9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – June 9th, 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.
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Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Vicious domestic politics, foreign policy shocks

Source: The post is based on an article “Vicious domestic politics, foreign policy shocks” published in the “The Hindu” on 9th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 International Relations; Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Relations

Relevance: Look West Policy; Issues and Challenges in India’s Foreign Policy

News: Recently, India has faced unprecedented diplomatic backlash over the derogatory remarks made by the political leaders against Islam

What has been India’s foreign policy with respect to the Middle East?

India has been trying to build good relationship with the Muslim-majority states in the West Asian region, despite the growing anti-Muslim sentiments in the country.

Nature of India’s Foreign Policy

There is a larger binary that has been at the heart of the conduct of India’s foreign policy in the recent past.

India has been facing external criticism about shrinking democratic space and rising religious intolerance in the country while at the same time being a champion of democratic values at global platforms like Quad and Summit of democracies.

Implications of such incidents of extremism in India

Such extremism causes shrinking of India’s ability to manage its international normative identity along with ability to dismiss criticism against its own domestic failings.

Domestic extremism cannot prevail without external consequences. Interfering with extremism in India or anywhere is counterproductive. For example, India has learned important lesson from India’s relations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

At present, there is an increasing number of ‘fringe’ but extremist groups in India working against Indian Muslims.

How extremism in India is different from extremism in Pakistan?

Unlike Pakistan’s home-grown extremism which have spilled over as state-sponsored terrorism in India, extremist elements in India have focused domestically and contained within the country

Manifestations of extremism in India have never received any state patronage barring occasional tolerance by the ruling party. But, occasional tolerance boils over into spaces outside the borders. Therefore, it brings into picture foreign policy consequences. For example, India has received criticisms from the Islamic countries on its Kashmir policy.

There are various domestic checks and balances between various forms of extremism in India.

Why has India reacted differently to the criticism from the Muslim Majority States in the West Asia, from the US/West criticism on the treatment of Muslims in India?

Although, the Muslim-Majority states play more hypocrisy than the U.S./West. But still, India did not respond in the same manner

India’s refusal of the western/U.S. criticism does not attract much material consequences because these are advanced democracies. However, If India pushes back the criticism from the Islamic countries, these countries are more likely to impose arbitrary material costs on India or Indian citizens living in those countries. And India needs the middle east region for remittances, energy, and the well-being of Indian diaspora.

India and the West/U.S. need each other for a variety of reasons. For example, containing the China challenge. However, such inter-dependence does not really exist when it comes to India-West Asia relations. It can be said that India needs the West Asian states more than they need India.

Way Forward

The religious tolerance or pluralism forms important virtues in India as well as the Muslim-majority states in West Asia.

The vicious domestic politics has foreign policy implications. For example, in the present case, the government is now struggling to contain the diplomatic fallout. Therefore, domestic politics should be kept below boiling point, otherwise, it can have foreign policy implications.

The bilateral relationships are carefully built over decades by professional diplomats. These efforts are undermined by domestic communal politics, electoral calculations, hate speech. Thus, our internal matter becomes a matter of national interest.

There should not be any derogatory remarks against one religion or other, like Islam in this case.

India’s foreign policy has registered a number of achievements to its credit. But, the Indian leaderships should learn that India’s unconstrained domestic extremism can harm India’s foreign policy objectives.


It is a bumping-off of the rule of law too

Source: The post is based on an article “It is a bumping-off the rule of law too” published in the “The Hindu” on 9th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Provisions of the Constitution of India; GS 3 Internal Security; Mandate of the security forces

Relevance: Rule of law, and Fake encounters

News: Recently, the commission of inquiry on the Hyderabad fake encounter 2019 has submitted its report.

Present Case

In 2019, a veterinary doctor was gang-raped by four youth and then murdered her and burnt her body on the outskirts of Hyderabad near Shamsabad.

The Commission’s findings

The killing of the youths was a pre-meditated cold-blooded murder. It was a fake encounter.

The police officials by-passed the law and due processes and eliminated suspects with impunity.

Therefore, the law should take its own course; a first information report (FIR) should be filed against the police officials concerned.

What are the reasons for fake encounters in India?

