9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 29th, 2022
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- 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:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- 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.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- The essence of time – Judicial intervention should strengthen anti-defection law, not undermine it
- The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative
- G7 is trying hard not to be yesterday’s club
- Bring the shine back on government jobs
- Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS
GS Paper 3
- 5G technology will soon be here. India must prepare
- India’s economic constraints and an energy holdback to be eased
- Agnipath is part of a larger process of defence reform and modernisation
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- P.C. Mahalanobis: Remembering the ‘Plan Man’ of India
- Kaukab-i-Tali – The Adventures Of Emperor Jahangir’s Great Golden Coin
- Internet shutdowns hurt much more than we realize: UN rights office
- Niti Aayog’s report on India’s gig economy: what has the think-tank recommended?
- Explained: What is Hermit, the Pegasus-like spyware that targeted Android, iOS devices?
- Explained: Speaker’s powers in a rebellion
- Gulabi meenakari brooch to ittar bottles: PM Modi’s gifts to G7 leaders a slice of Indian crafts
- Dak Karmayogi: E-Learning Platform launched by Union Minister
- Explained | The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative
- Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested by DRDO & Indian Army
- Explained: What is the US-led ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ initiative to counter China?
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source: The post is based on the article “The essence of time- Judicial intervention should strengthen anti-defection law, not undermine it” published in “The Hindu” on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 – issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.
Relevance: To understand the issues surrounding anti-defection law.
News: Recently, The Supreme Court granted time until July 12 to dissident legislators in the Maharashtra Assembly to reply to the Deputy Speaker’s notice under the anti-defection law. The political crisis in Maharashtra has brought focus back on the anti-defection law.
What is anti-defection law?
|Read more: “Nominated members” and “Anti-defection Law” in India|
What are the concerns associated with the recent Judicial intervention?
In 1992, Kilhoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu case, a Constitution Bench, while upholding the validity of the anti-defection law, held that the Speaker’s decision was subject to judicial review, albeit on limited grounds.
The court also made it clear that this should take place after a final decision, and there can be no interim order, except if there is an interim disqualification or suspension.
Since there is a specific bar on judicial intervention in disqualification proceedings at any stage prior to final adjudication under the Tenth Schedule, the present judicial intervention is creating ambiguity.
Further, there are Court judgments that say compliance with natural justice is not based on the number of days given, but on whether sufficient opportunity was given before a decision.
|Read more: The success of anti-defection law in India and its relevance in multiparty parliamentary system|
What are the other constitutional challenges exposed in Maharashtra?
The dissidents sent a motion to get the Deputy Speaker removed. The Deputy Speaker rejected it, as he has to decide disqualification questions in the absence of a Speaker. The rejection has also been questioned in court, thus raising a jurisdiction question on the adjudicatory power of the Deputy Speaker.
This shows that the Motions to remove a Presiding Officer are used as a ploy to circumvent disqualification proceedings.
Based on a conclusion in Nabam Rebia (2016) that a Presiding Officer should not adjudicate any defection complaint while a motion for his own removal is pending.
|Read more: Ruchi Gupta writes: The crisis in Maharashtra shows the anti-defection law to be ineffective, even counterproductive|
When defection is seen as a serious menace by the Constitution, the courts should contain them.
Source: This post is created based on the article “The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative” published in The Hindu on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2, International Institutions
News: US along with the G7, unveiled the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII). This plan is largely being seen as a plan to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
About PGII project
Project aims at the collective mobilisation of $600 billion by 2027 to deliver “game-changing” and “transparent” infrastructure projects in developing and middle-income countries, including India.
It will counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build connectivity, infrastructure, and trade projects in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
PGII project will be based on the four priority pillars that will define the second half of the 21st century.
1) Tackling the climate crisis and ensuring global energy security, 2) Bolstering digital information and ICT networks, 3) Promoting gender equality and equity, and 4) Lastly, building and upgrading the global health infrastructure.
Some project under PGII has either commenced or are set to begin. For example;
- US in partnership with EU and G7 nations is disbursing a $3.3 million technical assistance grant to build a vaccine facility in Senegal.
- mRNA vaccine plants in Latin America
- A fiber-optic cable linking Europe to Latin America
How is it compared to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?
PGII has laid focus on climate action and clean energy, while China has built large coal-fired plants under BRI along with solar, hydro, and wind energy projects.
While the G7 has pledged $600 billion by 2027, Morgan and Stanly estimate that China’s overall funding for BRI by that time could reach $1.2 to 1.3 trillion dollars.
Under the PGII, large private capital will be also mobilised while China’s BRI is majorly state-funded.
China’s BRI project has benefitted China mainly. Studies have shown that 89% of the contractors participating in BRI projects are Chinese. Large number of Chinese workers are employed in BRI projects; for instance 1.82 lakh were working in Africa by late 2019.
