9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 18th, 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

A ‘man’s Parliament’ striving for an inclusive India

Source: The post is based on an article “A man’s Parliament striving for an inclusive India” published in the “The Hindu” on 18th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Functioning of the Parliament of India; Social Sector

Relevance: Gender Inclusivity

News: There is a burgeoning movement for gender inclusivity during the past few years. In solidarity, citizens have begun asserting their gender identity by specifying their personal pronouns (she/her, he/his, they/them, etc.). This trend has been, in fact, reflected in the context of Indian Parliament.

Role of Women in the Struggle for Indian Independence and in the Post Independent India

Thousands of women across profession, class, caste, and religion participated in the struggle for India’s Independence.

At a time when women formed only 1.7% of the total members of the United States Congress and 1.1% of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, India was leading the way in the fight towards more inclusive world democracies with 5.5% women representation.

India has also seen a woman as the Prime Minister, and a woman as the President of India

What are the gender issues in the Parliament of India?

There are systemic issues due to which the Parliament of India continues to alienate women.

The number of women representatives is still considerably small. Further, the Parliament as a workspace continues to be built exclusively for men.

There is a lack of gender-neutral language in the Parliament of India. The Parliament refers to women in leadership positions as Chairmen instead of chairperson. For example, the Vice-President of India is referred as the ex-officio Chairman, as per the rules of procedure of Rajya Sabha.

In law-making, there have hardly been any gender-neutral Acts. For example, women in profession like policing are referred to as policemen.

Most of the ministerial replies to questions asked by the Women Parliamentarians are given with the use of the salutation “Sir” instead of (sir/madam).

What are the trends of gender-neutrality in the law making bodies in India and across the world?

Internationally, even mature democracies that legalised universal suffrage after India, such as Canada (1960 for Aboriginal women), Australia (1962 for Indigenous women), and the United States (1965 for women of African-American descent), have successfully adopted a framework for gender-inclusive legislation and communication.

In 2014, the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha were amended to make it entirely gender neutral. Since then, each Lok Sabha Committee Head has been referred to as Chairperson in all documents.

Consequences

When Parliament and government offices reinforce gender biases through stereotypical language in their communication. It sends the wrong message to the people of India.

Way Forward

The Supreme Court judgment in National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India , 2014, has given impetus to gender identity and has given the movement greater impetus.

There should be political will to amend legal documents to make them inclusive for all genders.

In the 21st century, the Indian Parliament needs to send the right message for citizens to follow. It can begin with an amendment to the Constitution and the entire reservoir of laws. Thereafter, the Parliament can shift its focus on other deeper issues like women empowerment, aspirations and growth of its woman workforce etc.

The Parliament must lead to sensitivity, equal treatment, and appreciation for the people of India, regardless of gender

The Indian Parliament can conduct gender audits. For example, in 2018, the U.K. Parliament conducted a gender audit to understand its culture, environment, and policies as a workspace.


The end of childhood

Source: The post is based on an article “The end of childhood” published in the Indian Express on 18th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes

Relevance: Children Welfare

News: Recently, an American school in Texas witnessed a horrific incident of mass shooting.

About the Childhood concept

Cultural historians and demographers have demonstrated that childhood has been recognised as a social category not more than 300 years ago.

Over this period, it has been recognised as a distinct stage of human life and has gained universal acceptance.

The studies were conducted in disciplines such as psychology, linguistics and anthropology which asserted the importance of childhood as a distinct and prolonged stage of life in human society. It was not merely a biological stage of life. This new perspective gradually created a global consensus that child survival and welfare is important.

Developments on the concept of childhood

Every country formally recognized the children’s rights. They brought changes in their policies.

It was argued that children need protection throughout childhood extending from infancy to adolescence and early youth.

As children can’t be expected to assert their rights, the state and society must guarantee that these rights are not violated. This led to the emergence of the idea of collective responsibility for childhood protection.

Situation at present

The Childhood protection from physical and psychological harm, which earlier received consensus from the family, the school and the state is no longer effective.

What are the threats to childhood?

The threats range from issues of public health, universal schooling, protecting children from early death, use of children as cheap labour, induction into exploitative trade and violent conflicts.

Although, considerable progress has taken place in many parts of the world. but the changes occurring in conditions surrounding children are pervasive and deep.

The deep economic and cultural changes that are taking place around us are changing the life & the values related to children’s life today. A long period that influenced parenthood and education is approaching its end.

