9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 16th, 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

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Ghost of Section 66A

Source: Indian Express 

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

Relevance:  Laws that are declared unconstitutional by the judiciary, are still in use. Policy measures are required to ensure the proper implementation of orders.


The Supreme Court’s criticism and the Centre’s note underline the letter of Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Now the challenge is to implement it in spirit.


Read moreDisable unconstitutional sections

About Section 66A:

  • It was introduced as an amendment to the Information Technology Act in 2008.
  • It gave the government power to arrest and imprison an individual for allegedly “offensive and menacing” online posts.

Why was it struck down?

  • The SC in the Shreya Singhal Case deduced that Section 66A was arbitrarily, excessively, and disproportionately invades the right of free speech.
  • It was drafted so widely that virtually any opinion on any subject would be covered by it. Thus, upholding its validity would create a chilling effect on free speech in the country.

Reasons behind continued persecutions under Section 66A:

  • The gap between the court’s judgment and the pile of Section 66A cases is, perhaps, explained by a political climate. Free speech, dissent, and legitimate criticism are being seen in bad faith.
  • Further, the existing laws are wielded as weapons to arrest journalists and citizens for a tweet or a slogan, or a Facebook post.


  • Early this month, the Supreme Court bench hearing the plea was moved to seek a response from the Centre on what it called a “shocking state of affairs”
  • The Centre has written to state governments, asking them to pass on the memo to the police force and withdraw all cases under Section 66A.
  • The Centre’s note to the states is a positive step, but regular monitoring is the only way to ensure that the law is implemented in letter and spirit.

Terms to know: 

Interference an investigating officer can do without

Source: The Hindu 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Separation of Powers between various organs

Relevance: Separation of power is an important part of ensuring proper governance in the country.

SynopsisGrowing instances of judicial interference in an investigation are undesirable and also not sanctioned by law.


  • The death of George Floyd in the US in May 2020 and the horrific episode in Sattankulam, Tamil Nadu (killing a father and son) show acts of police brutality on the common citizens. Such instances justify regulations on the police authority to investigate an established crime.
  • Further, lower courts and High courts are sometimes seen directing a police officer to arrest a particular person in a crime. It is perceived as an act of aiding the investigation. However, such acts should be avoided. 

Why should the Judiciary not intervene in a police investigation?

  • First, it amounts to intervention in the domain of the executive, as police are accountable to the elected representatives and not the judiciary. Hence, intervention is a violation of the separation of powers. 
  • Second,  persistent intervention enhances public distrust over the police. This reduces police morale for working efficiently. 
    • In such a scenario, even a straightforward and law-abiding policeman will hardly be believed by the masses, thereby undermining the ethics of criminal justice.
  • Third, the court’s intervention shows a lack of faith in police ability and integrity. This will make grass-root level policemen even more arbitrary than now and force them into carrying out questionable actions.
  • Fourth, Court interference in the day-to-day investigation is not only undesirable but is also not sanctioned by law
    • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) vests sufficient discretion in the investigating officer to make decisions on arrests and searches.
  • Fifth, there are sufficient safeguards in the law to prevent abuse of power by the police during the investigation.
    • Every investigation is supervised by at least two immediate senior officers. In the more important cases, there are a few more levels. It is their duty to ensure that every investigation is handled lawfully and impartially.
    • It is mandatory that every police station in the land should register a complaint under the relevant sections of a statute the moment a cognizable offence is made out in the complaint.
    • The CrPC makes it obligatory for the investigating officer to write a diary that details the action taken every day following registration. To such a diary are attached witness statements.


  • Intervention in the investigation should be curtailed in light of recent observation by the Supreme Court. It said that courts have no authority to direct an investigating officer to arrest any particular individual connected with a crime.
  • Courts should remember that the police dept. has a well-established hierarchy to ensure objectivity during a criminal investigation. 
    • However, where supervisory officers fail in their duty because of sheer laziness or buckle under external pressure, they deserve to be pulled up by courts. But not before they are found guilty of indifference or malfeasance.
    • Further, when in doubt, the competent court can demand to see the case diary. If the content of such a diary establishes the complicity of an individual, the court can question an investigating officer as to what he proposed to do on the basis of such evidence.