There is public outcry to apprehend the men after the commission of the crime. It may push the police to take the law into their own hands and eliminate the suspected criminals.

The police personnel see fake encounters as opportunities to wear and demonstrate the “encounter specialist” tag.

Political Mandate

In 2017, the UP Chief Minister publicly stated that criminals would be jailed or killed in encounters. The law-enforcing agencies were given a free hand to deal with criminals in a subtle manner. Therefore, around 151 criminals had been killed in the state.

Similarly, the Assam Chief minister also gave clear directions to the Assam police personnel that criminals who attempted to escape should be shot. Thereafter, around 28 suspects have been killed.

Similarly, the Uttar Pradesh model of encounter killings has been suggested for adoption in Bihar in order to bring down the crime rate.

Issues in Fake encounters

Majority of those killed in encounters belong to the minority community and ethnic communities

Extra-judicial killings go against the very spirit of rule of law.

Despite involvement of senior police officers, the commissions of inquiry usually target low-ranking officers, from constables to inspectors. The lower personnel face the brunt.

Magisterial inquiries conducted by local magistrates turn out to be farce. The local magistrates work in consonance with the police of the district. Therefore, they would be inclined to go with the police version.

The fake encounters may include killing unarmed and helpless suspects who may not decidedly be criminals.

If States begin to adopt extra-judicial strategies to bring down the crime rate, then it may lead to a country ruled by criminals in uniform.

Way Forward

If any police personnel are incarcerated for fake encounters, senior officers should also be prosecuted. It is the responsibility of senior police officers to ensure that the rule of law is strictly followed in their jurisdiction.

Complaints of fake encounters need to be attended to on top priority. The judiciary should be activated immediately after a complaint is received because police may not readily register a complaint of a fake encounter.

Commissions of inquiry should comprise magistrates nominated from other States and police officers from other States. They would be impartial and fair in their inquiries

The medals or citations given to those who were indicted in fake encounters and have been awarded police gallantry medals, should be withdrawn as fake encounters immediately.

The SC Judges Markandey Katju and C.K. Prasad said that “Fake encounter killings are nothing but cold-blooded brutal murder. This offence should be treated as the rarest of rare offenses and police personnel responsible for it should be awarded the death sentence.”

There should be fast track courts, as it will serve as a signal and deterrent to other policemen.


Dealing with the Indo-Pacific is not easy

Source: The post is based on an article “Dealing with the Indo-Pacific is not easy” published in the “The Hindu” on 9th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 International Relations; Regional grouping

Relevance: The Indo-Pacific Region

News: Recently, the U.S. President Joseph Biden made a five-day visit to Asian countries.

What are the ongoing challenges?

The Indo-Pacific region has been under pressure and East Asia, in particular, For example, China challenges international maritime laws in the South China Sea. It also confronts Japan over the Senkaku Islands.

South Korea and Japan face regular nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. For example, soon after the US visit, North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles.

There are growing concerns over Chinese military activity in the Indo Pacific region. For example, Chinese and Russian fighter jets carried out joint flights over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.

Six nations, including China and Taiwan, are involved in the dispute over the Spratly Islands, having vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

China has vigorously militarised some portions of the disputed isles, islets and coral reefs.

Outcomes of the Biden’s Asian visit

The South Korean government showed willingness to expand the presence of a U.S. missile defence system in the country.

The Japan government promised to do away with its long-standing 1% GDP ceiling on annual defence spending.

The U.S. President promised to intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if it came under attack from China. However, American foreign policy is governed by the Taiwan Relations Act. Which mandates the U.S. to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” so that it can defend itself, not step in militarily to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion by China.

The IPEF framework

The Biden administration has sought to counter the assertiveness and aggressiveness of Beijing, by establishing an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Members

The IPEF will function with Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Focus Areas

The IPEF will work on fine-tuning four major pillars: standards and rules for digital trade; resilient supply chains; green energy commitments; and fair trade.

Issues in the IPEF

There is discontent that the framework does not address issues of trade and tariffs.

The IPEF framework is lacking in the trade component. The framework aims to offer money for clean energy, supply chain resilience, and anti-corruption. But the Asian partners want trade and market access.

The Way Forward

The US administration must pay attention to two facets in the Asia Pacific/Indo-Pacific.

