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List of Contents
One State Solution for Palestine
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
Synopsis: The whole premise of the two-state solution is misplaced. The only alternative is that settlers (Jews) and natives (Palestinians) should together build a new state that is democratic and not against the Arab world.
- Many world countries through the United Nations insist on a two-state solution to end the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- The support for the two-state solution is based on the reasoning that once two states become a reality, Israel will stop severe violations of the Palestinian civil and human rights.
- However, it is not a “conflict” as such rather it is a settler-colonial reality that began in the late 19th century.
- Late scholar, Patrick Wolfe, states that settler colonial movements are motivated by a logic called “the elimination of the native”.
- Sometimes it may lead to genocide, as it happened in North America, sometimes it gets translated to an ongoing ethnic cleansing operation as unfolded in Palestine.
- So, the two-state solution is not going to stop the ethnic cleansing instead, talking about it provides Israel international immunity to continue it.
How Israel has worked towards eliminating the native population so far?
World nations are insisting on the two-state solution to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, Palestinians fear that the Israelis would not be content and will try to occupy as much of its territory as possible. This Prediction became true after a year.
- First, in 1948, the UN insisted that partition was the only solution for Palestine. Under the UN support, the new Jewish state took over nearly 80% of historical Palestine and ethnically cleansed almost a million Palestinians.
- Second, in 1967, Israel occupied the rest of historical Palestine, and in the process expelled another 300,000 Palestinians.
- Third, apart from Incremental ethnic cleansing, Israel also employed other means to achieve the old Zionist goal of turning historical Palestine into a Jewish state. Such as
- One, Imposing military rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to restrict people’s basic human and civil rights.
- Two, Imposing a version of an Apartheid regime on the Palestinian minority in Israel.
- Three, disregarding the demographic reality by refusing the 1948 refugees to return.
- Fourth, Israel passed a citizenship law in 2018. It was known as the nationality law to complete its strategy that included the partition of the West Bank, its Bantustanisation, and the siege of Gaza.
- The law made sure that the Palestinian citizens become 2nd class citizens like the “Africans”, in a new Israeli Jewish apartheid state.
- The only alternative is to decolonise historical Palestine and build one single state for all its citizens all over the country.
- It should be based on the dismantlement of colonialist institutions, fair redistribution of the country’s natural resources, compensation of the victims of the ethnic cleansing and allowing their repatriation.
- This will be an inspiration for the rest of the region which desperately needs such models.
India’s Mucormycosis Threat
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Synopsis: There is a high incidence of Mucormycosis in India. Government should urgently look for solutions to limit the incidence of the disease.
- The incidence of mucormycosis (a rare fungal infection) in patients who have been diagnosed and treated for COVID-19 is rising alarmingly in India.
- For instance, according to a study published in Current Fungal Infection Reports the estimated burden of mucormycosis in India is 14 per 100,000. This is almost 70 times higher than what is reported in other countries.
- Even, some States, including Tamil Nadu, have declared mucormycosis as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
- A common use of Steroids such as Dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, etc., in the treatment of COVID-19, is one of the major reasons.
- So, to arrest this growing epidemic, Guidelines and protocols need to be adapted and modified rapidly.
- The most common cause is uncontrolled diabetes mellitus (raised blood sugars).
- Other causes include the treatment of some cancers, steroids, chemotherapy or immunotherapy, and solid organ or stem-cell transplantations.
- The common sites of occurrence include rhino-cerebral involvement (i.e., the fungus can damage the nose, paranasal sinuses, the eyes, and the brain), and pulmonary involvement (i.e., the fungus can cause pneumonia).
- Mucormycosis is not transmitted from one individual to the other.
- Facial swelling on one side,
- Protrusion of the eyeball,
- New-onset visual disturbances,
- Headache and vomiting,
- New onset swelling or ulcers with blackish discoloration, and prolonged fever.
- Mucormycosis is associated with very high morbidity and mortality.
- Treatment requires a multi-disciplinary team approach that includes microbiology, pathology, radiology, and other disciplines.
- Treatment includes Surgery along with administering Anti-fungal drugs.
Why Mucormycosis is a concern for India?
- First, one of the significant causes for mucormycosis is raised blood sugars and India is home to a large number of Diabetic patients.
- For instance, according to a study in The Lancet, people with diabetes increased to 65 million in 2016 in India,
- The highest prevalence of diabetes was observed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Delhi. Further, there is an underlying higher genetic susceptibility to diabetes in Indians.
- Second, apart from this natural cause of Diabetes, SARS-CoV-2 can potentially multiply in pancreatic cells and contribute to increased blood sugar levels in COVID-19 patients.
- Third, during the treatment for Covid-19, Steroids are administered to lower death rates by reducing the cytokine storm phase. However, steroids when used excessively or prematurely, and without medical supervision can also increase blood sugar levels.
- Fourth, treatment for mucormycosis requires a multi-disciplinary team approach. However, a multi-disciplinary approach is not feasible on a large scale, especially in areas with limited medical access
- Fifth, drugs available are either costly and out of access for the majority of Indians or produce side effects.
