9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 14th, 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

Marital rape is rape: Why modern India still won’t accept this

Source: This post is created based on the article “Marital rape is rape: Why modern India still won’t accept this” published in Indian Express on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper -1, Society

News: In a recent two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court gave a split ruling on marital rape. It ensured a future hearing of the matter with a larger bench.

Why marital rape has not been criminalized yet?

First, the concepts of rape and marriage have been seen as mutually exclusive, i.e. they could not be brought together. In the absence of a universal definition of marital rape, marriage has been depicted by only positive aspects like love, cooperation, and healthy sexual relations.

Second, even in western countries, marital rape was treated as an exception to the crime of rape till the early 1990s. The Soviet Union was an exception where marital rape was included in the law in the 1920s.

Third, taking the women as the property of husbands has been a long-held belief even in western societies. One of the examples of it is the government of India’s argument in 2017 that removing the exception to marital rape would “destabilize the institution of marriage”.


West Bengal’s jute industry barely hanging by a thread

Source: The post is based on an article “West Bengal’s jute industry barely hanging by a thread” published in the “The Hindu” on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS1 Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India); and GS3 Indian Economy & issues and challenges in growth and development

Relevance: Jute Industry and Jute Industry in Crisis

News: Recently, the West Bengal’s jute industry is facing a severe crisis. Several mills (like Reliance Jute Mill, the Gondolpara Jute Mill etc.) have announced the temporary suspension of operations this year.

Status of jute industry in the West Bengal

According to the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), there are about 93 jute mills in India, of which 70 are in West Bengal. Of the 70, 54 mills are located in the three districts of North 24 Parganas (25), Howrah (15) and Hooghly (14).

There are around 3.5 lakh workers associated with the entire supply chain of the industry ranging from the production and trade of the golden fibre, production of the finished product among others.

What are the factors behind the current crisis?

The recent crisis began when the heavy increase in maximum price of raw jute by the Office of the Jute Commissioner. This led to a fall in procurement and mills decided to suspend work.

There have hardly been any protests by trade unions in a State. There have been no demands that the mills open, nor have there been strikes. In fact, it is argued that there is no trade union left in the state.

At present, the jute mill owners in the West Bengal jute industry are already incurring heavy losses.

Non-implementation of the Tariff Commission’s report for a fair price of B. Twill jute bags. It has caused a huge loss to the industry.

The jute mills are legally bound to supply jute bags to the government, for which they are reimbursed at the notified rate. Therefore, the jute industry has no other alternative but to sell the finished products at a loss.

According to a report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), 2022-2023, India’s jute production has been declining during the last decade. There has been a decrease in acreage due to shift in cropping pattern to crops such as paddy, maize, groundnut, and sesame.

The demand for jute products is declining due to increasing demand for various types of synthetic substitutes.

The farmers also expressed concern about extreme climate conditions. This is impacting jute cultivation.

What are the impacts of the jute industry crisis?

It is leading to the loss of livelihood of workers, owners and farmers. The Mill worker’s family are facing hunger and are forced to take credit for their survival.

The century-old jute mills on both banks of the river Hooghly has become totally dysfunctional.

The people of this region are witnessing terrible riots and intense political battles.

Mill workers living in the mill quarters have been facing the issue of irregular power supply ever since the mill closed.

Several retired employees have not received their PF dues because the management did not deposit its share.

The closed jute mills are witnessing reverse migration, with workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh going back to their homes after the mills closed.

The Way Forward

The notified rate at which jute is purchased should be increased. If the government does not agree to pay more for the jute bags, the idea of switching over to cheaper alternatives may be a viable option.

The Government of India (GOI) has been considering continuing anti-dumping duties against imports of jute products from Bangladesh.

GS Paper 2


Actions that corrode the steel frame of India

Source: The post is based on an article “Actions that corrode the steel frame of India” published in the “The Hindu” on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Role of Civil Services in Bureaucracy.

Relevance: Civil Services Reform

News: Recently, a group of retired civil servants’ known as the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) sent an ‘open letter’ to the Prime Minister. They appealed for an end to the politics of hate and violence against minorities, particularly Muslims. However, the allegations were rejected by another group of civil servants known as the Concerned Citizens (CC).

