9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 24th, 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

Will Agnipath energise or demoralise the military?

Source: The post is based on the article “Will Agnipath energise or demoralise the military?” published in “The Hindu” on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: To understand the challenges associated with the Agnipath scheme.

News: Recently, the government announced the Agnipath scheme, which fundamentally transforms the process of recruitment of armed forces.

Must read: Cabinet clears Agnipath Scheme
What are the advantages of Agnipath scheme?

Younger military: According to the government, the scheme will bring down the average age from 32 to 26.

Introduce new kinds of modern equipment to armed forces: The scheme will attract people who are more technologically savvy and are therefore more capable of handling new kinds of modern equipment. The government will also employ some people from the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and other technical institutes.

Must read: Agnipath Scheme: Need, Benefits and Challenges – Explained, pointwise
What are the challenges associated with the Agnipath Scheme?

Militarisation of society: Since numerous young military-trained men will be going back to civil society every year this will create challenges to national security. There could be some who could be exploited by anti-social elements.

Impact the leadership: When Agniveers retired after four years, if any, good and bad, will be faced by the next set of leadership within the military.

Read more: Arun Prakash writes: Agnipath, between the lines
What should be done?

Prevent militarisation: Pressures of a jobless existence weigh against the ethos or the morality. Hence, the government should give them some decent, honourable second career.

Try the pilot phase of the scheme: The government should put the scheme through some kind of testbed and be open to major changes, if and when required.

Set up another organisation to look after the people who go out: Currently, there are many complaints against the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare. Hence, the government should reform that or create a separate organisation to take care of outgoing Agniveers.

Must read: How can Agnipath be made more attractive? Recommendations from 2 former army leaders

Can Data Surveillance Prevent The Next Pandemic?

Source: The post is based on the article “Can Data Surveillance Prevent The Next Pandemic?” published in “The Times of India” on 24th June 2022.

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

Relevance: To understand Bill Gates’s method to prevent pandemics.

News: Bill Gates advocates “Outbreaks are inevitable but pandemics are optional.” According to him, the next outbreak may turn out to be even more deadly and destructive. He also mentions right now is the best time to start preparing for the next virus and prevent the next pandemic.

About the status of some infectious diseases

Smallpox is the only infectious disease in human history which has been successfully eradicated. Diseases like polio, malaria and AIDS are still prevalent in society.

Note: Only Pakistan and Afghanistan still reporting polio cases.

How one can prevent pandemics according to Bill Gates?

Build Infrastructure: Building infrastructure helps to detect new infections and provides better data about existing diseases. Countries should use this infrastructure to first improve their disease surveillance of existing infections such as tuberculosis and malaria, and then repurpose the infrastructure for a new infection when it surfaces.

Doing war games for pandemics: Full-scale drills at country and global level to prepare for battling new infections. These will test the countries’ drug, diagnostic and vaccine manufacturing capacity, healthcare infrastructure, the reliability of supply chains and coordination between departments, governments and people.

He was of the opinion that unless such exercises are run, the nations will not be able to see the gaps in preparedness and repair them.

Dedicated Team: Gates emphasised involving a team of dedicated people including epidemiologists, data analysts, supply-chain experts and computer modellers whose full-time job is to detect and help the world contain a future pandemic.

He calls them the Global Epidemic Response and Mobilisation (GERM) team. 

What are the structure and functions of the GERM team in preventing pandemics?

Managed by: WHO will run this team but most of the personnel will be based at the country level.

Role of nations: The team would also be a part of the national detection and response team. This is to make the government feel that the GERM recommendations are not imposed from outside.

What are the challenges associated with Bill Gates’s approach to prevent pandemics?

Issues with Disease-specific control programmes: His idea of Disease-specific control programmes have an overall inclination to fund infrastructure for a specific disease. But this approach neglects to strengthen primary healthcare.

It is also against the proven method of targeting a lot of diseases in the first place as a much more efficient way of improving healthcare.

Overemphasis on health data: GERM team will depend more on nation-level data. But when data are not maintained properly then successful detection of outbreaks will not happen. For this reason, the GERM team is not suitable for India.

What should be done to prevent pandemics?

a) Improving the primary healthcare system, b) Improving vaccine delivery, c) Focusing on disease-prevention programmes, and d) Investing more in health.

With the increase in Covid cases in India, India needs to not forget the lessons from the Covid pandemic and to be better prepared for the next one.