The state’s role as the custodian of children’s rights has weakened. It has voluntarily withdrawn in order to create room for commercial interests directly addressing children.

The state as well as the family is unable to provide some measures for protection around childhood.

The new consortium of market forces has penetrated. The children are now seen as consumers and also as objects or commodities of consumption.

Digital communication has created a condition that children can be approached without the knowledge of their guardians. They have been subject to oppression through the so-called social media platforms. They have exposure to violent videos, pornography and terrorising messages.

Nowadays, it has become a rare phenomenon to see children playing on the street or in park-like spaces.


A month of Pinkwashing

Source: The post is based on an article “A month of Pinkwashing” published in the Indian Express on 18th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – Social issues – Vulnerable sections

Relevance: Fundamental Rights; Corporate Governance; Pinkwashing Concept

News: Recently, corporations like Walmart and Meta have announced their pride “campaigns,” in the June Month for queer movement. These corporations have also been ranked high on the US’ Human Rights Centre’s Corporate Equality Index.

About Pride Month

June, recognised as Pride month, is a political movement for and by the queer and transgender / LGBTQ+ community.

What are the problems being faced by the Queer community?

There has been passing of the regressive Trans Act 2019 in India, and rejection of the Equality Act in the US, among other measures.

Around 375 deaths were registered in the form of murders of transgender people across the world.

What are the issues with celebration of the pride month by the corporations?

The corporations are practicing the pinkwashing concept. On the one side, the corporations see that the LGBTQ+ community has emerged as their unique consumer base. Therefore, they claim to be the allies in the bid for queer liberation. Whereas, on the other side, the corporations also fund politicians who pass legislations that shrink spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

(1) In 2021 alone, Walmart donated a million dollars to politicians who have worked actively to roll back LGBTQ+ protections.

(2) Similarly, AT&T has funded anti-LGBTQ+ legislators with over a million dollars in the last year.

The Corporation like Netflix fired 150 employees in North America, the majority of which were LGBTQ+ individuals or people of colour.

As per some reports, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter their algorithms tilt the balance in favour of conservative accounts which indicates promotion of the queerphobia on their platforms.

Corporations, instead of working for the queer rights, are attempting to maximise profits and capitalising on an expanding consumer base.

India’s Case

In India, the LGBTQ+ or queer movement doesn’t have the influence it enjoys in the West.

However, corporations have been witnessing the expanding consumer base in India. This can lead to Corporate pinkwashing in India also. For example, Companies with a presence here, like Amul, have also started announcing campaigns.

Way Forward

The companies should be held accountable. Any corporation claiming to support LGBTQ+ people must prove it through the policies which are non-discriminatory.

The political engagement and investments of the corporation must be properly assessed as LGBTQ+ people agitation for queer liberation is rooted in civil rights.


Being Truly Presidential

Source: This post is based on the article “Being Truly Presidential” published in The Times of India on 18th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Relevance: To understand the importance of the Presidential Election.

News: With the Presidential election around the corner, there is a question that who will be the ideal president for 21st-century India?

What are the different types of Presidents India witnessed?

According to the author, the past Presidents of India can be grouped into three categories.

Presidents of stature: These are individuals who had formidable personal achievements before entering the office. Such as

a) Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – He is a magisterial scholar who served in top global universities and authored several classic books, b) Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam – He is regarded as the father of India’s nuclear weapons programme, c) KR Narayanan – He is a distinguished former diplomat.

Political presidents: These are the persons who had political backgrounds and, as former legislators. Such as

a) Rajendra Prasad: He is India’s first president. He is a veteran activist who was imprisoned several times during the Independence movement. b) Ramaswamy Venkataraman: He was a four-time Lok Sabha winner. c) Pranab Mukherjee – He was always a master politician. So, he managed to serve two diametrically opposed political regimes.

Both the first and second types of Presidents faced controversies but they understand the intricacies of politics. For example, Rajendra Prasad made his displeasure with Jawaharlal Nehru known during the passage of the Hindu Code Bill.

“Loyalist” presidents: These are the persons who are stand-ins of the governing political executive. Generally, they are hand-picked politically.  They are responsible for some disputable decisions.

Read more: Procedure and importance of President’s Address in Parliament
What type of President does India want?

India’s democratic institutional checks and balances need reinforcement. Hence, India needs a constitutionalist president. A President who can stand as a guardian of the Constitution and act as neutral umpires.

