judgment hasn’t been added to the Indian Penal Code.
    • A decade ago, Binayak Sen was convicted of sedition and imprisoned. His case clearly did not meet the requirement of the Supreme Court’s reading down in Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar. 
    • Yet, neither the district nor the High Court thought it prudent to grant him bail and later on bail was granted by the Supreme Court.
  • Second,  democracies thrive on chaos, but an authoritarian mind seeks to control, and the overarching quest for an order is primarily anti-democratic
    • The fixation with order is, therefore, primarily an intolerance of difference of opposing points of view, of dissent.
  • Third, the UK has done away with sedition as has the US and most of the world
    • In 1962, India was a newly independent state and was paranoid about separatist tendencies. However, now it is armed with a spate of laws that can deal with the issues that the sedition law was supposed to deal with.

Way Ahead:

  • Sedition should have no place in democracies which thrive on criticism of an existing government. 
  • It ought to have no place in societies that recognise that states of existence are temporary and the truth is multi-dimensional.

And so, not just mediapersons, but writers, thinkers, artists, and the millions who are voiceless people must be protected from this regressive law.

Falling government school enrolment is alarming and it needs to be addressed soon

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Relevance: Articles highlight the need for reforms in India’s education system.

Synopsis: Need reforms on governance, performance management, and English instruction to strengthen public education in India.


  • The proportion of India’s children attending a government school has now declined to 45 percent.
  • Whereas this number is 85 percent in America, 90 percent in England, and 95 percent in Japan.
  • This enrollment decline happened despite higher teacher salaries, teacher qualifications, and government spending.
  • This needs to be addressed because a quality, free and regular school education represents our most potent infrastructure of opportunity, a fundamental duty of the state.

Challenges and Issues

  1. There is an issue of a huge dropout ratio and poor learning outcomes. For instance, only 50 percent of Grade 5 children being able to read a grade 2 text.
  2. There are too many schools and 4 lakh schools have less than 50 students. Whereas China with a similar total student has only 30 percent of our school number.
  3. Only 26 per cent of kids studies in English. Though, English has remained a significant factor for higher education pathways and employability.

What needs to be done?

  1. Performance management, currently equated with teacher attendance, needs evaluation of scores, skills, competence, and classroom management. Scores need continuous assessments or end-of-year exams.
  2. Teacher competence should be evaluated on child interaction, knowledge, planning capacity, communication, feedback abilities, and collaboration.
  3. Classroom management needs assessment by classroom observation of learning, physical set-up, instructional differentiation, and communication.
  4. Governance must shift from control of resources to learning outcomes. It includes learning design, responsiveness, teacher management, community relationships, integrity, fair decision-making, and financial sustainability.
  5. Apart from reading, writing, and arithmetic, our education system should stress the need for competency and English awareness.
  6. Currently, Education Policy is into Lists I (Centre), II (State), and III (concurrent jurisdiction). This fragmentation needs to be revisited because it tends to concentrate decisions that should be made locally.

Undead section

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: This article is an example of a non-implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgment at ground level.

Synopsis: The invalid Sec. 66A is often invoked out of ignorance and is used as a tool of harassment.

What is the issue?

  • Section 66A of the IT Act was struck down as unconstitutional six years ago. For the second time in two years, the supreme court has been informed that Section 66A of the IT Act, is still being invoked by the police and in some trial courts.
  • It is surprising that the police headquarters and prosecutors in the various States had not disseminated the effect of the Court ruling among officers manning police stations.
  • There were also instances of courts framing charges under Section 66A even after lawyers had cited the 2015 judgment. The PUCL has said as many as 745 cases are still pending in district courts in 11 States.

Shreya Singhal (2015) case vs Section 66A of the IT Act

  • Section 66A made messages, which are deemed to be offensive to anyone, or those that caused annoyance, a criminal offence. If these messages were sent through a computer or computer resource. It prescribed a prison term of up to three years on conviction.
  • In its landmark judgment in Shreya Singhal (2015), the Court ruled that the provision was vague and violated the freedom of free speech.
  • Further, the court observed that the provision upsets the balance between the exercise of the free speech right and the imposition of reasonable restrictions on it.

