9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 16th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

India’s lingering homophobia

Source: The post is based on an article “India’s lingering homophobia” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Importance Provisions of the Constitution of India

Relevance: LGBTQ+ Community, Fraternity

News: Recently, the Kerala High Court sanctioned a lesbian couple to live together after they were coercively separated and incarcerated by their family.

Indian society has been facing a problem of homophobia. For example, the attitude like “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve” still lingers in Indian society.

What is homophobia?

George Weinberg, an American clinical psychologist, coined the term ‘homophobia’ in his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual (1972).

Homophobia is defined as culturally produced fear of or prejudice against homosexuals. This can manifest into legal restrictions or, in extreme cases, bullying or even violence against homosexuals. It is a culturally conditioned response to homosexuality.

Argument against such homophobia

The Indian Psychiatric Society authentically stated that homosexuality was not a mental disorder.

The social and psychological abhorrence against the LGBTQ+ community nullifies the constitutional principles of fraternity and dignity, enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

There are various historical figures or mythological characters who signalled towards queerness. For example, Shikhandi became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; and Chudala became a man to enlighten her husband.

Way Forward

In words of J.B. Kripalani, a prominent member of the Constituent Assembly, “the principle of fraternity means that we are all sons of the same God”.

Dr.. B.R. Ambedkar, elucidated the Indian roots of the ideal of fraternity. He derived the principle from the teachings of the Buddha. He gave the highest place to fraternity because this is the only real safeguard against the denial of liberty or equality. He championed the ideal of fraternity to uphold the cause of the oppressed castes, Dalits. The same principle is also applicable to the LGBTQ+ community in India

A poverty trend in search of an explanation

Source: The post is based on an article “A poverty trend in search of an explanation” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Poverty and Hunger

Relevance: Measurement of Poverty

News: Recently, two recent studies, separately, from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (henceforth Fund-Bank) estimated the consumption spending, and thereby poverty in India.

Importance of measurement of the progress with respect to the reduction of poverty

It is crucial to an assessment of the state of the economy of India, which harbor the world’s largest number of poor people.

Definition of extreme poverty

As per the World Bank, “extreme poverty” can be defined as per capita consumption of less than $1.90 per day.

Past Measurement

The last official estimate of poverty was undertaken by the Planning Commission for the year 2011-12.

What are the challenges?

India has not had a household consumption expenditure survey for a subsequent year which forms the ideal basis for poverty estimation.

Findings of NSSO’s consumption expenditure survey 2017-18

As per survey 2017-19, the real consumption expenditure had fallen since 2011-12.

The survey 2017-18 was rejected by the union government as defective. In addition, a leading expert stated that a decline in consumption is not possible when income (GDP) has grown.

Findings of the Fund-Bank Studies

Two recent studies from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank estimated the poverty based on consumption spending, and thereby poverty. Both studied stated that there has been an accelerated decline in poverty in India, since 2011-12

Argument in favour of the Fund-Bank Survey

The decline in poverty has been due to lower levels of inflation since 2014. Thus, real wage growth has been faster. It enabled greater consumption and thus an accelerated decline in poverty.

Argument against the findings of Fund-bank survey

The growth of the Indian economy has slowed progressively from 2017-18. The demonetisation of 2016 has affected the majority of workers working in India.

As per the Periodic Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate has been rising sharply since demonetisation. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine an accelerated decline in poverty during such a phase.

As per an assessment, the annual real wage growth for non-agricultural labourers was either negligible or negative during the period 2015-16 to 2019-20. Annual real wage growth was negative for construction workers. Thus, there has been very little real wage growth since 2015-2016

Way Forward

There is a need for an explanation of the accelerated decline in poverty that they report.

We need to understand the drivers of poverty to undertake any kind of remedial action.

There should be independent public bodies which can provide reliable data without any potential political interference.

In particular, a household consumption expenditure survey should be executed as soon as possible to find the trend in poverty in India in recent years.

In Sri Lankan crisis, a window of economic opportunity

Source: The post is based on an article “In Sri Lankan crisis, a window of economic opportunity” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 International Relations, Bilateral relations

Relevance: India-Sri Lanka relations

News: Recently, in an interview with an Indian TV channel, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, talked about significant aspect of India-Sri Lanka relations

Proposal for forging closer ties between Sri Lanka and the southern parts of India – the sub-regional integration

There are various commonalities between Sri Lanka and the southern parts of India.

The south India-Sri Lanka sub-region can be developed as a single market. It would provide more opportunities for the economic growth of both countries.

In addition, in 2016, the Sri-Lankan PM had also proposed the tri-nation economic convergence, encompassing Singapore too.

What are the reasons behind present bonhomie in the India-Sri Lanka relations?

The present economic crisis in Sri Lanka has pushed it closer to India for immediate relief.

For the last few months, the Indian media’s regular coverage of the crisis has led to better understanding and even created a sense of empathy in India about the plight of the neighbouring country.

India, as part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, has extended $3.5 billion aid to Sri Lanka to help secure food, health and energy.

The Government of Sri Lanka and the Export-Import Bank of India have signed an agreement for a $55-million short term Line of Credit.

India’s Finance Minister has urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide urgent assistance to Sri Lanka.

On its part, Tamil Nadu decided to provide aid in the form of rice, life-saving drugs and milk powder.

What is India’ foreign policy challenges?

Some sections of the Sinhalese believe that “India has been a threat to them. It can be a threat to them in future too”. For example, South Indian rulers had invaded Sri Lanka during ancient times. In the late 20th century, the Indian government supported Tamil rebels.

Despite India’s open willingness to take part in the development of Sri Lanka after the civil war, the scale of its involvement has been modest.

The Sri Lankan government, in the past, had unilaterally scrapped a tripartite agreement signed with India and Japan for the development of Colombo’s East Container Terminal.

Another project, a collaboration between NTPC Limited and the Ceylon Electricity Board, was cancelled.

Further, the Sri Lanka government has not shown much political will in other projects such as the development of the Kankesanthurai harbour and the expansion of the Palaly airport in Jaffna.

