9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Is digitisation opening up a can of worms?

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: Salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times

Relevance: Digitalizing heritage assets is an important topic in art and culture.

Synopsis: Digitalizing heritage assets need a careful assessment.

In recent years, cultural institutions across the country have advocated for digitisation and the pandemic has only accelerated this. For instance,

  • The National Mission for Manuscripts’ project: The pilot was set up in 2006. It aims to create a digital resource that spans themes, aesthetics, scripts, and illustrations.

Advantages of Digitalizing heritage assets :

  • Many heritage custodians see digitisation projects as a fantastic means to organise data, enable accessibility and also meaningfully build a repository that provides accountability and security.
  • Digital technology, will open up incredible frontiers of sharing and collaboration. For example, collaboration with Indian and Foreign historians without coming together physically.

Challenges in digitalizing heritage assets:

  • The records might create an accessibility barrier: For instance, in the National Mission for Manuscripts project, the catalogues are mostly available in English and Hindi, creating an accessibility barrier. Some state archives have digitised thousands of portfolios and now rely on hard drives. That makes them inaccessible without meaningful interfaces.
  • Digitisation throws up ethical, legal, and copyright complexities all institutions must think about as they continue to fulfill their mandate. For example, Indigenous communities sometimes have no say in how the digital material originating from their material culture is used. For instance,
    • In 2018 Sarr-Savoy report commissioned by the French President highlighted this. The report recommends the complete digitisation of material that belongs to African ethnic communities and suggests making it available as part of an open-access digital initiative.
    • But the decision should perhaps come from the communities themselves since many artefacts might be sacred or sensitive.
    • Additionally, each time an artefact is digitised, a new digital asset is created. This will create a violation of copyrights.
  • Digitisation is also high-cost, and, typically, digitisation priorities are decided by funders and their interests or biases. So many marginalised histories don’t find space in digital archives. For instance,

Suggestions to improve Digitalizing heritage assets:

  • To protect copyrights: Copyright laws in all countries are territorial, so custodians must consider that these “digital” assets are imbued with the copyright and intellectual property rights applicable in the country of digitisation.
  • A slow-digitisation option with moderated debates will benefit individuals, institutions and nations alike.
  • It might be best to proceed with balanced moral and ethical interests when digitising heritage. Such as adopting an inclusive and participatory approach that at the very least attempts to protect and inform all stakeholders.

Ecological urbanism – Key to sustainable urbanization

Source: TOI

Syllabus: GS1 – urbanization, GS3 – Environment

Relevance: Importance of urban ecology to sustainable urbanization

Synopsis: Achieving a sustainable model for urbanization needs to factor-in the urban ecology. Some new insights into the issue.


Ecology and urbanism are two conflicting subjects because usually we see urbanization to be in conflict with urban ecology. It is precisely this dichotomy that ecological urbanism tends to eliminate. We often separate the environmental from the social and the mental or subjective side of things. This is a mistake as we need a more holistic approach.

What is ecological urbanism?

Ecological urbanism is an approach to urban planning which puts nature at the centre of the design process in order to create better places and provide solutions to the multiple social, economic and environmental challenges facing the 21st Century city.

How is urban ecology linked to a city’s sustainability?

Many of the problems associated with increased temperatures and extreme weather events now are the result of not following an ecological approach. By using concepts like ecological urbanism, we can hopefully address problems cities are facing today.

Link between nature and the urban ecology

Yes, multiple studies show green spaces are essential for our physical and emotional well-being.
In the pandemic, we’ve all felt how important it is to go for walks, smell the flowers, breathe fresh air and listen to birds. This is why it is so important to integrate more open spaces in our cities. But it isn’t always possible to do so in dense urban areas, so we need creative ways to bring nature in with window boxes, green walls and more smells, colors and textures around us.

Global examples

There are cities which have designed urban ecology well in recent times. India too can learn from these cities and incorporate the ecological urbanism to design ecologically sustainable urban environments.

  • Brazil’s Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, the largest favela or slum in Brazil. Landscape architecture is a good example. For them, this meant gardens for the elite. So, they engage in small ecological micro-interventions, like taking care of a lemon tree.
  • Sacred groves in Nigeria, West Africa, especially the Osun Sacred Grove in Osogbo, one of the last left in Yorubaland. Formerly, every settlement there had a sacred grove but most were lost to urban development. Sacred groves support wildlife and human communities and are home to orishas, deities or energies of nature in West African traditional religion. Today, the Osun Sacred Grove is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We need to learn more about such spaces, which were designed landscapes holding important environmental logic — and nature’s joy of life.

GS Paper 2

In centenary backdrop, this is no hand of peace

Source: The Hindu

GS2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

Relevance: There were many reasons behind China’s unprovoked misadventure in Galwan valley.

