9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 19th, 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 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Conjugal rights before Supreme Court

Source: Indian Express 

Syllabus: GS 1 –  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India

Relevance – Laws related to marriage are very important to save individual’s from exploitation. All obsolete laws must be reconsidered.


A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging a provision in the Hindu personal law related to the restitution of conjugal rights.  As per the petition, a grave violation of sexual and privacy rights happens whenever the right to restitution of conjugal rights is exercised by one spouse over another.


In the coming week, the SC  may hear a fresh challenge to the provision allowing restitution of conjugal rights under Hindu personal laws. In 2019, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the pleas.

About Conjugal Rights:

  • They are rights created by marriage, i.e. the right of the husband or the wife to the society of the other spouse. 
  • The law recognises these rights— both in personal laws dealing with marriage, divorce, etc and in criminal law requiring payment of maintenance and alimony to a spouse.
  • The concept of restitution of conjugal rights is codified in Hindu personal law now, but has colonial origins and has genesis in ecclesiastical law. 
  • Similar provisions exist in Muslim personal law as well as the Divorce Act, 1869, which governs Christian family law.
  • Incidentally, in 1970, the United Kingdom repealed the law on restitution of conjugal rights.

What is the provision under challenge?

  • Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, deals with restitution of conjugal rights and is under challenge.
  • It states that when either the husband or the wife has withdrawn from the company of the other without a reasonable cause, then the aggrieved party may apply for restitution of conjugal rights. This provision requires a person to cohabit with another against their will.
  • A petition for restitution can be filed in district court. The court, after being satisfied with the truth of such a petition or absence of legal ground to forbid restitution, may decree restitution of conjugal rights accordingly.
  • Normally, when a spouse files for divorce unilaterally, the other spouse files for restitution of conjugal rights if he or she is not in agreement with the divorce. The provision is seen to be an intervention through legislation to strike a conciliatory note between sparring spouses.

Why has the law been challenged?

  • Section 9 violates the fundamental right to privacy which is now a fundamental right under article 21 of the constitution. 
  • Further, court-mandated restitution of conjugal rights amounted to a “coercive act” on the part of the state, which violates one’s sexual and decisional autonomy.
  • Although the law is gender-neutral since it allows both wife and husband to seek restitution of conjugal rights, the provision disproportionately affects women
    • Women are often called back to marital homes under the provision and given that marital rape is not a crime, leaves them susceptible to such coerced cohabitation.

What has the court said about the law earlier?

  • In 1983, the Andhra Pradesh High Court (HC) and the Delhi HC delivered opposite judgments on the restitution of conjugal rights.
    • The Andhra HC struck down the provision in the case of T Sareetha v T Venkatasubbaiah and declared it null and void. 
    • The Court said it violated privacy rights and recognised that compelling “sexual cohabitation” would have “grave consequences for women”.
    • However, the Delhi HC upheld the provision in the case of Harvinder Kaur v Harmander Singh Chaudhry
    • The court said it is in the interests of the State that family life should be maintained and that homes should not be broken up by the dissolution of the marriage of parents.
  • Later, in 1984, the Supreme Court upheld Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act in the case of Saroj Rani v Sudarshan Kumar Chadha. It said that the provision “serves a social purpose as an aid to the prevention of break-up of marriage”. 
  • Thus, the Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court view and overruled the Andhra Pradesh High Court verdict.


Although the provision of restitution of conjugal rights has been upheld in the past, legal experts have pointed out that the landmark verdict in the privacy case has set the stage for potential challenges to several laws. This includes criminalisation of homosexuality, marital rape, restitution of conjugal rights, the two-finger test in rape investigations, and others.

GS Paper 2

Sensitive and precise

SourceThe Hindu

Syllabus: GS2 –  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States

Relevance: To eliminate trafficking, India needs legislative action and welfare schemes for vulnerable sections should go hand in hand.

Synopsis: The draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill needs to be comprehensive and include causative factors.


The draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 is well-intentioned, to stamp out exploitative trafficking. But the bill lacks few nuances.

Salient provisions of the bill
  • The bill aims at preventing and countering trafficking in persons, particularly women and children.
  • The bill provides for care, protection and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them.
  • Furthermore, the Bill has expanded the area under coverage to include offences taking place, not only within India but also outside of India.
  • Apart from that, the bill also envisages the setting up of anti-trafficking committees at the State and national levels to implement the provisions
  • Reporting of offences has been made mandatory, the bill also prescribes penalties for non-reporting.
Major criticisms with the draft Trafficking in Persons Bill
  • Does not include contributing factors: The bill aims to rehabilitate trafficked persons, but misses the situations that led to trafficking. Such as vicious poverty, debt, lack of opportunity, and lack of development schemes.
  • Authority of NIA: The bill hand over the investigation of trafficking crimes to the NIA. This has raised few challenges. Such as,
    • The move would burden the already stretched NIA unit further.
    • The move would remove the local enforcement agencies from the picture. Thus, it is an attack on federalism.
  • The bill does not consider consensual sexual activity for commerce: This would only land up criminalising sex work and victimisation of the exploited.
  • Penalty provisions: This provision did not consider when victims often do not want a complaint to be recorded.
  • The Bill was up in the public domain for comments, civil society activists and legal experts. The Government should incorporate the responses to its Bill in order to ensure that the fence does not eat the crop.

