9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 11th, 2021

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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Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Afghan tangle: No easy options for New Delhi, especially given broader threats posed by Beijing, Islamabad

Source: This post is based on the article “Afghan tangle: No easy options for New Delhi, especially given broader threats posed by Beijing, Islamabad” published in The Times of India on 11th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Relevance – Understand India’s recent attempts towards Afghanistan.

News: India hosted Third Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan. The dialogue concluded with the Delhi Declaration.

Must Read: ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’
What are the key features of the Delhi Declaration?

The declaration 1. Strongly objected to the use of Afghan soil for planning, financing and carrying out terrorist activities, 2. Called for collective cooperation against the menace of radicalisation, extremism, separatism and drug trafficking in the region.

Read more: The importance of the Gulf in shaping the geopolitics of Afghanistan
Why Pakistan and China did not participate in the dialogue?

1. To undermine Indian interests in the region, 2. The difference in perceived security threat: China and Pakistan want to stabilise their borders with Afghanistan. On the other hand, India and Iran worried more about the Taliban’s lack of inclusivity or their exporting terror to other countries, 3. Pakistan’s Troika Plus summit on Afghanistan: China, US and Russia are participating in the ongoing Troika Plus summit. That conference has a clear political dimension with the presence of the Taliban’s acting foreign minister.

Read more: Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?: About India-Afghanistan relations
What should India do to improve relations with Afghanistan?

India needs both defensive and proactive strategies to build relations and enhance Afghan people’s tremendous goodwill for India.

1. Adopt wait and watch approach towards the Taliban, 2. Deliver aid directly to the suffering Afghan people, 3. Start full visa services for Afghan citizens who may want to temporarily leave Afghanistan, 4. Explore alternate ways to send aid to Afghanistan that doesn’t need Pakistan’s land routes, 5. For the China-Pakistan threat, India should shore up domestic security and work with both the US and Russia.

Must Read: Implications of the rise of Taliban for India – Explained, pointwise

Carbon tariffs: On 12th Ministerial of WTO

Source: This post is based on the article “Carbon tariffs” published in the ToI on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2- Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora – their Structure, Mandate

News: India must follow a constructive approach while negotiating trade rules in the upcoming WTO summit.

A range of issues will be discussed in the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO at Geneva such as fishing subsidies, progress on pandemic-related intellectual property issues, broader questions about WTO reform, including fixing the broken dispute settlement system etc.

India is being seen as a barrier in addressing many of these questions. The inflexible attitude of India’s trade negotiators can cost India.

Why India’s attitude at the upcoming WTO ministerial needs to be constructive?

It helps India to act in the broader public interest. Consider this example: India alongside other developing economies has opposed the incorporation of labour or environmental standards into multilateral trading rules.

This was for good reasons,

– One, as these could translate into protectionism by rich nations with higher such standards.

– Two, lowering tariffs on crucial environmental goods such as, say, solar panels to zero may well not be in India’s interests and those of other emerging economies.

But, sustainability has also a broader role to play in the trading architecture in the current age of climate crisis. Hence India’s attitude at the WTO needs to be accommodative.

Secondly, India needs to be a part of the process: If India is not in the room where crucial trade policy decisions are being made, they will be made without India’s interests in mind.

Consider the question of “border adjustment” mechanisms, which essentially put a tax on the implicit carbon emissions in imports.

The European Union has already moved towards imposing such a tax, which may become a reality whatever India’s position at the WTO would be.

Other markets will inevitably follow, and India will be left out in the cold. This would obviously be against India’s interests.

What is the way forward?

India’s negotiators need to be well-informed with facts and figures regarding the structure of fuel taxes in India and the implicit price of carbon this implies.

They should also present positive and constructive suggestions about how such national taxation can fit into a broader trans-national carbon pricing scheme.

Tortuous trajectory of Uphaar case exposes the limitations of the legal framework to bring closure, fix accountability

Source: This post is based on the article “Tortuous trajectory of Uphaar case exposes the limitations of the legal framework to bring closure, fix accountability” published in the Indian Express on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 Disaster Management.