Synopsis: China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC), but an atmosphere of unpredictability still prevails.


  • Memories of the bloodiest clash in recent decades that occurred in the Galwan are still vivid in India’s memory.
  • After some progress in talks over troop disengagement in the vicinity of Pangong Tso Lake and the Kailash ranges, matters have since reached a stalemate.
  • Meanwhile, China is reportedly raising new militia units comprising local Tibetan youth, to be deployed in Eastern Ladakh.
  • China’s misadventure in Ladakh exposed certain shortfalls with regard to the mechanization of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

However, blame for such miscalculations is being attributed to Mr. Xi as he has concentrated power in his hands.

Why could be the possible reason for the rise in misadventure from China’s side?

  • Firstly, in past also China acted in a similar erratic manner.
    • In the late 1950s and 1960s China faced the worst famines due to the misadventure of the Great Leap Forward Movement. It put Mao Tse Tung/Mao Zedong in a difficult situation.
    • Rather than accepting his mistake, he embarked on his campaign to attack India.
    • Mao’s actions were intended to divert attention and to counter those who were critical of Mao’s autocratic attitude within CPC.
    • Another instance of this kind is Deng Xiaoping’s behaviour following the Tiananmen Square movement in the 1980s.
  • Secondly, China’s recent behaviour is due to growing inner-party criticism of Mr. Xi’s policies and actions.
    • For instance, The Ladakh adventure was a misguided attempt by Mr. Xi to demonstrate to his opponents within the CPC that he is well and truly in command.
    • The CPC is a monolith entity, however, deep fissures exist within the party.
  • Thirdly, the accumulation of problems does produce in closed societies (such as China) a ‘pressure cooker’ syndrome, where the safety valve is often in the hands of the leadership.
    • However, the extent of inner-party tensions is little known to the world outside, given the opacity of Chinese society.
  • Fourth, the Chinese president is a leader in a hurry.
    • He is seen as Mao’s clone; he seeks to achieve the same kind of dominance over the CPC as the latter.
    • He has attempted to accelerate the pace at which China expects to overtake the U.S. as the world’s number one superpower, which, however, seems to be stalling for a variety of reasons.
    • Also, the Chinese leadership is concerned as the world is seemingly tilting towards India at this juncture, regarding it as more sophisticated, diplomatically, and more flexible compared to China.
  • Lastly, apart from this, several of Mr. Xi’s other ideas have run into difficulties.
    • His plans to remake the global order on terms favourable to the CPC seem to have gone awry.
    • The Chinese economy is showing signs of slowing down.
    • Xi had been betting on technological prowess and economic heft to achieve the kind of geo-political transformation, but this is clearly not happening at present.

Hence, India should expect, and prepare for more clashes with many more provocations coming from China. Also, before any reset in relations, an answer needs to be found out as why without any provocation China attacked Indian soldiers.

Unjust green

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Relevance: After Vaccination, countries are opening up their economies. Countries will adopt policies which may impact India’s interest.

Synopsis: The vaccine passport issue has been in news recently due to Discrimination against vaccines of few countries.


  • Recently the European Union have decided to enforce a “Green Pass” to allow travel within the EU.
  • Under Green Pass regulation, only people who have taken vaccines acknowledged by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines are allowed to travel in EU countries.
  • The vaccines included under the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines are Comirnaty, Vaccine Janssen, Spikevax and Vaxzevria.
  • Neither of India’s vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, as well as Russia’s and China’s, would be eligible for the EU Digital COVID Certificate (Green Pass).
  • Consequently, India and other African countries are protesting against such irrational Exclusionary principles.

What are the issues associated with this regulation?

  • One, India has argued that the entire idea of “vaccine passports” would leave developing nations and the global south at a disadvantage, as they have restricted vaccine access.
  • Two, it has been criticised that there is a hint of racism in the action as the EMA list only includes vaccines already used by Europe and North America.
  • Three, Covishield the “backbone” of the COVAX alliance’s programme. it is made under licensing and certification from AstraZeneca, and cleared by WHO.

Way forward

  • As more nations complete their vaccine programmes, they will seek to tighten their border controls. They will use measures like “vaccine passports” and longer quarantines in order to curtail the spread of new variants.
  • While it is necessary to battle discriminatory practices, the real imperative remains to vaccinate as many Indians as possible.
  • Given that only 4.4% of those eligible have been fully vaccinated, India needs to increase its vaccine capacity

Net Loss

Source: The Hindu 

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



The UDISE+ shows that many schools have fallen through the net, and they need urgent help to get connected. In this regard, the Centre must take proactive steps to provide internet facilities as an essential service in every school of our country.


