9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 31st, 2022

Dear Friends,We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
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Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Fuelling Federal Fights

Source: This post is based on the article “Fuelling Federal Fights” published in The Times of India on 31st May 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Issues related to federal structure

Relevance: Centre-state dispute over tax cuts and GST

Context: The Supreme Court in a recent verdict in the Mohit minerals case stated that GST Council decisions are not binding on states.

At one level, this can be seen as a reiteration of the constitutional provision that there is nothing in constitutional amendments relating to GST to force compliance with GST Council decisions. It’s just a healthy convention that has developed that the Centre and states have decided to fall in line with the Council’s collective decisions.

All governments still go back to their respective legislatures to give statutory sanction to GST Council decisions, which means the ultimate power continues to reside with legislatures.

What can be the potential impact of the SC verdict?

States now can defy the council, which can jeopardize the one nation, one tax principle. That will potentially set off a race to the bottom and re-balkanise the common market that India sought to create with a nationwide GST.

The SC decision is bound to ignite tensions around fiscal federalism, which has come under repeated assault of late. For instance the PM’s conference with CMs recently where he is reported to have rebuked non-BJP governed states for not cutting VAT on petrol and diesel. He urged they should follow the tax-cutting example of BJP CMs. Predictably, non-BJP CMs hit back. Another round of accusations and counters followed after recent fuel tax cuts by the Centre.

What is the way forward?

At central level

The Centre must realise that structural and governance reforms necessary to get to a $5 trillion economy require not just states’ consent, but also their active involvement.

Estimates suggest that the Centre collects about 60% of the combined revenue but gets to spend only about 40% of the total. States collect 40% of the combined revenue, but have the pleasure of spending 60% of it.

This implies at a big picture level is that our macroeconomic stability, and hence our ability to generate investment and growth, will depend on collective fiscal responsibility by the Centre and states.

At States’ level

States on their part must acknowledge that the arrangements of fiscal federalism are not necessarily skewed against them as is commonly believed.

  • First, as indicated above, fiscal aggregates have shifted in their favour and are likely to continue to do so.
  • Second, not only do states get to spend a higher share of the combined expenditure but, with the abolition of the Planning Commission, they also enjoy greater autonomy on how to spend that money.
  • Finally, States should stop seeing GST as a central initiative that required forced compromises on their part. Sure, states have surrendered some of their autonomy in raising taxes, but so has the Centre. Some give and take is inevitable in a national project like this. Eventually, though, as GST expands the tax base and arrests tax leakage, all parties stand to benefit.

Cooperative federalism is the way forward.

Needed, education data that engages the poor parent

Source: The post is based on an article “Needed, education data that engages the poor parent” published in the “The Hindu” on 31st May 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Social Sector, Education Sector

Relevance: School Education Reforms

News: In recent years, datasets such as Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT’s) National Achievement Survey (NAS) have captured various types of data related to education sector in India.

But, is data enough for bringing in a transformative change?

The case of Rajasthan’s education situation

According to the ASER 2019 data, Rajasthan was among the bottom five States in learning levels. However, according to the NAS 2017, Rajasthan was among the top performers.

Importance of data on school education

Data on school education is collected to measure and monitor, fix flaws and reward achievements at the State and the national levels.

Its end users are school administrators, government agencies, researchers, and civil society activists.

Is data enough to inspire transformative change?

The data is not used by the ultimate end-user of a government school, i.e. the parent. For example, the parents are one of the key constituencies of school data. However, the data has been rarely used by poor parents.

Simply data on school infrastructure at the district level, or learning levels at the State level cannot galvanise the masses.

At present, there is no vision of education below the national level. It means at the level of the State, district and local levels.

The district and school development plans such as the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have largely remained administrative practices.

These education programs lacked representations from the parents and school. For example, community-based consultative bodies such as the school management committees and parent-teacher committees could not become platforms to facilitate this.

Presently, our school education is de-politicised, except for a few politics at the national level such as history curriculum, language of instruction and so on.

Way Forward

Intense efforts should be undertaken to disseminate data among all the stakeholders including parents.

To inspire transformation, data has to be linked with a vision of school education. It should be actionable at the level of governance.

The national-level policy should encompass the vision of school education of the people at the national, State, district and local levels. Such a vision must exist in both policy and non-policy forms.

