9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 8th, 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 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

The path towards greater religious tolerance and social harmony

Source: The post is based on an article “The path towards greater religious tolerance and social harmony” published in the Indian Express on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS1 Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India; Communalism

Relevance: Religious Amity and Social Harmony

Context: In the words of K M Munshi: “Indian culture is a living force. It absorbs alien elements when necessary but transmutes them into a new pattern of homogeneous richness. It has made us what we are in the world today; and will make us what we want to be in the world tomorrow.” 

Nature of Indian Society

India is the beloved home for practitioners of all major religions in the world. Indian culture accepts diversity of faiths and beliefs.

Chhatrapati Shivaji once wrote to Emperor Aurangzeb that Islam and Hinduism appear to be contrasted terms. But they are nothing but diverse pigments used by the divine painter (the god) to fill in his picture of the whole human race. If men try to draw new lines on a picture, this is not the fault of the painter.”

Importance of harmony and cohesion

Religious harmony and social cohesion are two core elements for progress and development. They are the core requirements for global peace.

What are some worrisome developments emerging on sustaining religious amity?

From time immemorial, the societies have been facing divisiveness on the ground of religion, colour, race, caste, untouchability etc.

Over the last three decades, the most sufferings were inflicted on humanity in the name of religion.

Nani Palkhivala wrote: “A man may study or practice religion. But if he is a fanatical fundamentalist, he deserves to rank as a religious illiterate, whatever his formal education may be”.

Hatred and violence against other religions is generated and created through misinterpretations and misinformation by some ill-equipped minds who could be called religion illiterates. Such persons are severely devoid of that basic human instinct of compassion.

In case of India, the external elements are pursuing the policy of inflicting a thousand cuts on India. They are active and exploiting vulnerable elements like religious divisiveness.

Way Forward

The ultimate goal of all religions is the same. The only differences lie in the paths which have been articulated in varied ways.

Compassion is at the heart of every religion. For example, Dalai Lama refers to his mother as his teacher of compassion.

All practices of separation are a consequence of ignorance. Therefore, expansion of education is important to vanish it.

The basics tenet of Indian culture is that every temple and mosque deserve equal respect and should get it.

True scholars of every religion must rise to the occasion; go to people, and educate them on essential unity of all religions.

We, the people of India, must strive hard to generate compassion, strength, sincerity and commitment to ensure the safety and security of India. Further, there is a need for rejuvenation of the great dialogic tradition


Urban mining

Source: This post is based on the article “Urban mining” published in the Business Standard on 7th June 22.

Syllabus: GS1 – Urbanisation

Relevance: Tackling the problem of Construction and Demolition Wast (C&DW)

News: In late April, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram angrily ordered its officials to find out who dumped “malba” — the Hindi word for Construction and Demolition Waste (C&DW) on either side of the Gurugram-Faridabad road.

Frameworks to tackle C&DW already exist. Implementation needs to be improved.

What are the causes behind C&DW?

C&DW is generated from

a) construction,

b) renovation,

c) repair, and

d) demolition of houses, large building structures, roads, bridges, piers, and dams.

What is the utility of C&DW?

C&DW comprises wood, steel, concrete, gypsum, masonry, plaster, metal, and asphalt. The C&DW comprising cement mortar, stone, red bricks and concrete blocks undergoes screening, crushing and washing.

– It can then be processed to produce usable building materials such as fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, bricks/blocks, tiles, paver blocks, kerbstones and prefab slabs.

Aggregates made from this type of waste can substitute natural aggregates in a number of applications like road construction, landscaping and concrete production. This helps save natural resources and minimize the waste sent to landfills.

Effective management of C&DW helps in curbing excessive consumption of natural resources and contributes to sustainable development.

For example, the demand for sand more than doubled between 2010 and 2020. In India, river sand is primarily used for construction. Increasing demand, constrained availability and limited government oversight have given rise to a thriving illegal trade in sand. Manufactured sand from C&DW provides an environmentally sustainable alternative.

Since almost 60% of the stock of buildings projected to be there in 2030 is yet to be built, effective management of C&DW, and therefore “greener construction” assumes even greater significance.

What are the associated challenges?

Insufficent recycling capacity: India generates an estimated 170 million tonnes of C&DW every year, according to the Building Material Promotion Council. But the official recycling capacity is a meagre 6,500 tonnes per day — just about 1%.

The processing and recycling of C&DW in India is limited to only four operational plants — three in Delhi and one in Ahmedabad.

Rules not implemented: Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules were notified in 2016 and apply to all involved with C&DW.

For example, the rules require state government and local authorities to procure and utilize 10-20% of material made from construction and demolition waste in municipal and government contracts. This is not implemented at all, as is evident from anecdotal evidence.

What steps need to be taken?

To address appropriate C&DW utilisation, elements of the existing policy framework need to be revisited.

The concrete and cement industry should start embedding circularity within their operations i.e. using recycled C&DW by reducing its dependence on natural aggregates and raw materials.

But in order to increase higher utilisation of C&DW in concrete and cement, a fresh set of norms are needed.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) needs to review many of the current specifications it mandates for C&DW usage in cement and concrete.

– In public works programmes too, usage can be allowed to increase from 20 per cent to higher levels of 30-50 per cent.

What is the regulatory framework to tackle municipal waste?

In 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has provided a regulatory framework for the management of municipal solid waste generated in urban areas of the country. These rules attempt to:

Improve the collection, regeneration, recycling, treatment and disposal of C&DW in an environmentally sound manner.-

Emphasise the roles and accountability of waste generators and various stakeholders.

In March, 2017, the Central Pollution Control Board followed this up with detailed procedural guidelines on Environmental Management of C&DW.

Way forward

It is not the lack of official frameworks for managing C&DW. The challenge lies in removing the laxity in their implementation at operating levels. This is now the big change required.

GS Paper 2


The weight of the GST Council ruling

Source: The post is based on an article “The weight of the GST Council ruling” published in the “The Hindu” on

Syllabus: GS2 Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure in India

Relevance: GST Council; Fiscal Federalism

News: Recently, the SC in Union of India Anr. vs Mohit Minerals Pvt. Ltd., ruled that the recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on either the Union or the States.