G7 leaders emphasised ‘transparency’ as the cornerstone of PGII projects. Whereas under BRI, countries are being made to sign confidential tenders, leaving countries indebted to China. For example; Sri Lanka, for instance, had to cede its key Hambantota Port on a 99-year lease to China.
Source: The post is based on an article “G7 is trying hard not to be yesterday’s club” published in the Indian Express on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 International relations; Regional Grouping, International organizations
Relevance: The Group of Seven (G7)
News: Recently, the G7 meeting was concluded in Bavaria in Germany. It was an important meeting since it took place against the backdrop of the Ukraine war, the challenge of post-pandemic economic recovery and the eternal issue of climate change.
The G7 final communique
It said that there is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.
In addition, the leaders also called on China to press Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine.
It calls on China to respect universal human rights and fundamental freedoms in both Tibet and Xinjiang. For example, there are grave concerns about the country’s human rights situation like the issue of forced labour.
They issued unconditional commitment to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine. It accused Russia of doing war crimes during the ongoing war.
The G7 leaders warned Russia against the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, otherwise it would lead to severe consequences.
It contemplated severe sanctions against Russia, including tariffs on Russian products, targeting gold exports, capping oil prices and restricting access to technology.
What will be the negative consequences of the G7 Communique?
With the declaration of support, US is supplying the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to Ukraine. Further, the harsh statements made against Russia may have the opposite effect of increasing Russia’s intransigence. It could lead to an arms race.
Earlier, NATO declared that its rapid reaction force, meant to protect the alliance’s Eastern flank, will be increased from its present strength of 40,000 to a whopping 300,000 to create deterrence.
In recent years, NATO has also termed Russia as the most immediate threat to NATO’s security. The alliance also hinted that NATO will deploy forces much closer to Russian borders.
Importance of G7 for India and vice versa
For India, G7 summits have always been an invaluable opportunity to exchange views not just in a plurilateral format but also in the bilateral meetings on the margins of the main meetings. For example, Prime Minister Modi met with the President of the US, and France, as well as the leaders of the UK and Japan etc.
The G7 is still a powerful grouping. Its seven members are in the top 10 economies of the world. In addition, three members are the permanent members of the UNSC. Further, if the European Union (EU) is taken into account, it is home to some of the best emerging technologies.
The clout of the G7 has been declining for 20 years ago since formation of the G20 Grouping. India is part of the G7 and no global problem can be seriously tackled without involvement of India.
India can leverage the opportunities to make the full transition from being a rule-taker to a rule-shaper in at least some crucial areas. India supported the G7 statements as below:
(1) Titled “Resilient Democracies Statement” wherein India can be important to promote a rules-based international order and the other being,
(2) Titled “Joining Forces to Accelerate Clean and Just Transition towards Climate Neutrality”, wherein India, without being responsible for the problem of climate change, is doing everything in its power to be part of the solution. India has requested the Western countries to invest heavily in India’s renewable energy market.
In addition, India’s can also play some role in improving food security, pursuing concerted efforts to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, fighting corruption, protecting freedom of expression, both online and offline, and ensuring an open and secure internet.
India’s participation in this meeting as an observer will help in advancement of India’s foreign and security policy objectives.
Source: The post is based on an article “Bring the shine back on government jobs” published in the “The Hindu” on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 Role of civil services in India, Governance;
Relevance: Civil Services Reforms
News: At present, India has been witnessing a number of protests across the country over the Agnipath scheme.
Some Facts and figures related to Unemployment problem in India
According to the NCRB, an Indian citizen died of suicide every hour due to joblessness, poverty or bankruptcy in 2019.
As per the government reports, about 25,000 Indians died of suicide between 2018 and 2020.
In January 2022, several unemployed people resorted to protests over alleged flaws in the railway’s recruitment process.
Haryana terminated the services of over 2,000 contractual health workers (nurses, sweepers, security guards, paramedical staff) who had been hired during the pandemic.
Various medical institutions in Delhi terminated hundreds of nurses, paramedical staff, lab technicians and other contractual workers.
What is the status of vacancies in the government departments?
First, vacancies in the government are not being filled at a sufficient pace. As of July 2022, there were around 60 lakh vacancies in the Central government, state government, PSU banks, PSUs and other institutions.
Second, where vacancies are being filled, they are notably skewed towards contractual jobs. For example, as per the Indian Staffing Industry Research 2014 report, about 43% of government employees (about 12.3 million) had non-permanent or contractual jobs like Anganwadi workers with low wages and no social security cover.
Some States sought to amend recruitment for Group B and C employees for increasing contractual employment (for a five-year period). Post the five-year period, they can be regularised, only if the workers could pass a rigorous performance appraisal, otherwise, they would be dismissed.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that a contractual employee for a government department was not a government servant.
