9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 30th, 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 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Overcoming the Aryan-Dravidian divide

Source: This post is based on the article “Overcoming the Aryan-Dravidian divide” published in The Hindu on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 1 – Indian culture: salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Relevance: About the Aryans and Dravidians.

News: Recently the Governor of Tamil Nadu has been criticised for his views on the Aryan-Dravidian divide. This is unfair as expressing one’s views on a sensitive issue cannot be construed as political interference.

About the cultural difference between Aryans and Dravidians

The eminent historian, P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar maintained that cultural differences existed between the Vedic and non-Vedic people. He also said that the Vedic culture is so reminiscent of the Indian soil and of the Indian atmosphere and the idea of its non-Indian origin is absurd.

What was the contribution of Caldwell to Dravidian languages?

Caldwell is one of the key early proponents of the idea of the Dravidian language family as a scientific entity. Caldwell’s work was published in 1856. But 40 years before Caldwell, Francis Whyte Ellis, the Collector of Madras, had laid the foundation for Caldwell’s theories through his writings.

Just a decade after Caldwell’s work, Charles E. Grover of the Royal Asiatic Society wrote in his famous work on Tamil folk songs wrote about the true character of the language and linguistic progress made since the publication of Dr. Caldwell’s book.

In that, he wrote, Caldwell “gives an appendix containing a considerable number of Dravidian words which he asserts to be Scythian… It is now known that every word in this list is distinctly Aryan.

Read more: An ancient Dravidian language link with the Indus Valley civilisation
How did the policy of divide and rule impacted Dravidian movements?

Many eminent scholars, both local and international, have written about the Dravidian movement’s colonial origins.

The eminent Cambridge historian, David Washbrook, identified the roots of Dravidian or non-Brahmin politics. He did this not in historic fault lines but in “the novel types of government and politics”  He also mentioned the British’s ‘divide and rule’ policy in “caste cliques”.

Washbrook gave concrete examples of that policy and concluded as follows: “In his manual on Coimbatore district… F. A. Nicholson freely admitted his inability to separate ‘true’ Gounder Vellalas from the hosts of rich peasants who had adopted or were adopting Gounder ceremonies, dress and customs. In the census of 1891, Sir Harold Stuart noted the ability of the Nairs of Malabar to absorb immigrants… in a single generation without apparent friction.”

The American historian Thomas Trautmann writes about the languages-and-race project of British. He describes the project as, “European view of race as a fundamental force of history and had a deep effect on the interpretation of Indian history.”

Read more: Endangered Languages in India – Explained, pointwise
What were the later debates on Aryans and Dravidians?

Scholars like Ashis Nandy have for long highlighted the importance of unclear and overlapping identities in pre-modern India as sources of tolerance.

Many neutral observers have noticed parallels between Dravidian politics and other chauvinistic ideologies. But one does not see the criticism of Aryans in mainstream intellectual circles as it is normally reserved for other nationalist ideologies.


The JWST images can help us cherish earth’s present

Source: The post is based on an article “The JWST images can help us cherish Earth’s present” published in The Times of India on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 1 World Geography; and GS 3 Awareness in the fields of Space

Relevance: Origin and Evolution of Earth; and James Webb Space Telescope (JWST);

News: Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured high-resolution astronomical images of the galaxies which were formed billions of years ago.

What is the importance of the JWST?

The JWST, having infrared technology, can help us see galaxies that were formed 11 to 13 billion years ago, which has not been done before. This can help scientists understand the evolution of space or the universe.

It can see galaxies that are extremely far away, from earlier and farther back in time.

It can help us understand the formation of our solar system, located in the Milky Way galaxy. Further, it can validate the computer models which simulate the early universe.

Such JWST’s astronomical images can help us cherish our present and hopefully save our future.

It can help us understand how vast the universe is, and how many different galaxies, planets, and stars are present there in the universe.

GS Paper 2


RTI Act and RTI Activists: We need to protect whistle blowers

Source: This post is based on the article “We need to protect whistle blowers” published in The Hindu on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Relevance: About the RTI Act.