The project of building a sea bridge and tunnel, connecting Rameshwaram to Talaimannar, remains on paper despite India’s readiness for it.

Several popular brands of south Indian restaurants and retail textile establishments have not opened their branches in Sri Lanka, despite their presence outside India or overseas.

Way Forward

The Sri Lanka Crisis provides an opportunity to bring Indian and Sri Lankan societies closer. It is a prerequisite to achieving an economic union between Sri Lanka and the southern States of India.

India has received the projects for development of the West Container Terminal, the Trincomalee oil tank farm and a couple of renewable projects.

Recently, the Sri Lankan Cabinet cleared two connectivity proposals: flights from Jaffna to Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu, and a ferry service from Kankesanthurai to Karaikal in Puducherry.

There is enormous scope for collaboration between the two countries in the area of infrastructure development.

– For example, the Sri Lanka’s electricity grid can be linked with India’s Grid. India already has cross-border energy trade with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.

India’s interests would also be served by developing the east coast of Sri Lanka, especially the Trincomalee-Batticaloa belt, whose potential for tourism, commerce, trade and industry is well known.

The regular movement of people and goods should be allowed again on the traditional sea routes of Thoothukudi-Colombo and Rameshwaram-Talaimannar.

The Indian side should dispel the apprehension among Sinhalese about India being a threat. It can be done by facilitating greater people-to-people interaction like pilgrimages to Buddhist Sites.

What commodities should be distributed free or at a subsidised level

Source: The post is based on an article “What commodities should be distributed free or at a subsidised level” published in the Indian Express on 16th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – Governance

Relevance: Freebies

News: Recently, the newly elected Punjab government’s announcement of providing up to 300 units of free power to every household.

Types of allocation of budgetary resources by the policymakers

(1) providing support to low-income households for augmenting their consumption of selected goods and services.

(2) offering incentives to support selected categories of investors and producers to do investment or production. For example, for production-linked incentives to various sectors and tax concessions.

Note: The economic objectives of the budgetary allocation in these two categories are quite different.

What constitutes “freebies”?

There is, in fact, no consensus on the definition of a “freebie”. It is almost a pejorative term. They constitute a sub-set of goods and services distributed by the government free or at highly subsidised prices to low-income households.

The freebie depends on the nature of the commodity or the services distributed by the government. For example,

The subsidisation or the free provision of essential and merit goods can be justified and cannot be called as freebies. The “essential” goods are food grains and the “merit” goods are those, which if consumed, lead to positive impact on health and education-related provisions.

  • For example, mid-day meals. In these cases, the consumption of these goods causes benefit to the immediate consumer as well as the wider community. Their consumption meets social objectives.

However, the subsidisation or the free provision of items such as TV sets, free power up to 300 units can be referred to as “freebies”. Such distribution cannot be justified on various grounds.

What are the issues?

India has limited budgetary resources.

In India, the revenue to GDP ratio has been stagnating over a long period of time.

For example, combined revenue receipts of central and state governments, relative to GDP, is lower than many developed and emerging market economies.

Way Forward

(A) A suitable model should be developed for providing budgetary support in both consumption and production-supporting initiatives.

(1) What goods and services should be selected for such programmes?

It is advisable to limit the distribution of subsidized or free provisions of commodities and services to essential and merit goods. Any distribution beyond these two categories must be treated as “freebies”.

(2) What should be their ideal mode of delivery of the essential items or merit goods?

It may be provided either through direct income support or by a free or highly subsidised provision. However, in case of the latter, i.e., provision of subsidised goods, the government requires a procurement set-up and a public distribution system. This involves additional costs like avoidable administrative costs as well as possibility of leakages.

(3) What should be their ideal mode of delivery of production-related incentives? It can be provided through alternative methods like direct budgetary support and indirect support through tax concessions.

In the case of tax concessions, the outcomes have not been good. For example, the provision of free power to farmers was often misused. The Government of India has registered forgone revenues in the context of tax concessions. Therefore, these schemes require careful designing to avoid their misuse and minimise their costs.

(B) In addition, it would be prudent to limit overall fiscal support to such schemes to less than 10% of the total expenditure of the central government and state governments until their revenue GDP or GSDP ratios increase in a sustained way.

The fragile state of nuclear disarmament

Source: This post is based on the article “The fragile state of nuclear disarmament” published in The Hindu on 16th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations (IR)

Relevance: Trends in international security, military spending

News: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its yearbook a few days back, highlighting some worrying trends of the past year in international security.

The expected rise of the global nuclear arsenal was the chief cause of concern.

The comprehensive report claims that while absolute numbers of nuclear arsenal have reduced, they are expected to grow over the next decade.

What are the key findings of the report?

During 2012-2021, military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product has largely been stable. If anything, the average worldwide trend has been slightly downward.

For more: Read here.

What have been the trends wrt global arms imports?

Military modernization is seen to be a global trend.

All nuclear weapon owning states have, over the years, stated and worked upon their intention to modernize multiple facets of their armed forces, which may result in aggravating security concerns for other countries.

The yearbook has highlighted India as being the top weapons importer during the 2017-2021 period.

What are the key developments/concerns flagged by the yearbook?

As per the report:

Some worrying indicators of an unstable system. a) low level border clashes between India and Pakistan, b) the civil war in Afghanistan, and c) the armed conflict in Myanmar.

Cause of concern trends: a) Chinese-American rivalry, b) involvement of state and non-state actors in multiple conflicts, and c) the challenge that climatic and weather hazards pose.

Key developments:

The marginal downsizing observed in the nuclear arsenal has come mostly from the U.S. and Russia dismantling retired warheads.

But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised some serious concerns because of the continuous rhetoric of a possible use of nuclear weapons.

China’s recent activities surrounding construction of 300 new nuclear missile silos.

Over in the subcontinent, India and Pakistan seem to be making gains over their nuclear arsenal (in absolute numbers).

Iran increased its enrichment of Uranium-235 to 60% in 2021.

