9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 29th, 2022

Dear Friends,

We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
    • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
    • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Sri Lanka is a warning against irrational government policy

Source: The post is based on an article “Sri Lanka is a warning against irrational government policy” published in the Live Mint on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment.

Relevance: Government Policies for economic growth, and other measures

News: Sri Lanka is suffering the world’s worst economic crisis since World War II.

The citizens in Sri Lanka stand in queue for food and pharmaceuticals. There is a shortage of fuel for vehicles and big power outages. The situation is so dire that millions of people have taken to the streets.

The former president has fled the country and parliament has elected a new government.

Causes Behind Sri Lanka crisis

Now, Sri Lanka cannot obtain essential inputs to restart its economy until it has restructured its debt and installed a working government. The restructuring of debt will be complicated because a significant portion is owed to China, which does not participate in the multilateral Western-led restructuring exercises for overindebted sovereign borrowers.

Lessons for Sri Lanka and other debt-distressed nations

Policymakers in other economically struggling countries should take heed of the Sri Lanka crisis.

Sri Lanka should have approached the IMF late in 2021 (or even earlier).  The implemented reforms could have controlled inflation and reduced its current-account and fiscal deficits, and further, at least six months of suffering could have been avoided.

The country’s economic authorities should not pursue desperate and economically irrational measures. The authorities should implement serious reforms in the economic sector.

The G-20 has rolled out a Debt Service Suspension Initiative that extended some $13 billion of relief to 48 countries in 2020-21. However, more such measures are needed for heavily indebted developing countries.

Lessons from Brazil: The country quickly adopted the necessary policy reforms, following its 2002 debt crisis. Thereafter, it has enjoyed years of sustained growth


How the current laws can shield doctors and police from violence

Source: The post is based on an article “How the current laws can shield doctors and police from violence” published in the Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: Draft Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence & Damage to Property) Bill, 2019,

News: Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare admitted that it has withdrawn the Draft Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence & Damage to Property) Bill, 2019,

About the bill

Doctors are increasingly facing violence and “malicious prosecution”. Therefore, the bill would have made such violence a non-bailable and cognisable offence with a jail term of up to five years.

Reasons for the withdrawal of the bill

According to reports, the government feared that other professional groups, like lawyers and police, would demand similar laws.

Instead of demanding untenable pieces of legislation, the pressure groups of medical bodies should focus on the effective use of already available legal shields like the IPC and CrPC, and focus afresh on malicious prosecution.

Issues with the malicious prosecution

It causes an assault on reputation. For example, a woman doctor in Dausa district of Rajasthan committed suicide when FIR was registered against her for alleged misconduct and negligence.

Even the government personnel get certain immunities while performing “sovereign” functions. For example, the police machinery gets immunity from tortuous liability while performing this sovereign function like investigating a case, maintaining law and order (and arrest and detention), etc.

What should be done?

There should be a collective fight against the tyranny of malicious prosecution and tutored reporting.

The Law Commission of India, in “Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal Remedies” report 2018 suggested a draft law. However, it was mostly compensatory, which talks about criminal remedies, but barely touches on preventive aspects. Therefore, efforts should be made to institute preventive and substantive fear through various measures as given below.

The IPC Sections 182 and 211 (for both public servant and private complainant) and section 166-A (for public servants) deals with acts of omission and commission to institute false charges. The Law Commission also looks at their role as possible remedies.

The Section 211 of the IPC can be an effective tool to penalise false charges made with intent to injure a person (including their reputation). The section is stringent with imprisonment up to seven years.

Disciplinary action should also be taken by professional bodies like the bar associations and prosecution bodies, in case of tutoring and abetment of false charges.

Lessons should be learnt from the recent verdict of the trial courts in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, where around 52 convictions have been made for malicious prosecution in a special drive recently.

The medical bodies can create a corpus to fund legal representation in every case of vandalism, violence and disruption of healthcare functions and premises to ensure quick and certain convictions.


Solution to the engineering sector: Infrastructure, not buzzwords

Source: The post is based on the article “Solution to the engineering sector: Infrastructure, not buzzwords” published in the Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Relevance: Higher Education Reforms

News: In a recent interview, the AICTE Chairman said, “the economy can’t run only on computer science or electronics, it requires civil and mechanical engineering, too”.

What are the issues in the core-engineering disciplines like civil and mechanical engineering in India?

The institutions are shutting down the mechanical and civil engineering disciplines due to a lack of demand from students.

One of the “problems” is that the curricula of such conventional disciplines are “outdated”. The institutions do not impart the spirit of entrepreneurship.

There is a lack of industry readiness in students graduating from civil and mechanical engineering disciplines.