One is that China’s neighbours would rather balance relations between Washington and Beijing.

Just like in Europe, where Russian aggression has led to uniting the rest of the region against Russia. Similarly, circumstances may also arise in Asia due to Chinese aggression.

On the other hand, the countries in the region will not want to get on the anti-China bandwagon. Every country in East, Southeast or South Asia, has its own unique relationship with Beijing. For example, despite South Korea and Japan being part of a strong American security/strategic partnership, they are keen to maintain their economic status with China. This is also true for the Association of South East Asian Nations. Similarly, India, being the Quad member, also shares a land border with China which is laced with disputes.

In response to geopolitical tensions, countries have increasingly emphasised resilience and national security considerations over the economic gains from free trade and investment flows. However, they should be very careful about taking extreme measures.

The countries should not adopt protectionist measures such as disconnecting from global supply chains. This may shut off avenues for regional growth and cooperation. Such measures will deepen divisions between countries, and may lead to conflicts that we all hope to avoid.


RBI’s decisive policy move will help impart stability to markets

Source: The post is based on an article “RBI’s decisive policy move will help impart stability to markets” published in the Live Mint on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Indian Economy; Issues and challenges in growth and development

Relevance: Inflation, monetary policy

News: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India has hiked the policy repo rate by 50 basis points with a unanimous vote for a decisive rate increase, to rein in inflationary pressures which are likely to go beyond the mandated tolerance level.

What are the causes of high inflation?

There is a new ‘globalized inflation’ concept, which is likely to affect future inflation projections.

The Russia-Ukraine War has global effects on many fronts. This has led to rapid migratory patterns, enhanced spending on vitals like food and energy, countries are scrambling for procuring critical raw materials in time at elevated costs, and there are scarcities of fertilizer inputs.

Measures taken by the RBI

Acknowledging inflation

RBI also upped its inflation projections from 5.7% to 6.7% for 2022-23. It has projected crude oil prices to average $105 per barrel. The projection is higher than the market consensus. This clearly indicates that RBI acknowledges the inflation is presenting danger.

At present, the RBI has been anchoring VRRR. This is giving banks better yields on floating deposits while signalling normalization through alignment with market-determined rates.

RBI has shifted from “accommodative” stance to “withdrawal of liquidity” stance to combat inflation.

RBI’s is aligning regulations with global practices to promulgate margin requirements for non-centrally cleared derivative contracts. This should promote the twin objectives of systemic risk reduction and nudging participants to embrace central clearing.

About SDF

Recently, the RBI has introduced the standing deposit facility (SDF) at 3.75%. An SDF operates with no collateral of G-Secs, unlike how the reverse repo system works.

Other macroeconomic situation which supported RBI to hike policy rate in India

Despite global uncertainties, GDP growth numbers continue to inspire optimism. The capacity utilization rates have increased in India, new investment have been announced for the year 2021-22 and India’s manufacturing sector is also leading from the front.

Therefore, RBI has adopted move to for rate hikes and maintaining inflation control as its foremost objective

Way Forward

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is going to continue its drive to align policy rates with these stark realities.

The monetary contraction accompanied with fiscal expansion is often ideal for policy coordination to deliver the maximum payoff. Therefore, The RBI Governor has alluded proactive role that fiscal policy can play in unison with monetary policy. For example, states can cut value added tax on fuel.

Over time, the SDF (currently for overnight funds) and VRRR (in multiples of fortnightly durations) are likely to find a dynamic meeting ground.

Additionally, the pragmatic measures should be taken for cooperative banks. It would create a level-playing field, while also giving a fillip to the housing sector and delivery of services at doorsteps.

Our payment infrastructure should be augmented in targeted geographies. For example, RuPay credit cards can be linked with the unified payments interface (UPI).


Safe foods: On the need to develop lab infrastructure in States

Source: This post is based on the article “Safe foods: On the need to develop lab infrastructure in States” published in The Hindu on 9th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Govt policies and interventions

Relevance: Food safety in India and related issues

News: The 4th State Food Safety Index was released recently.

Tamil Nadu deserves credit for finishing at the top among 17 large States for food safety; it was ranked third in the previous edition of the State Food Safety Index.

