9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 23rd, 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

On Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s 250th birth anniversary, remembering the legacy of the father of Modern Indian Renaissance

Source: This post is based on the article “On Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s 250th birth anniversary, remembering the legacy of the father of Modern Indian Renaissance” published in The Indian Express on 23rd May 22.

Syllabus: GS1 – History – Art and Culture

Relevance: About Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Context: One of the most influential social and religious reformers of the 19th century, Ram Mohan Roy, was born on May 22, 1772 in what was then Bengal Presidency’s Radhanagar in Hooghly district.

As India grapples increasingly with changing social and religious circumstances, Roy’s work in the sphere of women’s emancipation, modernising education and seeking changes to religious orthodoxy finds new relevance in this time.

Early life

Roy was into a prosperous upper-caste Brahmin family, where he grew up within the framework of orthodox caste practices of his time: child-marriage, polygamy and dowry were prevalent among the higher castes and he had himself been married more than once in his childhood.

The family’s affluence had also made the best in education accessible to him.

A polyglot, Roy knew Bengali and Persian, but also Arabic, Sanskrit, and later, English. His exposure to the literature and culture of each of these languages bred in him a scepticism towards religious dogmas and social strictures. For instance: practices such as Sati

He spent considerable time studying the Vedas and the Upanishads, and the religious texts of Islam and Christianity. He was particularly intrigued by the Unitarian faction of Christianity and was drawn by the precepts of monotheism that, he believed, lay at the core of all religious texts.

Rabindranath Tagore called him a ‘Bharatpathik’ by which he meant to say that Rammohun combined in his person the underlying spirit of Indic civilisation, its spirit of pluralism, tolerance and a cosmic respect for all forms of life,” says historian Amiya P Sen.

Roy, the first among liberals

Confident about the strength of his heritage and open to imbibing from other cultures what he believed were ameliorative practices, Roy was among India’s first liberals.

He was given the title of Raja by the Mughal emperor Akbar II.

He studied matters not in the abstract or in academic solitude, but with the practical objective of securing human happiness and freedom. That made him a modern man.

In 1814, he started the Atmiya Sabha (Society of Friends), to nurture philosophical discussions on the idea of monotheism in Vedanta and to campaign against idolatry, casteism, child marriage and other social ills.

– The Atmiya Sabha would make way for the Brahmo Sabha in 1828, set up with Debendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s father.

  • During the Bengal Renaissance, Brahmo Sabha ushered in sweeping social changes and birthed the Brahmo religion, a reformed spiritual Hinduism that believes in monotheism and the uniformity of all men, irrespective of caste, class or creed.

Education

During the course of his time in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), a period of about 15 years, Roy became a prominent public intellectual. He campaigned for the modernisation of education, in particular the introduction of a Western curriculum, and started several educational institutions in the city.

In 1817, he collaborated with Scottish philanthropist David Hare to set up the Hindu College (now, Presidency University).

– He followed it up with the Anglo-Hindu School in 1822 and, in 1830, assisted Alexander Duff to set up the General Assembly’s Institution, which later became the Scottish Church College.

It was his relentless advocacy alongside contemporaries such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar that finally led to the abolition of Sati under the governor generalship of William Bentinck in 1829. Roy argued for the property rights of women, and petitioned the British for freedom of the press (in 1829 and 1830).

Faced criticism due to his views

He was among the first Indians to gain recognition in the UK and in America for his radical thoughts. But, he was often attacked by his own countrymen who felt threatened by his reformist agenda, and by British reformers and functionaries, whose views differed from his.

GS Paper 2


India needs to keep an eye on its myopia prevalence

Source: This post is based on the article “India needs to keep an eye on its myopia prevalence” published in The Hindu on 23rd May 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Social Issues – Public health related issues

Relevance: Myopia prevalence in India

Context: Millions of young children are growing up short-sighted every year because of myopia. While East Asia and the Pacific have been reporting some of the highest numbers for a decade now, current estimates out of India do not yet reflect this trend.

It may mean India has time to act and save the sight of its children.

Prevalence of Myopia in children

Myopia is commonly found in children.

As they grow and their bodies change, the length of the eyeball and its power to refract light do not always align, leading to vision that is blurry.

A pair of spectacles is enough to correct this mismatch. However, spectacles address the symptom and not the cause (eyeball length), so myopia can progress all through childhood.

Progressive myopia, after a point, leads to ‘high’ myopia, increasing the risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma or macular degeneration that can cause permanent vision loss.

What are the reasons behind Myopia in children?

Many children, especially in urban environments, are spending more time indoors and on near-work. Be it at school or at home, the quantum of near-work — looking at books, television, phones or laptops — has increased over the decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend by robbing children of outdoor playtime and exposure to sunlight.

This big shift to near-work seems to be triggering an increase in myopia prevalence.

Is Myopia turning out to be an epidemic?

Global estimates

The WHO is warning of a global myopia epidemic, where millions of children are at risk of vision impairment. Projections show nearly 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

There were nearly two billion people with myopia in 2010 — a quarter of the human population.

Data from the East Asian countries have been particularly alarming. Even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, 80%-90% of high school children in East and Southeast Asia were presenting with myopia. Nearly 20% of them had high myopia.

India

Current studies in India are recording low myopia prevalence among schoolchildren when compared to East Asia.  In a large study that surveyed 1.2 million schoolchildren in Telangana and parts of Andhra Pradesh, experts found myopia prevalence of a little over 5%.

Even including those already with glasses, the prevalence numbers are low.

Why Myopia prevalence is still low in India?