News: The Centre for Law and Democracy classifies the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 among the top five laws in the world.

What is the significance of the RTI Act?

1) The RTI empowers people to participate in the policymaking process, by providing access to information relating to the functioning of all public authorities, 2) Ordinary citizens have used the law to make public authorities accountable and transparent in their functioning, 3) Cross section of citizens including activists, lawyers, bureaucrats, researchers and journalists used RTI to unearth corruption of all kinds from the Panchayat level right up to Parliament.

Must read: Right to Information Act, 2005: An Analysis
What are the concerns associated with the RTI Act?

Since the implementation of the Act, some 100 RTI activists across the country have been killed and several are harassed on a daily basis. Bihar ranks first in the number of deaths of RTI users.

Available evidences clearly show that the information requested by the murdered RTI users was information that should have been mandatorily disclosed to the public under Section 4 of the RTI Act.

Read more: What are the various concerns related RTI act?
What should be done to protect RTI Activists?

India must systematically address the challenges associated with the Act through strong legal and institutional safeguards. The government needs to move toward creating a socio-legal system that recognises RTI users under attack as human rights defenders and builds a framework that facilitates and protects them in their attempt to pursue issues of public interest. This can be done by the following steps,

1) State governments must direct law-enforcement agencies to expeditiously and in a time-bound manner complete investigations in all cases where RTI users are harassed, 2) State governments must take immediate efforts to institutionalise proactive disclosure of actionable information. For instance, Rajasthan’s Jan Soochna portal and Karnataka’s Mahiti Kanaja are outstanding examples of mandatory disclosure.

Read more: Has the Right to Information Act been weakened?

3) State Information Commission must immediately direct the relevant public authorities to disclose and publicise all the questions raised and the answers given to the user. Creating greater public scrutiny may potentially act as a deterrent against attacks on RTI users and

4) The Central government should enact effective legislation to protect whistleblowers. Eight years have gone by and the Whistle Blowers Protection Act of 2014 has not been notified. In 2016, the Supreme Court condemned the Union government for its reluctance in notifying the Act. The government must decide on a specific time frame to establish an administrative setup to protect whistle-blowers. Until then, the State governments must introduce their own mechanisms for protecting whistle-blowers by enacting at least a State-level whistle-blower protection law.

Must read: Whistleblower Protection in India – Explained, pointwise

The exodus is rational

Source: The post is based on an article “The exodus is rational” published in The Times of India on 30th 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: The trend of Indian students going abroad for higher education continues to rise at a rapid pace in 2022, despite the weakening rupee.

There are currently 11. 3 lakh Indian students studying abroad. And 2022 is set to be a record year for students going abroad, as per the data presented in Rajya Sabha.

What are the issues with the Indian students going abroad?

(1) Some reports suggest annual amounts spent abroad by Indian students could be up to $30bn. It includes tuition fee and money spent on living and travelling expenses.

(2) These annual expense amounts are sizable enough to fund the building of many new colleges and universities. For instance, the Rs 13,990 crore, or around $2bn has been allocated for funding 8 new IITs in 2018.

(3) There are reports of parents selling land and other assets and taking massive loans just to send their child abroad.

Why do Indian students prefer to study abroad?

(1) The average Indian college isn’t as good as an average college in Australia, UK or US. Most of the Indian educational institutes, barring a few Indian universities, have not been able to build brands in India. Here educational brands refer to trust, excellence, cutting-edge knowledge and ethics, not marketing, advertising or logos.

(2) The few old Indian educational brands still dominate:  For example, St Stephen’s College, the IITs still have a strong appeal. For example, even IITs and IIMs established in the recent years do not carry the same prestige as the old ones and are considered several notches lower.

(3) Most of the new Indian colleges are not being run by visionaries who have experience of building an educational institution. They are random businessmen or over-the-hill retired professors.

(4) After decades of discussion, foreign universities still don’t have campuses in India.

(5) India just doesn’t offer as much opportunity to highly educated people as some other countries, except in a few sectors like the software industry etc. The jobs in multinationals are soaked up by a few elite college students. Although, India is able to provide good jobs for our top-2% students, it has not been able to provide jobs to our top-20% students.