Stabilise Sri Lanka

Source: This post is based on the article “Stabilise Sri Lanka” published in Business Standard on 23rd June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations – India and its neighborhood

Relevance: India – Sri Lanka relations, Economic crisis in Sri Lanka

News: The situation is rapidly approaching a major humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka with its Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently stating that Sri Lanka’s economy has completely collapsed.

How bad is the situation?

Sri Lanka’s PM has informed parliament that the economy was facing a far more serious situation beyond mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. 

Sri Lanka suspended payment on $12 billion of foreign debt last month and needs $6 billion in the next few months just to keep going — to replenish reserves and pay for imported fuel and food.

At least one of its foreign creditors has already filed a suit in the US as a response to the Sri Lankan government’s decision to suspend payments.

What steps has India taken and what more it needs to do?

India will need to take the lead in stabilising its southern neighbour if it is not to have to deal with a humanitarian and political crisis with possible spillover effects.

Efforts made by India

– A team of high-level officials from New Delhi, including the finance secretary, the foreign secretary, and the chief economic advisor, have travelled to Colombo to discuss possible assistance.

– The Indian government has already provided credit lines, currency swaps, and other assistance, which total $3 billion.

Way forward

The Lankan government hopes for an official agreement to be signed with the IMF next month. The IMF will need to provide $3 billion or so in actual commitments. This agreement will not be easy, since the multilateral organization will require other major lenders to Sri Lanka to enter into various debt forgiveness and restructuring mechanisms.

One of the priorities here must be to create a structure to deal with debt to China in crisis-hit countries. This can serve as a template for such problems in the future.

Already Laos, which owes about half its public debt to China, is being identified as Asia’s next possible defaulting country.

Domestic reforms: Much action will have to be domestic, with internal structural reform that stabilizes the currency and ensures that the island economy’s fundamentals, can lead to sustained growth.

But the outside world, led by India, must assist in this process by means of helping guarantee stability through what will be a painful transition.

Mr Wickremesinghe has warned the country may “hit rock bottom”. The rest of the world must prevent that from happening.


Help Afghans

Source: The post is based on an article “Help Afghans” published in the Times of India on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 International Relations; Bilateral relations etc.

Relevance: India-Afghan Relations, India’s neighborhood First Policy

News: Recently, Afghanistan has faced a severe earthquake, which is supposed to have killed around 1,000-plus people in initial estimates.

What are the major problems that are being faced in Afghanistan?

Before Earthquake

Afghanistan is already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis since Taliban’s takeover last year,

Since Earthquake

The earthquake has put Afghanistan on the brink of an even bigger disaster.

It is facing the problem of inadequate rescue efforts, and shortage of food and medicines in the area.

Why should India come forward?

Afghanistan needs a massive aid effort. India can be one of the countries which can afford to help. Further, Taliban has asked for help.

What are the challenges in giving aid to Afghanistan?

Afghanistan’s disaster management system is very poor since pre-Taliban government. For example, inadequate aircraft and helicopters available to rescuers, etc.

The pre-Taliban government was involved in corruption. According to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, nearly $19 billion was eaten up by “fraud, wastage and abuse”.

The Afghan healthcare system is near collapse because foreign staff of humanitarian organisations that were operating in Afghanistan have left the country due to security concerns.

It is dangerous for the Indian government to send a rescue and aid team to Afghanistan because the quake-hit region borders Pakistan and the Indian team can be attacked by Pakistan-backed militant groups.

Way Forward

New Delhi’s best option is to be very generous but work through the UN.


OP Agarwal, Nitya Kaushik write: Training Karmayogis at all levels is a must for inclusive development

Source: The post is based on an article “Training Karmayogis at all levels is a must for inclusive development” published in the Indian Express on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Governance; Role of Civil Services in Bureaucracy

Relevance: Capacity Building Programme

News: Recently, the Government of India’s Mission Karmayogi programme to build civil service capacity received a $47 million boost from the World Bank.

History of Training programmes for capacity building of the Civil Servants?

At Senior Level

Before 1985: Higher civil servants received two-year induction training. It was done to   equip IAS officers to be good field officers.

In 1985: In addition to a two-year induction training, senior officers like IAS officers were mandated to attend a week-long training programme annually, and periodic four-week training to allow reflection and learnings.

In the early 2000s, in addition to above, the seniors’ officers had to attend a year-long professional programme in public policy. Further, the mid-career training at three different points of their career. It was introduced to increase their competencies at more senior levels.

At lower levels

Before 1985: There were no training for lower civil services.

What are the areas where capacity building framework can be instituted in the present context?