Majority of children still live in rural areas: As urbanisation increases, so does the burden of myopia. Myopia can be twice as high among urban children when compared to rural ones. One study found a higher prevalence among South Asian children in the United Kingdom compared to those living in rural India.

And, despite a demographic shift towards cities and towns, nearly 65% of India’s population still lives in rural areas. Hence, Myopia prevalence is still low in children in India.

But, as urbanisation increases in the future, so will the Myopia prevalence.

For instance: Prediction models are pointing to a myopia prevalence of nearly 50% in India too by 2050 — similar to global projections.

What steps can be taken?

Treatment strategies to constrain myopic progression include pharmaceuticals and speciality spectacles or contact lens.

But like all public health issues, prevention strategies are far more inexpensive and cost-effective. For instance:

– Encourage parents to take children out to parks and other outdoor spaces regularly.

Schools must ensure adequate exposure to sunlight. Educational methodologies are needed at every school level that balance near-work with distance-work.

Make it easy to screen and provide spectacles for the many who will need them. Basic, annual screening can be performed by schoolteachers, who can then refer myopic children to eye-care professionals.

Tackling the social stigma around spectacle wear with tact and compassion.

It is critical that we step up surveillance for myopia so that India is not caught unawares by a runaway epidemic that will destroy its children’s vision.


A Rajya Sabha rebalance must go with Lok Sabha expansion

Source: This post is based on the article “A Rajya Sabha rebalance must go with Lok Sabha expansion” published in Livemint on 22nd May 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Polity – Parliament

Relevance: Federalism in India, allocation of seats to states in Rajya Sabha, domicile requirements for election to Rajya Sabha

Context: India is a federal structure with a unitary bias. The Constitution strikes a balance between popular will, exercised by the Lok Sabha, and the interests of states through the Rajya Sabha.

But, we have allowed popular fashions and political exigencies to undermine the federal structure.

What are the various states’ concerns?

Delimitation exercises have raised the deep anxieties, fears and grievances amongst the states. States in the south and the east are concerned about the prospect of the more populous north gaining Lok Sabha seats.

The fact that delimitation has been postponed twice since the 1970s suggests there are deep misgivings among states over their status and power within the federal structure. These fears are re-emerging now that delimitation is in the offing.

That is why it is crucial to take an enlightened national approach to the matter, not partisan or parochial ones.

What is the way forward?

The Lok Sabha must be expanded and constituted on the basis of population: This can mean that highly populated northern states get more seats, then that has to be accepted. However, the constitutional principles also demand that the standing of states not get diminished relative to each other, or to the Union.

Domicile requirements: The 2003 amendment to the Representation of People’s Act that did away with domicile requirements for Rajya Sabha candidates and the 2006 apex court verdict in Kuldip Nayar vs Union of India that upheld it have undermined the federal balance.

Students have to prove they have lived in a state for seven years before they can get admission to professional courses under the state quota.

A citizen must provide proof of residence to register as a voter in the local and state elections. Many states have domicile requirements for government jobs and welfare entitlements.

Yet, the Rajya Sabha now does not. We thus have people who cannot vote in or stand for a local election in a state representing it in the Rajya Sabha.

Hence, domicile requirements must be brought back.

Equality among states: The Upper House must also be reformed in line with Ambedkar’s vision of equality among states.

In the US, tiny Rhode Island and giant California both have the same number of representatives in the federal Senate.

Here, Manipur has a single Rajya Sabha member, who does not even have to be from the state, while Uttar Pradesh has 31.

Way forward

Design has consequences. Perhaps the Supreme Court was right to opine that the Rajya Sabha is not akin to the US Senate, but in the interests of national unity, we should make it so.

Let all states have the same number of seats in the Rajya Sabha.


Indigenous weapons will have to wean India off Russian arms

Source: This post is created based on the article “Indigenous weapons will have to wean India off Russian arms” published in Live Mint on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper – 2,  International Relations

News: According to Bloomberg News, the US is considering a $500 million defense package for India to finance the purchase of US weapon systems.

According to Researchers at the Stimson Center, 85% of India’s weapons are of Russian origin. Further, in the next 5 years, Russian arms export to India will increase.

India showed its unwillingness to condemn Russia, due to its dependency on Russian arms. After that, US is looking to reduce India’s dependency on Russian arms.

What are the issues facing India in reducing its dependency on Russia?

Like all other developing nations, India is facing the situation of an impossible trinity, i.e., it cannot simultaneously achieve autonomy, affordability and quality in weapons development or purchase from US.

Shifting its dependency on western weapons would increase India’s autonomy, but it would have to sacrifice affordability. It is because US weapons are much more costly compared to the Russian arms. For example, Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile platform is costing India $5.5 billion, whereas US-made Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system costs about six times that.

If India wants affordability and quality, its reliance on Russia is right. Some nations are getting that by close ties with the west and China. However, China is hostile toward India and the West is far away. Western countries can’t help India in times of emergency. For example, during the 1971 war with Pakistan, India found itself short of artillery shells and had to secretly import mortars from an Israel it didn’t even recognize at the time. Insufficient weapons on hand represent a loss of autonomy.

What are the issues with indigenous weapons in India?

India’s efforts toward establishing a local defence industry have not been fruitful. Indigenization offers affordability and autonomy at the cost of quality.

For example, the indigenously built Arjun tank and the Tejas fighter jet are not preferred by the army and Air force.

Arjun tank is heavy (70 tonnes), compared to Russia’s T-90 tank (50 tonnes). It could collapse most bridges in Punjab, making it unusable for a canal-heavy, militarized border with Pakistan.