What should be done?
Instead of expanding contractual employment, government should bolster public services. For example, our healthcare system does not have the capacity to provide adequate healthcare support to citizens under normal conditions, forget about pandemic.
ndia possess significant potential for job creation in various areas as mentioned below:
(1) In renewable power generation. For example, in rooftop solar power generation, manufacturing of solar panel modules and end-use servicing,
(2) In the waste management sector, there is significant scope for expanding waste-water treatment capacity. Around 300 jobs per year can be created in a city municipal corporation for solid waste treatment practices
(3) The green jobs can be created due to adoption of electric vehicles and encouraging green mobility
(4) In addition, urban farming can be encouraged, with significant job potential in permaculture, gardening and nursery management.
(5) There is potential for PSU reform. They can be given greater autonomy, with the government retaining control via a holding firm. Indian PSUs could aspire to be as large and efficient as the Chinese ones.
There is a need to attract talent to the government. Instead of downsizing or simply avoiding the cost of pensions and benefits, the government should right-size government because the public services require more doctors, teachers, engineers, and fewer data entry clerks.
The government can start with reforms advocated by the Administrative Reforms Commission.
Source: The post is based on an article “Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS” published in the Business Standard on 28th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 International Organizations
News: Recently, the BRICS Summit was held virtually. It included a high-level dialogue on global development.
It was established to promote the global south cooperation mechanism. It was needed for both the strategic and economic purpose. For example, shielding from the domino effect of Western geo-economic compulsions and decisions.
Developments so far before 14th Summit
Recently, the joint commission on space cooperation was formed for the BRICS nations, for advancing remote sensing and data sharing mechanisms between member states.
Various cooperation announcement made in the Summit
Members will cooperate to strengthen and reform global governance. They will work in solidarity to combat Covid-19, safeguarding peace and security, promoting economic recovery, expediting implementation of the 2030 SDGs, deepening people-to-people exchanges, and promoting institutional development.
Members have converging interests on critical issues such as counter-terrorism; trade; health; traditional medicine; environment; science technology and innovation; the reform of the multilateral system etc.
India proposed strengthening the BRICS Identity system, and creating an online database for BRICS documents.
India proposed establishment of a BRICS Railways Research Network, and strengthening cooperation between MSMEs to improve connectivity and supply chains between member states.
India will hold a BRICS start-up event this year because India has become the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Therefore, it is in the right position to lead a global South.
India advocated for strengthening civil society organisations and think-tanks.
India highlighted the significance of building people-to-people connect within BRICS, cooperation in the post-Covid global recovery etc..
What are the friction points and challenges between BRICS members?
At the summit, all five nations articulated their priorities, which indicates towards diverging national interests
India highlighted the need for greater sensitivity among BRICS members to each other’s security concerns, like terrorism. For example, China blocked the US-India joint move to list Pakistan-based terrorists as a global terrorist.
In the post-Ukraine war phase, the global governance order has seen fracture.
Both Russia and China want to rely on mechanisms which are outside the control of the West. This would lead to pressure on BRICS members to embrace the same newer mechanisms for global governance and finance.
In recent G7 meetings, the western countries have indicated greater stringent sanctions to be imposed on Russia. This is expected to pose more challenges in free flow of trade and commerce between BRICS member states.
The probability of normalization of the China-India dispute since the Galwan crisis of 2020.
The Way Forward
There are discussions on a possible expansion of BRICS. For example, the promotion of BRICS Outreach and BRICS plus Cooperation was in the spirit of extending cooperation to other emerging markets and developing countries.
GS Paper 3
Source: The post is based on the article “5G technology will soon be here. India must prepare” published in “Indian Express” on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Relevance: To understand the importance of optic fibre manufacturing.
News: With over 117 crore telecom users and more than 82 crore internet subscribers, India is one of the fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. Top smartphone manufacturers in India have already released phones with 5G capability. Now it is time for the government to improve digital infrastructure, especially optic fibre manufacturing to facilitate smoother implementation of 5G technology.
Why does India needs to focus on digital infrastructure?
A 2019 Mckinsey study rated India as the second-fastest digitising economy. Digital infrastructure seamlessly integrates with physical and traditional infrastructure. Networking equipment that relies on optical fibre and other semiconductor-based device ecosystems are at the heart of building the 5G infrastructure.
The government has taken several measures to build the next generation of digital infrastructure. But the success of initiatives such as Bharatnet Phase III and the world’s largest rural broadband project face challenges due to the non-deployment of high-quality fibres. For instance, a little more than 30% of mobile towers have fibre connectivity; this needs to be scaled up to at least 80%.
|Must read: 5G Impact: Traffic To Teaching, Factories To Farming|
The status of optic fibre manufacturing in India
In the last 10 years, domestic manufacturers invested more than Rs 5,000 crore in this industry. The industry has generated direct and indirect employment for around 4 lakh individuals.