While sexual exploitation and trafficking can be ghastly crimes, invoking public horror. Passing an act without enough safeguard would be equally horrific.

Why India is missing its vaccine targets

SourceThe Indian Express

Syllabus: GS2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Relevance: India’s problem of vaccine shortage needs large scale capacity building and government commitments.

Synopsis: The production capacity of vaccines has not risen as claimed by the Centre. Several other issues are leading to vaccine shortage in India.

About Vaccine Shortage:

India’s problem of vaccine shortage is not yet resolved. Currently, India produces two vaccines: Covishield by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech (BB).


Recently, the health ministry has revised the target for July 2021 from 12 crore doses to 13.5 crore doses. But to achieve that, the vaccination rate should rise to 43.5 lakh doses per day. But there are few challenges in achieving these targets. These are,

  • The supply of vaccines remains considerably lower than the demand for vaccines.
  • The current rate of vaccination is not ramped up. At present, India’s vaccination rate was around 39.6 lakh doses per day.
  • Poor performance of State and private players: Under the previous Vaccine policy, 75% of Vaccines would be procured by the Centre and 25% would be available for private players. But State and private players have not purchased the vaccines. Even after the new procurement policy, Private is not procuring enough.
    • So far, State governments and private hospitals directly purchased only about 4.2 crore doses
  • Delaying external vaccine procurement: The procurement of other vaccines like Sputnik V, Corbevax and Zydus-Cadilla are getting delayed. For instance, Indemnity issues are holding up U.S vaccine donation.
Read more: What is “Indemnity” and why vaccine manufacturers are demanding that?

Towards freedom of expression

Source: Business standard

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

Relevance – Laws linked to national security need reconsideration due to their coercive nature.


Reviewing the validity of Sedition law should be seen as a starting point for reviewing inhumane provisions of other laws like UAPA and NSA. This would uphold freedom of expression and strengthen constitutional spirit in governance.  


  • The Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.
  • A review was long overdue, given the conspicuous misuse of the sedition law by the Central and state governments. 
  • It could mark the start of a belated process to strengthen Indian citizens’ right to freedom of expression that is stifled by many Draconian laws.

Other laws that demand review:

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act: The UAPA, the country’s anti-terror law, is particularly egregious as it requires the accused to prove themselves innocent. 
    • A situation that makes bail a near impossibility, as the appalling treatment of the late Stan Swamy highlighted. Further, it also extends pre-chargesheet custody for 180 days.
    • Many have courageously pointed to the basic flaw in the application of the UAPA in conflating protest with terrorism.
  • National Security Act: It is also a variation of colonial-era laws (including the infamous Rowlatt Act). It allows governments to detain a citizen deemed a threat to national security for up to 12 months or longer if the government finds evidence.
    • This law strips a person of basic rights: To consult a lawyer and to be informed of the reason for her arrest within five days. It gives the government the power to withhold information in the name of national security. 
    • This law has been used to detain people associated with an alleged cow-slaughter case, and a Manipuri journalist for a controversial Facebook post. 


India would benefit if these laws, too, were read down from the statute books. Doing so would help India, which signed a joint statement supporting freedom of expression at the G7 meeting as recently as June 2021, regain something of its tarnished global reputation.

Areas of Cooperation and Competition

Source: Indian Express

GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Synopsis: Ministry of Cooperation cannot always guarantee price stabilisation and growth.

Do cooperatives guarantee growth?

  • Firstly, in 1991 it improved the terms of trade for agriculture and benefitted millions of farmers.
    • Agri-exports zoomed, but this led to higher domestic prices.
  • Secondly, in 1991, the finance minister wanted to delicense the dairy sector as well, but there was stiff opposition from Verghese Kurien, the “Milkman of India”.
    • As a compromise, Narasimha Rao partially de-licensed the sector through the Milk and Milk Products Order of 1992.
    • It was after 10 years in 2002 that the dairy sector was fully de-licensed during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure.
    • The developments in the dairy sector proved that competition between cooperatives and corporate dairy players has benefitted millions of farmers around the country.
    • The Amul model included collecting milk from millions of small and marginal farmers.
    • Then, processing as per food safety standards, and distributing to consumers in metro cities to start with, and then to second and third-tier cities.
    • With the entry of the private sector, the growth of the dairy sector accelerated at double the speed.
    • Now, growth in the organized private sector is faster than in cooperatives.
    • Also, despite the grand success of Gujarat’s milk cooperatives in Gujarat, the model did not spread to other states as successfully.
    • In UP, the biggest producer of milk, cooperatives, are nowhere in the scheme of things.
  • Thirdly, the government recently created a new Ministry for Cooperation.
    • But India’s tryst with the cooperative movement has produced mixed results, few successes and many failures.
    • There are cooperatives in the financial sector, be it rural or urban.
    • But the performance of these agencies when measured in terms of their share in overall credit, achievements in technology up-gradation, keeping NPAs low, or curbing fraudulent deals has been poor to average.
  • Fourth, it is often believed that urban cooperative banks had huge transactions during the de-monetization phase and were one of the main factors responsible for the failure of demonetisation.
  • Fifth, the Subsidy based Karnataka model distorts price to benefit milk farmers.
    • In its eagerness to please milk farmers, the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), which sells its products under the brand name of Nandini, gives them Rs 5 to Rs 6 extra per liter.
    • KMF procures a lot of milk and then dumps it at lower prices in the market for consumers.
    • This depresses prices in adjoining states like Maharashtra, affecting the fortunes of Maharashtra milk farmers.
    • If Maharashtra and Karnataka were two different countries, Maharashtra would be challenging Karnataka at the WTO.
    • There is a question about the role of the new Ministry of Cooperation in such cases.
  • Lastly, the Sugar cooperatives of Maharashtra initially succeeded but are in the doldrums now.

