9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 16th, 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

The importance of Lumbini

Source: The post is based on an article “The importance of Lumbini” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 International Relations; Bilateral Relations

Relevance: India-Nepal Ties

News: Recently, The Prime Minister of India visited Lumbini, Nepal for the first time in the last few decades.

How this Indian PM’s visit to Lumbini, Nepal is important?

The visit reiterated the message of peace; compassion; non-violence; tolerance; dialogue and debate; reconciliation; consensus; and the middle path forged (preached by the Buddha) in Indian society which is facing strife and turmoil and anger and hatred.

In a Political sense, Indian PM’s visit has put to rest the unnecessary debate on whether the Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal which is a sensitive issue for Nepal.

In a strategic sense, the visit was aimed to counter the growing presence of China in Lumbini, which is close to the Indian border. For example, it has built the largest monastery in Lumbini, sponsors international conferences on Buddhism, sponsors massive celebrations on Buddhist festivals, promotes Chinese tourists to Lumbini, and Chinese investments in the region. It means China is exploiting the soft power potential of Buddhism in Nepal.

What is India’s soft potential?

India is home to some of the most sacred sites of Buddhism: Bodh Gaya; Sarnath; Kushinagar; Shravasti; Nalanda; and Rajgir, among several others.

Both Lumbini and the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya are UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are to Buddhists what Mecca is to Muslims or Kashi is to Hindus.

What are the issues from the Indian Side?

India has not utilized its soft power potential in Lumbini. Although, India assisted in building a small museum in Lumbini in the late 1990s. Further, an India Ambassador planted a sampling of the sacred Bodhi tree in the gardens of the Maya Devi temple where Gautama Buddha was born in 2014.

Lumbini is home to beautiful monasteries from several countries. But India does not have a monastery in Lumbini.

There were talks about developing a Buddhist circuit between the major pilgrimage sites in Nepal and India. But, talk has not fully translated into action.

There is the poor state of border infrastructure and immigration and other facilities in the area. The road networks are poor. For example, it is a nightmare to cross the Sunauli-Bhairahawa India-Nepal check post that is designated for tourists.

The relationship between the monasteries of foreign countries in Bodh Gaya and the local communities is fraught.

What should be done?

India can assist the international committee for the development of Lumbini and Nepal in the implementation of the master plan for development of Lumbini, which is pending for decades.

The basic infrastructure like roads network between India and Nepal should be upgraded. For example, Kushinagar Airport (India) as well as Bhairahawa Airport (Nepal) should be constructed timely. Further, the integrated check post could also be built speedily. The measure would boost tourism and the local economy.

On the lines of a master plan to develop Lumbini, India should also adopt a master plan for Bodh Gaya in order to develop it as a sacred place for pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists.

India can set up a high-level coordination committee comprising representatives of State governments, Central governments as well as of foreign monasteries to promote coordination between foreign monasteries.

The Buddhist circuit, namely Lumbini-Bodh Gaya-Sarnath-Kushinagar should be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with master plans for each segment of the circuit.

India and Nepal can organise an international conference on the development of the Buddhist circuit as a joint initiative.

India can also establish an international museum of Buddhist traditions in Bodh Gaya and invite all Buddhist countries to participate.

In abeyance of Section 124A, a provisional relief

Source: The post is based on an article “In abeyance of Section 124A, a provisional relief” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Important Provisions of the Constitution of India

Relevance: Sedition Law v/s Right to freedom of speech and expression

News: Recently, In Supreme Court of India in S.G. Vombatkere vs Union of India has directed governments, both at the level of the Union and the States, to keep “all pending trials, appeals and proceedings” arising out of a charge framed under Section 124A “in abeyance”.

About Section 124A

How have the Court granted a temporary suspension of the provision?

The Union government has submitted an affidavit indicating a willingness to re-examine Section 124A.

The affidavit allowed the judges to issue such an interim order where the provision will be kept in abeyance until the Government, and Parliament, take a final call on the matter.

Argument against the provision

K.M. Munshi said in the Constituent Assembly, “The criticism of the government is the essence of democracy”.

It is a colonial-era law used against India freedom fighters. For example, the act was invoked against Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Gandhi.