India’s annual optic fibre manufacturing capacity is around 100 million fibre km (fkm) and the domestic consumption is around 46 million fkm. India is also exporting optical fibre to over 132 countries.
Indian optical fibre cable consumption is predicted to increase to 33 million fkm by 2026 from 17 million fkm in 2021.
|Read more: 5G technology in India – importance, challenges and solutions|
What should be done to revive optic fibre manufacturing?
Tackle cheaper imports: Countries such as China, Indonesia and South Korea are dumping their products in India at rates lower than the market price.
The government must impose anti-dumping duties to protect the domestic industry. Directorate General of Trade Remedies has recently begun investigations against optical fibre imports.
Enhance digital infrastructure: India needs to invest in R&D, offer production-linked incentive schemes to support indigenous high-tech manufacturing and develop intellectual property in critical aspects of digital connectivity.
The need of the hour is to unlock the full potential of India’s optical fibre industry and enable India to emerge as a major manufacturing and technology hub while achieving atmanirbharta in its 5G journey.
Source: The post is based on an article “India’s economic constraints and an energy holdback to be eased” published in the Live Mint on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 Infrastructure; Energy Sector
Relevance: Energy Sector
News: The Indian economy is under pressure due to high global oil prices. In the current fiscal year, India may witness a balance of payments deficit. However, at present, the problem of deficit can be tackled with large buffer of foreign exchange reserves with the Indian central bank.
What are the issues ahead?
1) High volatility in the global oil prices,
2) Slower global economic growth,
3) International investors showing uncertainty due to the ongoing monetary tightening by many central banks and
4) Volatile geopolitical situation
What are the lessons in the ongoing episode of turmoil in the global market for crude oil?
India is structurally deficient in energy. So, it needs to generate foreign exchange from the rest of the world to pay for its energy imports. It can be done either through exports or capital inflows.
In January 2019, Vijay Kelkar had pointed out that the growth strategy followed by any country depends on empirically identifying important structural constraints to growth. Then the policies should be designed to ease those constraints. India in the past identified following structural constraints.
History of India’s four earlier structural constraints addressed by the government
1) The savings constraint: India faced the growth challenge as India had a very low savings rate in the years after independence, of around 9.5% of GDP. India undertook bank nationalization in 1969. Thereafter, India’s savings rate went up by more than 5 percentage points within a decade.
2) The food constraint: India faced shortage of food in the 1950s and 1960s. We were dependent on food imports from the US. It risked India’s independent foreign policy. Therefore, India steered the Green Revolution at the end of the 1960s. It helped India break the food constraint.
3) The foreign exchange constraint: India had ‘scarce’ ‘foreign exchange’. India was hit by periodic balance of payments crises till 1991. Thereafter, India opened up the economy in 1991. It broke India’s foreign exchange constraint, both through greater trade with the world as well as capital inflows into the economy.
4) The home market constraint: Earlier, it was said in the 1970s, that India’s domestic market was not big enough to absorb industrial goods that were being produced by local manufacturers. It was because of low average incomes as well as unequal distribution of income. The economic growth raised the income level, higher support prices were given to farm produce which built the rural market and the international market was also recognized after 1991.
At present India is facing another structural problem of the energy constraint. Similar to above policy measures, the government can solve the issues through green transition because India is better endowed with sunshine and other renewable sources than crude oil.
India needs to be part of emerging global supply chains for the provision of new forms of energy in the coming decade.
Source: The post is based on an article “Agnipath is part of a larger process of defence reform and modernisation” published in the Indian Express on 29th June 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 Internal and External Security of India; Various security forces and their mandate
Relevance: Defence Reforms
News: Recently, the government has launched the Agniveer recruitment reform in the context of defence reforms.
Recently other reforms have also taken place. For example; the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has been appointed. In addition, there has been pursuit for reorganisation of the armed forces into theatre commands to promote jointness and synergy.
History of Defence Reforms
Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 till the end of the First World War in 1918, there has been a notion that a general mobilisation for war culminates in a full-scale conflict. This mobilisation was not considered as a peaceful act. It represented the most decisive act of war. For example, the Austria-Hungary and Germany mobilised the army soon after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which culminated into the commencement of the World War I.
In the Second World War, the alliance system and mobilisation system became important aspects of warfare. These systems were carried forward into the Cold War till the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This system warranted a mass concentration of heavy armour which necessitated the deployment of large conventional armies.
In post-world war period, the modern warfare based on modern technology overtook the traditional method of determining casus belli of war.
The mutually assured destruction (MAD) doctrine came into the dynamic of war due to the entry of nuclear weapons into the warfare.
