9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 7th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

A new track for capital punishment jurisprudence

Source: The post is based on an article “A new track for capital punishment jurisprudence” published in the “The Hindu” on 07th May 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 – important provisions of the constitution of India

Relevance: The right to life and capital punishment  

News: Recently, the Supreme Court of India has initiated a suo motu writ petition (criminal) to frame guidelines on the mitigation analysis in the cases pertaining to death penalty sentencing or capital punishment 

Procedure for capital punishment 

If a sessions court (sentencing court) award a capital punishment, then it is to be confirmed by the jurisdictional High Court (confirming court) under Chapter 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

Evolution of the Jurisprudence related to death penalty in India  

In Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980), the supreme court called for balancing the mitigating and aggravating circumstances against each other. The court laid down the principle that the death penalty ought not to be awarded unless the alternative of life imprisonment is “unquestionably foreclosed”. It should be awarded only in a rarest of rare case 

However, in later judgment, the Supreme Court has begun to inquire into sentencing methodology with great interest.  

In Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik vs The State of Maharashtra (2018), the Court directed to analyse the conduct of the convict in jail, outside jail if on bail for some time, medical evidence about his mental make-up, contact with his family and so on”. The court directed to furnish reports related to these aspects. These reports are very important for the mitigation investigation. 

In Mofil Khan vs State of Jharkhand (2021), the court held that the “the State must prove that the reformation and rehabilitation of the accused is not possible” and that “the Court will have to highlight clear evidence as to why the convict is not fit for any kind of reformatory and rehabilitation scheme.” 

In Manoj & Ors vs State of Madhya Pradesh (2022), the Court issued directions that all “report(s) of all the probation officer(s)” relating to the accused and reports “about their conduct and nature of the work done by them” while in prison should be placed before the court. In addition, a trained psychiatrist and a local professor of psychology should also conduct a psychiatric and psychological evaluation of the convict 

What are the issues in award of the capital punishment? 

According to a report by the National Law University Delhi’s Project 39A titled ‘Matters of Judgment’ there is no judicial uniformity or consistency in awarding of the death sentence.  

According to the Project 39A report titled ‘Death Penalty Sentencing in Trial Courts’, the courts have been lax in assessing the aspect of reformation while undertaking the sentencing exercise. 

Way Forward 

There is a new wave of thinking in the domain of capital punishment. It was timely and necessary that the Supreme Court come up with the guidelines on the matter of mitigation analysis 

The court should explain what constitutes the mitigating circumstances, the role of a probation officer in assisting the Court and the potential value addition of a mitigation investigator to the sentencing exercise.  

For a complete mitigation investigation, in addition to legal professionals, there is a requirement of professionals trained in psychology, sociology and criminology 

The SC’s guidelines related to the mitigation investigation will strengthen the doctrine of the rarest of rare. This will ensure that the sentencing and confirming courts exercise their capital punishment sentencing power with greater fairness. 


Delimitation Commission fails people of J&K, hurts democracy

Source: The post is based on an article “Delimitation Commission fails people of J&K, hurts democracy” published in the Indian Express on 07th May 2022. Syllabus: GS2 – Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Relevance: Delimitation Commission and Jammu & Kashmir Polity 

News:  Recently, the fifth delimitation commission chaired by Justice Ranjana Desai, furnished its award for Jammu and Kashmir. The Commission’s award has been severely criticized across the field. 

Nature of Award of the Delimitation Commission 

The recommendation of delimitation commissions cannot be modified or changed by Parliament or the concerned legislative assembly.  

– The Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu division has been clubbed with Anantnag in the Kashmir division 

– The Commission has allocated 47 seats to Kashmir and 43 seats to Jammu.  

– The Commission recommended “at least” two seats on a nomination basis for the Kashmiri Pandit community.  

What has been good in the commission’s award? 

The constituencies have been made coterminous with the district boundaries. Hitherto, 18 assembly constituencies were grouped into each parliamentary constituency. This arithmetic formula distorted the entire system of democratic representation across areas.  

What are the issues with the awards given by the fifth delimitation commission? 

First, it was constituted during a statutory freeze on the increase or decrease of the parliamentary and legislative assembly seats up till the population Census of 2026.  

Second, this is the only commission that has not redrawn the constituencies in accordance with the Delimitation Act of 2002. The commission instead invoked Section 63 of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, which stipulated to increase the number of seats from present 83 to 90. 