A locally rooted education vision should emerge from social and political consensus.

The vision of schooling should have objectives like reading, writing as well as livelihood relevant skills and knowledge. Further, it should also include long term and abstract objectives such as peer connections, negotiating social diversity, and curiosity for new knowledge and experiences.

The visions of schooling should be beyond basic livelihood. It should include art and culture. The local politicians and politics should uphold such a vision and ensure its implementation through contestation.

There should be participation of the local people. This participation has to be simple, intuitive and energetic.

India needs a forward-looking strategy on Pakistan

Source: The post is based on an article “India needs a forward-looking strategy on Pakistan” published in the Indian Express on 31st May 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 International Relations, Bilateral Relations

Relevance: India-Pakistan Bilateral Relations

Context: India’s approach is very different from the framework that emerged at the dawn of the 1990s. Since the early 1990s, the regional and international context has also altered in many ways. The balance of power between India and Pakistan has been changing. Now, it is essentially in India’s favour.

What have been the changes in India’s foreign policy with respect to Pakistan?

For nearly three decades, it was Pakistan that had the political initiative. However, in the last eight years, under the leadership of PM Modi, India has begun to reset the terms of the engagement agenda.

Early Period: After the Cold War, India was under pressure and a difficult situation. There was turmoil in Kashmir, the international focus on nuclear proliferation, and the relentless external pressure for a sustained dialogue with Pakistan.

Pakistan used a three-pronged strategy: (1) violent destabilisation of Kashmir while raising human rights concerns in global forums, (2) reopen the Kashmir question that India believed was settled after the 1971 war, and (3) leverage global nuclear concerns to force Indian concessions on Kashmir.

Therefore, Islamabad often sets preconditions for talks with India, like India should improve its human rights record in Kashmir, bring militant groups on the negotiating table, insist on Pakistan’s leadership or officers’ meetings with the Hurriyat leaders etc.

India’s military response against Pakistan’s provocative terror attacks could invite the fear of nuclear escalation and the great powers intervention.

At Present

The US-India relations have transformed, the resolution of Delhi’s dispute with the global nuclear order, etc. have improved India’s diplomatic position.

The Indian governments had laid the foundations for robust economic growth. Instead Pakistan has persistently neglected its economic challenges in context of its obsession to expand its strategic depth into Afghanistan and redefine the nature of its relations with India. This has weakened its position in relation to India.

India Three-Pronged Strategy At present

First, the present regime will not be compelled by difficult conditions and pressure. It will talk on his own terms.

Second, Delhi has been unafraid of Pakistan’s threat of nuclear escalation while responding to Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism. India’s cross-border raids on the sources of terror have enhanced India’s deterrence. India’s campaign has also resulted in greater international scrutiny of Pakistan’s support for terrorism.

Third, the present regime has reduced the scope of India’s future negotiations with Pakistan on Kashmir by changing the constitutional status of Kashmir in 2019.

Ongoing developments

In 2021, India has negotiated a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan. It agreed to reopen talks on Kashmir.

However, Pakistan is divided on its negotiating strategy. It is insisting on India to reverse all the 2019 constitutional changes in Kashmir. There will be no engagement with India if India does not “reverse” the 2019 constitutional changes in Kashmir.

Way Forward

Pakistan’s economy is in a poor state. Its diplomatic position has weakened. This might encourage Pakistan to rethink its India policies.

India should take a fresh look at its Pakistan strategy. There are issues in the effectiveness of the three-pronged policy. India should take a forward-looking strategy. India can afford to make a move.

Pakistan’s army and its political class should be more practical in engaging India. India can take bold steps like Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif was invited to attend his inauguration in 2014.

India’s new initiatives can reinforce the positive evolution of Indian foreign policy. It can also expand the space for Indian diplomacy in the region and beyond.

GS Paper 3

India’s changing goal posts over coal

Source: This post is based on the article “India’s changing goal posts over coal” published in The Hindu on 31st May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Energy and infrastructure, Environment and conservation

Relevance: Phase-out of coal-based power by India, issues & challenges

News: In April, the Union Finance Minister had said India’s transition away from coal as a fuel for power would be hampered by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Why the ‘move away from coal’ is so important?

The threat of global warming looms over the planet, promising to bring about unprecedented natural calamities. An effective way to prevent this is to cut the use of fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil.