K.M. Munshi argued in the Constituent Assembly to delete the word “sedition” as a permitted restriction on free speech to prevent perpetuation of 124-A of the I.P.C”. Therefore, The Constitution did not permit a restriction on free speech on the grounds of sedition.

The law has been used as a restraint on dissent, to crush opposition aimed at the government. The governments across India continued to charge people with the offence.

In the 1950s, two different High Courts struck down Section 124A as offensive to freedom.

In the Kedarnath case, the SC limited the scope of law to “acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence”. However, the limitations imposed have rarely been observed. The law has been over exploited.

Since 1973, the sedition law has also been treated as a cognisable offence. The police can arrest a suspect without a warrant.

Since the 1962 Judgment, the Supreme Court’s reading of fundamental rights has undergone a transformative change. For instance, the Court has, in recent times, struck down penal laws on grounds of lack of clarity in language, and of the chilling effect on free speech. The CJI had indicated that the law was an anachronism, a colonial-era relic.

Argument in favour

In 1962, the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar declared the Section 124A as a valid restriction on free speech on grounds of public order.

The Way Forward

The government’s intention of re-examining the law indicates that “the Sedition law is not in tune with the current social milieu in India.

The Court may constitute a Bench of five judges to decide upon the constitutionality of the sedition law.

GS Paper 3

Fiddling with a climate response while our workers face the heat

Source: This post is created based on the article “Fiddling with a climate response while our workers face the heat” published in Live Mint on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Disaster management – heat waves

News: Meteorologists are predicting that temperatures will rise above 50°C across much of South Asia, owing to less rainfall than usual in this period.

Extreme heat and high humidity can prevent human sweat from evaporating, reducing the body’s ability to cool down, this condition is called ‘Wet-bulb’ temperature. Several Indian cities have recently experienced wet-bulb temperatures of close to 30°C. If it exceeds 35°C, then spending even a few hours outside in the shade with no physical activity can lead to death.

What are the implications of increasing heat for India?

The central government has asked state governments to take measures to prevent deaths due to heat waves and fire incidents. However, the available measures are not sufficient.

National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses does not focus on protecting people from heat exposure. Instead, it outlines relatively minor strategies for dealing with the consequences.

Also, these measures are ineffective for employees who are engaged in informal activities with no legal or social protection. They have to come out for work or sleep hungry, as we have seen during covid times.

An International Labour Organization (ILO) report on heat stress and work states that agriculture and construction sector would be worst affected in terms of deteriorating conditions and working-time losses, due to global warming. But the hundreds of millions of Indians who work such jobs typically have no choice but to keep doing them.

The unpaid work of hundreds of millions of women and girls in India has been ignored even by ILO report. They have to go to fetch water for daily household use to faraway places. Now, as the scorching heat may dry up existing surface water sources and reduces groundwater supplies, they will have to walk long distances.

What should be done?

Governments have to be the main drivers of adaptation to higher temperatures. Universal social protection and occupational safety can be provided even for informal work.

Root cause analysis for the power crisis

Source: This post is created based on the article “Root cause analysis for the power crisis” published in Business Standard on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Energy – Electricity sector

Context: The root cause of the present electricity crisis in India is said to be the demand surge due to heat waves. However, it is not the case with other products where the private sector is involved.

For example, the surge in the ice-cream demand is higher compared to electricity in summers. However, no one would see a shortage of ice cream in the market. It is because ice cream is produced in the market economy, and profit-seeking producers ensure the availability of ice cream through projections and a sufficient supply of raw materials.

Why there is a shortage of electricity?

Lack of market-based mechanisms and State control.

An increase in the global price of gas (Market based) has not resulted in the shut down of captive gas-based thermal generating plants or an increase in the price of electricity(State determined).

There are specialized “imported coal thermal plants” that only generate electricity with imported coal and sell electricity. These plants have 25-year lock-in prices for electricity. When the price of coal goes up, they stand to make a loss by operating the plant, and prefer to shut down the plant.

State-regulated systems lack self-correcting mechanisms, where High prices offer profit opportunities and less demand and vice versa.

What are the solutions?

The Indian electricity sector is at a breaking point through the forces of global warming, heatwaves, the carbon transition, financially unviable discoms, etc.