These developments have brought in the debate on the conduct of Civil Servants.

How should the civil servants behave?

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel created independent India’s civil services. At that time, the administration worked with neutrality, and without favoritism.

The police and magistracy, judicial courts and other regulatory agencies (Not politicians) are legally authorised and empowered to take preventive action against potential troublemakers. They are the real enforcers of the laws relating to criminal, economic and other offences, and maintain public order.

Civil servants should work with political neutrality. They must have independence of thought and action. They should give honest and objective advice; and also speak truth to power.

In mature democracies, public officials are expected to discharge their constitutional and legal responsibilities with honesty, integrity and their own conscience.

India’s permanent civil service with political neutrality is patterned on the English constitutional model. Therefore, India needs to learn a lesson from the British Case.

In Britain, a career civil servant investigated the case of flouting of lockdown regulations by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of Exchequer. The investigation found PM and FM guilty of violations of the lockdown regulations in force. The public and the political establishment accepted the integrity of the investigation exercise. Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of Exchequer were penalized for the violation of regulations.

What are the issues in the civil services in India?

There has been a deterioration in standards of civil services since the National Emergency in 1975. There has been a decline in adherence to political neutrality. Now, there are frequent allegations that local officers take political sides in a conflict

The politicians serve their personal and party interests, and ambitious officials work on the terms and conditions of political masters. This has led to a dilution of standards and creating a favorable condition for both political and bureaucratic corruption.

The politicians reward a compliant bureaucrat by offering prized and lucrative assignments to the bureaucrats. In case the bureaucrats do not follow the lines or diktats, the civil servants are punished and placed in an inconvenient position.

The protection and safeguards in Article 311 of the Constitution have been found to be inadequate.

Way Forward

B.R. Ambedkar advocated that Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment, it has to be cultivated.


Don’t play politics with Covid death numbers, let’s learn from them

Source: The post is based on an article “Don’t play politics with Covid death numbers, let’s learn from them” published in the Indian Express on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Governance

Relevance: Covid Excess Death, Public Data, Evidence-Based Planning, etc.

News: Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has attempted to measure the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. This has been done through the estimation of excess deaths.

What is the excess death measure?

Registered deaths during the pandemic are compared to an average of registered deaths before the pandemic (baseline estimates) to produce estimates of excess deaths.

India’s institutional arrangement for birth and death registration that have been used for estimating excess death

The Civil Registration System (CRS) is the repository of all registered births and deaths in the country at the national, state, and district levels.

The provisions of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1969 require every death to be registered within 21 days of the event.

Another source of data used to estimate excess deaths in the household survey, such as the CVoter tracker survey.

What were the issues in the estimation of excess death in India?

(A) Infrastructural issues

Unlike developed countries, the developing countries including India lack adequate birth and death registration infrastructure. This led to the generation of unreliable data which lead to imprecise and speculative estimation of excess deaths.

Even before the pandemic, India did not have an infrastructure for collecting real-time robust death data.

(B) CRS: The careful research of the death data from CRS has repeatedly revealed serious shortcomings, as given below:

The baseline estimates of death from the CRS are not a reliable source of death. There has been underreporting of the number of dead in the pre-pandemic period (example for 2019). For instance, the overall death registration in the CRS was 92% of the overall deaths estimated by the Sample Registration System (SRS).

Furthermore, when data is disaggregated on other parameters like gender, age, etc. the report becomes more unreliable.

The CRS death data for the pre-pandemic period were used as the baseline without adjusting for age, gender, and location. This would lead to exaggerated numbers of excess deaths.

In fact, the registration level in the CRS has not been uniform over the earlier years. It ranged from 75% in 2015 to 85% in 2018.

(B) Issues in Household Survey

The primary purpose of the survey is to track perceptions of governance, media, and other social indicators, not to collect death data from households. The CVoter tracker survey covers only 0.14 million adults. And the self-reported data on death numbers gathered from telephonic surveys has no on-field verification.

Other issues

A reliable source of death data in India is the Sample Registration System (SRS). Unfortunately, the SRS survey was not carried out during the pandemic.