Coal emits more carbon dioxide: About 80% of the world’s energy requirements are met by the abovementioned three fuels. However, the worst culprit of them all is coal, which emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas and about 60% more than oil, on a kilogram-to-kilogram comparison.

Combusting coal also leaves behind partially-burnt carbon particles that feed pollution and trigger respiratory disorders.

The consequence of these chemical reactions gains great significance because, the power sector in India accounts for 49% of total carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the global average of 41%.

What is the extent of India’s dependence on coal?

As of February 2022,

the installed capacity for coal-based power generation across the country accounts for about 51.5% of power from all sources.

Renewable power accounted for 27%

Natural gas as fuel accounted for 6.3%

Coal-based power stations are retired periodically, which happens all the time. But is not fast enough nor are new additions being halted. And coal is still inexpensive compared with other sources of energy.

According to the IEA’s Coal Report 2021, India’s coal consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 3.9% to 1.18 billon tonnes in 2024.

So, it is not easy to shift away from coal overnight.

How has Russia-Ukraine war made India’s move away from coal difficult?

Increasing prices of natural gas: Natural gas has been dubbed as the transition fuel in India’s plans to move away from coal. The international cost of natural gas has zoomed in the recent past from a level that was considered already too high to be financially viable.

  • On May 17, 2022, the price per MMBTU of gas was ₹1,425, compared with ₹500 in April, 2021.

Of the 25,000 MW of gas-based power plants, about 14,000 MW remains stranded, or idle, because they are financially unviable.

While renewable energy sources are cheaper than coal, their ability to generate power consistently is subject to the natural conditions — the wind and the Sun. Coal can give power on demand.

Storage technologies are still not mature enough to help renewable energy sources become reliable generators of power.

Is there a coal availability crisis that is exacerbating our problems?

It appears that the sudden rise of demand post-pandemic has caught policymakers off guard. From having asked States only recently to stop importing coal, the power Ministry urged States earlier this month to step up coal imports as the private sector would take till about 2025 to produce significant amounts of coal.

As per a letter by the Ministry, Coal India, the country’s largest supplier of the dry fuel is set to import coal for the first time since 2015. The aim of the exercise is to avoid a repeat of the power outage crisis that India faced in April — the worst in more than six years.

An internal power Ministry presentation is said to point to a 42.5 million tonne (MT) coal shortage in the quarter ending September on the back of high demand for power supply. Without imports, utilities are likely to run out of coal supplies by July.

Of lungs, trees and sin stocks

Source: This post is based on the article “Of lungs, trees and sin stocks” published in The Hindu on 31st May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment and conservation

Relevance: Environmental and health impact of the tobacco industry

Context: In 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) marked ‘World No Tobacco Day’ to bring attention to the ill-effects of tobacco.

‘Poisoning our planet’ is the theme for May 31 this year, in an effort to highlight the ill-effects of tobacco on the environment.

Meanwhile, large corporate enterprises themselves are making efforts to reduce the harm of tobacco consumption

Prevalence of tobacco consumption in India

The second Global Adult Tobacco Survey estimated that 28.6% of all adults in India used tobacco in 2016-2017, second only to China.

The survey said 42.4% of men and 14.2% of women used tobacco — both the smokeless form, i.e. chewing tobacco, and smoked form, i.e. cigarettes and ‘bidis’.

What are the ill-effects of tobacco?

On health

In 2021, smoking killed about 8 million people. But tobacco is not just a bane on human health.

Although farming of tobacco only contributes to 1% of GDP as per one study, the direct health expenditure on treating tobacco-related diseases alone accounts for 5.3% of total health spending in India in a year (WHO).

On environment

According to the WHO,

– 600 million trees are chopped down annually to make cigarettes

– 84 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere

– 22 billion litres of water is used to make cigarettes.

In addition to the environmental costs of production, cigarette butts, packaging, plastic pouches of smokeless tobacco, and electronics and batteries associated with e-cigarettes pollute our environment.

India, the world’s second-largest producer of tobacco, produces about 800 million kg annually.
What are some challenges in countering tobacco epidemic?

Need to do more: Most efforts to counter the tobacco epidemic have been directed at creating awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco. These have borne fruit. Over 90% of adults in India, across strata, identify tobacco as being harmful. Additional gains in overcoming the ill-effects of tobacco are therefore unlikely to come from more awareness campaigns alone.