  • The 2019-20 data of the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) portal shows a stark digital divide in the country.
  • The latest data confirm that a mere 22% of schools across the country on average had Internet access, while government institutions fared much worse at 11%
  • On the second metric of functional computer access, the national average was 37% and for government schools, 28.5%. 
  • Beyond the averages, the range of deficits reflects deep asymmetries. For instance, 87.84% of Kerala schools and 85.69% in Delhi had an Internet facility, compared to 6.46% in Odisha, 10% in West Bengal, and 8.5% in Bihar.

Need of curbing the digital divide:

  • The advent of hybrid learning has made it imperative to have computers and a robust internet connection for making the learning process more engaging.
  • During 2020-21 (the pandemic year), it became painfully evident that most students had to rely on remote learning. 
    • Many students faced the double jeopardy of not possessing their own computing devices at home. Their schools remain in the dark without such facilities.
    • In remote areas, particularly in the Northeast, many had to travel closer to mobile phone towers to access the Internet on shared phones to get their lessons.

Way Ahead:

  • COVID-19 has compelled all countries to evaluate their hybrid education models. Schools are encouraged to deliver some lessons virtually and rest in offline mode when the virus threat abates. 
  • In such a multi-layered process, bringing computers and the Internet to all schools cannot be delayed any longer.
    • The Centre must explore all options, such as the National Broadband Mission, the BSNL network, and other service providers to connect the schools.
    • The upcoming 5G standard with the benefit of high wireless bandwidth may also be able to help bridge the gap quickly. 
    • Communities, corporates, and hardware makers can use recycling and donation options for improving connectivity.
Also read:

Terms to Know: 

India should stand with developing countries

Source: Indian Express 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

Relevance: Policies of Western countries are becoming redundant. India should tilt its policies in favor of the global south.


India should adopt an independent foreign policy and champion the concerns of the global south instead of assimilating in the agenda of the US and other Western powers.


  • India is constantly improving its closeness and bonding with the US and other western powers.
  • In the recent G7 outreach summit, India agreed on a plan to “Build Back a Better World” (B3W). The plan aims to curtail Chinese influence and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Further, Indian PM has not been attending Non-Aligned Summit at regular intervals.
    • He attended only a virtual meeting of the NAM Contact Group in 2020. As the government was criticised for human rights violations, abolition of Article 370, use of sedition laws, and so on.

Reason behind growing western tilt:

  • There has been a Global structural crisis of capitalism. Since the 1970s, monopoly capital has only produced nominal returns to the advanced economies, and this has been the central concern of the rich and their enabling ecosystems such as the IMF.
  • In search of higher returns, investment of capital in the developing world has increased.

Issues associated with growing western tilt:

  • Privatisation and exploitation have picked up the pace, and lives and livelihoods have become even more insecure. The crisis is leading to unemployment, poor wages and working conditions, lack of social security etc.
    • There has been a push for privatisation of PSUs, sale of national assets, weakening of financial cushions like the RBI and LIC in India. This has curtailed access to public health, education, housing, employment etc.
  • The neoliberal model of western countries has increased economic inequalities in the last five decades, as quantified by economist Thomas Piketty.
    • Alarming levels of wealth concentration at the top and increasing destitution at the bottom are the hallmarks of neoliberalism.
  • Further, such inclination is straining our relations with neighbours like China and time-tested allies like Russia.

Way Ahead:

  • The closing of the economic gap between China and the US has made the Western world uneasy. It marks the first serious challenge to Western dominance since the disintegration of the USSR. Provocations and trade wars are taking the globe closer to a new Cold War. 
  • In this backdrop, India should adopt an independent foreign policy and champion the concerns of the global south instead of succumbing to the agenda of US and other Western powers.

Court correction

Source: Indian Express

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

Relevance: Weaponisation of UAPA and similar laws, is a big issue.

Synopsis: The NIA special court order on Akhil Gogoi should serve as a warning against weaponising sedition, anti-terror laws.


  • Earlier, Akhil Gogoi, a prominent leader of the anti-CAA movement in Assam, was booked under sedition and UAPA charges
  • Akhil Gogoi was also accused of having association with Maoist groups, terrorism, etc.,
  • He was held in prison for 19 months and contested the Assam assembly elections from jail.
  • The NIA opposed his bail at the Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court on the ground that he was held under UAPA.
  • Recently, The NIA special court that took up the hearing, dismissed each of the charges made against Akhil Gogoi and three others.

Why the charges were dismissed?

  • The court said there were no “prima facie materials to frame charges against the accused persons” and found the “conduct and approach of the investigating agency, in this case, to be discouraging.
  • For instance, analysing the NIA evidence against Gogoi for incitement to violence, the judge found that “he is exhorting people not to indulge in violence and seems to be doing so fervently”.
  • Similarly, it found no prima facie materials to frame charges against Gogoi for any offence of conspiracy, abetment, advocacy of terrorism, or threatening the integrity of the country.