What is the general attitude among countries about existing nuclear and arms related treaties?

Recently, the leaders of the P5 countries (China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.) issued a joint statement affirming the belief that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

The joint statement also highlighted their seemingly collective belief that bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements and commitments were indeed important.

The nation states are making sure to remain well within the ambit of what the treaties and agreements ask for. The tactic here seems to be to milk the treaties and agreements to the hilt.

What lies ahead?

The recent geopolitical events transpiring around the world in practically all regions have made the global security climate more unstable.

This instability is further aided by actions of authoritarian leaders of not just non-democratic systems, but also of strongmen leaders of democratic systems.

A strong political opposition would be needed to help keep the ruling dispensation in check.

Furthermore, the two largest nuclear weapons holding states need to take on a more engaging role in the international arena.

On India – Sri Lanka ties: Drawing closer

Source: This post is based on the article “Drawing closer” published in The Indian Express on 16th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – International relations – India and its neighborhood

Relevance: India – Sri Lanka ties

News: Connectivity between Sri Lanka and India seems set to improve, especially between the Tamil areas in the north and Tamil Nadu across the Palk Strait.

The projects to link Jaffna by air to Trichy and by boat to Karaikal on the Coromandel Coast form a part of India’s development outreach to Sri Lanka. It focuses on building long-term infrastructure projects in the island nation, besides aid for emergency needs such as fuel, food and essential medicines.

Better connectivity between India and Sri Lanka could help them realize the full potential of their partnership.

Efforts by the govt to improve India-Sri lanka connectivity

Multiple transport links existed between India and Sri Lanka until the 1980s when the civil war severely curtailed exchanges and transactions.

Before that, a cyclonic storm in 1964 destroyed the Pamban Bridge and the railway terminus and jetty at Dhanushkodi that forced the government to end the popular “Boat Mail”. It connected Chennai and Talaimannar in northern Sri Lankan via Rameswaram through a rail link and a ferry.

Since the war ended in 2009, transportation has been a key area that India-Sri Lanka ties have focussed on, with railways and ports in focus. IRCON, an Indian Railways subsidiary, restored the Colombo-Jaffna railway line, which was opened for the public in 2014, and has since expanded to Kankesanthurai beyond Jaffna.

The proposed ferry services between Karaikal and Jaffna/Kankesanthurai could at a later stage be upgraded to facilitate transport of cargo from India to Sri Lanka. At present, Colombo is the only port of entry for Indian goods, which involves extra travel.

Issues that still remain

The air connectivity from Indian cities has so far been restricted to Colombo.

Direct flights out of Jaffna to cities in Tamil Nadu will save travel time and money, which could give a fillip to tourism, particularly pilgrimage, in the Jaffna peninsula as well as in India.

Way forward

The current crisis in Sri Lanka has forced Colombo to recalibrate ties with New Delhi and the latter to emphasise its “Neighbourhood First” policy.

The challenge, however, would be to insulate bilateral relations from regional politics in both countries and build on the gains for both.

Hate speech, IPC Sec 295A, and how courts have read the law

Source: This post is based on the article “Hate speech, IPC Sec 295A, and how courts have read the law” published in The Indian Express on 16th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Polity – Judiciary

Relevance: Hate speech and how courts have read the law

Context: The debate surrounding the comments on Prohpet Mohammad have put the spotlight on the law that deals with criticism of or insult to religion. Provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), primarily Section 295A, define the contours of free speech and its limitations with respect to offences relating to religion.

India does not have a formal legal framework for dealing with hate speech. However, a cluster of provisions, loosely termed hate speech laws, are invoked. These are primarily laws to deal with offences against religions.

Section 295 and others

Section 295A defines and prescribes a punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

It is one of the key provisions in the IPC chapter to penalise religious offences.

– The chapter includes a) offences to penalise damage or defilement of a place of worship with intent to insult the religion (Section 295), b) trespassing in a place of sepulture (Section 297), c) uttering, words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person (Section 298), d) disturbing a religious assembly (Section 296).

Section 295A has been invoked on a wide range of issues from penalising political satire and seeking bans on or withdrawal of books to even political critique on social media.

The state often invokes Section 295A along with Section 153A of IPC, and Section 505 of the IPC that punishes statements conducing to public mischief

Sec 153A penalises promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony

In cases where such speech is online, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that punishes sending offensive messages through communication services is added.

In a landmark verdict in 2015, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A as unconstitutional on the ground that the provision was “vague” and a “violation of free speech”. However, the provision continues to be invoked.

Origins of the hate speech law

Colonial origins of the hate speech provisions are often criticised for the assumption that Indians were susceptible to religious excitement.

Section 295A was brought in 1927.

For more: Read here

Rangila Rasool case

Rangila Rasool was a tract — brought out by a Hindu publisher — that had made disparaging remarks about the Prophet’s private life.

Cases against the first pamphlet, filed under Section 153A, were dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

When a second, similar piece was published, it raised tensions.

While the magistrate had convicted the publisher Rajpaul under Section 153A, the Lahore High Court held that a “scurrilous and foul attack” on a religious leader would prima facie fall under Section 153A — although not every criticism.

This debate in interpretation prompted the colonial government to enact Section 295A with a wider scope to address these issues.

Other cases

In 1957, the constitutionality of Section 295A was challenged in Ramji Lal Modi v State of Uttar Pradesh.

The Supreme Court upheld the law on the grounds that it was brought in to preserve “public order”.

In a 1960 ruling, in Baba Khalil Ahmed v State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court said that “malicious intent” of the accused can be determined not just from the speech in question but also from external sources.

In 1973, in Ramlal Puri v State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court said the test to be applied is whether the speech in question offends the “ordinary man of common sense” and not the “hypersensitive man”.

In Baragur Ramachandrappa v State of Karnataka, a 2007 decision of the Supreme Court, “a pragmatic approach” was invoked in interpreting Section 295A.

A common admission test could worsen higher education access

Source: This post is based on the article “A common admission test could worsen higher education access” published in Livemint on 16th June 22.