How have the Southern states fared in the index?

Except Tamil Nadu, there’s nothing for the other southern States to cheer about, despite the region being more advanced than the rest of India in many socio-economic indicators.

Kerala, which came second last time, is now at sixth spot;

– Karnataka has retained its ninth position;

Telangana slipped from 10 to 15

Andhra Pradesh dropped to the last slot from the penultimate slot in the previous edition when 20 States were covered, unlike the 17 now.

Among Union Territories, Puducherry rose from seventh to sixth spot.

Way forward

In an area such as food safety, States alone cannot make a big difference without the support of the Central government.

Liberal assistance should be provided to the States and Union Territories as far as laboratory infrastructure and improvement of manpower, both technical and non-technical, are concerned.

The private sector should come forward in a big way to have staff trained at their cost and where such persons are used productively for the purpose.

Every stakeholder in the field of food safety should realize is that each one has a critical role to play, and there has to be collective and well-coordinated action.


K. Sujatha Rao writes: Healthcare in India is ailing. Here is how to fix it

Source: This post is based on the article “K. Sujatha Rao writes: Healthcare in India is ailing. Here is how to fix it” published in The Indian Express on 9th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Health

Relevance: Institutional reform in Healthcare in India and related issues

Context: The pandemic experience has shown that India needs to make public health a central focus. Covid has also shifted the policy dialogue from health budgets and medical colleges towards much-needed and badly-delayed institutional reform.

It is heartening to note that the Ministry of Health has issued guidelines to states to establish a public health cadre.

It is time our political systems listen to people and take care of their everyday needs, instead of going for easy options like privatisation, commodification and medicalisation of healthcare.

Why India’s three-tiered subcentre model has failed?

Less than 10% of the health facilities below the district level can attain the grossly minimal Indian public health standards. Clearly, the three-tier model of subcentres with paramedics, primary health centres with MBBS doctors and community health centres (CHC) with four to six specialists, has failed.

Reasons:

The model’s weakness is the absence of an accountability framework. The facilities are designed to be passive — treating those seeking care.

What needs to be done?

Like in Brazil, we need Family Health Teams (FHT) accountable for the health and wellbeing of a dedicated population, say 2,000 families.

The FHTs must consist of a doctor with a diploma in family medicine and a dozen trained personnel to reflect the skill base required for the 12 guaranteed services under the Ayushman Bharat scheme — midwives, public health nurses, other paramedics, health workers and community workers.

A baseline survey of these families will provide information about those needing attention — the elderly, diabetics, hypertensives, handicapped, pregnant women, infants, and those needing mental or physiotherapy services.

The team ensures a continuum of care by taking the family as a unit and ensuring its well-being over a period. Their work should be closely monitored, and the personnel should be given outcome-linked monetary and non-monetary incentives.

Such a system of primary care will need to work under the close supervision of a CHC manned by specialists in family medicine.

Creation of public health cadre: There must be a public health cadre manning the posts at the PHC and CHCs consisting of sub-specialists in family medicine, public health and public health management.

Likewise, among nurses, the cadre should comprise two distinct sets of personnel — public health nurses (not ANMs promoted based on seniority) and nurse midwives capable of independently doing all clinical functions for handling pregnancies and women’s health issues except surgical interventions.

India needs to move beyond the doctor-led system and paramedicalise several functions. Instead of “wasting” gynaecologists in CHCs, when there is an overall shortage of them, midwives (nurses with a BSc degree and two years of training in midwifery) can provide equally good services except surgical, and can be positioned in all CHCs and PHCs.

Likewise, lay counselors for mental health, physiotherapists and public health nurses are critically required for addressing the multiple needs of primary health care at the family and community levels.

This needs to be acknowledged, and such trained persons appropriately positioned based on patient load and disease burden.

Way forward

A transformative health system will require a comprehensive review of the existing training institutions, standardising curricula and the qualifying criteria.

Faculty reviews are required to make the training inspirational and not dull and repetitive, as it is currently.

Spending on pre-service and in-service training needs to increase from the current level of about 1%.