A President who can ring the warning bell in time and signal that the governments must not cross the Lakshman Rekha of democratic norms. An ideal president is someone who will stand as democracy’s conscience keeper.

Read more: The process of electing India’s President

GS Paper 3


On regulating Cryptocurrencies: Bubble in the air

Source: This post is based on the article “Bubble in the air” published in The Hindu on 18th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Economy – Money and Banking

Relevance: Regulation of Cryptocurrencies

News: Crash in the Crypto market is yet another signal that retail investors are better off investing in this speculative asset class.

Moreover, it also highlights the need for regulation of Cryptocurrencies, without which the retail investors will have no protection from scams.

Crash in the Crypto market

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has lost over two-thirds of its value since its peak in November last year and has wiped out many retail investors.

Other cryptocurrencies have witnessed even larger losses, with some (Luna) plunging to zero.

Why Cryptocurrencies became widely popular?

Cryptocurrencies were initially touted to be alternatives to fiat currencies.

Since the supply of a lot of cryptocurrencies is limited by design, investing in them seemed like a good way to protect one’s wealth from inflation fuelled by central banks.

But as it became obvious that cryptocurrencies have had very little acceptance as money, crypto-enthusiasts began to argue a slightly different case.

Cryptocurrencies were now touted as an independent asset class like gold and silver that could serve as an effective hedge in times of crisis.

The crash in the crypto market has put to rest the argument that crypto, as an asset class, is as good a hedge as precious metals.

Easy monetary policy adopted by central banks has also kept cryptocurrencies rallying despite concerns about their fundamental or intrinsic value.

Easy money from central banks fuelled the rise of a get-rich-quick industry that depended on selling to a greater fool.

Just as Internet stocks and tulip bulbs were the hallmarks of liquidity-fuelled bubbles in the past, cryptocurrencies are the leading symbol of the current bubble in markets.

Way foward

Governments and their central banks have been largely unwilling to recognise cryptocurrencies as a legitimate investment asset.

They are also unlikely to recognise private cryptocurrencies as they infringe on the state’s fiscal and monetary authority.

Yet, to protect retail investors, a proper regulatory framework may help in protecting them from outright scams.


Easing of IP restrictions on vaccines is welcome. But it will need to be accompanied by technology transfers

Source: This post is based on the article “Easing of IP restrictions on vaccines is welcome. But it will need to be accompanied by technology transfers” published in The Indian Express on 18th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Relevance: Waiver of IP restrictions on vaccines, vaccine equity

Context: Nearly two years after it was initiated by India and South Africa, a proposal to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines has been approved by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

But, the waiver of IP rights will not amount to anything substantial if pharma companies in the Third World do not have the know-how to produce medicines and vaccines.

Has the deal come out late?

Vaccine supply is no more the challenge it was at the beginning of this year. The argument that the deal has come too late is, therefore, correct to an extent.

What really needs to be done?

The vaccines currently in use provide protection against the more severe forms of Covid. But it’s also clear that these shots do not always guard against infection. The virus continues to pose new questions even though it appears to have become less virulent.

Information flows must, therefore, be geared towards developing second-generation preventives and therapeutics.

– Easing intellectual property restrictions should be seen as the first step in this endeavour.

Waiver of IP rights will not amount to anything substantial if pharma companies in the Third World do not have the know-how to produce medicines and vaccines.

Why technology transfer and partnerships are necessary?

In India, for nearly five decades, the generic industry has reverse-engineered drugs to mass manufacture low-priced therapeutics. But vaccines present a different order of challenge:

Manufacturers require not only patented knowledge, but also partnerships with the original innovator to develop these preventives. Such arrangements help vaccine manufacturers mobilize technical skills and raw materials.

Technology transfers led to some of the most effective interventions in the battle against the virus. For instance: The tie-up between pharma major AstraZeneca, Oxford University and the Serum Institute of India is a case in point.

Way forward

There was a global consensus, very early in the pandemic, that knowledge sharing would be critical in the battle against the pathogen.

However, this understanding did not translate into equitable distribution of the most potent shield against the virus.

The WTO decision, though belated, is a corrective. Much more will be needed in the coming months.