But, how Amul model got succeeded?

  • During Operation Flood, it received a lot of capital in highly concessional terms.
  • But its success also owed a lot to Kurien who believed in professionalism and business and, therefore, kept politics away.
  • He supported dairy farmers strongly, at times even at the expense of consumers.

Way forward:

  • Cooperatives desperately need technological upgradation.
  • Ministry of Cooperation should give soft loans for innovation and technology upgradation and extend the same terms to the private sector.
  • A level-playing field is critical to see which model suits India the best.
  • Ensure no political interference in the operation of cooperatives.

Since no model is perfect that is why the government’s endeavour should be to support the one that relies the least on tax payers’ money.

A new chapter in Nepal’s quest for political stability

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations (IR)

Relevance: Recent political events in Nepal, probable reasons, and lessons for India

Synopsis: Unfolding of political events in Nepal in light of KP Oli’s tenure and possible lessons for India.


On July 12, 2021, the Supreme Court of Nepal passed a judgement in a case demanding that Sher Bahadur Deuba be made the Prime Minister. Although the parliamentarians had gone to the Supreme Court as Mr. Deuba had gathered enough support to become the Prime Minister of Nepal under Article 76(5) of the Constitution, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari refused to entertain it. Instead, the President re-appointed K.P. Sharma Oli as the caretaker Prime Minister till the elections that they decided to hold in October and November 2021 were concluded. This ends now.

Impact of the verdict

Supreme Court verdict has ended the collusion between Mr. Oli and Ms. Bhandari to continuously take decisions that were against the provisions of the Constitution.

Oli tenure
  • In the past, Mr. Oli’s popularity rose when he challenged India during the blockade in September 2015 and raised nationalism as an issue to emerge as the leader who could lead Nepal.
  • A Stable government in Nepal: For the 2017 Federal and Provincial elections, the two major communist parties, the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist–UML), joined hands, and with a landslide victory, were to provide a stable government in Nepal in three decades. This coalition between the two parties had laid out some conditions, one of which was that Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Mr. Oli were supposed to rotate the prime ministership.
  • Party in-fighting starts: The infighting within the ruling party that united in May 2018 began to surface in December 2019. Mr. Oli had, in two years of his rule, ensured that his kitchen cabinet ran the country while his image and international relations were being handled by prominent citizens who kept defending him till the end. He unleashed crony capitalism. Many business groups gained from his rule.
  • Challenge to India: International relations witnessed a new low with Mr. Oli taking on India with an amended map of the country (Kalapani dispute), which only affected bilateral relations.
  • Agreements with China: With China the agreements signed never saw the light of the day when it came to implementation. The complaints of Chinese investors in Nepal in terms of governance and bureaucracy have been no different than the complaints of others.
  • Mis-handling of COVID pandemic: Handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic created a public outcry due to a lack of health-care facilities. He was personally dragged into the Nepal vaccine scam in the purchase of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India.
Lessons for India

The happenings in Nepal offer lessons for India:

  • India should not push relationships through intelligence agencies and other indirect ways as it fails each time. (The blockade issue with Nepal)
  • India needs to continue to build on people-to-people relationships and engage through official channels of bilateral platforms and diplomacy.

How India can guard its interests should Kabul fall to the Taliban?

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, Livemint

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations (IR)

Relevance: Understanding India’s future role and policy in Afghanistan, in light of American exit.

Synopsis: Future course of action for India when it comes to recent events in Afghanistan.


With US and NATO completing their pull-out from Bagram air base and other key locations, the Taliban are making huge advances across the country, capturing districts, seizing key border crossings, and encircling provincial capitals.

As the Taliban gains ground inside Afghanistan, it’s only a matter of time before they reach Kabul.

Taliban – back to old ways

Meanwhile, ground reports from the territories controlled by the Taliban say it is reimposing severe social restrictions, especially on women. It wants unmarried girls over 15 years old and widows below 45 years as wives for the Taliban fighters. International terrorist organizations appear to be playing an important role in Taliban’s military advances.

India’s concerns

For India and the Central Asian States, the worries are about the violence at the frontiers and the resultant refugee influx, extremism, and support to transnational groups such as al Qaeda, LeT, JeM, ETIM and IMU, as it happened earlier under Taliban rule.