The student lacks interest in core engineering courses based on their perceptions about the “job market”. Either there are not enough jobs to absorb the civil and mechanical engineers, or, the jobs so created are so low paying that these engineers prefer to become coders and analysts.

Most conventional engineering industries in India are quite backward. Such companies thrive on licenced or purchased technology and have little interest in anything advanced or cutting edge. These industries are involved in little or no research and development (R&D) activities themselves.

Some arguments against encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship in the core engineering disciplines

Start-ups are not and never will be a solution to the unemployment crisis that is going on in these disciplines.

In fact, merely establishing innovation councils or organizing hackathons does not do anything to unleash any real innovation. Unsurprisingly, in almost all cases the great “innovative idea” of the start-up has nothing to do with the engineering discipline the student comes from.

What should be done?

The core concepts of any conventional engineering branch do not get outdated as is often argued. However, new fields like Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and virtual reality (VR) among others can be added to the course as elective courses in the curriculum.

The teacher training should be provided to improve engineering education like routine skills, making lesson plans, using audio-visual devices, incorporating AI/ML/VR in classrooms, etc.

In order to promote critical thinking, analytical ability, data analytics, creativity, etc., efforts should be made to reform the rote-learning system that prevails in school education in India.

The government should address faculty shortages, severe shortfalls in infrastructure, and funding needed for their development, in the institutions.

To create more jobs in core engineering, we need more well-paid jobs, competitive and creative ones. For this, the government should promote a large expansion of the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in India.

GS Paper 3


What numbers do not reveal about tiger conservation

Source: This post is based on the article “What numbers do not reveal about tiger conservation” published in The Hindu on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment and Bio-diversity: Conservation.

Relevance: Tiger conservation.

News: On International Tiger Day, the world and India can celebrate the recovery of at least one endangered species. A recent International Union for Conservation of Nature assessment suggests that tiger numbers have increased by 40% since 2005.

What is the relation between population and extinction?

Populations that are smaller than 100 breeding individuals have a high probability of extinction. At the same time, for populations to persist, they should be part of larger landscapes with other such populations that are connected. Small and isolated populations face a high probability of extinction.

Genetic drift: Small populations are subject to chance/random events. These chance events may cause them to lose advantageous genetic variants. Further, other detrimental genetic variants might increase in frequency. This process is called genetic drift. 

This is because there is a high chance of inbreeding that will expose disadvantageous genetic variants that are present in all genomes.

Read more: Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation
Does increasing tiger count prevent them from extinction?

Most tiger ‘populations’ are smaller than 100. On their own, most tiger populations do not have a high chance of survival. This is because,

a) Most tiger reserves in India are small and embedded in human-dominated landscapes, b) The presence of built-up areas and high-traffic roads greatly impeded tiger movement, and c) Fencing tiger reserves and isolating them could result in high extinction.

However, most land-use types were not too bad for tiger connectivity, including agricultural fields. Tiger extinction could be avoided if tiger corridors were safeguarded. For instance, having an underpass will allow wildlife movement and connectivity.

Read more: Tiger Conservation in India
What are the findings on tiger conservation in Odisha and Rajasthan?

Similipal tiger reserve: The black tigers were found only in the Similipal tiger reserve in Odisha. These pseudo-melanistic or black tigers demonstrated the genetic effects of isolation. A single spelling mistake (or mutation) in a specific gene (genetic drift) causes these tigers to look this way.

It was common only in Similipal, where 60% of the tigers carried at least one copy of a causal genetic variant.

Ranthambore tiger reserve: Genome sequences from wild tigers reveal that individuals in the Ranthambore tiger reserve show inbreeding. However, there is no adverse effects of inbreeding yet. But it might happen in near future.

Read more: 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
What should be done to ensure tiger conservation?

1) Special attention is needed for populations that are becoming isolated and facing the genetic consequences of such isolation, 2) The countries should carry a genetic rescue plan or even the introduction of novel genetic variants using the genome sequencing technology, 3) The future of tigers will require a ‘dialogue’ between data and management strategies in order to ensure their survival.


Revival package for BSNL: Much needed bailout

Source: This post is based on the following articles

“Much needed bailout – BSNL needs state help to fulfil its social role in rural areas and in disaster relief” published in The Hindu on 29th July 2022.

“A late call for BSNL” published in the Business Standard on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Relevance: About the revival package for BSNL.

News: The government recently announced a Rs 1.64-trillion lifeline for the ailing Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). The revival programme reveals how far the state-owned telecom service provider lags behind the technology curve. This is the second revival package for BSNL in three years. The government infused Rs 69,000 crore in 2019.