A massive scale-up in capacity-building is needed both at the political and bureaucratic levels. The representatives need to understand the nuances of policymaking.

In addition to bureaucrats, the political leaders too would need to choose areas of specialization.

It is important to build professionals in all domains, from technical experts to generalists.

Today, India is ambitious for growth. The policymaking has become more complex. It should be based on data and evidence-based decision-making.

It must equip the entire chain of command to coordinate and steer the ship towards a national goal.

The higher officers should be able to build morale and self-respect among the frontline workers like police constables, patwaris, gram sevaks, frontline clerks, office peons, postmen, etc. They should feel they are part of a larger public management system, not mere cogs in the wheel.

Way Forward

Case of a three-day programme for safai karamcharis of the Satara Municipal Corporation: This programme was conducted by In 2004, Joint Secretary (Training) in the Union Department of Personnel and Training. It instilled confidence and a sense of respect among worker staff. Thereafter, they proactively worked in their domain.

  • For example, they set up a waste segregation system by educating each household within their ward. The training programme changed the attitudes of the municipal workers.

India already has everything it needs to scale up capacity building. For example, the existing institutions and educational centres, available expertise and knowledge base, can appropriately support training for various grades of civil servants.

GS Paper 3


Crude oil diplomacy

Source: The post is based on the article “Crude oil diplomacy” published in “Business Standard” on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Relevance: To understand India’s Crude oil diplomacy.

News: Recently, a few private-sector refiners decided to import larger quantities of crude oil from Russia. This is likely to impact India’s Crude oil diplomacy and diplomatic standing with Western allies and West Asia, currently the country’s top suppliers.

Last month, Russia became India’s second-largest oil supplier by overtaking Saudi Arabia.

Why there is an increasing import of Russian oil?

Significant discounts: This makes it a compelling option for refiners in the public and private sectors to buy Russian oil.

Maximising profitability: Since the price is discounted, there is no logical argument against private refiners maximising profitability by sourcing inputs from the cheapest available source. Further, the state-owned oil companies are doing the same.

Why Crude oil diplomacy is important for the Indian economy?

The market of the private sector refineries: State-owned refiners’ output is sold in the domestic market. But, a significant portion of private refineries’ production is exported, sometimes to markets that have imposed sanctions on Russia.

Even though India has officially taken a strictly “neutral” position vis-à-vis Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the private players also do not violate any domestic political protocols, this is not considered appropriate.

Challenges to India’s relations with the US and their allies: Indian military’s dependence on Russian matériel and spares has created a discomfiture in the US and the European Union(EU).

Europe already seeks to cut its fossil fuel dependence on Russia. If India continues to import Russian oil then it might hamper India’s diplomatic position.

Pressure from other principal suppliers: Iraq is India’s largest supplier of crude oil. Saudi Arabia already felt compelled to cut prices, fearing an erosion in its market share. But this will not continue in the long run. They might pressurise India to reduce its import from Russia. This might be a reality soon as they become bigger suppliers to Europe in the near future.

What should be India’s Crude oil diplomacy?

India should do everything in its power to minimise economic tensions. Since commercial crude oil imports require licences, India could utilise this lever to good effect to secure India’s longer-term interests.


The problems plaguing thermal power generators

Source: This post is based on the article “The problems plaguing thermal power generators” published in The Hindu on 24th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Energy and Infrastructure

Relevance: Power crisis due to shortage of coal and related issues

News: On June 10, India’s power demand touched a record high of 211 MW even as the coal shortage continued with coal stocks available only for eight days.

Consequently, the Ministry of Power directed the power-generating companies or ‘gencos’ to use imported coal for 10% of their requirement, failing which their domestic supplies would be cut.

India is the second-largest producer of coal, with reserves that could last up to 100 years. Despite that, year after year, the shortage of coal supplies continues to be an issue.

How did India get to this stage?
Source: The Hindu

As seen in chart 1, the domestic production of coal stagnated between FY18 and FY21, but revived in FY22.

The power demand too surged owing to economic recovery and hotter weather conditions.

Pressure on domestic sources: Until FY20, domestic sources contributed to about 90% of the power sector’s coal receipts; the remaining was filled by imports. But by FY22, the reliance on imports decreased to 3.8% which built pressure on domestic supplies.

High price of coal in the international market: This dip in imports can be attributed to the skyrocketing prices of coal in the international markets. The price of imported coal is nearly 5-6 times higher than domestic supply.

Hence, States are wary of using imported coal as it would raise the cost of power substantially.