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

Relevance: To understand the challenges associated with CUET.

News: Recently, a Common Undergraduate Entrance Test (CUET) for admission to 53 central universities has been introduced.

What is the Common Undergraduate Entrance Test (CUET)?
Must read: Central University Entrance Test: Benefits and Concerns – Explained, pointwise
What is the difference between the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and CUET?

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is taken by high school students in the US. The CUET is modelled on SAT. American colleges use SAT test scores alongside high school results and other criteria for making admission decisions.

Under the NEP, the CUET results alone will decide college admissions. In this situation, the quality of schooling and efforts taken by parents to prepare children for the entrance exam would be vital for a good CUET score.

Read more: On CUET: Centralising tests 
How will CUET worsen higher education access?

The exodus of students from government schools: According to the National Sample Survey’s 75th round on Household Social Consumption: Education, only 35% of children were studying in government schools in urban India in 2017-18, but in rural areas that proportion was around 72%.

Further, around 32% of parents who had enrolled children in a private school listed the inferior quality of education in government schools as the top reason for their decision and another 5% listed it as the second most important reason.

Hence, unless the revised school curriculum and its delivery in government schools improve, the CUET may lead to a further exodus of students away from state-run schools.

Additional expenditure to parents: Parents have to pay for ‘shadow schooling’ or private tutoring to ensure children don’t lag behind or gain a competitive edge over peers.

Parents with higher income levels can help their children with school work or afford tuition. Similarly, an inverted U relationship exists between mothers’ education and enrolment in private tuition.

Read more: Common University Entrance Test won’t solve the real problems

Along with Joint Entrance Examination for engineering and National Eligibility Entrance Test for medicine, CUET will increase the tuition industry, undermining the core schooling system and students from poorer backgrounds and lower quality schools will affect further.

Read more: CUET will provide a level playing field for students from all boards

GS Paper 3

Let’s pin down the elusive ‘E’ of ESG transition finance

Source: The post is based on an article “Let’s pin down the elusive ‘E’ of ESG transition finance” published in the Live Mint on 16th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Relevance: Environmental Finance

News: Weather events are frequently impacting lives. India has given national commitment to net zero carbon emissions. Therefore, India should focus on Sustainable climate funding initiatives that broadly comprise the ‘E’ of ESG transition finance.

Possible Interventions for transition towards sustainable development in India

In General

The 3 ‘R’: recycle, re-use and reduce are crucial to combat climate challenges effectively.

Sectoral interventions

(1) Heavy industries like iron and steel can help reduce carbon dioxide exhaust by adoption of smaller ‘scrap-based steel process plants’ (recycling) located near urban centres, instead of working on integrated steel plants which are highly polluting in nature.

Further, deep decarbonization steel technologies can be developed on a commercial scale. This requires appropriate technology investments.

(2) Business and corporate social responsibility (CSR) can promote greener technologies as well as afforestation of habitats and revival of lost water bodies across India.

(3) In the power sector, there are possibilities for round-the-clock renewable energy (RTC RE) supply as corporates demand for their sustainable operations. It requires better power storage technologies and energy generators.  Further, power distribution companies (DIS+COMS) can support electric vehicle (EV) technology.

(4) In the construction industry, rain water harvesting (RWH) systems can be mandatory for building plan approvals. It will reverse groundwater depletion and prevent urban flooding.

Efforts Made So Far in Transition Finance

Various forms of renewable power, including utility-scale solar power, have been financed through a pool of bank/financial institution loans, bonds and private equity.

The revamped Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) framework for the listed corporates, and the ESG assessment scores introduced by credit rating agencies, are steps in the right direction.

Some European banks like BNP Paribas have come out with climate analytics and alignment studies which guides for a carbon transition finance roadmap towards net zero.

Recently, interim decarbonization percentage targets were set. It envisions raising the share of finance available to RE in overall power generation capacity, reducing upstream exposure to oil, and increasing the financing share of EVs in the automobile market by 2025.

Way Forward

The government can adopt 3 ‘C’ approach to push the laggards of India Inc, including financiers to fall in line for hastening a green transition. This requires, first coax, then convince and eventually coerce, similar to dismantling of LPG subsidies for well-off users in India.

Indian banks should devise their own specific strategies as most banks haven’t yet framed comprehensive climate funding policies.

Indian corporates and financiers should act upon transition finance before climate action regulations start hitting them hard.

India Inc., financiers and regulatory stakeholders should come up with a workable ‘whole-of-industry investment and financing’ approach to facilitate a sustainable economy, similar to the ‘whole-of-government’ approach.

The policy streamlining is needed for the growth of wind and roof-top solar systems and other renewables.

There is a need for development of robust transition finance mechanisms across various industry segments.

The jobs push

Source: This post is based on the article “The jobs push” published in The Indian Express on 16th June 22, and the article “A unique jobs conundrum” published in Business Standard on 15th Jun 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Economic growth and Development

Relevance: Employment problems and related issues

News: The Centre recently announced plans to recruit 10 lakh people in ministries and departments over the next one-and-a-half years.

This might not be enough considering the scale of the unemployment problem that India is facing. Private sector’s contribution will be needed.

The underlying structure of India’s economy

The jobs problem in India is worsened by the underlying structure of the Indian economy.

The rapidly growing services sector tends not only to be less employment intensive, but is also more geared towards absorbing the skilled sections of the labour force.

And the gig economy, which does employ the unskilled, simply doesn’t create enough jobs for the millions entering the labour force each year.

What is the key challenge?

The challenge has been, and continues to be, the inability to facilitate the creation of a labour intensive manufacturing sector that is able to absorb the low and semi-skilled sections of the labour force.

Issues with the recruitment drive

The Centre recently announced plans to recruit 10 lakh people in ministries and departments over the next one-and-a-half years. This move suffers from some fundamental constraints —

the size of government. According to the report of the 7th Pay Commission, the total sanctioned strength of the central government fell from 41.76 lakh in 1994 to 38.9 lakh in 2014. In 2021, the strength of the central government stood at 34.5 lakh as per the Union budget. Moreover, between 2006 and 2014, the average recruitment in the central government was a little over one lakh each year.