Some States have rejoiced over the ruling. They believe that this has restored the autonomy of States to legislate on GST.

The SC’s observation in Mohit minerals case

As per Article 246A, the Union and State governments can simultaneously legislate on the GST (except the IGST, which is in the legislative domain of the Union government).

There is no repugnance provision to resolve inconsistencies between the Central and State laws on GST in the constitution. Therefore, the GST Council must function in a harmonised manner to reach a workable fiscal model through cooperation and collaboration, as provided by Article 279A(6).

The GST Council functions under Article 279A. It is a platform to bring the Union and State governments together to promote cooperative federalism.

Debates over the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2011 

In 2013, the Attorney General submitted to the Standing Committee on Finance that the powers of the legislature over the Finance are sacrosanct. The powers will not be affected by the setting up of the GST Council. However, the issue of conflict between the Union and State governments has to be resolved on a platform such as the GST Council.

The Government response after judgment

The Government of India iterated that ruling reiterates the scheme of things in the constitution and the GST laws. The council will continue to work in future the way it has worked in the last 5 years.

It means the Union government is in agreement with this ruling. There is no question of law in this regard.

What are the issues in the GST Council? 

There is an imbalance in the voting rights between the Union and State governments. Therefore, there is an automatic veto power in the hand of the union government because a resolution can be passed with at least three-fourths of the weighted votes.

This makes democratic decision-making difficult. Although all the States has equal weight for their votes, but smaller states having lesser economic stakes can be easily influenced by interest groups.

The GST Council debates are more on political lines rather than on the economics of taxation;

The States have not got full compensation for the shortfall in GST revenue collection during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The states wanted to extend GST compensation beyond June 2022 given the current recession, but there is lack of consensus on it.

Way Forward

There should be a healthy contestation in a federation. A balance should be carried out between the autonomy of legislatures and compromise for obtaining a harmonised commodity tax system.

In a cooperative federalism, there is no space for one-upmanship in either of the two tiers of the Indian federal government.

The GST Council shall be guided by the need for a harmonised structure of GST and for the development of a harmonised national market for goods and services”.

The GST Council’s recommendations are non-qualified and have the force of persuasive value.

The power of the recommendation’s rests on the practice of cooperative federalism and collaborative decision-making in the Council.

In a democracy, the power to legislate is given to Parliament/Assembly by its people. John Locke said, “The legislature cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands because it has been delegated from the people”


Let’s redesign the process of pre-legislative consultation

Source: The post is based on an article “Let’s redesign the process of pre-legislative consultation” published in the Live Mint on 7th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Governance; Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: Pre-legislative Consultation Policy 2014

Context: In 2014, India’s ministry of law and justice issued a policy on pre-legislative consultation.

Background

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a set of 12 recommendations on policymaking practices for member and non-member nations.

Importance of Pre-Legislative Consultation

It ensures transparency in the legislative process. Further, lawmakers keep in mind the concerns of all affected parties.

To do so, regulators should offer meaningful opportunities to the public to participate in the legislative process.

Features of Indian policy

The Central government should place legislative proposals in the public domain for a period of at least 30 days before they are submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.

The proposal must be accompanied by a brief note justifying its necessity, its broad financial implications, an assessment of its impact on the environment as well as the fundamental rights and lives and livelihoods of the people.

Public comments be summarized and placed on the website of the department or ministry concerned. These also had to be included in a note to the Cabinet along with the draft proposal.

What are the issues?

Most legislative proposals in India do follow this practice, but the consultation itself is no more than a formality today.

In many instances, the time set aside for consultation is too short to be of any practical consequence,

The government is under no obligation to justify why a given suggestion was excluded from the final draft.

Stakeholders have no way to tell whether their suggestion was rejected after due consideration or simply ignored.

Way Forward

In order to extract value from pre-legislative consultation, there is a need to redesign the process.

(1) In the first place, instead of putting a draft legislation, the government should first describe the issues for which legislative solutions are being sought. This will lead to the start of a constructive conversation.

The issues for consultation should be put in public domain with a set of questions, to seek responses from the stakeholders.

The feedback should be taken in a structured manner, ideally through a digital interface.

(2) The final step would be to prepare a report that lists all the suggestions received and the final decision arrived at on each issue.

The report should clearly state the reasons for non-acceptance or discarding of the suggestions.

(3) Thereafter, a draft legislation can be prepared along the lines of the final recommendation.

(4) Some Good Cases in India

(a) Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Model: All its recommendations are a result of a process exactly like mentioned above. Therefore, the TRAI reports are highly regarded policy papers in India.

(b) The Justice Srikrishna Committee on data protection also used a similar process. It sought inputs from the stakeholders before making recommendations.

(5) In addition to the government’s approach for accommodating viewpoints of the stakeholder, the stakeholders should also approach such an exercise constructively. They need to realize that policy-making is an exercise in compromise. All their demands during negotiations cannot come on final papers, otherwise the process will become unfortunate and counter-productive.


Bengal decision to make CM as Chancellor

Source: This post is based on the article “Bengal decision to make CM as Chancellor” published in The Hindu on 8th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Role of a Governor

Relevance: Tussle b/w Governor and state government

Context: The time may have come to reconsider having Governors as university Chancellors.

What is the recent issue?

The West Bengal government recently decided to make the Chief Minister the Chancellor of State-run universities, instead of the Governor. This decision appears to be an outcome of the severely strained relations between Governor and Chief Minister.

They have often differed on issues concerning the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and the functioning of universities. The governor had alleged that VCs were appointed without the approval of the Chancellor, the appointing authority; on some occasions, VCs had not turned up for a meeting with the Governor-Chancellor.

Other instances of friction b/w Governor and state govt

Tamil Nadu recently passed Bills to empower the State government, instead of the Chancellor, to appoint VCs. It also passed a separate Bill to establish a new university for alternative systems of medicine, with the Chief Minister as its Chancellor. The Bills are yet to receive the Governor’s assent.

In Kerala, there is a different kind of controversy, with the Governor asking the Chief Minister to take over the Chancellor’s role in the light of alleged political interference in the functioning of universities.

These developments underscore that the conferment of statutory roles to Governors may be a source of friction between elected regimes and Governors, who are seen as agents of the Centre.