No more lost votes: EC’s pilot on remote voting for migrants is a big plus for democracy. Aim for 2024 full rollout

Source: This post is based on the article “No more lost votes: EC’s pilot on remote voting for migrants is a big plus for democracy. Aim for 2024 full rollout” published in The Times of India on 8th June 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Polity

Relevance: Electoral reform and other issues

News: Democracy becomes meaningful and equitable when every citizen has a fair chance to cast a vote. Hence, the Election Commission move to conduct a pilot project to explore the possibility of remote voting for migrant workers is a big plus for electoral democracy.

Why remote voting provision is significant?

Internal migrants will benefit: Not everyone can take a train or flight back home to vote. Nearly 300 million citizens out of a total of 910 million electors didn’t cast their votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Ways to enfranchise them must be found.

From the 2011 Census that counted 450 million internal migrants, the number is estimated to be 600 million now. Short-term migrants who spend some months of the year in cities far away from their villages rarely acquire a vote in their place of work. This category will benefit from EC’s move.

What are some associated challenges?

Logistic issues: Migrants will have to be mapped and then enrolled for remote voting. Designated polling centres must be set up across India.

There will be election day tech challenges – verifying voter identities and ensuring the vote cast on the EVM is channelled to the correct booth and constituency.

Also, those listed for remote voting but turning up physically at domicile polling booths due to personal or other emergencies – recall the lockdown – must be accommodated.

Way forward

With institutional and political will, difficulties can be overcome.

From shuttling security forces and polling officers across polling phases, sanitising electoral rolls, enrolling first-time voters to getting the women’s vote out, EC is a past master at resolving logistical problems.

The previous Lok Sabha had passed a bill to extend proxy voting facility to NRIs, but the bill lapsed. Such reforms should get cross-party backing.

As EC starts the migrant voting pilot project, it should also start the process of identifying migrant voter clusters. Gujarat is a migrant worker hub. Let the pilot happen there and EC should aim for a 2024 full rollout.

GS Paper 3


International trade remains important

Source: The post is based on an article “International trade remains important” published in the Business Standard on 8th June 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Indian Economy, Effects of liberalization on Indian Economy

Relevance: International Trade, External Sector

News: In 2022, international trade is being impacted by a continuing global pandemic, a European war, widespread economic sanctions, supply chains disruptions and sudden national bans and caps on exports of essential commodities.

Global Trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates that global goods trade has expanded by about 40 times (in terms of volume) and nearly 300 times (in terms of value) between 1950 and 2020.

The World Bank data shows that the share of world trade (including services) in world GDP soared from 24% in 1960 to 57% in 2010. However, it has plateaued thereafter.

Consequently, unprecedented growth in global GDP has been principally due to the sustained surge in world trade.

India’s trade

India´s trade to GDP ratio has risen from 15% in 1990 to 27% in 2000 and peaked above 50% in 2011. The total (goods and services) exports share of GDP has touched nearly 25%.

Importance of Global Trade

Trade contributed to competitiveness, productivity and technical progress.

India too benefited. India liberalised complex and restrictive trade regime after 1990 and made the exchange rate market responsive.

What were the driving forces behind the growth in world trade?

The general technological progress, rising national savings and investment, and the spread of good education played important roles.

The major causes of expansion in world commerce were the eight “Rounds” of multilateral negotiations for trade liberalizations under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the precursor between 1947 and 1994. These negotiations were driven by industrialised countries. The developing nations were mostly “free riders”.

What are the challenges?
After the formation of WTO, there has not been a single successful Round of multilateral trade liberalisation.

At present, there has been a shift to large and small preferential and free trade agreements (PTAs and FTAs) having limited member country participation.

At present, the Ukraine conflict is damaging global trade and production.

Since 2011, India´s trade share in GDP had declined markedly to 39% by 2019. This has been due to the stagnation of merchandise exports.

What are the factors which have led to India’s lacklustre performance?

First, the rupee´s exchange rate (in terms of the Real Effective Exchange Rate) was overvalued for much of this period.

Second, India failed to participate effectively in the rapid increase in global value chain based trade after 2000.

Third, there has been marked rise in India´s tariffs and other protective measures after 2015. This has been against buoyant expansion of the country´s goods exports, both within and outside global value chains (GVCS).