In the 1970s, the US defence experts and the Soviet military theorists started rethinking that the landscape of warfare would rapidly transform in the future, due to military-technical revolutions in computing, communications, space know-how, and transformative changes.
In addition to the methods of warfare, there has been a rise of transnational non-state actors. This has led to evolution of the nature of conflict and warfare.
In addition, in the mid-1990s, China also commenced a fundamental restructuring of its force. It tried to prepare its military for modern war. It ramped up defence spending on new weaponry. It enhanced anti-access area denial tactics, and establishing programmes to boost the Chinese defence industry etc. It also restructured command structures to develop an integrated fighting force. In the mid-70s, the Chinese army was shrunk from approximately 3mn to around 9,75,000 and the higher defence management paradigm was reorganised into theatre commands by February 2016.
India’s Defence reforms
India started seriously thinking of reforming and modernising its defence forces and command and control structures in the wake of the Kargil War in 1999.
The Kargil Review Committee (KRC) recommended reforms in the recruitment practices of the armed forces. It stated, “the Army must be young and fit at all times. Therefore, the period of colour service should be reduced from the present practice of 17 years to seven to ten years”.
In 2000, a Group of Ministers (GOM) endorsed the KRC’s recommendation that there is a need to ensure a younger profile of the services to ensure that the armed forces are at their fighting best at all times.
The Way Forward
The future of warfare entails a lighter human footprint. However, it should be kept in mind that soldiers must be equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, cutting-edge technology and a highly informationised environment.
The proposed recruitment reform in India would help in right sizing the armed forces provided in the future, there are going to be imperatives of fifth generation warfare.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: The post is based on the article “Remembering the ‘Plan Man’ of India” published in “The Hindu” on 29th June 2022.
What is the News?
June 29, is national ‘Statistics Day’, in ‘recognition of the contributions made by Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis’, the ‘Plan Man’ of India; it is also his birthday.
What are the contributions of P.C. Mahalanobis?
P.C. Mahalanobis is referred to as the chief architect of the Indian statistical system as well as the father of statistical science in India.
Believed in Data: Mahalanobis clearly believed data to be instrumental in efficient planning for national and human development. Planning in the newly independent nation in the 1950s was largely based on the data obtained from various surveys.
Contribution to Statistics:
-Mahalanobis established the Statistical Laboratory within the Baker Laboratory at Presidency College.
-In 1931, he established the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata.
-In 1933, Mahalanobis founded Sankhyā, the Indian Journal of Statistics.
-Mahalanobis helped in the establishment of the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the National Sample Survey (NSS) and the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).
-Mahalanobis also served as the Chairman of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling.
-In 1936, he introduced a statistical measure named the Mahalanobis distance. It is widely used in cluster analysis and classification techniques.
-He also devised a statistical method called ‘Fractile Graphical Analysis’. This method is used to compare the socio-economic conditions of varied groups.
-The Mahalanobis model was employed in the Second Five Year Plan. The model laid the blueprint for industrialisation and development in India.
Honours: In 1968, he was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan.
P.C. Mahalanobis’s Friendship with Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore treated Mahalanobis as a close confidant, despite an age gap of 32 years. Mahalanobis first met Tagore at Santiniketan in 1910.
Accompanied Tagore on multiple occasions: Mahalanobis accompanied Tagore on many of his international visits, mostly in the 1920s.
When Tagore met Einstein in 1930, Mahalanobis was also with him. In fact, Einstein asked Tagore about a young scientist named Bose. Mahalanobis then informed Tagore about Satyendra Nath Bose, who would be ever-remembered for Boson.
Mahalanobis’s literary works about Tagore: He wrote a series of essays titled ‘Rabindra Parichay’ (‘Introduction to Rabindra’) for the prestigious Bengali magazine, Probashi. He also wrote a book, Rabindranath Tagore’s Visit to Canada in 1929.
Helped in Tagore’s dream project: Mahalanobis helped Tagore immensely in his dream project — the founding of Visva Bharati. He also served as a joint secretary of Visva Bharati for 10 years from the beginning.
Tagore’s dance drama, ‘Basanta’ (meaning ‘Spring’), had a premier at the Calcutta University institute auditorium on Mahalanobis’ marriage day. Tagore attended the marriage ceremony and presented them with the manuscript of ‘Basanta’.
Source: The post is based on the article “The Adventures Of Emperor Jahangir’s Great Golden Coin” published in “Times of India” on 29th June 2022.
What is the News?
The Centre renewing its efforts to trace two special coins minted during the Mughal period.
About the two special coins
One of them weighing about 12 kg is the biggest and heaviest gold coin ever minted in the world, and it was minted during the reign of Emperor Jahangir, who referred to it as Kaukab-i-Tali. The other one weighing a kilo belonged to Emperor Shahjahan.