Thus, the price system of electricity should be market based so that profit-motivated firms start figuring out how to extract, store, import, and transport coal.

High prices encourage reduced consumption owing to changed behavior by self-interested customers.

What explains India’s U-turn on wheat exports?

Source: This post is created based on the article “What explains India’s U-turn on wheat exports?” published in Live Mint on 16th May 2022.This post is created based on the article “Government ban on wheat exports hurts farmers and traders, dents India’s image as a reliable global supplier” published in Indian Express on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Agriculture – Cropping pattern and marketing of farm sector

News: Union government has recently banned the exports of wheat.

However, there are certain conditions, under which exports will be allowed:

First, where an irrevocable letter of credit has already been issued.

Second, one window has been kept open for the neighboring countries in the notification. It says export will be allowed to other countries “based on the request of their governments”. It will be helpful in ensuring supplies to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal

What are the factors that led to the ban on exports of wheat in India?

Heatwaves at the end of March, have impacted the production of food grains, especially in northwest India.

The government has revised the wheat production estimates, lowering them by 6 million tonnes.

Wheat prices have increased nearly 20% and prices of essential food items such as Atta has risen nearly 15% last year.

The government has given its reasons for export ban, i.e. to check prices and curb hoarding.

What are the implications of the wheat exports ban?

First, India is the world’s second-largest wheat producer and countries were expecting India to fill the gap created due to the Ukraine-Russia war.

Agriculture ministers from the G7 condemned India’s decision to withhold wheat exports amid a global grain shortage.

Second, Indian wheat traders have lost the opportunity to gain from the global grain shortage. Building export markets and establishing supportive infrastructure, like warehousing, takes time. Such policy decisions will create more difficulties in it.

Third, it will be a loss for farmers as well because the market price of wheat had become higher than MSP. Many farmers were preferring to sell in the market. It led to the highest purchase of wheat by private traders in Punjab in the last 8 years.

Fourth, it will raise questions about the farm trade policy’s credibility. Signs of low output due to March heat were already visible, still, the delegation was sent abroad by the commerce ministry with the slogan Indian farmers “feeding the world”

Direct paddy sowing reaps benefits

Source: The post is based on an article “Direct paddy sowing reaps benefits” published in the Business Standard on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems.

Relevance: Sustainable Agriculture; Less water-intensive cropping methods; Direct Paddy sowing method

News: Recently, the Haryana government has announced a higher incentive of ₹ 10,000 per hectare for the direct planting of rice.

What are the issues in present rice cropping practice?

At present, rice growers generally use much more water than the crop actually needs. Around 40-45% of the water used for irrigation goes to paddy alone.

There is a mistaken belief that paddy is an aquatic plant that needs waterlogged fields. But they do not necessarily need flooding all the time.

The constant submergence causes loss of applied plant nutrients due to leaching. It encourages the proliferation of pests and diseases. Further, it increases emissions of methane into the environment. Unsurprisingly, nearly 10% of the methane emission come from paddy fields.

The water table is declining rapidly in areas where such a cropping practice is done. For example, the water table in Punjab is receding, on average, by about one meter every year.

What are the causes behind the flooding of rice fields?

Free or subsidized supply of power and diesel for running water pumps. For example, the intensive rice-wheat growing belt in the Indo-Gangetic plain, particularly Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh are notorious for splurging water.

What are the solutions?

Changing Cropping Pattern: This includes replacing paddy with another equally lucrative but less water-consuming crop. However, this option may face a primary challenge from the policy of open-ended rice procurement at pre-determined prices.

Direct Paddy direct seeding method: This is the method that can be used instead of taking the transplanting route. This can promote economical and efficient use of water. In fact, this is a more practical option for the government to promote and farmers to adopt.

About the direct seeding method

Under this system, dry or pre-germinated seeds are sown straight in the fields with the help of seed-drill machines. The laser land leveling equipment should be used to level (perfectly even) the farmland. In addition, the menace of weeds can be tackled by spraying herbicides prior to sowing or after seed planting.

This technique originally experimented for medium to heavy textured soils. But it could be used even on relatively light-textured sandy loam and loam soils as well. Therefore, this can be adopted by farmers in a large part of the country including the rain-dependent areas.