Relevance: Understanding the cause of fire-related incidents.

News: There are so many fire incidences that occurred like in a coaching centre in Surat, children hospital etc. Delhi HC, recently, gave 7 years imprisonment to convicts involved in tampering with evidence in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case.

All this raises a question on the efficacy of fire safety norms that fail to prevent such tragic incidents.

What are the reasons behind the increase in fire incidents?

1) Disregard of minimum safety standards 2) Criminal negligence 3)  Lack of fire safety management infrastructure, especially in public spaces like cinema halls, 4. lack of trained staff in public premises.

Read moreCauses for fire incidents
What are the shortcomings in the governance process?

No uniform law: Absence of a comprehensive legal framework to fix claims and liabilities. Also, individual parameters adopted by states are often politically motivated.

Time-consuming victim compensation process: There is a delay in getting compensation to victims. 

No proper implementation of guidelines: Fire safety standards fall under the municipality. But there is no proper guidelines have been followed and Municipalities are often resourced deprived.

What needs to be done?

Parliament has earlier introduced two bills on the recommendations of the first Law Commission, but it has got lapsed. There is an urgent need to introduce a new law that makes the people accountable and award required punishment to people responsible for fire fatalities.

Read moreNeed for Fire Safety training and technologies

How loopholes in Civil Procedure Code delay justice

Source: This post is based on “How loopholes in Civil Procedure Code delay justice” published in Indian Express on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Judiciary.

Relevance: Understanding the lacunae in the Civil Procedure code.


Recently, the Supreme Court awarded judgement in a civil court case after a prolonged delay. In an amendment introduced to the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) in 2002, the Law minister assured to resolve civil cases in one and a half years, but this has not yet become the ground reality.

What are the challenges of delay in getting justice in the civil procedure?

1) Vested interest of one of the parties in continuing the case as mentioned in Salem Advocate Bar Association case. 2) Legal process mostly relies on facts and reports and not on common sense.

What should be the way forward?

Modification in the syllabus: References of the cases should be added in the legal syllabus where litigants intentionally delayed the justice process.

Use of artificial intelligence: AI is capable of delivering judgements in simple cases. Thus, freeing court time for non-trivial cases.

Address the weakness that blocked the process of CPC.

Amendments: The government should amend and adopt a guideline to resolve civil cases in one-and-a-half years.

GS Paper 3

Does India have a right to burn fossil fuels?

Source: This post is based on the article “Does India have a right to burn fossil fuels?” published in
The Hindu on 11th Nov 2021.Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.Relevance: Why India doesn’t need to depend on coal for its future development?

News: In the backdrop of COP26, India’s dependence on coal has remained a much talked about issue. Fossil fuel sources like coal have contributed significantly to global carbon emissions.

But, neither India’s historical nor its current emissions come anywhere near to those by developed countries.

And as India needs energy for development, some experts have therefore argued for a fair share of the carbon budget framework for India.

Hence, the question is: Does this fair share entail a right to burn fossil fuels, and do the countries in the global South necessarily need to increase their share in the global carbon budget?

The answer is ‘no’ and it does not come at the cost of development, even in the limited sense as development is defined generally.

Must Read: Phasing out coal in India – Explained, pointwise
Why India doesn’t/shouldn’t need to depend on coal for its future energy requirements?

Alternative forms of energy: Normally the argument in favor of coal is on account of its cost, reliability, and domestic availability. But a deeper analysis reveals the truth.

– Cost: The recent data shows that the levelised cost of electricity from renewable energy sources like the solar (photovoltaic), hydro and onshore wind has been declining sharply over the last decade. It is already less than fossil fuel-based electricity generation.

– Reliability: With technological progress, the reliability issues are being addressed by the frontier renewable tech.

– Domestic availability: As for the easy domestic availability of coal, it is a myth. According to the Ministry of Coal, India’s net coal import went up from ₹782.6 billion in 2011-12 to ₹1,155.0 billion in 2020-21. India is among the largest importers of coal in the world.