Kaukab-i-Tali was 20. 3 cm in diameter, weighed 11,935.8 grams, and was minted in Agra. The coin is also inscribed with the Persian script in different calligraphic styles.
Both of these were last seen with the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The last century saw the 12-kg coin being inherited by Mukarram Jah, the titular Nizam VIII of Hyderabad. It was last seen in a bank in Europe in 1987.
It made news at that time because Mukarram Jah was trying to sell it along with the 1-kg coin at a Swiss auction. Its valuation then was $16 million.
About the Kaukab-i-Tali’s journey from the reign of Emperor Jahangir to Persia
The metrology of coins of Jahangir’s reign shows that in the early 17th century, gigantic coins and zodiacal coins had started to be minted. Such gigantic pieces were also mentioned by foreign travellers like the Venetian Niccolao Manucci and the English Captain Hawkins in their travelogues.
Manucci wrote that such coins were not currency; rather the Mughal emperors gave them as presents to ambassadors and special guests, and they appear to have been significant valuables in their collection.
Jahangir in his autobiography, Tuzuk-i- Jahangiri, tells that a gold mohur weighing 1,000 tolas which he presented to Yadgar Ali, the ambassador of the Shah of Iran on the emperor’s eighth regnal year. This equates to April 10, 1612.
About the Kaukab-i-Tali’s journey from the reign of Emperor Jahangir to Hyderabad
According to the Ishwardas Nagaur’s Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri, when Bijapur was being captured, Emperor Aurangzeb arranged to send relief to the soldiers. Under the escort of Ghaziuddin Khan Bahadur, Ranmast Khan, Amanullah Khan and others the relief reached the camp of Prince Muhammad Azam.
In gratitude, Aurangzeb presented the 1,000-tola gigantic gold coin to Ghaziuddin Khan Feroz Jung I from whom it passed down to his son Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah I.
The coin remained in the possession of the Asaf Jahis until Independence.
What is the issue?
The historical details suggest that one coin weighing 1,000 tolas found its way to Persia and another coin of the same weight remained with the Asaf Jahis in Hyderabad. Even when it comes to the big gold coin of Jahangir that was stationed in Hyderabad, nobody knows what has happened to that.
Source: The post is based on the article “Internet shutdowns hurt much more than we realize: UN rights office” published in Down To Earth on 28th June 2022
What is the News?
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released a report titled “Internet shutdowns: Trends, causes, legal implications and impacts on a range of human rights.”
What are the key findings of the report?
Internet Shutdowns: Internet shutdowns are measures taken by a government or on behalf of a government, to intentionally disrupt access to and the use of information and communications systems online.
The shutdowns are often ordered during civil society movements, security measures as well as electoral proceedings.
History of Internet Shutdowns: The first major internet shutdown that captured global attention took place in Egypt in 2011 and was accompanied by hundreds of arrests and killings.
The #KeepItOn coalition which monitors internet shutdown episodes across the world documented 931 shutdowns in 74 countries from 2016-2021.
The majority of these shutdowns have been reported from Asia and Africa.
Moreover, almost half of all shutdowns recorded by civil society groups from 2016-2021 were carried out in the context of protests and political crisis
Internet Shutdowns in India: According to the report by digital right advocacy group Access Now, India blocked or disrupted internet connections 106 times and at least 85 of India’s internet shutdown episodes were in Jammu & Kashmir.
Economic Impact of Internet Shutdowns: Internet shutdowns carry major economic costs for all sectors, disrupting financial transactions, commerce and industry.
For instance, the World Bank recently calculated that Internet shutdowns in Myanmar alone had cost nearly $2.8 billion from February-December 2021 reversing economic progress made over the previous decade.
What are the suggestions given by the report?
The report urged states to refrain from imposing shutdowns, to maximize Internet access and remove the multiple obstacles standing in the way of communication.
It also called upon companies to speedily share information on disruptions and ensure that they take all possible lawful measures to prevent shutdowns they have been asked to implement.
Source: The post is based on the article “Niti Aayog’s report on India’s gig economy: what has the think-tank recommended?” published in Indian Express on 29th June 2022
What is the News?
NITI Aayog has released a report titled ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’.
What is “India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy” Report?
What are the other findings of the report?
LFPR of Women and Person with Disabilities
The Female Labour Force Participation in India has remained low varying between 16% to 23% in the last few years.
Similarly, Persons with Disabilities who make up 2.11 to 10% of India’s population have a labour force participation rate of 36%.
Structural barriers like access to education and lack of skilling have hindered the participation of the two demographic groups in the country’s labour force.
What are the recommendations of the report?
Fiscal incentives such as tax breaks or startup grants may be provided for businesses that provide livelihood opportunities where women constitute a substantial portion (30%) of their workers.
Businesses should have a higher share of women managers and supervisors in the organization to ensure that communication to workers does not perpetuate gender stereotypes.