What needs to be done?

  • Police officers who receive complaints and register them as First Information Reports may not be aware of the judgment (Shreya Singhal).
  • However, Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the citizen, and it must equally be no excuse for police officers who include invalidated sections in FIRs.
  • Police chiefs and the directorates of prosecution must proactively begin a process of conveying to the lower courts and investigators about all important judgments.

In defence of India’s noisy democracy

Source: The Hindu

GS-2: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Relevance: The article compares the much talked about Chinese authoritarian model with India’s democratic model of governance.

Synopsis: Rather than looking into China’s authoritarian model, it is time to defend the noise of Indian democracy.


  • China’s development over the last century has been impressive. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty and also social indicators have improved dramatically.
  • Whereas, India’s developmental record has been much more mixed. Since the 1990s, the Indian economy has grown impressively, but it remains far behind China in its global competitiveness.
  • Moreover, improvements in basic social development indicators have lagged. Recently, Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen have pointed out that India has actually fallen behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Many educated Indians think India’s problem is that it is just too democratic. Unlike China, making and implementing key decisions about public investment and various reforms is problematic and challenging in a democratic setup.
  • However, the claim that less democracy is good for development does not stand up to comparative, theoretical, and ethical scrutiny.

Why democratic regimes are better than non-democratic regimes?

  • One, Authoritarian states barring China have not performed better than democracies.
    • Africa and West Asia, where authoritarian governments have dominated, remain world economic laggards.
    • Similarly, the Latin American military dictatorships of the 1960s and 1970s had a terrible economic and social record. It was with the return of democracy and the “pink wave” of Left populist parties that prosperity and social progress were ushered in.
    • In Taiwan and South Korea, their transitions to democracy saw their economies moving up to the next level and become much more inclusive.
  • Two, examples from Indian states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu suggest that democracies nourish inclusive society.
    • Kerala and Tamil Nadu have done more to improve the lives of all their citizens across castes and classes than any other State in India.
    • Both states have also had the longest and most sustained popular democratic movements and intense party competition in the country.
    • In contrast, in Gujarat, where a single-party rule has been in place for nearly a quarter century, growth has been solid. But it is accompanied by increased social exclusion and stagnation in educational achievement and poverty reduction.
  • Third, the assumption that the authoritarianism model of decision-making can rise above the challenges in a democratic setup is false.
    • Democracies are in fact more likely to meet the necessary conditions for successful decision-making.
    • Because, elected representatives, need to answer to a broad electorate if, they want to win elections.
  • Fourth, democracy allows for forms of negotiation and compromise that can bridge across interests and even balance otherwise conflicting imperatives for growth, justice, sustainability, and social inclusion.
    • The Welfare policies such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Right To Information, the right to food, and other programs are a testament to how democracy can master even the most complex policy goals.
  • Fifth, democracy promotes equality by endowing all citizens with the same civic, political and social rights even as it protects and nurtures individuality and difference.
    • Whereas in China (authoritarian state) the cost of development is huge.
      • The party-made great famine took some 35 million lives.
      • Cultural Revolution has made enemies out of neighbors
      • One child policy devastated families and erased a generation.
      • Ongoing violent, systematic repression of the Uyghur Muslim and Tibetan minorities
    • Conversely, India’s democracy has opened social and political spaces for subordinate groups and has built a sense of shared identity and belonging in the world’s largest and most diverse society.
    • It has preserved individual liberties, group identities, and religious and thought freedoms.

COVID-19 vaccines: Too many hurdles, still

Source: Down to Earth

Syllabus: GS2 – Health

Relevance: Vaccination is the only way we can control the pandemic.

Synopsis: The road to complete vaccination in India is riddled with various challenges. Where we are going wrong and what can be done!