The flawed rationale behind Agnipath

Source: The post is based on an article “The flawed rationale behind Agnipath” published in the Business Standard on 18th June 2022; and “Agnipath, a fire that could singe India” published in the “The Hindu” on 18th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Various security forces and their Mandate

Relevance: Agnipath Scheme

News: Recently, the government launched the Agnipath scheme. It has sparked off vehement protests from aspirants to defence services.

Nature of Indian Defence Forces

India has always had a complete volunteer defence force. Indeed, there is fierce competition to join as the riots indicate.

There are strong economic reasons for such a high competition. There is economic security, and social status for service personnel.

What were the driving force behind such a move?

The armed forces are facing long-delayed modernisation. For example, the Indian Air Force have 30 squadrons of fighter jets against the needed 42 squadrons, the Indian Navy have 130 ships against the need of 200-ship; and the Indian Army is already short of 1,00,000 soldiers.

Financial motivations: The financial burden of the defence personnel salary and pension has increased. It has substantially increased the budgetary expenditure on defence pensions. The savings in the pensions bill would be directed towards the modernisation of defence forces.

At present, the Indian economy is incapable of supporting the needs of the India armed forces.

India has been facing an active military threat from two adversaries, China and Pakistan.

There are internal security challenges in Kashmir and the northeastern States of India.

Arguments against the scheme

The life is hard and dangerous in the Indian Armed Forces. Further, if you take away the pensions and the healthcare. It will reduce the soldier’s status to low level posts in many private sector organisations. In fact, many listed companies pay more to temporary workers on assembly lines.

The scheme seems to reduce the ranks of the unemployed and serve as an adjunct to the MGNREGA Act. The numbers make that argument absurd.

Various countries have scrapped conscriptions. For example, France scrapped conscription in 1996, The US scrapped conscription after Vietnam.

It´s hard to meet the security needs through purely voluntary recruitment without attractive economic alternatives.

The short-term recruitment policy has neither been theoretically modelled nor tried out as a pilot project.

It will have adverse effect on the professional capabilities of the armed forces is certain.

This will lead to further increasing the tail when the armed forces are already boasting of a poor teeth-to-tail ratio.

The Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy employ their airmen and sailors in very specialised roles. This requires technical skills, and a high degree of training and experience. The short-term contractual soldier will find it difficult to fulfil the requirement.

In the past, the government defended the class-based recruitment by asserting that due to this the Army has “performed exceedingly well’ and “changing to All India class composition will affect the functioning of the PBG [President’s Bodyguard] Presidential and the seniority structure of the regiment”. This is because soldiers draw their motivation from their social identity. The Government’s proposal for all-India all-class recruitment under Agnipath proposal lacks transparency in the reasoning.

There will be major problems in training, integrating and deploying soldiers with different levels of experience and motivations.

The 25% criterion for retaining short-term contracted soldiers could result in unhealthy competition, as it can lead to rivalries and jealousies amongst winners and losers.

There would be legal challenges as the Government has kept the contract at four years to deny the Agniveer gratuity and it is not counting the contractual period towards regular service. It could lead to political agitation for longer tenures and pensions to be picked up by the Opposition parties.


World Trade Organisation Must Get Back To Trade

Source: This post is based on the article “World Trade Organisation Must Get Back To Trade” published in The Times of India on 18th June 22.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Effects of liberalization on the economy

Relevance: To understand the evolution of WTO and the challenges associated with it.

News: For the first time in a decade, the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have finalized a historic deal at the 12th Ministerial Conference(MC12). The key issues include a reduction in fishery subsidies, patent waivers for making a vaccine for the pandemic, food security and e-commerce.

Read more: Outcomes of 12th Ministerial Conference of WTO
What are the concerns associated with the MC12 outcomes?

World trade has two core components: goods and services. Both with an annual value of $28. 5 trillion. But the current WTO outcome does not include new rules on goods, services, or other trade-related subjects.

For the past 27 years, WTO members did not agree on a single multilateral agreement liberalising trade in goods or services.

Note: The trade deal signed in 2013 is related to trade facilitation only.

About the evolution of GATT

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), established in April 1947 with 23 members, was the beginning of the multilateral trade system.

The US, EU and Japan cut their tariffs on industrial goods without seeking reciprocal cuts from other countries. They did not lose much as they produced and traded most goods among themselves.

This led big firms to shift production to low-cost countries like China in search of profit. Further, they required the free flow of products across countries.