The use of imported coal will also push up the price of power supply to the power distribution companies or ‘Discoms,’ often dubbed as the weakest link in the power sector chain.

What are other perennial bottlenecks behind India’s power crisis?

Discoms owe long-standing dues to the tune of ₹1.16 lakh crore to the gencos. Delays in payments by discoms create a working capital crunch for generating companies which in turn inhibits them from procuring an adequate quantity of coal.

A power sector supply chain typically looks like thisGeneration (genco) -> Transmission (transco) -> Distribution (discom) -> end user

Further, they are unable to pay generators on time. Discoms in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the most financially stressed.

Why are discoms not able to the gencos on time?

Discoms are bleeding because the revenue they generate is much lower than their costs.

This is evident from the gap between the average cost of supply and average revenue realised (see chart 6). Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan have the widest gap between revenues and expenses of discoms. Apart from providing power at cheaper rates, some State governments do not revise tariffs periodically. Further, the delay in getting compensation from the government also compounds the woes of cash-strapped discoms.


Open network for digital commerce

Source: This post is based on the article “Open network for digital commerce” published in The Hindu on 23rd June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Industrial policy and growth

Relevance: Open network for digital commerce and related issues

News: The government of India announced the launch of the pilot phase of open network for digital commerce (ONDC) in five cities in late April.

The aim was to “democratise” the country’s fast growing digital e-commerce space that is currently dominated by the two U.S.-headquartered firms — Amazon and Walmart.

What is ONDC?

As per the strategy paper on ONDC, it is a not-for-profit organisation that will offer a network to enable local digital commerce stores across industries to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled applications.

It is neither an aggregator application nor a hosting platform, and all existing digital commerce applications and platforms can voluntarily choose to adopt and be a part of the ONDC network.

The ONDC aims to enable buying of products from all participating e-commerce platforms by consumers through a single platform.

Currently, a buyer needs to go to Amazon, for example, to buy a product from a seller on Amazon. Under ONDC, it is envisaged that a buyer registered on one participating e-commerce site (for example, Amazon) may purchase goods from a seller on another participating e-commerce site (for example, Flipkart).

The ONDC model is trying to replicate the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the field of digital payments.

Read more: Open network For Digital Commerce – Explained
What led to formation of ONDC?

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under Ministry of Commerce and Industries, conducted an outreach during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on small sellers and hyperlocal supply chain functioning.

It found that there is a huge disconnect between the scale of online demand and the ability of the local retail ecosystem to participate. Following this, consultations were held with multiple ministries and industry experts and “ONDC was envisioned to revolutionise digital commerce in India,” as per the strategy paper.

What is the current status?

Presently, ONDC is in its pilot stage in five cities — Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore — with a target of onboarding around 150 retailers.

The government has also constituted an advisory council to analyse the potential of ONDC as a concept and to advise the government on measures needed to accelerate its adoption.

Over the next five years, the ONDC expects to bring on board 90 crore users and 12 lakh sellers on the network.

What are the likely benefits of ONDC?

The ONDC will standardise operations like cataloguing, inventory management, order management and order fulfilment. Hence, it’ll be making it simpler and easier for small businesses to be discoverable over the network and conduct business.

However, experts have pointed out some likely potential issues such as getting an enough number of e-commerce platforms to sign up, along with issues related to customer service and payment integration.


What India needs to do to reduce its fertiliser bill

Source: The post is based on an article “What India needs to do to reduce its fertiliser bill” published in the Indian Express on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies;

Relevance: Fertiliser Issues

News: In 2021- 22, India’s import of fertilisers touched an all-time high of $12.77 billion in fiscal terms.

What are the factors that make India fit for agricultural activities?

India has no dearth of land, water and sunshine to sustain vibrant agriculture. India is abundant in all these resources. For example:

(1) India’s land under crop cultivation (at 169.3 million hectares) is far higher than any other country. For example, US (160.4mh), China (135.7mh), Russia (123.4mh) or Brazil (63.5mh).

(2) India is endowed with the perennial Himalayan rivers. It has average annual rainfall of nearly 1,200 mm, in contrast to other countries like Russia’s 475mm, China’s 650 mm and the US’s 750 mm

What are the challenges in the agricultural sector in India?

Fundamental Challenges

(A) India is short and heavily dependent on imports in the fertilizer sector. It can be illustrated by below mentioned fact:

India heavily imports mineral fertilisers like urea, DAP, complex fertilisers (containing nitrogen-N, phosphorus-P, potassium-K and sulphur-S in different ratios) and single super phosphate (SSP).