Tejas’s payload is smaller than the F-16’s, and the plane takes too long to service.

What should be done?

India can take lessons from China, which invested for decades in the Shenyang J-8 fighter jet. It was able to finally build the Chengdu J-20 stealth jet, which may well be a “near-peer” of US fifth-generation fighters.

Similarly, India needs to invest in homegrown defence companies for a reliable and affordable pipeline of weapons of decent quality that arrive quickly enough to deter an aggressive China.


Unexpected, but also unacceptable – Shocks due to Russia-Ukraine war

Source: This post is created based on the article “Unexpected, but also unacceptable” published in Business Standard on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2- Impact of policies of developed and developing countries in India

News: Russian invasion of Ukraine represents an unexpected and undesirable shock to global economies, including India’s Economy.

Indian economy is facing some unexpected shocks due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Even the areas which were looking beneficial for India are turning out to be harmful.

Impacts on Indian economy

Both Russia and Ukraine have been major exporters of foodstuff, including food grain and cooking oil. Russia alone was a key supplier of energy, fertilizer, and metals. However, the following are some unexpected shocks to the Indian economy:

Food grains: India was expecting to take benefit from a sharp increase in global food grain prices by supplying its excess stocks stored with FCI. However, the government’s recent decision to shut down the export of wheat has reversed the expectation.

Energy: India was expecting discounted supplies of Ural oil from Russia. However, the price is at the same level, as it was in 2021 i.e. around $30 less than Brent Crude. Furthermore, India is facing logistical difficulties to India in accessing oil from Russia. The unavailability of tankers due to the unavailability of marine insurance and the threat of sanctions is a major hurdle.

Food Prices: Food supplies are under pressure due to increase in price in the global food market and increases in domestic input costs due to the unavailability of potash from Russia and Belarus.

Fiscal pressure: the government has increased fertilizer subsidy outlay for the year to insulate farmers from increased prices.

Monetary policy dilemma: RBI is facing a dilemma between supporting inflation targeting and supporting the growth recovery.

Present India is much more powerful and effective as compared to 1991 India. Thus, India should be more aggressive in speaking against the disruptions caused by global events like the Ukraine invasion.

States must follow Centre’s fuel tax cuts

Source: Published in Times of India on 23rd May 2022.

News: Government has announced lowering excise duties on petrol and diesel, as well as offering a subsidy for LPG cylinders.

States must also reduce the taxes on oil. The combined impact of tax cuts will provide much-needed relief to stressed household budgets and small business balance sheets.

Because, unlike previous inflationary pressure, that took place along with high economic growth, this time, it has arrived in the backdrop of five years of economic weakness and a pandemic shock.

How has increasing inflation helped the government?

A sharp rise in inflation has helped central governments in two ways:

1.) First, buoyant tax collections. GoI’s net tax revenue between April 2021 and February 2022 was almost Rs 3.75 lakh crore higher than what was collected two years ago in a pre-pandemic year.

2.) Second, growth of nominal GDP has outpaced liability of interest on government borrowings.

Similarly, state governments have also benefitted from inflation. The ratio of fiscal deficit to state domestic product in 2022-23 is lower than the cap fixed by GoI for many states.


Striking off sedition will have little impact if UAPA remains untouched

Source: The post is based on an article “Striking off sedition will have little impact if UAPA remains untouched” published in the Indian Express on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – Fundamental rights – Important Provisions of the Indian Constitution

Relevance: Sedition Law and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA)

News: Recently, the Union Government has shown its willingness to reconsider the colonial law in the spirit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and the Supreme Court order has ordered to keep the 152-year-old sedition law, i.e., Section124 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in abeyance.

What are the issues?

According to the NCRB and Article 14 database, more than 13,000 Indians have been trapped in Sedition law cases since 2010.

An accused is most likely to spend up to 50 days in prison until a trial court grants bail and up to 200 days until a high court does so.

Argument against the law

The sedition law has been used to criminalise dissent. For example, various citizens have been charged with sedition during the anti-CAA protests, farmers protests of 2021; etc.

What are the challenges in striking off of the sedition law?

The discussion and deliberations on removal of the sedition law has always been political in nature in India. There has been election promises for the removal of the dark laws like the AFSPA and sedition, but nothing has happened on the ground.

Is Sedition law removal enough?

The retired Justice Manmohan Singh has said that the removal of the sedition law makes a dent, but it will be small and ineffective measures if the UAPA remains untouched. The UAPA contains many aspects of the sedition law with a number of far-reaching consequences.

First, the sedition law involves a number of safeguards and constitutional remedies. For example, anticipatory bail, compulsion of filing a charge sheet within 90 days, failing which the accused arrested is entitled to bail, and so on. However, the UAPA is an anti-terror law having stringent provisions and far fewer safeguards. For example, detention is allowed without a charge sheet for up to 180 days, a presumption of guilt, burden of proof on the accused and creates a strong presumption against bail.

For example, the three Kashmiri students who were charged with sedition for shouting pro-Pakistan slogans in a T-20 cricket match were easily granted bail. In contrast, especially after the SC’s Watali judgment (2019), bail has become a virtual impossibility for the UAPA accused.

Second, in the sedition cases, the charge sheet is filed in fewer cases and the conviction rate is as low as 2.25%. Thus, the sedition law is not a very effective tool for incarceration. However, as per the NCRB data between 2014-2020, 27.5 per cent of the UAPA cases saw convictions. In addition, such cases have taken a long time for trial to reach the stage of completion.

