We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
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Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
GS Paper 2
GS Paper 3
- How Facebook can be more responsible when it goes local
- In age of hybrid crops, the importance of preserving landraces
- What Chennai (and India) must do to prevent urban flooding
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- US inflation and impact on India
- National Achievement Survey 2021 has been conducted successfully across the country, with enthusiastic participation of schools and students
- Norovirus confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad. Here’s what you need to know
- Explained: How NASA’s DART mission will hit and deflect an asteroid
- Indian astronomers develop methodology to understand the Exoplanets accurately
- Countries at COP26 launch plan for net-zero shipping lanes
- Remote education was inaccessible to most children, says survey
- China exports warship to Pak., to be deployed in Indian Ocean
- PM launches 2 RBI schemes. All about the central bank initiatives
- IIT Kanpur develops web-based ‘green’ monitoring system for Ganga
- Explained: Why Indian kids show diabetes signals early
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
The enduring relevance of Nehru’s legacy
Source: This post is based on the article “The enduring relevance of Nehru’s legacy” published in The Hindu on 13th November 2021.
Syllabus: GS1 Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Relevance: Understanding Nehru’s legacy.
News: Indian national movement and its champions played a great role in shaping India. Nehru’s legacy lies in instilling democratic values in the people of India.
About Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Ambedkar and their contributions
Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Ambedkar embodied the vision of India in the 1940s. Gandhi’s morality, Nehru’s political passion, Patels firm hand in administration and Ambedkar’s legal acumen translated the Indian national movement into the Indian nation. Some major contributions include,
Mahatama Gandhi: While the world was disintegrating under fascism, violence, he preached the virtues of truth and non-violence.
Ambedkar: While the nation was facing communal carnage, he drove the values of constitutionalism and rule of law.
Patel: While parochial values threaten national unity, he unified the nation.
Gandhi and Nehru, despite their tactical differences, proved to be a formidable combination. Gandhi guided Nehru politically, and Nehru turned out to be an inspirational campaigner for the Indian national congress.
What are the contributions of Nehru?
Nehru’s strength was his vision, his nature of politics, his incorruptible nature and his ability to instil faith in the masses. Despite his popularity, he instilled values of democracy in Indian polity and society.
His legacy can be understood through – democratic institution building, pan India secularism, socialist economics at home, and a foreign policy of nonalignment.
Why is Nehru called a champion of democracy?
After the death of Gandhi, he had unbridled power, but he never misused it. He followed all protocols with all respect to the post of president and Vice President.
-He did not interfere in the functioning of the judiciary.
-He wrote letters to chief ministers seeking their opinions.
-He had firm faith in having a strong opposition in Parliament.
-He was always accessible to people, offered daily darshan at home, and never forgot that the power comes from the people.
So it was Nehru under whom 400 million people learned to govern themselves. This pluralist democracy is testimony to the deeds and words of a great visionary Pandit Nehru.
GS Paper 2
For inclusive development, support Dalit entrepreneurs
Source: This post is based on the article “For inclusive development, support Dalit entrepreneurs” published in Indian Express on 13th Nov 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – Policies and schemes for the development of the marginalized communities
Relevance: Understanding the factors impeding growth of Dalit entrepreneurship and steps that can be taken to resolve this problem.
News: Dalit entrepreneurship holds promise for the much-needed social transformation.
Many attempts have been made to transform the highly-stratified Indian society into an inclusive one. However, the expected social transformation in our Indian society remains unfulfilled, esp with regard to Dalits. Their situation has improved, but social exclusion still persists.
In this context, promoting Dalit entrepreneurship can further the much-needed social transformation.
Why the government needs to support Dalit entrepreneurship?
– Employment opportunities: With the dominance of a few castes over business and commerce and lack of access to capital, an individual from a marginalized section of society has limited options of employment. He can either take up a government job or continue their manual and low paying caste-based occupation.
– Supporting Dalit entrepreneurship can improve their access to rights while helping them fight the social hierarchies.
