9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 24th, 2022
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- 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:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- 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.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- Davos is so 1990s: The jamboree has lost shine, thanks to social media
- 3 Ideas For 4 Countries Hunting for Chips
- Meeting family planning goals
- India needs parliamentary supervision of trade pacts
- ASHA: A successful public health experiment rooted in the village community
- The IPEF could offer us a boat we must not miss
- Why vaccine mandates are essential
- A Harvard branch in India, prospects and challenges
- Gyanvapi: Court must follow law not faith
- Can India turn Quad into an instrument to realize its significant potential as technological power?
GS Paper 3
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- India to join Biden’s new trade initiative for Indo-Pacific region
- Centre reconstitutes Inter-State Council
- World lost 11.2 crore jobs in the first quarter of 2022: ILO
- GM tomatoes: Engineering tomatoes to produce vitamin D
- National Hospital Ship (NHS): Navy issues RFI to get 250-bed hospital ship in the high seas
- Maya’s Pit viper: New species of venomous snake registered from Northeast
- Explained: What is retinoblastoma, the common eye cancer in children?
- Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of United States of America
- Kolkata unveils biodiversity register: First among major Indian metros
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source: This post is created based on the article “Davos is so 1990s: The jamboree has lost shine, thanks to social media” published in Times of India on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS Paper – 2, Important International Institutions
Context: World Economic Forum has lost its relevance.
What are the factors that led to the decline of the World Economic Forum?
Communications revolution: WEF used to be a special place and a special gathering of global influencers and policymakers to catalyze dialogue and disagreement. However, the rise of social media has changed that now one tweet, from an influential personality like Elon Musk, can make or break the markets. For example, the recent case of cryptocurrencies.
Decline of Transatlantic economies: G7 accounts for 31% of global GDP in 2022, compared to 44% in 2000. Whereas, non-G7 members of G20 accounted for 42. 2% of global output. The share of G7 countries will further reduce to less than 29% by 2026 as per forecasts.
Furthermore, China is closing the gap with the US in terms of no. of Unicorns in the world out of total of 900 Unicorns. India has 100 unicorns.
|Unicorns are start-ups valued at $1 billion or more.|
Failure of global capitalism: global capitalism has failed to avert major crises in the past like the global financial crisis of 2007-09 or the euro crisis thereafter, Brexit, or Climate Change.
WEF has failed to instill the responsibility for global warming among industrialized nations, instead, the platform has been used for preaching lower emissions to countries like India and Africa.
Source: This post is created based on the article “3 Ideas For 4 Countries Hunting for Chips” published in Times of India on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2, International groupings
News: Quad Leaders’ Summit meeting is being hosted today. One agenda item will be to announce a concrete action plan under the Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative.
The goal of the Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative is to strengthen the global semiconductor supply chain’s productive capacity and resilience.
Why Quad is focusing on the semiconductor supply chain?
Through this initiative, the Quad officially recognizes that the semiconductor supply chain has geo-security consequences.
The nature of the supply chain of semiconductors is hyper-global. It means a single country cannot become self-sufficient in its production.
At present, a typical semiconductor production process spans 4+ countries, 3+ trips around the globe, 25,000 miles, and 12 days of travel.
All Quad members have unique capabilities to contribute to its supply chain.
- The US is the undisputed leader in semiconductor design, with a substantial presence in semiconductor manufacturing.
- Japan is a powerhouse in specialised semiconductor manufacturing materials.
- India has notable strength in semiconductor design.
- Australia has material endowments and niche technology industries relying on rare earth elements, battery technology, and artificial intelligence (AI).
How can Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative be strengthened?
First, build a Quad prototyping semiconductor foundry. Much of the work in the development of semiconductors depends upon the application-specific semiconductors prototypes. Which then can be sent for high-volume production.
Quad countries would contribute their relative GDP share and technological expertise. A joint R&D fab working on next-generation prototypes would be tangible, instead of building four different fabs in each country.
Second, Quad countries could sponsor Centres of Excellence (CoE) in each country focusing on their core strength. For example, Australia could host the CoE for new materials in electronics; Japan could host the CoE for silicon and semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and the US and India could host CoEs on fabless design architectures.
Third, create a Quad go-to-market program. One thing requires change, i.e., at present, international corporate and government joint development efforts continue only to the “pre-competitive” or R&D stage.
Fourth, With wider application of semiconductors, in IoT, 5G/6G communication, smart cities, etc. Quad countries can help each other to better compete in international markets. It would help them better compete against China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative.
Fifth, Quad can expand this partnership to involve other countries like Taiwan, South Korea, and Canada
Source: This post is based on the article “Meeting family planning goals” published in The Hindu on 24th May 22.
Syllabus: GS2 – Social issues – Health related issues
Relevance: Improving family planning access to younger population
Context: India’s family planning programme has improved access to contraceptives. This has led to a reduction in the Total Fertility Rate from 3.4 in 1990-92 to 2.0 in 2019-21, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
However, now India needs to focus on improving access to family planning services for not just adults, but also the younger population.
Why India now needs to focus on improving access to family planning services for its youth?
First, according to NFHS-5 and the 2022 report by the United Nations Population Fund, there is a rise in adolescent childbearing in some States such as Tripura and Meghalaya.
Second, COVID-19 has had a severe impact on economic resources and access to education, thereby influencing the choices women and the youth make about their sexual and reproductive health.
Hence, in order to meet the SDG of Family Planning by 2030, India now needs to focus on improving access to family planning services for not just the adult population, but also the youth.
India’s Mission Parivar vikas
In India, frontline health workers have contributed significantly in implementing Mission Parivar Vikas.
– It aims to accelerate access to high-quality family planning choices, to successfully increase the modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR), especially among female non-users from vulnerable communities.
They have achieved this by delivering contraceptives at homes and offering a wider basket of alternatives such as injectable contraceptives
What needs to be done?
Strengthen the capacity of health workers in using the Family Planning Logistics Management Information System to ensure the availability of and access to contraceptives by marginalised communities.
– Family Planning Logistics Management Information System: It is a dedicated software to ensure the smooth forecasting, procurement and distribution of family planning commodities across all the levels of health facilities.
Family planning interventions need to be structured around the health needs, and populations for whom the intervention is to be implemented. The youth are not a homogenous group.
Key questions need to be answered wrt the sexual reproductive health needs of adolescents with varying profiles such as males and females who are in school, out of school, married, unmarried, and so on. There is a need to break down the data by key characteristics in order to reach specific groups of people in order to have the greatest impact.
Moreover, when addressing younger populations, holistic health awareness programmes on the right age of marriage, safe sexual behaviour, contraception, reproductive health, and diet diversity are paramount.
Involving men in family planning: The involvement of men in family planning needs to be given equal importance. Certain gender transformative approaches have shown promising results in various places.
– Several examples of involving men in the family planning discourse include the PRACHAR project in Bihar, the Yaari Dosti programme in Mumbai, and the GEMS project in Goa.
Utilising private sector: Many of the programmes in public health have also started using the capabilities of the private sector to improve service delivery. The private sector can offer innovative solutions in family planning, thereby improving the community’s access to services.
In several districts, more than one-fifth of the population in the adolescent age group are now entering the reproductive age group. Also, there are still many districts in India that have low mCPR, with a large proportion of them being the youth.
Hence, it is only by working holistically on overall health goals and addressing social determinants that we can ensure equitable family planning services for both adults and young people.