The world trade dynamism has faltered since 2010, following the global financial crisis and other deglobalizing factors such as Brexit, the Trump protectionism, the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine and associated economic sanctions.

Broad priorities for India´s trade policy

(1) Phase out the tariff increases that have occurred since 2017, because the best trade policy for any nation is to maintain an open and unrestrictive trade policy and as per “symmetry theorem” of 1936, “a tax on imports amounts to a tax on exports”

(2) Instead of tariffs or quota restriction on imports, the government should use external payments pressures, and exchange rate depreciation as the primary instruments.

(3) The monetary and fiscal measures are preferable to export bans and duties to deal with inflation because sometimes the latter pave the way to balance of payments problems.

(4) India’s concluded FTAs with Australia and the UAE are welcomed. There should be discussions with other Gulf Cooperation Council nations, Israel, the UK, the European Union (EU) and the new Indo Pacific Economic Framework.

(5) In order to improve India´s currently low engagement in global and regional value chains, the government should rethink renewed engagement with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in our Asian neighbourhood. This has huge potential for trade expansion.


Explained: The RBI rate hike and its impact

Source: This post is created based on the article “Explained: The RBI rate hike and its impact”, published in Indian Express on 9th June 2022.

Syllabus Topic – GS Paper 3 – Indian Economy- Growth and Development

News: Reserve Bank of India hiked the repo rate by another 50 basis points.

RBI is moving on with the withdrawal of its accommodative policy, in the backdrop of increasing inflation in the country. The RBI had pumped huge liquidity into the system in 2020 to counter the impact of the pandemic.

RBI has projected inflation at 7.5% in the June quarter and 7.4% in the September quarter. The main factors that will drive the inflation up can be food, energy, and commodity prices due to factors such as the Ukraine war, edible oil prices, global food shortage, etc.

Repo rate refers to the rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks.

What are the implications of the increase in the Repo Rate for the economy?

It makes money expensive, thus discouraging demand in the economy. The effect will be more visible in the Non-discretionary spending i.e. essential and non-negotiable spending for example; rent, food, or mortgage payments.

Depositors are also expected to see an increase in the interest rates on their deposits.

It will make the loans expensive for the borrowers and increase the burden of interest on EMIs for loans such as home loans.

RBI is expecting that an interest rate hike will prevent any effect on discretionary spending which can slow down the growth rate.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Funding under Technology Development Fund scheme of DRDO enhanced to Rs 50 crore per project from Rs 10 crore

Source: The post is based on the articleFunding under Technology Development Fund scheme of DRDO enhanced to Rs 50 crore per project from Rs 10 crorepublished in PIB on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Defence Minister has approved the enhancement of funding under the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme to Rs 50 crore per project from Rs 10 crore. 

What is the Technology Development Fund(TDF) Scheme?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Defence

Executing Agency: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Aim: Creating an ecosystem for promoting self-reliance by building indigenous state-of-the-art systems for defence application. The scheme will provide a major fillip to the defence manufacturing sector by promoting self-reliance under the Make in India initiative.

Under the Scheme, DRDO extends financial support and expertise to upgrade existing products/ systems, processes, and applications. It helps firms in reducing production costs, improving functionality and quality.

The participation of public/private industries especially MSMEs and Startups is encouraged. 

It facilitates up to 90% of the total project cost. Earlier, it was subject to the upper limit of Rs 10 crores, which is increased to Rs 50 crores now.  

An entity with more than 49% foreign investment will not be eligible.


India to simultaneously launch the first Human Space Mission “Gaganyaan” and the first Human Ocean Mission in 2023

Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister says, India will achieve the unique distinction of simultaneously launching the first Human Space Mission “Gaganyaan” as well as the first Human Ocean Mission in 2023published in PIB on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

Minister of Earth Sciences; MoS PMO has said that India will achieve the unique distinction of simultaneously launching the first Human Space Mission “Gaganyaan” as well as the first manned Human Ocean Mission in 2023.

What is the Samudrayaan Mission?

The Samudrayaan mission is India’s first manned ocean mission. It is a part of the Deep Ocean Mission.

Aim: To send men deep into the ocean in a submersible vehicle for deep-ocean exploration and rare mineral mining. 