These numbers not only raise questions over the absorptive capacity of the state, but also imply that government employment actually forms a small proportion of the formal labour force, and an even smaller part of the total labour force.

In fact, the Pay Commission report had noted that “the central government is at best a marginal source for employment generation.” Thus, considering the scale of the challenge, this recruitment drive will not be enough.

Further, this expansion in public sector jobs pose a challenge to the promise and goal of minimum government.

Moreover, implicit in this move is also the acknowledgment that not enough jobs are being created by the private sector, which should be the principal driver of employment generation.

The government does not have the wherewithal to recruit on this scale. Taken together, the various recruiting agencies, such as the UPSC and the Railway Recruitment Board, hire just about 100,000 people a year. A National Recruitment Agency set up in 2020 was expected to subsume the role of multiple government recruiting agencies but is not yet functional.

Budgetary constraints: The real danger of this mega-recruitment drive is that capital expenditure may be curtailed to make way for higher salary budgets.

Way forward

Making the government the employer of first resort and the move towards Big Government marks a significant step back in terms of economic policymaking, and indirectly reflects the government’s failure to meaningfully tackle the employment crisis.

With rising protectionism in trade policy and the great leap back to semi-autarky in industrial policy, India faces the danger of losing the gains of the past three decades.

5G Impact: Traffic To Teaching, Factories To Farming

Source: This post is based on the article “5G Impact: Traffic To Teaching, Factories To Farming” published in The Times of India on 16th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology

Relevance: To understand the benefits of 5G technology.

News: The government has announced the rollout of the transformational 5G services. This will bring about a revolutionary change in communication with benefits spanning various sectors.

What is 5G technology?
Read here: 5G technology
What are the benefits of 5G technology?

Education: a) With the enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) feature of 5G, the full potential of digital education can be unleashed, b) Expanding on PM eVidya, it can deliver high-quality educational content through mobile applications to every student in the country, c) 5G will also provide a major impetus to digital universities, d) Vocational training programmes, delivered in the ‘phygital’ mode, can improve the employability of youth and women by providing hands-on experience and reducing on-job training time.

Healthcare: a) Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) feature of 5G will enable user-friendly point-of-care diagnostics and the creation of much-needed connected ambulances, b) 5G will also significantly improve access to world-class medical advice, resulting in better follow-up care, c) A hospital-run private 5G network will enable even a handful of doctors and nursing staff to provide quality care to hundreds by monitoring their vitals while simultaneously maintaining electronic health records.

NextGen banking: a) Both eMBB and URLLC features will play significant roles in financial inclusion, b) India has already become a world leader with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). With the help of Geospatial Information Systems, India can reach the next level of simple, seamless and secure payments such as ‘one-tap payment’ and ‘cashierless store’ models, c) The payments bank model can be expanded through incremental steps towards a completely mobile formal banking system. This will enable citizens to securely access various bank facilities through a virtual branch experience, thereby enhancing the banking population of India.

Read more: 5G technology in India – importance, challenges and solutions

Transportation and mobility: a) A network of EVs and charging stations can be created, optimising the availability of the charging infrastructure, and thereby enhancing the cost-effectiveness of EVs’ ecosystem, b) The massive machinetype communication (mMTC) feature of 5G can help in integrating initiatives across transit systems, like FASTag for toll and entry tax. This can not only improve efficiency within the transportation sector but also reduce our carbon footprints.

c) Using the mMTC and URLLC features, India can reduce the long waiting times and inventory congestion in ports. The deployment of machine vision with software-enabled automatic-guided vehicles can help in better port-space management, d) Real-time automated monitoring of public spaces and traffic using city-owned private 5G networks will improve public safety and congestion in India’s metro cities.

Agriculture: Farms can be equipped with a diverse range of sensors to continuously monitor the factors impacting the health of crops. Even small farmers with little virtual training can improve irrigation efficiency as well as crop yields through 5G.

Manufacturing and Industry: 5G private networks will be the cornerstone of industry 4. 0. These networks connect an array of IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and devices and automate the scheduling of various processes based on intelligent algorithms.

Such networks can improve efficiency by an estimated 2-4 times while reducing carbon emissions. However, these gains are not limited to the manufacturing sector alone. Any industry that is able to digitise and schedule processes will be able to leverage many benefits of 5G.

Renewable energy: energy farms (especially wind and solar) already deploy numerous sensors, but because they are in remote regions, there is a delay in response. With 5G, their response time and efficiency can be radically improved.

Governance and public safety: a) Service delivery and citizen-engagement efforts can be improved with faster and safer digital identity verification. This will in turn enable faster implementation of direct benefit transfers and other such schemes. b) Deployment of IoT-based systems on similar networks, using the network function virtualisation feature of 5G, will improve the efficiency of projects under the Smart Cities Mission.

Read more: “5G Technology” roll-out in India

Regional imbalance – Focus on equitable growth

Source: This post is based on the article “Regional imbalance – Focus on equitable growth” published in Business Standard on 15th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Relevance: To understand the issues associated with the regional imbalance in the Indian economy.

News: One of the biggest challenges for policymakers is to enable the post-pandemic economy to attain higher sustainable growth in the medium term. The task of attaining higher sustainable growth has become more challenging because of global headwinds and India’s own weaknesses such as higher public debt.

What are the positive situations of the Indian economy?

-India’s corporate and bank balance sheets have improved and can support growth.

-Large foreign exchange reserves are helping India in dealing with external pressure.

What is the status of regional imbalance in the Indian economy?

The recently released Annual Survey of Industries highlighted the regional imbalance in the distribution of industries. This has implications for job creation and quality of life in general. For example, about 16% of all factories considered in the survey were in Tamil Nadu, and states such as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar had under 2% share.

The reasons for such regional imbalance are 1) Locational advantages such as coastal states importing raw materials and exporting the final product, 2) Better administration in the state.