A strong Indian state must be humane too

Source: The Hindu 

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

Relevance: This article highlights the importance of upholding human rights.


The recent death of Father (Fr.) Stan Swamy has attracted global criticism and questioned India’s credibility and will for protecting human rights. The situation calls for establishing an audit system to review such cases that would prevent gross violation of justice and uphold human rights.


Issue of Bail under UAPA

Global Criticism:

  • The international experts and societies expressed deep grief over the demise of Fr. Swamy. They condemned Indian authorities for his inhuman treatment.
    • He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, bilateral hearing loss, back pain and “generalised weakness” but still not given bail.
    • The jail authorities took over a month to provide a straw, sipper and winter clothes to Fr. Swamy, as Parkinson’s disease made it difficult for him to hold cups or glasses.
  • Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, plainly made the accusation that he was arrested on “false charges of terrorism”.
  • The United States State Department expressed sadness at his death and called him a “Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist.

Way Ahead:

  • Such opinion cannot be given primacy over India’s core security interests. However, diplomacy requires engagement with international liberal opinion, not wooden and inflexible assertions of general principles only.
  • The Indian state should keep in mind the humane principles that it adopted at the time of independence. 
    • The country pledged to achieve development not through an authoritarian polity but a democratic and liberal one, despite the obstacles and challenges that lay in the way.
  • The application of special laws should be duly audited by the superior judiciary. There should be very strong evidence to substantiate charges under them, as jail is the rule and bail is the exception for those charged under special laws.
    • Fr. Stan Swamy’s case should provide an impetus to put such an audit machinery in place that would reassure international opinion that India is a responsive state.

Hard knocks for soft power

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS2

Relevance: Understanding government’s role in furthering growth of media and creative industry

Synopsis: The state is tightening its control over what we read, watch, hear or laugh at. Why not facilitate our soft power instead of clamping down on its strengths?

Tightening the state control
  • Draft cinematograph bill 2021: In June 2021, came a proposal to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952. Among the recommended changes is one that gives the Union government the power to review a film even after it has been given a certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). This power had been struck down by the Supreme Court in 2000.
  • Abolition of FCAT: The draft bill comes on top of the abolition of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal or FCAT in April 2021. If a filmmaker who didn’t agree with the changes or cuts by the CBFC’s examining body, they could go to the revising committee. And if that didn’t work there was always FCAT.
  • Digital Media Ethics Code: Earlier in February 2021, came the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. These govern OTTs, news websites/aggregators and social media firms. These have been challenged in several courts.
  • New tariff order: Recently, the Mumbai High Court ruled in favor of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s controversial New Tariff Order 2.0. The order, along with its earlier version, has formulas on how broadcasters can price their channels, what discounts they can offer and a ceiling on per channel prices. Broadcasters have gone to the Supreme Court.


  • Media and entertainment business will be in perpetual fear of being sued in distant courts and will self-censor (as it already does) in the hope that its CBFC certification is not revoked.
  • The costs and the control that the IT Rules put, especially on budding online news brands, will mean less investment in journalism and more on compliance.


The focus of the government regulation should be facilitation, not control. This has the following benefits:

  • Leveraging India’s soft power in creative industry will establish India more strongly in the global entertainment ecosystem
  • More jobs: Going by a Deloitte report in 2018, the total direct and indirect employment into just OTT, films and TV was 2.4 million people.
  • More taxes

What the post-Covid doctor must know

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Relevance: To cater to the demands of future medical needs, India has to reform medical education.


The lessons learnt during the Covid-19 should catalyse changes in medical education, enhance the profession’s orientation towards scientific sensibility and compassion.

About the Western model of medical education:

  • Major reforms in Western medical education began after the Flexner report of 1910.
    • The report advocated structured, science-based and laboratory supported learning, replacing the apprenticeship model inherited from apothecaries.
    • It also influenced training methods in medical colleges of colonised countries.
  • The western model of medical education imposed the reductionist approach that increasingly focused on partitioning the human body into organs, tissues, cells, and sub-cellular structures.
  • The integrated functioning of the human body and its interconnectivity to other life forms and the natural environment became obscured from the visual field of medical education.
  • Further, Indian medical colleges, usually located in an urban ambiance and linked to tertiary care hospitals, are disconnected from the real-world functioning of a multi-layered health system.
  • But, the Covid-19 pandemic could provide the catalytic spark for more reforms by throwing light on many areas that medical education must address.
  • In 2010, the Commission on Health Professional Education in the Twenty-First Century advocated a multi-disciplinary, socially responsive model of education. But the recommendation in medical education is not yet imparted.