Third, the Commission was given the delimitation mandate for five states, but the mandate of five north-eastern states were withdrawn from its purview and its mandate was restricted to only Jammu & Kashmir (UT). Finally, it will be the first delimitation award in the country’s legislative history that will not be placed before the legislative assembly of the UT that has been delimited. The elected legislators of J&K will not have the opportunity to approve the rules for their representation. 

Fourth, It is argued that the commission’s award can lead the political binary of Jammu vis a vis Kashmir to become a divisive bipolarity. 

Fifth, Kashmir division having a 56% share of the population will have only a 52% seat share. On the other hand, Jammu division with a 44% share in the population gets a 48% share in the legislative representation. Jammu has got an additional seat. In the process, the cardinal principle of “one man, one vote” has been bid adieu in J&K. 

Sixth, the seats allocated to sub-regions referred in Section 60(2) (b) of the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 are unacceptably distortionary. There are four distinct regions: The Jhelum Valley (which includes South Kashmir, Central Kashmir and North Kashmir), Chenab Valley (comprising Kisthwar, Doda, Ramban and Reasi), Pir Panjal (Rajouri and Poonch), and the Tawi basin or the plains (of Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur). These areas include “communities of interest” — common physical features, ethnicity, religion, and language.  

Seventh. While the two administrative divisions of the UT, Jammu and Kashmir, may be relevant for developmental policy planning, these are not so for democratic representation purposes 

Eight, the framework of legislative representation proposed by the commission will prevent the formation of a stable elected government in J&K in the near future. The elections will lead to formation of fractious patchwork coalition and at worst a perpetually hung assembly 

Ninth, the award can become a precedent for award of other delimitation commissions across other states. 


Cowed down: On the need for strict anti-lynching laws

Source: The post is based on an article “Cowed down: On the need for strict anti-lynching laws” published in the “The Hindu” on 07th May 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 – Social Issues

Relevance: Mob Lynching 

News: Recently, two tribal men were beaten to death in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, on the suspicion that they were slaughtering cows.  

Why mob lynching and aftermath incidents are disturbing? 

These laws have led to a stigmatisation of communities such as Dalits, Muslims and tribals for their dietary habits and their dependence on cattle products for a livelihood. Therefore, the brunt of the mob violence has been borne by Muslims, Dalits and Tribal. For example, Pehlu Khan murder in April 2017 in Rajasthan.  

The priorities of the law enforcement agencies are absurd. For example, the police department has stated that one of the dead men was involved in a “cow slaughter” in this case.  

While implementing the cattle slaughter laws, the police fail to try and bring those involved in lynch mobs to justice.  

The cattle slaughter laws seem to have been brought for appeasement of majoritarian impulses to garner political support instead of looking for animal preservation. 

Judicial pronouncement related to anti-cattle slaughter laws? 

In 2005, the Supreme Court had justified the total ban on cattle slaughter. The court interpreted the Articles 48, 48A, and 51(A) of the directive principles of state policy in the Constitution, that seeks to preserve breeds used in agriculture and animal husbandry, besides promoting compassion to animals.  

The 1958 judgment had limited the ban only to “useful” cattle which are still engaged in agriculture and husbandry. Thus, stringent laws on cow slaughter were enacted.  

Way Forward 

The police should actively take action against the persons having alleged involvement.  

Four States (Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Manipur) have passed laws against lynching. These laws are under various stages of implementation with the Union government because lynching is not a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).  

The society should return to the rule of law in which such murderous acts do not go unpunished.  

it is time for a judicial rethink on legislation around cattle slaughter. 


Overcoming differences: On India’s new push for stronger ties with Europe

Source: The post is based on the article “Overcoming differences: On India’s new push for stronger ties with Europe” published in the “The Hindu” on 07th May 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 International Relations: Bilateral Relations

Relevance: India-France Relations 

News: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France along with his visit to Germany, and Denmark (for the Nordic Summit). The visit turned out to be a comprehensive discussion on bilateral, regional and international issues with a India-France joint statement.  

Background of India-France relations 

Both have decades of an unusually productive partnership. Both share six-decade-long partnership in the field of space and strong defence partnership 

In 1998, France did not judge or impose sanctions on India for its nuclear tests. It was the first country to conclude a civil nuclear deal with India in 2008 after the NSG passed a waiver allowing India to access nuclear fuel and technology.  