From 1947 to 1994 talks at GATT led to a fall in average import tariffs from over 100% to 4% for developed and 10% for developing countries. These tariff cuts benefited the trade of rich and poor countries alike. But the major gainer was China.

About the evolution of WTO

Offshoring and tariff cuts increased the profits of Western corporates. Hence, there was an opinion that GATT could be more beneficial if it dealt with more subjects.

Hence, a new body, WTO, soon replaced GATT in 1995. It added intellectual property rights, services, agriculture and an effective dispute-settlement system.

IP Rights: WTO’s dispute-settlement process ensured time-bound punishment for violation of intellectual property. IP became the first non-trade subject to be included in WTO.

WTO’s agriculture rules: These rules were drafted by large agriculture trading firms that legalised most subsidies provided by the developed countries. At present, if support given by a developing country like India exceeds more than 10% of the production value then it is considered that the government violated WTO rules.

What are the challenges associated with the WTO?

Burden for Poor countries: The WTO rules included many Non-trade subjects. The subjects like environment, labour standards, fossil fuel subsidies, plastic pollution and transparency in government procurement into the WTO fold.

This made a poor country exporting cotton shirts must first meet high environmental standards at home. This will only raise costs and cut exports from poor countries.

Legitimise trade protectionism: Specialised multilateral and regional institutions exist for the environment and labour protection. Developing countries are active participants in these bodies. Discussing them at WTO is an attempt to legitimise trade protectionism.

Trade war paralysed WTO: In 2017, the US administration imposed steep tariffs in January 2018 on China alleging IP violations. In December 2019 the US also blocked the appointment of new nominees to WTO’s appellate body. This paralysed WTO as a judge and enforcer of global trade rules.

What should be done?

First, out of 164 members, at least 140 are developing or least-developed countries accounting for 45% of world trade. Hence, WTO needs a new plan that reflects the aspiration of all members.

Second, WTO should handle only trade-related subjects, while retaining core principles like decision-making by consensus and restoring the dispute-settlement process.

GATT/WTO rules have to increase trade for both rich and poor countries. A new WTO agenda with a focus on this core value should  be framed.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Coal Ministry releases Eight Year Achievement Report of Coal Sector

Source: The post is based on the article Coal Ministry releases Eight Year Achievement Report of Coal Sectorpublished in PIB on 17th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Coal has released a report titled “Reforms & Achievements of the Ministry of Coal Since 2014”. The report highlights the major achievements of the Ministry of Coal during the last eight years.

What are the key initiatives launched by the Ministry of Coal in the last eight years?
Coal Mining Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS)

Developed by: Ministry of Coal in coordination with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).

Purpose: To use space technology for curbing illegal coal mining activity in the coalfield areas of the country.

Khan-Prahari Mobile Application

Launched by: Ministry of Coal

Purpose: It is a tool for reporting any illegal coal mining incident through geotagged photographs as well as textual information by any individual.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021

SHAKTI Scheme

The Government of India has introduced the SHAKTI (Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala (Coal) Transparently in India)-2017 Scheme to provide coal linkages to the power plants which do not have linkage, thus helping the generators to get cheaper coal and thereby reducing the cost of generation.

Mission Coal Gasification

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020

FDI Policy in Coal Mining

The government of India has allowed 100% FDI under an automatic route for the sale of coal, and coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure. This includes coal washery, coal handling and separation (magnetic and non-magnetic) subject to the provisions of CM(SP) Act and MMDR Act as amended from time to time and other relevant Acts on the subject. 


IBBI amends Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations,2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations,2017

Source: The post is based on the articleIBBI amends Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations,2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations,2017 published in PIB on 17th June 2022.

What is the News?

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India has notified amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations,2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations, 2017.

What are the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations,2017?

It provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints filed against insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities.

What is the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations, 2017?

It provides a mechanism for carrying out inspections and investigations on insolvency professional agencies, insolvency professionals and information utilities and passing orders by the disciplinary committee.

What are the amendments?

Purpose: To have expeditious redressal and also to avoid placing an undue burden on the service providers.

The mechanism of the complaint or grievance redressal and subsequent enforcement action has been amended. The major amendments include,

-Effective participation of IPAs (Insolvency Professional Agency) in regulating the IPs (Insolvency Professional) through examination of grievances received against IPs.

-Intimation to Committee of Creditor (CoC)/ Adjudicating Authority (AA) about the outcome of the Disciplinary Committee (DC) order.