Source: This post is based on the article “India needs parliamentary supervision of trade pacts” published in The Indian Express on 24th May 22.
Syllabus: GS2 – Polity – Parliament
Relevance: Parliamentary supervision of international treaties
Context: India is negotiating and signing several free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries like Australia, the UK, Israel, and the EU. While the economic benefits of these FTAs have been studied, there is very little discussion on the lack of parliamentary scrutiny of these treaties.
This gives rise to arguments of democratic deficit in India’s treaty-making process.
Concerns over the lack of parliamentary oversight were also flagged by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, set up by the Vajpayee government more than two decades ago.
So, should Parliament exercise some control over the executive’s power to sign international treaties?
Can Parliament legislate on international treaties?
In the Constitution, entry 14 of the Union list contains the following item — “entering into treaties and agreements with foreign countries and implementing of treaties, agreements and conventions with foreign countries”.
According to Article 246, Parliament has the legislative competence on all matters given in the Union list.
Thus, Parliament has the power to legislate on treaties.
This power includes:
– deciding how India will ratify treaties and thus assume international law obligations.
– Parliament’s competence to give effect to treaties within the domestic legal regime by enacting laws.
Article 253 elucidates that the power of Parliament to implement treaties by enacting domestic laws also extends to topics that are part of the state list.
What is the present situation wrt parliamentary oversight of international treaties?
Presently, the Parliament exercises control over the executive’s treaty-making power at the stage of transforming a treaty into the domestic legal regime. However, this is a scenario of ex-post parliamentary control over the executive.
– In such a situation, Parliament only deliberates how the international law obligations, already accepted by the executive, should be implemented domestically. Even if Parliament does not amend or make domestic laws to transform the treaty, the treaty will continue to be binding on India.
No specific law laying down the processes: Parliament is yet to enact a law laying down the processes that India needs to follow before assuming international treaty obligations.
– Given this legislative void, and under Article 73 (the powers of the Union executive are co-terminus with Parliament), the Centre has been negotiating, signing & also ratifying international treaties and assuming international law obligations without much parliamentary oversight.
What is the global best practice?
In the US, important treaties signed by the President have to be approved by the Senate.
In Australia, the executive is required to table a “national interest analysis” of the treaty it wishes to sign in parliament, and then this is examined by a joint standing committee on treaties – a body composed of Australian parliamentarians. In this way, the Australian parliament supervises the treaty-making process and acts as a check on the executive’s power.
In Canada, too, the executive tables the treaties in parliament.
Effective parliamentary supervision will increase the domestic acceptance and legitimacy of international treaties, especially economic agreements, which are often critiqued for imposing undue restraints on India’s economic sovereignty.
Source: This post is based on the article “ASHA: A successful public health experiment rooted in the village community” published in The Indian Express on 24th May 22.
Syllabus: GS2 – Health
Relevance: ASHA worker programme
News: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognized the contribution of India’s 1 million Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) during the Covid-19 pandemic
ASHA workers have received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the on-going 75th World Health Assembly.
Genesis of the ASHA worker programme
The ASHA programme was based on Chhattisgarh’s successful Mitanin programme, in which a Community Worker looks after 50 households. The ASHA was to be a local resident, looking after 200 households.
The programme had a very robust thrust on the stage-wise development of capacity in selected areas of public health.
Many states tried to incrementally develop the ASHA from a Community Worker to a Community Health Worker, and even to an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM)/ General Nurse and Midwife (GNM), or a Public Health Nurse.
In many states, ASHAs are involved in national health programmes, and in the response to a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases. They get performance-based payments, not a fixed salary like government servants.
– The idea behind this was to make her a part of the village community rather than a government employee, i.e. to prevent governmentalisation and promote communitisation.
Over 98% ASHAs belong to the village where they reside, and know every household. Their selection involved the community and key resource persons. Educational qualification was a consideration.
With newly acquired skills in health care and the ability to connect households to health facilities, she was able to secure benefits for households. She was like a demand-side functionary, reaching patients to facilities, providing health services nearer home.
In a way, it became a programme that allowed a local woman to develop into a skilled health worker.
The ASHAs brought basic health services to the doorstep of households.
What were the challenges faced by ASHA workers, and how were they addressed?
The ASHAs faced a range of challenges: Where to stay in a hospital? How to manage mobility? How to tackle safety issues?
The solutions were found in a partnership among frontline workers, panchayat functionaries, and community workers.
– The Community Worker added value to this process. Incentives for institutional deliveries and the setting up of emergency ambulance services like 108, 102, etc. across most states built pressure on public institutions and improved the mobility of ASHAs.
There have been challenges with regard to the performance-based compensation. In many states, the payout is low, and often delayed.
What have been the public policy lessons from the ASHA worker programme?
The important public policy lessons are –
– the need to incrementally develop a local worker keeping accountability with the community,
– make performance-based payments, and
– provide a demand-side push with simultaneous augmentation of services in public systems. The system can sustain and grow only if the compensation is adequate, and the ASHA continues to enjoy the confidence of the community.
What is the way forward?
There is a strong argument to grant permanence to some of these positions with a reasonable compensation as sustaining motivation.
The incremental development of a local resident woman is an important factor in human resource engagement in community-linked sectors. This should apply to other field functionaries such as ANMs, GNMs, Public Health Nurses as well.
It is equally important to ensure that compensation for performance is timely and adequate.
– Ideally, an ASHA should be able to make more than the salary of a government employee, with opportunities for moving up the skill ladder in the formal primary health care system as an ANM/ GNM or a Public Health Nurse.
Upgrading skill sets and providing easy access to credit and finance will ensure a sustainable opportunity to earn a respectable living while serving the community.
Strengthening access to health insurance, credit for consumption and livelihood needs at reasonable rates, and coverage under pro-poor public welfare programmes will contribute to ASHAs emerging as even stronger agents of change.
Source: This post is based on the article “The IPEF could offer us a boat we must not miss” published in Livemint on 24th May 22.
Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations – International agreements
Relevance: Indo-Pacific economic cooperation b/w the members of the QUAD
News: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework may be an opportunity for India’s integration with global supply chains and trade flows. But the US must put global aims above its home politics.
Why India should join IPEF?
India should join IPEF as trade relations with fellow democracies has been its preference after it gave up on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) led by China.
Also, India is often blamed for its export pessimism. Joining IPEF would change that.
— Export Pessimism indicates the pessimism about the demand for exports in developing nations in the markets of developing countries.
Will boost QUAD’s influence: Currently just a forum to discuss common concerns rather than a defence alliance, the Quad’s agenda has steadily expanded over the years. For the group to acquire durable weight, however, talks on how best to help one another prosper must go simultaneously alongside keeping the Indo-Pacific open and free.
To position India as an option to China for manufacturing networks that span borders, we must join forces with a multilateral project aimed at frictionless commerce.
What does the IPEF entail?
Details around IPEF are sketchy at this point. Here’s what’s known so far:
– The IPEF aims to facilitate fair and shock-proof trade, with e-commerce and supply-chain resilience as major aspects of it
What are some concerns that India must consider?
Washington’s dismissal of free trade logic under the Trump administration has not yet been reversed by the White House. So long as electoral fortunes in the US depend on voters who blame globalization for their problems, its leaders will probably be reluctant to openly promote a barrier-free world of exchange.
– Any trade component of Biden’s Asian outreach is thus likely to be impacted by calculations of American jobs.