Threat to India overblown

Fears and concerns of India regarding Taliban may be genuine but they are also overblown and exaggerated due to the following reasons:

  • International circumstances are different today: International politics is vastly different today from what it was in 1991 or even 2001. Hence, the return of Taliban does not pose the same kind of threat to India as they did in the 1990s.
  • Taliban’s hostility towards India was found to be driven more by the Pakistani agenda and less by any intrinsic animosity towards us. In recent times, their negative position towards New Delhi has been in response to India’s support for the Afghan government and, until recently, the refusal to talk to them.
  • Also, in today’s world Pakistan will find it increasingly difficult to exert same kind of control over Afghanistan’s security policies as it did in the past. Moreover, a surge of armed conflict across the Durand Line will result in destabilizing side-effects come that Pakistan experienced a generation ago.
India’s policy wrt Afghanistan
  • Legitimizing Taliban: India must hold on and not rush into any policy action that establishes the Taliban as a legitimate force
  • Influencing Pakistan’s security establishment: To ensure that Pakistan doesn’t indulge in leveraging Taliban against India, it must influence its security establishment esp. the Pakistani military chief of staff. And an effective way to influence Pakistan’s behavior is by talking to its sponsors. For this, India has a number of options to pursue. Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have significant common interests with New Delhi on various issues, including terrorism.
  • Wait and watch: India can just sit back, observe what happens, and amplify the contradictions among the various powers that have stepped in.
    • For the Taliban, Uyghurs of China’s northwest Xinjiang province are co- religionists just across the border.
    • For many Pashtuns of Pakistan’s frontier region, the Pakistani army is an enemy that is oppressing their ethnic brethren across a colonial border they have never recognized.
    • The Russians, for their part, would not mind their Chinese allies getting a bloody nose.
    • The Chinese are unlikely to want to be the latest foreign power to enjoy the delights of Afghan politics.

Each of these fault lines presents New Delhi with options.

Also Read: India’s future afghan policy – Explained, pointwise

Way forward

India must be prepared to defend its interests at all costs. This, in turn, needs strategic patience that will help resist the temptation to normalise the Taliban. At the same time, Delhi must be prepared to discuss what are real and serious differences with key regional and international partners on the Taliban and the future of Afghanistan.

Long game with Beijing

Source: TOI, Indian Express

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations (IR)

Relevance: Understanding China’s future assertive foreign policy

Synopsis: China believes its own rise and the decline of the US are inevitable. India must pay attention


In his speech for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), on July 1, 2021, Xi Jinping means said that “the Chinese people have stood up and the era of suffering bullying has gone, never to return.”

A possible interpretation by Chinese international policy experts and a future strategy that India can evolve to deal with China.

US provocation

The current adversarial environment between US & China is due to US policy changes only. US-China relationship has always revolved around two ideas:

  • The idea that the US will respect and not de-stabilise China’s internal order and
  • The idea that the Chinese will not intentionally weaken the US-led international order.

The current situation is due to the fact that the US is seeking a regime change. China is not to be blamed in any way, and is simply responding to American provocation.

Chinese experts advice to Washington is to return to the earlier implicit consensus.

China’s policy change

China’s shift to a more assertive foreign policy is due to the ill-intention of the US towards China.

  • The new challenge for Beijing is how to be seen to be championing the cause of multipolarity while actually striving for a duopoly with the US or a multipolar order with US-Chinese relations at its core.
  • There is no contradiction between China seeking global co-hegemony and, at the same time, continuing to be a “developing country”, as a demonstration of its geo-political alignment.
  • Inclusive multilateralism is what China is aiming at with several forums in South Asia.
Difference b/w Chinese and American multilateralism

As stated earlier, Chinese experts believe that China follows a model of inclusive multilateralism while American alliance-building activities constitute exclusive multilateralism.

  • China’s coalitions are open and non-threatening but the American ones are “issue-based coalitions in opposition to China.
  • America exports its value system (democracy) as part of its foreign policy, while China does not. (The argument is unconvincing when President Xi has, on more than one occasion, referred to the Chinese model as an alternative for developing countries who wish to be independent.)

Main message, by Chinese experts, to the Americans is to give up on pressuring China to change its political system as this will be futile, and to return to accommodating the Chinese Communist Party as a legitimate global player. The Chinese message to the rest is to bend to China’s inevitable hegemony.

Problems before China
  • Debt problem: China’s total debt has grown from 140% of GDP in 2008 to nearly 290% of GDP now. To break out of this cycle while ensuring high growth China needs better technology, and indeed it is investing heavily in high-tech industries
  • Surveillance state: The formidable digital-era surveillance state Xi is setting up internally has led to widespread suspicion of China’s own high-tech exports – look at the escalating bans on Huawei products worldwide.
  • Structural limitations: China’s rapidly ageing population, its stark inequalities and neglect of its rural population are some structural limitations that China must wake up to.
  • Power struggle: There’s also the question of what happens when Xi, who’s 68 currently and has abolished term limits to his time in office, ages or dies – an intense power struggle within the CCP is all but inevitable.
Concerns for India

From India’s perspective, three points might deserve attention.

  • First, the statement that there is a paradigm shift in post-Covid Chinese foreign policy.
  • Second, that Beijing views America’s so-called “issue-based coalitions” (presumably the Quad) as the most serious external threat to its political security and the biggest obstacle to national rejuvenation.
  • Finally, that China is still offering accommodation if Washington just respects Beijing’s internal order and acknowledges China’s regional dominance.
Way forward

New Delhi will face intense pressure from Beijing, which will wax and wane over the medium term. To ride this out New Delhi must take a leaf out of Beijing’s book and learn to play the long game. This could include intermittent wars, both on the LAC and the LoC. Indian foreign policy, and its military, will be tested as never before.

Terms to know: 

GS Paper 3

India’s new Industrial policy is a replay of socialist era follies

Source: Live Mint

GS-3: Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.