Source of livelihood: About 6 million farmers and 20 million farm labourers work in tobacco farming across 15 States (Central Tobacco Research Institute). Farming of tobacco cannot be stopped without serious economic consequences and/or social disruption.

What are the efforts being made by companies?

Use of carbon credits: The forestry community has devised solutions and instruments to incentivise the reduction of deforestation through the use of carbon credits.

With the surge in new commitments to zero carbon from the international commodity sector, companies are putting pressure on their supply chains to transition to sustainable practices and reduce deforestation.

Carbon sinks: Companies like Unilever, Amazon, Nestlé, Alibaba, and Mahindra Group are pledging to cut emissions and are poised to invest an estimated $50 billion in nature-based solutions such as carbon sinks. This is driving new interest in sourcing from sustainable landscapes and buying high-quality forest carbon credits. The revenue from this is many times higher than the earnings from selling tobacco leaves.

Cigarette companies themselves appear to be changing. In 2016, one of the largest cigarette companies pledged to begin transitioning its customers away from tobacco to smoke-free products. By transitioning to safer nicotine delivery systems, and moving away from tobacco, cigarette companies are potentially lowering the risk of their customers dying from cancer.

The rise of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) managers has helped.

Way forward

While there are problems in the business of tobacco and cigarettes, there are options, solutions and global movements being undertaken by the largest corporate enterprises.

Educating potential consumers to not consume tobacco, supporting consumers in their journey to quit, and incentivising industry to help consumers and the planet will protect not just our lungs, but also the air we breathe.

Another anti-trade action

Source: This post is based on the article “Another anti-trade action” published in Business Standard on 30th May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Economy – Industrial policy and growth

Relevance: India’s trade policy

News: The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently issued a statement that all imports of paper products — from newsprint to letter paper — will require pre-registration. From October 1, according to the new requirements, imports will be subject to a Paper Import Monitoring System, which will require importers to register themselves in a manner similar to systems that have been put into place in the past for steel and coal.

What are the issues with the decision?

There can be little justification for this return to the licence-quota raj in yet another industry. It is yet another step backward for India towards the pre-liberalisation period, especially as the specific justification provided by the ministry is protectionist in nature.

The Ministry statement stated the “move will also go a long way in promoting Make in India and Atmanirbhar in this category”. The misuse of “Make in India”, intended initially to create global competitiveness for Indian industry, continues.

This action from the government comes at a time when global newsprint prices have been increasing sharply. Newsprint prices have more than tripled from the lows in 2020. Domestic prices have risen to match. If the Indian paper industry is failing to use its capacity under these circumstances, then foreign producers can hardly be blamed.

Are the concerns regarding dumping wrt this sector valid?

Dumping is a technical term indicating that imports are being sold in a particular country below their production cost in their place of origin. Has such a determination taken place for the paper industry in recent months?

If the concern is dumping, then the ministry needs to put a targeted, appropriate, anti-dumping duty in place — not a return to import licences.

There is already a 5 per cent Customs duty on imports of newsprint. Is there evidence that this is insufficient to control dumping? 

What is the way forward?

Many mature economies have independent authorities that hold public hearings to hear from producers, importers, and consumers before assessing injuries from imports. The independent board of regulators then vote on their conclusions, with the votes also made public. At the very least, such an institutional framework needs to be put into place in India.

How the Northeast has been transformed in the last eight years

Source: The post is based on an article “How the Northeast has been transformed in the last eight years” published in the Indian Express on 31st May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Inclusive Growth

Relevance: North-Eastern Region, Balanced Regional Growth and Development

News: There is an upcoming workshop of chief ministers and chief secretaries of Northeastern states along with Union ministers and secretaries on developmental issues of the Northeast.

Since the last eight years, there has been a magical transformation of the eight Northeastern states, shooting N-E to prominence as the Ashtalakshmi of the nation.

Issues in N-E Development So Far

The eight states of the Northeast have not been given the attention they deserved.

The states have been facing the problems of insurgency, difficult terrain, cultural distinctiveness and political apathy.

Potential of N-E

Prime Minister Modi has called the Northeast region as “India’s natural economic zone”. The region has been given a priority. Now, the region is called as “new growth engine of India”.