The abundance of renewable natural resources in the tropical climate can give India a head start in this competitive world of technology.

South-South collaboration: This type of collaboration can help India avoid the usual patterns of trade between the North and the South, where the former controls technology and the latter merely provides inputs.

Benefits of a greener development path: The high-employment trajectory that the green path entails vis-à-vis the fossil fuel sector may help address the issue of surplus labor, even if partially. Such a path could provide decentralised access to clean energy to the poor and the marginalised, including in remote regions of India. So, it simultaneously addresses the issues of employment, technology, energy poverty, and self-reliance.

Arguing for burning more coal will make the situation worse for developing countries like India. Due to its tropical climate and high population density along the coastal lines, India remains vulnerable to climate change. Hence, burning more coal is not the solution.

Moral high ground: If the global south including India takes an independent and greener approach to development, then it affords it a moral high ground. This will allow developing countries to push for a more inclusive carbon budget framework, like South Africa at Glasgow. It’ll force the global north to come to the table for negotiations on climate finance.

Must Read: Coal crisis in India – Explained, pointwise
What is the way forward?

Current climate dialogue is stuck in a perennial deadlock. The global North justifies operating coal mines since the South continues to emit more, while the global South negotiates for a higher share in carbon budget based on the past emissions of the North.

The wrongs of the global injustice are captured rightfully by the carbon budget framework, but the need of the hour is a global progressive agenda that abstains from the dangerous model of competitive emissions.

How to buy better: India needs new mechanisms for defence purchases, for enhancing both efficiency & reputation

Source: This post is based on the article “How to buy better: India needs new mechanisms for defence purchases, for enhancing both efficiency & reputation” published in TOI on 10th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

Relevance: A transparent and robust defence acquisition policy is the need of the hour.

News: French portal Mediapart recently claimed in a new report that it has evidence of kickbacks[1] being paid by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to help secure the sale of Rafale fighter aircraft to India.

Reports have further alleged that the CBI and the ED had evidence of bribes being paid since October 2018 but did not pursue the matter.

It is time for India to formulate a robust procedure for defence acquisition from foreign manufacturers.

What factors should India consider for designing an efficient defence acquisition policy?

First, as is the case now, armed forces should decide what suits them best, via multi-vendor trials and budget permitting.

Second, the process of acquisition must be undertaken by a specially tasked unit. This can draw talent from bureaucracy, armed forces, lateral recruitment from the private sector, carefully vetted specialists from law and finance.

It should report to the political executive and must operate separately from armed forces and the bureaucracy.

Its mandate will be fast and clean acquisition, both goals clearly defined.

Third, there must be true parliamentary oversight on defence acquisition process. A select committee of MPs from all parties should have the power to ask questions, even if in-camera, of the specialised body doing the deal.

Fourth, once a deal is through, all relevant papers, including all financial details, must be placed in full Parliament. Security-sensitive details can be left out.

What is the way forward?

The country’s security challenges are growing, and sadly domestic defence manufacturing ability is limited, so foreign weapons and technology will remain relevant for a long time.

Hence, a clear and efficient defence acquisition procedure will be best for India’s defence readiness and to its standing on the world stage.

[1]: A kickback is a form of negotiated bribery in which a commission is paid to the bribe-taker in exchange for services rendered.

Money Is The Key To Happiness

Source: This post is based on the article “Money Is The Key To Happiness” published in the TOI on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3- Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

News: Per capita GDP, not GDP itself, is the real measure of national progress

GDP does not reflect a society’s well-being. GDP captures neither population decline nor welfare. Moreover, it doesn’t measure social indicators of wellbeing such as the health, education, and welfare of children.

In this context, many alternatives have been proposed such as

– Gross National Happiness to the Well-Being Index,

– The Malaysian Fuzzy Quality of Life Index,

– India’s Green GDP.