What should be done?

At Economic level: The government should open our economy and drive massive economic growth. India should be made a manufacturing hub for the world, and have policies that attract investors into job-creating sectors so that jobs are created in the domestic market.

At Education Level: (1) We can reform and make Indian colleges more attractive. For this, reputable institutions should be created in India, and (2) Further, the reputable international universities can be invited to open a campus in India (with or without a local partner).

GS Paper 3


RBI and the rupee: To break a free fall or not to

Source: This post is based on the article “RBI and the rupee: To break a free fall or not to” published in the Indian Express on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Indian Economy; Issues and Challenges pertaining to growth and development of the Indian Economy 

Relevance: Macroeconomic conditions; Rupee Depreciation  

News: The Indian rupee has depreciated by around 7% against the U.S. dollar, since the start of the year.

What is the significance of forex reserves?

A developing economy needs foreign exchange to finance its international transactions for both the current account (goods and services) and capital account (assets) transactions.

Foreign exchange reserves also signal its ability to meet potential obligations. The larger the stock, the more its reassuring value. But due to the reserves “liquid” nature, the returns on these are low.

Read here: Explained: What Rs 80 to a dollar means
How did India so far build its forex reserves and what is happening now?

A country can accumulate reserves by running current account surpluses, and/or by interventions in the foreign exchange markets. India usually runs a current account deficit — in this century, it ran a surplus only in 2020-21. Its reserves are then accumulated solely through “sterilised” interventions.

When foreign entities want to invest in Indian assets, the RBI gives them rupees in exchange for foreign exchange. To prevent inflation, the RBI then sells government bonds to suck out the additional rupees.

Thus, the Forex reserves rise, along with the increase in government bonds outstanding. The accumulation of foreign reserves limits the appreciation of the currency.

Present condition: In recent months, India has witnessed a reversal of this process — there is an outflow of foreign financial capital, with reserves falling and the rupee depreciating.

Read here: Why there is no reason to panic over the rupee
What are the impacts of RBI’s decision to pile up forex reserves?

When capital inflows were taking place, the RBI accumulated foreign exchange and allowed some currency appreciation. This caused the following, a) Reduced exports, b) import-competing sectors gave way to cheap imports, especially from China, c) those engaged in “carry trades” continued without bothering about the exchange risk, d) India’s external commercial borrowings have also increased, e) The rich bought properties abroad and sent their children to study in foreign universities.

Read more: External vulnerabilities: Time for a rupee review
What does the RBI need to do while the rupee is depreciating?

The RBI has committed to using reserves to ensure an orderly depreciation. If the world financial markets want a depreciated rupee, then the RBI should not throw forex reserves to prevent it.

But the RBI, with its commitment to inflation targeting, would try to prevent a depreciation (because it causes the price of imported goods to rise).

Must read: Fall in Rupee Value: Reasons, Concerns and Solutions – Explained, pointwise

Young and waiting: India’s public examination and recruitment system is failing its youth

Source: This post is based on the article “Young and waiting: India’s public examination and recruitment system is failing its youth” published in the Indian Express on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: About the India’s public examination and recruitment system.

News: Recently 4,500 candidates in Andhra Pradesh who cleared a district selection committee exam in 1998 have finally been offered regular jobs as teaching staff in government schools. With 24 job-seeking years, most of them reach close to retirement.

What is the present state of India’s public examination and recruitment system?

a) Railway exams of 2019 have seen over 1,000 days delay for exams to be conducted, b) About 700 army aspirants recently protested outside the Raj Bhavan against delays in conducting the army recruitment exams which was postponed six times already since Apr 2021, c) The recruitment cycle for the Staff Selection Commission delayed due to Covid, many aspirants have also gone over the age limit and been denied a relaxation (in age cap) or an extra attempt,

What are the challenges associated with delayed exams?

a) Getting assistance to help prepare for recruitment exams is also an expensive affair.  For instance, tuitions costs can vary from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 for minor posts, to Rs 1.5-2.5 lakh for UPSC coaching (excluding living costs). If such exams get delayed, then the youth will suffer financially and mentally, b) Even when exams are done, the results are getting delayed for many exams, c) Even if the exam results are published, an aspirant cannot be sure of getting a firm job. For example, the case of SSC GD 2018 aspirants.