If the IPEF includes US labour protection and non-tariff barriers in the guise of “fair trade”, then India may hang back. However, if it promises to ease market access and enhance our export output overall, then we must not let item-wise shipment specifics stall our participation.
While the IPEF will also cover cooperation on infrastructure and clean energy, apart from coordination over taxation, rule enforcement and the like, its trade prospects should guide New Delhi’s approach.
We need to go beyond bilateral pacts and focus on broad competitiveness instead of two-way particulars.
On its part, the US would do well not to insist on caveats that could blunt any Indian advantage.
India must spell out its interests clearly right at the onset of IPEF talks. But then, just as the White House is seized of the need to keep Indo-Pacific sea-lanes free of a Chinese shadow, it must also be aware of how constraints on Indian export success could work against the Quad’s geopolitical goals.
Source: The post is based on an article “Why vaccine mandates are essential” published in the “The Hindu” on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 Important Provisions of the Indian Constitution
Relevance: Fundamental Rights – individual’s bodily integrity and personal autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution
News: Recently, the Supreme Court has given its verdict on the government’s ongoing vaccination policy. The court held that restrictions imposed by States and Union Territories on unvaccinated individuals cannot be said to be proportionate.
The governments have imposed partial or full vaccination of individuals as a precondition for accessing public spaces, services, or using public transportation, among others.
Past trends of safeguard community interest
In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upheld the punishment of citizens who rejected smallpox vaccinations. Such a stand was taken in various judgments in the western world.
In India, the Supreme Court in Asha Ranjan v. State of Bihar (2017), echoed the prioritization of community interest over individual interests. The court had observed that the community interest cannot be sacrificed at the altar of individual interests especially in a situation where a fear of psychosis is running through the community.
The Supreme Court’s observations in this case
The government’s policy seeks to invade an individual’s bodily integrity and personal autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
What is the basis of the Supreme Court’s observations?
The proportionality test was used to check on the infringement of bodily integrity, personal autonomy, and privacy of an individual by the state. The test requires satisfaction of the following conditions:
(1) the state action should be sanctioned by law;
(2) the proposed action should have a legitimate state aim; and
(3) the extent of interference by the proposed state action should be proportionate to the need for such interference. It means less restrictive measures are absent.
In particularly this case
(1) The State is empowered under Entry 6 of the State List of Schedule VII of the Constitution, the Disaster Management Act of 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 to take effective measures (including legislate) on issues concerning ‘public health’.
(2) The state’s aim is legitimate. For example, the Indian Council of Medical Research said that 92% of COVID-19 deaths in India in 2021 occurred in unvaccinated individuals.
(3) The extent of state’s interference with the privacy and bodily autonomy of an individual, like the vaccination is the essential precondition for availing certain services, is not disproportionate when the state faces the challenge of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and the number of deaths. However, such a state’s interference is disproportionate until the time infection rates remain low.
At present, the infection rates are low. Therefore, the court held that the state’s interreference are violative of an individual’s bodily integrity and personal autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Argument against the Supreme Court’s decision
The decision will impact India’s ability to equip itself and its citizens for further mutations of the virus, if any, in the times to come.
The vaccines have proved to be medically essential to prevent severe illness and reduce deaths among infected persons. Should the virus mutate further, the presence of a class of unvaccinated persons would have wide-ranging ramifications for an already overburdened healthcare system.
India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Thus, India is bound to take all possible measures to progressively realise the enjoyment of “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” of its citizens under Article 12. Therefore, the state should expedite inoculations at a time when infection rates are relatively low.
The vaccination will alleviate the burden on the healthcare system during more difficult times. It will also ensure that the state’s healthcare policies are proactive and not merely reactionary.
The state should first safeguard the life and health of its citizens before individuals’ decisional autonomies.
Source: The post is based on an article “A Harvard branch in India, prospects and challenges” published in the “The Hindu” on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 Social Sector; Education Sector
Relevance: Higher Education Reforms, Internationalisation of India’s Higher Education Sector
News: In Budget 2022, Finance Minister announced that “world-class foreign universities and institutions would be allowed in the planned business district in Gujarat’s GIFT City”. These institutions would be free from domestic regulations to facilitate availability of high-end human resources.
And the British Prime Minister during his visit to India wished to strengthen the United Kingdom-India academic collaboration.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 promises higher education reforms in many areas, and internationalisation is prominent among them.
The NEP 2020 recommended allowing foreign universities ranked in the “top 100” category to operate in India.
Arguments in favour of establishment of the foreign branches in India
India is an emerging higher education power. It is the world’s second largest “exporter” of students and holder of the world’s second largest higher education system. Foreign countries and universities will be eager to establish a “beachhead” in India.
India’s higher education collaboration with other countries will augment India’s soft power, bringing new ideas and institutions from abroad and to show “best practice” in India.
International branch campuses could function as a structurally different variant of India’s private university sector. They would encourage competition mainly between existing private universities and foreign branch institutions.
The branches could bring new ideas about curriculum, pedagogy, and governance to Indian higher education.
What are the issues in India’s international higher education collaborations?
There are many regulatory hurdles with regard to international academic partnerships, which includes the operation of international branch campuses. Before NEP 2020, India did not allow the entry and the operation of foreign university branch campuses.
The FM budget speech marked departure from the NEP 2020 recommendations that allow only the “top 100” category to operate in India.
The Minister of State for Education reply in the Lok Sabha in March also marked departure from the NEP 2020 recommendations. For example, two foreign institutions, from France and Italy, which are not universities, had expressed interest in setting up campuses in India.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has formed a committee to draft regulations to allow foreign institutions in the “top 500” category to establish campuses in India.
There are issues over practicality. The overseas universities are highly unlikely to invest significant funds up front.
The global branches would be aimed at making money for the sponsoring university which is not in India’s interests.
International collaborations have failed. For example, the Yale University and the National University of Singapore partnership ( the Yale-NUS) College came to an end recently.
The top universities that are already engaged overseas would require incentives to set up in India. For example, building facilities and providing necessary infrastructure.
There are smaller but highly regarded universities outside the ‘top 500’ category that might be more interested.
Universities around the world that have academic specialisations focusing on India, or that have NRI in senior management positions etc. may be easier to attract for India.
India should prevent profit-seekers from entering the Indian market. Instead, the foreign institutions having innovative educational ideas and a long-term commitment should be encouraged.
The bureaucratic hurdles should be drastically cut to ensure success in attracting branch campuses.
A new accreditation mechanism, flexible visa rules for foreign students and faculty, and financial incentives to offer programmes should be considered as priority areas.
Source: The post is based on an article “Gyanvapi: Court must follow law not faith” published in the Indian Express on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 Important Provisions of the Constitution of India
Relevance: Fundamental Rights:- Right to religious equality and minority rights
News: Recently, The Supreme Court has admitted petitions on the Gyanvapi mosque. At present, a controversy is raging over the Gyanvapi Mosque, which is a legacy of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618-1707).
Nature of Indian Polity
India’s Constitution guarantees the principle of religious equality and protection of minority rights. As per B.R. Ambedkar, these principles will come to safeguard the interests of minorities in case India becomes a Hindu-majority independent India.
In India, the parliamentary system has been adopted. The popular will is represented by the legislature. However, the Constitution also provides some checks on the power of legislatures and the executives.
The Judiciary has an important role for safeguarding the Constitution. If elections give way to majoritarian passions, and can’t protect the minorities, the courts, following the Constitution, will.