– The Genuine Progress Indicator being promoted by the U.S

– The Better Life Index proposed by the OECD

Until the world settles on a new standard, per capita GDP can replace GDP as the key measure of progress.

Why per capita GDP should be used as a measure to reflect society’s well-being?

Firstly, per capita GDP reflects progress on many social welfare indicators and also captures threats which the new alternatives ignore i.e. population decline.

For example: Consider a country whose population is decreasing rapidly and its economy is going through a recession. Now, its GDP will decrease, and this might suggest that the average income might also be decreasing as well. But, this is not the case.

Due to a rapidly shrinking population, a slowdown in GDP has no effect on the average income of the people. And this specific trend is captured by ‘per capita GDP’, not the traditional indicator of GDP.

Here, GDP has failed to capture both welfare and the declining population trend in the country.

Secondly, Nations with higher per capita GDP tend to have higher life expectancy and levels of social support, lower infant mortality and poverty levels, less air pollution, and corruption.

Many of these measures are strong predictors of life satisfaction, which helps explain why richer countries tend to be happier. For instance: The latest World Happiness Report ranks just one country with per capita GDP under $15,000 (Costa Rica) in the top 25 and none with per capita GDP over $15,000 in the bottom 70.

Among emerging countries, those with higher per capita income also typically score better on the UN’s multidimensional poverty index.

Thirdly, unlike the new alternatives, per capita GDP is available now in real-time for most countries.

Should India adopt per capita GDP?

Over time, India’s gains on welfare indicators like life expectancy and infant mortality have been accompanied by rising per capita GDP. India was one of the countries that made the largest strides in reducing the number of people living in severe multidimensional poverty, according to the UN.

But, India has been sliding down the happiness rankings and now stands 139th out of 149 countries.

That is well below what one would expect for a country with a per capita GDP of around $2,000 and may owe to rising concern over inequality and corruption.

What are the advantages of adopting per capita GDP as a measure of growth?

Adopting per capita GDP as the new standard would indicate a less alarming picture of the global growth slowdown. This is because as the population declines, even with a GDP slowdown the per capita GDP (average income) might still not decrease.

It would ease pressure on politicians to generate growth faster than what shrinking labour forces will allow.

Indirectly, it would promote the aims of those who want slower growth to limit climate change. And it would be a step towards the broad measure of human happiness.

Dualism and its discontents

Source: This post is based on the article “Dualism and its discontents” published in the Business Standard on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

News: Covid has substantially sharpened economic dualism in India. Poverty rates are increasing and government needs to focus on the expansion of job opportunities in both the formal and informal segments

India has been characterised by significant economic dualism and disparities over many years.

Dualism indiciates co-existence of two different worlds. Economic dualism therefore denotes existence of disparities in economic sphere. In this case it denotes the disparities between, Urban vs rural, formal vs informal, land (and other assets)-owning vs landless. employed vs jobless, well-educated vs ill-educated, and rich vs poor states.
What are the possible reasons for the economic dualism in India?

Rise in poverty: India is witnessing a substantial increase in rural poverty in several major states and an overall increase in the poverty ratio for the first time in four decades.

Slow economic growth in the last ten years

Twin shocks of demonetisation in late 2016 and transition to goods and services tax in 2017-18.

Sharp deterioration in employment conditions, youth unemployment rate and a massive decline in female labour force participation between 2011-12 and 2017-18 as recorded by the employment/labour force surveys.

Impact of the Covid pandemic and the nationwide lockdown imposed in late March 2020. This further worsened the unemployment rate and labour force participation rate.

Disproportionate impact on the non-agricultural informal sector: The loss of jobs and earnings was disproportionate in the non-agricultural informal sector accompanied by slow recovery.

What are the possible consequences of an increase in economic dualism?

It is likely to exert lasting negative influences on our economic and social trajectory in the medium and long run. These might include

– Reduced potential for economic growth

The persistence of very weak employment and poverty situation.

Rising social and political discord

Heightened vulnerability to geopolitical challenges.