Benefits of Direct Seeding

It ensures a normal harvest with substantially lower water consumption. It also does away with the labour and cost-intensive operations, such as nursery planting, soil puddling, and seedling transplanting.

Likewise, it cuts down the consumption of water by 20-35%. Furthermore, it also cut the requirement for diesel and power by nearly 40%.

It helps save, 3540 man-days of labour for every hectare of cropland. It involves lower cash inputs. Not only that, but it improves soil health and fertiliser-use efficiency. At last, it results in higher crop output, thereby, raising the net profits.

It reduces methane emission from paddy fields. In addition, the method also allows the crop to mature seven to 10 days earlier than normal. Therefore, farmers have more time to appropriately manage paddy stubbles instead of torching them to cause air pollution.

The Way Forward

The system is already gaining popularity in unirrigated lands in many states. It got a major boost during the Covid-19 pandemic. As there was paucity of labour due to reverse migration. Therefore, farmers were forced to look for less labour-intensive ways of growing rice. For instance, In Punjab, about 600,000 hectares of paddy was planted with this method last year.

The governments can offer incentives to promote direct seeding of rice in areas where agro-ecological conditions permit the deployment of this technology.

The road to safety

Source: The post is based on an article “The road to safety” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Infrastructure, Transport Infrastructure, Urban Infrastructure

Relevance: Issues and Problems in India’s road infrastructure, road accidents

News: Recently, The Delhi government has initiated a drive to enforce lane discipline, starting with strict compliance on the bus lane. Trials over the last month have thrown up several lessons

What are the road-safety-related problems in India?

Every year, around 50,000 accidents take place in our mega Indian cities. A quarter of them are fatal, which leads to avoidable deaths.  Nearly half of those who lose their lives are pedestrians.

The burden of death is borne by the young. The opportunity cost of lost human lives is immense.

What are the causes of traffic, accidents, and others’ problems in Indian Cities, especially Delhi?

Around half of the accidents occur on account of overspeeding and a quarter are due to dangerous driving. Further, almost half of the accidents are due to collisions with buses and trucks.

In India, in some cases, a driving license is obtained through wrongful means with help of an unscrupulous tout.

Even obtaining a license doesn’t equip a person with driving etiquette like sticking to the lane; maintaining speed and traffic signals, etc. Therefore, there is a large gap between a lab environment test and reality.

The propensity of people to use personal vehicles instead of public transport also adds to the chaos. For example, Delhi has the highest per capita registration of personal vehicles — nearly 110 cars per 1,000 people, as against a national average of 25.

Measures taken by the Delhi government (Delhi Model)

Since 2009, In Delhi, the road deaths have gradually tapered despite increasing numbers of vehicles due to efforts of the Delhi Police. This has been done by working upon black spots by adopting traffic-calming measures and enhanced enforcement.

In case of deviations from the lane, the bus driver will invite harsh penalties. It would be useful to look at the skill sets of Indian drivers. A driving skill test confirms the ability of the driver to wield the wheel

To obtain a driving license – Delhi now has automated driving test centres, which have reduced the margin of human intervention.

Delhi’s government is working on road design to accommodate all users fairly.

Delhi Traffic Police has installed speeding cameras in the city, with an automatic number plate recognition system. This has led to a spike in the number of challans and a slowdown of vehicles in the city.

The Way Forward

To obtain a driving license: the simulator tests and psychological evaluation could be embedded in the regulatory framework.

The city roads should be remodelled with intuitive road designs and signages. There should be different zones of road usage for pedestrians/cyclists, buses, and other vehicles.

There should be designated pick-up and drop-off points for taxis and auto-rickshaws. In this regard, a pilot stretch has been redesigned collaboratively with IIT Delhi.

There should be cooperation and coordination among all the important agencies directly and indirectly related to traffic problems such as the road-owning agency, the municipal body, the traffic police, and the transport enforcement wing for strict enforcement of the traffic rules.

Disciplining traffic requires a collective behavioural change. Therefore, the onus of change lies as much on citizens as on the government. The government can deploy technology tools and artificial intelligence to cause deterrence in traffic violations.

The public transport system can be improved with the introduction of the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions. This will integrate all options of public mobility on a common digital platform. A commuter could then choose to hop onto a bus, metro, a cab, or an auto.