Way Forward

Those imprisoned under the sedition law should get immediate bail as the SC has issued interim order.


Judicial delays and the need for intervention at the district level

Source: The post is based on an article “Judicial delays and the need for intervention at the district level” published in the Live Mint on 22nd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Functioning of Indian Judiciary

Relevance: Judicial Efficiency and Effectiveness

News: Recently, Bihar’s Bhojpur district court was in the news. It delivered a judgement on a land dispute case filed in 1914 which is 108 years ago, making it one of the oldest cases in the country.

What are the findings about the pendency of cases in the lower judiciary?

According to some estimates, the district courts will take 324 years to dispose of all their pending cases at the current rate of disposal.

According to the National Judicial Data Grid data in 2021, out of the total pending cases in Indian courts, around 87% are present in district and subordinate courts.  Some of the detailed findings:

First, district-level pendency in criminal and civil matters are highly correlated. Courts that have delays in one type of matter (Criminal or Civil matters) are likely to have it in the other type (Civil or Criminal Matters) as well.

Secondly, there are a few concentrated pockets of ‘high-pendency’ courts (see for instance Uttar Pradesh and Bihar).

Third, there is no state-wide pattern of high pendency courts. Some districts in the same state do very well, while adjoining ones perform poorly. It implies that Pendency is a district-level problem, and not state or national level.

What are the factors behind such judicial delays?

Supply Side Factors

India has 20 judges per million people, which is extremely low as compared to other countries like the UK (51) and the US (107).

Judicial vacancies: Until two years ago, around 37% of judicial posts in high courts and 21% in subordinate courts were lying vacant.

Demand side factors:

Pendency rates will be closely related to filing rates, which may in turn depend on population, legal awareness, education, and income levels of the people.

Note1: In accordance with some work done in Western countries, higher incomes increase litigation rates. For example, if more contracts are signed, more get broken.

Note 2: The answer is not so clear in low-income regions. In accordance to studies in Kenya and India, the congestion in court cases is lower in higher-income regions. This could be due to the better capacity of richer-area courts, money-driven case acceleration, or well-off people do not break any law.

Way Forward

The PM and Chief Justice of India (CJI), in a joint conference of state chief ministers and chief justices of high courts (HC) emphasized the need for “speedy” justice.

The judiciary can increase working days, adopt technology, and on creating specialized tribunals (for instance, the government’s recent proposal to set up special courts to close 3.3 million cheque-bounce cases).

There is a need to decentralize both identification of policy problems and their solutions to Indian districts. For example, this random distribution of ‘high-pendency’ courts across the states require district-level interventions rather than state– or national-level policies interventions to address the problem of high pendency.

GS Paper 3


Time for us to work out a universal basic income

Source: This post is based on the article “Time for us to work out a universal basic income” published in Livemint on 23rd May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues related to growth and development

Relevance: Rising inequality and Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Context: India’s debate on the need and feasibility of a universal basic income (UBI) as an elementary safety net for all our citizens was revived again after the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister released a report on inequality.

Regardless of divisions in opinion over the poverty levels in the country, inequality demands a bold policy response.

What are the two key suggestions made in the report?

Urban employment guarantee scheme: It advocates fallback job options for urban Indians along the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which assures rural residents 100 days of pay-for-work each year for the asking.

Universal Basic Income (UBI): The report also supports a UBI, an idea that is still seen as somewhat radical in policy circles.

Must Read: Issues with the idea of an urban employment guarantee scheme
How has the pandemic affected the economy?

Large numbers of asset-poor suffered a severe impact on their income.

Modest earners had been hit hard by a formalization drive a few years earlier, while an overall slowdown of India’s economy worsened a job scarcity that is yet to ease.

To be sure, free food rations and job handouts played vital roles in offering the poor relief. But the distress has spanned multiple socio-economic classes. Credible reports suggest that even middle-class homes were pushed into poverty.

What are the factors involved in the implementation of UBI in India?

For welfare efficiency, we should institute leak-proof direct transfers covering all adults.

Expensive scheme: No doubt, a UBI scheme would be expensive. For about a billion beneficiaries, it would cost an annual 12 trillion just for each adult to get a monthly 1,000.

But what looks like premature welfarism today could well be affordable tomorrow as central coffers expand, especially if we cut  inefficient fiscal expenses and urge the non-needy to opt out of UBI net.

An eligibility cut-off is sure to be proposed, but a denial criterion could defeat its inclusivity and pose barriers to upward mobility at that level.

As for the worry of workers not working hard, an assured income would act as a belly-filler at best, so that should not deter an Indian UBI plan.

In general, a decrease in an economy’s labour-supply caused by cash giveaways have been debunked by studies. In the US, a 2018 working paper by Ioana Marinescu on the behavioural effects of cash transfers found just a 1% drop in labour supply induced by a 10% income boost.

Earlier research by Abhijit Banerjee and others, outlined in ‘Debunking the Stereotype of the Lazy Welfare Recipient’, had similar findings for emerging economies.

Way forward

It’s time for a plan to share public funds with all citizens in need.


Why GoI Can Resume Wheat Exports

Source:  This post is created based on the article “Why GoI Can Resume Wheat Exports” Published in The Times of India on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus Topic – GS Paper 3 – transport and marketing of agricultural produce

News: As per the third advance estimate of crop production for the year2021-22, India has harvested a record foodgrain production, up by 3. 77 MMT over the preceding year.

While the rice production is up compared to previous year, wheat production is a bit low.

It has led to several negative effects on traders who purchased wheat at higher price, on farmers due drop in price. Also, Export controls and stocking limits inflict an ‘implicit tax’ on farmers.