Misuse of UAPA and Sedition laws

  • Clearly, the UAPA and various other criminal provisions had been weaponised by the NIA to silence a political activist, protesting a government policy and mobilising people to support his stand.
  • Gogoi’s case is not an exception, many times anti-terror and sedition laws are abused by state agencies to crack down on legitimate forms of dissent and protests by civil society groups.

Way forward

  • Since UAPA has stringent bail conditions, the accused, in most cases, end up spending a long time in prison awaiting trial.
  • In this context, the NIA court observed that “if the criminal justice system, for some reason, is unable to give bail to an accused, his trial should preferably be completed within a year.
  • This is to ensure that his constitutional and human rights of presumption of innocence and speedy trial are not violated.
  • Court’s directives need to be widely deliberated. Such moves can help to safeguard innocent citizen’s rights.

Why ex-bureaucrats speak up

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Relevance: The new government rules restrict free speech and impact the transparency and accountability of the government.


The new government rules restrict the free speech of retired bureaucrats.

About the new rules:

  1. The central government recently prohibits officers who retired from 25 critical organisations not to publish anything without taking prior clearance from the government.
  2. Further, the order also bans discussions on “the domain of the organisation”.
  3. The order also put restrictions is on revealing any “expertise or knowledge gained by virtue of working in that organisation”.
  4. The notification also amends the central pension rules, enabling the government to withhold the pension of those who defy.

Challenges with the government restrictions:

  • The rules are ambiguous. For example, “expertise or knowledge gained” is prone to conflicting interpretations among individuals.
  • Pension is not a reward but a binding obligation. The rules insist on “future good conduct” as a “condition of every grant of pension and its continuance.” But, the government cannot withhold the pension as the rule itself mention pension as a “claimed as a right”.
    • The Courts also historically ruled in favour of the pensioner. For instance, In Dr Hira Lal v. State of Bihar case, the court mentioned “that the right to pension cannot be taken away by a mere executive fiat or administrative instruction. An employee earns these benefits by virtue of his long, continuous, faithful and unblemished service”.
  • Not a national security threat, instead, an act of Sedition: The government has to act maturely and distinguish between genuine protests and sedition. If a question arises, then it has to be decided by the courts. These orders were meant for colonial times or even for the late 20th century. For example, One need not reveal information, with current advancements in technology, the enemy’s satellite can see not only moving trucks but also their number plates as well.
  • The government cannot force a code of conduct for such large numbers of retired officials to speak out against its policies. Such as secretaries, ambassadors, the Directors-General of police and others. Further, the rules make the retired officials speak in the government’s favour.

How a PPP can overhaul India’s health infrastructure

Source: Times of India

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

Relevance: Public and private sectors can work together to modernise the Indian healthcare system.


The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many weaknesses in India’s healthcare system. But it has also presented an opportunity to change the healthcare landscape.

Present needs for the Indian healthcare system:

  • India can get ICU beds, ventilators and machines. But a large, well-trained healthcare workforce is critical to run them.
  • Further, India also needs affordable medical education.
  • Healthcare is highly capital intensive and labour-intensive. So, the government has to figure out schemes whereby out-of-pocket expenses can be reduced, whether it is through Ayushman Bharat, community health schemes or CSR funding.

Why we need the PPP model in the health care system?

  • The private sector accounts for more than 70% of India’s healthcare market. So, the PPP model can expand access to healthcare.
  • Human capital, financial capital and management are scarce in the government sector, the Private can complement that.
  • Expanding India’s healthcare infrastructure also presents an opportunity for the private sector. Further, a lot of private healthcare is provided by smaller setups – 10-20 beds run by individual doctors. So there is a huge opportunity for private healthcare players.

Suggestions to improve healthcare in India:

  • Medical debt forces 66 lakh families below the poverty line every year. Now insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat are in place, digitising the scheme is the next step. This will make healthcare interoperable across India.
  • India needs to reduce its import dependence. About 30-35% of our hospital project cost is medical equipment and technology. For a long time, India has relied on international brands for equipment such as MRIs, CTs and ultrasounds. So, India needs to build up its own manufacturing capacity for equipment and Vaccines.
    • Eventually, it will make India the manufacturing hub of the world for medical devices rather than importing them
  • The government aimed to provide drinking water to every rural household by 2024. India can have a programme like this for a massive upswing over the next few years in health infrastructure.


GS Paper 3


Source: Livemint

Syllabus: Awareness in the field of biotechnology and Food processing and related industries

Relevance: The achievement of food processing industries(FPIs) to create plant-based meat is an important topic for biotechnology and FPIs.

Synopsis: Plant-based meat is gaining popularity globally. But, what are the associated issues and why we need such products?