Here is how things have gone so far wrt vaccination drive in India:

  • Development of indigenous vaccine: India was one of the very few countries that managed to develop an indigenous vaccine in record time. By  December 2020, the country was all set with its COVID-19 operational guidelines to ensure a smooth rollout of the vaccines.
  • Vaccine shortage: More than 60 million doses to be exported or donated to other countries between January and March.
  • Vaccination extended to cover all adults under 18 years: While people across the country struggled to secure vaccination slots on the national CoWin dashboard, the Centre worsened the situation by deciding to extend the vaccination net to include all adults under the age of 18 years.
  • States fail to procure vaccines: It was decided that the additional vaccines will be procured by the state governments, which clearly failed because of the global shortage and the fact that states have never procured vaccines in the past. Some of the states even unsuccessfully tried to float global tenders to forge deals with vaccine manufacturers. When the desperation peaked, the Supreme Court had to step in.
  • Universal vaccination announced: On June 7, amid criticism of the government’s confused vaccine policy, the Centre announced universal vaccination.
Present situation
  • Target: India has the daunting task of vaccinating its entire adult population of nearly one billion by the end of this year. This will require almost two billion doses.
  • Actual situation: In the first six months, the country has managed only 0.25 billion doses.
  • Requirement: To be able to deliver the 1.75 billion more doses in the remaining half of the year, the country needs at least 250 million doses a month.

However, according to a Press Information Bureau release, only 120 million doses have been sanctioned for June, suggesting that the progress remains slow.

Challenges with vaccination drive

Major challenges are associated with timely delivery and rollout of the vaccines in India.

  • Uncertainty in delivery: India is relying on Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and import of Sputnik V vaccines. But, the delivery of Sputnik V vaccine has already been delayed from June to August.
  • Speedy delivery of doses: Under the current universal immunisation programme, the country administers some 390 million doses to newborns and pregnant mothers in a year. For COVID-19 relief, the country will need to deliver an additional 250 million doses a month for the rest of 2021.
  • Requirement of new infrastructure: The country will need new infrastructure and more importantly skilled health personnel to deliver the extra doses. A vaccination center needs at least five people, including a trained vaccinator.
  • Increase rate of vaccine delivery: India will also have to ramp up its rate of vaccine delivery. Rolling out COVID-19 vaccination without fixing the delivery challenges will lead to distinct problems: the vulnerable population will be left out (which can lead to possible mutations) and vaccine quality will take a hit due to limited availability of cold storage facilities and human resources.

The five pillars on which the global vaccination  policy should rest

Ensure adequate supply

  • Free up technologies through TRIPS waiver, C-TAP (COVID-19 Technology Access Pool by WHO for sharing intellectual property, technology and data to increase access to medical products)
  • Increase production facilities
  • Promote collaborations for raw materials
  • Dose stretching: The government has the option of dose stretching to reduce the demand. For example, studies now show that people who have been infected by the virus might remain safe by taking a single dose.

Set a system for equitable distribution via COVAX

  • Restrict hoarding
  • Fund the facility
  • Increase transparency on industry deals

 Protect people

  • Increase transparency in trials
  • Set up a system for monitoring adverse effects
  • Set up a compensation system

Improve delivery

  • Provide the vaccine free of cost
  • Ensure access and increase rate of delivery
  • Manage issues around the digital divide

 Improve pandemic preparedness

  • Monitor variants
  • Provide rational treatment
  • Promote pandemic-appropriate behavior to control spread


GS Paper 3

Will drones change the way we deliver medicines?

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS3 – S&T

Relevance: Using drones to solve logistical challenges related to medicine delivery.

Synopsis: Vaccinating huge population of India is indeed a big challenge. Leveraging drone tech for medicine delivery will certainly help. Progress of the research and challenges involved.


Recently, images of healthcare workers carrying covid-19 vaccines to remote villages in hilly Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir went viral on social media. In some cases, they had to trek for hours through arduous terrain.

It’s possible to hope that such treks may soon no longer be required, if experiments to deliver vaccines, and other life-saving medical payloads, with drones are successful.