India also substantially imports the intermediates or raw materials required for the manufacture of these fertilisers. For example, for urea, the primary feedstock is imported natural gas. For DAP, domestic manufacturers import intermediate chemicals, namely phosphoric acid and ammonia. Some even produce phosphoric acid by importing rock phosphate and sulphuric acid.

(B) The foreign exchange outgo and the fiscal cost (subsidy part) are the two associated cost with the import of above said items.

(C) In addition to the above problems, the Indian farmers are well known to do over-application of the fertilizers.

Ongoing challenges

At present, the global prices of urea, DAP, MOP, phosphoric acid, ammonia and LNG have increased at lot

Way Forward

First of all, there is a need to cap or even reduce consumption of high-analysis fertilisers – particularly urea (46 per cent N content), DAP (18 per cent N and 46 per cent P) and MOP (60 per cent).

  • This can be done by incorporating urease and nitrification inhibition compounds in urea. In addition, products such as liquid “nano urea” can be used which is conducive to easier absorption by the plants

Second, promote sales of SSP (containing 16 per cent P and 11 per cent S) and complex fertilisers.

Third, DAP use should be restricted mainly to paddy and wheat because other crops don’t require fertilisers with 46% P content.

Others

India can also import more rock phosphate to make SSP directly or it can be converted into “weak” phosphoric acid.

The agriculture departments and universities should revisit their existing crop-wise nutrient application recommendations, and create awareness amongst farmers about suitable substitutes for DAP. They should advise farmers to keep themselves away from all high-analysis fertilisers.

The government should popularise the use of high nutrient use-efficient water soluble fertilisers (potassium nitrate, potassium sulphate, calcium nitrate, etc) and alternative indigenous sources (for example, potash derived from molasses-based distillery spent-wash and from seaweed extract).

Farmers should know India imports a substantial part of the fertilizers used by them in their fields, and India is also a mineral resource poor country.


M Venkaiah Naidu writes: Without  soil conservation, there is no food security

Source: The post is based on an article “Without soil conservation, there is no food security” published in the Indian Express on 24th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 PDS, Buffer Stock and Food Security

Relevance: Challenges and Solutions to food security

News: Recently, Sadhguru, a spiritual leader, had launched an initiative known as “save soil campaign”. In addition, he also completed 100 days of solo biking across many countries to promote concerted action on saving soil.

What are the factors that have led to food security?

The agricultural modernisation has led to improvement in the crop production, which in turn has ensured food security to large swathes of people across the world. It should be kept in mind that around 95% of global food production depends on soil.

What are the challenges to food security?

Soil is a fragile and finite resource. Soil degradation is going on at an unprecedented scale across the world. Therefore, it is a significant challenge to sustainable food production.

Soil Degradation: About 1/3rd of the earth’s soils are already degraded. About 90% could be degraded by 2050 if no corrective action is taken.

– It is estimated that 96.40mn hectares or about 30% of India’s total geographical area — is affected by land degradation.

What are the causes that lead to soil degradation.?

Apart from natural causes, there are human activities which also lead to soil degradation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s ‘State of Land, Soil and Water’ report, out of around 5,670mn hectares degraded land, 29% is attributed to human-induced land degradation

The agriculturists have adopted modern scientific techniques. For example, they now resort to extensive use of fertilisers and pesticides which lead to the deterioration of soil health and contamination of water bodies and the food chain, which pose serious health risks to people and livestock.

According to the FAO’s latest ‘State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture’, soil pollution is another issue.

Further, as per studies, around 160 million hectares of cropland worldwide is affected by salinisation.

Lesson that can be learnt from India

Since ancient times in India, mother earth has been considered a divine entity and her worship is an integral part of the country’s civilisational ethos, and the Indian farmers have followed sustainable and holistic agricultural practices.

According to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the World Future Council’s report namely “A Healthy Planet for Healthy Children’’, there are various success stories. For example, Sikkim in India became the first organic state in the world. It phased out chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

The Union government introduced the revolutionary soil health card (SHC) scheme. The SHCs have been distributed to about 23 crore farmers. It has contributed to improving the health of the soil.

In addition to the above measures, India is also working to restore 26mn hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Way Forward

There is a need for collective global action involving governments and civil society to reverse this alarming trend. All the stakeholders like the government’s functionaries, farmers, CEOs, scientists, school children, etc. must work to save the health of the planet and ensure food security.

The need of the hour is to adopt innovative policies and agro-ecological practices that create healthy and sustainable food production systems.