– Material well-being and financial autonomy: Entrepreneurship often results in gaining of material benefits, and the relative autonomy.
What steps are being taken by the govt?
The District Industries Centre (DIC) stipulates that to nurture entrepreneurs, the government must increase the share of goods produced by Dalits in its procurement. It has also sought to get financial institutions to amend their rules for collateral in order to ease financing for the projects of Dalit entrepreneurs.
State financial corporations have also been instructed to increase financial support to Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs.
Stand-Up India initiative, a focussed financial intervention for SC/ST entrepreneurs guarantees credit up to Rs 1 crore.
The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has allocated 16.2% of plots to SC entrepreneurs
The Small Industries Development Bank of India offers an additional subsidy to Dalit entrepreneurs.
What are the issues/challenges faced by Dalit entrepreneurs?
– Artificial inaccessibility: Despite the existence of government schemes and policies, the actual benefit is not reaching the beneficiaries due to the artificial inaccessibility created by inherent social and caste biases.
For instance, the Stand-Up India initiative failed to deliver the expected results due to the unavailability of so-called eligible SC/ST entrepreneurship, with most of the funds lying unutilised.
– The lack of enthusiasm of loaning branches and officials towards proposals by Dalit entrepreneurs
What is the way forward?
Dalit-focussed alternate investment finance (AIF) and private equity (PE) funds are needed to create a vibrant and inclusive MSME ecosystem.
Creation of inclusivity cell in banks and lending institutions/NBFCs in order to inform, educate and foster Dalit entrepreneurship.
Formulate multiple credit guarantee trusts by raising contributions from MNCs, FDIs, portfolio investors, corporates, etc. to provide guaranteed support to the banks for them to extend credit to Dalit entrepreneurs.
A social vulnerability index can also to be introduced.
NAM at 60 marks an age of Non alignment
Source: This post is based on the article “NAM at 60 marks an age of Non alignment” published in The Hindu on 13th November 2021.
Syllabus: GS 2 Foreign policy of India.
Relevance: Understanding the holistic view of NAM.
News: The birth anniversary of Nehru reminds of 60 years of NAM. This concept of NAM can be traced to the policy of Switzerland in 1814-15 Vienna congress.
|Read more: Non Aligned Movement(NAM)|
What is Nehru’s version of NAM?
1. Believed that world problems are interlinked, and it is for One World that free India should work. 2. Opposed to ideological confinement imposed by two power blocks. This was visible from India’s opposition to American weapons in Pakistan from 1954 and the creation of western-led military blocs in Asia.
NAM was seen as a cost-effective method to achieve Indian objectives. India also supported anti-colonial movements in African states.
|Read more: Relevance of Non Aligned Movement|
However, India’s inclinations towards NAM were reduced post Nehru. But it was retained to provide flexibility to maintain India’s diplomatic and economic relations.
What are the failures of NAM?
-There was a lack of collective action and collective self-reliance. For example, only Cyprus and Ethiopia supported India during the India – China war.
–Ideological challenge to the concept of nonalignment. For example, Yugoslavia and Egypt became nonaligned and they defied the great power blocs. But such an alignment of nations goes against the very concept of non-alignment.
-Non-establishment of an equitable international economic or information order.
-NAM counties themselves did not work on their human rights issues.
In India, Change in the course of NAM is visible after Nehru’s death. India adopted a pragmatism approach under Indira Gandhi to opportunism after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and the semi-alignment of today.
What is the future scope of NAM?
Centre for policy research produced a document Nonalignment 2.0, but that made no impact. All organizations have a shelf life starting from the League of Nations, SAARC, and BRICS etc. So, the success of NAM for India will depend on its utility for India.
GS Paper 3
How Facebook can be more responsible when it goes local
Source: This post is based on the article “How Facebook can be more responsible when it goes local” published in Indian Express on 13th Nov 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
Relevance: Vernacularisation of social media platforms, impact and steps needed to prevent misuse of such platforms
News: Facebook’s approach to not invest in content moderation in Indian languages should be taken seriously and further scrutinized.