In addition, media coverage and overall fear and interest levels during waves of the pandemic led to varying responses from people. The lack of accurate data on deaths has led to intense speculation and politicization.

The Way Forward

The Sample Registration System (SRS) should be conducted soon. No matter how sophisticated the statistical methodology, there is no substitute for high quality data.

The pandemic has provided a window of opportunity to invest heavily in building a robust and reliable infrastructure that collects timely data on vital statistics, such as births, deaths and migrations.

This project should be given national importance and an urgent priority as such an infrastructure would become the cornerstone of public health in India. The central and state governments must cooperate.


How to make a Uniform Civil Code

Source: The post is based on an article “How to make a uniform civil code” published in the Indian Express on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Important Provisions of the Constitution of India

Relevance: Uniform Civil Code (Article 44)

News: Recently, a number of state governments have proposed to frame a Uniform Civil Code for their states.

Step taken towards UCC in India So Far

Parliament enacted a civil marriage law in 1954, the Special Marriage Act and the Indian Succession Act. These enactments were made available to all citizens of India as a secular alternative. Thus, these acts together constitute a UCC of an optional nature for all Indians alike.

In addition, the Parliament also enacted a new law called the Hindu Marriage Act in 1955 to regulate religious marriages among the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. Further, A Hindu Succession Act came into force next year for the properties of those covered by the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

The people of Goa, Daman, and Diu are governed by an archaic Portuguese Civil Code of 1867. A sizable section of citizens called Renoncants (Indians whose ancestors had during the French rule abandoned personal law) in Puducherry are governed by the 218-year-old French Civil Code of 1804.

What are the issues in the central personal laws?

The Special Marriage Act is patently discriminatory in certain matters. It mentions the prohibited degree of marriage between close relatives (like the Hindu Marriage Act). Further, the Act does not prohibit marriages between distant cousins (i.e., sapinda relationship). Thus, an act, allows a Hindu to marry a second cousin despite religious prohibition, but a Muslim is debarred to marry a first cousin despite religious permission.

In fact, the Hindu Marriage Act relaxes the rule of prohibited degrees on the basis of custom but not under the Special Marriage Act.

During the Emergency days, the Special Marriage (Amendment) Act allowed both parties’ (if Hindu) properties to be governed by the Hindu Succession Act instead of the Indian Succession Act. This was a retrograde step.

What are the issues in proposals for the state-level uniform civil code laws?

A state-level UCC seems to be prima facie incompatible with Article 44 of the Constitution. The article advocates to secure a uniform civil code for the citizens throughout the territory of India. The proposal can overlook all-India characters.

Under the Constitution, family and succession laws are in the concurrent jurisdiction of the Centre and states. Therefore, law applicable in the entire country can be enacted by Parliament alone.

Argument in favour of the state proposals

The anachronistic foreign laws are still applicable on Indian citizens in certain parts of the country. Therefore, such a code can be enacted at the state-level.

The Way Forward

There should be a single law of family rights and succession for the entire country. The law should be in compliance with the constitutional guarantees for equality before the law and equal protection of laws

The parliament should amend the discriminatory provisions of the Special Marriage Act relating to prohibited degrees in marriage. In addition, the 1976 amendment restricting the applicability of the Indian Succession Act must be set aside.

To start, the parliament can repeal and replace the archaic foreign civil code prevalent in Goa, Daman Diu, and Puducherry with the central marriage and succession laws. This will be a logical move in beginning.

GS Paper 3


Fertiliser supply disrupted, how does government plan to meet shortfall?

Source: This post is created based on the article “Fertiliser supply disrupted, how does government plan to meet shortfall?” published in Indian Express on 14th May 2022.

Source: GS Paper – 3, Agriculture Inputs – fertilisers

News: India is facing challenges in maintaining its supply of fertilizers since the start of Ukraine-Russia war.

India’s total availability of fertilizer is calculated based on the 3 parameters: 1.) Opening stocks, 2.) Domestic production and 3.) Imports.

India depends on imports for potash, which is used for manufacturing fertilisers.