(1) In fact, natural farming and organic farming are not only cost-effective but also lead to improvement in soil health and the farmland ecosystem.

(2) There is an urgent need for action to reduce dependence on pesticides worldwide and to promote policies advocating healthy and sustainable food systems and agricultural production.

(3) Efforts should be made to reduce soil erosion. The Soil erosion not only affects fertility but also increases the risk of floods and landslides.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

PM inaugurates ‘Vanijya Bhawan’ and launches NIRYAT portal

Source: The post is based on the articlePM inaugurates ‘Vanijya Bhawan’ and launches NIRYAT portalpublished in PIB on 23rd June 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated ‘Vanijya Bhawan’ and launched the NIRYAT portal.

What is Vanijya Bhawan?

It is a new premises of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

It is designed as a smart building which incorporates the principles of sustainable architecture with a special focus on energy saving.

It will be used by the two Departments under the Ministry of Commerce i.e Department of Commerce and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT).

What is NIRYAT Portal?

Full Form: National Import-Export Record for Yearly Analysis of Trade (NIRYAT)

Purpose: It is a one-stop platform for the stakeholders to get all the necessary information related to India’s foreign trade.

Features: From this portal, important information related to more than 30 commodity groups exported to more than 200 countries of the world will be available. In the coming time, information related to district-wise exports will also be available on this portal.


Gujarat becomes first State in the country to launch Balika Panchayat

Source: The post is based on the article Gujarat becomes first State in the country to launch Balika Panchayatpublished in AIR on 17th June 2022.

What is the News?

Gujarat is the first state in the country to launch Balika Panchayat. 

What is Balika Panchayat?

It is a unique initiative of the Gujarat Government under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.

Aim: 1) To promote the social and political development of the girls, 2) To ensure their active participation of girls in politics and 3) To remove the evil practices from the society such as child marriage, and the dowry system.

Who runs Balika Panchayat?

“Balika Panchayat” is managed by girls in the 11-21 age group. Members of the Balika Panchayat are elected after an intense campaigning process.

Girls who aspire to become members of the Balika Panchayat even carry out rallies and door-to-door campaigns.


India’s First Logistics Excellence Awards highlight the contributions of the Private Sector driving change and innovation in the Logistics Sector

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia’s First Logistics Excellence Awards highlight the contributions of the Private Sector driving change and innovation in the Logistics Sectorpublished in PIB on 23rd June 2022.

What is the News?

The Government of India has hosted its first-ever National Logistics Excellence Awards.

What is the National Logistics Excellence Awards?

Launched by: Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Aim: To acknowledge the many logistics service providers in the country that have been able to display innovation, diversity and efficiency.

Categories: The awards were given in 12 categories under two major segments: 1) logistics service providers and 2) various user industries.

Significance: In addition to the Logistics Ease Across Different States(LEADS) report, the Logistics Excellence Awards will continue to be an annual exercise recognizing excellence in logistics within the private sector in India.


India’s rivers are heating up due to climate change, shows study

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s rivers are heating up due to climate change, shows study” published in DTE on 24th June 2022.

What is the News?

According to a study, climate change may turn India’s rivers into hostile environments for aquatic life by 2070-2100.

About the study

The study covered seven Indian basins: Ganga, Narmada, Cauvery, Sabarmati, Tungabhadra, Musi and Godavari.

Method used: It used machine learning to predict the historical, present and future river water temperatures for each of the basins. This was then converted into dissolved oxygen levels.

What are the key findings of the study?

By 2070-2100, river water temperatures may increase and dissolved oxygen levels may decrease due to the impact of climate change.

For instance, under a high-emissions scenario, average river water temperatures are expected to climb 7 degrees Celsius in summer reaching close to 35 °C by 2070-2100.

On the other hand, dissolved oxygen levels can drop to 7.3 milligrams/liter of water from 7.9 mg/l at present. This may impact aquatic life.

What is Dissolved Oxygen?

Dissolved oxygen(DO) is the amount of oxygen that is present in water. Water bodies receive oxygen from the atmosphere and from aquatic plants. Running water, such as that of a swift-moving stream, dissolves more oxygen than the still water of a pond or lake.

Importance: Aquatic organisms use dissolved oxygen to breathe. But oxygen becomes less soluble in warmer and polluted waters. The riverine species cannot survive for long when the level of dissolved oxygen drops below 4-5 mg/l of water. 


India promises Sri Lanka ‘fullest support’

Source: The post is based on the article “India promises Sri Lanka ‘fullest support’published in The Hindu on 24th June 2022.