Present situation

Presently in India, multiple private startups are now working with the government to test the feasibility of using drones to deliver medical payloads over longer distances.

At present, it is said, they may not prove to be cost-effective—though this is still being worked on—but they certainly would be time-efficient.

Usage in medicinal logistics

Drone technology in India is being leveraged in two ways for medicinal logistics:

  1. One is for direct delivery wherein the medicines or blood samples are delivered directly to an individual or a hospital. In this case, the entire distance is covered by the drone.
  2. Other method is using drone only for the last-mile delivery. In this case, drones are used as a bridge between medical warehouses and government primary health centres, or PHCs. This case entails usage of a combination of a four-wheeler vehicle and a drone. The vehicle carries the drones and payloads (10-15kg), covering large parts of the distance to a location. The drone is used for last-mile delivery.
BEAM Committee

Two years ago, Union govt. set up the BEAM (BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring) committee. The government had constituted the BEAM committee’ to invite Expression of Interest (EOI) to undertake BVLOS experimental flights of drones.

  • EOI from more than 30 entities and selected 20 consortiums for the experiments.
  • Recently, the Union ministry of civil aviation granted conditional exemption to these consortiums from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 to conduct “Beyond Visual Line of Sight”, or BVLOS, experimental flights to test out the use of drones for delivery of food and medical packages.
Approvals required

The main requirements to enable the use of drones for delivery or logistics is permission to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS operations) and permission to carry and drop payloads.

  • The rules do not place an outright prohibition on the use of drones for delivery but these types of operations are permitted only with very specific approvals from the DGCA (directorate general of civil aviation)
  • Another route is through conditional exemptions, which can be granted by the ministry of civil aviation.
  • High-wind speeds: A key challenge is operating the drones in high wind speeds.
  • Poor internet connectivity: The other issue is operating in a bad internet connectivity region. Currently, 4G networks are used to send commands to the drones.
  • Temperature control: Apart from weather and network constraints, the trickiest logistical challenge in medicine delivery is temperature control. A medicine delivery drone will need temperature-control mechanisms to maintain the shelf life of supplies. Take, for instance, the covid-19 vaccines: Vials of both Covishield and Covaxin need to be kept at a storage temperature range of 2-8 degrees Celsius.
  • The government and drone operators will also have to reach an agreement on emergency airspace usage for vaccine transportation.
Global examples
  • Internationally, Zipline, a US-based drone delivery startup founded in 2014, has changed the way blood and medical supplies are delivered to remote communities in Rwanda. In early 2021, Zipline announced that it was partnering with the government of Ghana to deliver covid-19 vaccines.
Way forward

India must look beyond the current regulations. Once there is enough regulatory support for long-range drones that can fly up to a range of 100km, for example, and bigger payloads, trucks and four-wheelers will become redundant. We need is to create a favorable ecosystem where things can actually go forward.

Vaccinating over a billion people is a huge challenge for the government, which is primarily relying on the extensive railway network, besides road and air transport to distribute vaccines even to the remotest parts of the country and hilly regions. Drones can come in handy.

Also Read: Facing up the drone challenge – Explained

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Judges should not act like emperors, says SC

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

Supreme Court has reiterated that public officers should not be called to the court unnecessarily.

  • The bench observed this while considering an appeal against Allahabad High Court judgment as it noticed that the High Court summoned the Secretary, Medical Health in court.
SC’s observations
  • On separation of powers: The legislature, the executive and the judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. It is not proper for any of these three organs of the state to encroach upon the domain of another, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset, and there will be a reaction.
  • A court can always set aside a decision which does not meet the test of judicial review, but summoning officers frequently “is liable to be condemned in the strongest words.

Court said that the presence of public officers comes at the cost of other official duties demanding their attention. It may eventually take a toll on the tasks they are supposed to do for the public.

Women suffer more health-related misery than men

Source: TOI

What is the news?

Recent findings of World Health Statistics report of 2021, indicating gender inequality in terms of quality of life of women as compared to men.