What is the way forward?

The central focus of the government has to be the expansion of job opportunities in both the formal and informal segments of the economy. Higher rates of employment will reduce poverty and strengthen overall economic growth.

This can be done via the following measures:

Strengthening rural employment guarantee programmes.

Encouraging labour-intensive manufacturing for both domestic and external markets through better policies.

Enhancing learning outcomes in schools and overall skill-development.

Removing regulatory impediments to employment expansion in all areas.

Strengthening programmes for public health and basic health care.

Raising the national tax to GDP ratio to undertake more expenditure on public goods like education, health, roads and other social infrastructure.

Improving the business climate to nurture higher private investment.

The case of demonetisation in India

Source: This post is based on the article “The case of demonetisation in India” published in The Hindu on 11th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning

News: Popular narratives play a much bigger role in economic policymaking than economists and policymakers acknowledge.

For instance, the Weimar hyperinflation of 1921-24 is deeply embedded in the German consciousness. Even now, nearly 100 years after the event, German society trusts financial stability and distrusts public debt.

Fiscal conservatism remains the dominant narrative and has inhibited the post-2008 recovery in Europe.

Similarly, the demonetisation of high-value currency in India in 2016 is a classic example of policy based on faulty narratives.

How demonetisation was a failure?

Disruption: The demonetisation in 2016 caused widespread disruption in the economy. For instance, personal hardship, the loss of income and savings, and economic slowdown.

Very little of its declared objectives were achieved such as eliminating black money, corruption, moving towards a “less cash and more digital economy”, or increased tax compliance.

Also, more than 99.3% of the cancelled notes were returned to the banks. If black money had existed as stockpiles of illegal cash, clearly all of it was very efficiently laundered.

No difference in tax base: If the objective was to register a permanent upward shift in the tax base, it failed miserably.

Increased use of Physical cash: The cash-in-circulation has now exceeded pre-demonetisation levels. Also, post-COVID-19, reliance on cash is much higher, and with more higher denomination notes in circulation.

How the popular narrative on black money dictated demonetisation policy?

Black money is not really kept in cash except in small quantities but mostly accumulated through real estate and other assets. However, the way the narrative was framed made it hard for critics to explain their opposition.

The folklore of black money: it is easily recognised and understood by the common people, who witness corruption in daily life and they see it in the cinema, newspaper stories, or in daily conversation over the years.

Psychological satisfaction: The idea of dramatic action and the striking of a powerful blow against illegal wealth is deeply satisfying.

Moral issue: To criticise demonetisation would suggest that critics have a vested interest in defending black money and corruption.

Changing narrative: When it became clear that the cancelled currency was being returned to the banks in larger numbers than expected, the narrative changed focus from black money and fake currency to digital/cashless payments.

Linked sub-themes: A key point in selling the story is to introduce complementary sub-themes to reinforce the main narrative. Such as appeals to nationalism and patriotism.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Natural wealth of the nations

Source: This post is based on the article Natural wealth of the nationspublished in The Down To Earth on 10th November 2021.

What is the News?

The World Bank has released a report titled ‘The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021’. The report is a periodic evaluation of wealth generation and distribution beyond the traditional GDP [gross domestic product] matrix and includes natural resources as part of a country’s wealth.

What are the key findings of the report?

Increase in Wealth: Wealth has increased significantly across the globe between 1995 and 2018 but it did so by worsening inequality and risking future prosperity.

Report on GDP: GDP has traditionally been the measure of a nation’s well-being. But it has been long criticized for not accounting for income inequality, pollution or other measures that affect the quality of life. Hence, the report argues for considering natural and human capital to understand whether growth is sustainable.

Growing wealth Inequality: Low-income countries share of global wealth has changed little from 1995 to 2018, remaining below 1% of the world’s wealth, despite having around 8% of the world’s population.

Human Capital: Human capital(earnings over a person’s lifetime) is the largest source of worldwide wealth, comprising 64% of total global wealth in 2018.