India-ASEAN conclave: Foreign ministers agree on unified response to global issues

Source: The post is based on the article “India-ASEAN conclave: Foreign ministers agree on unified response to global issues” published in Indian Express on 17th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting was held in New Delhi.

What is the Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting?

Chaired by: The meeting was co-chaired by India’s External Affairs Minister and Singapore Foreign Minister.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Ministers of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Lao PDR, Philippines and Thailand sent representatives of their foreign ministers.

Purpose: The meeting was held to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations in 2022 which has been designated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year. 

What are the key highlights from the meeting?

The ministers reviewed the status of the ASEAN-India Partnership and set out the path for the coming decade. 

Deliberations were held on COVID-19 & Health, Trade & Commerce, Connectivity, Education and Capacity Building as well as the implementation of the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. 

About ASEAN-India Dialogue

ASEAN-India dialogue relations started with the establishment of a sectoral partnership in 1992. The dialogue translated into a full dialogue partnership in December 1995, a Summit level Partnership in 2002 and a Strategic partnership in 2012. 

ASEAN is central to India’s Act East Policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific. This partnership encompasses many sectoral dialogue mechanisms and working groups that meet regularly at various levels and include annual Summit, Ministerial and Senior Officials meetings. 

The ongoing India-ASEAN collaboration is guided by the Plan of Action 2021-2025 which was adopted in 2020.


Cabinet approves Memorandum of Association (MoA) by India for establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Centre at Colombo, Sri Lanka

Source: The post is based on the article Cabinet approves Memorandum of Association (MoA) by India for establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Centre at Colombo, Sri Lanka published in PIB on 14th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Association(MoA) by India for the establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility(TTF) Centre at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

What is BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility(TTF)?

BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility(TTF) agreement was signed by the BIMSTEC member countries at the 5th BIMSTEC Summit held at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 30th March, 2022.

Objective: To coordinate, facilitate and strengthen cooperation in technology transfer among the BIMSTEC Member States by promoting the transfer of technologies, sharing of experiences and capacity building.

Governing Board: The TTF shall have a Governing Board and the overall control of activities of the TTF shall be vested in the Governing Board. This Governing Board shall consist of one nominee from each Member State.

Expected Outcomes of BIMSTEC TTF:

– Databank of technologies available in BIMSTEC Countries,

– Repository of information on good practices in the areas of technology transfer management, standards, accreditation, metrology, testing and calibration facilities,

– Capacity building, sharing of experiences and good practices in development, and

– Transfer and use of technologies among BIMSTEC countries.


Explained: What was the Black Death, where did it originate?

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained: What was the Black Death, where did it originate?published in Indian Express on 16th June 2022.

What is the News?

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers have claimed that Black Death originated in modern-day northern Kyrgyzstan around 1338-1339 – nearly 7-8 years before it ravaged large parts of the world.

If this study is correct, it would mean that the Black Death spread through trading routes and not, as some historians have argued, through warfare a century prior.

What is Black Death?

The term Black Death refers to the bubonic plague that spread across Western Asia, Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe in 1346-53.

Caused by: Black Death was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and was spread by fleas that were carried by rodent hosts.

Deaths due to Black Death disease: Norwegian historian Ole J Benedictow, who wrote extensively on the disease, estimated that around 60-65% of Europe’s population or 52 million people died due to the plague.

Why was this plague called the Black Death?

It is commonly believed that the term Black Death gets its name from the black marks that appeared on some of the plague victims’ bodies.

In the 14th century, the epidemic was referred to as the ‘great pestilence’ or ‘great death’, due to the demographic havoc that it caused.

The world black also carried a dark, gloomy emotional tone, due to the sheer amount of deaths generated by the plague.


Explained: What is the Inter-State Council?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is the Inter-State Council?published in Indian Express on 17th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister(CM) has written to the Prime Minister asking that at least three meetings of the Inter-State Council should be held every year to strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism.

The CM also suggested that bills of national importance should be placed before the Council before being tabled in Parliament. This was because there is no effective and interactive communication between the states and the Centre on issues of common interest.

What is the Inter State Council?

The Inter-State Council is a mechanism that was constituted to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India.

It was established under Article 263 of the Constitution which states that the President may constitute such a body if a need is felt for it.

Establishment: In 1988, the Sarkaria Commission suggested the Inter State Council should exist as a permanent body and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.