Key findings

Gender inequality mars the quality of life as women age, in much of the world. Hostile social norms undo women’s bodily advantage – in gender-unequal countries, men’s healthy life expectancy is ahead of women’s.

  • While women tend to live longer than men, they suffer more health-related misery than men.
  • Apart from nutritional deficits and time poverty, women have less access to healthcare, with barriers of resources and mobility. They also face social trivializing and misdiagnosing of their conditions. Often their reproductive illnesses or cardiovascular problems are not attended to in full
  • Their health problems are often dismissed as ‘irrational’ feminine panic.
  • Medical injustice ranges from clinical trial skews to disparities in treatment. Chronic pain conditions that affect us, from fibromyalgia to osteoporosis are still under-diagnosed around the world.
  • Studies show that women wait longer in emergency rooms and are less likely to be given painkillers. Families, institutions, women themselves are trained to ignore their distress. This is worsened by factors like poverty and location.

This gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is troubling, especially in countries like ours with minimal social security. For all too many women, longevity is clearly not a blessing.

Also read: Women and men in India report 2021

Indian Navy prohibits flying of drones within 3 kms of Naval assets

Source: Business Standard

What is the news?

Indian Navy has prohibited flying of non-conventional aerial objects like drones and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) within 3 kms of Naval base, units and assets.

  • Any non-conventional aerial object, including RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), found violating this prohibition, will be destroyed or confiscated without any liability. Additionally, actions may be initiated under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the operator.

The Navy’s decision came in view of a drone attack on an Indian Air Force base in Jammu last month, injuring two personnel.

The government authorities said the use of a drone to carry out a terrorist attack marked the beginning of a new security threat for the country.

Also Read: The drone challenge before India

Terms to know: 

Women suffer more health-related misery than men

Source: TOI

What is the news?

Recent findings of World Health Statistics report of 2021, indicating gender inequality in terms of quality of life of women as compared to men.

Key findings

Gender inequality mars the quality of life as women age, in much of the world. Hostile social norms undo women’s bodily advantage – in gender-unequal countries, men’s healthy life expectancy is ahead of women’s.

  • While women tend to live longer than men, they suffer more health-related misery than men.
  • Apart from nutritional deficits and time poverty, women have less access to healthcare, with barriers of resources and mobility. They also face social trivializing and misdiagnosing of their conditions. Often their reproductive illnesses or cardiovascular problems are not attended to in full
  • Their health problems are often dismissed as ‘irrational’ feminine panic.
  • Medical injustice ranges from clinical trial skews to disparities in treatment. Chronic pain conditions that affect us, from fibromyalgia to osteoporosis are still under-diagnosed around the world.
  • Studies show that women wait longer in emergency rooms and are less likely to be given painkillers. Families, institutions, women themselves are trained to ignore their distress. This is worsened by factors like poverty and location.

This gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is troubling, especially in countries like ours with minimal social security. For all too many women, longevity is clearly not a blessing.

Also read: Women and men in India report 2021

Oxfam: 11 people die of hunger each minute around the globe

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

Findings of the Oxfam report: The Hunger Virus Multiplies

Key findings
  • Hunger is a greater threat: Death toll from famine outpaces that of COVID-19, which kills around seven people per minute. 11 people die of hunger each minute and that the number facing famine-like conditions around the globe has increased six times over the last year.
  • Food insecurity has increased: 155 million people around the world now live at crisis levels of food insecurity or worse (some 20 million more than last year).
    • Around two-thirds of them face hunger because their country is in military conflict.
  • Today, the never-ending conflict and the economic impact of COVID-19, and a worsening climate crisis, has pushed more than 520,000 people to the brink of starvation. 
  • Many countries mired in conflict have been included as the worst hunger hot spots” including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  • Military spending has increased: Despite the pandemic, global military spending increased by $51 billion during the pandemic — an amount that exceeds by at least six times what the U.N. needs to stop hunger.
  • Global warming and the economic impact of the pandemic have caused a 40% increase in global food prices, the highest in over a decade. This surge has contributed significantly to pushing tens of millions more people into hunger.