Relevance – An analysis of govt’s Industrial policies.

Synopsis: It took decades for India to shift from its inward-looking and uncompetitive manufacturers. Now the government is again giving importance to inward-looking and uncompetitive companies to produce for the domestic market.


  • One of this government’s first promises was to revive the manufacturing sector.
  • India had been de-industrializing since the early part of the century.
  • Only mass manufacturing could create enough jobs for a workforce growing by a million young people a month.
  • The ‘Make in India’ slogan quickly developed into a full-fledged government program.
  • Further, the government is focused on increasing foreign direct investment and improving the business climate to attract multinational companies. It increased India’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business indicators in the five years.

What are the remaining issues?

  • Firstly, in 2019 the share of manufacturing in India’s gross domestic product stood at a 20-year low.
  • Secondly, failure of Make in India.
    • Most foreign investment has poured into service sectors such as retail, software, and telecommunications.
  • Thirdly, even 30 years after the liberalization of the private sector, the government is again handing out subsidies and licenses while putting up tariff walls.
    • The government shut down the 1950s-era Planning Commission, still, bureaucrats are directing state funding to favoured sectors.
    • It is done through new ‘production-linked incentive’ schemes, in which companies receive extra funding from the state for five years in return for expanding manufacturing in India.
    • Such incentives were originally meant to support domestic mobile phone production.
    • Another issue is that a government that has held off on income support during the covid pandemic has budgeted roughly $27 billion for these industrial subsidies.
  • Fourth, the only thing worse than socialism with central planning is an industrial policy with no planning at all. There’s no logical coherence to the sectors chosen.
  • Fifth, India’s haphazard industrial policy will fail, just as ‘Make in India’ did.
    • A scheme like PLI is not leading to job growth, leading to more economic dependence on China.
  • Sixth, all the major problems of India’s socialist-era past are returning.
    • The excessive closeness between bureaucrats and the beneficiaries of industrial policy.
    • India’s top civil servant recently called for an “institutional mechanism” that provides “hand-holding” for companies.
    • Companies that just began receiving subsidies are already asking the government to relax their production quotas.
  • Lastly, the government’s manufacturing push never went much further than gaming the World Bank’s indicators.
    • No investor believes structural reforms have gone deep enough.
    • India has a large workforce but few skilled workers.
    • The rupee is overvalued.

Way forward:

  • Subsidies should be limited to sectors where China dominates supply chains, as part of a broader, China-focused trade policy that partners with the United States, Australia, and others.
  • Invest in cutting-edge sectors.

Meanwhile, it’s hard-wiring into the economy the kind of connections between industrial capital and policymakers that are nearly impossible to disentangle.

Bank Nationalisation: 52 years and ticking

Source: Business Standard

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment

Relevance – The government has cleared its intention to privatize the public banks. This article highlights some aspects of bank nationalization.

Synopsis: Nationalization has served its purpose. It’s time to move forward with the retention of majority ownership of the government in a few banks to serve people.

History of Bank Nationalization in India:

  • 14 banks with deposits of at least Rs 50 crore each were nationalised on the midnight of July 19, 1969, by Indira Gandhi.
  • Incidentally, this was not the first attempt to nationalise banks. An ordinance had been drafted in 1963 as well, seemingly under great political pressure to nationalise five major banks.
  • A second round of nationalisation of six more commercial banks with deposits of more than Rs 200 crore was done in 1980.

Reasons behind bank nationalisation

  • Mis-governance: Post-World War II, many banks collapsed as they had been financing speculative activities.
  • Non inclusive: over 300 banks during that time were under the regulation of RBI as many of them were reluctant to support industry and agriculture and only gave trade finance.
  • Bank Failure: In 1960, Palai Central Bank and Lakshmi Commercial Bank collapsed, the RBI launched a massive consolidation drive, bringing the number of banks from 328 in 1960 to 94 by 1965.

Had the objective of Bank Nationalisation met?

  • Nationalisation of banks has served its purpose by taking banking to the hinterland and bringing a large part of the population into its fold.
  • Since then, the banking industry has grown.
  • In June 1969, there were 73 commercial banks; now there are 94, including small finance banks and payments banks but excluding regional rural banks and local area banks.
  • The number of bank branches has grown from 8,262 to 158,373.
  • One branch now covers roughly 9,500 people against 64,000 in 1969.
  • In June 1969, the deposit portfolio of banks was Rs 4,646 crore, by June 2021, the deposit portfolio has grown close to Rs 153 trillion.

Moving Ahead: Privatising Public sector banks

  • Due to rising NPA’s and faced with the issue of Political intervention, PSB’s are in a bad state of financial health.
  • Hence, the current government wants to Privatise few of the PSB’s to improve the banking sector in India.
  • In February 2021 Union Budget, for the first time, spoke about privatising two such banks. Even before that, the government had committed to privatise IDBI Bank Ltd.
  • In the run-up to the privatisation, the public sector banking industry had gone through a major phase of consolidation. The number of PSB’s has come down from 27 to 12 in three years, between 2017 and 2020.
  • Recently, Finance Secretary T V Somanathan said the government would “eventually” privatise most of the PSBs and keep its presence to a bare minimum.

Terms to know:

Our liberalized policy on drones will serve us well

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS3 – S&T

Relevance: Advantages offered by drones and how a liberal drone rules regime can help India get ahead in this sector.