France and India worked closely for the success of the Paris climate accord. Both co-founded the International Solar Alliance in 2015. 

What have been the major points in the India-France joint statement? 

The joint statement recorded the differences on the Ukraine crisis. It included the possible ways of mitigating the war’s “knock-on” effects. 

France invited India to cooperate in the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative. The initiative ensures food security in the most vulnerable countries, particularly in terms of wheat exports 

Discussion to set up industrial partnerships to build integrated supply chains in solar energy production for markets in Europe and Asia.  

Both started a bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues, a frontier area contested by China, Russia and the U.S. 

Way Forward 

Recently, there were some developments in the construction of six nuclear power plants in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur after more than 12 years of original MoU with the French company, EDF.  

In addition to improving relationships with individual countries, India should also give fillip to talks on the India-EU FTA (suspended since 2013). 

GS Paper 3


In rising heat, the cry of the wilting outdoor worker

Source: This news is based on the article”In rising heat, the cry of the wilting outdoor worker” published in The Hindu on 7th May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Relevance: Protecting the vulnerable sections from the impact of extreme heatwaves

Context: The intensity and frequency of heatwaves have soared in South Asia and they are set to worsen in the years ahead. The consequences for health and livelihoods are catastrophic, as a third of South Asia’s population depends on outdoor work.

India must initiate safety nets — a combination of targeted transfers and insurance schemes — to improve the resilience of outdoor workers.

What is the situation wrt extreme heat in India and across the world?

Situation in India

Extreme heat conditions have hit swathes of India, not only in the northern States of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and New Delhi, but now increasingly also in the south.

Delhi this month suffered its second warmest April in 72 years, temperatures averaging 40.2°C, and Gurgaon in neighbouring Haryana crossed 45°C for the first time.

Global situation

Over the last 100 years, global temperatures have risen by 1.5°C and, at the current rate, could reach 4°C by 2100.

So far in the year, 2022 has been the fifth-warmest year on record.

What are the reasons behind extreme heat in India?

India’s warming is the result not only of local factors but also global warming.

The culprit in the current plight from intense weather is the anthropogenic GHG emissions.

What are the various impacts of the heatwaves?

Heatwaves are proving to be Europe’s deadliest climate disaster. India faces the largest heat exposure impacts in South Asia.

Loss of life: One study finds that 1,41,308 lives were claimed by acute weather in India during 1971-2019, of which the loss of 17,362 lives (12%) was due to unrelenting heat.

Economic loss: Worldwide economic losses, by one estimate, could reach U.S.$1.6 trillion (₹1.6 lakh crore) annually if global warming exceeds 2°C. India, China, Pakistan, and Indonesia, where large numbers of people work outdoors, are among the most vulnerable.

India’s outdoor workers, reeling under daily temperatures of more than 40°C, are on the frontlines of the climate catastrophe.

What needs to be done?

The optimal approach

Adaptation is essential: Climate mitigation or decarbonization of economies especially of the big emitters, such as the USA, the EU, China, and India remains important. But temperatures are set to rise regardless of mitigation, based on the emission damage already done. That means climate adaptation is as big a priority as mitigation.

– Better environmental care: A crucial aspect of adaptation is better environmental care that can contribute to cooling. For instance: Agriculture, being water-intensive, does not do well in heat wave-prone areas. A solution is to promote better agricultural practices which are not water-intensive and to support afforestation that has a positive effect wrt warming.

Protecting the outdoor workers

Response to the current plight of outdoor workers can be linked to climate adaptation.

Financial transfers can be targeted to help farmers plant trees and buy equipment better suited for the extreme weather. For example, support for drip irrigation can reduce heavy water usage.

Averting slash and burn agriculture and stubble burning is not only key to cutting air pollution but also cooling temperatures.

Urban green such as street trees, urban forests and green roofs can help cool urban areas.

Workers in cities and villages can benefit from early warning systems and better preparedness as well as community outreach programmes during an episode.

Insurance for workers: Insurance against natural hazards is minimal not only in India but also Asia where less than 10% of the losses are typically covered. Government and insurers need to collaborate in providing greater coverage of losses from extreme weather events, including for calamities from brutal heat.

For greater effectiveness, transfers and insurance payments can be tied to investments in resilience made at the local levels, such as restoring the urban environment that has a cooling effect. Delhi’s Aravali Biodiversity Park is a stand-out example that transformed a barren landscape into forest communities protecting greenery and biodiversity.