Women’s wasted wealth: In terms of human capital, imbalances disproportionately affect women across most regions. Globally, women accounted for only 37% of human capital in 2018, which was only 2% points greater than the 1995 level. In South Asia, some 80% of human capital is attributed to men.

Renewable Natural Capital: Globally, the share of total wealth in renewable natural capital (forests, cropland, and ocean resources) is decreasing and being further threatened by climate change. At the same time, renewable natural capital is becoming more valuable as it provides crucial ecosystem services. For example, the value of mangroves for coastal flood protection has grown more than 2.5 times since 1995 to over $547 billion in 2018.

Non-Renewable natural capital wealth (minerals, fossil fuels) has declined since 2014 mainly due to falling commodity prices.

COP26: US joins India-led global solar alliance

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • COP26: US joins India-led global solar alliance published in Indian Express on 10th November 2021.
  • The United States of America becomes the 101st member country of the International Solar Alliancepublished in PIB on 10th November 2021.
What is the News?

The United States of America(USA) has joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a member country.

What is the significance of the US joining ISA?

The US has become the 101st member to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

This will motivate many other countries to join. It will also ensure ISA’s financial sustainability and enhance its global climate change role. 

Note: Earlier, the US had also joined the Steering Committee of the GGI-OSOWOG initiative comprising five members – USA, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and India — and endorsed the ‘One Sun Declaration’ along with 80 countries.

About International Solar Alliance

ISA is an intergovernmental treaty-based international organization. It was jointly launched by India and France on the sidelines of COP 21 in 2015.

Aim: To catalyze global solar growth by helping to reduce the cost of financing and technology for solar.

Read more: All UN members can join International Solar Alliance:MEA
Initiatives by ISA

ISA has so far facilitated the installation of 5 GW worth of solar projects in member countries. 

It has also launched the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’(OSOWOG) initiative.

India Launches E-Amrit Portal on EVs at COP26

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • India Celebrates Transport Day at COP26 published in PIB on 10th November 2021.
  • India Launches E-Amrit Portal on EVs at COP26published in PIB on 10th November 2021.
What is the News?

On Transport Day at COP26, India, represented by NITI Aayog participated in the fourth ministerial dialogue of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Transition Council(ZEVTC).

Moreover, the Government of India also launched the E-Amrit portal on this occasion.

What is the Zero-Emission Vehicles Transition Council(ZEVTC)?

ZEVTC was formed in November 2020. It is a global forum on enhancing political cooperation on the transition to zero-emission vehicles. 

The Council brings together ministers and representatives of some of the world’s largest automobile markets to collectively address key challenges in the transition to ZEVs to enable a faster, cheaper and easier transition to EVs for all.

What is the e-AMRIT Portal?

e-AMRIT (Accelerated e-Mobility Revolution for India’s Transportation) is a web portal for creating awareness about electric mobility in India. 

Developed by: It is a joint initiative between NITI Aayog and the UK Government.

Purpose: To serve as a ‘one-stop site’ to provide all the information related to the adoption of electric vehicles in India.

Allow unimpeded aid into Afghanistan, say NSAs in Delhi Declaration

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • NSA meet seeks urgent help for Afghans published in “The Hindu” on 11th November 2021
  • Allow unimpeded aid into Afghanistan, say NSAs in Delhi Declarationpublished in TOI on 11th November 2021.
  • “​​Delhi meet seeks ‘unimpeded’ aid, inclusive Afghanistan govt” published in Indian Express on 11th November 2021.
What is the News?

India has hosted the ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’ to address the security concerns arising due to new developments in Afghanistan.

The dialogue was chaired by India’s National Security Advisor(NSA) and was attended by the NSA of 7 countries including Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

During the dialogue, the countries adopted the Delhi Declaration.

What are the key provisions of the Delhi Declaration?

Firstly, underlined the need for forming an open and truly inclusive government in Afghanistan that represents the will and representation of all sections of Afghanistan.

Secondly, reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasising the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs. 