What is the revival package for BSNL?
Read here: Cabinet approves revival package of BSNL amounting to Rs 1.64 Lakh Cr.
What are the previous revival packages for BSNL?
What are the concerns against the revival package for BSNL?

This revival plan raises the question of whether the government is throwing the money the government earn from the 5G auctions to private telecom operators. This is because the BSNL’s problems are fundamental. Such as

1) BSNL subscriber base has scarcely grown even though the utility was given preferential spectrum allotments. 2) Its share in wireless and broadband is a negligible 9.7 and 2.9% respectively. However, its rural wireless subscribers shrank by just 11.4 lakh, 3) BSNL’s inability to compete: In 2021, BSNL surrendered unutilised 2G spectrum in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands, though this is where most telecom operators have large numbers of subscribers, 4) BSNL will not make a profit if its focus is on rural India alone.

The government’s objective of improving rural connectivity cannot be feasible through viability gap funding. Achieving a socio-economic purpose via a commercial corporation has never worked in the past and BSNL is unlikely to be a game-changer in this respect.

Read more: 5G technology in India – importance, challenges and solutions
Why does the revival package for BSNL essential?

1) The government already extended concessions to privately-owned Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel over AGR due. The package is nothing but the government’s helping hand for its own utility is valid.

2) The revival plan is expected to see BSNL turn around and make profits. This is feasible as the BSNL’s losses in 2020-21 narrowed down and the utility turned profitable at the operating level.

From an employee base that exceeded 1.65 lakh, and consumed about 75% of its total income, the BSNL had carved the number of regular employees to around 64000 in 2021, with the proportion of employee benefit expenses to total income more than halving to 36%. This is done by halving the salary bill via a voluntary retirement scheme and reduction of high-cost debt.

All this will make BSNL better placed and competitive in the technologically rapidly evolving marketplace

3) Any further delay in adequately funding the BSNL in the “strategic sector” risks compromising the goals of bridging the digital divide and ensuring the evolution of an inclusive knowledge society.

Read more: BSNL launches world’s first satellite-based narrowband IoT network

Hence, the revival package for BSNL will play a “crucial role in the expansion of telecom services in rural areas, development of indigenous technology and disaster relief.”


Narrow view – SC verdict on PMLA fails to protect personal liberty from draconian provisions

Source: This post is based on the following articles

“Narrow view – SC verdict on PMLA fails to protect personal liberty from draconian provisions” published in The Hindu on 29th July 2022.

“By upholding PMLA, SC puts its stamp on Kafka’s law” published in the Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – money-laundering and its prevention.

Relevance: About the issues surrounding PMLA.

News: The Supreme Court in Vijay Madanlal Choudhary and Ors versus Union of India case upheld the provisions of the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act).

What was the case about?
Read here: Supreme Court upholds powers of arrest, raids, seizure under PMLA
What is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act?
Read here: Prevention of Money Laundering Act(PMLA) 
What are the reasons behind stringent provisions of PMLA?

There is a widespread international concern over Money Laundering. Organised crime fuelling international narcotics trade and terrorism is funded by illicit money generated from crime, laundered to look legitimate and funnelled into the financial bloodstream of global and domestic economies.

The PMLA was enacted in response to India’s global commitment under the Vienna Convention. The primary purpose of the Act was to combat money laundering in India.

Note: Vienna Convention was adopted in 1988. It was the first international instrument to address the issue of proceeds of crime and to require States to establish money laundering as a criminal offence.

How do the PMLA is different from other International counterparts?

Money laundering in the Indian context is linked to or is seen as a byproduct of a host of both grave and routine offences that are appended to the PMLA as scheduled ones.

These ‘scheduled’ or ‘predicate’ offences ought to be ideally limited to grave offences such as terrorism, narcotics smuggling, corruption and serious forms of evasion of taxes and duties.

But, in practice, the list contains offences such as fraud, forgery, cheating, kidnapping and even copyright and trademark infringements.

What are the concerns associated with PMLA?
Read here: Supreme Court examines allegations of rampant misuse of PMLA

The other issues,

1) The list of crimes included in the PMLA overrides similar crimes in other parts of the law. It can override the safeguards of the Criminal Code of Procedure, 2) The burden of proof is on the accused. Under Indian conditions, the process of proving innocence itself is the punishment, 3) International treaties are often used to override domestic rights safeguards. By fulfilling India’s global commitment under the Vienna Convention, India restricted civil liberties and the value of dissent, 4) The punishments under PMLA may potentially be excessively punitive, in disproportion to the crime, 5) The conviction rate under PMLA is very low, less than 0.5%. But every year thousands of cases are registered, people are arrested, and lives are turned upside down, and 6) The Enforcement Directorate has been manifestly selective in opening money-laundering probes, rendering any citizen vulnerable to search, seizure, and arrest at the whim of the executive. Thus, the government of the day might use the ED against political opponents.