Read more: Inter-State Council

What is Web 5.0 – the blockchain-powered digital network Twitter’s ex-CEO wants to build?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is Web 5.0 – the blockchain-powered digital network Twitter’s ex-CEO wants to build?” published in Indian Express on 13th June 2022.

What is the News?

Former Twitter CEO has announced his vision for a new decentralized web platform that is being called Web 5.0 and is being built with an aim to return ownership of data and identity to individuals.

What are Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0?

Click Here to read about it

What is Web 5.0?

It is being developed by Dorsey’s Bitcoin business unit, The Block Head (TBH).

Web 5.0 is aimed at building an extra decentralized web that puts one in control of their data and identity.

Simply put, Web 5.0 is Web 2.0 plus Web 3.0 that will allow users to ‘own their identity on the Internet and ‘control their data’.

Note: Both Web 3.0 and Web 5.0 envision an Internet without the threat of censorship from governments or big tech and without fear of significant outages.


Mains Answer Writing

India-EU: global dynamics

Source: This post is based on the article “India-EU: global dynamics” published in The Indian Express on 7th Jul 22. Syllabus: GS3 – Environment Relevance: Transition towards clean energy Context: Both India and the EU are committed to climate change, and the recent progress in India-EU alliance opens prospects of a customised partnership and mutual… Continue reading India-EU: global dynamics

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Taking stock of five years of GST

Source: The post is based on the article “Taking stock of five years of GST” published in “The Hindu” on 7th July 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, and growth. Relevance: To understand the impacts of GST on inflation. News: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has completed five years in… Continue reading Taking stock of five years of GST

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[Download] Monthly Compilation of 7 PM Editorials June, 2022

Hello everyone. We are posting The Monthly Compilation of 7pm Editorial for the month of June 2022 Click on the following link to download Download About 7 PM:- The idea behind 7 PM Daily Editorial is to give aspirants in-depth analysis of news articles from different newspapers bearing relevance to Civil Services GS Preparation. To read… Continue reading [Download] Monthly Compilation of 7 PM Editorials June, 2022

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[Download] – Sakshi Kumari AIR 330 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies + Testimonial

Dear Friends, We are happy to release the Mains answer copies of Sakshi Kumari. She has secured AIR 330 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021. Aspirants can learn from these copies and strategize their preparation accordingly. She has also written a letter to us: Download link: Sakshi Kumari MGP Copy 1 – GS Test… Continue reading [Download] – Sakshi Kumari AIR 330 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies + Testimonial

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[Today @ 4 PM] Current Affairs Classes ( Pre+ Mains ) for CSE 2023 – 7th July | Delhi + Online

Dear Students, We shall be commencing with the CA Classes for CSE 2023, with the orientation session at below venue: Time : 4 PM, 7th July. Venue: ForumIAS Academy, Karol Bagh, New Delhi Classes will be held every Tuesday and Saturday. Given the increasing focus on Current Affairs and difficulty level of the Prelims examination, we… Continue reading [Today @ 4 PM] Current Affairs Classes ( Pre+ Mains ) for CSE 2023 – 7th July | Delhi + Online

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[Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I July 6th, 2022

Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I July 6th, 2022

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – July 7, 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 7, 2022

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[Answered] NGT (National Green Tribunal) is a vital cog in environmental regulation but it needs further reforms to make it effective. Discuss.

Introduction: Contextual introduction. Body: Write some points related to the significance of NGT. Also suggest some reforms to make it effective.Conclusion: Write a way forward. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) came into existence in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal act, 2010. The act provides for effective and quick disposal of cases relating to environmental… Continue reading [Answered] NGT (National Green Tribunal) is a vital cog in environmental regulation but it needs further reforms to make it effective. Discuss.

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[Answered] Why it is said that Indian aviation has become ‘the sick man of India’? What are the reforms required to tap the potential of aviation sector?

Introduction: Contextual introduction. Body: Write some points why Indian aviation has become ‘the sick man of India’. Also, suggest some reforms to tap the potential of the aviation sector. Conclusion: Write a way forward. Aviation is integral to equitable economic growth, for a country to be globally competitive. The civil aviation industry in India has… Continue reading [Answered] Why it is said that Indian aviation has become ‘the sick man of India’? What are the reforms required to tap the potential of aviation sector?

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[Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I July 5th, 2022

Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I July 5th, 2022

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