How does the pandemic demand change in medical education?

There are new competencies that a young doctor must develop and display in a world with changing channels of demand and delivery of health services.

  • The pandemic has reemphasised the scientific precepts and moral values of the medical profession, which had been obscured by the greed of commercialized healthcare.
  • The ability to judge the quality of new scientific evidence for correctly guiding clinical practice and future research is essential for a doctor in training.
    • This requires a good understanding of research methodology and the skill of critical appraisal that can distinguish good science from bad. This is much needed when new claims inundate medical journals and social media.
  • Medical education must teach the essential principles of epidemiology and statistics that underlie good research design and interpretation.
  • Many inappropriate tests and ineffective medicines are prescribed by doctors in the misguided belief that they are doing good to their patients — this has been noticed in the pandemic. For instance, unnecessary use of chest CT scans in many persons. This has to be controlled.
  • Telemedicine has emerged as an important bridge to clinical care during periods of restricted mobility. Post pandemic, telemedicine will be an established component of health systems. Medical education must impart the needed technical and social skills to make teleconsultations effective and safe.
  • The need for imparting skills of effective public communication and empathetic conversations with patients has been highlighted by the pandemic. So the Medical education must now enhance scientific sensibility and compassion amongst physicians.

GS Paper 3

Potential Economic Consequences of Pandemic

 Source: Livemint

GS3:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: This article highlights the possible long-term economic consequences of COVID-19 for India.


  • A recent exercise at the National Council of Applied Economic Research shows a few possible scenarios. It reveals the permanent effects of the pandemic shock that will persist for a very long time.

Possible Long-term consequences:

  • Firstly, after the V-shaped growth curves were seen, many analysts quickly pronounced after a shock that the economy is bouncing back. But such curves simply reflect the ‘bowstring’ effect of a negative shock. Thus, these can be quite misleading.
    • For instance, in the present case, most forecasts have suggested that the Indian economy will grow by about 8% to 10% during 2021-22. But in the last two years, no such recovery has been seen.
  • Secondly, In the optimistic scenario, it is assumed that after recording a growth of over 10% this year, the economy will continue to grow at a high trend rate of 7%. However, it doesn’t look possible.
  • Thirdly, even at a high growth rate, the catch-up will only happen by the year 2029-30.
    • This is also the year when our low demographic dependency ratio will bottom out.
    • It implies that the narrow window for India’s so-called demographic dividend will start closing.
  • Fourth, taking advantage of demographic dividend requires a complete reform of our dysfunctional basic education system to improve learning outcomes.
    • It will also require a more effective skilling program and rapidly growing employment opportunities to absorb the large slack of unemployment and underemployment.
    • Without these prerequisites, the demographic dividend will turn into a disaster.
  • Lastly, a high trend growth rate of 7% or more can only be sustained through an ambitious, wide-ranging 1991-like reform program.
    • As the latest Financial Stability Report (FSR) points out, the gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio has not deteriorated further in 2021.
    • It has happened only because of regulatory forbearance by the Reserve Bank of India on account of covid.
    • The FSR stress tests indicate that the GNPA ratio is likely to rise to nearly 10%- 11% by March 2022.
    • The power sector needs transformation from high-carbon fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Way forward:

  • Complete overhaul of the network of primary health centers, which is the base of our public healthcare system.
  • Reform in the financial sector.
  • The regressive return to discretionary tariff hikes and other protectionist trade policy measures needs reversal to compete in global markets.

The need of the hour is to motivate the central and state governments to urgently introduce reforms to counter the long-term effects of the pandemic.

Power users may soon get to choose supplier

Source: Live Mint

Gs3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

Relevance: Electricity amendment bill 2021 will improve energy efficiency and consumer protection.