Transfers could also be linked with mapping of the incidence of heatwaves across locations. The most severely affected areas are also likely to be the most poverty-prone and need stronger insurance packages, including guarantees for crop losses.

Incentive schemes could also be tailored to annual changes in the intensity of the hazard.

The projections of the IMD can guide future scenarios, which the Central government can use to develop subsidies and insurance schemes linked to State and district-level actions for building resilience to climate change

Way forward

Tying cash transfers and insurance schemes to State and local green investments will not only provide some financial cover for outdoor workers but also motivate small-scale investments in much-needed resilience to heatwaves.


From corals to sharks, marine species can glow with biofluorescence in the sea’

Source: This news is based on the article “From corals to sharks, marine species can glow with biofluorescence in the sea” published in the Times of India on 7th May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment and Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation

Relevance: Marine species

Context: Biofluorescence in Oceanic species

Fluorescence in oceanic species

Corals: Corals make so much of one particular protein which causes them to be fluorescent. This composes 15% of the protein in corals. Corals could use biofluorescence as an attractant for microbes with whom they have a symbiotic relationship — microbes have very good photoreceptors and can see different colours. So, this could be a great way to signal microbes to inhabit corals.

Fishes: Fishes use biofluorescence as camouflage or to call to other fish with the same phenomena.

Shark: The molecule causing fluorescence in sharks is an anti-microbial. So, nothing will ever grow on these sharks, even if they just sit at the bottom of the sea.

Sea turtle: Biofluorescence has also been found in a sea turtle

Marine biofluorescence is stimulated by blue light. These species can absorb blue light and transform it into greens, oranges and reds.

How deep-sea mining impacts such species and reefs?

Deep-sea mining just vacuums up minerals from the ocean floor, razing through the habitat of these unique animals. Climate change is also impacting marine life.

Many of the reefs have vanished or have very few species left in them. It can take thousands of years to build a healthy coral reef with a thriving ecosystem. Yet, human actions are wrecking these rapidly.

Way forward

We can all help marine conservation by getting involved in citizen science projects, joining beach cleanups and researching the sustainability of commodities.


They’re locked down, we aren’t: Indian manufacturing has a huge China-made opportunity but it’s open for only a brief period

Source: This news is based on the article “They’re locked down, we aren’t: Indian manufacturing has a huge China-made opportunity but it’s open for only a brief period” published in the Times of India on 6th May 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy

Relevance: Industrial policy and growth

Context: India and China are currently facing very different scenarios wrt the COVID pandemic. Google Mobility Data, a special mobility trends dataset created for the pandemic, shows that most Indian public spaces are now just as busy as pre-Covid, if not more.

China, on the other hand, faces a very different situation. Covid cases are rising there dramatically, and severe lockdowns are back. A large city like Shanghai (population: 2. 6 crore) has been locked down with people confined to their buildings for weeks.

How is China’s situation impacting the world?

The situation in China is impacting business.

It has also led to a worsening of a problem the world was already suffering – supply chain issues.

Chinese lockdowns have meant workers can’t reach factories, which means factory outputs drop, which means the world doesn’t get goods. People in the US currently complain about long waits for several items – beds, closets, automobiles and appliances to name a few.

Is there an opportunity for India?

Yes. The solution to global supply chain issues is India.

China, with unmatched efficiency, affordability, productivity and infrastructure became the manufacturing king of the world. However, today, that same dependence on China is causing problems. Today, companies worldwide are finally willing to listen to something we have been trying to say for years – Make in India.

Make no mistake, the current Chinese supply chain issues are a once-in-a-lifetime limited opportunity for India to shine and present itself as an alternative, diversified manufacturing hub.

What should India do presently?

India must act and announce a mega-plan to attract more companies here as soon as possible. Several schemes have been announced to attract manufacturing here. Apple now makes in India. Tesla is being courted as well.

Just as we have inspectors and bureaucrats who are ready to stop operations if something is going wrong, we can have senior government officials incentivized to do the opposite.

India can have bureaucrats who are relationship managers, whose performance is evaluated based on how many new companies they help get up and running in India.

Attracting investments isn’t always about offering monetary incentives and tax breaks (Indian corporate tax rates are already moderate). India can attract investors by offering predictability, efficiency and peace of mind.