What are the factors affecting the supply of fertilizers?

Covid induced disruptions: Major fertiliser exporters such as China reduced their exports due to production cuts. India was sourcing 40–45% of its phosphatic imports from China.

Surge in demand for fertilisers in regions like Europe, America, Brazil, and Southeast Asia.

Russia Ukraine war has hindered the supply line of fertilizer. For example, Morocco procures ammonia from Russia for manufacturing DAP (diammonium phosphate).

India domestic production is also affected due to war. The raw material required for domestic production is also not sufficiently available.

Price is rising due to increased logistics and freight costs after covid.

What are the steps taken by the government to control fertiliser’s supply?

Government has increased the Nutrients Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Kharif 2022.

India has entered into a C2C (corporation to corporation) supply arrangement with Russian companies for 2.5 LMT DAP/NPK every year for 3 years.

India is preparing some alternative sources, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

For domestic production of urea, the government is focusing on reviving new production units.

As per the news report, the government is exploring the option of domestically mining raw materials such as rock phosphate.


‘Climate justice is an absolute must for effective climate adaptations, globally and within nations’

Source: The post is based on an article “Climate justice is an absolute must for effective climate adaptations, globally and within nations’” published in The Times of India on 14th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Environment and Ecology

Relevance: Climate Change Adaptations, Climate Justice

News: There is an ongoing debate on climate justice, subsistence emissions, etc. which are vital and inevitable for effective climate change adaptations.

Why is climate change taking place?

Climate change happens largely due to the emissions of carbon dioxide, which lasts over 150 to 170 years in the atmosphere.

Therefore, the greenhouse gases which were emitted a century and a half ago still exist in Earth’s atmosphere today and are forcing changes in temperatures.

What is ‘climate justice’?

Many countries have a natural debt of historical emissions. They burnt fossil fuels to spur their economic growth in the past.

The UNFCCC acknowledged the same and embraced the principle of climate justice. For example, the rich nations would reduce emissions while the poor could develop with access to money and technology for clean growth.

At present, it can be defined by a framework for climate justice developed by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The framework argues for per capita emissions entitlements for attaining climate justice.

Is the idea of climate justice too relevant within nations?

The principle of climate justice also applies within a country. For example, there are well-off people or rich classes of people who overuse their own share of the ecological space. Therefore, the poor do not get their due share of ecological space.

What are the issues at present?

Even today, several countries scramble for more fossil fuels. It is evident in the Ukraine Crisis. In fact, the developing countries will also emit and add to greenhouse gas emissions for their development.

The rich world has mostly undermined the principles of climate justice. For example, the Paris pact 2015 has shed the term ‘historical emissions’ and dropped the responsibility of the developed world to take on emission reductions.

The world doesn’t have a global agreement based on fair climate shares in the world. This is in fact not talked about in an intra-country context.

Climate justice has been the most divisive issue in the global environmental community. The issue has not been highlighted in the Western media, despite their huge reporting of the climate crisis. In fact, 70% of the world also needs to grow.

Way Forward

The world should move forward based on each person’s fair share of atmospheric space. Climate Justice should be classed with human rights.

Climate justice should be made a bedrock of climate action. We can’t have effective agreements, accompanied by financial transfers, technology sharing, and measures to enable countries to grow economically without pollution.

The acknowledgment of climate justice is essential for climate adaptation and making international agreements truly effective.

We all need to live within our fair share of nature. The world should shift from luxury emissions to subsistence emissions.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Shallow and deep ecologism

Source:  The post is based on the article “Shallow and deep ecologism” published in The Hindu on 12th May 2022.

What is the News?

As India continues to grapple with the unrelenting heat waves, it becomes relevant to unpack two strands of environmental philosophy that reinvent the relationship between nature and humans — Shallow and Deep Ecologism.

Background

The concepts of Shallow and Deep Ecologism emerged in the 1970s when Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss sought to look beyond the popular pollution and conservation movements of his milieu to address environmental degradation.

By placing humans at the heart of the environmental crisis, Næss outlines the difference between the two styles of ecologism.

What is Shallow Ecologism?