All this shows that the recruitment process for some government posts simply never ends.

How can the government hold the departments accountable for conducting exams?

a) Each ministry should ask all departments to prepare an existing vacancies list within three days from the defined zero date, b) The departments should ideally advertise the approved list of existing vacancies within seven days of the approval of such a list, c) For each week of delay beyond 30 days, the defaulting department could be liable for a small reduction in their administrative expenses, d) Final examination results should be announced within a defined period. In the event of cancellation of examinations, compensatory attempts shall be provided to all applicants by relaxing age norms.

What should be done to reform India’s public examination and recruitment system?

Reform the examination process: This should include a) a waiver of examination fees, b) removing a barrier for candidates from economically challenging backgrounds, c) providing travel and lodging allowances if the examination centre is not within a specified distance, d) all examination centres must have basic infrastructure (biometric attendance, cloakroom) and adequate security (guards, invigilators, CCTV cameras) to ensure a fair process, and e) An integrated examination calendar for all major educational institutions and recruitment to PSUs should be published while ensuring minimal overlap.

Of the 430-450 million available in the labour force, only 390 million actually had jobs in June 2022, as per CMIE data. India needs to create 20 million jobs annually. Hence, India needs to face the challenge of job creation and upskilling of youth for the labour market to ensure that India’s demographic dividend does not become a demographic disaster.


Stubbles, mountains

Source: The post is based on an article “Stubbles, Mountains” published in The Times of India on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Ecology and Environment

Relevance: Air Pollution, Air Pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR)

News: Recently, the Punjab government has proposed to provide a cash incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre, to paddy farmers aimed to curb stubble burning.

The Punjab and Delhi government has struck a consensus. Both are willing to contribute Rs 500 each.

What are the challenges facing the proposal?

There are multiple source states of air pollution in Delhi NCR, including Haryana and UP. However, except for Delhi and Punjab, the other 2 states have not agreed to the proposal.

The farmers are disinterested in various straw management machines, and the bio-decomposer developed by ICAR-IARI.

The Himalayan ecology is fast changing. It poses a threat to the Northern plains of India. For example, the Himalayan glaciers are melting, its pristine forests are facing forest fires, and the highway construction like Char Dham aggravates the environmental situation of the natural ecosystem.

What should be done?

The GOI with its resources, political capital, and statutory powers must intervene. The cash incentives along with bio-decomposers must be prioritized.

In addition to the government of Punjab, and Delhi, the Union government and Haryana government must also be roped in to financially contribute to make the cash incentive scheme successful.

Further, if the farmers take cash incentives and continue to burn stubble, then they should be penalized.


Government bailouts are not the answer to india’s energy sector woes

Source: The post is based on an article “Government bailouts are not the answer to India’s energy sector woes” published in the Indian Express on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Infrastructure; Energy

Relevance: Power Sector Reforms; DISCOMS

News: Over the past few weeks, there has been much tension over India’s twin deficits, i.e., the current account deficits and rising fiscal deficit. Everything has been tried to control, twin deficits, except for the issue of state ownership and control.

What are the structural Causes behind the twin deficits?

The state ownership and control of various entities in the power energy chains are central to a higher current account deficit (CAD) and also growing fiscal risks at the state level.

(1) In the case of coal, the coal sector still has a state monopoly. Although India has one of the largest coal reserves in the world, it is also one of the largest coal importers. It is because India has not been able to increase coal production as per rising demand.

For example, Coal India is unable to raise coal production to meet the growing demand. From 2013-14, the Indian economy has grown by around 50%. But, Coal India, which accounts for around 80% of India’s total coal production, was able to raise its output by just 34% over the same period.  Therefore, India’s reliance on coal imports (thermal and cooking) has risen in the last few years. Further, this has been at the root of the country’s widening current account deficit.