It is endowed with extraordinary natural wealth, a strategic advantage as the gateway to Southeast Asia and unrivalled economic potential

What have been the developments in the N-E Region in the last eight years?

(1) Militancy incidents have reduced by 74 per cent, civilian deaths have come down by 84 per cent, more than an 800 per cent increase in surrenders by extremists, and AFSPA has been lifted from some districts for the first time in decades.

(2) The budgetary support to the Northeast has risen from Rs 36,108 crore in 2014 to Rs 76,040 crore in 2022 (110 per cent).

(3) The government has launched programmes to increase mobility and connectivity in the Nort—Eastern region(N-E).

(a) In 2014, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya were put up on the railway map for the first time;

(b) Arunachal’s Itanagar, Tripura’s Agartala and Manipur have been connected and in the remaining five capitals connectivity projects are nearing completion.

(c) The Government of India has been focusing on road connectivity. For example, over 38,000 kms of rural roads have been completed since 2014

(d) The number of airports has increased from just six in 2014 to 15. The N-E region have been given priority under the UDAN scheme. There are 46 operational routes in the region.

(4) The tele-density (number of phones per 100 people), especially rural tele-density has significantly improved in the Northeast states.

(5) BSNL has recently commissioned 20 Gbps international bandwidth for the Northeast through Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. This will address the issues of latency and network congestion in the N-E. The improvement in internet connectivity will open for the establishment of software parks and high-speed data centres in the BPO and IT industry, in N-E Region.

(6) the inherent strengths of the region are being leveraged in sectors like agriculture, tourism, textiles, handicrafts. For example, the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation has been revived; and the National Mission for Edible Oil (for palm oil) aims to leverage the region’s potential.

(7) The welfare schemes viz. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) and the National Food Security Act (NFSA) are being implemented.

Way Forward

Prime Minister Modi has articulated solutions ingrained in the governance philosophy of sewa, sushasan and gareeb kalyaan.

A joint agri task force should be formed which would provide strategic direction to the initiatives. It will also ensure speedy resolution and implementation of various agri and allied sector schemes.

The union and state government should work with the spirit of cooperative federalism. There should be collective responsibility for the development of the region.

There is an ambition of making the Northeast the hub of sports in the world, a leading exporter of exotic horticultural products, a hotbed of startups and the most attractive tourist destination in India.

Doses of statecraft to meet India’s challenges

Source: The post is based on an article “Doses of statecraft to meet India’s challenges” published in the “The Hindu” on 31st May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Internal Security

Relevance: Security-based interventions and Statecraft

News: Recently, the Russia-Ukraine War and the political turmoil in South Asia dominated the newspaper headlines. These developments have pushed the debate on India’s many internal security problems on the backburner.

Internal Security problems in India

Case Studies of limitations of security solution

(1) Upheaval in Kashmir: The J&K has continued to see extreme violence followed by spells of near normalcy since 1947. The situation has become more volatile since the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Now, terrorists have started targeted killings of police officers, outsiders, mainly Kashmiri Pandits. There were warnings that this year’s Amarnath Yatra could be one of the targets of the militants.

No proper solution has emerged to a long-standing problem. The doctrine of containment is not having the desired effect.  There is an absence of an all-in-one grand strategy to deal with the situation.

(2) The continuing problem involving Maoists.

Maoists or Naxalites having strong ideological underpinnings have continued to exist since the late 1960s when Charu Mazumdar talked of a ‘Spring Thunder over India’ and created inspiration.

The Maoists have combined ideological ideation and brutal killings to pose challenges to the police, intelligence and security establishments of the States and the Centre.

It represents the biggest challenge to the idea of India. Despite negotiations, Maoists have seldom displayed a commitment to peaceful ways.

Maoists find an echo among intellectuals in the cities and the ‘poorest of the poor’ in the rural areas

(3) Pro-Khalistan movement: there is a resurgence of militancy in the Punjab. For example, ‘sleeper cells’ have been discovered in Punjab, the recent attack on the HQ of Punjab Police Intelligence wing in Mohali. The movement has the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. It indicates that Punjab militancy has not been permanently extinguished.