Recently, in the backdrop of the leaks by whistleblower Francis Haugen’s, Facebook has admitted that it has hate speech classifiers in only four Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Tamil out of India’s 22 scheduled languages. Moreover, its scale of investment towards screening fake, polarising, and hate-filled content in Indian languages on its platforms is too small.
|Read about the entire issue in detail here|
This, when there has been a mushrooming of online content as well as internet vernacularisation (to translate into everyday language) since the early 2010s.
In a country that has a long history of communal violence and ethnic tensions, Facebook needs to understand it can be misused to further amplify harmful content from partisan groups and vested interests.
What is Internet vernacularisation?
Internet vernacularisation refers to the increasing numbers of people accessing social media in their own languages.
It revolves around the twin aspects of linguistic diversification as well as the massification of the medium.
Why it is significant?
Its most important contribution is the vast amount of user-generated online content available in various Indian languages. This not only offers new opportunities to understand emerging digital cultures but also provides an opportunity to understand the regional public sphere.
It has led to the increase of digital consumption and interactions, digital nationalism and populism, and the emergence of multi-lingual, non-English, and vernacular internet spheres.
The trend of internet vernacularisation in India is in line with the global trend of the decentralisation and de-Americanisation of the world wide web along with the rise of the global south in terms of the number of web users.
What are the potential downsides of internet vernacularisation?
Manipulation of public opinion and political polarisation by targeted propaganda. These attempts have already had dangerous social consequences, contributing to conflicts and killings.
Further, social media platforms have become competitive hotspots for gaining political power and control public opinion. Internet vernacularisation will result in exacerbating this issue.
What is the way forward?
Business Ethics: Social media companies should be guided by social values and invest in understanding the societies in which they operate.
Culture-specific protocols: Social media companies should not be allowed to operate in a language for which they do not have content moderators
Ensure consumer protection: Facebook and other social media companies must invest in building an infrastructure to ensure users are not exposed to harmful and fake content.
Ensure Accountability: Facebook needs to be held accountable for the dominant role it has come to play in controlling the flow and access to information.
Effective regulations: Appropriate regulations that help in checking the abuse of market power, misuse of users’ data, and privacy breaches from social media companies
Operational changes: While AI-based algorithms are faster in detecting harmful content, they are not good at understanding Indian languages. Facebook should hire and deploy human moderators directly, rather than outsourcing such jobs, to ensure more accountability from them.
Investing in local culture: Social media platforms should invest in understanding the societies in which they operate. This could help in developing strategies and policies that protect the public interest and safeguard users.
In age of hybrid crops, the importance of preserving landraces
Source: This post is based on the article “In age of hybrid crops, the importance of preserving landraces” published in Indian Express on 13th Nov 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to food security in India
Relevance: Significance of Landraces to India’s food security
News: Recently, Rahibai Popere, popularly known as Seed mother, from Maharashtra won this year’s Padma awards. It was in recognition of her work that has helped save hundreds of landraces (wild varieties of commonly grown crops at the village level)
How Landraces are different from commercially grown crops?
Landraces refer to naturally occurring variants of commonly cultivated crops.
These are different from commercially grown crops, which are developed by selective breeding (hybrids) or through genetic engineering to express a certain trait over others.
Why preserving landraces is important?
Adaptation to environmental stress: Genetic diversity ensures a natural mechanism for crops to develop traits to face challenging situations. However, given the large-scale human interference in crop selection and breeding, that ability is now lost in most commercially crops.
On the other hand, naturally occurring landraces still have a large pool of still untapped genetic material, which can provide solutions to climate change induced biotic and abiotic stress factors.
For example: Kalbhat, a unique landrace of scented rice. It has better climate resilience than popularly grown rice and can withstand flood or drought better.
Boosting farmers income: With proper agricultural practices, landraces can give better yield with lower input costs.