As a part of the mission, in 2023, Sea trials of a 500-meter rated shallow water version of the manned submersible will be done.

The trial will be followed by a mission that will send three people to a depth of 6000 meters in the sea in a manned submersible vehicle called MATSYA 6000 for deep underwater studies.

Implementing Agency: ​​ National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT)

Significance:

With this unique Ocean Mission, India will join the elite club of nations such as the US, Russia, France, Japan, and China to have niche technology and vehicles to carry out subsea activities.

It will be helpful in exploring the minerals and thermal energy in the depth of the ocean.

Furthermore, it will provide employment to 40 million people in the ocean-based industries by 2030.

What is Gaganyaan Mission?

Click Here to read about it


The science behind the cancer cure by monoclonal antibody dostarlimab

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: The science behind the cancer cure, and the therapy’s future in India” published in Indian Express on 9th June 2022.

What is the News?

Recently, 12 patients in the United States were completely cured of rectal cancer without requiring any surgery or chemotherapy. The trial used a monoclonal antibody called dostarlimab every three weeks for six months for the treatment

What is Dostarlimab?

Dostarlimab is a type of monoclonal antibody. It blocks proteins called checkpoints which are made up of immune system cells such as T cells, and some cancer cells.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules. They serve as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance, modify or mimic the immune system’s attack on unwanted cells.

Each monoclonal antibody is designed in a way that it binds to only one antigen.

These checkpoints help keep immune responses from acting too strong and may prevent T cells from killing cancer cells. When these checkpoints are blocked, T cells are free to kill cancer cells more efficiently.

Examples of checkpoint proteins found on T cells or cancer cells include PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4, and B7-1.

Can Dostarlimab work against all cancers?

According to experts, drugs like dostarlimab can be used only in patients with the genetic property of mismatch repair(MMR) deficiency.

What is Mismatch Repair Deficiency?

‘Mismatch repair deficient’ cancer is most common among colorectal, gastrointestinal, and endometrial cancers. Patients suffering from this condition lack the genes to correct typos in the DNA that occur naturally while cells make copies.

Can such treatment be available in India?

Cost is believed to be a major hurdle.

For instance, an immunotherapy treatment can cost around Rs 4 lakh per month, with patients needing the treatment for six months to a year.

Hence, that’s why experts have said that precision medicine such as immunotherapy drugs for particular types of cancers is still at a nascent stage in India. It would take at least ten years for it to become commonplace.


India and Vietnam sign mutual logistics agreement

Source: The post is based on the article “India and Vietnam sign mutual logistics agreement” published in The Hindu on 9th June 2022.

What is the News?

India’s Defence Minister is on a visit to Vietnam.

What are the key highlights of his visit?

Mutual Logistics Agreement

India and Vietnam signed a Logistics Agreement to allow the militaries of the two sides to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

This is the first such major agreement that Vietnam has signed with any country.

Note: ​​India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defense cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is also an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.

What are Logistics Agreements?

Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements. They facilitate access to military facilities for the exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement. These agreements simplify logistical support and increase the operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.

India has signed several logistics agreements with Quad countries, France, Singapore, and South Korea beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. in 2016.


NHAI’s road laying feat enters Guinness Book of World Records

Source: The post is based on the article “NHAI’s road laying feat enters Guinnesspublished in The Hindu on 9th June 2022.

What is the News?

The National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records.

What has NHAI done to enter into the Guinness Book of World Records?

NHAI has created a world record by constructing 75 km continuous bituminous concrete in a single lane in the least time–105 hours and 33 minutes.

The record-making single lane was constructed on National Highway(NH) 53 between Amravati and Akola in Maharashtra.

This record was previously achieved by Qatar’s Public Works Authority (ASHGHAL). The road was part of the Al-Khor Expressway, and it had taken 10 days to complete it.


NCPCR launches “CiSS application” under Baal Swaraj portal to help rehabilitation of children in street situations

Source: The post is based on the articleNCPCR launches “CiSS application” under Baal Swaraj portal to help rehabilitation of children in street situationspublished in PIB on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) has launched a “CiSS application” under the Baal Swaraj portal. It will help in the rehabilitation process of Children in Street Situations(CiSS).

What is Baal Swaraj Portal?