Argument Against ongoing developments in the Gyanvapi Mosque Case
The atrocities of Aurangzeb were not limited to destruction of the Hindu temples. He also targeted Sikh gurus, destroyed mosques built by adversaries, killed his own brother Dara Shikoh and incarcerated his father Shahjehan.
Should Aurangzeb’s 17th century misdeeds be avenged by inflicting harm on India’s Muslims today.
At present, the attempts to reclaim the mosque for Hindu religious purposes contradicts the Constitution.
What are the challenges at present?
At present, we live in a modern democracy that is based on the key foundations of popular will and constitutional settlement.
At present, India’s elections or popular will has been increasingly legitimating Hindu nationalism. For example, India’s parliament has enacted majoritarian laws such as the abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA); multiple state-level laws and/or executive decrees are banning beef-eating and inter-faith marriage, among various other measures.
The Indian Judiciary has also not been successful in implementing its constitution-protecting role. For example, it has not scheduled hearings of Hindu nationalist policies or legislation like Article 370 and the CAA; and It has even approved conversion of a contested site in Ayodhya into a Hindu temple.
The Places of Worship Act, 1991, made in accordance with the Constitution, clearly says that the status of a religious place cannot be altered beyond what it was at Independence.
The religious equality and minority protections, two of the fundamental principles of the Indian Constitution should be safeguarded. Therefore, Judicial interpretation must follow the law, not faith.
Source: The post is based on an article “Can India turn Quad into an instrument to realise its significant potential as technological power?” published in the Indian Express on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 International Relations, Regional Groupings
Relevance: Minilaterals, Technological Advancement
News: The Prime Minister of India is going to participate in the Quadrilateral Forum that brings together Delhi, Canberra, Tokyo, and Washington.
The US President will visit Samsung’s semiconductor facility in South Korea during the visit.
This underlines the role of critical technologies in his Indo-Pacific strategy.
Importance of critical technologies
They are key to propelling us into the next era of humanity’s technological development — artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, 5G, and so very much more”.
What are the challenges in front of all the Quad members?
The technology supply chain has disrupted due to the impact of Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the global economy,
Russia’s Ukraine invasion has shaken “the very foundation of the international order”.
Apart from the Russian aggression in Europe, there is an emerging issue of the Chinese challenge in Asia.
The Ukraine crisis has improved US prospects in the Indo-Pacific where China is aggressively asserting itself alarmingly.
For the first time since the Second World War, the US and the West are defending the sovereignty of states in Europe and Asia, while Russia and China are grabbing the territory of other states by force.
Japan and South Korea fear that China may resort to Ukraine-like military aggression against Taiwan and in the disputed islands of the Western Pacific. Therefore, they have started building national defence capabilities, strengthening the alliance with the US, and taking a larger regional role.
What are the indications that the US and other members can help India build its national technological capabilities?
The US and Western countries wish to reorient technology supply chains away from countries that don’t share common values. They want more procurement from their allies and partners across the world.
The recently launched new Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) visualises techno-economic cooperation across the region on fair trade, digital commerce, resilient supply chains, and clean energy among other issues. Progress on many of these fronts depends on technological collaboration between like-minded partners.
The IPEF opens the door for economic re-engagement with Asia in place of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of which India refused to become part.
Importance of QUAD
The Quad’s having techno-politik nature is about boosting the national capabilities of its members.
The greater technological collaboration between the US and its northeast Asian allies is emerging as a major pillar of Indo-Pacific security. The US is eager to strengthen India’s technological capabilities for the defence and security sector. For example, in the US-India 2+2 dialogue, techno-military cooperation figured prominently.
Similar to AUKUS, and IPEF, the Quad has become the vehicle to shape the techno-politics of the Indo-Pacific. This can lead to advancement in technological collaboration in a wide range of areas. For example, vaccine production, clean energy, biotechnology, cybersecurity, and outer space
The QUAD provides a major opportunity to enhance India’s national technological capabilities. This can be the source of India’s robust security and economic policies.
The Indo-Pacific region requires a “rules-based order”. Its principles may include respect for territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of disputes, and no violent change in national borders.
– For example, India strongly believes in the principles of territorial sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes.
In addition, the Quad partners can draw up new rules to govern critical technologies that are rapidly transforming the global economic order and international security politics.
The QUAD members can pool technological resources to promote peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific region.
– For example, there were reports that India may combine its space and maritime resources with those of the Quad partners which can help members to counter the growing problem of illegal and unregulated fishing in their vast exclusive economic zones.
India needs to create the right internal environment for technological leapfrogging and seize the emerging external opportunities for deeper technological partnerships with the US and the Quad.
GS Paper 3
Source: This post is created based on the article “Government must resist demands for banning exports” published in Indian Express on 24th May 2022.
Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Marketing of farm produce
News: After the wheat ban, there is a possibility of a ban on exports of raw cotton. The author lists out reasons for not doing so.
Why ban on exports of raw cotton will not be correct?
First, from raw cotton to fabric making, there are various stages and processes in the textile industry.
Raw cotton > Cotton Yarn > Cotton Fabric > Cotton ready-made garments
Export is happening at every stage. For example, During the year ended March 31, 2022, India exported $2.8 billion worth of raw cotton, $5.5 billion of cotton yarn, $8.2 billion of cotton fabrics and made-ups, and $9 billion of cotton ready-made garments.
Thus, a ban on just raw cotton will not be justified.
Second, the price rise of around 50% of raw cotton cannot be attributed, just to the exports. International prices are also rising and domestic prices are just seeking parity with those prices.
Third, the government has slashed import duty on cotton, which is the right approach for tackling inflation. The 10 percent duty on yarn imports can be removed as well.
Fourth, high prices of raw cotton can be beneficial for the farmers sowing cotton this season.
What should be done?
The real issue that requires attention is the yield. The yield, which was increasing after the introduction of Bt cotton, is on a falling trajectory now.
The plants incorporating Bt genes have over time developed susceptibility to pink bollworm and whitefly insect pests, reducing yields. Opposition to further research and support for GM crops is one of the reasons behind that.
Thus, the government must support the genetic engineering technologies in cotton and other plants as well.
Source: The post is based on an article “The ESG rating conundrum” published in the Business Standard on 23rd May 2022.
Syllabus: GS3 Indian Economy, Ecology and Environment
Relevance: Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework
News: In recent years, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments have emerged as a subject of great interest and significance across the globe. In this context, the SEBI had brought out a consultation paper on the need to regulate ESG rating providers.
Increasingly, corporates are adopting higher ESG norms, and investors are preferring such investments.
Importance of ESG
The ESG investments lead to public good as well as make business sense. They are beneficial for both —the shareholders and all other stakeholders.
Rating by ERPs
The ESG rating providers (ERPs) offer rating products in two categories: (1) risk ratings: an assessment of a company’s resilience to ESG related risks, and (2) “impact” ratings: an assessment of the impact of a company’s operations on the environment and society.
What are the challenges in the development of universally acceptable ESG standards?
Globally, there are no universally recognised ESG reporting standards and frameworks. The investors and corporates have been using different standards and frameworks. For example, GRI, TCFD, SASB, among others. This may lead to greenwashing and misselling, and the potential risks to investor protection, transparency and capital allocation in markets, among others.
There is no consistency in disclosures and transparency of the methodology and rating process.
Assessing impact rating is more complex and arduous compared to risk rating.
Investors are more concerned about risk rating. It means, ESG impact ratings are not the mainstream ESG rating product currently being offered by most providers.