(4) Insurgency in North-East: In Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom–Independent (ULFA-I), which operates from Myanmar is trying to revive its activities after a long spell of hibernation. In Nagaland, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has initiated a fresh push for a solution of the ‘Naga political issue’

(5) A threat in the South: There are signs of a possible revival of LTTE-sponsored militancy in Sri Lanka due to recent economic crises and uncertainty there. This Is likely to revive LTTE-sponsored activities in Tamil Nadu

What are the limitations of a security vigil?

The security agencies, which do a security vigil, can only deal with the immediate threat. They are a temporary solution and will not amount to problem-solving.

The forces threatening the state have adopted new technologies and modes of warfare.

What is does Statecraft involve?

It involves

– fine-grained comprehension of inherent problems

an ability to quickly respond to political challenges.

strengthening the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise. It involves a degree of political nimbleness rather than leaving everything to the security agencies.

In addition to faith in the security establishment, it requires putting equal emphasis on implementation of policies and programmes, formulating strategies that favour political deftness, strength and agility.

Way Forward

Long-term solutions require the use of statecraft. In many countries, both the authorities and security agencies are beginning to acknowledge the importance of resorting to statecraft.

A deft statecraft is needed to prevent a resurgence of the past. It is critical in finding lasting solutions to a host of problems that continue to afflict India.

The grand strategy, grand simplifications or resort to higher doses of security cannot solve the security problems.

A properly structured set of policies, having liberal doses of statecraft in addition to a proper set of security measures, is the best answer to India’s needs, now and in the future.

Linking science and innovation

Source: The post is based on an article “Linking science and innovations” published in the Business Standard on 31st May 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Science and Technological Development

Relevance: Research and Development

Context: As per Wilhelm von Humboldt, the purpose of a research university is to search for knowledge. However, it is said that such knowledge becomes more beneficial when it walks out of the university’s door in the heads of its students.

About the linear model of innovation

This mental model states that scientific research leads to discoveries. These discoveries enable the development of new technology. The new technology feeds into production and the market.

Shortcomings in the model

Scientific research actually has a very limited role in industrial innovation. This is because scientific research aims to generate new ideas or lead to an enhanced understanding of nature. Whereas, technology is meant to expand the realm of practical human possibility. It is aimed at developing a new product or service. Therefore, utility is at the heart of technology, or engineering

About a chain-linked model of innovation: It was proposed to replace the simplistic linear model.

(1) It proposes that Innovation starts and ends with the market. Further, designing and testing is the core development activity.

(2) Knowledge — both technological and scientific — plays a key role not as a trigger for innovation, but as a repository which helps solve problems. Research is done to gather more knowledge to solve the problem where present knowledge has failed to solve problems.

(3) Scientific research plays an important role in reinvigorating technical progress in some particular field. It is important in science-based industries and to the innovation of new technological paradigms. For example, it plays an important role in the advancement in certain fields, like biotechnology and semiconductors.

(4) The scientific research in itself alone does not matter in most of the world’s R&D effort. R&D in firms aims to improve existing products through development of new products. Thereafter, public scientific research alone does not matter. The firms must have in-house research to produce new knowledge using the output of the public research system. Therefore, Public scientific research can serve as a well-spring for industrial innovation.

Importance of public research:

(1) The public research done in the research universities are great sources for new scientific understanding. For example, Stanford is seen as a definitive contributor to Silicon Valley and its technology giants.

(2) Talent (or Student) is the key output of public research: For example, Stanford’s students have found a number of great companies — Hewlett-Packard, Varian, Google, Yahoo, Uber, Twitter, Apple, and hundreds more. There have been a number of other contributions in the field of economy, science, literature and every field.

India’s R&D Situation

In 2019, the Indian government funded roughly 63% of the national R&D. About 7% R&D happened in our universities, and 56% in autonomous government R&D laboratories.

Approximately 10% of National R&D is publicly funded scientific research aimed explicitly at industry in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ministries of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, and Electronics and Information Technology, and the Department of Biotechnology.

What are the problems in India?

India’s publicly-funded research is mostly concentrated in autonomous laboratories instead of industry and the higher education system. This may lead India to miss a huge opportunity.

The scientific researches in India have been under-invested or under-funded because it has been believed that the benefits would not be apparent enough.

Way Forward

There should be clarity about the concepts of science and technology. This can save firms and public research institutions from wasting work and effort.