Why Governors hold the office of Chancellor?

The original intent of making Governors hold the office of Chancellor and vesting some statutory powers on them was to insulate universities from political influence.

Justice R.S. Sarkaria Commission, acknowledged the distinction between the Governor’s constitutional role and the statutory role performed as a Chancellor, and also underlined that the Chancellor is not obliged to seek the government’s advice.

Justice M.M. Punchhi Commission, which examined Centre-State relations, was quite forthcoming in its 2010 report. Noting that the Governor should not be “burdened with positions and powers… which may expose the office to controversies or public criticism”, it advised against conferring statutory powers on the Governor.

Way forward

The time may have come for all States to reconsider having the Governor as the Chancellor.

However, they should also find alternative means of protecting university autonomy so that ruling parties do not exercise undue influence on the functioning of universities.


Dhiraj Nayyar writes: The problem with putting the civil services on a pedestal

Source: This post is based on the article “Dhiraj Nayyar writes: The problem with putting the civil services on a pedestal” published in The Indian Express on 8th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Governance

Relevance: Civil services and related issues

Context: Most countries in the world have a cadre of professional civil servants, but nowhere are new entrants to the system of government celebrated like in India. It’s like the public itself hasn’t overcome the colonial legacy of the civil service being the grandest of professions.

This has consequences, and must change.

Why society has a favorable view of civil services?

Most ordinary people don’t aspire for themselves or their children to join politics which is viewed as murky, the domain of the less-educated non-professionals. But the civil services are highly aspirational. It is due to the following reasons –

For one, candidates are selected on merit based on an open examination and interview. One cannot inherit a position in the civil services, like in politics.

Then there is the job security that comes with gaining entry. Unless a civil servant does an extraordinary wrong, she has a job for life, and steady, time-bound promotions which ensure that everyone retires at the top irrespective of performance.

What are the weaknesses in the civil services?

In the perceived strengths of the civil services lie its weaknesses.

– The single UPSC examination, which most candidates take in their early or mid-20s, is treated as gospel. Often, it is used as an argument against lateral entry because unless people have passed that examination, they are deemed to not be meritorious or deserving of being in government. It is also used to determine career trajectories. Those who stood first or second in their batch while in their 20s are more likely to rise to important positions such as cabinet secretary or foreign secretary thirty years later when they are in their late 50s. Merit and competence cannot be judged by a single exam.

The permanence of the job is a problem too. Punishment for over-reach or misuse of power is a transfer, either from a weightier ministry to a lighter one or from high-profile capitals to geographically remote ones.

The result is that all civil servants, never mind their ability or competence, operate in a system of limited accountability with few incentives to perform and plenty of opportunities to use and abuse their powers.

Way forward

The civil services system needs to be brought down from its pedestal and placed at par with every other profession like elsewhere in the world. This will not happen via political diktat. It requires the weight of public opinion.

The system must be manned by capable, competent individuals. This cannot be decided on the basis of one exam.

The bad eggs need to be separated, which cannot happen when the job is for life.


WTO rules on foodgrains must be updated

Source: This post is created based on the article “WTO rules on foodgrains must be updated” published in Business Standard on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2- International Institutions and Related issues

News: About 60 countries, including India and China, have pushed for a joint proposal for consideration of several WTO rules. The proposal was pushed at the upcoming 12th ministerial summit of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The proposal has been moved to solve some of the contentious issues linked to, food stockholding, agricultural subsidies, international trade, and humanitarian aid.

What are the aspects that have been proposed to change in the computation of farm subsidies?

WTO’s methodology still uses 1986-88 prices as the benchmark.

Existing provisions regarding permissible subsidies are fixed at present at a maximum of 10 percent of the value of the produce.

Peace clause

WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), which has failed to deliver on its aims to remove trade barriers, promote transparent market access, and integrate global markets. AoA has been criticised for its tilt towards the developed countries.

What are the reasons behind pushing for these reforms?

First, the proposal has been supported not only by food-exporting but also food-importing countries of Asia, Africa, and the Pacific regions, including India, China, Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa, and Pakistan.

Second, the present rules were mainly negotiated and drafted by US and the European Union. The negotiators from the developing countries were mainly officials from their trade ministries, who were not allowed to have much say in these negotiations.

Third, the reference period for the calculation of subsidies 1986-88, favoured developed countries. it allowed them greater leeway to increase their support to the farmers while denying the similar space to developing countries. Thus the reference period require updation.

Fourth, the proposal permits exports of foodgrains from public stocks to meet the urgent needs of food-stressed countries.

Lastly, it envisages greater flexibility for developing countries to formulate their policies concerning the production, acquisition, and stocking of foodgrain. It will promote domestic food security of developing countries.


GS Paper 3


Crime and copyright infringement

Source: The post is based on an article “Crime and copyright infringement” published in the “The Hindu” on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Intellectual property rights (IPR)

Relevance: The Copyright laws in India

News: The Supreme Court of India, in Knit Pro International v. The State of NCT has ruled that the copyright infringement is a cognisable offence under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.

Legal framework for copyright in India

The Indian Copyright Act makes a distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement.

It allows the courts to impose a sentence of less than six months or a fine of less than Rs. 50,000. The imprisonment may extend up to three years.

The law criminalises those acts which grossly violate a copyrighted work. For example, Bollywood production house faces criminal investigations on the criminal complaints filed by scriptwriters.

What is a cognizable Offence?

It means that the police can begin investigations into allegations of copyright infringement on receiving a complaint. However, in a non-cognisable offence, the police start an investigation only after a judicial magistrate had taken cognisance of the offence and directed the police to initiate an investigation.

Implication of the judgment

Since the offence would be cognisable and non-bailable. Therefore, the copyright owners, especially in the software and music industries, can extort disproportionate licence fees in the name of police threat against potential infringers.

This will take away the right of the accused to post a bail bond with the police. This prevent shifting the responsibility on to the courts for judicial determination on a case-by-case basis.

The decision can pave the way for the police to impinge on civil liberties, like it can have chilling effects on free speech. Further, it can lead to impeding the ease of business and have

What are issues in allowing the police to begin criminal investigations into copyright infringement?