Note: As an aspiring administrator, your views about any topic should always be backed by evidence i.e. data. Hence, you can use these points in your GS and Essay papers. Even at the interview stage, such data-backed responses will fetch you more marks.

Over 7 lakh yearly deaths in India linked to abnormal temperatures: Lancet study

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

An international team, led by researchers at Monash University in Australia, found that globally more than five million extra deaths a year can be attributed to non-optimal temperatures.

  • The team looked at mortality and temperature data across the world from 2000 to 2019, a period when global temperatures rose by 0.26 degrees Celsius per decade, making it the hottest period since the Pre-Industrial era.
  • It is the first study to definitively link non-optimal temperatures to annual increases in mortality.
Key findings of the study
  • Deaths related to hot temperatures increased in all regions from 2000 to 2019 and global warming, due to climate change, will make this mortality figure worse in the future.
  • Global warming may “slightly reduce the number of temperature-related deaths, largely because of the lessening in cold-related mortality. However in the long-term climate change is expected to increase the mortality burden because heat-related mortality would be continuing to increase

Understanding the geographic patterns of temperature-related mortality is important for the international collaboration in developing policies and strategies in climate change mitigation and adaptation and health protection

NHAI resumes infrastructure investment trust project with roadshows

Source: Business Standard

What is the News?

National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) has started re-engagement with investors for its infrastructure investment trust(InvIT) which has been delayed by over a year.

What are Infrastructure Investment Trusts(InvITs)?

  • InvITs are instruments that work like mutual funds. They are designed to pool small sums of money from a number of investors to invest in infrastructure assets that give cash returns over a period of time.
  • Part of this cash flow would be distributed as a dividend back to investors.
  • Regulated by: InvITs are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.


  • NHAI is planning to set up a private listed InvIT to attract large institutional investors.
  • Under the trusts, NHAI will offer 19 projects worth Rs 35,000 crore. The initial projects selected for the InvIT will provide better prospects because they are part of national corridors.
  • Moreover, NHAI INvIT would also see an offer for sale(OFS). The units are proposed to be listed on the National Stock Exchange and the BSE.
    • Offer for Sale(OFS) is when the promoters (owner) of a listed company sell their shares to the public. It is a transparent process that takes place on the stock exchange.

Explained: What plumes on Enceladus tell us about possibility of life on Saturn’s Moon

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected an unusually high concentration of methane along with carbon dioxide and dihydrogen in the moons of Saturn.

What did the Cassini spacecraft find? The spacecraft has found that:

  • Titan has methane in its atmosphere and
  • Enceladus has a liquid ocean with erupting plumes of gas and water.

Based on this, the researchers have concluded that there may be unknown methane-producing processes on Enceladus that await discovery.

Are there any Methane producing organisms on Earth?

  • Most of the methane on Earth has a biological origin. Microorganisms called methanogens are capable of generating methane as a metabolic byproduct.
  • They do not require oxygen to live and are widely distributed in nature. They are found in swamps, dead organic matter, and even in the human gut.
  • Also, they are known to survive in high temperatures, and simulation studies have shown that they can live in Martian conditions.
  • Methanogens have been widely studied to understand if they can be a contributor to global warming.

Possible Reasons for Methane on Enceladus:

  • A large amount of methane found on Enceladus is likely coming from activity at hydrothermal vents present on Enceladus’s interior seafloor.
  • These vents could be very similar to those found in Earth’s oceans, where microorganisms live, feed on the energy from the vents, and produce methane in a process called methanogenesis.

About Cassini Mission:

  • The Cassini-Huygens mission is a collaboration between NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Italian Space Agency.
  • The mission was launched in 1997. The spacecraft arrived in the Saturn system in 2004 and ended its mission in 2017.
  • Significance: Cassini-Huygens was a mission of firsts. First to orbit Saturn. First landing in the outer solar system. Also, first to sample an extraterrestrial ocean.