Read more: How Enforcement Directorate (ED) became so powerful?

Plain Way To Make Planes Safe

Source: The post is based on an article “Plain way to make planes safe” published in The Times of India on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Infrastructure; Aviation Sector

Relevance: Safety in Aviation Sector

News: Recently, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an order to a budget airline. DGCA curbed its schedule of operations and will maintain enhanced surveillance over its flights during this curtailed schedule period. 

Reasons behind the issuance of the order

There has been a rise in the incidence of aircraft snags in the past few months, The DGCA spot checks found certain common concerns across airlines, like 1) shortcomings in maintenance Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), 2) Shortage of trained manpower to check and certify aircraft before each take-off, especially in light of the increase in flights post Omicron.

One of the primary checks in the area of airworthiness is the daily snag and defect monitoring mechanism. This is done by the DGCA officials who are required to attend airlines’ quality control system meetings which are conducted by airlines’ quality assurance departments.

What are the challenges facing the aviation sector?

(1) Licensed aircraft maintenance engineers carry out snag rectification. India has adopted the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system for aircraft maintenance personnel. It mandates a Category-A licence for technicians, which is based on knowledge and experience and is without any aircraft-type rating. This has been misused. It was found that rectification and certification of snags were done by Category-A licence holders and not type-rated engineers.

(2) The misuse happens due to the non-availability of type-rated engineers at most of the stations.

(3) Currently, airlines regulate licensed aircraft maintenance engineers. They train only a limited number of technicians who can obtain licences, just enough to meet their own requirements. This leaves a huge gap in the availability of this critical trained manpower for establishing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisations.

(4) The DGCA, the aviation regulator itself, is short of experienced manpower.  The number of airworthiness officers with over 15 years of experience is limited.

Possible solutions for the safety and security

(1) The Aircraft Communications, Addressing and Reporting System (ACARs) can be used by the DGCA as an additional tool in its oversight function. It sends real-time information from the aircraft to ground stations about the condition of its various systems and sensors, maintenance faults, etc. Airlines can use them to monitor equipment health, repair, and maintenance activities.

(2) The DGCA should reconsider the present system of aircraft maintenance engineering system. It should issue guidelines on the positioning of properly-trained manpower at every station, and these should be strictly followed.

(3) The DGCA should periodically review the adequacy of such manpower requirements based on the increase in airlines’ fleet size, increase in aircraft positioned at a station, and increase in the scheduled flight turnaround for every station in the airline network.

(4) The aviation ministry must establish an alternative system to ensure that a larger number of technicians get adequate training and experience to acquire ratings on different aircraft types.

(5) The DGCA should recruit a greater airworthiness officer for regulations and carry out safety oversight.
DGCA must bring out a new strategy to ensure airworthiness standards with urgency.


A grand strategy for technology

Source: The post is based on an article “A grand strategy for technology” published in the Business Standard on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.

Relevance: Research and Development Spending in India; innovation and Entrepreneurship

News: In India, Research and Development (R&D) spending has stagnated. However, it has risen steadily in the other major economies.

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) India’s R&D spending was 0.67% in 2018-19. It is way below the spending made by the major economies. For instance, China has 2%, the European Union has 2%, the US and Japan have 3% and South Korea has 4.5%.

Further, the Union government accounts for about 45% of the total R&D spending. And, about 60% of the total goes to defence, space, atomic energy and agriculture sector.

What kind of the R&D Model should be adopted by India?

The R&D model should be on the lines of the US R&D Model which made it the leading force in technology development in the latter half of the 20th century. For example, path-breaking developments in information technology, communication, medicine, space exploration, energy, and a lot more were seen in the US.

Following are some of the steps US took to develop the R&D:

It is generally accepted that the R&D growth in US lead by the private sector. Instead, it was provided by the Federal government. This can be understood by the Federal and business R&D spending as a percentage of GDP.

Its R&D spending reached 1.86% of GDP in the mid-1960s. However, the business R&D spending grew slowly only to 0.86% of GDP.

The Federal government set up the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It supported several projects like the development of the Internet at a time when even the word “internet” was not known!

The Federal government spent on technology projects that had a time horizon of 15-20 years because the private players would seldom invest in long-gestation projects. However, the federal government made efforts to associate the private sector.

In later period, business R&D grew rapidly from the 1990s onwards often on commercialisation of technologies that were pioneered through the Federal R&D spending rather than on basic or applied research.