In the absence of corrective action, the gap is likely to grow over time with the concentration of productive assets. This will lead to increased social tensions.

How can India reduce the regional imbalances in the Indian economy?

India needs to contend with the formidable issues of uneven distribution of growth and sustained regional imbalances. Successive finance commissions have tried to reduce the regional imbalance.

a) Promote manufacturing: Only the manufacturing sector can provide large-scale employment and pull people out of the agriculture sector, b) Ensure free movement of labour: This will allow large states to export surplus labour to states which have more factories and offer employment opportunities. Further, the state government’s has to avoid local labour reservation laws, c) Focus on exports: India has to take advantage of its surplus labour to become a manufacturing hub and increase exports.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Education Ministry to recognize in-service training received by Agniveers as credits for graduation

What is the News?

Government of India has announced several programmes to enhance the future career aspects of youth recruited under Agnipath Scheme.

What are the programmes announced by the Government of India for youth recruited under Agnipath Scheme?

Three Year Bachelor Degree Programme

The Ministry of Education has announced that it will launch a special 3-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for defence personnel under the Agnipath scheme.

Aim: To enhance the future career prospects of Agniveers and equip them for various job roles in the civilian sector and recognise the skill training received by them during their defence tenure.

Nodal Agency: Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU) will be offering the degree programmes which will be recognised in both India and abroad for employment and education. 

Key Features of the Programme: Under the programme that will be designed and executed by IGNOU, 50% of the credits required for the graduate degree will come from skills received under the Agnipath scheme and the remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects like languages, Economics, History among others.

Those who apply for the degree programme will also have the provision of multiple exit points under which they will get an undergraduate certificate on completion of the first year, an undergraduate diploma on completion of the first two years and a degree on completion of all the three years.

Priority in Recruitment

The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that the personnel who serve in the country’s armed forces under the newly launched Agnipath scheme will be preferred during recruitment for the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles. 

Source: The post is based on the articles:

– “Education Ministry to recognize in-service training received by Agniveers as credits for  graduationpublished in PIB on 15th June 2022.

– “Agniveers to get priority in CAPF recruitment” published in The Hindu on 16th June 2022.

India opposes e-transmission moratorium

What is the News?

At the 12th Ministerial Conference(MC 12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), India has opposed the continuation of the moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce trade as the issue now has huge implications for the economy of developing countries.

What is the E-Transmission Moratorium?

Click Here to read about it

Why is India opposed to the extension of the E-Transmission Moratorium?

​​India is opposed to an extension on grounds that developing countries have been losing revenue. 

For instance, between 2017 and 2020, developing countries have lost potential tariff revenue of possibly upward of $50 bn only on the import of 49 digital products due to the moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce trade.

By 2025, this revenue loss is estimated to be USD 30 billion every year.

On the other hand, developed countries and Big Tech companies who largely export these goods, enjoy unfettered profits and access to developing markets.

What is the view of Big Tech Companies on this?

Firstly, not extending the moratorium could be extremely problematic as there is no way to properly assess what constitutes electronic transmission — with no clear definition available.

Secondly, lifting of the moratorium could mean countries would interpret electronic transmissions differently. This would in turn lead to a mess of understanding of who owns what intellectual property and whose rights are applicable where.

Source: The post is based on the article “India opposes e-transmission moratorium published in Livemint on 16th June 2022.

RBI lens on neobanks amid rapid growth in customers

What is the News?

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) is taking a hard look at the neobank business model where fintechs plug into a conventional bank’s network and become customer-facing banking service providers.

What are Neo Banks?

Neo-banks are online-only financial technology (fintech) companies that operate solely digitally or via mobile apps. Simply put, neo-banks are digital banks without any physical branches.

In India, neobanks don’t have a bank license of their own. Instead, they count on bank partners that are regulated to provide bank-licensed services.

RazorpayX, Jupiter, Niyo, Open etc are the examples of top Neobanks of India.

What is the difference between Neo Banks and Traditional Banks?

Firstly, Traditional banks have many advantages over neobanks, such as funding and most importantly customers trust. However, they find it difficult to adapt to the growing needs of a tech-savvy generation.

Secondly, Neo-banks are disrupting the traditional banking system by leveraging technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to offer a range of personalized services to customers. On the other hand, traditional banks follow an omni-channel approach i.e. having both physical (through branches and ATMs) and digital banking presence to offer a multitude of products and services.

What is the difference between Neo Bank and Digital Bank?

A digital bank and a neo-bank aren’t quite the same. Digital banks are often the online-only subsidiary of an established and regulated player in the banking sector while neo-banks exist solely online without any physical branches independently or in partnership with traditional banks.

What are the advantages of Neo Banks?

Low cost: Neobanks can also afford to slash customer fees by a significant amount since they don’t have to bear the expenses of running physical locations.

Convenience: These banks offer customers the majority (if not all) of banking services through an app.

Speed: Neobanks allow customers to set up accounts quickly and process requests speedily. 

What are the challenges of Neo Banks?

Digital illiteracy: Since neo-banks are highly digital-focused, they may not be able to cater to the banking needs of non-tech-savvy consumers or people from the rural parts of India. 

Services offered: Neo-banks offer only a small range of products and services as compared to a whole gamut of services that traditional banks offer. 

Customer trust: Unlike traditional banks, neo-banks don’t have a physical presence, so customers cannot literally bank upon them in case of any issues/challenges. 

Recognition: Neo-banks are yet to be recognized by the RBI. 

Source: The post is based on the article “RBI lens on neobanks amid rapid growth in customers” published in TOI on 13th June 2022.

Cabinet approves Auction of IMT/5G Spectrum

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications to conduct a spectrum auction through which spectrum will be assigned to the successful bidders for providing 5G services to the public and enterprises.

What is a Spectrum Auction?

Click Here to read about it

What Spectrum bands will be auctioned?

The auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), Mid (3300 MHz) and High (26 GHz) frequency bands.

These spectrums will have a validity period of 20 years.

How will the Auction be conducted?