Issues with large-scale meat consumption: 

  • Large-scale animal husbandry is unsustainable. For example, plants convert 10% of the sun’s energy into calories. Further, animals eat plants and only give us 10% of those calories in the form of meat. But the generation of greenhouse gases is much higher in the process.
  • Either we all learn to eat less meat and pay a premium price for it, or we won’t have much of a planet left to enjoy a filet mignon in the near future.

Technological solutions:

Now, Technology has a potential solution to the problem, just like it first enabled large-scale factory farms.

  1. Growing meat in a laboratory setting: In simple terms, it means growing animal muscle tissue from its DNA to produce low-carbon-footprint meat. But this is a complex solution. Further, This meat does not have the same texture and flavour as a walking, breathing animal.
  2. Converting plants into meat like or Mock meat: This method involves taking protein from plants like wheat, peas and soybean, use flavour additives and binding chemistry to synthesise something that tastes exactly like meat. The main challenge in this method is plants don’t have muscle tissue (elastic and flexible). Instead, they have rigid structures. However, this tech isn’t new.
    • Mock meat made from soy has been catering to Buddhist monks in East Asia for ages.
    • Some food-tech firms in the US have made breakthroughs in the looks, flavour and texture department.
      • Beetroot extract, pomegranate powder and soy leghemoglobin are used to mimic the colour(Look) of red meat.
      • For flavour, plant-based meat uses plant-based saturated fats to mimic the intra-muscular fat in animal tissue.
      • To get the texture, the plant protein also has to be laid out in a layered fibrous structure that mimics muscle tissue. For this, scientists use a process of high-moisture extrusion, a combination of heating, compression and cooling that can be sequenced precisely.
      • The tech has reached a point where even foodies can’t tell the taste difference between beef and plant-based meat.

Concerns with plant-based meat:

There are few questions associated with plant-based meat. Such as,

  • Questions regarding the healthiness of ultra-processed, preservative and stabiliser-laden products.
  • Uses of preservatives in plant-based meat, etc.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

4,000-year-old settlement found during excavation in Odisha

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies(OIMSEAS), the archaeological wing of the State government, has discovered a 4,000-year-old settlement and ancient artifacts in Balasore district.

Now, the OIMSEAS had sought permission from the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) to document Durgadevi village in Odisha in the Balasore district.

About Durgadevi Village:

  • Durgadevi village named after the presiding deity of the locality, is located 20 kms from Balasore town in Odisha.
  • The site has circular mud fortification of about 4.9 kms in circumference.
  • The site is located in between the river Sona on the south and the Burahabalang on its north-eastern margin.
  • The site has two small nullas Gangahara and Prassana which join the site on its north and south, forming a natural moat. This was an ancient water management system developed at least 4000 years ago.

What are the key findings at this site? The archaeologists have come across distinct traces of three cultural phases from the excavation site, which are:

Chalcolithic Period(2000 to 1000 BC):

  • There were human settlements and artifacts belonging to the Chalcolithic period.
  • The major discovery was the base of a circular hut, black on red painted pottery, black slipped ware, red slipped ware, and copper objects.
  • The people were mostly leading settled life and had started agriculture, domestication of animals, and fishing.

Iron Age (1000 to 400 BC):

  • The discovered material that belongs to the Iron Age Period includes, pottery remains of black burnished ware, black and red ware, iron objects like nails, arrow head, crucible and slag of various kinds.

Early Historic Period:

  • Early Historic Period cultural materials that were discovered include pottery specimens of redware, terracotta ear-studs, bangles, beads, and some conical objects.

Can’t act against NGO for not submitting returns, Centre told

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Delhi High Court has restrained the Centre from taking any coercive steps against an NGO for not submitting the FCRA form. Because NGO could not submit its annual return due to a discrepancy in the new form prescribed for declaring foreign contributions.


  • Section 18 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA), 2010 requires NGOs to file received foreign contributions before the Central government.
  • The process for filing such intimation is set out in Rule 17 of the Foreign Contributions Regulations Rules,2011.
  • However, Rule 17 was amended in 2020 which replaced earlier Form FC-6 with FC-4 form.
  • The FC-4 form also requires the beneficiary to submit a copy of the statement of account of the bank in which it maintains the exclusive Foreign Contribution Account.
  • In 2020, the Centre made it mandatory for all NGOs to receive foreign contributions only at the New Delhi Branch of the SBI. Prior to this, there was no requirement of the FCR account being in SBI.

What was the issue with these rules?

  • A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court by an NGO which receives foreign contributions in accordance with the rules set out in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010(FCRA).
  • The NGO said that the requirement of the FCR account being in the SBI, New Delhi was introduced only in September 2020. And the specific branch of the bank was notified only on October 7,2020.
  • Whereas, the NGO’s accounts where foreign contributions were received were not in the SBI. As a result, it became impossible for it to submit the return under the FC-4 form for 2019-2020.