Nutritional security: Landraces are richer in nutrients than commercially grown variants.
What are the threats being faced by landraces?
Today, landraces survive in only a few rural and tribal pockets, but they too are depleting due to lack of proper conservation.
Loss of traditional knowledge about the way these varieties need to be grown, or how seeds are to be saved, is also being lost over time.
|Since 2008, BAIF Development Research Foundation has initiated a community-led programme to preserve landraces in villages of Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Gujarat. It aims to identify germplasm available and, through community participation, create seed banks. So far, it has deposited 150 landraces of paddy, finger millet, and little millet to the National Bureau Plant Genetic Resource. A network of 5,000 seed savers has also been developed.|
What is the way forward?
Much remains to be understood about the germplasms (a living tissue from which new plants can be grown) of the landraces.
– It is necessary to understand how these landraces can contribute to climate-resilient agriculture.
– Nutritional profiling too can hold the key to fighting deficiencies, as many landraces are richer in nutrients than commercially grown variants.
What Chennai (and India) must do to prevent urban flooding
Source: This post is based on the article “What Chennai (and India) must do to prevent urban flooding” published in Down To Earth on 12th November 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Disaster and Disaster Management
Relevance: To understand the reasons behind floods in urban areas and learn about mitigation strategies.
News: The ongoing spell of heavy rain in Chennai has again exposed its vulnerabilities. This shows that the city has not learnt any lessons from 2015.
|Must Read: Season of floods: On TN’s long-term solutions to avoid monsoon woes|
What are the reasons behind floods in Urban areas?
1. Density of population, 2. Underdeveloped infrastructure, 3. Poor management across institutions, 4. Faulty construction design of Smart City Project works, for example, T Nagar neighbourhood in Chennai faces flood due to faulty stormwater drain designs, 5. Not planting the required number of trees in the urban ecosystem, 6. Not allow for groundwater recharge.
|Read more: Urbanisation to blame for Chennai’s flood woes, integrated system need of the hour: Report|
How India can mitigate the impacts of floods in urban areas?
Coordination between various institutions: For example, the coordination between water resources and disaster management authorities needs combined coordination and responsibility for disaster risk management.
Translate traditional water infrastructure investment into nature-based solutions: Ensure adequate space for river and flood plains to capture discharge from high-intensity rainfall, and invest in healthy watersheds.
|Read more: Nature-based, people-centred solutions for water|
Work closely with grassroots organisations: To promote awareness on holistic flood risk management and participatory approach for risk-based early action coordination among stakeholders to mitigate flood risks.
Utilise the power of digital technologies: To digitise informal settlements, identify levels of vulnerability for flood protection strategies and ensure timely actionable information including financial supports.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
US inflation and impact on India
Source: This post is based on the article “US inflation and impact on India” published in Indian Express on 13th Nov 2021.
What is the news?
Retail inflation in the US spiked to 6.2% in October 2021. India’s National Statistical Office (NSO) data shows that retail inflation rose to 4.5% for the same month.
|Must Read: Inflation and other related concepts – Explained|
What has caused the inflation surge in the US?
Usually, inflation spikes can be assigned to either an increase in demand or a decrease in supply. In the US, both factors seem to be responsible.
Reasons for Increase in Demand
1) Sharp recovery: Due to the Rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. 2) Social security Measures: Billions of dollars were pumped by the government to provide relief to consumers, those who lost their jobs, and to stimulate demand
Reasons for decrease in Supply
1). Decreased industrial production: due to widespread lockdowns and disruption caused by the pandemic. 2). The slow pace of supply chain recovery worsened the mismatch between demand and supply, thus triggering a sustained price rise.
While the US has seen the sharpest increase in prices, inflation has affected policymakers across most of the major economies, be it Germany, China, or Japan.
What is happening in India?
India was one of those rare major economies where high inflation was present before the pandemic. The pandemic made the matters worse because of supply constraints.
As a consequence, India’s retail inflation has stayed above or near the RBI’s upper limit.