There are concerns over desirability or workability of the universal ESG standard and frameworks. There are different levels of development across different countries in the world. The advanced economies and the emerging economies have made different commitments based on the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities”. An ESG framework negates the efforts made for equity and climate justice.
ESG investing is still relatively in the nascent stage in India. Many of them do not understand the nuances of ESG investing. They rely on in-house research due to absence of consistent and comparable ESG reporting standards and frameworks.
A number of international bodies are working on the idea to develop the ESG framework.
– For example, The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation had announced the setting up of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) at Glasgow Summit in 2021. This is an attempt to develop universally acceptable reporting standards and frameworks.
India has already developed and put in place our own business responsibility and sustainability reporting standards (BRSR). This takes into account the viewpoint of stakeholders, domestic considerations and international best practices.
– For example, the BRSR reporting framework is inter-operable with international frameworks like GRI, TCFD and SASB.
Sebi regulations mandates top 1,000 listed companies to compulsory report in accordance with the BRSR standards from the year 2022-23 onwards. Other listed or even unlisted companies could voluntarily adopt these standards.
The domestic ESG rating providers industry is still at a stage of infancy in India. The demand is mostly met by the foreign ESG rating providers which are unregulated and following varying standards at present. Therefore, there is an urgent need that India put in place a regulatory framework to accredit ERPs.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: The post is based on the article “India to join Biden’s new trade initiative for Indo-Pacific region” published in The Hindu on 24th May 2022.
What is the News?
The US President has launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). The negotiations will begin shortly and these are expected to centre around four main pillars, including trade, supply chain resiliency, clean energy and decarbonisation, and taxes and anti-corruption measures.
Indian PM has mentioned that India will work together with [other IPEF countries] to build an inclusive and flexible Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
About Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
|Read here: Explained: What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework?|
Members of IPEF: The grouping includes seven out of 10 members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), all four Quad countries, and New Zealand represents about 40% of global GDP.
Three ASEAN countries considered closer to China — Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos — are not members of the IPEF, however.
How IPEF is different from TPP and RCEP?
IPEF would not be a “free trade agreement”, nor are countries expected to discuss reducing tariffs or increasing market access.
The IPEF would not seek to replace the 11-nation CPTPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) that the U.S. quit in 2017, or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP), which China and all of the other IPEF countries (minus the U.S.) are a part of.
The IPEF was intended to boost U.S. manufacturing. As businesses are beginning to look for alternatives to China, the U.S. would seek to attract businesses investing in China towards IPEF. Thereby, making the countries in the Indo-Pacific Framework will be more reliable partners for U.S. businesses.
Source: The post is based on the article “Centre reconstitutes Inter-State Council” published in The Hindu on 24th May 2022.
What is the News?
The Inter-State Council has been reconstituted with Prime Minister as Chairman and Chief Ministers of all States and six Union Ministers as members. Ten Union Ministers will be the permanent invitees to the Inter-State Council.
The standing committee of the Inter-State Council has also reconstituted with Union Home Minister.
About Inter-State Council
Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council. It is a constitutional body that has representatives of the Union government as well as chief ministers of states.
The Council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and the Center. Instead, the President can establish the council at any time if it appears to him that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.
Mandate: To inquire and advise on interstate disputes and to provide recommendations for better policy coordination.
Chaired by: The Prime Minister.
Members: a) Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories with Assembly, b) the Administrators of the Union Territories without Assembly, c) the Governors of the States under the rule of the President, d) the six Ministers in the Cabinet, including the home minister, to be nominated by the PM, and e) Five ministers of the cabinet rank are permanent invitees of the council.
Meetings and decisions: The council meeting are supposed to be held thrice a year and its decisions on all questions are decided by consensus.
Formation of Standing committee: A standing committee of the council was set up in 1996 for continuous consultation and processing of matters for the consideration of the council. The chairman of this standing committee is Union Home Minister.
|Must read: Despite constitutional mandate the inter-state council has not come of age. Discuss.|
Source: The post is based on the article “World lost 11.2 crore jobs in the first quarter of 2022: ILO” published in The Hindu on 24th May 2022.
What is the News?
The “world of work” report has been released by International Labour Organisation.
What are the key findings of the “world of work” report?
Working hours: After significant gains during the last quarter of 2021, the number of hours worked globally dropped in the first quarter of 2022, to 3.8% below the employment situation.
Job loss: About 11.2 crore jobs might have been lost during this period, according to the report.
The growing divergence between richer and poorer economies: While high-income countries experienced a recovery in hours worked, low- and lower-middle-income economies suffered setbacks in the first quarter of the year with a 3.6 and 5.7% gap respectively when compared to the pre-crisis benchmark.
Reason for reduction of working hours: The fresh lockdowns in China, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and the global rise in the prices of food and fuel.
Financial turbulence, potential debt distress and global supply chain disruptions are growing risks of a further deterioration in working hours in 2022.
Findings related to India
Job loss: For every 100 women at work prior to the pandemic, 12.3 women would have lost their job as an average through the entire period. In contrast, for every 100 men, the equivalent figure would have been 7.5.
Hence, the pandemic seems to have exacerbated the already substantial gender imbalances in employment participation in the country.
Deterioration of the gender gap in work hours: India and lower-middle-income countries excluding India experienced a deterioration of the gender gap in work hours in the second quarter of 2020.
Working standards: The report mentions that there is no decent employment in India.
This is because a) Most people are on contract without any social security. If there are no decent wages, purchasing power will also come down, b) The Code on Wages was passed in 2019 but is not yet implemented, c) The Wage Committee in 1948 asked the government to implement a minimum wage, living wage and a decent wage. But, India did not implement even minimum wage due to pressure from industrialists.
What are the suggestions provided by the report?
a) The purchasing capacity of the workers should be improved, b) countries has to take a humane approach to address the worker’s situation, c) Indian government has to find ways to create more jobs.
Source: The post is based on the article “Engineering tomatoes to produce vitamin D” published in The Hindu on 24th May 2022.
What is the News?
A paper in Nature Plants tries to address vitamin D deficiency by genetically modifying tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants so that the fruit contains a significant amount of provitamin D3 which is a precursor from which humans can make vitamin D.
What is the need for GM Tomatoes?
The term ‘invisible’ hunger is used for diseases caused by a deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the diet. This is a major problem in developing countries. Hence, genetically modifying plants to produce biofortified leaves and fruit is one of the solutions to address the hidden hunger.
About vitamin D
Provitamin D3 is a precursor from which humans can make vitamin D. The chemical name of Provitamin D3 is 7-dehydrocholesterol, or 7-DHC. Humans can synthesise vitamin D from 7-DHC when they are exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light.
Vitamin D3 is also present in fish and dairy products.
Functions of Vitamin D: It is needed for a process known as calcium homeostasis which is the maintenance of a constant concentration of calcium ions in the body.
Hence, vitamin D is needed primarily for bone development and strength.
Recommended intake: 15 micrograms per day for children and 20 micrograms per day for elders. This can be given through supplements or a careful exposure to sunlight.
But vegetarian diets are particularly deficient in Vitamin D.
Deficiency: Vitamin D deficiency can cause conditions such as rickets and osteoporosis. Other diseases that are associated with vitamin D deficiency are cancer, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Why tomatoes are chosen, and how did GM tomatoes address vitamin D deficiency?
In untreated tomato plants, 7-DHC is present in leaves and to a lower extent in green fruit, but not in ripe fruit. This is because 7-DHC is converted into cholesterol in fruit.