Shallow Ecologism is also called as weak ecologism. It refers to the philosophical or political position that environmental preservation should only be practiced to the extent that it meets human interests.

It is more like a powerful and fashionable fight against pollution and resource depletion rather than a radical change.

Exponents of this philosophy believe in continuing the present lifestyle but with specific tweaks aimed at minimizing the damage to the environment.

For instance, it may include the use of vehicles that cause less pollution or air conditioners that do not release chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs).

What is Deep Ecologism?

Deep ecologism believes that humans should radically change their relationship with nature.

It aspires to sustain nature by making large-scale changes to our lifestyle.

These may include limiting the commercial farming of meat to preserve forest areas and reduce the artificial fattening of animals or the reshaping of transport systems which involve the use of internal combustion engines.

What does Deep Ecologism advocate?

It shifts the attention from pollution and conservation narratives to robust policy formulation and implementation.

It also calls for a re-evaluation of the ‘survival of the fittest’ doctrine. Survival of the fittest should be understood through the human ability to cooperate and coexist with nature, as opposed to exploiting or dominating it.

Thus, Deep ecologism prioritizes a ‘live and let live’ attitude over an ‘either you or me’ approach.

What are the issues with Shallow Ecologism that Deep Ecologism proponents highlight?

Deep Ecologism proponents reject shallow ecologism for prioritizing humans above other forms of life and subsequently preserving the environmentally destructive way of life in modern societies.

Deep ecologism maintains that by sustaining this lifestyle, shallow ecologism further widens the inequalities between countries.

For instance, despite constituting only five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for 17% of the world’s energy consumption and is the second-largest consumer of electricity after China.


NITI Aayog Launches the National Data & Analytics Platform

Source: The post is based on the article NITI Aayog Launches the National Data & Analytics Platform published in PIB on 13th May 2022.

What is the News?

NITI Aayog has launched the National Data & Analytics Platform (NDAP) for open public use.

What is the National Data & Analytics Platform(NDAP)?

Launched by: NITI Aayog

Aim: To democratize access to public government data by making data accessible, interoperable, interactive and available on a user-friendly platform. 

Features of NDAP

Accessibility: The platform makes data more accessible by hosting data in clean, machine-readable formats, ensuring datasets are interoperable, and providing detailed documentation on the contents of each dataset.

Use case-based Approach: It follows a use-case based approach to ensure that the datasets hosted on the platform are tailored to the needs of data users from government, academia, journalism, civil society and the private sector. 


New powering system developed for IoT applications

Source: The post is based on the article New powering system developed for IoT applications published in Down To Earth on 13th May 2022.

What is the News?

A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Mandi has developed a new powering system for the Internet of Things(IoT) applications.

How was this powering system developed?

This powering system was developed using both Radio Frequency Energy Harvesting(RF-EH) and Backscatter Communication Technologies.

Applications: The potential of the powering system is vast and includes applications such as battery-free wireless cameras, wireless monitors, sensors, skin-attachable sensing platforms, contact lenses, machine-to-machine communication and human-to-machine interactions among others.

What is Radio Frequency Energy Harvesting(RF-EH) and Backscatter Communication Technologies?

The Internet of Things(IoT) is a collection of objects that can exchange data with each other through the Internet. IoT devices range from ordinary household appliances in a “smart” home to sophisticated industrial and scientific tools.

These devices are equipped with sensors, chips and software that must be always powered and stay in communication with other devices. 

However, power sources such as batteries may not be suitable for them because some may be embedded or hidden making changing batteries difficult. 

Radiofrequency energy harvesting (RF-EH) and backscatter communication technologies are two options to overcome this problem.

In RF-EH, energy is transmitted to the IoT device through radio waves by a dedicated transmitter. 

In backscatter communication also, power is transmitted via radio waves. But, with or without the need for a dedicated transmitter. Instead, radiofrequency signals available in the vicinity, such as WiFi, and cell phone signals, are harnessed through reflection and backscatter.

The RF-EH and backscatter devices have their strengths and drawbacks. For example, the backscatter devices are associated with considerable energy savings compared to the former. But they suffer from a reduced data rate and a shorter transmission range.