(2) The state-owned power distribution companies (DISCOMS) have also failed to improve their financial and operational positions. The divide between the public and private sector DISCOMs is deepening.

The State-owned DISCOMS are not able to pay their dues to power generating companies, the payments to coal miners are also delayed. This, in turn, affects the financial stability of the entire power chain. All the bailout attempts to rescue state-owned DISCOMS have actually increased the burden on the public exchequer, without any improvement in DISCOM’s position.

Notwithstanding various schemes to turn around their finances, the total debt of all DISCOMS put together stood at Rs 5.14 lakh crore at the end of 2019-20. If state governments were to infuse funds to clear their dues to generating companies and structure another bailout package, then the state’s fiscal situation will further worsen.

Other possible challenges in the path of improvement in the fiscal situation

In the coming period, State-owned DISCOMS consumers will be limited to only subsidised connections, largely agricultural and low-income households. The reasons are as below:

(1) Due to high tariffs charged by the DISCOMS on industrial and commercial consumers, most of the industrial units have already shifted towards other low-cost alternatives like a captive and solar power.

(2) Recently, the Union Ministry of Power has also reduced the threshold for green energy open access.

This would mean that DISCOMs losses will rise as cross subsidisation from commercial and industrial consumers will decline, increasing their dependence on state subsidies.

Therefore, the government should address its control over critical aspects of India’s energy sector and shift to reforms like market-determined prices. This will tackle the twin deficits discussed above.


Post-pandemic surprises and where the indian economy truly stands today

Source: The post is based on an article “post-Pandemic surprises and where the Indian Economy truly stands today” published in the Business Standard on 29th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Issues and Challenges Pertaining the growth and development of the Indian Economy

Relevance: Macroeconomic Performance

News: Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its quarterly update of its World Economic Outlook. The report talks about 30 highlighted countries, which has performed best during the pandemic, the subsequent recovery, and the period beyond — i.e., the period starting from 2020, stretching to this year (2022), as well as incorporating the outlook for 2023?

What are the findings of the report?

(1) Turkiye’s average annual growth in the period of 2020-23 has been put at 5%. It has emerged as an outstanding performer, in terms of economic growth, after the pandemic hit.

(2) China’s average growth in 2020-23 has been put at 4.55%,

(3) Egypt’s average growth in 2020-23 has been put at 4.3%.

(4) India comes fourth with 3.9%, followed by crisis-hit Pakistan, with 3.6%.

What are the IMF’s projections about the Chinese Economy?

China would be having a multi-decade low growth rate. The possible reasons are:

(1) At present, the country is facing the problem of shrinking working-age population.

(2) China is facing problems in the real estate and financial sectors, which may affect its overall macro-economic performance.

(2) China may find it difficult to continue with its export-led growth due to increasing diplomatic hostility from the Western world.

What does it say about the Indian Economy?

(A) History of India’s rapid growth

There are only two five-year periods when India recorded rapid growth. These are:

(1) Period from 2003-04 to 2007-08: At that time the global economy was facing a lot of issues, but India benefited from rapid export growth.

However, it was followed by sharp slowdowns, caused by a financial crisis of 2008.

(2) Period 2014-19: Indian benefitted from falling and low crude oil prices.

However, it was followed by sharp slowdowns, caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. India’s growth has averaged 1.9% in the last three financial years.

(B) The IMF’s projections about the Indian Economy

India did poorly in the first pandemic year, here referred to the fiscal year 2020-21. Subsequently, India was one of the fastest recovering economies.

As per the IMF’s projections, India’s average growth would be at 6.8% for the next two years. Therefore, the Indian economy is set to be the fastest-growing economy among the select list of 30 countries. In fact, many multilateral and private forecasters projected India’s medium-term growth at 7-8%.

What are the challenges ahead in front of India?

Global Constraints: The global environment may encounter problems like possible stagflation in countries around the North Atlantic, military conflict, supply disruptions among other issues.

Domestic constraints: Following factors will make expansionary fiscal and monetary policy difficult for India.