A government-backed digital aggregator of all mobility options would make public transport more efficient and provide inbuilt solutions for last-mile and first-mile connectivity.

For a stronger navy, India needs to fast-track the submarine project

Source: This post is created based on the article “For a stronger navy, India needs to fast-track the submarine project” published in Indian Express on 16th May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Defence technologies

News: Recently, the French defence major, Naval Group, announced its inability to participate in India’s Project 75-I.

Russian and German submarine builders have also withdrawn from this project earlier.

India’s Project 75-I

Under this project, conventional (non-nuclear or diesel-electric) submarines are to be built domestically.

What are the issues with India’s Submarine project?

Installation of an air independent propulsion system (AIP):  Conventional submarines are propelled underwater by electric-power. The submarine has to periodically expose itself to draw air for running generators that charge their battery-banks. Many European countries are thus trying to develop an air independent propulsion system. India’s contract for license-production of six Scorpenes was without including this system. Whereas Pakistan Navy (PN) may field up to 11 AIP-equipped boats by 2028.

Delays: The programme saw huge delays over contractual issues. The sixth and last submarine was launched in April 2022, a full 17 years after signing of the contract.

Trials: DRDO has developed an indigenous AIP system, based on electrolytic fuel cells. This system produces energy by combining hydrogen and oxygen with only water as the waste product. This AIP system will be subjected to stringent underwater trials before the Indian Navy can accept it. Now the challenge is (a) who will provide a submarine for trials? (b) Who will undertake installation and conduct trials? (c) And most crucially, who in our system will take such crucial decisions in a timely manner?

Now DRDO and its partners have to look for a foreign collaborator for P-75I who will install the indigenous AIP on the selected submarine and conduct collaborative trials.

Previous plans: In 1999, the government accorded approval to a “30-Year Submarine Building Plan,.” The program envisaged the simultaneous serial production of two types of submarines in separate shipyards; 1) advanced submarine of imported design, 2) a home-grown product, designed by our own naval architects with foreign assistance. However, the project was stalled due to delays in decision-making.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

PM to launch Buddhist Centre work

Source: The post is based on the article “PM to launch Buddhist Centre work” published in The Hindu on 16th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister will be travelling to Lumbini in Nepal to participate in a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for an “India International Center for Buddhist Culture & Heritage”.

What is the “India International Center for Buddhist Culture & Heritage”?

Located in: Lumbini, Nepal

Constructed by: International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Significance: This Buddhist Centre will be the first ‘Net Zero Emission’ building in Nepal.

What is Lumbini?

Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mahamayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama at around 563 BCE.

Lumbini was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

Note: He later attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya in Bihar and came to be known as Buddha, preached his first sermon at Sarnath and attained Nirvana in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. 

What is the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC)?

It was formed in 2013 as an international Buddhist umbrella body to serve as a common platform for Buddhists worldwide.

Headquarters: New Delhi.

Union Minister launches Gatishakti Sanchar Portal says it will help in rollout of 5G network across the country

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister launches Gatishakti Sanchar Portal says it will help in rollout of 5G network across the country published in PIB on 14th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Communications, Electronics and IT has launched Gatishakti Sanchar Portal for Centralized Right of Way(RoW) approvals.

What is GatiShakti Sanchar Portal?

GatiShakti Sanchar Portal is a collaborative institutional mechanism between all stakeholders including Central and State/UT Government(s), Local bodies and Service Providers to facilitate the Right of Way(RoW) Application Process through a single interface.

Purpose: The portal will enable applicants from various Telecom Service providers (TSPs) as well as Infrastructure providers (IPs) to apply for Right of Way permissions to lay down Optical Fiber Cable. Also for erecting mobile towers for State/UT Governments and local bodies.

Developed by: MP state Electronics Development Corporation on behalf of the Department of Telecommunications(DoT).

Advantages of this portal

– Fast laying of more Optical Fiber Cable thus will accelerate fiberization.

– Increased tower density will enhance connectivity and improve the quality of various telecom services.

– Increased fiberization of telecom towers, thus ensuring better Broadband speed, across the country.

Significance of this portal: The portal shall act as an enabler to the objective of “Ease of doing business” for telecommunications infrastructure.