Recently, a scientist discovered a pathway in tomato plants to produce cholesterol and a substance called steroidal glycoalkaloid (SGA for short) using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool. This inhibits the conversion of 7-DHC to cholesterol.
The researchers showed that in their modified plants there is a “substantial increase of 7-DHC levels in leaves and green fruit,” but levels of 7-DHC were lower in ripe fruits of the mutant.
However, the amount in one tomato would be equivalent to that in two eggs or 28 grams of tuna, both of which are recommended sources of vitamin D.
What are the concerns associated with GM tomatoes?
Reduction in Alpha-tomatine: Alpha-tomatine is reported toxicant or antinutritional activity. The researchers report that the mutant tomatoes showed a reduction of alpha-tomatine in their leaves.
Alpha-tomatine is believed to have a role in the plant’s resistance to viral, fungal, insect and herbivoral attacks. Hence, the reduction of alpha-tomatine in the mutants may not necessarily be a good thing.
High levels of cholesterol: Despite blocking the conversion of 7-DHC to cholesterol, the cholesterol levels in both fruit and leaves of the mutants were higher than of the wild-type. This need to be studied further.
Source: The post is based on the article “Navy issues RFI to get 250-bed hospital ship in the high seas” published in Indian Express on 24th May 2022.
What is the News?
The government has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a national hospital ship (NHS) for the Navy that will act as a floating 250-bed hospital on the high seas.
What is the National Hospital Ship (NHS)?
The hospital ship is the first such ship for the Indian Navy. The vessel will comply with the Geneva Convention and accordingly painted white with the Red Cross displayed prominently on the ship side and on top.
What are the specifications of NHS?
Capacity of NHS: The NHS will have aerial evacuation and boat ambulance facilities and should have the capacity to carry 600 personnel on board, including the crew, doctors and patients.
According to RFI, the ship “should have a capability for operating independently as a 250-bedded hospital providing primary and secondary health care” and have two patient reception areas to facilitate easy reception and transfer of casualties. One of these will be closer to the chopper deck.
Timeline of NHS: Based on the responses to the RFI, the Navy will issue the Request for Proposals to eligible Original Equipment Manufacturers through an Indian vendor. Once the contract is signed, the Navy wants the ship to be delivered in four years after that.
About Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions (1949) and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.
They protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).
Source: The post is based on the article “New species of venomous snake registered from Northeast” published in The Hindu on 21st May 2022.
What is the News?
A new venomous green snake named Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper was discovered at Umroi Military station in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya.
About Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper
The snake measures about 750 mm in length. It looked very similar to Pope’s Pit Viper but the colour of the eyes was different.
Maya’s pit snake and the Pope’s Pit Viper have very different hemepenis, the copulatory organ.
According to herpetologists, the new species was relatively common in Meghalaya, Mizoram and even in Guwahati.
Significance of the discovery: In India, around 1.2 million people have lost their lives owing to snakebite and many more have lost their limbs in the last two decades.
Venom is a complex protein, mostly typical to a species. Thus unravelling a new species will help understand its venom and its impact on human life and perhaps will help save lives,
About Pit Vipers
The Crotalinae sub family is commonly known as pit vipers. These are venomous vipers found in Eurasia and the Americas.
They are distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on both sides of the head. This helps them to accurately aim and strike at their warm-blooded prey.
They may be terrestrial, arboreal, or aquatic. Some species lay eggs; others produce live young.
Russell’s Viper and Saw-scaled Viper are the two most venomous viper species found in India and members of the big four poisonous and deadliest snakes in India. These snake species are responsible for the majority of snakebites in India.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is retinoblastoma, the common eye cancer in children? published in Indian Express on 21st May 2022.
What is the News?
The World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week was observed from May 15 to 21.
What is retinoblastoma?
It is the most common cancer in the eye (malignant tumor) in small children. It can occur in one or both eyes and maybe hereditary or sporadic.
It can be life-threatening as well as take away vision if not treated timely and is detected by seeing White Reflex (WR).
Symptoms: a) White Reflex in the eye: Pupil that looks white or yellow instead of red when light hits it, b) Squinting: A crossed eye, looking either toward the nose or towards the ear, c) Poor vision with or without WR. The eye may be red or painful also.
Detection: Ocular ultra-sonography and fundus examination are the immediate OPD procedures. Its extent is determined by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and systemic staging investigations.
Treatment: Retinoblastoma treatment is individualised for each patient. However, chemotherapy can be delivered intravenously or intra-arterial is the most common modality of treatment. This has to be followed up with local therapy, which is managed by the ophthalmologist using various modalities.
Disease burden in India: Nearly 1,500-2,000 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma every year in India. The majority of these children belong to lower socio-economic strata of society.
Retinoblastoma has low treatment and survival rates due to lack of awareness, social stigma, poor access to care, high cost of treatment, lack of infrastructure, health professionals, good treatment protocols, quality drugs, diagnostics, and supportive care.
Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of United States of America
Source: The post is based on the article “Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of United States of America” published in PIB on 23rd May 2022.
What is the News?
The Government of India and the Government of the United States of America have signed an Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) in Tokyo, Japan.
What is the Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA)?
The Agreement is the legal requirement for DFC(Development Finance Agency of the USA), to continue providing investment support in India.
Note: This present IIA supersedes the Investment Incentive Agreement signed between the Government of India and the Government of the United States of America in the year 1997.
What is the need for the new IIA?
Significant developments have taken place since the signing of the earlier IIA in 1997 including the creation of a new agency called DFC, a development finance agency of the Government of the USA.
Note: The DFC is a successor agency of the erstwhile Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) after the enactment of the recent legislation of the USA, the BUILD Act 2018.
What are the benefits associated with IIA?
IIA has been signed, to keep pace with the additional investment support programmes, offered by the DFC, such as debt, equity investment, investment guaranty, investment insurance or reinsurance, and feasibility studies for potential projects and grants.
DFC or their predecessor agencies are active in India since 1974 and have so far provided investment support worth $5.8 billion of which $2.9 billion is still outstanding.
Proposals worth $4 billion are under consideration by DFC for providing investment support in India. DFC has provided investment support in sectors that matter for development such as COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, healthcare financing, renewable energy, SME financing, financial inclusion, infrastructure etc.
Hence, the signing of IIA would lead to enhanced Investment support provided by DFC in India, which shall further help in India’s development.
Source: The post is based on the article “Kolkata unveils biodiversity register: First among major Indian metros” published in DTE on 23rd May 2022.
What is the News?
Kolkata became the first major metropolitan city in India to prepare a detailed register of biodiversity (People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)).
Note: Chandigarh and Indore are other important cities that have prepared the document.
What is the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)?
The People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) entails complete documentation of biodiversity such as flora, fauna medicinal sources, land use and human activities etc. within a particular place such as a city.
The Biological Diversity Act (BDA) has made it mandatory for every local self-governing institution in rural and urban areas to constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) within their area of jurisdiction.
Once constituted, the BMC must prepare a Peoples’ Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with local people.
A PBR comprehensively documents traditional knowledge of local biological resources. The BMC is the custodian of these resources, and any industry that extracts biological resources from these areas has to share part of its revenue with the local community.
Advantages of PBR: a) aid in tracing the changes in habitats, b) help in conservation and sustainable development of biodiversity, c) Since it is a bottom-up exercise, PBR will help in understanding the overlap of cultural and natural biodiversity.