Synopsis: Draft drone rules released recently are being hailed as progressive.

Why we needed a new set of rules?

The earlier drone rules were an over- kill that would have stifled drone usage and deprived the country of their myriad benefits. Too many permissions were needed to make, import and operate drones. Also, fines so steep were envisioned that they would have deterred startups from entering this field.

  • With its revisions, however, the ministry has eased the regulatory burden, enabling a services market to take off.
Also Read: Draft Drone Rules 2021 – Explained
Benefits of drones
  • Drones can serve a wide range of uses across sectors, from farming and mining to e-commerce and vaccine drop-offs.
  • Monitoring of hazardous sites: It is far safer to have a drone monitor a hazardous site, for example, than expose humans to it.
  • For transporting vital supplies to places that are hard to access.
  • Utility for state initiatives: Their utility for state initiatives is also very high, like
    • cartographic exercises or for farm surveys and police surveillance.

It would serve our economy best if drones are deployed mostly by private players as enhancers of efficiency, rather than by the state as its eyes, ears and arms.

For that, our drone rules need to be as market-friendly as possible within the constraints of public security.

The threat posed by drones
  • Lethal payloads: A drone has the ability to carry lethal payloads. The recent drone attack on an air-force installation in Jammu brought this problem into sharp focus.

Once drones are common in our skies, the prevention of rogue flights would need a foolproof vigil.

Way forward

While highly sensitive areas must stay off-limits to drones, we should not complicate matters for operators beyond what’s necessary. Yet, we should be ready to adapt our drone rules in response to new learnings and advancements.

AI’s dark side

Source: Times of India 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and Technology

Relevance: Artificial Intelligence is the future of all machineries. However, Its potential misuse must be stopped for its optimum utlisation.


The Government of India needs to invest in technology and talent in order to counter the danger posed by deep fake technology.


  • Roadrunner: A documentary on the late chef Anthony Bourdain showcases the extraordinary advances of artificial intelligence (AI). 
  • It uses Deep Fake technology to show Bourdain mouthing words he never uttered. The documentary is a wake-up call on potential side effects of AI if it is used with malicious intentions. 

About Deep Fakes:

  • They are a subfield of AI that allow realistic forgeries of both video and audio
  • The speed of advances in AI have made it possible to create Deep Fakes using freely available software and computer processing power that can be rented. 
  • AI is perhaps the most transformative technology under development. Consequently, it also brings about entirely new risks.

Risks posed by Deep Fakes:

  • Deep Fakes pose a fundamental danger. They can quickly undermine trust, the invisible bond that holds many collectives together. 
  • There are many examples of Deep Fakes being used by state actors to influence elections and sow seeds of discord. 
    • The US has been a victim of Deep Fakes. Even in India, Deep Fakes are known to have been circulated in some electoral contests. 

Way Ahead:

  • AI’s rapid upgrades, coupled with a transition to digital modes of governance, calls for a new level of safeguards on the part of the Government of India.
  • The Government of India needs to adopt a proactive approach against deep fakes like the U.S government. It should invest in talent and technology to cripple hackers’ cyber infrastructure.
    • The U.S has been a persistent victim of deep fakes and ransomware attacks, the latest one being the hacking of a critical oil pipeline on the eastern side.

Terms to know:

Calculating the benefits of lockdowns

Source: The Hindu

GS-3:  Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment

Relevance – Lockdowns due to Covid pandemic incurred a huge cost on the economy. This article highlights the same.

Synopsis: The article questions the practicability or even desirability of protecting lives with the aid of lockdowns.


  • Data show that as of now 26.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Of them, only 1% live in low-income countries. By contrast, the richer nations, such as the U.S., Canada, Germany and Britain, registered above 50% vaccination by July 17.
  • For India, the percentage of the adult population that has received at least one dose stands at 34.1% as of July 18.
  • How long it will take to eliminate the inequality in the administration of vaccines is not known.
  • Till that happens, long or short lockdowns from time to time will remain the only defence against the virus.
  • Several researchers have studied the effectiveness of the lockdowns in economic terms. It is important, therefore, to take note of the issues that have significance in this context.

The cost of a lockdown

  • The trade-off between lives and livelihoods: Lockdowns help you to keep on living, but they prevent you from earning a living. With incomes drying up, essential expenditures such as those on food, health and education cannot be sustained. Extreme lockdown policies imply that you cannot live a meaningful life.
  • Loss of GDP: Some researchers believe that the cost of a lockdown can be measured by the value of lost GDP. The Economist quotes the case of two European countries (France and Italy). Both imposed heavy lockdowns and suffered 3% shrinkage in GDP.
  • The cost of saving COVID-19-infected lives: Research has established that for every infected person cured in poorer countries, 1.76 children die on account of a fall in the quality of life.
  • Miseries faced by the vulnerable population: There are other costs too that should not be overlooked. For example, Reverse migration of migrant labourers in India. Children are held back from school leading to emergence of child labour.
  • Not a permanent solution to control disease: Lockdowns (severe or mild) prevent the spread of the disease so long as they last. But resurfaces once the lockdown is lifted. A U.S researcher has concluded that there is no lifesaving impact of lockdowns at all.

How to calculate the value of a human life?

There are many different ways in which the value of a human life may be calculated.