Read- Implications of wheat export ban

What government can do to contain negative effects of export ban?

It should announce that it will honour its commitment to exporting 10 MMT of wheat. Additionally, it can export 10-15 MMT of extra rice.

It can provide bonus for wheat farmers who want to sell wheat to government.

Under, PMGKAY and NFSA allocations, government can give option of cash to beneficiaries. It will give beneficiaries an option to buy more nutritious food, be it pulses, milk, eggs, meat or fish.

Lastly, government should reconsider its policy of free food under PMGKAY and NFSA to 800 million plus people.


States must follow Centre’s fuel tax cuts

Source: This post is created based on the article “States must follow Centre’s fuel tax cuts” Published in Times of India on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3 – Infrastructure – Energy

News: Government has announced lowering excise duties on petrol and diesel as well as offering a subsidy for LPG cylinders.

States must also reduce the taxes on oil. The combined impact of tax cuts will provide much-needed relief to stressed household budgets and small business balance sheets.

Because unlike previous inflationary pressure, that took place along with high economic growth, this time, it has arrived in the backdrop of five years of economic weakness and a pandemic shock.

How has increasing inflation helped government?

A sharp rise in inflation has helped central governments in two ways:

1.) First, buoyant tax collections. GoI’s net tax revenue between April 2021 and February 2022 was almost Rs 3.75 lakh crore higher than what was collected two years ago in a pre-pandemic year.

2.) Second, growth of nominal GDP has outpaced liability of interest on government borrowings.

Similarly, state governments have also benefitted from inflation. The ratio of fiscal deficit to state domestic product in 2022-23 is lower than the cap fixed by GoI for many states.


Food security does not need this ‘surgical strike’

Source: The post is based on an article “Food security does not need this ‘surgical strike” published in the “The Hindu” on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Issues and Challenges in PDS and Food Security

Relevance: Wheat Export, Food Security, and Public Distribution System (PDS)

News: Recently, the Government of India announced a sudden ban on export of wheat when the government was looking out for ways for augmenting India’ wheat exports.

Two schools of through for ensuring food security in India

One school of thought argues that food security has to be ensured through domestic production.

Other school of thought suggested that food stocks be run down in India and that needs of food security be met through world trade and the Chicago futures market as part of the liberalisation policy.

About Indian Public Procurement System

Since the mid-1960s, India’s public procurement system has been the backbone of food policy in India to ensure food security

In summer 2022, procurement of wheat by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been very low.

Why has there been low wheat procurement in India?

The wheat production this year has been lower than estimated on account of high heat and other factors.

For more: Click here

What are the issues with increasing India’s export?

Those western countries which have asked India to meet the shortfall, are already much larger exporters of wheat. They have themselves not increased their exports in the current context.

The stock of wheat in the central pool has been much lower than last year. Although, it is comfortably higher than buffer stock norms. But lower procurement in year can lead to food security in problems.

Other challenges

Over the last two years, costs of production have risen sharply. The important causes are the spiralling price of fuel, higher input costs and yield losses.

The flip-flop on export of wheat is one example that this government lacks a coherent policy of food security.

The Way Forward

During the two COVID-19 years, the Public Distribution System (PDS) played a stellar role. It kept people out of starvation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it should not be dismantled.

The PDS and open market operations can be used to cool down food price inflation. At present, most States have high inflation rates and States with better PDS, such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have low inflation rates.

The government ensures adequate distribution through the food rationing network. Further, the open market operations should be undertaken to ensure stable prices.  If needed, rice can be distributed in lieu of wheat.

Food security is both an immediate and long-term concern. A well-functioning PDS can control prices and offer relief to consumers.

The government should overcome the shortfall in public procurement by increasing the procurement price and buying more. The government should provide remunerative prices to farmers to promote production. The National Commission on Farmers has highlighted the issues of inadequately announced minimum support price (MSP) for wheat.


Nature has the answers

Source: The post is based on an article “Nature has the answers” published in the “The Hindu” on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Environment and Ecology

Relevance: Importance of Biodiversity and Nature Based Solutions

News: Recently, The International Day of Biodiversity on May 22, 2022 was celebrated. It was done amid the pandemic, and the recent heat waves in much of northern India and floods in Meghalaya. The uncertainty is being further fuelled by the continuing degradation of lands and biodiversity, growing malnutrition and hunger, and inequities and environmental injustice.

Man-Environment Relationship

We, the human species, are an integral and influential component of biodiversity. Our own bodies host living microbiomes of tiny organisms without which we cannot survive.

Our cultures shape the biodiversity around us, and biodiversity shapes our cultures and our future here on Earth.

India’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity has been greatly influenced by the unique features of our land, climate and geography as well as forces of migration and evolution. These forces have enriched our land with a multitude of species of plants, animals, and other organisms.

Importance of international day celebration

The day provided us an opportunity to appreciate the wonder of biodiversity, renew our commitment to nurture and protect all the many forms of life with which we share our planet.

What are the problems?

India’s biodiversity is under assault. For example, our natural landscapes and waterscapes have seen decline and degradation.

Way Forward

Nature-based solutions: Biodiversity provides us with potential solutions to our most pressing sustainability challenges. The use of biodiversity and natural world processes are the best path for sustainability. These can be done as below:

Climate change: The restoration of biodiversity over the vast tracts of deforested and other degraded lands can mitigate climate change. This direct connection between biodiversity and climate change has been acknowledged in the Glasgow Summit of the UNFCCC. Further, Restoration also has the potential of creating millions of jobs, diversifying farming systems and agriculture-based livelihoods. It can also help India to meet its intended commitment to tackle climate change.