It would also provide a robust mechanism to achieve our goal of “Broadband to All” as envisaged in the National Digital Communication Policy-2018.

Explained | The science behind twin cyclones

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained | The science behind twin cyclones published in The Hindu on 13th May 2022.

What is the News?

A pair of tropical cyclones, Cyclone Asani & Karim (one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere) , one on each side of the equator have been formed.

These are twin cyclones originating in the same longitude and now drifting apart. 

What are Twin Cyclones?

The interplay of the wind and the monsoon system combined with the Earth system produces twin cyclones.

Formation of twin cyclones: They are basically formed by equatorial Rossby waves.

Rossby waves are named for famous meteorologist Carl-Gustaf Rossby who was the first to explain that these waves arose due to the rotation of the Earth.

They are huge waves in the ocean with wavelengths of around 4,000–5,000 kilometers.

This system has a vortex in the Northern Hemisphere and another in the Southern Hemisphere, and each of these is a mirror image of the other.

The vortex in the north spins counterclockwise and has a positive spin, while the one in the Southern Hemisphere spins in the clockwise direction and therefore has a negative spin.

Both have a positive value of the vorticity which is a measure of the rotation.

What is the process behind the formation of Twin Cyclones?

When the vorticity is positive in both Northern and Southern hemispheres, as is the case with Rossby waves, the air in the boundary layer, which is moist, is lifted slightly. That is enough to set off a feedback process.

When the air is lifted slightly, the water vapour condenses to make clouds. As it condenses, it lets out the latent heat of evaporation.

The atmosphere warms, this parcel of air rises, and positive feedback is set off by this process. The warmer parcel of air can rise further because it is lighter than the surrounding air, and it can form deeper clouds.

Meanwhile, moisture comes in from both sides. This leads to the formation of a cyclone if certain conditions are present.

What is Madden-Julian Oscillation or MJO? 

Karim and Asani are “twin” cyclones not only because they formed at the same time in the same general area but also because they were formed primarily from the same “parent” circulation: the Madden-Julian Oscillation or MJO.

The MJO is a large cluster of clouds and convection, around 5000-10,000 kilometres in size.

It is composed of a Rossby wave and a Kelvin wave, which is a type of wave structure that was seen in the ocean.

On the eastern side of the MJO is the Kelvin wave, while on the western, trailing edge of the MJO, is the Rossby wave, once again with two vortices on either side of the equator.

Cruise Tourism in India has potential to grow 10 fold says Shipping Minister

Source: The post is based on the articleCruise Tourism in India has potential to grow 10 fold says Shipping Minister published in PIB on 14th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways has said that the Indian cruise market has the potential to grow 10-fold over the next decade.

What is Cruise Tourism?

Cruise tourism can be defined as a luxurious form of travelling, involving an all-inclusive holiday on a cruise ship with a set and specific itinerary in which the cruise ship calls at several ports or cities.

Cruise Tourism Business in India

The cruise business had grown 35% year-on-year to 0.4 million in 2018-19 where around 200 ships had visited India that year but suffered serious financial setbacks during the pandemic.

However, this sector has the potential to grow 10-fold over the next decade driven by rising demand and disposable incomes.

What steps has the Government of India taken to promote Cruise Tourism?

Cruise Shipping Policy: It was approved by the Ministry of Shipping in 2008. The objective of the policy is to make India an attractive cruise tourism destination with state-of-the-art infrastructural and other facilities in various parts of the country.

Coastal Destination Circuits: Four theme-based coastal destination circuits such as Gujarat Pilgrimage tours, West Coast – Cultural and scenic tours, South Coast – Ayurvedic wellness tours and East Coast – Heritage tourism have been developed to activate cruise demand.

Upgradation and modernisation of Ports are being carried out in the country including the flagship New International Cruise terminal coming up in Mumbai.

The first India International Cruise Conference has been organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways. Strategies for developing India as a cruise hub.

India plans dam project as China seeks to divert river

Source: The post is based on the article “India plans dam project as China seeks to divert river” published in Livemint on 16th May 2022.

What is the News?

India plans to construct the country’s second-largest dam at Yingkiong in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China’s ambitious water diversion scheme of the Brahmaputra River.

What are China’s plans for the Brahmaputra River?