What is the News?

India has assured Sri Lanka of its “fullest support” to help the island nation tide over its unprecedented economic crisis.

How serious is the Sri Lankan economic crisis?

The Sri Lankan Government owes $51 billion and is unable to make interest payments on its loans.

Tourism, an important engine of economic growth, has been impacted because of the pandemic.

Sri Lankan currency has collapsed by 80% making imports more expensive and worsening inflation that is already out of control with food costs rising 57%.

The UN World Food Programme says nearly nine of 10 families are skipping meals or otherwise skimping to stretch out their food, while three million are receiving emergency humanitarian aid.

Read more: In Sri Lankan crisis, a window of economic opportunity
How is India providing assistance to Sri Lanka?

​​India has so far provided economic and humanitarian aid worth more than $3.5 billion to Sri Lanka since January 2022. The assistance has been provided in the form of currency swaps, loan deferments and credit lines for essential imports. Sri Lanka has sought a further $500 million from India to import fuel.

India-Sri Lanka Cooperation

India has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to jointly develop the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm. India will set up a solar power plant in Sampur, Trincomalee.

India’s Adani Group has signed an agreement to execute projects in Mannar and Pooneryn in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will resume flights from the northern Jaffna peninsula to India next month in a move that Sri Lanka hopes would support the country’s tourism sector

Read more: Opinion: For India, a lesson in food security from Sri Lanka

Indian Oil unveils indoor solar cooking stove ‘Surya Nutan’

Source: The post is based on the article “Indian Oil unveils indoor solar cooking stove ‘Surya Nutan’” published in Economic Times on 22nd June 2022.

What is the News?

Indian Oil Corporation Limited has developed an indoor solar cooking stove named Surya Nutan. 

What is Surya Nutan?

Surya Nutan is a stationary, rechargeable and always a kitchen-connected indoor solar cooking system.

Developed by: Indian Oil Corporation Limited

Features: The stove works in a hybrid mode and is capable of running both on solar and an auxiliary energy source simultaneously. This makes it a reliable cooking solution for all weather conditions.

In solar mode, the stove collects energy from the sun, converts it into heat through a specially designed heating element, stores thermal energy in a scientifically proven thermal battery and reconverts the energy for use in indoor cooking. The energy captured not just covers the daytime cooking needs of a family of four but also the night meal.

Significance: The stove can help to cut down gas consumption and also helps ensure high utilization of energy from the sun.


India’s GSAT-24 satellite launched, entire capacity leased Tata Play

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s GSAT-24 satellite launched, entire capacity leased Tata Play” published in The Hindu on 23rd June 2022.

What is the News?

India’s GSAT-24 satellite was successfully placed into the geostationary orbit by French company Ariane space on its Ariane 5 space launch vehicle from Kourou in French Guiana in South America.

What is GSAT 24?

GSAT-24 is a 24-Ku band communication satellite.

Purpose: The satellite will provide high-quality television, telecommunications, and broadcasting services and will meet the DTH needs of Indian customers.

Built by: Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) for New Space India Limited(NSIL).

Weight: 4180 kg 

Significance: It is the first “demand-driven” communication satellite mission undertaken by NSIL post space sector reforms. NSIL has leased the entire satellite capacity to Tata Play. 

Note: ’Demand-driven’ mode basically means when a satellite is launched, one will know who the end customers are going to be and what’s the kind of utilization and commitment so that one can have very effective utilization of this satellite capacity once it goes into orbit.

Why was GSAT-24 launched on a French rocket?

At present, India does not have a space-launch rocket capable of lifting a satellite that weighs more than 4 tons into geostationary orbit.

Currently, India’s most powerful rocket, the GSLV Mk3, can lift a maximum of 4 tons into geostationary orbit.


Explained: What is Odisha’s Mo Bus, recipient of the UN’s prestigious public service award?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is Odisha’s Mo Bus, recipient of the UN’s prestigious public service award?” published in Indian Express on 24th June 2022.

What is the News?

The United Nations(UN) has awarded ten global initiatives with the prestigious UN Public Service Award (UNPSA).

Odisha’s public transport service ‘Mo Bus’ is one of those recipients. It has been given this award for its role in “promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)”.

What is Mo Bus Service?

Launched by: Odisha Government in 2018

What is it? Mo Bus is a public transport bus service launched with the aim to ensure the transformation of the urban public transport scenario in the city and its hinterland.

The Mo buses are designed to integrate smart technologies such as free onboard Wi-Fi service, digital announcements, surveillance cameras, and electronic ticketing.