Unlike trademark law, it is not mandatory under the Copyright Act to register copyrights as a necessary precondition in order to enforce the same. A copyright is created the moment a piece of art or music or literature is fixed on a medium, provided it is original.

There can be issues on asserting whether the said piece of art or music or literature is in fact ‘original’.

In case of original content, the use of the copyrighted work is permissible or not, is another question.

If a copyright work is qualified for protection under the Designs Act of 2000. In that case, the copyright protection cannot be claimed under the Copyright Act.

Further, In the very question of determination of copyright infringement, the require the court applies the test of substantial similarity (both qualitative and quantitative) on a case-by-case basis.

The present levels of training and funding of the investigation officers like the average police sub-inspector, to conduct an efficient investigation into copyright infringement is limited.

Argument against making copyright infringement a cognizable offence

The criminalisation of copyright infringement in India should be re-looked. In 1914, the copyright infringement only attracted a monetary fine under the Imperial Copyright Act, 1911. Later, one-year imprisonment was introduced in 1957. Further, the term of punishment was tripled to three years.

The TRIPS do not require criminalising all kinds of copyright infringement. It differentiates between copyright infringement and copyright piracy. All piracy of copyrighted works is an act of infringement, but all infringement cannot be termed as piracy. For example, the criminal measures can be applied against “wilful copyright piracy” on a “commercial scale”.

It is difficult to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt in copyright infringement cases.

Way Forward

The law should be amended to differentiate between the different acts of copyright infringement and to include the requirement of prior judicial cognisance to start criminal investigation by the police.


The shadows over global growth recovery are long

Source: The post is based on an article “The shadows over global growth recovery are long” published in the “The Hindu” on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Indian Economy; Issues and challenges pertaining to growth and development

Relevance: Economic Recovery

News: There has not been a full recovery from the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic prospects have worsened. There is divergence between the economic recoveries of advanced economies and those of the developing ones.

What are the macroeconomic forces behind inadequate recovery?

Supply Chain Disruptions

There are prevailing uncertainties in global growth prospects due to frequent disruptions to worldwide supply chains in the last two years. These disruptions have been caused by the Covid-19, invasion of Ukraine by Russia, recurrent lockdowns in key manufacturing hubs.

Inflation concerns

At present, inflation has become a central concern. For 2022, inflation is projected at 5.7% in advanced economies and 8.7% in emerging market and developing economies. At present, the major contributors to high inflation are energy and food prices.

A tight fossil fuel supply and geopolitical uncertainty have caused a hike in oil and gas prices.

In developing economies, rising food prices have had cascading effects. It has led to higher overall inflation. For example, higher energy prices result in high transportation costs. Therefore, prices of input such as fertilizers, increases, resulting in higher prices of cereals.

Capital outflows

There has been a sudden spurt in capital outflows from emerging markets and developing economies in recent months due to mounting risk in the market. There have been tighter monetary conditions and rising inflation.

For example, The US Central bank has tightened interest rates.

What are the impacts?

In developing economies, higher prices for food impacts different sections of the population differently. For example, the low-income households’ strata are particularly vulnerable to price changes. They often consume diets with just one type of grain.

For developing economies, the sudden large capital outflows have resulted into currency depreciation and tighter external sector conditions.

What are the challenges to deal with economic situation?

The domestic fiscal policy space has already been eroded in many developing countries due to COVID-19-related spending.

The increase in global interest rates will further reduce this contracted fiscal space in many economies.

As per the IMF’s ‘World Economic Outlook’, the debt levels in developing countries have touched an all-time high due to huge fiscal expansion during the coronavirus pandemic.

The factors contributing to high inflation (energy and food prices which are driven by global supply shocks) are beyond the control of central banks.

The sudden capital flow reversals can threaten financial stability.

Way Forward

Monetary Policy

The Central banks need to carefully monitor the pass-through of rising international prices to domestic inflation to calibrate their responses.

The RBI should tighten monetary policy according to prevailing economic situations and activity levels.

Central banks should maintain the credibility of their inflation-targeting frameworks. It should adopt measures for inflation stabilisation.

Foreign exchange interventions could address market imbalances.

Fiscal Policy

It is important to prune expenditure and get back to the road of fiscal consolidation.

Safety nets needed

While fiscal consolidation, the government should also prioritise spending to protect and help vulnerable populations affected by price increases and the pandemic.

In the post-pandemic global economy, there is going to be transitions like the energy transition. Therefore, there will be a likely cross-sectoral labour reallocation. The government should ensure safety nets for workers. For example, temporary public support for displaced workers, training programmes and hiring subsidies

In the developing economies, the governments have to prepare for tighter financial conditions and spillovers from geopolitical volatility.


Of what good is a bad bank?

Source: This post is based on the article “Of what good is a bad bank?” published in The Hindu on 7th June 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Economy

Relevance: Bad bank and related issues

News: Union Finance Minister recently announced that the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) along with the India Debt Resolution Company (IDRCL) will take over the first set of bad loans from banks and try to resolve them.

The decision to set up a bad bank was taken by the Union government during the Budget presented last year in the aftermath of the nationwide lockdowns, and the moratorium was subsequently extended to borrowers by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio of Indian banks has declined from a peak of 11.2% in FY18 to 6.9% in Q2FY22.
What is a ‘bad bank’?

A bad bank is a financial entity set up to buy non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, from banks.

The aim of setting up a bad bank is to help ease the burden on banks by taking bad loans off their balance sheets and get them to lend again to customers without constraints.

After the purchase of a bad loan from a bank, the bad bank may later try to restructure and sell the NPA to investors who might be interested in purchasing it.

How does a bad bank generate profit for itself?

A bad bank makes a profit in its operations if it manages to sell the loan at a price higher than what it paid to acquire the loan from a commercial bank.

However, generating profits is usually not the primary purpose of a bad bank — the objective is to ease the burden on banks, of holding a large pile of stressed assets, and to get them to lend more actively.

What are the pros and cons of setting up a bad bank?

Advantages

A supposed advantage in setting up a bad bank, it is argued, is that it can help consolidate all bad loans of banks under a single exclusive entity. The idea of a bad bank has been tried out in countries such as the U.S., Germany, Japan and others in the past.