China’s 14th five-year plan has proposed building a massive dam over the Brahmaputra river, known in China as the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Why is India apprehensive of China’s dams on the Brahmaputra River?

Firstly, the dams built by China are large enough to be turned into storage dams, which will allow it to manipulate the water resources freely for the purpose of flood control or irrigation. In such a scenario, China can potentially deprive India of water during dry seasons. 

Secondly, India is also apprehensive about the release of water during the monsoons, which can inundate the already flooded Brahmaputra. 

What are India’s plans to counter the Chinese water diversion scheme of the Brahmaputra River?

India has planned to construct the country’s second-largest dam at Yingkiong in Arunachal Pradesh.

The dam is part of the proposed Upper Siang multipurpose storage project that will also generate hydropower.

The dam will be able to store around 10 billion cubic meters (BCM) of water.

Note: By storage, the Indira Sagar Dam is the largest in India at 12.2 BCM.

Significance of this dam: India’s plan involves releasing water from the dam to maintain water security in case China builds structures to divert water. Also, in the case of China releasing water from its upper reaches, such a dam will also help in storing water to prevent floods.

Centre relaxes procurement norms for shrivelled, broken wheat grains

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre relaxes procurement norms for shrivelled, broken wheat grains” published in Indian Express on 15th May 2022.

What is the News?

The Government of India has announced relaxations for the procurement of shrunken and shrivelled grains in Punjab and Haryana. 

What is the issue?

Due to extreme heatwaves in the northern part of the country in March, the grain quality suffers so much that the percentage of shrivelled (to become smaller, especially because of dry conditions) grains in the freshly harvested crop sees a manifold increase.

Experts have pointed out that while shrivelled grain yields less flour, it does not lose its nutritional value. Hence, it is fit for human consumption.

What is the maximum permissible limit prescribed by FCI for of shrivelled grains?
Shrivelled grains
Source: Indian Express

As per the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the maximum permissible limit of shrivelled grains is up to 6%.

However, the shrivelled grain percentage during this period is between 12% to 18%. Due to this, farmers have been facing heavy losses.

Hence, the farmers have urged the Centre to raise the maximum permissible limit of shrivelled and broken grains to 20%.

What has the Government of India done?

The government has raised the maximum permissible limit of “shrivelled and broken grains” to 18% from the existing 6% without any value cut.

This would protect the interests of farmers and promote efficient procurement and distribution of food grains.

Indian company produces tactical battery for battlefield conditions

Source: The post is based on the articleIndian company produces tactical battery for battlefield conditions published in The Hindu on 16th May 2022.

What is the News?

A Bengaluru-based Startup has developed a tactical battery called ‘Pravaig Field Pack’. It is planning to sell this to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s(NATO) forces in Europe.

What is Pravaig Field Pack?

Pravaig Field Pack is a portable heavy-duty power bank battery.

Purpose: It can be used to energize military personnel equipment and to deploy remote sensors. It can even be used to operate larger military equipment like drones and even coordinate tactical operations involving multiple weapons systems.

Developed by: These batteries are designed, engineered and made in India.

Significance: This battery is of great utility to the military personnel who have to operate in high-risk zones like Ukraine and Libya while using gadgets that require constant power back-up.

Moreover, the supply of this battery to NATO marks a major shift in the defence landscape of India — a tipping point in the reversal of India’s high technology defence industry from users to developers, from importers to exporters.

Amalthea: Jupiter’s unusual inner moon

Source: The post is based on the articleAmalthea: Jupiter’s unusual inner moon published in Space on 14th May 2022.

What is the News?

According to recent findings, Amalthea appears to radiate out more heat than it receives from the sun, which NASA suggests may be due to Jupiter’s magnetic field or tidal stresses.

What is Amalthea?
Source: Astronomy.com

The moon Amalthea is one of Jupiter’s 53 named satellites. It was the first to be discovered after the four Galilean moons, and it is the fifth-largest overall.

Discovered by: Astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard discovered Amalthea in 1892 while astronomer Camille Flammarion suggested the name Amalthea after the Greek mythological figure. 

Characteristics of Amalthea

In terms of proximity to Jupiter, Amalthea is the planet’s third moon — it takes just 12 hours to make a full orbit.