What are the highlights of Kolkata’s PBR?
Prepared by: Kolkata’s Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC).
The PBR documented 399 plant and 283 animal species at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters.
Dear Friends, We are writing to let you know that on Thursday, October 5, at 5 PM we shall be organizing an Interaction Session with Natasha Goel, Rank 175, CSE 2022. Registration link: https://go.forumias.com/5oct5pm Natasha is from JNU, with a background in humanities, who decided to first pursue her preparation with a… Continue reading Meet Natasha, IPS who cleared Civils (after not clearing it 4 times) ! 5th Oct. 5 PM
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 The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – Sep 30th 2023
Source: The post is based on the article “What is geospatial intelligence? A geographer explains the powerful melding of maps and data” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? Geospatial intelligence has offered valuable insights to help governments and organizations to protect communities from natural disasters. What is Geospatial Intelligence?… Continue reading What is geospatial intelligence? A geographer explains the powerful melding of maps and data
Source: The post is based on the article “Tripura becomes fourth state to introduce e-cabinet system” published in “Indian Express” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? Tripura Chief Minister has launched an e-cabinet system to promote digital infrastructure development and digitisation of government services and information What is an eCabinet system? eCabinet is… Continue reading Tripura becomes fourth state to introduce e-cabinet system
Source: The post is based on the article “MGNREGS social audit unit in a state of paralysis in many States” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? The Social Audit Units under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). What is Social Audit under MGNREGA? Social Audit is the… Continue reading MGNREGS social audit unit in a state of paralysis in many States
Source: The post is based on the article “Uttar Pradesh Achieves 100% ODF Plus Coverage under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen” published in “PIB” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? Uttar Pradesh has achieved 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus coverage under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) programme. What is ODF Plus village? An… Continue reading Uttar Pradesh Achieves 100% ODF Plus Coverage under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen
Source: The post is based on the article “What is the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance?” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? The Canadian Prime Minister has linked the killing of a Khalistani leader on Canadian soil to the Indian government. This has put the spotlight on the intelligence-sharing alliance… Continue reading What is the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance?
Assam Promotes Pipe Composting: A Unique Way Of Converting Biodegradable Waste Into Manure in Two Months
Source: The post is based on the article “Assam Promotes Pipe Composting: A Unique Way Of Converting Biodegradable Waste Into Manure in Two Months” published in “PIB” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? Assam is actively promoting Pipe Composting among its rural communities during the ongoing Swachhata Hi Seva campaign. What is Pipe… Continue reading Assam Promotes Pipe Composting: A Unique Way Of Converting Biodegradable Waste Into Manure in Two Months
Source: The post is based on the article “Inside the digital world of cookies” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? In the digital world, cookies enhance online experiences but pose privacy and security challenges.Their usage and regulation are evolving in the digital landscape. What are Cookies? Cookies contain tiny… Continue reading Inside the digital world of cookies
Source: The post is based on the article “Union Minister launches CRIIIO 4 GOOD modules to advance gender equality and empower young people” published in “PIB” on 29th September 2023. What is the News? The Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has launched ‘CRIIIO 4 GOOD’, a new online, life skills learning… Continue reading Union Minister launches CRIIIO 4 GOOD modules to advance gender equality and empower young people
Source: The post is based on the article “India retains 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index 2023” published in “PIB” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? Global Innovation Index 2023 has been published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. What is the Global Innovation Index? Click Here to read What are the… Continue reading India retains 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index 2023
Source– The post is based on the article “Bhagat Singh’s Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” published in “The Indian Express” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS1- Modern Indian history and personalities News– The article explains the Bhagat Singh ideas about the principle of vasudhaiva kutumbakam What are Bhagat Singfh ideas about the ideal of vasudhaiva kutumbakam? Early in… Continue reading Bhagat Singh’s Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
Source: The post is based on the article “A milestone in Hindu marriage reform in India” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS1- Society- Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. News: The author is discussing the long struggle in Tamil Nadu, India, for legal recognition of Suyamariyathai (self-respect) marriages, which… Continue reading A milestone in Hindu marriage reform in India
Source: The post is based on the article “A dictionary to prevent a language from vanishing” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS1- Art and culture News: The article is about a rare language, Toto, spoken by 1,600 people near West Bengal and Bhutan. A professor from the University of Calcutta is… Continue reading A dictionary to prevent a language from vanishing
Source– The post is based on the article “Parliament to workplace” published in “The Indian Express” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS2 – Social empowerment. Relevance – Issues related to women empowerment News– The recent landmark legislation mandating the reservation of a third of parliamentary and assembly seats for women is a game changer for… Continue reading Parliament to workplace
Source: The post is based on the article “Warring Over Water – River fights between states need a single dispute resolution body with real enforcement powers” published in The Times of India on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS 2 – Indian Polity – Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure Relevance: About Cauvery Water Dispute. News:… Continue reading Warring Over Water – River fights between states need a single dispute resolution body
Source: The post is based on articles “Unhealthy dynamics – Gender bias in cancer care reflects a larger health care crisis” published in Business Standard on 29th September 2023 and “Lancet report on cancer in women is a wake-up call” published in The Indian Express on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Issues – Issues… Continue reading Unhealthy dynamics – Gender bias in cancer care reflects a larger health care crisis
Source: The post is based on the article “Reform can address India’s kidney transplant deficit” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Governance- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health News: This article talks about the severe kidney shortage in India, where laws make kidney swaps and… Continue reading Reform can address India’s kidney transplant deficit
Source– The post is based on the article “KEEPING SFBs AFLOAT” published in “The Business Standard” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance- Issues related to banking sector News– The article explains the issues related to Small finance banks (SFBs). What are some facts about Small Finance Banks (SFBs)? They are designed to promote… Continue reading KEEPING Small Finance Bank (SFBs) AFLOAT
Source– The post is based on the article “We should join the WTO’s investment facilitation talks” published in the “mint” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance- Issues related to WTO News– On 6 July 2023, over 110 of the WTO 164 members concluded text-based negotiations on the Agreement on Investment Facilitation for Development… Continue reading We should join the WTO’s investment facilitation talks
Source: The post is based on the article “Swaminathan walked ahead of his time: scientific community” published in “The Hindu” on 29th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Science and technology- Achievements of Indians in science & technology. News: The article is honoring M.S. Swaminathan, a respected agricultural scientist from India who recently passed away. It discusses… Continue reading Swaminathan walked ahead of his time: scientific community
For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its first report on hypertension. According to the first-ever report released by WHO on the global impact of hypertension, at least 4.6 million deaths in India can be prevented by 2040 if half its hypertensive population controls its blood pressure. What is hypertension?… Continue reading WHO Report on Hypertension-Explained Pointwise
Dear Friends, For those of you who plan to appear for IFoS, we are organising a strategy talk by Anuradha, who has secured Rank 3 in IFoS 2022. Interested candidates, who would like to seek her guidance can visit the offline center and have a small interaction with her. Especially for students… Continue reading IFoS AIR 3 Anuradha Mishra; Interactive session-1st Oct @ 5 PM
Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I September 28th, 2023
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 The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – Sep 29th 2023