Disadvantages

Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has been one of the fiercest critics of the idea.

He argued that a bad bank backed by the government will merely shift bad assets from the hands of public sector banks, which are owned by the government, to the hands of a bad bank, which is again owned by the government.

Other analysts believe that unlike a bad bank set up by the private sector, a bad bank backed by the government is likely to pay too much for stressed assets.

While this may be good news for public sector banks, which have been reluctant to incur losses by selling off their bad loans at cheap prices, it is bad news for taxpayers who will once again have to foot the bill for bailing out troubled banks.

Will a ‘bad bank’ help ease the bad loan crisis?

A key reason behind the bad loan crisis in public sector banks, is the nature of their ownership.

Private banks are owned by individuals who have strong financial incentives to manage them well. On the other hand, public sector banks are managed by bureaucrats who may often not have the same commitment to ensuring these lenders’ profitability.

To that extent, bailing out banks through a bad bank does not really address the root problem of the bad loan crisis.

Further, there is a huge risk of moral hazard. The safety net provided by a bad bank gives banks more reason to lend recklessly and thus further exacerbate the bad loan crisis.

Will it help revive credit flow in the economy?

Read here.


Look at per capita: Environment reports don’t do justice to better measure of India’s carbon footprint

Source: This post is created based on the article “Look at per capita:” published in the Times of India on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3- Environment

News: Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 was released recently.

Recently, Environmental Performance Index 2022 ranked India at the bottom of 180 countries. The findings of the index are not accurate.

EPI does not generally accept information directly from governments. Data is used from multiple sources, including government data. Thus, the ranking does not accurately reflect India’s performance.

EPI shows that India’s performance on air quality is abysmal.

Why EPI findings about India, are not accurate?

EPI report must consider the following aspects in its findings:

First, almost one in six humans live in India.

Second, India’s cumulative CO2 emissions till 2019 were a mere 3% as against 47% of the US and EU combined. The industrialised nations, which have emitted most of the greenhouse gases are among the best performers in EPI.

Third, in terms of per capita GHG emission, India is at 53 and ahead of Norway.

Fourth, India’s per capita energy consumption in 2019 for air-conditioning was just 25% of the world average of 272 kWh.

What steps India should take?

First, as per Pollution Control Board data poor air quality is mainly on account of post-harvest practices in agriculture and natural causes. But, not all farmers burn their stubble, where stubble has an economic value, stubble is not burnt.

Second, cost-effective solutions to reduce the impact of natural causes such as dust need attention right away.

Finally, rethinking the role of public transport is indispensable.


Indigenise smart: Heavy investment in R&D is needed to take Indian defence production to next level

Source: This post is created based on the article “Indigenise smart: Heavy investment in R&D is needed to take Indian defence production to next level” published in The Times of India on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Industries and Industrial policies of India – Science and technology

News: To promote indigenization, defense ministry has given the initial approval to projects worth Rs 76,390 crore.

All the proposed capital acquisitions will be under the ‘Buy and Make Indian’ mechanism.

What are the projects approved?

Construction of eight next-generation corvettes for the navy,

Procurement of wheeled armored fighting vehicles, and

The manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Sukhoi-30 MKI aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

Why India is moving towards indigenisation?

First, with 50% of India’s overall military assets Russian made, War in Ukraine has brought India’s over-dependence on Russia to light.

Second, the performance of Russian military platforms in the war has been poor.

What are the factors to be considered in indigenisation?

First, the competitive bidding process must be tightly controlled. The bidding process could throw up controversies that defeat long-term objectives.

Second, India has achieved 90% indigenization in the ‘float’ (hull and superstructure) component of warship-building. However, the ‘move’ (propulsion) and ‘fight’ (weapons) components are still at 60% and 50% indigenisation.

Third, most of our indigenisation success has been in auxiliary and spares. For example; after the failure of the Kaveri project, we are yet to develop a fully indigenous aero-engine for military aircraft.

Fourth, we need to significantly up our investment in R&D. Also, a cutting-edge military-industrial ecosystem with universities, private sector, and defence PSUs, should be developed.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Environment Performance Index: India fails green test, finishes at bottom

Source: The post is based on the article “Environment Performance Index: India fails green test, finishes at bottom” published in Indian Express on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Environment Performance Index(EPI) 2022 has been released.

What is the Environment Performance Index(EPI)?

Type: EPI is a biennial index.

Started in: 2002 as an Environmental Sustainability Index by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

The 2022 EPI is a joint project of the Yale Center and Columbia’s Earth Institute.

Parameters: Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality. 

These indicators provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy targets. Overall, EPI rankings indicate which countries are best addressing environmental challenges.

What are the key findings of the Index?

Topped by: Denmark

India: India has been ranked 180th in the index. This is the last among 180 countries that have been ranked. In 2020, India was ranked 168th.

The index has said that India has prioritized economic growth over environmental sustainability.

Observations: As per EPI estimates, only a handful of countries including Denmark and the United Kingdom are on track to meet net zero-emission goals by 2050. 

Nations such as China, India and Russia are headed in the wrong direction with rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The index projects that four countries — China, India, the United States, and Russia — will account for over 50% of residual global greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 if the current trends hold.


Minister of Civil Aviation launches National Air Sports Policy

Source: The post is based on the articleMinister of Civil Aviation launches National Air Sports Policy” published in PIB on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Civil Aviation has launched National Air Sport Policy 2022 (NASP 2022).

Note: Air sports encompasses various sports activities involving the medium of air. These include sports like air-racing, aerobatics, aero modeling, hang gliding, paragliding, paramotoring and skydiving etc. 

What is National Air Sport Policy 2022(NASP 2022)?

Aim: To lay out the vision of making India as one of the top sports nations by 2030 by providing a safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable air sports ecosystem in India.

Objectives:

– Promote an air sports culture in the country.

– Enable adoption of international good practices in safety including but not limited to, air sports infrastructure, equipment, operations, maintenance and training.

– Develop a simple, stakeholder-friendly and effective governance structure.