Synopsis: Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is a landmark bill to reform power distribution. The Landmark Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is expected to be introduced in the monsoon session of the parliament.

Provisions of the Landmark Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Source: Live mint
  • Aims of the bill
    • To de-license power supply to increase competitiveness.
    • Allows multiple distributors in the same area
    • Gives consumers the option to switch power suppliers.
  • The bill also proposes appointing a member with a legal background in every electricity regulatory commission and strengthening the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel).
  • It also spells out penalties for any failure by power distribution companies to meet renewable purchase obligations. Discoms are required to buy a fixed amount of renewable energy to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
  • In addition, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill also lays down the rights and duties of electricity consumers.

What needs to be done further to improve the electricity market?

  • Apart from the above-said reforms, issues related to high levels of cross-subsidy, losses, and poor infrastructure will also need to be resolved.
  • The success of de-licensing or retail competition will critically depend on its ability to address the core issues relating to
    1. the high level of cross-subsidies in retail tariffs;
    2. inefficiencies in the form of T&D (transmission and distribution)/ AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses; and
    3. poor state of T&D infrastructure
  • Imposition of restrictions to address existing tariff distortions or imposition of universal supply obligation on new suppliers would defeat the objective of creating a market-driven industry structure.

India has an installed power generation capacity of 383.373GW, the demand has usually been lower than 200GW. However, this changed on 7 July when India’s peak electricity demand breached the 200GW mark. And this (electricity demand) gives us the space to carry out energy transition which otherwise would have been difficult.

RBI action on Mastercard again shows why it is urgent to have an omnibus data protection law

Source: TOI

Synopsis: Mastercard Asia has been ordered by RBI to refrain from taking on new customers as it failed to fulfil its obligations under the local data storage rules.

Also Read: Mastercard can’t issue new cards from July 22: RBI
Issues involved
  • Impact on the payments market: India’s retail payments landscape has transitioned to contactless payments, and cards are slowly losing relevance. Cards have a 3% market share and Mastercard is estimated to account for around one-third of those transactions. Therefore, RBI’s move, especially since renewal of existing Mastercards are not affected, won’t be really market disruptive
  • This data localisation requirement is also consistent with India’s Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP) that was introduced in Parliament 19 months ago. The bill was referred to a joint parliamentary committee and its report is still under preparation.

Way forward

The original bill covered localisation and stated that some critical data shall be processed only in India. PDP cannot exist in isolation. India has globally competitive firms in data processing and PDP’s structure will have a ripple effect on them. A benchmark could be the EU’s GDPR which allows transfer of data to non-EU-based firms provided they follow the same standards.

Also Read: Personal Data Protection Bill and issues around data localisation

Climate crisis: Is Earth destabilising?

Source: Down To Earth

Syllabus: GS 3- Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Relevance: This article explains the Planetary boundaries and its impact on Environment.


Professor Johan Rockstrom, an internationally recognized scientist working on global sustainability issues, is looking into much broader questions like Do our planets have boundaries? Can it be defined?

What is a planetary boundary?

The planetary boundary is a novel concept developed and published by the international team of 18 researchers in the year 2009. According to the paper, there are nine planetary boundaries, and they are as follows,

  1. Climate change
  2. Change in biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and species extinction)
  3. Stratospheric ozone depletion
  4. Ocean acidification
  5. Biogeochemical flows (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles)
  6. Land-system change (for example deforestation)
  7. Freshwater use
  8. Atmospheric aerosol loading (microscopic particles in the atmosphere that affect climate and living organisms)
  9. Introduction of novel entities (eg, organic pollutants, radioactive materials, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics).

The stability of our planet earth is mainly due to these nine processes. These elements are the reason, our planet is intact. Any change in this would greatly affect our planet, and in turn, us.

Two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are core boundaries. Any change in these two would drive the Earth System into a new state.

Planetary boundaries level at present:

Four of nine planetary boundaries: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen), have crossed the tipping point due to unfavorable human activities

Planetary Boundaries do not dictate how human societies should develop, but they can aid decision-makers by defining a safe operating space for humanity

How our detergent footprint is polluting aquatic ecosystems

Source: Down To Earth

Syllabus: GS 3- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Relevance: Detergents not only pollute the environment but also devastate the aquatic ecosystem.