In fact, even now, the US government continues to play a major role in promoting very forward-looking research. For instance, the Federal government has set up an Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and a fund for promoting Energy Frontier Research Centres in Universities.

US government also supported the commercialization of the technologies obtained after the basic and applied research. For example, the US government provides 20-25% of funding for early-stage technology firms. Further, the venture funds come later when there is sufficient commercialisation to deliver returns in five to seven years through initial public offerings or merger/acquisition.

What India should do? 

(1) At present, India is at the stage where the US was in the 1950s and ’60s. Therefore, the government should do what was done by the US in the ’50s and ’60s.

(2) The Union government should adopt a grand strategy for technology development. The elements should be:

(a) A five-fold increase in Union government spending on R&D from 0.3% of GDP to 1.5 in 3-5 years’ time

(b) The Department of science & technology should be reorganized into mission-oriented set-ups.

(c) The private sector should be better connected with focused mission-oriented research institutions like the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and Space Commission.

(d) There should be new mission-oriented programmes focussed on emerging challenges like climate change, bio economy and long-term opportunity potentials like nanotechnology, artificial intelligence.

(e) Capacities of the University/IIT research institution should be enhanced with a substantial increase in research grants

(f) Setting a soft target for large corporations on their R&D spending as a proportion of their profits.

(g) There should be symbiotic linkages between government, business and research institution. Further, the private sector, particularly with a provision for angel investment in high-technology start-ups.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Family Planning Vision-2030 document: Government worried about teen pregnancies

Source: The post is based on the article “Government worried about teen pregnancies” published in The Hindu on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the Family Planning Vision-2030 document.

What are the key highlights from the Family Planning Vision-2030 document?

India’s Population: India has the second-largest population in the world. India’s population has reached 136.3 crores (1.36 billion) and is expected to reach 147.9 crores (1.47 billion) by 2031 and a further 152.2 crores (1.52 billion) by 2036.

– India’s population is expected to continue to grow until mid-century (due to population momentum). The population growth will decline substantially after that.

Teenage Fertility Rate: The fertility rate has stabilized all across the country. But the high teenage fertility in some areas remains a cause of concern.

– As per data, there has been a steady decline in teenage childbearing from 7.9% in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) to 6.8% (in the NFHS-5).

— But this issue remains a priority area that requires to be addressed, especially since India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world until 2030.

Contraceptive use: The modern contraceptive use among married adolescents and young women is increasing over time. But it still remains low.

– The two most important factors that explain low contraceptive use among married adolescents and young women are child marriage and teenage pregnancy. 

Male Contraceptive use: The male contraceptive methods were largely limited to condoms. Male sterilization was at 0.3%.

– Hence, the document’s priority will be to encourage the participation of men in the family planning programme.


Trend on Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in India

Source: The post is based on the article Trend on Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in Indiapublished in PIB on 28th July 2022.

What is the News?

This article talks about the trends in Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) into India.

What is the trend in FDI inflows into India in FY 21-22?

FDI Inflows: India has received the highest annual FDI inflows of USD 84 billion in FY 21-22 overtaking last year’s FDI by USD 2.87 billion. 

Source of FDI: Singapore (27.01%) and the USA (17.94%) have emerged as the top 2 sourcing nations in FDI equity flows into India in FY 2021-22 followed by Mauritius (15.98%), Netherland (7.86%) and Switzerland (7.31%). 

Top 5 sectors receiving the highest FDI Equity Inflow during FY 2021-22 are Computer Software & Hardware, Services Sector, Automobile Industry, Trading and Construction (Infrastructure) Activities.

Top 5 States receiving the highest FDI Equity Inflow during FY 2021-22 are: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Haryana.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR) 2022, in its analysis of the global trends in FDI inflows, India has improved one position to 7th rank among the top 20 host economies for 2021.

India is rapidly emerging as a preferred country for foreign investments in the manufacturing sector. FDI Equity inflow in Manufacturing Sectors has increased by 76% in FY 2021-22 compared to the previous FY 2020-21.


Lok Sabha passes family courts Bill

Source: The post is based on the article “Lok Sabha passes family courts Bill” published in Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

Lok Sabha has passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

What is the Family Courts Act, 1984?

The Family Courts Act,1984 allows State governments to establish family courts to promote conciliation and ensure that disputes related to family affairs and marriage are promptly settled. 

Under the Act, the setting up of family courts and their functioning comes under the purview of the State governments in consultation with their respective high courts. The Act also lays down provisions for the appointment of judges in family courts.

What is the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022?

The Bill amends the Family Courts Act, 1984 to establish family courts in Himachal Pradesh with effect from February 15, 2019, and in Nagaland with effect from September 12, 2008.