Thirdly, stressed that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts.

Lastly, expressed concern over the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and underlined the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

General consent for CBI: The law, and political reasons for its denial

Source: This post is based on the article “General consent for CBI: The law, and political reasons for its denial” published in Indian Express on 11th November 2021.

What is the news?

Recently, the Supreme Court expressed concern about states withdrawing general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

About the Case

The CBI had filed the affidavit after the court inquired last month about the bottlenecks it faced and the steps it had taken to strengthen prosecutions. In that, the CBI has said that since 2018, around 150 requests for sanction to investigate have been pending with eight state governments that have withdrawn general consent to the agency. These are Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Mizoram. The court observed this as “not a desirable position.”

What is general consent?

CBI is governed by The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946. The jurisdiction of CBI is confined to Delhi and Union Territories under this Act. Section 5 of the DSPE Act empowers special police establishments (SPEs), including CBI, to investigate cases in the states. Section 6 of the DSPE Act restricts the powers of SPEs under section 5 and puts the condition of the consent of the Government of that State to investigate any case in that state.

So, the CBI must mandatorily obtain the consent of the state government concerned before beginning to investigate a crime in a state. It can be either case-specific or general.

A “general consent” is normally given by states to help the CBI in the seamless investigation of corruption against central government employees. In the absence of which, the CBI would have to apply to the state government in every case, and before taking even small actions.

What does the withdrawal of general consent mean?

1. CBI has the power to investigate cases that had been registered before consent was withdrawn. 2. CBI will not be able to register any fresh case in the state without the consent of the state, 3. CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer, whenever they enter the state, 4. CBI can investigate cases registered anywhere else in the country, which involved individuals stationed in these states.

India, U.S. monitoring defence trade projects

Source: This post is based on the article “India, U.S. monitoring defence trade projectspublished in The Hindu on 11th November 2021.

What is the News?

India and the United States held the 11th Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting.

What is the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)?

The DTTI mechanism was launched in 2012.

Purpose: To bring sustained leadership focus to the bilateral defence trade relationship and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of defence equipment.

Chaired by: The initiative is led by the Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment from the United States and Secretary for Defence Protection from India.

Meetings:  The DTTI meetings are normally held twice a year alternating between India and the U.S. However, this meeting was held virtually.

What are the key outcomes of 11th DTII?

Firstly, earlier four Joint Working Groups focused on land, naval, air and aircraft carrier technologies had been established under the DTTI to promote mutually agreed projects. These groups reported to the co-chairs on ongoing activities and collaborative opportunities.

Secondly, India and the US have signed a deal to jointly develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs).

Thirdly, a virtual expo of the Defence Industry Collaboration Forum was also conducted. The forum offers an opportunity for Indian and U.S. industries to be directly involved in DTTI and facilitates dialogue between government and industry on issues that impact industrial collaboration.

India to work towards zero-emission cars by 2040

Source: This post is based on the article India to work towards zero-emission cars by 2040published in Indian Express on 11th November 2021.

What is the News?

India has joined over 30 other countries in signing the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans.

What is the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans?
Source: Indian Express

The declaration promises to work towards ensuring that only zero-emission cars and vans are sold by the year 2040.

However, this timeline is meant mainly for the developed country signatories and is not a legally-binding commitment. 

Emerging markets like India have only promised to work intensely towards accelerated proliferation and adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

What is the significance of this declaration?

Road transport accounts for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Hence, significant reductions from this sector is considered essential to meeting the goal of keeping global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

India’s Target to Transition to Electric Vehicles

India has set a target to transition 30% of passenger cars and 70% of commercial vehicles to electric vehicles by 2030.

Union Cabinet brings back MPLAD Scheme

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • Union Cabinet brings back MPLAD Scheme published in “The Hindu” on 11th November 2021.
  • Cabinet approves Restoration and continuation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) published in PIB on 11th November 2021.
What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the restoration and continuation of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) during the remaining part of Financial Year 2021-22 and up to Financial Year, 2025-26, co-terminus with the period of 15th Finance Commission.