(1) The fiscal deficits of the Centre and states together is double-digit in relation to GDP,

(2) There is a growing current account deficit, and

(3) There are high levels of public debt when interest rates are rising.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Union Minister lauds the MoES scientists for conducting world’s first locomotion trials of the Deep-Sea Mining System in the Central Indian Ocean

Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister lauds the MoES scientists for conducting world’s first locomotion trials of the Deep-Sea Mining System in the Central Indian Oceanpublished in PIB on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Science & Technology presented a National Science Award to Indian scientists who conducted the world’s first locomotive trials of a deep-sea mining system in the central Indian Ocean.

He also inaugurated a fully automated buoy-based coastal observation and water quality Nowcasting System for the Indian Ocean.

What is Deep Sea Mining?

Deep-sea mining is the process of extracting and often excavating mineral deposits from the deep seabed. The deep seabed is the seabed at ocean depths greater than 200m, and covers about two-thirds of the total seafloor. 

Research suggests deep-sea mining could severely harm marine biodiversity and ecosystems, but India still lacks the knowledge and means to implement protections.

Despite this, there is growing interest in the mineral deposits of the seabed. This is said to be due to depleting terrestrial deposits of metals such as copper, nickel, aluminium, manganese, zinc, lithium and cobalt. Demand for these metals is increasing to produce technologies like smartphones, wind turbines, solar panels and batteries.

What is a Buoy-based coastal observation and water quality Nowcasting System? 

Developed by: Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

Purpose: It will make real-time measurements of coastal water quality by measuring 19 parameters including dissolved oxygen, carbon-di-oxide, nutrients, hydrocarbons and pigments.

Deployed at: Cochin Coast

What is Nowcasting?

Nowcasting is weather forecasting on a very short term e.g. 2 hrs.

In this method, radar and satellite observations of local atmospheric conditions are processed and displayed rapidly by computers to project weather several hours in advance.


PM inaugurates India’s first bullion exchange at GIFT city, Gandhinagar

Source: The post is based on the article PM inaugurates India’s first bullion exchange at GIFT city, Gandhinagar” published in The Hindu on 30th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister launched the India International Bullion Exchange(IIBX) at GIFT city in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

What is India International Bullion Exchange(IIBX)?

It is India’s first bullion exchange based at Gujarat’s GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City).

Note: Bullion refers to physical gold and silver of high purity that is often kept in the form of bars, ingots, or coins. It can sometimes be considered legal tender and is often held as reserves by central banks or held by institutional investors.

Who can trade on IIBX?

Qualified jewellers will be permitted to import gold through the IIBX. To become qualified jewellers, entities require a minimum net worth of Rs 25 crore and 90% of the average annual turnover in the last three financial years through deals in goods categorized as precious metals.

Apart from qualified jewellers, non-resident Indians and institutions will also be able to participate in the exchange after registering with the IFSCA.

Further, jewellers will be able to transact on IIBX as trading members or as clients of a trading member.For becoming a trading member, a qualified jeweller may establish a branch or a subsidiary in IFSC and apply to the IFSCA.

What are the advantages of Bullion exchange in India?

a) The exchange will be an additional platform for gold imports into the country in addition to banks and nominated agencies. b) The platform will help with efficient price discovery and provide additional transparency in transactions. c) It will also give an option to trade gold and silver in the US dollar. d) Since gift city is a free trade zone, no duty will be paid.

India is a major player in the global gold market but largely a price taker. The exchange may help increase India’s role in price discovery in the global market and help India become a major trading hub in Asia


Celebrating new ways of reducing CO2 – the art of cutting carbon

Source: The post is based on the articleCelebrating new ways of reducing CO2 – the art of cutting carbonpublished in BBC on 27th July 2022.

What is the News?

Scientists have been developing several new low-carbon technologies which could help cut CO2 emissions.

What are the alternative technologies developed to reduce carbon emissions?

Paper Industry: Paper Industry produces 0.9 billion tonnes of CO2 a year.