Way forward

This opportunity is, however, for a limited time only. For Covid and its lockdowns will eventually leave China as well. Then the world will simply forget the Chinese manufacturing problems of the past.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Explained: Why Punjab’s DSR push matters, how much groundwater will it save

Why in the News?

Punjab government announced Rs 1,500 incentive per acre for farmers opting for Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR).

What is Direct Seeding of Rice(DSR)?

Direct seeding is a method under which pre-germinated seeds are directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine. DSR is also called the ‘broadcasting seed technique’. 

How is DSR different from Normal Transplantation?

There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in DSR. In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants. These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field.

What are the advantages of DSR?

Saves Water: DSR technique can help save 15% to 20% of water. In some cases, water-saving can reach 22% to 23%.

Less Number of Labours: DSR can solve labour shortage problems because like the traditional method it does not require a paddy nursery and transplantation of a 30-day old paddy nursery into the main puddled field.

Avenues for Groundwater Recharge: It offers avenues for groundwater recharge as it prevents the development of hard crust just beneath the plough layer due to puddled transplanting. It matures 7-10 days earlier than the puddle transplanted crop, therefore giving more time for the management of paddy straw.

Higher Yield: According to the results from research trials and farmers’ field surveys, after this technique, the yield is one to two quintals per acre higher than puddled transplanted rice.

What are the disadvantages of DSR?

Not suitable for certain types of Soil: The DSR method is not suitable for certain types of soil and in such fields only transplanting methods work.

It is recommended to avoid DSR in fields which are under crops other than rice (like cotton, maize, and sugarcane). This is because in previous years as DSR in these soils is likely to suffer more from iron deficiency and weed problems.

Land levelling is compulsory in DSR, therefore, increasing the cost.

Spraying of herbicides must be done simultaneously along with sowing and the first irrigation.

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained: Why Punjab’s DSR push matters, how much groundwater will it savepublished in Indian Express on 6th May 2022. 


Fertility falls, obesity goes up in India , says National Family Health Survey

What is the News?

The National Family Health Survey(NFHS-5) Report has highlighted the recent trends in Fertility and Obesity.

What is the National Family Health Survey(NFHS)?

Read here: National Family Health Survey (NFHS)?
What are the key findings of NFHS-5?
TFR
The Hindu

Total Fertility Rate(TFR): The Total Fertility Rate(TFR), the average number of children per woman, has declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level between NFHS 4 and 5. 

– There are only five states in India which are above the replacement level of fertility of 2.1 — Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17).

Median Age at First Birth: There is a 1% decline in women aged 15-19 who have begun childbearing from the previous NFHS. Now the median age at first birth among women is 25-49 years.

Obesity: India is rapidly becoming the land of the obese. Compared with NFHS-4, the prevalence of overweight or obesity has increased in most States/UTs in NFHS-5. At the national level, it increased from 21% to 24% among women and 19% to 23% among men. Further, one in every four Indians is now obese.

Obesity
Source: Business Standard

The percentage of obese population is more in urban (33%) than in rural areas (20%).

There is also a steady increase in the proportion of overweight or obese men and women as household wealth increases.

Puducherry (46%), Chandigarh (44%), Delhi, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab (41% each) have the highest proportion of obese women. In comparison, Jharkhand and Bihar followed by Gujarat have the highest proportion of thin women.

On the other hand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have the highest proportion of overweight men (45%), followed by Puducherry (43%) and Lakshadweep (41%). Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have the highest share of thin men.

Note: Obesity is the leading cause of several non-communicable and progressive diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and those related to liver and increased risks of stroke.

Read more: NFHS-5 and its findings – Explained, pointwise

Source: The post is based on the following articles “Fertility falls, obesity goes up in India, says National Family Health Survey” published in The Hindu on 7th May 2022

“Nearly one-fourth of all men and women in India are now obese: NFHS” published in Business Standard on 7th May 2022


Fishing Cat: The Soul of the Wetlands

What is the News?

A Kolkata based Conservationist has conducted a study on the Fishing Cat, one of the many – smaller cats found in Asia and South-East Asia and among the few that live in wetlands. 

What is a Fishing Cat?

The Fishing Cat(Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized cat. It is one of the 15 species of the cat family, Felidae found in India. 