- For instance, the standard drug is liposomal amphotericin B, which is heavily priced. Whereas, cheap drugs like Amphotericin B deoxycholate are associated with unfavourable toxicity, including kidney problems.
What needs to be done?
- One, Steroid use at home for COVID-19 should be only under the supervision of a healthcare worker.
- Two, monitoring of capillary blood glucose is essential while administering steroids. Health authorities should arrange for blood glucose monitoring for patients at home on steroids.
- Further, awareness campaigns on the importance of controlled blood sugar levels need to be promoted.
- Three, widespread training of healthcare personnel including Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to raise awareness on mucormycosis while educating people locally.
Must Needed Reforms for Online Higher Education
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS:2 Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education
There are many issues associated with school-level online education. But there are similar issues associated with online higher education as well. But, these can be removed with proper suggestions.
The government spent merely 3.2% of its GDP on education in 2020-21. Online education started in India, without any changes in infrastructure, training, etc. The government directed the higher education institutions to shift from classroom education to online education. The University administrations also followed the suit towards online education.
Online higher education in India:
Earlier teachers and students in higher educational institutions faced a lot of issues. Especially during their shift from the annual scheme of teaching to the semester scheme of teaching and the choice-based credit system. A similar issue happened during their shift from regular education to online education.
- Centrally funded elite institutes such as the IITs, IIMs, NITs and Central universities launched video channels and uploaded e-content on institutional websites and digital platforms
- On the other hand, State universities struggle without proper Internet connectivity and bandwidth on their campuses. There are several vacant faculty positions in universities. So, online education increased the work of already overburdened teachers.
- Problems for students: Many of the students lacked the facilities to attend online classes.
- Problems with practical education: Apart from these issues, online education cannot replace practical field and laboratory-based learning in higher education.
Suggestions to improve online higher education:
A sudden shift to online education will not only serve any needs in education but also become counterproductive. The government can improve this by few suggestions. Such as,
- Increased consultation: According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (2018-19), India has 993 universities, 39,931 colleges, 3.73 crore students and 14.16 lakh, teachers. The government can include wider stakeholder consultation regarding online education.
- Tackling the issue of internet penetration: Internet penetration still low in India. So the government has to provide financial aids to obtain appropriate IT tools, platforms, devices, provide training, etc.
- Further, 25 lakh students belonging to the socially and economically weaker sections of society. The government can consider providing devices such as laptop/tablets to them to improve access to online education.
- Preparation of appropriate study material: The government have to understand that only uploading scanned lecture notes or PowerPoint presentations does not fulfil education’s full purpose. The government has to explore application-based learning for students.
- Introduction of online education in a phased manner: A transition from conventional to online mode has to happen in a phased manner. State universities should first equip their infrastructure (both hard and soft) with complete government support.
- Development of other services: The government has to invest more in developing massive open online courses (MOOCs), direct-to-home (DTH) content development, digital classrooms etc.
With more COVID-19 waves are expected, the government has to engage with academic stakeholders and invest adequately in online education as suggested by Fifteenth Finance Commission.
Issues with New IT rules for Social Media
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS:3 Challenges to internal security through communication networks.
Synopsis: Instead of non-compliance with the new IT rules for social media, social media companies should engage with the government to address their concerns.
New IT rules of intermediaries will come into effect from today. But, it is expected that most of the global social media giants will not comply with the rules.
About the new IT rules on social media:
The government introduced few stringent rules for social media intermediaries in February. Further, the government provided 3 months’ time for Social media platforms to adhere to the rules. That 3-month time period ended on 25th May. The important provisions of rules are,
- Social media companies are prohibited from hosting or publishing any unlawful information. This information is “in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries, etc.
- If such information is hosted or published the government can take down such information within 24 hours. The user will be given a notice before his/her content is taken down.
- New IT rules were introduced in February. Under the new rules, Social media platforms are classified into two categories.
- Social media intermediaries – Platforms that have a limited user base.
- Significant social media intermediaries – These are the platforms with a large user base.
- The significant social media intermediaries have to follow few additional measures like:
- These platforms should have a physical contact address in India.
- Appointing a Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person, and a Resident Grievance Officer in India. All of them should be Indian Residents.
Problems with new IT rules on social media:
- Lack of public consultation: The rules were notified in a short time without much public consultation.
- Against some social media intermediary’s policy: The rules require tracing the information back to the source. This is against some social media’s policy. For example, WhatsApp claiming their policy as end-to-end encrypted cannot accept new IT rules.
- Widen the gap: This non-compliance will further widen the relationship gap between social media players and the Government. Further, it will also increase ongoing issues. For example,
- Twitter not complied to the Government order to remove certain accounts
- Genuine concerns of social media companies are not considered: Social media companies like Facebook mentions that they are ready to comply with the rules. But prior to that, they need to engage with the Government on a few issues. They mention that the genuine concerns on new IT rules are not considered by the government.
- Providing more time: Five industry bodies, including the CII, FICCI and the U.S.-India Business Council have sought an extension of 6-12 months for compliance. The government can provide time relaxation for compliance. In the meantime, the government can bring together both the private and industry experts to address genuine concerns.
- Taking the issue to court: Instead of complete non-compliance, social media companies can fight the new rules in a court of law if they find them problematic.