Alternative method: Scientists have invented a magical gadget that sucks the ink off printer paper, so each sheet can be used 10 times over. The aim is to cut the amount of planet-heating carbon dioxide(CO2) emissions from the paper and pulp industry by reducing the demand for office paper.

Steel Industry: Globally, the steel industry emits almost three billion tonnes of CO2 gas a year – that’s roughly equal to all the annual CO2-producing activities in the entire Indian economy.

Alternative method: A multinational steel manufacturer SSAB (Sweden) has developed the World’s first zero-carbon dioxide steel.

– In this method, steel is produced from the use of renewable power – such as from wind turbines or hydroelectricity – instead of coal. Due to this, instead of producing CO2 as a by-product, the reaction with hydrogen and iron produces only H2O (water).

Cement Industry: The cement industry produces 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year.

Alternative Method: A rail firm HS2 is building a viaduct in England made from a sandwich of cement and steel. This smart design allows less material to be used by harnessing the different physical properties of the cement and steel in a way that’s catching on fast. 

– This innovation cuts materials costs and halves the CO2 emissions that would have been seen in more traditional construction.

Plastic Industry: The plastic industry produces 1.8 billion tonnes of CO2 a year.

– Alternative method: in the Netherlands, a bio-chemical firm Avantium is claiming a world first – a plant-based plastic (derived from wheat and corn) to rival PET, (polyethylene terephthalate) which is used to make most drinks bottles.

– The new product is called PEF (polyethene furanoate) and is said to produce third fewer emissions than PET.


Union Minister convenes a meeting of Union Ministers and MPs from coastal states of the country to discuss the ongoing countrywide Coastal Clean Up Campaign launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences

Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister convenes a meeting of Union Ministers and MPs from coastal states of the country to discuss the ongoing countrywide Coastal Clean Up Campaign launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciencespublished in PIB on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Earth Sciences has convened a meeting of Union Ministers and Members of Parliament from coastal states of the country to discuss the ongoing countrywide Coastal Clean Up Campaign launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

What is the Coastal Clean Up Campaign?

Coastal Clean-Up campaign is a 75-day campaign launched by the government to clean up coastal beaches and raise awareness about “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”.

Aim: To make awareness about reducing marine litter, minimal use of plastics, segregation at source and waste management.

The campaign will culminate on “International Coastal Clean-up Day” (17th September 2022).

Impact: Through this campaign, a mass behavioural change among the masses is intended by raising awareness about how plastic usage is destroying our marine life.

What is Eco Mitram?

It is a mobile app launched to spread awareness about the campaign and also for the common people to voluntary registration for the beach cleaning activity on the 17th of September 2022. 


UN lays down guidelines to protect children displaced by climate change

Source: The post is based on the articleUN lays down guidelines to protect children displaced by climate changepublished in Down To Earth on 26th July 2022.

What is the News?

United Nations-backed agencies have released “The Guiding Principles for Children on the Move in the Context of Climate Change”.

These are guidelines to provide the first-ever global policy framework to protect children displaced due to climate change.

What is the impact of Climate Change on Children?

One billion children – nearly half of the world’s 2.2 billion children – live in 33 countries classified as being at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change. 

Nearly 10 million children were displaced following weather-related shocks in 2020 alone.

Adverse Impact: Children who move in the context of climate change may be exposed to a variety of risks such as abuse, trafficking, exploitation and other forms of maltreatment. They may lose access to education, be forced into labour and endure poor living conditions. There also remain many unmet protection needs.

What are the guidelines for Children on the move in the context of climate change?

These guidelines are a joint initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Georgetown University, and the United Nations University.

It contains a set of nine principles that address the unique vulnerabilities of children who have been uprooted. The guidelines cover both internal as well cross-border migrations.

The nine principles are: 1) Rights-based approach, 2) Best interests of the child, 3) Accountability, 4) Awareness and participation in decision-making, 5) Family unity, 6) Protection, safety, and security, 7) Access to education, health care, and social services, 8) Non-discrimination and 9) Nationality.