An e-Rickshaw system called “Mo E-Ride” is also introduced as a last-mile feeder service to Mo Bus. 

What is the impact of the launch of Mo Bus Service?

Firstly, 57% of the commuters in the city are now using Mo Bus.

Secondly, it is estimated that the Mo E-Ride will promote a green, sustainable transportation solution with an estimated pollution reduction of 30 – 50%.

Thirdly, 40% of Mo Bus conductors are women and 100% of Mo E-Ride drivers are women, transgender people and people from disadvantaged communities.

What are UN Public Service Awards?

Launched in: 2003

Purpose: To identify excellence in delivering public service, which further promotes effectiveness, inclusiveness, and transparency to achieve the region’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and award 10 of them.


 

Goa becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified State & Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified UT in the Country

Source: The post is based on the article “Goa becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified State & Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified UT in the Country” published in PIB on 18th August 2022. What is the News? Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and… Continue reading Goa becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified State & Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified UT in the Country

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Great Indian Bustards adapt to produce 2-egg clutch

Source: The post is based on the article “Great Indian Bustards adapt to produce 2-egg clutch” published in The Hindu on 19th August 2022. What is the News? Great Indian Bustards(GIBs) in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park(DNP) have adopted an altogether new habit of laying a clutch of two eggs at a time after having a… Continue reading Great Indian Bustards adapt to produce 2-egg clutch

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Tilapia Fish: Inspired by Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, and to bring ‘Blue Revolution’ TDB-DST supports its first aquaculture project

Source: The post is based on the article “Inspired by Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, and to bring ‘Blue Revolution’ TDB-DST supports its first aquaculture project” published in PIB on 18th August 2022. What is the News? To bring about the blue revolution, the Technology Development Board(TDB), a statutory body under the Department of Science… Continue reading Tilapia Fish: Inspired by Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, and to bring ‘Blue Revolution’ TDB-DST supports its first aquaculture project

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Explained: How scientists are planning to ‘resurrect’ the extinct Tasmanian Tiger

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: How scientists are planning to ‘resurrect’ the extinct Tasmanian Tiger” published in Indian Express on 18th August 2022. What is the News? Scientists in the US and Australia have embarked on a $15-million project to resurrect the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger, a marsupial that went extinct… Continue reading Explained: How scientists are planning to ‘resurrect’ the extinct Tasmanian Tiger

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How health ministry’s draft guidelines may improve nurses’ work conditions

Source: The post is based on the article “How health ministry’s draft guidelines may improve nurses’ work conditions” published in Business Standard on 19th August 2022. What is the News? The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) has issued draft guidelines to improve the working conditions of all categories of nurses in all healthcare institutions… Continue reading How health ministry’s draft guidelines may improve nurses’ work conditions

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Digital Lending and its Regulation – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction The lending business, in recent years, has been disrupted by digital technologies. The transformation of lending landscape has been driven by the need for superior customer experience, faster turn-around time, and adoption of modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). However, the digital lending ecosystem has given… Continue reading Digital Lending and its Regulation – Explained, pointwise

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Write your mains before Actual Mains Exam 2022

Dear Friends, As you may be aware, ForumIAS will organize the Mains Open Test 2022 between 31st August to 1st September. If you want to have the realistic experience of writing UPSC Mains once before you actually write the Mains and know the time management in advance you can appear for Mains Open Test by visiting the below link:https://academy.forumias.com/mains-opentest/… Continue reading Write your mains before Actual Mains Exam 2022

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Experts Explain: An India Blockchain Platform

Source: The post is based on the article “Experts Explain: An India Blockchain Platform” published in the Indian Express on 19th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential Relevance: About public digital infrastructure News: In recent years, India has made a significant effort to become a digital society by building a large… Continue reading Experts Explain: An India Blockchain Platform

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Chinese ship at Hambantota calls for New Delhi to look closely at its maritime strategy

Source: The post is based on the article “Chinese ship at Hambantota calls for New Delhi to look closely at its maritime strategy” published in the Indian Express on 19th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – India and its Neighbourhood relations. Relevance: Yuan Wang 5 and China’s evolving Indian Ocean strategy News: Recently, Sri Lanka approved the arrival… Continue reading Chinese ship at Hambantota calls for New Delhi to look closely at its maritime strategy

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Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?

Source: The post is based on the following articles “Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?” published in The Hindu on 19th August 2022. “Freebies In Our Bonnet” published in The Times of India on 19th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these… Continue reading Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?

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