What did the Delhi High Court say?

  • The Delhi High Court has restrained the Central Government from taking any coercive action against the NGO for failure to file the requisite return under the FC-4 form until the next hearing.

Anganwadi workers struggle with Centre’s order on ‘Poshan’

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

Anganwadi workers in several States are concerned. A government order threatened them with a pay cut if they did not download the ‘Poshan Tracker’ app to record delivery of services by them.

About Poshan Tracker App:

  • The Poshan Tracker App has been launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development(MoWCD).
  • Purpose: The app enables real-time monitoring and tracking of the services provided by the Anganwadi Centre (AWC), Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), and beneficiaries.
  • Significance: The use of technology for real-time growth monitoring and tracking of beneficiaries is an important feature of the Poshan Abhiyaan.

Concerns Raised by the Anganwadi workers:

  • Firstly, they wanted to know who would give them the mobile phones and bear the expenses for recharge.
  • Secondly, who would train Anganwadi workers to use smartphones, as many workers only know how to use the mobile phones with keypads.
  • Thirdly, many anganwadi centres are situated in remote locations and often don’t have Internet connectivity. They need to walk 500 metres to 1 km to get some network coverage.

Pandemic increased vulnerability to human trafficking: U.S. report

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The U.S State Department has released the Trafficking in Persons report.

About Trafficking in Persons report:

  • Trafficking in Persons is an annual report released by the U.S State Department since 2001.

Ranking: The report ranks countries in tiers based on their compliance with the minimum standard for eliminating human trafficking:

  • Tier 1: It includes governments that wholly meet the minimum standards.
  • Tier 2: It includes governments that do not meet the requirements but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.
  • Tier 2 watchlist: It includes countries where the number of victims of trafficking is increasing and they fail to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking.
  • Tier 3: These are countries that do not fully meet minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. Being ranked in this tier means countries may be subject to certain restrictions on foreign assistance.

Key Takeaways:

Tier 3 Countries:

  • Twelve countries were found to have a policy or pattern of human trafficking, resulting in these countries being assigned a ‘Tier 3’ rating.
  • These 12 countries are Afghanistan, Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Iran, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan.

Report on India:

  • India was put under the Tier 2 category. The report said that India did not meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, but was making significant efforts.

Positives for India: India has taken steps such as:

  • Allocated funding for the strengthening of Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) around the country, including establishing women help desks in 10,000 police stations across the country.
  • Identifying more victims of Human trafficking and prosecuting more cases.
  • Indian courts expanded the use of video testimony for trafficking victims during the pandemic.

Negatives for India:

  • Poor success rate in convictions in human trafficking cases. The acquittal rate for traffickers in India remained high at 73%.
  • Inadequate steps, especially against bonded labor.
  • Efforts to audit government-run or -funded shelters remained inadequate.
  • Many victims waited years to receive central-government-mandated compensation.

Govt imposes stock limits on pulses till October

Source: Economic Times, The Hindu

What is the news?

Centre has imposed stock limits on all pulses except moong held by wholesalers, retailers, importers, and millers till October. The stock limit of 200 tonnes, for any one variety of pulses, has been imposed on wholesalers.

  • An order in this regard has been issued by the Union Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
Relevant details
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs issued the Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits, and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2021. It prescribes the limits imposed on the stock of a commodity with immediate effect.
    • The order has been issued in exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955
  • If the stocks of entities exceed the prescribed limits, it has to be declared on the online portal of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Further, the stock has to be brought within the prescribed limit within 30 days of the notification of the order.

There was a sustained increase in the price (inflation) of pulses in March-April. The need for an urgent policy decision was felt to send the right signal to the market. Therefore, this decision will prevent hoarding and check price rise.

Also Read: Essential Commodities Act 1955 – Explained

India sees ‘consensus’ by Oct. on OECD-G20 global tax deal

Source: The Hindu, Business Standard, Livemint

What is the news?

A day after joining the OECD-G20 framework for a global minimum tax, the Finance Ministry said significant issues including share of profit allocation and scope of subject-to-tax rules were yet to be addressed, and a ‘consensus agreement’ was expected by October.

  • A majority of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting members (including India) adopted a statement containing an outline of a consensus solution to address tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy.
Rationale behind the deal
  • Deal presents a new way of sharing out the rights to tax profits that will give more revenues to countries in which businesses have customers. This overturns a longstanding principle of international taxation, under which profits are taxed where value is generated, which traditionally was where businesses had a physical presence.
  • This ensures that these MNCs pay more taxes in countries where they have customers or users than from where they operate.
How much additional tax revenue would be generated?

Estimates suggest that $150 billion of additional tax revenues would be generated due to the new rules.

Also Read: Global Minimum Corporate Tax & India – Explained
India has agreed to a lower threshold. Why?