Amalthea also contributes to one of the Gossamer Rings of Jupiter — the Amalthea Gossamer Ring — which is the faint innermost Gossamer ring of the planet. The Gossamer Rings are outside the main Jovian ring.

Amalthea is tidally locked to Jupiter in synchronous rotation — it always aligns with the planet along its long axis.

Major missions to Amalthea

Only two missions have visited Amalthea: Voyager and Galileo. Both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft photographed the Jovian moon during their flybys in 1979.

Mains Answer Writing

[Download] – Prassannakumar V AIR 264 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

Dear Friends, We are happy to release the Mains answer copies of Prassannakumar V. He has secured AIR 264 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021. Aspirants can learn from these copies and strategize their preparation accordingly. Download link: Prassannakumar V MGP Copy 1 – GS Test Copy Prassannakumar V MGP Copy 2 – GS Test… Continue reading [Download] – Prassannakumar V AIR 264 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

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[Download] – Donthula Zenith Chandra AIR 241 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

Dear Friends, We are happy to release the Mains answer copies of Donthula Zenith Chandra. He has secured AIR 241 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021. Aspirants can learn from these copies and strategize their preparation accordingly. Download link: Donthula Zenith Chandra MGP Copy 1 – GS Test Copy Donthula Zenith Chandra MGP Copy… Continue reading [Download] – Donthula Zenith Chandra AIR 241 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

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[Answered] Enumerate NITI Aayog’s recommendations for the betterment of gig and platform workers.

Introduction: Contextual introduction. Body: Write some points related to NITI Aayog’s recommendations for the betterment of gig and platform workers. Conclusion: Write a way forward. A gig worker is a person who engages in income-earning activities outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship, as well as in the informal sector. When gig workers use platforms i.e.,… Continue reading [Answered] Enumerate NITI Aayog’s recommendations for the betterment of gig and platform workers.

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[Answered] The dominant position of online aggregator platforms is damaging for small and medium businesses and customers. Discuss and also suggest some international experiences for dealing with this issue.

Introduction: Contextual introduction. Body: Explain how dominant position of online aggregator platforms is damaging small and medium businesses and customers. Also write some international experiences for dealing with this issue. Conclusion: Write a way forward. The proliferation of a wide range of e-commerce platforms has created convenience and increased consumer choice. But in reality, the… Continue reading [Answered] The dominant position of online aggregator platforms is damaging for small and medium businesses and customers. Discuss and also suggest some international experiences for dealing with this issue.

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[Download] 10 PM Weekly Compilation – June, 2022 – 4th week

Hello, everyone. We are posting a Compilation of the 10 pm current affairs quiz – June 2022 – Fourth week  Click on the following link to download Download The 10 PM Daily Current Affairs Quiz is focused on the current affairs part of UPSC Prelims. The daily current affairs quiz consists of 10 questions based on the daily current affairs.… Continue reading [Download] 10 PM Weekly Compilation – June, 2022 – 4th week

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – July 1, 2022

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers several newspapers such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, etc. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – July 1, 2022

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NITI Aayog and TIFAC Launch Report on Future Penetration of Electric Two-Wheelers in the Indian Market

What is the News? NITI Aayog and Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) have released a report titled ‘Forecasting Penetration of Electric Two-Wheelers in India’. Note: TIFAC is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology to look ahead in the technology domain, assess the technology trajectories and… Continue reading NITI Aayog and TIFAC Launch Report on Future Penetration of Electric Two-Wheelers in the Indian Market

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Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’ for future generations

What is the News? The Commonwealth leaders have adopted the Living Lands Charter at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. What is the Living Lands Charter? It is a non-binding agreement adopted by the Commonwealth member countries. Purpose: The charter mandates member countries to safeguard global land resources and arrest land… Continue reading Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’ for future generations

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Explained: What is CAPSTONE, NASA’s new satellite?

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Cabinet approves Computerization of Primary Agriculture Credit Societies(PACS)

What is the News? Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Computerization of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). The objective behind this is to increase the efficiency of PACS, bring transparency and accountability to their operations; facilitate PACS to diversify their business and undertake multiple activities/services. What are Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS)? Primary… Continue reading Cabinet approves Computerization of Primary Agriculture Credit Societies(PACS)

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