ISRO successfully tests solid rocket booster for Gaganyaan programme

Source: The post is based on the article “ISRO successfully tests solid rocket booster for Gaganyaan programme” published in The Hindu on 14th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) has successfully completed the static test of the human-rated solid rocket booster(HS200). This test was done for ISRO’s Gaganyaan programme.

What is a Human-rated solid rocket booster(HS200)?

The HS200 booster is the ‘human-rated’ version of the S200 rocket boosters used on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III), also called the LVM3.

Developed by: Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, Thiruvananthapuram

Features: HS200 is a 20-meter-long booster with a diameter of 3.2 meters. The control system used in the booster employs one of the world’s most powerful electro-mechanical actuators with multiple redundancies and safety features.

Significance: It is the world’s second-largest operational booster using solid propellants.

How will the HS200 booster help in the Gaganyaan Mission?

The GSLV Mk-III rocket will be used for the Gaganyaan mission. This rocket will have two HS200 boosters which will supply the thrust for lift-off.

Hence, the successful test of the HS200 booster ​​marks a major milestone for the prestigious Gagnyaan Mission of ISRO.


Iron in Tamil Nadu 4,200 years ago: a new dating and its significance

Source: The post is based on the article Iron in Tamil Nadu 4,200 years ago: a new dating and its significance published in Indian Express on 14th May 2022.

What is the News?

Carbon dating of excavated finds in Tamil Nadu pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.

Where did the researchers conduct excavations?
Source: Indian Express

Researchers conducted excavations at the Mayiladumparai site near Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu.

Note: Mayiladumparai is an important site with cultural material dating back between the Microlithic (30,000 BCE) and Early Historic (600 BCE) ages. This site was discovered by Prof Rajan in the 1990s.

What did the researchers find at this site?

Researchers recovered Iron Items from this site. The carbon dating of these iron items pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.

Before this, the earliest evidence of iron use was from 1900-2000 BCE for the country and from 1500 BCE for Tamil Nadu. The latest evidence dates the findings from Tamil Nadu to 2172 BCE.

Iron is not known to have been used in the Indus Valley, from where the use of copper in India is said to have originated (1500 BCE). 

When did the use of Iron started?

In 1979, the use of iron was traced to 1300 BCE at Ahar in Rajasthan. 

Later, samples at Bukkasagara in Karnataka indicated iron production dated back to 1530 BCE.

The date was subsequently pushed back to 1700-1800 BCE with excavations finding evidence of iron smelting at Raipura in the Mid-Ganga valley and then to 1900-2000 BCE based on investigations in sites at Malhar near Varanasi and Brahmagiri in North Karnataka. 

A series of dating results on finds from various parts of India have shown evidence of iron-ore technology before 1800 BCE.

What is the significance of these findings?

With the latest evidence tracing India’s Iron Age to 2000 BCE from 1500 BC, one can assume that Tamil’s cultural seeds were laid in 2000 BCE. 

And the benefit of these socio-economic changes and massive production triggered by the iron technology gave its first fruit around 600 BCE — the Tamil Brahmi scripts.


Union Minister launches ‘BHARAT TAP’ initiative at Plumbex India Exhibition

Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister launches ‘BHARAT TAP’ initiative at Plumbex India Exhibition published in PIB on 12th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the BHARAT TAP initiative and Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition. This exhibition is aimed at products and services related to the plumbing, water and sanitation industry.  

What is BHARAT TAP Initiative?

Aim: To provide low-flow, sanitary ware at scale and thereby reduce water consumption at source considerably.

Benefits: It is estimated to save approximately 40% of water. This will in turn result in water saving and energy saving due to less water and energy will be required for pumping, transporting, and purification.

Significance: This initiative will also be accepted quickly in the country and will lead to a renewed focus on water conservation efforts.

What is Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative?

It is an initiative of NAREDCO-MAHI.

Aim: To map groundwater as it is very important to save underground water.

Target: The initiative will work to save around 500 crore litres of water per year.

What is NARDECO?

National Real Estate Development Council(NAREDCO) was established as an autonomous self-regulatory body in 1998 under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Purpose: It is an apex body at the national level representing all spheres of stakeholders engaged in various aspects of real estate development. 