Launched by: National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR)

Purpose: The portal is for online tracking and digital real-time monitoring mechanism of children in need of care and protection. 

Functions: The portal has two functions – COVID care and Children in Street Situations(CiSS).

1) COVID Care link caters to the children who have lost either or both parents due to COVID-19 or otherwise post-March 2020.

How does the portal rehabilitate such Children? The portal follows a six stages framework for the rehabilitation of children:

– Collection of the child’s details, which is accomplished through the portal.

– Social Investigating Report (SIR)e. Investigating the child’s background. This is done under the supervision of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) by the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) by conversing and counseling the child.

– Formulating an Individual Care Plan (ICP) for the child.

– Child Welfare Committee (CWC) based on the SIR submitted to the CWC.

– Allocating the schemes and benefits that the beneficiary can avail of.

– A checklist is made for the evaluation of the progress, i.e. (Follow-Ups).

2) CiSS application is used for receiving data of children in street situations from all the states and union territories, tracking their rescue and rehabilitation process.

Note: The Standard Operating Procedure for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations 2.0 categorizes any child under ‘CiSS’ if the child is living on the streets alone, living on the streets during the day, or living on the streets with family. 

– The portal also provides a platform for professionals and organizations to provide any help that they can to children in need. Help can be provided in the form of open shelters, counseling services, volunteering, or any other assistance.

Significance: The portal embodies Article 51 (A) of the Constitution of India, as it provides a platform for the public and organizations catering to the welfare of the children to report any child in need of assistance.


After 75 Years, Will Cheetahs Make India Their Home Again?

Source: The post is based on the articleAfter 75 Years, Will Cheetahs Make India Their Home Again?published in TOI on 9th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is set to introduce cheetahs from South Africa in a Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. It is an attempt to rehabilitate the species that had become extinct in the country.

When did the Cheetahs become extinct in India?

Source: TOI

The earliest records of the cheetah are seen in cave paintings at Kharvai and Karabad in MP, among others, dating back to 2500-2300 BCE. 

The last documented Cheetah’s vanished from India when Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya (in present-day Chhattisgarh) shot three Asiatic cheetahs in 1947. Soon after, in 1952, the cheetah was declared extinct in the country. 

The main reasons behind the cheetah’s extinction were capture in large numbers, human encroachment in their habitat and a decline in availability of prey. 

Cheetah Reintroduction Plans 

Click Here to read about it


Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Australia for Technical Cooperation for Australia-India Water Security Initiative(AIWASI)

Source: The post is based on the article “Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Australia for Technical Cooperation for Australia-India Water Security Initiative(AIWASI)published in PIB on 8th June 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) and the Government of Australia have signed an MoU for Technical Cooperation in urban water management.

What is the significance of the MoU?

The MoU will enable both India and Australia to learn about technological advancements gained by two nations in key areas of urban water security and, it will promote exchange of learning, best practices and capacity building of institutions.

It will also help promote cooperation between the two countries under Australia-India Water Security Initiative(AIWASI).

What is the Australia-India Water Security Initiative(AIWASI)?

Established in: 2020

Aim: To work towards the Water Sensitive City vision, which is based on holistic management of the integrated water cycle. 

The initiative will pair Australia’s expertise in water and urban design with Indian counterpart agencies and institutes – known as a “twinning arrangement”. It will address the increasing challenges associated with providing water and sanitation to cities.  

Phase one of the initiative includes analysis and selection of two locations in New Delhi, employing spatial intelligence analysis and mapping to determine two suitable sites to design and demonstrate exemplar Water Sensitive Urban Design(WSUD) and Nature-Based Solutions.


Mains Answer Writing

MoEF proposes amendments in Environment Protection Act, to decriminalize provision

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

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

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

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

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

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DRDO carries out test flight of autonomous UAV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The rupee’s ‘new lows’: Why it’s not necessarily a cause for concern

News: The currency’s fall gets more attention than its rise. At present, the Indian rupee is falling against the US dollar. What is the status of the Rupee fall vis a vis other currencies? The Finance Minister has recently pointed out that almost all currencies are falling against the dollar, and the rupee has fallen… Continue reading The rupee’s ‘new lows’: Why it’s not necessarily a cause for concern

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