The Bill also seeks to insert a new Section 3A to retrospectively validate all actions under the said Act taken by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and the Family Courts of those states prior to the commencement of the Family Courts (Amendment) Act, 2022.

Why was this amendment needed?

There are 715 Family Courts which are established and functioning in 26 States and Union territories, including three Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh and two-Family Courts in the State of Nagaland.

However, for Himachal and Nagaland, the Central Government notification was not issued for bringing the said Act into force in these states.

The issue of lack of jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh has been challenged before the High Court of Himachal Pradesh.

It was stated that as the Central Government has not issued any notification to extend the jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh, such Courts are functioning without jurisdiction and anything done or any action taken under the said Act appears to be void ab initio (having no legal effect from inception).

The family courts in Nagaland too were operating without any legal authority since 2008.


Suspension of MPs: the rules, and the powers of presiding officers

Source: The post is based on the article “Suspension of MPs: the rules, and the powers of presiding officers” published in Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The two houses of Parliament have suspended 27 MPs between them. The Rajya Sabha suspensions are for the remaining part of this week and those from Lok Sabha are for the rest of the session.

Who do MPs disrupt Parliament?

There are four broad reasons leading to disorder in legislatures: 1) Lack of time available to MPs for raising important matters, 2) Unresponsive attitude of the government and retaliatory posture by Treasury benches, 3) deliberate disruption by parties for political or publicity purposes and 4) absence of prompt action against MPs disrupting parliamentary proceedings.

Who can suspend MPs for disruption?

Rules for ensuring the smooth functioning of Parliament have been unchanged since 1952. 

First, the presiding officers can direct an MP to withdraw from the House for any disorderly conduct. If the MP continues disrupting the House, the presiding officer can “name” the legislator. After that, the House can move a motion to suspend the MP until the end of the session. These powers are common to the presiding officers of both Houses.

However, in 2001, Lok Sabha changed its rules to give the Speaker more powers. As per this new rule, the Speaker can “name” an MP, who shall then automatically stand suspended for five days or the remaining part of the session. This rule removes the need for the House to pass a motion for suspension. 

Rajya Sabha has not incorporated this provision in its procedures.

Can courts intervene in a matter of suspension of MPs?

Article 122 of the Constitution says parliamentary proceedings cannot be questioned before a court: 

However, in some cases, courts have intervened in the procedural functioning of legislatures. For example, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly passed a resolution in its 2021 Monsoon Session suspending 12 MLAs for a year.

The matter came before the Supreme Court which held that the resolution was ineffective in law beyond the remainder of the Monsoon Session.


GIFT City: India’s upcoming economic and financial hub

Source: The post is based on the article “GIFT City: India’s upcoming economic and financial hub” published in Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The country needs to expand its economic and strategic activities globally and GIFT City, an emerging global financial hub has a pivotal role to play in achieving this vision.

What is GIFT City?

GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) is located in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

It consists of a multi-service Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which houses India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and an exclusive Domestic Tariff Area(DTA). 

The social infrastructure in the city includes a school, medical facilities, a proposed hospital, GIFT City business club with indoor and outdoor sports facilities. It also includes integrated well-planned residential housing projects making GIFT City a truly “Walk to Work” City. 

What is GIFT IFSC? 

India’s first International Financial Services Centre(IFSC) has been operationalised in GIFT City. 

GIFT IFSC provides services related to capital markets, offshore insurance, offshore banking and asset management, aircraft and ship leasing, and ancillary services. 

It houses two international stock exchanges with a combined average daily trading volume of over $11 billion. Soon, an international bullion exchange is also going to be launched.

Note: An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy. Such centres deal with flows of finance, financial products and services across borders.

What are the Foreign Universities present in the GIFT IFSC?

The Government of India has recently announced permitting campuses of foreign universities in GIFT IFSC, free from domestic regulations. This has created a buzz globally. Many Australian, UK and US-based universities have shown an interest in establishing their presence in GIFT IFSC.


Explained: Why the govt plans to scrap the decades-old Coffee Act

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why the govt plans to scrap the decades-old Coffee Act” published in Indian Express on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is planning to replace the Coffee Act, 1942 with the new Coffee (Promotion and Development Bill), 2022.

Note: Karnataka is the biggest producer of coffee in India.

What is the Coffee Board Act,1942?

The Coffee Act, 1942 was first introduced during World War II in order to protect the struggling Indian coffee industry from the economic downturn caused by the war.

The Act empowered the Coffee Board to control the production, marketing and sale of coffee in the domestic as well as international market. 

The act introduced a pooling system where each planter was required to distribute their entire crop to a surplus pool managed by the Board, apart from the small quantities that were allowed for domestic use and seed production.