Water pollution caused by detergents is now a big concern in the global context. The per capita detergent consumption in India is around 2.7 kilograms per year. It is around 3.7 kg in the Philippines and Malaysia and 10 kg in the United States of America.

What is a detergent?

A detergent is a surfactant or mixture of surfactants that have cleaning properties in dilute solution with water. A detergent is similar to soap.

The detergents contain suspected carcinogens and ingredients that do not fully biodegrade. Few major components of detergents and their impact.

About Nonylphenol:

Nonylphenol is a hazardous chemical present in detergents, is known to enter water bodies and food chains. It bio-accumulates and can pose serious environmental and health risks.

Recently, it has been detected in human breast milk, blood and urine, and is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents. It is recommended to find substitutes for nonylphenol.

About Phosphate salts:

Many laundry detergents contain approximately 35 to 75 percent phosphate salts.

Impact of phosphates:

  • Phosphate tends to inhibit the biodegradation of organic substances.
    • Non-biodegradable substances cannot be eliminated by public or private wastewater treatment.
  • Some phosphate-based detergents can also cause eutrophication. This deprives the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms.

Other components:

Detergents also contain oxygen-reducing substances (ie, a chemical compound that readily transfers oxygen atoms) that may cause severe damage to fishes and other marine animals.

About BIS standard on phenolic compounds

The Bureau of Indian Statistics (BIS) has set the standard of phenolic compounds in drinking water {0.001 milligrams per litre (mg/L)} and surface water (5.0 mg/L).

Other impacts of detergents on water bodies:

  • Detergents are capable of destroying the external mucus layers that protect the fish from bacteria and parasites, causing severe damage to the gills.
    • Mostly fish die when detergent concentrations are near 15 parts per million (ppm); however, detergent concentrations as low as 5 ppm will kill fish eggs.
  • A few more harmful components of detergents and heavy metal concentrations (like zinc, cadmium and lead) can cause the water to grow murky. This blocks out light and disrupting the growth of plants.
    • Turbidity also clogs the respiratory system of some species of fishes. Pathogens from these toxic water bodies cause diseases, some fatal, in human or animal hosts diseases.
  • Drinking water contaminated with detergents can be hazardous to human health. The use of eco-friendly and biodegradable detergents should be encouraged to lower our laundry footprints.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Draft Drone Rules, 2021 released 

Source: The Hindu, Livemint, TOI 1, TOI 2, Pib

What is the news?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released Draft Drone Rules, 2021, for public consultation until August 5.

Key provisions 

Here are some key provisions of the Draft Drone rules, 2021

  • Reduction in number of forms: The number of forms to be filled to seek authorisation before operating a drone has been reduced from 25 to 6.
  • Approvals abolished: many important approval requirements have been abolished, like Unique prototype identification number, certificate of maintenance, Import clearance, etc.
  • Relaxation for R&D entities: Further, no such approvals will be required for drones used for R&D by entities and educational institutions recognized by the Central government, State governments, or Union Territory Administrations.
  • Manufacturers may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
    • Digital sky platform is an initiative by the Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to provide a secure and scalable platform that supports drone technology frameworks, such as NPNT (no permission, no take-off).
    • The platform will be under India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • Under draft drone rules, Digital Sky platform will also be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system with minimal human interference and most permissions will be self-generated. It will also serve as a unified platform for users to obtain the mandatory registration number and remote pilot license. However, people will need to check the service to determine if any restrictions are in place before they fly a drone at a location.
  • Safety features: The draft Drone Rules 2021 also have safety features such real-time tracking beacon, and geo-fencing, which are expected to be notified in future, and a six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
  • Air-space map: An interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed on the digital sky platform. The zones pertain to what is known as geofencing, which prohibit or limit the use of drones at some places, like close to an airport or over-sensitive military and VIP locations.
    • Green zone refers to the airspace from the ground up to a vertical distance of 400 feet (120 m) above ground level (AGL) that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map for drone operations. No flight permission is required up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
    • Yellow zone: To fly in the yellow zone, a drone pilot will require permission from the air traffic control authority. The yellow zone has been reduced from 45 km to 12 km from nearby airport perimeter.
    • Red zone: In red zones, drone operations shall be permitted only under exceptional circumstances by the central government.
  • No pilot licence will be required for micro drones used for non-commercial use, nano drones.
  • There will be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  • Drone corridors: MoCA will facilitate the development of drone corridors for cargo deliveries, and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.