Initiatives by the Government for treatment of rare diseases

Source: The post is based on the articleInitiatives by the Government for treatment of rare diseasespublished in PIB on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare has informed Lok Sabha about the initiatives taken by the Government of India for the treatment of rare diseases.

What are the initiatives taken by the Government for the treatment of rare diseases?

National Policy for Rare Diseases,2021

PLI Scheme for Pharmaceuticals: Department of Pharmaceuticals has initiated the implementation of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Pharmaceuticals. The scheme provides financial incentives to manufacturers selected under the Scheme for domestic manufacturing of various product categories, which also include Orphan drugs.

Full waiver of tax for Spinal Muscular Atrophy(SMA): Ministry of Finance gives full waiver of Basic Customs Duty(BCD) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax(IGST) to drugs imported (personal use only) for treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy(SMA) rare disease thereby making the medicines for SMA rare disease more affordable.

The Ministry of Finance has given exemption from Basic Customs Duty to drugs or medicines, which are used in the treatment of Rare Diseases when imported by Centres of Excellence(CoEs) as specified in NPRD, 2021 or any person or institution on the recommendation of any Centre of Excellence.


India topped list of trade-related concerns at WTO in 2021 with 35% share

Source: The post is based on the article “India topped list of trade-related concerns at WTO in 2021 with 35% share” published in Business Standard on 30th July 2022.

What is the News?

The World Trade Organization(WTO) has released its annual report.

What are the key takeaways from the report?
Trade Related Concerns
Source: Business Standard

Trade Related Concerns raised against India:

Over a third (35%) of the new trade-related concerns in 2021 were raised against various import-related restrictions imposed by India.

– These issues were raised by countries such as China, Japan, European Union, Indonesia and the United States(US).

Leading Initiators of Anti-dumping measures: India and the US were the leading initiators of anti-dumping probes, accounting for more than 30% of new investigations. 

Note: Countries can impose anti-dumping measures or duties on imports of a product where the exporting company sends the product at a price lower than its normal value and lower than the price it charges in its home market. The dumped imports cause or threaten to cause injury to the domestic industry in the importing country.


Internet in India report: India to have around 900 million internet users by 2025: Report

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia to have around 900 million internet users by 2025: Reportpublished in Livemint on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI) has released its report titled “Internet in India”.

What are the key findings of the report?

Active Internet Users in India: At present, there are a total of 692 million active internet users in India including 351 million from rural India and 341 from urban Indian. The report estimates that there will be 900 million internet users in India by 2025.

Online Transactions: Around 346 million Indians are engaged in online transactions including e-commerce and digital payments. This was largely driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which sparked a 51% increase in digital transactions in two years.

Gender wise: The number of male internet users are more than female users in both rural and urban areas.

Top Activities: Social media, entertainment and communications are the top three activities in which internet users are engaged across India.

State-wise: In terms of states, Goa has the maximum Internet penetration while Bihar has the lowest.

Not adopted Internet yet: ​​Around 762 million Indians have not adopted the Internet yet — including 63% from rural pockets of the country. ’Difficulty to understand the Internet’ continues to be the primary deterrent along with lack of awareness, especially in rural India.


Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launches the 11th Agriculture Census in the country

Source: The post is based on the articleUnion Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launches the 11th Agriculture Census in the countrypublished in PIB on 29th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has launched the 11th Agricultural Census(2021-22).

What is the Agriculture Census?

The agriculture Census is conducted every 5 years.

Purpose: It is the main source of information on a variety of agricultural parameters at a relatively minute level, such as the number and area of operational holdings, their size, class-wise distribution, land use, tenancy and cropping pattern among others.

The first Agriculture Census was conducted in 1970-71. The Tenth Agriculture Census was conducted in 2015-16 and the 11th Census was delayed due to the corona pandemic. 

How will the 11th Agriculture Census be conducted?

The fieldwork of the 11th agricultural census will start in August 2022. 

This is the first time that data collection for the agricultural census will be conducted on smartphones and tablets so that data is available in time. This will help in the faster and more accurate enumeration.

Significance: The use of digitized land records and the use of mobile apps for data collection will enable the creation of a database of operational holdings in the country.


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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