What were the earlier amendments made to the Act?

Through a series of amendments, the Coffee Board’s authority was reduced and in 1996, the pooling system was abolished and coffee growers were allowed to directly sell to processing firms. 

Since liberalization, the Coffee Board plays more of an advisory role and aims at increasing production, promoting further export and supporting the development of the domestic market.

What is the purpose of the Coffee (Promotion and Development Bill), 2022?

The Bill seeks to replace the Coffee Act, 1942 as many of its provisions have become redundant and are impediments to the coffee trade.

Key Provisions of the Bill

The Bill is now primarily concerned with promoting the sale and consumption of Indian coffee, including through e-commerce platforms, with fewer government restrictions. 

It promotes ease of doing business by simplifying documentation and procedures, including replacing the existing five-year validity of Registration cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) with a one-time exporter registration.

The Bill also brings in a one-time registration of curing units. (Curing is a process that prepares coffee beans for the market).


PM declares 44th Chess Olympiad open

Source: The post is based on the articlePM declares 44th Chess Olympiad openpublished in PIB on 28th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has declared open the 44th Chess Olympiad at JLN Indoor Stadium, Chennai.

Note: Chennai is India’s undisputed chess capital as Tamil Nadu is home to 26 of the 74 Indian Chess Grandmasters. 

What is the 44th Chess Olympiad?

Click Here to read 

Mascot: The Official Mascot of the 44th Chess Olympiad is ‘Thambi’. The word ‘Thambi’ in Tamil language means – little or younger brother.

What is the significance of the 44th Chess Olympiad in India?

This is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being held in the place of origin of chess, India. 

The Chess Olympiad is coming to Asia for the first time in 3 decades. The Philippines last hosted it from Asia in 1992.  

This Chess Olympiad has the highest ever number of countries participating. It also has the highest number of entries in the women’s section. 

The first ever Torch Relay of the Chess Olympiad also started from this time.


India has Taken Lead to raise the issue of Climate Finance at International Forums

Source: The post is based on the article India has Taken Lead to raise the issue of Climate Finance at International Forumspublished in PIB on 28th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has informed Lok Sabha about the efforts made by India to raise the issue of Climate Finance at International Forums.

What is Climate Finance?

Climate finance is money paid by developed countries (which are responsible for most of the historic emissions) to developing countries to help them pay for emissions reduction measures and adaptation.

What has been the state of climate finance support from developed to developing countries?

At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries committed to jointly mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of the developing countries. 

The fourth Biennial Assessment of the Standing Committee on Finance of the UNFCCC has stated that the total public financial support reported by developed country Parties in 2020 amounted to US$ 45.4 billion in 2017 and US$ 51.8 billion in 2018. This shows that developed countries have not reached their commitment.

How has India raised the Climate Finance issue globally?

India has been taking the lead in raising the issue of climate finance at the UNFCCC and in other multilateral forums. 

India’s efforts have repeatedly exposed exaggerated claims by developed country agencies that this goal is close to being met and have shown that the currently mobilized climate finance is in reality much less.

Moreover, India also has several issues with respect to the definition of climate finance. For instance, India has always maintained that climate finance should be new and additional (with respect to overseas development assistance), predominantly as grants and not loans, as well as balanced between mitigation and adaptation.

India’s efforts in Combating Climate Change

As a Party to the UNFCCC, India periodically submits its National Communications (NCs) and Biennial Update Reports (BURs) to the UNFCCC which includes the national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory. 

As per India’s third BUR submitted to the UNFCCC in 2021, total net GHG emissions for 2016 are 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2e.

India has contributed only around 4% of global cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2019, despite being home to around one-sixth of humanity.


Explained: Three reasons why a revival package for BSNL was cleared

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Three reasons why a revival package for BSNL was cleared” published in Indian Express on 28th July 2022.

What is the News?

The government has cleared Rs 1.64 lakh crore booster shot for state-owned loss-making telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd(BSNL).

What are the key aspects of BSNL’s revival package?

Click Here to read

Why has the government decided to infuse money into a loss-making company?

The move to further support BSNL and not monetise it like Air India is in deviation from the government’s laid down privatization policy. But the reasons to keep the BSNL afloat have its genesis in three main strategies of the government: 

One, with BSNL, the government is able to push forward with its rural broadband agenda. Nearly 36% of BSNL’s optical fiber customers are in rural areas and the operator assists the government in expanding to far-flung areas with low-income consumers for operations that are typically non-viable commercially.