Adopt policies that offer old age or retirement plans and benefits, and other insurance covers for contingencies such as injury arising from work that may lead to loss of employment and income.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is Hermit, the Pegasus-like spyware that targeted Android, iOS devices?” published in Indian Express on 29th June 2022
What is the News?
Hermit is the latest sophisticated spyware in the news, and it is believed to have targeted iPhones and Android devices in Italy and Kazakhstan.
What is Hermit?
Hermit is a spyware developed by the Italian commercial spyware vendor RCS Lab.
How does Hermit spread?
The spyware is distributed by text message which looks like coming from a legitimate source. The malware can impersonate other apps that are developed by telecom companies and manufacturers which tricks the victim to download the malware.
How does it affect devices?
Hermit can infect both Android and iOS devices. It is similar to the Pegasus spyware by NSO Group
Once installed on a device, it can record audio on the device, carry out unauthorized calls and many unauthorized activities.
It can also steal data from the target’s calendar and address book apps, as well as take pictures with their phone’s camera. It also has the capability to root an Android device.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Speaker’s powers in a rebellion” published in Indian Express on 29th June 2022
What is the News?
The Supreme Court has extended the time for rebel MLAs in the Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly, to file a written response to the Deputy Speaker’s disqualification notice.
This decision is important because the Supreme Court in previous instances has upheld the Speaker’s powers under the Tenth Schedule. It has allowed judicial review only once the Speaker has made a decision and has ruled out interference with the process.
What is the Tenth Schedule?
Who has the power to disqualify legislators under the Tenth Schedule?
The Tenth Schedule or the anti-defection law gives the Speaker of the House the power to disqualify legislators who ‘defect’ from the party.
Supreme Court on Speakers’ Powers to disqualify legislators:
Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillhu in 1992: In this, the Supreme Court upheld the power vested in the Speaker and said that only the final order of the Speaker will be subject to judicial review. Basically, courts have refrained from interfering with the process itself.
However, the ruling in the Nabam Rebia v Bemang Felix case has shifted the balance on the powers of the Speaker.
Nabam Rebia v Bemang Felix case in 2016: The Supreme Court held that it is “constitutionally impermissible” for a speaker to proceed with disqualification proceedings if a no-confidence motion against him is pending.
This is to ensure that the Speaker who disqualifies legislators must enjoy the confidence of the Assembly.
Hence, this ruling gave a window to defecting legislators to stall or circumvent the Tenth Schedule by seeking removal of the Speaker when disqualification proceedings are anticipated — effectively tying the hands of the Speaker.
How can the Speaker be removed?
Under Article 179 of the Constitution, a Speaker can be removed by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly. The process begins with the notice of at least 14 days.
In the Nabam Rebia ruling, the Supreme Court interpreted Article 179 specifically the term “all the then members of the Assembly”, to mean the composition of the house at the date/time of giving the notice for the removal of the Speaker.
This interpretation would mean that the composition of the Assembly cannot be changed from the date of issuing of a notice of the removal of the Speaker and therefore the Speaker cannot make any decisions under the Tenth Schedule to change the composition of the House until the question of his removal is settled.
Source: The post is based on the article “Gulabi meenakari brooch to ittar bottles: PM Modi’s gifts to G7 leaders a slice of Indian crafts” published in Indian Express on 29th June 2022
What is the News?
The Prime Minister has taken along a plethora of artistic gifts for each of the G7 leaders.
What are the gifts given by the Prime Minister to G7 leaders?
Gulabi Meenakari to US President: It is a GI-tagged art form of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. In this, a piece of pure silver is molded into a base form and the chosen design is embossed on the metal.
Black Pottery to Japan PM: The black pottery pieces were sourced from Nizamabad, Uttar Pradesh. The pottery uses a special technique to bring out the black colour. To make that happen, the pottery is baked in the oven at very high heat without the availability of oxygen.
Metal Marodi carving matka to German Chancellor: This nickel-coated, hand-engraved brass vessel is a masterpiece from Moradabad, also known as the Peetal Nagari or “brass city” of Uttar Pradesh.
Marble Inlay Table Top to Italy PM: Pietra dura or marble inlay has its origin in the Opus sectile – a form of pietra dura popularized in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern.
Dokra art with Ramayana theme to South Africa’s President: It is a non-ferrous metal casting art using the lost-wax casting technique and it has been in India for over 4,000 years.
Nandi-themed Dokra art to Argentina’s President: It is an art piece from Chhattisgarh. According to Hindu mythology ‘Nandi – the Meditative Bull’ is considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva.
Lacquerware ‘Ram Durbar’ to Indonesia’s President: The GI-tagged lacquerware art form has its roots in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It was given to celebrate the shared Ramayana links between India and Indonesia.