Initially, the bidders will have to submit an earnest money deposit ahead of the auction, on the basis of which each bidder will be allocated eligibility points. During the auction, the company will be able to place its bids using these eligibility points.

A mandatory requirement to make upfront payment by the successful bidders has been done away with for the first time.

Payments for spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. 

The bidders would also be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance instalments.

Moreover, the government will also not collect any spectrum usage charge on airwaves auctioned in this round and the requirement for bank guarantees and financial guarantees has also been done away with.

What are Private Captive Networks?

Captive networks are isolated networks in which a spectrum is assigned to enterprises to be utilized within a limited geographic area. Therefore, it is also referred to as a spectrum for localized or local use.

Cabinet has decided to enable the development and setting up of Private Captive Networks to spur a new wave of innovations in Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) across automotive, healthcare, agriculture, energy and other sectors.

Source: The post is based on the articleCabinet approves Auction of IMT/5G Spectrumpublished in PIB on 15th June 2022.

Steel Minister Inaugurates First Six – lane Highway Road made of Steel Slag at Surat, Gujarat

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Steel has inaugurated the first six-lane highway road made by using Steel Slag at Surat, Gujrat.

What is Steel Slag Road?

Steel Slag Road is a road built with steel slag – a waste material from steel industries. 

Significance: The road constructed by 100% use of steel processed slag is a real example of converting waste into wealth and improving the sustainability of steel plants.

Further, the use of slag material in road construction will not only increase the durability of roads but also help in reducing the cost of construction as slag-based materials are having better properties than natural aggregates. 

Why Steel Slag?

The disposal of steel slag is a major concern for steel industries as it is considered a waste material. 

The disposal of such waste in landfills causes harm to the environment. And steel industries that produce millions of tonnes of steel slag have had no alternate use for it until now.

But it has been found that processed steel slag aggregate exhibits great potential as a replacement for natural construction material. For instance, the Steel Slag Road at Surat, Gujrat provides a viable option for the steel industry.

What are the benefits of Steel Slag Road? 

Click Here to read about it

Source: The post is based on the articleSteel Minister Inaugurates First Six – Lane Highway Road made of Steel Slag at Surat, Gujaratpublished in PIB on 15th June 2022.

Newly developed ultrathin heteroprotein film: better alternative to isolated protein films

What is the News?

Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films that can revolutionize the food packaging and biomedical industries. 

What is a Thin Film?

A Thin Film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometre(monolayer) to several micrometres in thickness. 

Thin film deposition is the process of creating and depositing thin film coatings onto a substrate material. These coatings can be made of many different materials, from metals to oxides to compounds. 

Thin-film deposition is an important manufacturing step in the production of many opto-electronic, medical devices and products including consumer electronics, semiconductor lasers, LED displays, semiconductors, precision optics and medical implants. 

What have the scientists developed?

Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films with excellent thermal, mechanical and pH stability. This can pave the way for expanding applications of thin films in the biomedical and food packaging industries. 

These films are much thinner as compared to the other protein or plastic films. They are soft and thin and have the advantage of being more flexible than the other films.

Source: The post is based on the article Newly developed ultrathin heteroprotein film: better alternative to isolated protein films published in PIB on 15th June 2022.

Short Range Ballistic Missile, Prithvi-II successfully tested

What is the News?

India successfully conducted the night trial of surface-to-surface nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missile Prithvi-II.

What is the Prithvi-II Missile?

Prithvi II is a Surface-to-Surface short-range ballistic missile(SRBM)

Developed by: DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program(IGMDP)

Range: 350km

Warhead Capacity: It is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads. 

Features: The missile is a proven system and is capable of striking targets with a very high degree of precision.

– The missile is powered by liquid propulsion twin engines. The missile also uses an advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.

Source: The post is based on the article Short Range Ballistic Missile, Prithvi-II successfully testedpublished in PIB on 15th June 2022.

‘Majority of migrants moved within same state in 2020-21’: PLFS

What is the News?

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has released the ‘Migration in India 2020-21’.

What is Migration in India 2020-21 Report?

Purpose: The report is based on the first-time collection of additional data during the annual round of the Periodic Labour Force Survey for July 2020-June 2021. The report separates the categories of ‘temporary visitors’ and ‘migrants’.

What are the key findings of the report?
Migration in India 2020-21 Report
Source: TOI

Migration: Migrants are classified as those whose last usual place of residence is different from the present place of enumeration. The usual place of residence is the village or town where the person stayed continuously for a period of six months or more or intends to stay for six months or more.

– According to the report, the all-India migration rate was 28.9% for July 2020-June 2021 with a 26.5% migration rate in rural areas and 34.9% in urban areas.

Females recorded a higher share of migration rate of 47.9% while the migration rate for males was seen at 10.7%.

– Nearly 88% of migrants moved within the same state in 2020-21 while 11.8% moved to another state during the same period.

Temporary Visitors: Temporary visitors have been defined as the ones who arrived in households after March 2020 and stayed continuously for a period of 15 days or more but less than 6 months.

– According to the report, only 0.7% of the country’s population was a ‘temporary visitor’ in households during July 2020-June 2021.

Note: Taking the country’s total population to be 121.08 crores (Census 2011), 0.7% would imply to be about 85 lakh ‘temporary visitors’ in the households.

Source: The post is based on the article‘Majority of migrants moved within same state in 2020-21’: PLFS published in TOI on 16th June 2022.

Lumpy skin disease epidemic in Saurashtra; 39 animals dead: Govt

What is the News?

Around 1,229 cattle across five districts of Gujarat have been infected with Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD). 

What is Lumpy Skin Disease(LSD)?

Lumpy skin disease(LSD) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae also known as Neethling virus.

First Case: Lumpy skin disease was first seen as an epidemic in Zambia in 1929.

Transmission: ​​The disease is spread primarily by biting insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks. The disease can also be spread from animal to animal. However, it does not pose a risk to human health.

Symptoms: It primarily consists of fever, fluid excretion from the eyes and nose, dribbling of saliva from the mouth and blisters on the body. The animal stops eating and faces problems while chewing or eating, resulting in reduced milk production.