About Titan:

  • Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest natural satellite in the Solar System.
  • It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere and the only known body in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.

About Enceladus:

  • Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about a tenth of that of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
  • Enceladus is an active moon that hides a global ocean of liquid salty water beneath its crust.

India-UK hold Financial Market dialogue via virtual mode

Source: PIB

What is the News?

India and the United Kingdom(UK) held the inaugural meeting of the India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue virtually.

About India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue:

  • India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue was established at the 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) in October 2020 to deepen bilateral ties in the financial sector.
  • The dialogue was led by Finance Ministry officials from India and treasury officials from the UK.
  • Focus of the dialogue: The primary focus of the dialogue was on four topics:
    • India’s flagship international financial centre: Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City);
    • banking and payments;
    • insurance and
    • capital markets.

About International Financial Service Centre(IFSC):

  • An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy. Such centres deal with flows of finance, financial products and services across borders.
  • The Special Economic Zone(SEZ) Act, 2005 allows setting up an IFSC in an SEZ or as an SEZ after approval from the central government.
  • The first IFSC in India has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.

Cooperation Ministry will usurp States’ rights: Oppn

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Government of India has announced the formation of a separate Union Ministry of Cooperation.

Objectives of Ministry of Cooperation:

  • To provide a separate administrative, legal, and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country.
  • To streamline the process for ease of doing business and enable the development of Multi-State Co-operative Banks(MSCBs).

What are Cooperatives?

  • Cooperatives are organisations formed at the grassroots level by people to harness the power of collective bargaining towards a common goal.

Constitutional Provisions Related to Cooperatives:

  • The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 added a new Part IXB right after Part IXA (Municipals) regarding the cooperatives working in India.
  • The word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations” in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution. This enables all the citizens to form cooperatives by giving it the status of the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • A new Article 43B was added in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) regarding the “promotion of cooperative societies”.

What are the objections to the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation?

  • Cooperatives is a State subject under entry 32 of the State list under Schedule 7 of the Constitution.
  • Hence, the Opposition Parties have alleged that the creation of the Ministry of Cooperation is an attempt to infringe upon the federal rights of the state governments.
  • Moreover, the creation of cooperatives ministry strikes at the relationship between the Centre and the state governments, which is the basic structure of the Constitution.

Explained: Kerala detects 15 cases of Zika virus; what is it?

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Kerala is on alert after detecting at least 15 cases of the Zika Virus.

About Zika Virus:

  • Zika is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes. The vector is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.

Origin of Zika Virus:

  • Zika Virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Zika was later identified in humans in 1952.
  • The first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap in 2007.
  • In 2015, a major outbreak in Brazil led to the revelation that Zika can be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains.
  • In India, the Zika virus was first recorded in 1952-53. The latest major outbreak was in 2018 when 80 cases were reported in Rajasthan.

Transmission of Zika Virus:

  • Through mosquito bites: Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus).
  • From mother to child: A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
  • Sexual Transmission: Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time.

Symptoms of Zika Virus:

  • Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms.
  • The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3-14 days.
  • The symptoms are similar to those of flu, including fever, body ache, headache, etc. Additional symptoms can include the occasional rash-like in dengue, while some patients also have conjunctivitis.


  • Zika has no treatment or vaccine. The symptoms of the Zika virus are mild and usually require rest, consumption of plenty of fluids, and common pain and fever medicines.
Terms to know: Zika virus 

Himalayan yaks to be insured

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

National Research Centre on Yak(NRCY) in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh has tied up with the National Insurance Company Ltd. for insuring Himalayan Yak.

About Himalayan Yak:

  • Himalayan Yak is a long-haired domesticated cattle found throughout the Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent, Tibetan Plateau, Myanmar and as far north as Mongolia and Siberia.
  • They are accustomed to very cold temperatures and can survive up to -40 degrees but find it difficult when the temperature crosses 13 degrees.