Habitat: They are found in low-elevation regions along the major river basins of South and South-East Asia including the Indus in Pakistan, Ganga-Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna in India and Irrawaddy which primarily stretches across Myanmar with a tiny portion in India and China.

Read here: The Fishing Cat

Source: The post is based on the article “Fishing Cat: The Soul of the Wetlands” for academic institutions” published in Livemint on 7th May 2022


WHO estimates 4.7 million COVID-19-linked deaths in India

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report on the Covid-19 related deaths.

What does the WHO say on Covid linked deaths in India?
Source: The Hindu

Covid-19 could have killed as many as 47.4 lakh people in India in 2020 and 2021 either directly due to infection or through its indirect impact.

Note: Deaths indirectly linked to COVID-19 are attributable to other health conditions for which people were unable to access prevention and treatment because health systems were overburdened by the pandemic. 

Significance of this data: These are the highest deaths for any country and comprise nearly a third of the 15 million such deaths globally.

Moreover, India officially estimated only 4.8 lakh cumulative deaths linked to COVID-19 as of December 2021 which implies that the WHO estimate is nearly 10 times the government count. 

How did India respond to this WHO report?

India has raised objections to WHO’s findings. It has said that:

– WHO used its own ‘Global Health Estimate 2019’, which by name is an estimate.

– India objected to WHO taking a “one size fits all” approach for a country like India as it did not capture variations in test positivity and severity.

What does India’s Civil Registration System(CRS) Report say on Covid deaths?

According to Civil Registration System (CRS) data, the total number of deaths including Covid-19 fatalities registered during 2020 rose to 81.2 lakh, up 6% from 76.4 lakh in 2019. 

This means that around 4.75 lakh additional “all-cause” deaths were registered in India in 2020 as compared to 2019. On the other hand, WHO has estimated nearly 8.2 lakh excess deaths from all causes in 2020.

Note: CRS only counts deaths registered and doesn’t break down causes of death.

Source: The post is based on the article “WHO estimates 4.7 million COVID-19-linked deaths in India” published in The Hindu on 6th May 2022 


Department of Pharmaceuticals releases “Common Guidelines on Pharmaceutical Innovation and Entrepreneurship” for academic institutions

What is the News?

The Department of Pharmaceuticals has released ‘Common Guidelines on Pharmaceutical Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ for academic institutions.

What are Common Guidelines on Pharmaceutical Innovation and Entrepreneurship?

Aim: a) To transform the academic research into innovative and commercially applicable technologies/products; b) To build a strong ecosystem for nurturing creativity and entrepreneurial activities and contribute to the self-reliant India mission (Atmanirbhar Bharat).

Objectives of the Guidelines: The guidelines:

– Encourages the faculty/staff members and students to pursue entrepreneurship;

– Formulate policies & foster an ecosystem to generate ideas across disciplines that can be transformed into successful technologies, products, and services;

– Establish a mechanism for technology development and technology transfer;

– Create an institutional framework for effective implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the policy; and

– Promote pharmaceutical innovation and entrepreneurship to foster the unmet therapeutic, socially impactful technologies delivering benefits to mankind.

What is the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)?

Click Here to read about it

Source: The post is based on the articleDepartment of Pharmaceuticals releases “Common Guidelines on Pharmaceutical Innovation and Entrepreneurship” for academic institutionspublished in PIB on 6th May 2022


Explained: Were Punjab Police right in arresting BJP leader Tajinder Singh Bagga?

What is the News?

The arrest of a BJP leader by Punjab Police precipitated a crisis after the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against the Punjab Police team.

Moreover, Punjab Police while transporting the BJP Leader to Punjab was detained by Haryana Police en route and questioned on the basis of a warrant that Delhi Police got issued from a city court. 

What is the procedure for making interstate arrests?

Police is a State subject and thus the jurisdiction of state police is limited to the state.

Broadly, the intent of the law has been that a criminal in a particular state must be arrested by the police of that state. However, in certain circumstances, the law does allow the police of one state to arrest an accused in another state. 

This may be done by the execution of a warrant issued by a competent court or even without a warrant — in which case the concerned state police must inform the local police about the arrest.

What does the law say about Inter-State Arrests?

The powers of the police to arrest an accused in another state have not been defined clearly as far as arresting without a warrant is concerned. Section 48 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) gives the police such powers, but the procedure is not defined.