Mortality Rate: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the mortality rate is less than 10%.

Economic Implications of LSD: The disease has important economic implications since affected animals tend to have permanent damage to their skin, lowering the commercial value of their hide. Additionally, the disease often results in reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility, abortion, and sometimes death.

Treatment: There is no treatment for the virus, so prevention by vaccination is the most effective means of control.

Source: The post is based on the article “Lumpy skin disease epidemic in Saurashtra; 39 animals dead: Govt” published in Down To Earth on 14th June 2022.

India jumps 6 places to 37th rank on IMD’s World Competitiveness Index

What is the News?

The World Competitiveness Index 2022 has been released.

What is the World Competitiveness Index?

Released by: Institute for Management Development (IMD) since 1989.

Purpose: To rank 63 economies and assess the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people by measuring economic well-being via hard data and survey responses from executives.

Parameters: The index measures the prosperity and competitiveness of countries by examining four factors: 1) Economic performance, 2) Government efficiency, 3) Business efficiency and 4) Infrastructure.

What are the key findings of the index?
World Competitiveness Index
Source: Business Standard

Globally: Denmark has topped the index followed by Switzerland and Singapore.

– The important factors found to be impacting businesses in 2022 are inflationary pressures, geopolitical conflicts, supply chain bottlenecks and COVID-19.

Findings related to India

India has been ranked 37th in the index. India has witnessed the sharpest rise among the Asian economies with a six-position jump from 43rd to 37th rank. 

Observations on India: India has made a significant jump in ranking largely due to gains in economic performance(from 37th to 28th).

The top five attractive factors of India’s economy for business are – a skilled workforce, cost competitiveness, dynamism of the economy, high educational level, and open and positive attitudes.

However, the challenges that India has to face include: managing trade disruptions and energy security, maintaining high GDP growth post the pandemic, skill development, and employment generation, asset monetization, and resource mobilization for infrastructure development.

Source: The post is based on the article “India jumps 6 places to 37th rank on IMD’s World Competitiveness Index” published in Business Standard on 16th June 2022.

Mains Answer Writing

Must Read Current Affairs Articles – July 3, 2022

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers several newspapers such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, etc. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – July 3, 2022

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MoEF proposes amendments in Environment Protection Act, to decriminalize provision

What is the News? The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change sought feedback from experts and other stakeholders as it proposed to decriminalize the existing provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. What are the current penal provisions under the Environment Protection Act(EPA), 1986? The Environment Protection Act(EPA) came into force in 1986. It… Continue reading MoEF proposes amendments in Environment Protection Act, to decriminalize provision

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India home to largest number of opiate users: UN report on drugs

What is the News? The UN Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) has released the World Drug Report 2022. What are the key findings of the report? Globally: Compared to the previous decade, the number of drug users has increased by 26% globally. Although women remain in the minority of drug users globally, their consumption rate… Continue reading India home to largest number of opiate users: UN report on drugs

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NITI Aayog and World Food Program Releases Report – Take Home Ration: Good Practices across the State/Union Territories

What is the News? NITI Aayog and World Food Program have released a report titled ‘Take Home Ration-Good Practices across the State/Union Territories’.  What is the purpose of the report? The report presents a set of good and innovative practices adopted in the implementation of the Take Home Ration value chain by the States and… Continue reading NITI Aayog and World Food Program Releases Report – Take Home Ration: Good Practices across the State/Union Territories

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DRDO carries out test flight of autonomous UAV

What is the News? DRDO has successfully carried out the maiden test flight of a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), an autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka. Who has developed this Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)? Designed and Developed by: Aeronautical Development Establishment(ADE), Bengaluru, a premier research laboratory under DRDO. … Continue reading DRDO carries out test flight of autonomous UAV

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‘Polar bears face climate change — they have less food as Arctic sea ice declines’

What is the News? This article talks about the impact of the loss of sea ice on the Arctic ecosystem. What is the impact of sea ice loss on the Arctic region? The loss of sea ice due to Climate Change has profound impacts on the Arctic ecosystem: Impact on Polar Bears: Polar Bears are… Continue reading ‘Polar bears face climate change — they have less food as Arctic sea ice declines’

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Delhi HC recently struck down powers of Banks Board Bureau; new body to select chiefs of PSU banks, insurance firms

What is the News? The Government of India has approved a government resolution for establishing the Financial Services Institutions Bureau(FSIB) in place of the Banks Board Bureau(BBB). When was the Bank Board Bureau set up? The Bank Boards Bureau was set up in 2016 as a body of eminent professionals and officials to make recommendations… Continue reading Delhi HC recently struck down powers of Banks Board Bureau; new body to select chiefs of PSU banks, insurance firms

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First copy of Tamil Bible stolen from Saraswathi Mahal Library traced to London

What is the News? The first Tamil translation of the Bible which was reportedly stolen from Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur, has been traced by Idol Wing CID Police to London. First Tamil Translation of Bible The first Tamil translation of the Bible was printed in 1715 by Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, a missionary.  It was presented to… Continue reading First copy of Tamil Bible stolen from Saraswathi Mahal Library traced to London

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Union Health Minister chairs Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission conference 2022 and releases 9th edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia

What is the News? Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has chaired the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission(IPC) Conference 2022 and released the 9th edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia. What is Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission(IPC) Conference 2022? Organized by: Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission(IPC). Theme: Addressing Medicine Quality for Future. What is the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission(IPC)? Click Here to read… Continue reading Union Health Minister chairs Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission conference 2022 and releases 9th edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia

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India’s ban on select single-use plastic items: A start but still a long way from blanket ban

News: India’s ban on select single-use plastic(SUPs) items comes into effect from July 1, 2022. Does India impose a blanket ban on all single-use plastic items? No, the Indian market will continue to sell a gamut of single-use plastic items like soft drinks and mineral water bottles, all products sold in multi-layered packaging, among others.… Continue reading India’s ban on select single-use plastic items: A start but still a long way from blanket ban

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