The government should focus on increasing public subsidy of scientific research. Further, India’s publicly funding scientific research must be done within the higher education system, and not in autonomous laboratories.

Doing research in the autonomous laboratories deprives society from getting output of talent (or students).

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

PARAM ANANTA Supercomputer commissioned at IIT, Gandhinagar

What is the News?

PARAM ANANTA, a state-of-the art Supercomputer has been commissioned at IIT Gandhinagar. 


PARAM ANANTA is a supercomputer capable of offering peak performance of 838 teraflops.

Established under: Phase 2 of the National Supercomputing Mission(NSM).

The technology used: It is based on Direct Contact Liquid Cooling technology to obtain a high power usage effectiveness and thereby reduce the operational cost.

Applications: Multiple applications from various scientific domains such as Weather and Climate, Bioinformatics, Computational Chemistry, Molecular Dynamics, Material Sciences, and Computational Fluid Dynamics have been installed on the system for the benefit of researchers. 

Significance: With Param Ananta, India now has 15 supercomputers with a combined performance capability of 24 petaflops.

Read more: PARAM PORUL Supercomputer inaugurated at NIT, Tiruchirappalli

Source: The post is based on the articlePARAM ANANTA Supercomputer commissioned at IIT, Gandhinagarpublished in PIB on 30th May 2022.

DRI seizes Red Sanders worth Rs. 11.70 crore under “Operation Rakth Chandan”

What is the News?

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) has recovered Red Sanders worth Rs 11.70 crore under “Operation Rakth Chandan”.

What is Operation Rakth Chandan?

Launched by: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI)

Under this operation, DRI has recovered Red sanders weighing 14.63 MT estimated to cost Rs 11.70 crore in the international market.

What is Red Sanders?

Red Sanders is a flora-species that is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Eastern Ghats region of Andhra Pradesh.

IUCN Status: Endangered 

CITES: Appendix-II 

Significance: The rich hue and therapeutic properties of Red Sanders are responsible for its high demand across Asia, particularly in China. Red Sanders is also used in cosmetics, medicinal products and high-end furniture/wood craft. 

The export of Red Sanders from India is prohibited as per the Foreign Trade Policy.

Read more: Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category

Source: The post is based on the article DRI seizes Red Sanders worth Rs. 11.70 crore under “Operation Rakth Chandanpublished in PIB on 30th May 2022.

Most pollution-related workplace deaths in countries with highest GDP: Lancet report

What is the News?

According to a report by Lancet, most of the pollution-related workplace deaths occur in countries with the highest GDP.

What does the Lancet report say on pollution-related workplace deaths?

Relation between Workplace and pollution related deaths

Most of the 10 countries with the highest gross domestic product(GDP) recorded the highest number of mortalities at workplaces triggered by pollution.

In contrast, most of these countries had a low proportion of pollution deaths in the overall population: 90% of pollution-related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries. 

This underscores the disparity in which these places treat pollution within the four walls of workplaces and outside.

Countries with Highest Pollution Related Workplaces Deaths

Workplace-related premature deaths due to pollution were the highest in the United Kingdom (UK) among the top-10 GDP countries (Though overall the UK occupied the fourth-worst position among nearly 200 countries).

The United States — the world’s biggest economy — ranked 18th overall and 12th among countries with over 10 million people.

What were the findings related to India?

India, the sixth-largest economy, ranked 21st on this list with 12.15 pollution-related occupational deaths every 100,000 workers. Overall, India occupied the 40th position globally. 

Note: India ranked 13th in terms of pollution-triggered deaths within the overall population with 169.5 mortalities per 100,000 people.

What is the significance of this report?

The disparity in pollution triggered death figures within working places compared to the overall population denotes that workers in these so-called rich countries stand equally vulnerable as the workers, say in India and Bangladesh.

This also denotes that the industry owners generally compromise on environmental issues to maximize profit.

Source: The post is based on the article “Most pollution-related workplace deaths in countries with highest GDP: Lancet report” published in PIB on 30th May 2022.

PM releases benefits under PM CARES for Children Scheme

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has released benefits under the PM CARES for Children Scheme.

What is the PM CARES for Children Scheme?

The PM CARES for Children Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister in May 2021 for the Children. 