Note: It is believed that the Indonesian version of Ramayana – known as Kakawin Ramayana – was written during the Medang Kingdom (8th-11th century) in Central Java.
Source: The post is based on the article “Dak Karmayogi: E-Learning Platform launched by Union Minister” published in PIB on 28th June 2022
What is the News?
Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications has launched Dak Karmayogi Portal.
What is Dak Karmayogi?
Dak Karmayogi is an e-learning portal of the Department of Posts.
Aim: To enhance the competencies of Gramin Dak Sevaks ((Rural Postal Service) and departmental employees by training them on a number of Government to Citizen(G2C) services for enhanced customer satisfaction.
The trainees can access the uniform standardized training content online or in blended campus mode to enable them to effectively deliver a number of G2C services for enhanced customer satisfaction.
The training videos and quizzes on the portal are also available in 12 Indian languages to help postal trainees to access training content in vernacular languages.
Significance: This portal has been developed under the vision of ‘Mission Karmayogi’, which was conceptualized by the Prime Minister with a view to bring efficiency in the actions of all the employees of the Government of India and transform the efficiency of bureaucracy with ‘Minimum Government’ and ‘Maximum Governance’.
What is the Meghdoot Award?
The Meghdoot Award was introduced in 1984 by the Department of Posts.
The award is conferred to recognize the good performance of employees of Department of Posts. The award is conferred in eight categories.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The G7 plan to counter the Belt and Road initiative” published in The Hindu on 29th June 2022
What is the News?
U.S President along with his G7 allies have launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment(PGII) Initiative.
What is the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment(PGII) Initiative?
What kind of projects will the PGII undertake?
All PGII projects will be driven by four priority pillars:
First Pillar: It will focus on tackling the climate crisis and ensuring global energy security through clean energy supply chains.
Second Pillar: It will focus on bolstering digital information and communications technology (ICT) networks facilitating technologies such as 5G and 6G internet connectivity and cybersecurity.
Third Pillar: It aims to advance gender equality and equity.
Fourth Pillar: It focuses on building and upgrading global health infrastructure.
How is PGII different from China’s BRI?
Firstly, China’s Belt and Road project was started to revive connectivity, trade and infrastructure along what was China’s ancient Silk Road. On the other hand, PGII has been set up to help underfunded low and middle-income countries to meet their infrastructure needs.
Secondly, PGII has laid focus on climate action and clean energy while China has built large coal-fired plants under BRI along with solar, hydro, and wind energy projects.
Thirdly, G7 leaders emphasized ‘transparency’ as the cornerstone of PGII projects. On the other hand, BRI has faced criticism for making countries sign confidential tenders for extending massive loans, leaving countries indebted to China.
Fourthly, a PGII project has been announced in India. On the other hand, India has stayed away from China’s BRI, being wary of China’s aim to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean Region
Source: The post is based on the article “Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested by DRDO & Indian Army” published in PIB on 28th June 2022
What is the News?
Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) and the Army have successfully test-fired indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) from Main Battle Tank(MBT) Arjun.
What is a Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile(ATGM)?
Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile(ATGM) has been designed to be fired from tanks.
Developed by: Two Pune-based facilities of the DRDO’s Armament and Combat Engineering (ACE) Cluster — the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory(HEMRL) — in association with Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun.
Range: The missile has the capability to defeat the protected armoured vehicles in ranges from 1.5 to 5 kilometers.
The ATGM uses a ‘tandem’ High Explosive Anti Tank(HEAT) warhead. The term tandem refers to the missiles using more than one detonation in order to effectively penetrate the protective armours of the adversary tanks.
The missile also has the capacity of defeating armoured vehicles which use Explosive Reactive Armours(ERA) which are specially designed armour plates that can counter the impact of the attack projectile.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is the US-led ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ initiative to counter China?” published in Indian Express on 28th June 2022.
What is the News?
The US and its allies — Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom — have launched the ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ Initiative.
What is the Partners in the Blue Pacific(PBP) initiative?
Launched by: US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom
Purpose: It is an “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, and economic ties in the pacific region.
Objectives: 1) To deliver results for the Pacific more effectively and efficiently 2) To expand cooperation between the Pacific and the rest of the world and 3) To focus on bolstering “Pacific regionalism”.
Priority Areas: The areas where PBP aims to enhance cooperation with the pacific islands include climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education.
How is China trying to transform its ties with the Pacific?
China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands in April 2022. This deal has raised serious concerns for the US and its allies as the Chinese will be setting up a military base in the southern Pacific close to the US island territory of Guam and right next to Australia and New Zealand.
Moreover, China has also signed an agreement called the “Common Development Vision” with the 10 Pacific nations. The agreement speaks about China wanting to work with traditional and non-traditional security and expand law enforcement cooperation with these countries.
What other initiatives has the US and allies launched to counter China?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’?