What is NARDECO-MAHI?

NAREDCO has established NAREDCO-MAHI Women’s Wing in 2021 for empowering women entrepreneurs and encouraging participation of women in the real estate sector and allied fields.


Scientists discover almost 35 million years old rare snake fossil from Ladakh Himalaya

Source:  The post is based on the article Scientists discover almost 35 million years old rare snake fossil from Ladakh Himalaya published in PIB on 13th May 2022.

What is the News?

Scientists have reported spotting the fossil of a Madtsoiidae snake from the molasse deposits of Ladakh Himalaya for the first time indicating their prevalence in the subcontinent for a much longer time than previously thought.

What is Madtsoiidae Snake?

Madtsoiidae is an extinct group of medium-sized to gigantic snakes.

These snakes first appeared during the Late Cretaceous and were mostly distributed in the Gondwanan landmasses, although their Cenozoic record is extremely scarce. 

From the fossil record, the whole group disappeared in the mid-Paleogene across most Gondwanan continents except for Australia where it survived with its last known taxon Wonambi till the late Pleistocene.

What have the Scientists found about the Madtsoiidae Snake?

Scientists have found the fossils of a Madtsoiidae snake from the molasse deposits of Ladakh Himalaya.

These fossils belong to the late Oligocene (part of the Tertiary Period in the Cenozoic Era that lasted from about 33.7 to 23.8 million years ago).

Significance: This is the first time indicating the prevalence of this snake in the Indian subcontinent for a much longer time than previously thought.


Macolin Convention: Calls for global efforts to curb match-fixing

Source: The post is based on the article Macolin Convention: Calls for global efforts to curb match-fixing” published in The Hindu on 13th May 2022.

What is the News?

The 12th meeting of Interpol’s Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) concluded with a call to harmonize global efforts to curb competition manipulation.

Note: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was one of the participants at this meeting.

What did the participants discuss at this meeting?

The members deliberated on various mechanisms to improve intelligence sharing such as the establishment of national platforms as outlined in the Macolin Convention that centralizes and analyze information on irregular and suspicious trends.

What is the Macolin Convention?

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions better known as the Macolin Convention is a multilateral treaty that aims to prevent, detect, and punish match-fixing in sports. 

The convention was concluded in Macolin, Switzerland in 2014. 

A major focus of the convention is to prevent and punish illegal sports betting operations and to prevent conflicts of interest between legal sports betting operators and sports organizations.


Punjab promoting green manure big time: what are the benefits, productivity

Source:  The post is based on the article Punjab promoting green manure big time: what are the benefits, productivity published in Indian Express on 10th May 2022.

What is the News?

Punjab Government is promoting the cultivation of green manure these days. It is providing a subsidy on the seed at the rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal.

What is Green Manure?

Green Manure are crops grown specifically for maintaining soil fertility and structure. They are normally incorporated back into the soil, either directly, or after removal and composting.

There are three main varieties of green manure, including Dhaincha, Cowpea, Sunhemp. Also some crops such as summer moong, mash pulses and guar act as green manure.

Green manure varieties are incorporated into the soil when the crop is 42-56 days old.

What are the benefits of Green Manure?

1) It helps in enhancing the organic matter in the soil. 2) Meets the deficiency of the micronutrients. 3) Reduces the consumption of inorganic fertilizers. 4) It is a good alternative to organic manure. 5) It conserves the nutrients, adds nitrogen and stabilizes the soil structure. 6) It decomposes rapidly and liberates large quantities of carbon dioxide and weak acids, which act on insoluble soil minerals to release nutrients for plant growth.

Why is Green Manure important for Punjab?

Punjab’s per hectare fertilizer consumption, which is around 244 kg, is one of the highest in the country and is also higher than the national average.

Green manure can curtail this consumption to a large extent by 25 to 30% and can save huge input costs for the farmers.

Moreover, the PH level of the soil in several parts of Punjab is more than 8.5 and 9%. Green manure helps maintain it.

Mains Answer Writing

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Testpost 21-03

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