– Enhance participation and success of Indian sportspersons in global air sports events; and

– Promote design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment in India in line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Sports Covered: The policy will cover air sports such as aerobatics, aeromodelling, model rocketry, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, gliding and powered gliding. It also covers hang-gliding and powered hang-gliding, parachuting (including skydiving, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying), paragliding and paramotoring (including powered parachute trikes), powered aircraft and rotorcraft.

Four Tier Governance Structure: Under the policy, there will be a four-tier governance structure for air sports in India namely:

Air Sports Federation of India(ASFI) is the apex governing body

National associations for individual air sports or a set of air sports, as appropriate

Regional (e.g. West/ South/ North East etc.) or State and Union Territory level units of the national air sports associations, as appropriate and

District-level air sports associations as appropriate.

Read more: Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports invites suggestions on draft National Youth Policy

State Food Safety Index: Tamil Nadu tops food safety index

Source: The post is based on the article “Tamil Nadu tops food safety index published in The Hindu on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Health Minister has released the 4th State Food Safety Index.

What is the State Food Safety Index?

Started in: 2018-19

Prepared by: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) 

Aim: To measure the performance of states on parameters of Food Safety with the aim of creating a competitive and positive change in India’s food safety ecosystem.

Parameters: The five parameters include: 1) Compliance, 2) Human Resources and Institutional Data, 3) Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance, 4) Training & Capacity Building and 5) Consumer Empowerment.

Significance: The Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs.

What are the key findings of the index?

Larger States: Tamil Nadu has topped followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Smaller States: Goa stood first followed by Manipur and Sikkim.

Union territories: Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured first, second and third rank respectively.

Other Initiatives launched

AyurvedaAahar logo: It is a logo which contains the initials of Ayurveda and Ahara, the first in Devanagari and the second in English with five leaves symbolizing five elements of nature. This logo will help in the easy identification of ayurvedic foods.


Union Finance Minister launches Single Nodal Agency(SNA) Dashboard as a part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) celebration

Source: The post is based on the articleUnion Finance Minister launches Single Nodal Agency(SNA) Dashboard as a part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) celebration published in PIB on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Finance has launched the Single Nodal Agency(SNA) Dashboard of PFMS (Public Financial Management System).

What is SNA Dashboard?

SNA Dashboard is a major reform initiated in 2021.

Purpose: It is a system with regards to the manner in which funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are released, disbursed and monitored.  

Under this system, each state is required to identify and designate an SNA for every scheme. All funds for that State in a particular scheme are now credited in this bank account and all expenses by all other Implementing Agencies involved are effected from this account. 

Significance of SNA Model

Firstly, this model ensures that the allocation of funds to States for the CSS is made in a timely manner and after meeting various stipulations. 

Secondly, effective implementation of this Model has brought about greater efficiency in CSS fund utilization, tracking of funds, pragmatic and just-in-time release of funds to the States; ultimately all contributing to better Cash Management of the Government.


Union Minister for Home inaugurated the National Tribal Research Institute in New Delhi

Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister for Home inaugurated the National Tribal Research Institute in New Delhipublished in PIB on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Home Minister has inaugurated the National Tribal Research Institute(NTRI).

What is the National Tribal Research Institute(NTRI)?

NTRI will be the premier national institute for the promotion and preservation of tribal heritage and culture and the nerve centre of tribal research issues and matters in academic, executive and legislative fields.

Located at: New Delhi

Functions of NTRI

– To collaborate with other research organizations and academic institutions and monitor the activities of its various research departments and grant scholarships to the best students.

– To monitor projects of Tribal Research Institutes(TRIs), Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and set up norms for improvement in the quality of research and training.

– To provide policy inputs to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs as well as State Welfare Departments and design programs that improve or support socio-economic aspects of tribals.

– To provide guidelines in setting and running Tribal Museums and showcasing the rich tribal cultural heritage of India under one umbrella.

What is Tribal Research Institute(TRI)?

Tribal Research Institute(TRI) is the research body of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs at the state level. There are 26 Tribal Research Institutes(TRIs) supported by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. 


Joint Count of Elephant and Big Cats

Source: The post is based on the article “Joint Count of Elephant and Big Catspublished in The Hindu on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The government of India, for the first time this year, will present a unified count of the tiger, leopard and elephant populations of the country.

How is the tiger and elephant survey held currently?

Currently, Elephant and Tiger Surveys are held separately.

The tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years. 

According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there were 2,967 tigers in India.

According to the last count in 2017, there were 29,964 elephants in India.

What will be changed now?

For the first time, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is converging elephant and tiger population estimation. The results for the census are expected to come in by July next year.

In this census, tigers would be counted by deploying camera traps, identifying individuals based on stripes as well as statistical analysis.

Elephant numbers would be estimated by States based on DNA analysis of their dung droppings and statistical techniques. 

Note: In the past, the methods for elephant census were not scientific. It was based on a headcount method which was “obsolete” and frequently led to animals being double-counted.


Explained: How are Rajya Sabha MPs elected?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: How are Rajya Sabha MPs elected?published in Indian Express on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats across 15 states are slated to be held on June 10 and the results will be announced on the same day. 

What is Rajya Sabha?

The Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of Parliament is modelled after the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. 

The Rajya Sabha currently has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated. As per the constitutional limit, the Upper House’s strength cannot exceed 250.

While 233 members are elected from states and Union Territories (UTs), the President of India nominates the remaining 12 from the fields of art, literature, science and social services. 

The Vice-President is the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

How are Rajya Sabha MPs elected?

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs through an indirect election. Article 80(4) provides that members shall be elected by the elected members of state Assemblies through a system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for the allocation of Rajya Sabha seats to the states and Union Territories on the basis of the population of each state.

Elections are held where there are more candidates than vacancies; otherwise, candidates are elected unopposed.

Why don’t the Rajya Sabha polls have a secret ballot?

The Rajya Sabha polls have a system of open ballots, but it is a limited form of openness.

As a measure to check rampant cross-voting, there is a system of each party MLA showing his or her marked ballots to the party’s authorized agent (called Whip), before they are put into the ballot box.

Showing a marked ballot to anyone other than one’s own party’s authorized agent will render the vote invalid. Not showing the ballot to the authorized agent will also mean that the vote cannot be counted.

And independent candidates are barred from showing their ballots to anyone.