Himalayan Yak in India:

  • The total yak population in India is about 58,000. The Highest Yak Population is in Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal and Uttarakhand.

Importance of Himalayan Yak:

  • Himalayan Yak is a lifeline for pastoral nomads living in the higher reaches of the Himalayas as it provides them milk, fiber, and meat.
  • The long hair of yak has water-resistant properties and can be a good packing material. Nomads also use yak hair to weave material for making tents.

Decline in Yak Population:

  • According to a report, the number of yaks across the country has declined by almost 24.7% between 2012 and 2019.
  • The reasons include climate change, heat, diseases, surgical operations among others.

What is being done now?

  • National Insurance Company Ltd will provide insurance for Himalayan Yak.
  • The insurance policy would shield the yak owners against the risks posed by weather calamities, diseases, in-transit mishaps, surgical operations and strikes or riots.
  • The owners of the Yaks would have to get their yaks ear-tagged and provide a proper description in order to get their animals insured.
Terms to know: Himalayan Yak 

African swine fever: Ripple effect across the world

Source: Down To Earth

What is the News?

The African Swine Fever(ASF) continues to impact livestock in Mizoram, affecting all 11 districts and killing 10,621 pigs since March 2021.

About African Swine Fever:

  • African swine fever(ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.
  • Caused by: It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.

Transmission: It is transmitted among pigs through:

  • direct contact with infected domestic or wild swines
  • indirect contact through ingestion of contaminated substances or
  • contaminated material such as food waste, feed, or garbage or through biological vectors such as ticks.

Human Transmission:

  • ASF is not a threat to human beings, since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE.


  • The mortality is close to 100% and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop its spread is by culling the pigs.

Impact of African Swine Fever on Pork Production:

  • Pork accounts for 35-40% of the global meat production. It is also a major source of protein, with an annual consumption of more than 110,000 tonnes.
  • China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of pork. It is also the largest importer of soybean, which is used as feed.
  • The mass culling of pigs due to African Swine Fever has not only disrupted the domestic as well the global pork trade. But it has also impacted the international market of animal feed.
  • Moreover, the first victims of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak are the small pig farm owners.
    • In India, over 70% of the pig farms are owned by small-scale farmers. These farms are being closed and people are moving out of the business.

Investing in water, sanitation and hygiene can fuel economic recovery: Report

Source: Down To Earth

What is the News?

Water Aid, an international non-profit organisation has released a report titled “Mission-critical: Invest in water, sanitation, and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery”.

About Mission Critical Report:

  • The Mission Critical Report calls on all government and private bodies to mobilize investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene(WASH). It will fuel economic recovery and sustainable development.

Key Findings of the Report:

Impact of Inadequate Investment in WASH Infrastructure:

  • Inadequate access to WASH is responsible for as much as 10% of the global disease burden. It contributes to 1.6 million preventable deaths each year, including 60% of all diarrheal deaths.
  • A lack of basic WASH infrastructure requires households to spend 1–2 hours per day on average collecting water, displacing time spent in employment or education. The incidence of these heavily impacts on health and economic opportunities of women.

Benefits of Investing in WASH Infrastructure: The report provides the benefits of achieving universal access to safe WASH services, such as:

  • Unlocking trillions of dollars of value over the next two decades.
    • For example: achieving universal access to safely managed sanitation is estimated to yield net benefits of $86 billion per year between 2021 and 2040.
  • Health outcomes would also be improved through reducing cases of diarrheal diseases.
  • Environmental outcomes would be improved by reducing the pollution and contamination of land and water resources.
  • Social and economic outcomes would be improved by reducing the time it takes to collect water.


  • G20 governments must urgently phase out their US $580 billion annual subsidies to fossil fuels and redirect this towards supporting investments in WASH services.
  • Fiscal stimulus packages – supported by the international community – should include financing for the safe and sustainable WASH services.
  • Donors and private sector investors should strengthen collaboration and create the enabling environments for increased water investments.
  • All high-income countries(HICs) should fulfil their responsibilities to provide new and additional climate finance.


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