Enterprises working in the biotechnology and healthcare sector can harness the untapped potential of our rich medical heritage that includes thousands of medicinal plant species.

Nature can lead to our economic, and physical well-being; and minds and spiritual enrichment.

It will help India in the realisation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The government has launched a National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being. The key features of the missions are:

The mission will promote biodiversity in development programmes, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, health, bioeconomy, ecosystem services, and climate change mitigation.

The mission seeks to ensure public engagement which is key for biodiversity conservation.

The Mission seeks to develop a system for assessing and monitoring, restoring, and enhancing biodiversity.

The Mission can help address various issues: the emergence of infectious diseases; inadequate food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change.


Can agri-exports be made more sustainable?

Source: The post is based on an article “Can Agri-exports be made more sustainable” published in the Indian Express on 23rd May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Indian Economy – Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System

Relevance: External Sector, India’s Agri-Export in wake of present crisis, Subsidies etc.

News: In the fiscal year 2021-22 (FY22), agri-exports scaled an all-time high of $50.3 billion with registering a growth of 20% over the preceding year. For example, India’s exports constituted 41% of a global rice market of 51.3 MMT.

What were the driving forces?
This was made possible largely by rising global commodity prices. In addition, there were other driving forces like favourable and aggressive export policy of the Ministry of Commerce and its various export promotion agencies like APEDA, MPEDA, and commodity boards.

The composition of India’s Agri-exports

Among the several agri-commodities exported in FY22, rice ranks first, followed by marine products, sugar, spices and bovine (buffalo) meat.

How sustainable is this growth in agri-exports?

Given India’s resource endowments and the country’s domestic needs, the government has already banned wheat exports.

Of the Agri-export commodities, two commodities, rice and sugar, are water guzzlers. This issue poses a challenge to their global competitiveness as well as their environmental sustainability.

The case of rice:

When most of the other commodity prices were surging in global markets, the price of rice collapsed by about 13%, largely due to India’s massive exports. This means that India had to export a greater quantity of rice to get the same amount of dollars. This is not in India’s economic interest.

Another concern is that a substantial part of its global competitiveness comes from highly subsidised water, power and fertilisers that go into its production.

The rice export led to a virtual export of India’s water because rice crop is another water guzzler crop.

The Case of Sugar

The sugar export led to a virtual export of India’s water because Sugar crop is another water guzzler crop.

The sugar industry receives a number of subsidies (including export subsidy). These subsidies have crossed the 10% limit mandated by the WTO. Therefore, India lost the sugar case in the WTO.

Others

The non-basmati rice was exported at a price which was lower than the MSP of rice. This might have been the result of leakages and divergence in the PDS and PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

India exported at least 62 billion cubic meters of virtual water. Much of this water is extracted from groundwater in Punjab and Haryana belt (for rice), and in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh for sugar. This can lead to a water disaster.

The rice production systems contribute to 17.5% of GHG emissions generated from agriculture (2021). This is among the most important sources of anthropogenic methane emissions,

Way Forward

In accordance with trade theory, the optimal export tax of 5 to 1% must be levied. Further, India should optimally not go beyond 12 to 15 MMT of rice exports, else the marginal revenue from exports will keep falling.

The upcoming environmental disaster can be tackled if farmers are supported smartly. They should be given aggregate input subsidy support on a per hectare basis and the input prices of fertilisers and power should be allowed to be determined by market forces and their costs of production.

Innovative farming practices such as alternate wetting drying (AWD), direct seeded rice (DSR), and micro-irrigation should be promoted. They can save up water and reduce the crop’s carbon footprint.

The farmers should be incentivised to switch some of the area under rice and sugar cultivation to other less water-guzzling crops. For example, Haryana has launched Mera Pani, Meri Virasat for incentive farmers to switch from paddy to alternate crops and Kheti Khaali, Fir Bhi Khushali Scheme to give money to farmers if they  do not grow any crop during the kharif season.

It is high time that the government can introduce the option of direct cash transfers in lieu of almost free grains under the PDS and PMGKAY. This will help plug leakages as well as save costs. The savings can be used for better diversification of our food systems, better use of scarce water and other practices that lower GHG emissions, and saving on burgeoning food and fertiliser subsidies.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

AnangTal’s cleaning up and beautification to begin next week.

Source: The post is based on the article “AnangTal’s cleaning up and beautification to begin next week” published in PIB on 21st May 2022.

What is the News?

The government is going to restore the 11th CE grand water reservoir Anang Tal, Delhi.

Note: Excavations at Anang Tal were taken up in 1993 by ASI.

About the Anang Tal Lake

It is a water reservoir built by the founder King of Delhi, Anang Pal Tomar in 1052 CE.

Location: Built behind the famous 27 Hindu-Jain temples in the Mehrauli area.

The Vishnu Garud Dhwaj (popularly known as the Iron pillar) was a dharmic flag standard in front of Anang Pal’s VishnuTemple.

Later these temples were razed to the ground by Qutubuddin Aibak and the ruins were used to build Jami mosque, which later became known as Quwwatul Islam mosque.

Significance: The detailed survey map of the area reveal the information regarding the beautiful staircase leading to the Tal and its precise measurements. The millennium-old Anang Tal signifies the beginning of Delhi.

What is the present condition of Anang Tal?

A detailed survey of the area found several encroachments besides sewage drains emptying in the 1200-year-old historic mini-lake.