India and other developing countries were fighting to include companies with at least Euro 1 billion in revenues, as against the final proposal of Euro 20 billion revenues and a profit margin above 10%. This would bring only the top 100 global companies under the digital tax deal (New Delhi was so far pitching for a much lower threshold to cover around 5,000 international firms).

So, why has India agreed upon a lower threshold? Here’s the reason:

Protecting its own revenues: The greater the threshold, the chances of Indian companies getting in there is that much smaller. India wants to see that its revenues are never impacted. The threshold will be reviewed after seven years to cut it to Euro 10 million.

  • Example: Most of the sales of Indian multinationals like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) or Infosys are outside India. If all their profits are allocated outside the country, New Delhi could have lost revenue had the threshold been lower. It is not the same with the US. because big companies like Google park their profits in lower tax jurisdictions (Ireland), so the US will not lose any revenue from the deal.
Why some countries haven’t joined the agreement?

Countries like Ireland argue that the freedom of small countries to offer low taxes is essential to attracting foreign investment by compensating for some of their less appealing features, such as a small domestic market.

How have big international corporations reacted?

Big companies have welcomed the deal as it would help eliminate the threat of overlapping national taxes like those in France and the U.K.

Also Read: OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework Tax Deal

Terms to know:

In Leh and Kargil, different reasons to oppose Ladakh’s current status

Source-The Indian Express

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

Synopsis- LEH demand for 6th schedule for Ladakh, while Kargil has asked for the reinstatement of special status under Article 35 and 370.


  • The Ladakhis were relieved that the Centre had granted their long-held desire to become a UT, but they were concerned about their future.
  • The UT status arrived without a legislature. Thereby, it rendered the democratically elected LAHDC ineffective and powerless to make important regional decisions.
  • Both Ladakh districts are concerned that land alienation, loss of identity, culture, language, and change in demography, would occur as a result of their political disempowerment.

Different demand from Ladakh districts –

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has formed a ten-member committee headed by MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy to look into the demand from the Ladakh [LEH and Kargil]

LEH demand for Sixth Schedule status

  • Political parties and religious organizations in LEH, have called for an independent hill council to be established under the Sixth Schedule, similar to the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.
    • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution (Article 244 (2) and 275 (1)) safeguard tribal populations and offer considerable autonomy to vulnerable communities through the creation of Autonomous Development Councils (ADCs). It covers parts of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
    • Leaders of all Leh-based political parties had issued a call for boycott of the LAHDC elections soon after they were announced. However, they decided to change their decision after the MHA promised Sixth Schedule like protections.

Later, the demand for a legislature has been raised by the LEH political parties because the Centre has failed to offer 6th schedule like protection

Kargil demand for restoration of special status under Article 35 and 370

  • However, the leaders in the Shia Muslim-dominated Kargil district are against the LEH’s demand for the 6th Schedule for Ladakh.
  • Political parties and leaders in Kargil are opposed to the partition of J&K and have called for the restoration of special status under Article 35 and 370 of the Constitution, allowing the Kargil area to rejoin the Kashmir Valley.

However, it has been more than 6 months since such a committee was formed, and nothing has been done yet.

Way forward-

The Centre should engage with the political leadership of both Ladakh districts all together, allowing Leh and Kargil leaders to form a single negotiation front.

Folk artists as record-keepers of the pandemic

Source: Livemint

What is the News?

For perhaps the first time, folk and tribal artists around the country have been united by a common theme: covid-19.

Key Paintings mentioned in the Article:

About Madhubani Painting:

  • Madhubani painting is also referred to as Mithila Art as it flourishes in the Mithila region of Bihar.
  • Method: The paintings are done with mineral pigments prepared by the artists. The work is done on freshly plastered or a mud wall. For commercial purposes, the work is now being done on paper, cloth, canvas, etc.
  • Style: This style of painting has been traditionally done by the women of the region. Today, men are also involved to meet the demand.
  • Significance: These paintings are popular because of their tribal motifs and use of bright earthy colours.
  • Colours: The colours used in paintings comprise natural extracts from plants and other natural sources. E.g.: Black colour is obtained by mixing soot with cow dung; blue from indigo, among others.
  • Themes: Figures from nature & mythology are adapted to suit their style. The themes & designs widely painted are of Hindu deities such as Krishna, Rama, Saraswati, wedding scenes among others.

About Pattachitra Painting:

About Phad Painting:

  • Phad painting or phad is a style of religious scroll painting and folk painting practiced in Rajasthan.
  • This style of painting is traditionally done on a long piece of cloth or canvas known as phad.
  • The paintings depict the narratives of the folk deities of Rajasthan, mostly of Devnarayan Ji (a reincarnation of Vishnu) and Pabuji (a local hero).
  • The Bhopas, the priest-singers, traditionally carry the painted phads along with them and use these as the mobile temples of the folk deities, who are worshipped by the Rebari community of the region.
  • Colours: Traditionally, the phads are painted with vegetable colors.