Section 79 of the CrPC deals with inter-state arrests on the basis of warrants issued by competent courts. This section lays down detailed procedures for such arrests.

However, in both these situations, the police have an obligation to present an arrested person before a magistrate within 24 hours.

Note: Article 22(2) of the Constitution says: Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest. This excludes the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate. Further, no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.

What does the Courts say about Inter-State Arrests?

In Sandeep Kumar vs The State (Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi)’ case in 2019, the Delhi High Court issued certain guidelines for inter-state arrests. Such as,

– A police officer must seek permission from his superior, in writing or on the phone, to visit another state to arrest a criminal.

– He must also make a comprehensive departure entry in the Daily Diary of his Police Station before proceeding to another state.

– After reaching the other state, he should inform the concerned police station of the purpose of his visit to seek assistance and cooperation. 

– On arrival at his police station, the police officer must make an arrival entry in the record and indicate the investigation carried out by him. 

– The guidelines also makes an exception for “urgent cases” in which the police of a state may not inform their counterparts in the other state of an impending arrest.

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Were Punjab Police right in arresting BJP leader Tajinder Singh Bagga?” published in Indian Express on 7th May 2022


Explained: What we know about the new startup policy announced by the Delhi government

What is the News?

Delhi Cabinet has passed an ambitious Delhi Startup Policy which it hopes would turn the capital into an international startup hub.

What is Delhi Startup Policy?

Aim: To enable Delhi to emerge as a Global Innovation Hub and the most preferred destination for Startups by 2030 by creating an enabling ecosystem for an innovation-based economy and fostering entrepreneurial spirit through a robust support mechanism.

For this, the government intends to encourage, facilitate and support 15,000 startups by 2030.

Focus Areas of the Policy: It includes education and education technology; healthcare; tourism and hospitality; transportation & logistics; automotive; e-governance; artificial intelligence (AI); machine learning (ML); Internet of Things (IoT); e-waste management; robotics & automation; green technology among others.

Key Features of the Policy

Business Blasters Program: Delhi Government would introduce entrepreneurship classes and a Business Blasters Program at the college level. This would support college students working on business ideas in every possible way.

Leave for Business: Students working on startups while studying in Delhi government colleges will be able to seek up to two years’ leave to work on their businesses.

Startup Policy Monitoring Committee: It will be formed to oversee the Delhi Startup Policy. It will be headed by the Finance Minister of the Delhi Government.

Startup Task Force: The committee will consist of 5% government representatives, 10% from educational institutions and 85%  people from the private sector. The main function of the committee would be to evaluate and approve the applications of recognized entrepreneurs, startups and incubators. 

Fiscal Incentives: 1) Reimbursement on lease rentals, 2) Reimbursement grants for filing patents, Reimbursement for exhibition stall/rental cost, 3) Monthly allowance towards operational/ employee cost of up to ₹30,000 per month for one year, 4) Financial grants towards capital and operational expenditures in the establishment and 5) Financial support for procurement of key software up to 50% of the total cost.

Non-Fiscal Incentives: a) Best advice free of cost from a panel of experts, b) facilitating participation of companies for subsidized subscriptions of technology offerings, c) organizing fundraising events, d) relaxing government procurements process for startups and e) access to government data to drive e-governance pilot projects.

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What we know about the new startup policy announced by the Delhi government” published in Indian Express on 6th May 2022


Primate under threat: Why the slender loris needs a protected area in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul

What is the News?

Scientists from the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History(SACON) in Coimbatore carried out a survey of Grey slender loris populations in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul forest division.

What is Grey Slender Loris?
Source: Wikipedia

The Grey slender loris belongs to the family Loridae. It is a species of primate.

Conservation Status

IUCN Status: Near Threatened

CITES: Appendix II

Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972: Schedule I

Habitat: It is commonly found in the tropical scrub and deciduous forests as well as the dense hedgerow plantations bordering farmlands of Southern India and Sri Lanka.

– In Tamil Nadu, it generally inhabits dry and drought-prone areas of the Dindigul district. It is found in acacia and tamarind-dominated thorn and scrub forests near cultivated fields.

Characteristics

Features: It has got a lean and lanky appearance with long and slender limbs, larger ears, a pointed snout and eyes circled with black or dark brown. The fur is soft and wooly. The colour varies from dark grey to earthy brown.