  • A direct method is to study the life insurance premiums people are willing to pay to ensure proper treatment if afflicted by fatal diseases.
  • In rich societies, large amounts will be paid. This can be used to compute the social benefits of lockdowns, which will probably have higher values in rich societies than in poor societies where few are covered by life insurance.

 Way forward

Though lockdowns are unavoidable for now, but they need to be carefully designed, guided by trade-offs between harsh and mild policies. Or else, the damaged economies of the world will not revive too soon.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Odisha rolls out conservation plan for Ganjam Slender Gecko

Source: Down To Earth

What is the News?

Odisha’s forest officials have announced measures to preserve the newly discovered tiny gecko species named Ganjam Slender Gecko.

About Ganjam Slender Gecko
  • Ganjam Slender Gecko is a tiny gecko species of the genus Hemiphyllodactylus.
  • The species was first spotted within the premises of a temple at Humma in Ganjam district in 2014.
  • Features: They grow 6 cm in length. They feed on ants, termites, small roaches, spiders, and beetles.
  • Habitat: The only habitat of the species is Jhadeshawar sacred grove. Moreover, they are only found in mango trees surrounding the temple. They were never found on concrete walls or below rock boulders, unlike other members of the genus.
  • Significance: This new species is the 7th Indian species of the genus, the second from the northern Eastern Ghats and 41st globally. It is also the first non-island species of the genus which is distributed in lowland habitats.
About Geckos
  • Geckos are reptiles. They are found on all the continents except Antarctica. These colorful lizards have adapted to habitats from rainforests to deserts to cold mountain slopes.
  • Most geckos are nocturnal, which means they are active at night but day geckos are active during the day and nibble on insects, fruits and flower nectar.
Important Gecko Species of India in news
  • Indian golden gecko: It is a species of gecko known only from the Eastern Ghats of India. It was rediscovered from the hills near present-day Tirupati.
  • Common House Gecko: It is a gecko species native to South and Southeast Asia. It is also known as the Asian house gecko, Pacific house gecko, wall gecko, house lizard, Tayoto, or moon lizard.
    • IUCN Status: Least Concern (LC).
  • Tokay gecko or Gekko gecko: They are found from northeast India to the Indo-Australian Archipelago and tropical rain forests.
    • Schedule III of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act.
    • IUCN Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Dwarf gecko (Cnemaspis avasabinae): a New species of lizard, the smallest known Indian gekkonid, was discovered in 2020 in the Eastern Ghats. The first species was reported from the Velikonda Range in Andhra Pradesh.

Rare Arctic lightning storms strike north of Alaska

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

The National Weather Service of the USA has said that three successive thunderstorms have taken place across the Arctic region, producing between 100 and 200 lightning strikes.

What is Lightning?
  • Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground or within the clouds themselves.
Also Read: Lightning strikes in India: Impact & management – Explained

Arctic lightning:

  • According to a study, episodes of summer lightning within the Arctic Circle have tripled since 2010.
Why has it tripled?
  • Lightning in this region is historically rare, as it usually isn’t warm enough to generate the right thunderstorm conditions during which lightning occurs.
  • But due to climate change and increasing loss of sea ice in the far north, the Arctic region is warming faster than any other region on Earth.
  • Hence, this has created more favorable conditions for intense summer thunderstorms that produce lightning.
Impact of Lightning on Arctic Region:
  • The Arctic residents in northern Russia, Canada, Europe, and Alaska need to prepare for the danger of more frequent lightning strikes.
  • Moreover, the shipping vessels throughout the Arctic could be more vulnerable to these strikes.

Ministry of Electronics & IT enables map services in “UMANG App”

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology(MeitY) has enabled map services in UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) App through an MOU with MapmyIndia.

  • With this, citizens will be able to find government facilities nearest to their location, such as mandis, blood banks etc.

About UMANG app:

  • UMANG mobile app was launched in 2017. It is a Government of India single, unified, secure, multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-lingual, multi-service mobile app.
  • Purpose: It brings major government services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies on a single mobile app. It is with a larger goal to make the government accessible on the mobile phones of citizens.
  • Developed by: UMANG is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) to drive Mobile Governance in India.

Current Services provided by UMANG: UMANG app has already started to provide map functionality through MapmyIndia in the following services. Such as,

  • Mera Ration – To identify and navigate to the Nearest Fair Price Shops),
  • eNAM – To identify and navigate to the nearby mandis pointed
  • Damini  – ‘Damini Lightning Alerts’ service

Future Services by UMANG: To further increase usefulness to citizens, the map functionality will be shortly enabled in many more services such as:

  • ESIC – Users can view ESIC centres such as hospitals/dispensaries on the map view and navigate to them.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) provides information corresponding to nearby police stations on the map.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Meri Sadak) will help users to raise complaints of damaged roads (under PMGSY) by selecting the road on the MapmyIndia platform.

Midday meals leave a long-lasting impact: study

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

A Study titled “Intergenerational nutrition benefits of India’s national school feeding program’” has been published in Nature Communications.

The study used nationally representative data on mothers and their children from 1993 to 2016 to assess whether the mid-day meal scheme has supported intergenerational improvements in a child’s linear growth.