What is the MPLADS Scheme?

​​MPLADS is a Central Sector Scheme fully funded by the Government of India. 

Nodal Ministry:  Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation

Objective: To enable MPs to recommend works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets in the areas of drinking water, primary education, public health, sanitation and roads, etc. primarily in their Constituencies.

Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for works to the tune of Rs.5 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.

Click Here to read more about MPLAD Scheme

What had happened with the MPLADS Scheme during Covid-19?

In 2020, the Government decided not to operate MPLADS during the FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 and place the fund at the disposal of the Ministry of Finance for managing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the scheme has been restored now as the country is now on the road to economic recovery.

How will the funds be released for the MPLADS Scheme from now on?

The government will release MPLADS fund at the rate of Rs. 2 crores per Member of Parliament for the remaining period of FY 2021-22 in one instalment and at the rate of Rs. 5 crores per annum per Member of Parliament during FY 2022-23 to FY 2025-26 in two instalments of Rs.2.5 crore each.

Cabinet okays declaration of Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary on Nov 15 as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas

Source: This post is based on the article Cabinet okays declaration of Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary on Nov 15 as Janjatiya Gaurav Divaspublished in The Hindu on 11th November 2021.

What is the News? 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the declaration of 15th November as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas.

What is Janjatiya Gaurav Divas?

Janjatiya Gaurav Divas is dedicated to remember the contributions of tribal freedom fighters for the country.

This day will now be celebrated every year. It would recognize the efforts of the tribals for the preservation of cultural heritage and would help the coming generations know about the sacrifices made by the tribals for the country. 

Why was November 15 chosen for Janjatiya Gaurav Divas?

The date is the birth anniversary of Sri Birsa Munda who is revered as Bhagwan by tribal communities across the country. 

Birsa Munda fought bravely against the country against the exploitative system of the British colonial system and spearheaded the movement against British oppression, giving a call for ‘Ulgulan’ (Revolution).

Tribal Freedom Fighter Museum

The Government of India has also sanctioned 10 tribal freedom fighter museums across the country.

The Tribal Freedom Fighter Museum at Ranchi, Jharkhand where Birsa Munda breathed his last will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

New online certification system puts exporters in a fix

Source: This post is based on the article New online certification system puts exporters in a fixpublished in The Hindu on 5th November 2021.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Commerce had launched an online portal to issue Certificate of Origin(CoO) to the exporters from November 1,2021. The portal was launched to facilitate exporters through a secure, electronic, paperless CoO issuance process.

However, exporters are facing challenges in registering on to the portal as it requires high-quality digital signature certificates and many reporting outages on the portal.

What Is a Certificate of Origin (CoO)?

A certificate of origin (CoO) is a document declaring in which country a commodity or good was manufactured. 

The certificate of origin contains information regarding the product, its destination, and the country of export. For example, a good may be marked “Made in the USA” or “Made in China”.

Why is CoO mandated?

The CoO is often mandated by importing countries because it can help determine whether certain goods are eligible for import or whether goods are subject to duties.

RBI to hold its first-ever hackathon, HARBINGER 2021, on payments system

Source: This post is based on the following article RBI to hold its first-ever hackathon, HARBINGER 2021, on payments system published in Business Standard on 9th November 2021.

What is the News?

Reserve Bank of India(RBI) will be organising its first global hackathon titled “HARBINGER 2021–Innovation for Transformation”.

What is the purpose of the HARBINGER 2021 Hackathon?

HARBINGER 2021 aims to invite participants that can identify and develop solutions which can make:

  • digital payments accessible to the under-served
  • enhance the ease of payments and user experience 
  • strengthen the security of digital payments and 
  • promote customer protection.

Theme: “Smarter Digital Payments”.

Significance: The participants in the hackathon will get the opportunity to be mentored by industry experts, exhibit their innovative solutions before an eminent jury and win prizes in each category.


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