Explained: How Europe’s ambitious new climate agenda will affect businesses

Source: The Indian Express and All India Radio

About EU’s “Fit for 55” proposal:

The European Union has unveiled some of the world’s most ambitious proposals, titled “Fit for 55”, to reduce carbon emissions and wean its 27 members off fossil fuels. The plan aims to cut their output of greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The commission’s proposals require endorsement by the European Parliament and leaders of European national governments before they become law, a process that is expected to take around two years.

The roadmap of EU’s “Fit for 55” proposal:

The European Union’s plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by the end of the decade will touch almost every industry in the trade bloc.

Road Transport:

  • Cars with internal combustion engines will disappear from European showrooms by 2035.
  • To boost electric car sales, Public funds will be used to help build charging stations every 60 kilometers, or 36 miles, on major highways
  • The commission will also help finance a network of hydrogen fueling stations (fuel cells that convert hydrogen to electricity).

Water and air transport:

  • Commercial airliners will be required to fill up with synthetic fuel produced with green energy.
  • Cargo ships were not able to dock in ports like Rotterdam, Netherlands, or Hamburg, Germany, unless they run on cleaner fuels.

Heavy industry:

  • Steel producers and cement makers will pay for every ton of carbon dioxide their factories emit.


  • Renewables already account for 20% of the electricity produced in Europe. The goal is to raise the figure to 40% by 2030
  • Electricity producers will be pushed to speed up the switch to wind, solar and hydropower from coal.

How EU “Fit for 55” proposal compares at the global level?

The European Union’s target is more aggressive than that of the United States, which committed to reducing emissions by 40% to 43% over the same period, but behind Britain, which pledged a 68% reduction. China, the world’s largest emitter, has only said it aims for emissions to peak by 2030.

Criticism of the EU’s “Fit for 55” proposal:

  • Automakers: The European Union should “focus on innovation rather than mandating, or effectively banning petrol and diesel-powered cars.
  • The shipping industry is unclear how the plan would be applied and which shipping routes would be affected
  • Heavy industries have complained that the proposals could further erode their competitive advantage over producers in China and discourage the investment needed to shift to lower emissions.
  • Companies that make products destined for obsolescence, like parts for internal combustion engines, must adapt or go out of business.

Why do you need the ‘colonial law’ of sedition, CJI asks the govt.

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has questioned the Central government whether the provision of Sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was still needed after 75 years of independence.

What was the case?

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the offense of sedition under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code(IPC).
  • The petitioner stated that Section 124A should be struck down as it was in violation of Article 14 (equality before law), 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression), and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty).

What has the Apex Court said?

  • Firstly, the Supreme Court asked the Centre on why a colonial law such as sedition which was used against Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak remained in the law book 75 years after Independence.
  • Secondly, the court said that the sedition law was prone to misuse by the government. The use of sedition is like giving a saw to the carpenter to cut a piece of wood, and he uses it to cut the entire forest itself.
  • Thirdly, the court wondered why the government which had repealed a number of pre-colonial laws was not looking into the sedition law.
  • Fourthly, the court cited the example of Section 66A of the IT Act, under which thousands of cases were being registered despite the fact that the provision was struck down. Hence, there is rampant misuse of provisions without any accountability.
  • Lastly, the court said that if we see the conviction rate under Section 124A, it is very low.
    • According to the data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), cases of sedition have shown a rise in 2019, but only 3% of the sedition cases resulted in convictions.

Significance of these statements:

  • These statements from the Supreme Court on Section 124A are important in the backdrop of rising public denouncement of Central and State law enforcement agencies using the sedition law to silence dissent, muzzle free expression and deny bail to jailed activists, journalists, students and civil society members.
  • Moreover, the Supreme Court’s remarks have also opened the door for debate and introspection on the court’s own verdict in 1962, in the Kedar Nath case, which upheld Section 124A.

Financial inclusion is a policy priority: Das

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) Governor addressed the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit.