Nocturnal Animal: The Grey slender loris is a nocturnal animal. It is also a slow-moving animal. It comes down into the bushes to feed and crosses open stretches of ground to enter isolated groves or to cross from one tree to another.

Diet: Though it is insectivorous animal, it is fond of berries also.

Threats: The loris has become threatened mainly because of habitat loss.

– The disappearance of the acacia tree (a preferred tree species of the loris), hunting for the pet trade and for their meat, road kills, superstitious kills, traditional medicine and habitat fragmentation pose serious threats to this primate.

Source: The post is based on the article “Primate under threat: Why the slender loris needs a protected area in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul” published in Down To Earth on 3rd May 2022

Mains Answer Writing

Mundka fire is a symptom of all that ails the informal sector 

News: Recently, a fire broke out at Delhi’s Mundka, with a death toll of 27 persons so far. A majority of the persons who died in the incidents were women workers in informal manufacturing units.  What issues have been exposed the fire incident in our urban areas? The reports on buildings catching fire leading to fatalities… Continue reading Mundka fire is a symptom of all that ails the informal sector 

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How to strengthen cyber security the right way

Context: On 28th April, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued “directions” under Section 70-B(6) of the IT Act 2000 relating to information security practices, procedure, prevention, response and reporting of cyber incidents. These directions have expanded the scope of obligations of the above requirements compared to the IT (The Indian Computer Emergency Response… Continue reading How to strengthen cyber security the right way

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Modi in Lumbini: Buddhism provides India a cultural inroad in Nepal – it may not be enough to counter China

News: On the occassion of Buddha Poornima, PM Modi made a trip to Lumbini in Nepal, becoming the first Indian PM to do so. He offered prayers at the Mayadevi temple, believed to be the Buddha’s birthplace, and then laid the foundation for the International Buddhist Conference and Meditation Centre. The trip has come one… Continue reading Modi in Lumbini: Buddhism provides India a cultural inroad in Nepal – it may not be enough to counter China

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For a better South Asian neighbourhood 

News: Recently, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan have been facing a lot of hardship. All the South Asian countries are facing the problem of higher oil and food inflation. This has resulted in popular unrest across the region. This underlines the geographic imperative that binds India to its neighbours in the Subcontinent.   How is India… Continue reading For a better South Asian neighbourhood 

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A war that is shrinking India’s geopolitical options 

Relevance: Global and Asian Geopolitics, India-China Relations, India-Russia relations  News: The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine is now raging on with no end in sight, and with its long-term implications yet unknown.   What are the consequences for India?  India’s initial phase of diplomatic rush is over. Its geopolitical options are shrinking as the war drags… Continue reading A war that is shrinking India’s geopolitical options 

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The technical higher education market dissected 

News: During the past two years, the higher education technical institutions have seen a drop of 18.3% and 6.01% in the number of institutions and intake capacity, respectively.  Background of technical higher education  Much of the growth in technical higher education has been after 1991, when the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) became functional. … Continue reading The technical higher education market dissected 

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Focusing on public health engineering 

News: According to Startup India, one in five children die before their fifth birthday because of poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.  What are the environmental degradation problems?  Global   According to the United Nations, Globally, around 80% of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused which pose a significant environmental and health… Continue reading Focusing on public health engineering 

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Inauguration of amenities at Kanheri Caves

What is the News? The Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) has inaugurated the Kanheri Caves on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.  What are Kanheri Caves? The Kanheri Caves are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments located on the western outskirts of Mumbai. The caves are located… Continue reading Inauguration of amenities at Kanheri Caves

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Explained: What is fair and average quality wheat, the norms for which have been relaxed by the government?

What is the News? The Centre has relaxed the Fair and Average Quality(FAQ) norms for wheat in the ongoing rabi marketing season in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh raising the permissible limit of “shriveled and broken grains” to 18% from the existing 6%. Procurement Process of Wheat Every year, before procurement begins in April, the Storage… Continue reading Explained: What is fair and average quality wheat, the norms for which have been relaxed by the government?

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Explained: What is the Places of Worship Act and what are its provisions?

What is the News? The Supreme Court will hear an appeal challenging the order of a civil court in Varanasi which allowed inspection, survey and videography at the Gyanvapi Mosque complex.  The petitioner contended that the Civil Court order upheld by Allahabad High Court is “clearly prohibited” by The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act,… Continue reading Explained: What is the Places of Worship Act and what are its provisions?

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