Two, unlike private telecom operators, BSNL has had a heavy dependence on domestic component manufacturers — something that also helps foster a vendor base in the country.With BSNL launching 4G services and subsequently 5G, this will also take the domestic component industry along with it.

Lastly, the presence of BSNL’s network assets in border areas and left-wing extremism-affected areas means that the government considers it a strategically important company for it to be privatized.

Must read: Revival package for BSNL: Much needed bailout
What could be the impact of this revival package?

With these measures, the Centre expects that BSNL will be able to improve the quality of existing services, roll out 4G services, and become financially viable. 

It also expects that with the implementation of this revival plan, BSNL will turn around and earn a profit in 2026-27 (April-March).


Mains Answer Writing

The Issue of Jobless Growth in India – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction India’s GDP has grown at the annual rate of 7-8% in the last decade. However, this growth hasn’t translated into creation of more employment opportunities for the labour force. No other major economy has been expanding as fast as India lately. But beyond the headlines lies the grim reality of… Continue reading The Issue of Jobless Growth in India – Explained, pointwise

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Indian Army conducts Exercise Skylight to test resilience of its satellite communications

Source: The post is based on the article “Indian Army conducts Exercise Skylight to test resilience of its satellite communications” published in The Hindu on 6th August 2022. What is the News? Indian Army has conducted a major pan-India Exercise codenamed ‘Skylight’. What is Exercise Skylight? Conducted by: Indian Army Aim: To test the operational… Continue reading Indian Army conducts Exercise Skylight to test resilience of its satellite communications

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RPF undertakes month long Pan India Drive under ‘Operation Yatri Suraksha’ to enhance security of passengers

Source: The post is based on the article “RPF undertakes month-long Pan India Drive under ‘Operation Yatri Suraksha’ to enhance security of passengers” published in PIB on 6th August 2022. What is the News? Railway Protection Force(RPF) has launched a Pan-India Operation under the code name “Operation Yatri Suraksha”. What is Operation Yatri Suraksha? Launched… Continue reading RPF undertakes month long Pan India Drive under ‘Operation Yatri Suraksha’ to enhance security of passengers

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Centre asks IBA to ready EASE-like plan for regional rural banks

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre asks IBA to ready EASE-like plan for regional rural banks” published in Business Standard on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The Centre has asked the Indian Banks Association(IBA) to prepare a viability plan for Regional Rural Banks(RRBs) similar to the Enhanced Access and Service… Continue reading Centre asks IBA to ready EASE-like plan for regional rural banks

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Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws report: Explained | On guardianship and adoption of minors

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | On guardianship and adoption of minors” published in The Hindu on 9th August 2022. What is the News? The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has tabled its report in both Houses of Parliament titled ‘Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws’. What are the… Continue reading Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws report: Explained | On guardianship and adoption of minors

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Union Minister for Cooperation e-launched the onboarding of cooperatives on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister for Cooperation e-launched the onboarding of cooperatives on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal” published in PIB on 9th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Cooperation Minister has launched the onboarding of cooperatives on the Government e-Marketplace(GeM) portal. What is the Government e-Marketplace(GeM)… Continue reading Union Minister for Cooperation e-launched the onboarding of cooperatives on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal

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Dinosaur footprints in China: the discovery and its importance

Source: The post is based on the article “Dinosaur footprints in China: the discovery and its importance” published in Indian Express on 9th August 2022. What is the News? Scientists have discovered over 4,300 dinosaur footprints in Hebei province of Zhangjiakou in northern China. About Dinosaur Footprints in China  This is the largest number of… Continue reading Dinosaur footprints in China: the discovery and its importance

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Value of fake notes in banking system recorded over 80% decline from 2016-17 to 2021-22: Union Minister

Source: The post is based on the article “Value of fake notes in banking system recorded over 80% decline from 2016-17 to 2021-22: Union Minister” published in The Hindu on 8th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Finance Minister has informed the Lok Sabha about the Counterfeit Currency in the Banking System. What… Continue reading Value of fake notes in banking system recorded over 80% decline from 2016-17 to 2021-22: Union Minister

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‘Ocean thermal energy conversion plant coming up in Lakshadweep’

Source: The post is based on the article “Ocean thermal energy conversion plant coming up in Lakshadweep” published in Down to Earth on 8th August 2022. What is the News? The National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous institute under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is establishing an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion(OTEC) plant… Continue reading ‘Ocean thermal energy conversion plant coming up in Lakshadweep’

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Explained: Electricity Bill – promise, problems

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Electricity Bill – promise, problems” published in Indian Express on 10th August 2022. What is the News? The government has tabled the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Lok Sabha soon after which it was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on energy for wider consultation… Continue reading Explained: Electricity Bill – promise, problems

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