Key Highlights from the Address: 

Financial Inclusion:

  • Financial Inclusion will continue to be the RBI’s policy priority as India recovers from the pandemic.
  • For this, RBI will soon launch a ‘financial inclusion index’ to measure and improve the extent of access, usage, and quality of financial inclusion in the country.
  • Moreover, to promote financial inclusion, RBI has a pilot project going on in association with banks under which, at least one district in each State/UT would be 100% digitally enabled. The project has been initially started in 42 districts in 2019.

Micro finance:

  • Microfinance is a form of financial service which provides small loans and other financial services to poor and low-income households.
  • RBI has recently issued a consultative document for harmonising regulatory frameworks for various regulated lenders in the microfinance sector.
  • The primary objective of the document is to address the concerns relating to the over-indebtedness of microfinance borrowers; enable market mechanisms to rationalize the interest rates and empower the board to make an informed decision by enhancing the transparency of loan pricing.

Increase in Digital Payments:

  • The number of prepaid payment instruments(PPI) had increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 53% from 41 crores in May 2017, to 226 crores in May 2021.
  • During June 2021, payment systems in India had processed more than 15 crore transactions amounting to almost ₹4.5 lakh crore per day.
  • UPI platform has also witnessed over 280 crore transactions in June 2021. Globally, there has been a lot of interest in UPI.

ISRO successfully conducts test of Vikas Engine for Gaganyaan Program

Source: AIR

What is the News?

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) has successfully conducted the third long-duration hot test of the liquid propellant Vikas engine for the Gaganyaan programme.

About Vikas Engine:

  • Vikas is a family of liquid fuelled rocket engines conceptualized and designed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre(LPSC) in the 1970s.
    • LPSC is a research and development centre functioning under Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • The engine is used in the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle(GSLV) series of expendable launch vehicles for space launch use.
  • ISRO tested the Vikas Engine this time as part of the engine qualification requirements for the Gaganyaan Mission.

About Gaganyaan Mission:

  • Gaganyaan is India’s first Human Space Flight Programme to be launched by the ISRO.
  • Aim: The mission aims to demonstrate ISRO’s capability to send humans to low-earth orbit onboard an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to Earth.
  • The first unmanned flight is likely to be launched in 2021 and the second demonstration launch could happen in 2022-23 before ISRO finally launches a full-scale manned mission.

Covid-19: Here’s everything you need to know about ‘cytomegalovirus’

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Sporadic cases of cytomegalovirus (CMV) are being reported from Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, making it the latest post-covid complication.

What is Cytomegalovirus (CMV)?

  • Cytomegalovirus(CMV) is also known as Human Herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5). It is a common herpes virus that often causes natural infections in childhood and remains asymptomatic in patients with normal immunity.
  • Once infected, the virus is retained in the body for life. Most people don’t realise that they have been infected by CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people.
  • The symptoms usually surface only when carriers become immuno-compromised, such as those suffering from cancer, AIDS, or those who have recently had transplants.

Symptoms of CMV:

  • The symptoms of CMV range from fever and fatigue to severe symptoms involving the eyes, brain or other internal organs.
  • These symptoms include gastrointestinal bleeding (blood in stools), diarrhea, swollen glands, mouth ulcers, inflamed liver, and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

How is CMV transmitted?

  • CMV spreads between humans via contact with someone who has the disease. Transmission happens through sexual contact and bodily fluids such as urine, blood, saliva, tears, and feces.
  • Expecting mothers who develop an active CMV infection during pregnancy can pass on the virus to their babies, which is known as congenital CMV. Children born with it may or may not show symptoms.


  • There is no specific cure for CMV, but there are medicines that can help treat the symptoms. However, medication can suppress the virus, it cannot remove it completely from the body as it stays lifelong in your system.

Covid-19 Connection:

  • The medicines used to treat COVID-19 such as steroids suppress the natural immunity of patients and reduce the lymphocyte count (6%-10% as against a normal of 20%-40%). This makes them susceptible to infections like CMV.

Union Education Minister and Tribal Affairs Minister to jointly launch School Innovation Ambassador Training Program

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Education Minister and Tribal Affairs Minister will jointly launch the ‘School Innovation Ambassador Training Program’.