Read More: About Mid Day Meal Scheme

Key Findings of the Study:

  • The study has found that the midday meal scheme was associated with 13-32% of the improvement in the height-for-age scores in India between 2006 and 2016.
  • Girls who had access to free lunches provided at government schools had children with a higher height-to-age ratio than those who did not.
  • Moreover, the linkages between midday meals and lower stunting in the next generation were stronger in the lower socio-economic strata

Importance of Mid Day Meal Scheme:

  • In India, more than one in three children are stunted or too short for their age, which reflects chronic undernutrition.
  • The fight against stunting has often focussed on boosting nutrition for young children.
  • However, nutritionists have long argued that maternal health and well-being is the key to reducing stunting in their offspring.
  • Hence, the study has noted that interventions to improve maternal height and education must be implemented years before those girls and young women become mothers.
    • The interventions in fields such as women’s education, fertility and the use of health services will reduce malnutrition.

Terms to know:

ICCR launches Kala Vishwa campaign

Source: Deccan Herald

What is the News?

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has launched a new campaign called ‘Kala Vishwas’.

About Kala Vishwas Campaign:

  • Kala Vishwas is a campaign that aims to reach out to traditional folk artists, local artists/artisans coming from rural areas. It will give them an opportunity and a platform to perform, especially during the challenging time of COVID-19.

About ICCR:

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) is an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Founded in: It was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was the first Education Minister of independent India.
  • Objectives:
    • To actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations
    • To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries
    • To promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.

Union Minister launches ‘COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam’ campaign

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Minister of Tribal Affairs has virtually launched the nationwide campaign titled “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam”.

About COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam Campaign:
  • The campaign has been launched by the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • Aim: To accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals.
Key Features of the Campaign:
  • The campaign aims to clear all the misconceptions related to Covid vaccination among the tribal people. It will motivate them to get themselves vaccinated so that they don’t suffer in the future.
  • The campaign will do this with the help of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras(VDVK), traditional village headsmen, SHGs and ground-level workers in villages.
  • With this, the campaign hopes to make Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and villages to be the first in respective states to be declared COVID free and free of all restrictions.

India largest source of govt. info requests, says Twitter

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

Twitter has released the biannual Twitter Transparency Report. The report shares details on the number of government and legal requests, removal requests and data around accounts actioned for various violations.

Key Findings of the Report: 

Government’s Request for Account Information:
  • Globally, Twitter received 14,561 government requests for account information in the six-month period from June to December 2020.
    • Among these requests, 3,615 requests were from India. This is an increase of about 38% for India from the first half of the year when the number of such requests stood at 2,613.
  • Governments and law enforcement agencies submitted approximately 15% more information requests compared to the previous reporting period.
  • The compliance rate for government information requests was 30% globally and 0.6% in India.
  • India was the single largest source of government requests for account information that Twitter received during this period. It accounted for 25% of the global volume.
  • The second highest volume of information requests originated from the United States, comprising 22% of global information requests.
Legal Demands to Remove Content:
  • Twitter received more than 38000 legal demands to remove the content of around 1.3 lakh accounts.
    • The platform withheld or otherwise removed some or all of the reported content in response to 29% of these global legal demands.
  • For India, the number of legal requests stood at 6,971, an increase of 151% from 2,772 such requests in the first six months of 2020.
    • Twitter withheld 60 accounts and 598 tweets. In addition, 1,310 accounts were either suspended or some content was removed.

NBDriver – AI tool by IIT to study cancer-causing mutations

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

Researchers at IIT Madras have developed an AI tool called NBDriver (neighborhood driver).

About NBDriver tool
  • NBDriver is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool developed to analyse cancer-causing mutations in cells.
    • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the Cell.
  • Method: NBDriver works by looking at the neighbourhood or context of a mutation in the genome. By looking at this, it can detect harmful “driver” mutations and distinguish them from neutral “passenger” mutations.
    • Driver & passenger mutations: Mutations that provide a selective growth advantage and thus promote cancer development are termed driver mutations and those that do not are termed passenger mutations.
Also Read: Growing cancer burden in India
Significance of this tool
  • The usual approach misses out on mutations: Researchers usually analyse DNA sequences from large groups of cancer patients by comparing sequences from cancer as well as normal cells and determine whether a particular mutation occurred more often in cancer cells than random. However, this approach often misses out on relatively rare driver mutations.

Hence, the technique of the NBDriver tool to look at the genomic neighbourhood to make the differentiation between Driver and Passenger Mutation is a novel and largely unexplored one.

Pegasus spyware used to ‘snoop’ on Indian journalists, activists

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

According to a report, Pegasus spyware may have been used to conduct surveillance on about 300 Indians including two Cabinet ministers three opposition leaders, a Constitutional authority, government officials, scientists and about 40 journalists.

About Pegasus
  • It is a spyware created by NSO Group, an Israeli cybersecurity firm founded in 2010.
  • Pegasus spyware can hack any iOS or Android device and steal a variety of data from the infected device.
  • It works by sending an exploit link and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone.
  • Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.
Also Read: What is spyware?
Worrying Aspect of Pegasus Spyware
  • One of the worrying aspects of the Pegasus spyware is how it has evolved from its earlier spear-phishing methods using text links or messages to ‘zero-click attacks.
What is a Zero Click Attack?
  • A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus gain control over a device without human interaction or human error.
  • So all awareness about how to avoid a phishing attack or which links not to click is pointless if the target is the system itself.
  • Most of these attacks exploit software that receives data even before it can determine whether what is coming in is trustworthy or not, like an email client.


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