About Anangpal Tomar

Anangpal II was popularly known as Anangpal Tomar. He belonged to the Tomar dynasty. He was the founder of Dhillika Puri, which eventually became Delhi.

This is revealed by the stone inscriptions excavated by Lord Cunningham. The inscriptions and coins suggest that Anangpal Tomar was the ruler of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th-12th centuries.

He was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan.


BioRRAP portal: Union Minister launches Single National Portal for Biotech researchers and Start-Ups

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister launches Single National Portal for Biotech researchers and Start-Ups” published in PIB on 21st May 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Science and Technology(IC) has launched a Single National Portal,  named Biological Research Regulatory Approval PortalBioRRAP” for Biotech researchers and Startups.

About the “BioRRAP” portal

Aim: The portal will serve as a gateway and will help researcher to see stage of approval of their applications for regulatory clearances and to see preliminary information on all the research work being undertaken by the particular researcher and/or organization.

Launched by: Department of Biotechnology.

Note: The portal is dedicated only for research related activities and not for product development.

What is the need for developing “BioRRAP” portal?

Over 2,700 biotech start-ups and more than 2,500 biotech companies working at present in the country. The research in the various biological fields is continuously expanding in India.

Many of these research falls under the purview of one or more regulatory agencies which first approve the research proposal after which the researcher undertakes that specific research.

At present, there is no mechanism to track the requisite regulatory approval for a research proposal on a single portal. Hence, to provide more credibility and recognition to biological research the portal has been developed.

What is the significance of the portal?

1) The portal allows stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID, 2) The portal will strengthen interdepartmental synergies and bring accountability, transparency and efficacy in functioning of agencies regulating various aspect of biological research and issuing permits. 3) The repository of the research undertaken by researchers in public and private sector will not only help in understanding India’s scientific strength and expertise but also in formulation of enabling policies to incentivise scientific research.

About the biotechnology sector in India

At present, India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology globally and 3rd largest biotechnology destination in the Asia Pacific region. It is expected that by 2025, the contribution of the Indian biotechnology industry in the global biotechnology market is expected to grow to 19% from a mere 3% in 2017.

Bio Economy’s contribution to the national GDP has also grown steadily in the past years to 2.7% in 2020 from 1.7% in 2017.


New research: Respiratory syncytial virus and the toll it takes on young children

What is the News?

According to a Lancet study, Lower respiratory infection attributable to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was responsible for more than 1,00,000 deaths in children under five worldwide in 2019.

What are the key findings of the study?

In 2019, there were 3.3 crores of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection episodes in children under five years old. Further, RSV accounts for 2% of annual deaths from any cause in this age range.

Globally, only 26% of RSV-associated deaths occur in a hospital. Overall, 97% of RSV deaths in children under five occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The incidence rate in India is 53 per 1,000 children per year (5.3%).

What is a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)?
Source: NFID

RSV is the most common cause of acute lower respiratory infection in young children.

Spreading: RSV is a common respiratory virus. It is highly contagious in nature. RSV spreads through contact with respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing, or kissing) from an infected person.

Symptoms: RSV infects the nose, throat, lungs, and breathing passages. In most of cases, RSV has symptoms like the common cold but in advanced stages, it converts into pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Vulnerable sections: It commonly infects children especially under 2 to 6 years of age. Children six months and younger are particularly vulnerable.

Vaccination: At present, there is no reliable cure available for RSV infection. But numerous RSV vaccine candidates are in the pipeline.

Source: The post is based on the article “New research: Respiratory syncytial virus and the toll it takes on young children” published in Indian Express on 20th May 2022.


Mozambique confirms first wild poliovirus case in 30 years: What is it? How is it transmitted?

What is the News?

Recently, Mozambique has identified its first case of wild poliovirus Type 1 after a child contracted the disease. It is the country’s first such case since 1992 and the second imported case of wild poliovirus in Southern Africa this year. As of now, wild poliovirus is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Note: Earlier an outbreak was reported in Malawi earlier this year.

What is polio?
Polio
Source: graphicnews

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system”.

Transmission: The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route. However, the virus also spreads through a common medium such as contaminated water or food.

The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

When is a country is declared polio-free?

There are three variants of the poliovirus, numbered 1 to 3. For a country to be declared polio-free, the wild transmission of all three kinds has to be stopped.

For eradication, cases of both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection have to be reduced to zero.

What is the status of polio in India?

India was declared polio-free in January 2014, after three years of zero cases. The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011. The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission.

How did India achieve polio-free status?

Pulse Polio campaign: Under the Pulse Polio programme, all states and Union Territories have developed Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRP) have also been developed by states, indicating steps to be undertaken in case of detection of a polio case.

Mandatory Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV): To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) mandatory for those travelling between India and polio-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

Source: The post is based on the article “Mozambique confirms first wild poliovirus case in 30 years: What is it? How is it transmitted?” published in Indian Express on 21st May 2022.


What does India’s inequality report card have to say?

What is the News?

Recently, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) has released the State of Inequality in India Report.

About the State of Inequality in India Report and its findings
Must read: State of Inequality in India Report
Some other related findings
Inequality in India
Source: Livemint

Income inequality: As per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2019-20, the top 1% earns almost thrice as much as the bottom 10%. The bottom 50% holds about 22% of the total income.

Health schemes: 85.9% of people from rural areas and 80% from urban areas are not covered under health schemes. Further, household income and savings remain the chief financing source.