About School Innovation Ambassador Training Program:

  • The School Innovation Ambassador Training Program is a one of its kind training program for School Teachers.
  • Aim: It aims at training 50,000 school teachers. The training areas will include Innovation, Entrepreneurship, IPR, Design Thinking, Product Development, Idea Generation, and many more.
  • This program has been designed by the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
  • Significance of the Program:
    • Firstly, the program will help in the skill development of the teachers, which will in turn help in providing a better and innovative education sector in the country.
    • Secondly, the program will equip teachers with new developments in the education sector and make them technically equipped as well.

Innovation Cell:

  • Innovation cell is an initiative of the Ministry of Education to foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions(HEIs) across the country.
  • It has been established at All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) premises.
  • Mandate: To encourage and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas resulting in innovative activities in their formative years, fostered through Network of Innovation Clubs (NIC) in Higher Educational Institutions.

PM inaugurates the International Cooperation and Convention Centre – Rudraksh in Varanasi

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the International Cooperation and Convention Centre – Rudraksh in Varanasi.

About Rudraksh:

  • Rudraksh is an international cooperation and convention centre that will offer a glimpse of the cultural richness of Varanasi.
  • The centre has been built with the assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency.
  • Purpose: The centre has been developed with the objective to dedicate an ideal platform for social and cultural interactions between people and strengthen the city’s competitiveness by developing the tourism sector.
  • Moreover, the centre is also ideal for holding international conferences, exhibitions and music concerts and other events.
  • Further, at the centre as many as 108 Rudraksha have been installed at this convention centre and its roof is shaped like a Shiva Linga.

Prime Minister inaugurates and dedicates PRASHAD projects in Varanasi

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the Tourism Facilitation Centre and operation of Cruise Boat in Varanasi. These projects have been developed under the PRASHAD Scheme.

About the PRASHAD Scheme:

  • The National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive(PRASHAD) was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15.
  • Purpose: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched with the objective of integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • Objectives of the Scheme:
    • To enhance tourism attractiveness in a sustainable manner.
    • To harness pilgrimage tourism so that it directly affects and multiplies employment generation and economic development.
    • Furthermore, to promote local art and culture, handicraft and cuisines, etc.
    • To develop world-class infrastructure in religious destinations.

Other Tourism Scheme:

Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

  • Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in 2014-2015
  • Aim: It is a Central Sector Scheme with the objective of integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country.
  • Objectives:
    • position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation
    • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
    • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions.
  • Thematic Circuits under Scheme: North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Sufi Circuit, and Tirthankar Circuit.

Terms to know: 

Govt launches Artificial Intelligence powered grievance management application

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Defence Minister has launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered grievance management application.

About the AI-powered grievance management application:

  • The application has been developed by the Ministry of Defence with the help of IIT-Kanpur.
  • Purpose: It is the first Artificial Intelligence(AI)-powered application developed to improve grievance redressal in the Government.

Key Features:

  • The application has the capability to understand the content of the complaint. As a result, it can identify repeat complaints or spam automatically.
  • Based on the meaning of the complaint, it can categorize complaints of different categories even when keywords normally used for such search are not present in the complaint.
  • It also enables geographical analysis of complaints in a category, including analysis of whether the complaint was adequately addressed or not by the concerned office.

Significance of the application:

  • There are lakhs of complaints received on the Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) portal of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG).
  • Hence, this application will have great use in understanding the nature of complaints, geographies from where they emanate and policy changes that can be introduced to create systemic improvements to address these grievances.


  • Centralized Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) is a web-based application developed by the National Informatics Centre(NIC) in association with the Directorate of Public Grievances(DPG) and the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances(DARPG).
  • Purpose: The application aims to enable submission of grievances by the aggrieved citizens from anywhere and anytime (24×7) basis to Ministries who scrutinize and take action for speedy and favorable redress of these grievances.
  • Issues that are not taken up for redressal by CPGRAMS:
    • Sub Judice cases or any matter concerning judgment given by any court.
    • Personal and family disputes.
    • RTI matters.
    • Anything that impacts upon territorial integrity of the country of friendly relations with other countries.

Terms to know: 

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