About Gond Paintings:

  • Gond paintings are a form of painting from folk and tribal art that is practiced by the Gond tribe.
  • The paintings can best be described as ‘on line work’ that has an immediate effect on the viewer.

Is Non-fungible Token(NFT) what Digital Art needs?

Source: Livemint

What is the News?

Non-fungible tokens(NFT) have made digital art a worthy collectible by solving the problems of provenance and duplication.

What are Fungible and Non-Fungible assets?

  • A fungible asset is something that can be readily interchanged like money. With money, you can swap a £10 note for two £5 notes, and it will have the same value.
  • On the other hand, a non-fungible asset means it has unique properties which cannot be interchanged with something else. Example: It could be a painting that is one of a kind. You can take a photo of the painting or buy a print, but there will only ever be one original painting.

What are Non-Fungible Tokens(NFTs)?

  • Non-Fungible Tokens(NFTs) are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain and cannot be replicated.
  • They are one-of-a-kind assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no tangible form of their own.
  • The digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.

How do NFTs work?

  • Traditional works of art such as paintings are valuable because they are one of a kind. But digital files can be easily and endlessly duplicated.
  • With NFTs, artwork can be “tokenized” to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold.
  • As with crypto-currency, a record of who owns what is stored on a shared ledger known as the blockchain.
  • The records cannot be forged because the ledger is maintained by thousands of computers around the world.
  • Similarly, NFTs can also contain smart contracts that can solve the problems of provenance and duplication of the art.

Centre includes retail and wholesale under MSMEs, to benefit 25 mn traders

Source: The Business Standard and PIB

Syllabus: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Relevance: MSME sector and its growth are important for the Indian Economy.

What is the news?

Minister of MSME and Road Transport and Highways announced revised guidelines for MSMEs with the inclusion of Retail and Wholesale trades as MSMEs. The Ministry also confirmed that the revised guidelines will benefit 2.5 Crore Retail and Wholesale Traders.

retail and wholesale under MSMEsBenefits of the move:

  • Retail and wholesale trade was left out of the ambit of MSME. So they are not able to get loans under priority sector lending. With the recent inclusion, they are now able to get the benefit of priority sector lending under RBI guidelines.
  • With the revised guidelines, the retail and wholesale trades will now be allowed to register on Udyam Registration Portal.
    • The Udyam portal provides a single-page registration, consumes less time, and simplifies the process of registering any enterprise under the MSME category.

However, benefits to retail and wholesale trade MSMEs are to be restricted to priority sector lending only. This means that apart from getting the priority sector lending tag, these traders will not get any other benefit that small businesses otherwise get from the government. For instance,

About the wholesale and retail trading:

  • In the past, wholesale and retail trading activities were classified as MSMEs. But they were excluded in 2017 as they did not cater to manufacturing activity.

Concerns with the move:

  • Once retail and wholesale traders get included in the priority sector lending category under MSMEs, bankers may prefer them to give loans in the place of small manufacturing units. Thereby increasing competition for the limited funds. Further, some experts also suggest that retail and wholesale traders who already have access to banking finance will corner all the benefits. 
  • Manufacturing MSMEs feel that once trading gets registered in the Udyam portal, in the future they could also get preference in government procurements, etc.

Commerce Ministry’s Logistics Division unveils plans for ‘Freight Smart Cities’

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Logistics Division under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has released the roadmap for the ‘Freight Smart Cities Initiative’.

About ‘Freight Smart Cities Initiative’:

  • Freight Smart Cities Initiative aims to improve the efficiency of urban freight and create an opportunity for a reduction in logistics costs.
  • Under the initiative, State Governments will identify ten cities, initially, to be developed as Freight Smart Cities.
  • In these ten cities, city-level logistics committees would be formed. These committees would have members from the government as well as from the private sector.
  • These committees would co-create City Logistics Plans like developing peri-urban freight centres, night-time deliveries, developing truck routes, Promoting electrification of urban freight among others.
  • Further, the initiative will be expanded to 75 cities in the next phase before scaling up throughout the country. It will include all state capitals and cities that have more than one million population.

What was the need for this initiative?

  • Due to urbanisation, requirements of rapid economic growth including e-commerce and associated first and last-mile freight movements are increasing.
  • It is expected that the demand for urban freight is expected to grow by 140% over the next 10 years.
  • However, increasing congestion, high logistics cost, noise, and sound pollution in the Indian cities are affecting the urban freight sector.
  • Hence, the initiative has been launched to improve the efficiency of urban freight and create an opportunity for a reduction in logistics costs.
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