Is there a NOTA option in voting in Rajya Sabha?

The ECI issued two circulars in 2014 and in 2015 giving Rajya Sabha members the option to press the NOTA button in the Upper House polls.

However, in 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the provision, holding that the ‘none of the above’ option is only for general elections. It cannot be applied to indirect elections based on proportional representation.

Does cross-voting attract disqualification?

The Supreme Court, while declining to interfere with the open ballot system, ruled that not voting for the party candidate will not attract disqualification under the anti-defection law.

As voters, MLAs retain their freedom to vote for a candidate of their choice.

However, the Court observed that since the party would know who voted against its own candidate, it is free to take disciplinary action against the legislator concerned.

Can a legislator vote without taking an oath as a member of the Assembly?

While taking an oath as a member is for anyone to function as a legislator, the Supreme Court has ruled that a member can vote in a Rajya Sabha election even before taking an oath as a legislator. 

It ruled that voting at the Rajya Sabha polls, being a non-legislative activity, can be performed without taking an oath. 

A person becomes a member as soon as the list of elected members is notified by the ECI. Further, a member can also propose a candidate before taking an oath.


Kolkata, centuries before Job Charnock: What newly excavated finds tell us

Source: The post is based on the article “Kolkata, centuries before Job Charnock: What newly excavated finds tell us” published in Indian Express on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

Recent excavations by the Kolkata Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) at a mound outside the Robert Clive House in Dum Dum have revealed evidence of settlements in Kolkata that can be almost 2,000 years old. 

These findings provided further evidence of human habitation in Kolkata from centuries before the time British administrator Job Charnock was said to have founded the city.

About Kolkata

Kolkata with its grand colonial structures like Victoria Memorial, Town Hall, Metcalfe Hall, and St. John’s Church is widely considered to be a colonial city. 

Job Charnock, an English administrator who landed in the city in the mid-17th Century is considered the founder of the city as he took control of three villages Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. 

However, a 2003 judgment of the Calcutta High Court ruled that the English administrator cannot be called the “founder” of Kolkata. 

Why did the court rule that Charnock was not the founder of Kolkata City?

The Court ruling is based on a report from an academic committee. The committee found that a “highly civilized society” and “an important trading centre” had existed on the site long before Charnock established his settlement. 

The committee also found that a place called Kalikatah was an important religious center adjacent to Kalighat village with its Kali temple. The site is mentioned in Bipradas Pipilai’s Manasa Mangala (1495) and Abul Fazl’s Ain-I-Akbari(1596).

Further, the excavations at Chandraketugarh about 25 km from the present demarcations of Kolkata had also provided some evidence in the 1950s and the 1960s. 

About Clive House

​​Clive House is one of the oldest buildings in Kolkata. It is named after Robert Clive, the first British Governor of Bengal Presidency who used it as a country house. 

Some records mention a treaty between Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah and Robert Clive in this building on February 6 or 9, 1757.


What are ‘green jobs’, mentioned by the PM in his Environment Day speech?

Source: The post is based on the article “What are ‘green jobs’, mentioned by the PM in his Environment Day speech?” published in Indian Express on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

At an event to mark World Environment Day, the Prime Minister spoke about India’s consistent efforts to combat climate change. He also mentioned India’s efforts to create ‘green jobs’.

What are Green Jobs?

‘Green jobs’ refer to a class of jobs that directly have a positive impact on the planet, and contribute to the overall environmental welfare. 

Jobs involving renewable energy, conservation of resources, and ensuring energy-efficient means are categorized under the green jobs. 

In all, they’re aimed at reducing the negative environmental impact of economic sectors and furthering the process of creating a low-carbon economy.

India and Green Jobs

According to the International Labour Organization(ILO), India moving to a green economy by the next decade would alone create about 3 million jobs in the renewable energy sector.

For instance, the renewable energy sector created about 47,000 new jobs in 2017 accounting for a 12% increase in just the span of a year.

Initiatives to Promote Green Jobs
Green Jobs Initiative 

Launched by: International Labour Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Employers Organization in 2008.

Purpose: It is aimed at bettering placements, training and creating opportunities for individuals to work in ‘green jobs’.

Skill Council for Green Jobs 

Setup by: Government of India in 2015 as a not-for-profit, independent, industry-led initiative.

Promoted by: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy(MNRE) and the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII)

The council has also been aligned to the National Skill Development Missions.

Mandate: To help manufacturers and other service providers in India’s ‘green business’ sector to implement industry-led, collaborative skills push the country on the path to truly realizing the real potential and significance of ‘green jobs’.


How new rules will change life on social media

Source: The post is based on the article “How new rules will change life on social media” published in Live mint on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY) has released a fresh draft of the amendment to the Information Technology(IT) Rules 2021.

What are the new amendments to the IT Rules,2021?

The rules required additional compliance measures for Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMIs), which is any social media platform with more than five million users in India. SSMIs need to adhere to these rules in order to be eligible for safe harbour protections mentioned in Section 79 of India’s IT Act.

Note: Safe harbour protections are very important for platforms that deal with user-generated content. These protections ensure that the platform cannot be sued for a post, message etc shared by a user using its services.

Read here: Union Govt seeks fresh comments on Draft IT Rules
Are these rules mandatory for Social Media Intermediaries?

Experts have said that non-compliance will not lead to a ban. Even if the platforms don’t comply with these rules, the platforms can continue operations in India, but they can’t seek safe harbour protections in the case of a suit.

What are the benefits of new amendments?

The amendments will supersede decisions made by platforms. Hence, the platforms may be able to escape controversy if a contentious post is referred to the new authority and the decision taken out of their hands.

What are the challenges associated with the new amendments?

a) The rules can be misused by government agencies to suppress dissent or take other undemocratic steps, b) The rules will dilute the platforms’ own control over its services. This might affect user experience.


Centre tweaks rules to widen CDS choice pool: Serving & retired 3-star officers also eligible now

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre tweaks rules to widen CDS choice pool: Serving & retired 3-star officers also eligible now” published in The Times of India on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The government has tweaked the Army, IAF and Navy rules to widen the “pool of selection” for the chief of defence staff (CDS) post.

What is the chief of defence staff (CDS) post?