The trend in poverty issues: World Bank says India has made progress in reducing poverty since the 2000s. The poverty headcount ratio as a percentage of the population has declined from 37.2% in 2004 to 13.6% in 2015. However, 176 million Indians were still below the poverty line.

Salary ceiling: Unlike the pre-reforms era when their return was limited to the ability of trade unions to negotiate. Economic liberalization removed the ceiling on salary, giving employees a chance to earn in proportion to their productivity. However, growing income inequality should worry if the rich become richer while the poor become poorer.

Increased investments: investments rise with higher incomes. The surplus goes into savings, which, in turn, get transformed into increased investments for the economy through financial intermediaries.

Source: The post is based on the article “What does India’s inequality report card have to say?” published in Livemint on 23rd May 2022.


The rise of AI chips

What is the News?

The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) chips has risen as chipmakers design different types of AI chips to power AI applications such as natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, robotics, and network security across a wide variety of sectors.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Must Read: Artificial intelligence (AI)
What are AI chips?

AI chips are built with specific architecture and have integrated AI acceleration to support deep learning-based applications. Deep learning is commonly known as active neural network (ANN) or deep neural network (DNN).

DNN is a subset of machine learning and comes under the broader umbrella of AI. DNNs combine a series of computer commands or algorithms that stimulate activity and brain structure. Deep learning can make the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting enormous amounts of data faster and easier.

These chips make it possible to infuse AI into a broad spectrum of applications to help turn data into information and then into knowledge.

Types of AI Chips: a) Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), b) Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), c) central processing units (CPUs) and d) GPUs, designed for diverse AI applications.

How AI chips are different from traditional chips?

Traditional chips: These chips contain processor cores and memory, perform computational tasks. AI works on huge volumes of data, hence, these traditional chips are not ideal for AI applications as they would not be able to handle the higher computational necessities of AI workloads.

AI chips: These generally contain processor cores as well as several AI-optimised cores (depending on the scale of the chip). The AI cores are optimised for the demands of heterogeneous AI workloads with low-latency inferencing.

What is the growth of the AI chips industry?

As per a report by Allied Market Research, the rise in the need for smart homes and cities, and the surge in investments in AI start-ups are expected to drive the growth of the global AI chip market. The Worldwide AI chip industry accounted for $8.02 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $194.9 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.4% from 2021 to 2030.

What are the applications of AI chips?

They are used in a multitude of smart machines and devices. Such as a) delivering the performance of a data centre-class computer to edge devices, b) Supporting in-vehicle computers to run state-of-the-art AI applications more efficiently, c) Powering applications of computational imaging in wearable electronics, drones, and robots, d) Supporting financial services workloads like fraud detection, loan processing, clearing and settlement of trades, anti-money laundering and risk analysis, e) Train massive, unstructured data sets, etc.

Source: The post is based on the article “The rise of AI chips” published in The Hindu on 23rd May 2022.


Look Out Circular: Understanding the process of issuing LOCs

What is the News?

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court while quashing a Look Out Circular (LOC) against the petitioner and passed omnibus instructions to the respondents including the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

The court asked to serve a copy of the LOC to the affected person, state the reasons for issuing the LOC “as soon as possible” and provide a “post-decisional opportunity”. The court also asked the MHA to include these directions in the “Official Memorandum” or the guidelines that govern the opening of LOCs.

The Government of India moved Supreme Court and the apex court stayed the particular paragraph of the High Court order recently.

What is a look out circular(LOC) and who can issue LOC?
Read more: Explained: What is a look out notice, and when is it issued?

Generated by: Bureau of Immigration (BOI) under the MHA is only the executing agency. They generate LOCs based on requests by different agencies.

Exceptional cases to issue LOCs: The 2010 Ministry guidelines give sweeping powers to police and intelligence agencies to generate LOCs in “exceptional cases”. They can generate LOCs without complete parameters or case details against “suspects, terrorists, anti-national elements, etc, in larger national interest.”

Validity of LOCs: As per norms, an LOC will stay valid for a maximum period of 12 months and if there is no fresh request from the agency then it will not be automatically revived.

Details required to generate LOC: According to a 2010 official memorandum of the Ministry, details such as First Information Report (FIR) number, court case number are to be mandatorily provided with name, passport number and other details.

Modification of LOCs: The LOCs can be modified; deleted or withdrawn only at the request of the originator. The legal liability of the action taken by immigration authorities in pursuance of LOC rests with the originating agency.

Remedial measures for individuals against LOCs: The MHA has asserted that “LOCs cannot be shown to the subject” at the time of detention nor can any prior intimation be provided. Further, no accused or subject of LOC can be provided with any opportunity of hearing before the issuance of the LOC since it defeats the purpose of LOC.

Source: The post is based on the article “Understanding the process of issuing LOCs” published in The Hindu on 23rd May 2022.

Mains Answer Writing

[Download] – Preksha Agrawal AIR 303 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

Dear Friends, We are happy to release the Mains answer copies of Preksha Agrawal. She has secured AIR 303 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021. Aspirants can learn from these copies and strategize their preparation accordingly. Download link: Preksha Agrawal MGP Copy 1 – GS Test Copy Preksha Agrawal MGP Copy 2 – GS… Continue reading [Download] – Preksha Agrawal AIR 303 (UPSC CSE 2021) – MGP Test Copies

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[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?

What is the News? NASA has launched CAPSTONE, a microwave oven-sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds(25 kg).  What is CAPSTONE? Full Form: Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment(CAPSTONE) Aim: To help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and by verifying the dynamics of the halo-shaped orbit. Which orbit… Continue reading Explained: What is CAPSTONE, NASA’s new satellite?

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