Aim: To support children who have lost both their parents or legal Guardian or Adoptive Parents or Surviving Parent to the COVID-19 pandemic during the period starting from 11th March 2020.

PM Cares
Source: PM CARES

Click Here to read more about the scheme

Source: The post is based on the article PM releases benefits under PM CARES for Children Schemepublished in PIB on 30th May 2022.

Thiruvananthapuram Declaration seeks passage of reservation Bill

What is the News?

The first National Women Legislators Conference concluded with the adoption of Thiruvananthapuram Declaration.

What is the First National Women Legislators Conference?

The First National Women Legislators’ Conference-2022 was held in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Conference was hosted by the Kerala Legislative Assembly as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

What are the key takeaways from the Conference?

The conference adopted the Thiruvananthapuram Declaration.

The declaration demanded immediate steps to ensure the passage of the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill, which envisages 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislatures.

The declaration highlighted that the bill which has been pending for 26 years is a blot on the democratic values and legislative traditions of the country.

Source: The post is based on the article “Thiruvananthapuram Declaration seeks passage of reservation Bill” published in The Hindu on 27th May 2022.

Explained: What is a unicorn, and what does it take to become one?

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has praised India’s startup ecosystem as he highlighted that the country has reached a landmark figure of 100 unicorns with a valuation of more than $300 billion.

What is a Unicorn?

Unicorns are privately held, venture-capital-backed startups that have reached a value of $1 billion. 

The valuation of unicorns is not expressly linked to their current financial performance but is largely based on their growth potential as perceived by investors and venture capitalists who have taken part in various funding rounds.

American venture capitalist Aileen Lee is credited with coining the term “Unicorn” in 2013.

What is the state of Startups and Unicorns in India?

India has become the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world after the US and China.

44 Indian start-ups have achieved unicorn status in 2021, most of which are in the services sector.

Currently, 1 out of every 10 unicorns globally has been born in India.

Source: The post is based on the article Explained: What is a unicorn, and what does it take to become one?published in Indian Express on 31st May 2022.

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Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? In his Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister paid tribute to a range of personalities from India’s freedom struggle including fearless revolutionary heroes and… Continue reading Explained: The revolutionaries whom PM mentioned in his Independence Day speech

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Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Gujarat government has released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gangrape case of 2002 under its remission and… Continue reading Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail

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How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study

Source: The post is based on the article “How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study” published in Down To Earth on 11th August 2022. What is the News? According to a study published in The Nature journal, giant meteorite impacts could be responsible for the formation of continents on Earth.… Continue reading How did continents form? Giant meteorite impacts could be responsible, says study

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Understanding ethanol blending

Source: The post is based on the article “Understanding ethanol blending” published in The Hindu on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Prime Minister has announced that India has achieved its target of blending 10% sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol ahead of schedule. What is Ethanol? Click Here to read What is first-generation and… Continue reading Understanding ethanol blending

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Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? Researchers in Sweden have developed a successful alternative — bioengineered cornea implants made of collagen derived from pig skin.  This implant was then used… Continue reading Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds

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Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan

Source: The post is based on the article “Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan” published in PIB on 16th August 2022. What is the News? The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser(PSA) to the Government of India (GoI) has announced the launch of the Manthan platform. What is Manthan Platform? Manthan… Continue reading Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan

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Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? The Defence Minister has handed over several new defence systems including the F-INSAS, the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft… Continue reading Explained: All about F-INSAS, Nipun mines, LCA — the new systems handed over to the Army

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Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?” published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022. What is the News? FIFA has announced the suspension of the All India Football Federation(AIFF) for undue influence from third parties. Background: The problems for Indian… Continue reading Explained: Why has FIFA banned India and what happens to Indian football now?

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Paalan 1000 Campaign: Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister

Source: The post is based on the article “Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister” published in The Hindu on 17th August 2022. What is the News? The Union Minister of State for Health has virtually launched the Paalan 1000 National Campaign and Parenting App to reduce child mortality. Note: India… Continue reading Paalan 1000 Campaign: Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 live births: Minister

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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and India’s Stance – Explained, pointwise

For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction The Parliament has passed the Weapon of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill 2022. The Bill amends the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.  The 2005 Act prohibits unlawful activities (such as manufacturing, transport, or transfer)… Continue reading Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and India’s Stance – Explained, pointwise

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