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a high military office that will oversee and coordinate the working of the three Defence Services in India. The CDS is important for the integration of tri-service personnel in India.

Read more: The role and significance of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
What are the new rule changes for the selection of CDS?
Rule change for CDS
Source: TOI

The three chiefs (Army, Navy and Air force) serve till the age of 62 or for three years, whichever is earlier, while the CDS can go up to 65.

The gazette notification amending the Army Rules 1954 said that the Central Government may consider “an officer who is serving as Lt General or General or an officer who has retired in the rank of Lt General or General but has not attained the age of 62 on the date of his appointment” for the post of CDS. Similar amendments were carried out in the Air Force and Navy Acts.

Apart from the present Army, IAF and Navy chiefs who are four-star Generals, the rule change made the serving or retired three-star military officers will now be considered for the chief of defence staff (CDS) post.

What is the need for a rule change?

The post of CDS has been lying vacant since Gen Bipin Rawat’s untimely death in a helicopter crash on December 8 last year. Gen Rawat’s death has slowed down the entire process to build integrated war-fighting machinery within budgetary constraints through the creation of theatre commands.

Further, the rule change will widen the “pool of selection” for the country’s top military post.

What are the pending works for CDS?

With the groundwork already done by Gen Rawat, one of the crucial tasks for the new CDS will be to work towards the creation of four new unified commands: the integrated maritime theatre command, the air defence command, and two land-based commands for Pakistan and China.

Read more: A post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would resolve many security problems and challenges in India

Shreyas Hosur creates history by becoming first ever Railway officer to complete ‘IRONMAN’ Triathlon

Source: The post is based on the article “Shreyas Hosur creates history by becoming first ever Railway officer to complete ‘IRONMAN’ Triathlon” published in PIB on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

Shreyas Hosur, from South Western Railway, has become the first-ever Railway officer and also the first-ever officer from the non-uniformed Civil Services to complete the gruelling ‘IRONMAN’ Triathlon. He completed the event in 13 hrs 26 mins.

What is the ‘IRONMAN’ Triathlon?

It is a  gruelling single-day sports event that includes swimming for 3.8 km, cycling for 180 km and a run of 42.2 kilometres. It is one of the toughest one-day sporting events.

Event location: The current event is held in Germany.

Most Ironman events have a time limit of 16 or 17 hours to complete the race, course dependent, with the race typically starting at 7:00am.

The event requires a lot of endurance and strength. Once the persons start, they are alone and manage everything. Including an injury or bike repair. There are a lot of uncertainties and the weather in Germany is different.

The finishers of the event are popularly known as ‘IRONMAN’ befitting the mental and physical strength the event demands.


DST launches Geospatial Self Certification Portal

Source: The post is based on the article “DST launches Geospatial Self Certification Portal” published in PIB on 7th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched the Self Certification Portal for conveying adherence to provisions of Geospatial Guidelines by Individuals, companies, organizations, and government agencies.

About the Self Certification Portal

Purpose: This Portal facilitates entities engaged in map-related activities to certify themselves quickly and easily.

Developed by: The Portal has been developed by the Department of Science and Technology in collaboration with NIC.

Other information regarding the portal: The self-certification facility for entities in the portal is free and universal. Entities can be a) Individuals or organisations, b) Govt or Private, c) Indian or Foreign, d) Engaged in production or sales etc.

The portal is built based on Geo-Spatial guidelines released by Govt of India in Feb 2021.

Note: The guidelines have deregulated all aspects of mapping activities in India from surveys to sales.

Must read: DST announce liberalization of “Geospatial data and Mapping” Policy
What is the significance of the Self Certification Portal?

1) The portal will streamline the process of creation of Geospatial Data, Maps, products, solutions and services with a self-certification regime.

2) The portal will cut down time spent on obtaining clearances and approvals drastically for Geospatial companies, researchers, academia, and innovators for carrying out Geospatial related activities. Earlier, this process would take up around a year’s time in prior approvals and clearances before actually starting the work on the project.

3) The portal will fast-track the Geospatial related activities in India. The liberalized Geospatial regime would play a pivotal role to modernize agriculture, manufacturing, construction, utilities, disaster management, urban development and governance.

Read more: Geospatial Sector in India – Explained, pointwise

Mains Answer Writing

Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? In his Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister paid tribute to a range of personalities from India’s freedom struggle including fearless revolutionary heroes and… Continue reading Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech

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Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Gujarat government has released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gangrape case of 2002 under its remission and… Continue reading Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail

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How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study

Source: The post is based on the article “How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study” published in Down To Earth on 11th August 2022. What is the News? According to a study published in The Nature journal, giant meteorite impacts could be responsible for the formation of continents on Earth.… Continue reading How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study

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Understanding ethanol blending

Source: The post is based on the article “Understanding ethanol blending” published in The Hindu on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Prime Minister has announced that India has achieved its target of blending 10% sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol ahead of schedule. What is Ethanol? Click Here to read What is first-generation and… Continue reading Understanding ethanol blending

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Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? Researchers in Sweden have developed a successful alternative — bioengineered cornea implants made of collagen derived from pig skin.  This implant was then used… Continue reading Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds

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Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan

Source: The post is based on the article “Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan” published in PIB on 16th August 2022. What is the News? The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser(PSA) to the Government of India (GoI) has announced the launch of the Manthan platform. What is Manthan Platform? Manthan… Continue reading Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan

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Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? The Defence Minister has handed over several new defence systems including the F-INSAS, the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft… Continue reading Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army

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Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? FIFA has announced the suspension of the All India Football Federation(AIFF) for undue influence from third parties. Background: The problems for Indian… Continue reading Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?

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Paalan 1000 Campaign: Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister

Source: The post is based on the article “Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister” published in The Hindu on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Minister of State for Health has virtually launched the Paalan 1000 National Campaign and Parenting App to reduce child mortality. Note: India… Continue reading Paalan 1000 Campaign: Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister

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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and India’s Stance – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction The Parliament has passed the Weapon of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill 2022. The Bill amends the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.  The 2005 Act prohibits unlawful activities (such as manufacturing, transport, or transfer)… Continue reading Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and India’s Stance – Explained, pointwise

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