Source: The post is based on the article “World Coffee Conference in Bengaluru from Sept 25 to 28” published in “ Business Standard” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? Bengaluru is all set to host the 5th World Coffee Conference(WCC). What is the World Coffee Conference(WCC)? Organized by: International Coffee Organisation (ICO) in… Continue reading World Coffee Conference in Bengaluru from Sept 25 to 28
Source: The post is based on the article “Social bonds explained as NABARD raises Rs 1,040 crore via its inaugural issue” published in “CNBC” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has issued its inaugural social bonds with a total size of Rs 1,040.50 crore. What… Continue reading Social bonds explained as NABARD raises Rs 1,040 crore via its inaugural issue
WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit co-hosted by Ministry of Ayush adopted ecofriendly methods aimed at reducing carbon emissions
Source: The post is based on the article “WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit co-hosted by Ministry of Ayush adopted ecofriendly methods aimed at reducing carbon emissions” published in “PIB” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? The Ministry of Ayush has been adopting and propagating eco-friendly methods to reduce carbon emissions and environmental pollution… Continue reading WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit co-hosted by Ministry of Ayush adopted ecofriendly methods aimed at reducing carbon emissions
Source: The post is based on the article “STs trail non-STs in 81 health measures: 2021 study” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? A recent study in ‘The Lancet Regional Health — Southeast Asia’ has analyzed health, nutrition, and population trends among Scheduled Tribes (STs) in India from 2016… Continue reading STs trail non-STs in 81 health measures: 2021 study
Source: The post is based on the article “Green Ammonia Imported through VOC Port, Tamil Nadu for the first time” published in “PIB” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? State-run V O Chidambaranar (VOC) Port located in Tamil Nadu has become the first port in India to handle green ammonia with the arrival… Continue reading Green Ammonia Imported through VOC Port, Tamil Nadu for the first time
Source: The post is based on the article “Indian Navy to unveil ‘Swavlamban 2.0’ next week: Vice-Chief” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? The Indian Navy will release its updated indigenisation roadmap called ‘Swavlamban 2.0’. What is Swavlamban? Swavlamban is the Naval Innovation & Indigenisation Organisation’s (NIIO) annual seminar.… Continue reading Indian Navy to unveil ‘Swavlamban 2.0’ next week: Vice-Chief
Source: The post is based on the article “INDO-PACIFIC ARMIES CHIEFS CONFERENCE(IPACC)” published in “PIB” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? The Defence Minister delivered the inaugural address at the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference(IPACC) in New Delhi. What is the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference(IPACC)? Organized by: Indian Army with the US Army … Continue reading INDO-PACIFIC ARMIES CHIEFS CONFERENCE(IPACC)
Source: The post is based on the article “Gujarat turns over new leaf, bans invasive tree species: ‘Adverse impact’” published in “Indian Express” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? Gujarat Government has banned the planting of Conocarpus trees in both forest and non-forest areas due to their adverse impact on the environment and… Continue reading Gujarat turns over new leaf, bans invasive tree species: ‘Adverse impact’
Source: The post is based on the article “India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of population by 2050: UNFPA report” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. What is the News? The India Ageing Report 2023 has been released y by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Institute for Population… Continue reading India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of population by 2050: UNFPA report
Dear Friends, As the Mains gets over, we will slowly navigate towards the prelims examination. The Prelims examination 2023 has shows us the need for early preparation, a good knowledge base – but the most important factor – practicing questions from all possible avenues. We are excited to inform you that ForumIAS has… Continue reading Pre-Order : Toolkit for Prelims 2024
Source: The post is based on the article “The G-20’s screen over ‘mazdoors’, their rights” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS2- International relation- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. News: The author expresses concern that during the G-20 Summit, India, under Prime Minister Narendra… Continue reading The G-20’s screen over ‘mazdoors’, their rights
Nearly 69 lakh cancer deaths among Indian women were preventable: What a study says on gender and the disease
Source– The post is based on the article “Nearly 69 lakh cancer deaths among Indian women were preventable: What a study says on gender and the disease” published in “The Hindu” on 27th September 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Social Issues – Issues related to development and management of health Relevance- Cancer among women News– A new… Continue reading Nearly 69 lakh cancer deaths among Indian women were preventable: What a study says on gender and the disease
Source– The post is based on the article “ASEAN’s China dilemma” published in “The Indian Express” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations – Regional and global groupings News– During the recent ASEAN meeting, Indonesia successfully introduced new perspectives into often contentious ASEAN positions. What was the approach of Indonesia on the Indo-Pacific during… Continue reading ASEAN’s China dilemma
Source: The post is based on the article “Devotion of Teacher X – Individual and national futures depend on math skills, which depend on good teacher training” published in The Times of India on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Issues – Issues Related with Education Relevance: concerns with math proficiency in India News: India… Continue reading Devotion Of Teacher X – Individual and national futures depend on math skills
Source: The post is based on the article “Why are tigers dying in Nilgiris district?” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Environment – Ecology and environment News: This article discusses the concerning deaths of ten tigers, including cubs, in the Nilgiris since August. The reasons include factors like fighting, possible poisoning,… Continue reading Why are tigers dying in Nilgiris district?
Source– The post is based on the article “What does a drop in household financial savings imply for India?” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3 – Economy Relevance- Issues related to savings and investment in the economy News– The household financial savings data recently published in the latest issue of the… Continue reading What does a drop in household financial savings imply for India?
Source: The post is based on the article “Timeless quest- Bennu sample can help human understanding beyond the immediate” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Science and technology- Awareness in the fields of Space News: This article discusses NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, which collected rock samples from the ancient asteroid Bennu. The… Continue reading Timeless quest- Bennu sample can help human understanding beyond the immediate
Source: The post is based on the article “Drawing the line- Information aids public safety, and is not a trigger for panic” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- disaster management News: Article discusses land-subsidence in Joshimath, Uttarakhand due to infrastructure projects, causing safety concerns. Reports reveal non-compliance to building codes and… Continue reading Drawing the line- Information aids public safety, and is not a trigger for panic
Source– The post is based on the article “GDP doesn’t mean much for economy” published in “The Hindu” on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy – Indian economy and growth News– The article explains the issues of overemphasis on growth for measuring the economic well-being of the population. What are issues related to overemphasis… Continue reading GDP doesn’t mean much for economy
Source: The post is based on the article “Let us not resurrect the ghost of retro taxation” published in Live Mint on 28th September 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy – Growth & Development, Taxation Relevance: concerns with high GST on online casinos and gaming platforms. News: The government’s decision to impose 28% GST on online… Continue reading Let us not resurrect the ghost of retro taxation
For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Recently released report “State of Working India 2023” has higlighted the present status of unemployment in India. The report has been prepared by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment. The report highlights the trends of Unemployment in India over the decade. Present Status of Unemployment in India according to “State… Continue reading Present Status of Unemployment In India – Explained Pointwise
Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I September 27th, 2023
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 The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – Sep 28th 2023
Source: The post is based on the article “Bihana Didi’ wins Borlaug Award for introducing drought-tolerant rice in Odisha” published in “Hindu Businessline” on 26th September 2023. What is the News? Indian agriculture scientist Swati Nayak has become the third Indian agriculture scientist to win the prestigious Norman E Borlaug Award for 2023. The other… Continue reading Bihana Didi’ wins Borlaug Award for introducing drought-tolerant rice in Odisha
Source: The post is based on the article “Greater one-horned rhinos thriving in India Nepal despite poaching threat Report” published in “The Week” on 26th September 2023. What is the News? The State of the Rhino Report, 2023 has been released by US-based International Rhino Foundation(IRF). The report comes ahead of World Rhino Day, an… Continue reading Greater one-horned rhinos thriving in India Nepal despite poaching threat Report