However, in the last couple of months, the headline retail inflation rate has decreased down to below 5%.
While the overall inflation average appears quite manageable at present, it is the “core” inflation that is worrying policymakers now that is now over 6%.
Why is US inflation a matter of concern for India?
Imported inflation: When prices increase globally, everything that is imported will become costlier too.
Indian firms trying to raise money outside India will find it costlier: Because to control inflation, the central banks of advanced economies will resort to a tight monetary policy, i.e. credit will become costlier due to higher interest rates.
A further increase in inflation in India: RBI will also have to align its monetary policy at home by raising interest rates domestically. That, in turn, may further raise inflation because the production costs would go up.
National Achievement Survey 2021 has been conducted successfully across the country, with enthusiastic participation of schools and students
Source: This post is based on the following articles:
- “National Achievement Survey 2021 has been conducted successfully across the country, with enthusiastic participation of schools and students” published in PIB on 12th November 2021.
- “Govt. to assess learning gaps via nationwide test” published in The Hindu on 12th November 2021.
What is the News?
National Achievement Survey 2021 has been conducted successfully across the country. As per initial, nearly 96 percent of schools and 92 percent of the targeted sampled children participated in the survey.
What is the National Achievement Survey?
National Achievement Survey(NAS) is a nationally representative large-scale survey of students’ learning undertaken by the Ministry of Education.
Purpose of the survey: To provide structured feedback on student learning levels at District, State, and national levels. These inputs are used for policy planning and designing pedagogical interventions to improve quality and ensure equity in learning.
Which classes were covered? The survey covered students of Class 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th standard. It covered government, government-aided and private schools.
The survey is conducted every three years. The survey was last conducted in 2017 and was scheduled to take place in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 situation, it was postponed.
Who designed the framework for the survey? National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
Who conducted the survey? Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
Subjects assessed under the survey: The survey was conducted in Language, Mathematics & Environmental Studies for class 3 & 5; Language, Mathematics, Science & Social Science for class 8 and Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and English for class 10. The test was conducted in 22 different mediums of instructions.
Besides student achievement tests, pupil questionnaires, teachers questionnaires and school questionnaires were also obtained to understand the various settings and perspectives of students, teachers and schools.
Significance of the Survey
The survey will enable states and UTs to identify gaps in learning outcomes and take remedial steps.
It will also help in the capacity building for teachers and officials involved in the delivery of education in the country.
Norovirus confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad. Here’s what you need to know
Source: This post is based on the article “Norovirus confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad. Here’s what you need to know” published by Hindustan Times on 12th November 2021.
What is the News?
Kerala has been put on alert after at least 13 cases of norovirus have been recorded in Wayanad district.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is an animal-borne disease. It causes gastrointestinal illness including inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
Transmission: Norovirus is easily transmitted through close contact with people who have been infected, or by touching contaminated surfaces. It can also be spread by eating food that has been prepared or handled by someone with a stomach bug.
Symptoms: Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, a high temperature, headache and body aches. But experts have said that acute vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and further complications.
Impact: Norovirus does not significantly affect healthy people, but it can be serious in young children, the elderly and people with comorbidities.
Treatment: No specific treatment for the infection. Recovery generally depends on the health of the immune system. In most people, the illness usually resolves within a few days.
Prevention: One should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Also, people should avoid contaminated food and water, including food that could have been prepared by someone who was sick.
Explained: How NASA’s DART mission will hit and deflect an asteroid
Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: How NASA’s DART mission will hit and deflect an asteroid” published in Indian Express on 13th November 2021.
What is the News?
NASA will launch its first planetary defense test mission, named the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
What is the DART Mission?
DART is the first technology demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique. If successful, this technique could be used to mitigate the threat in case an asteroid heads towards Earth in the future.
What will the DART mission do?
The mission will test this newly developed technology by allowing a spacecraft to crash into an asteroid and change its course.
After the spacecraft has collided with the asteroid, scientists will study its impact on the trajectory of the asteroid with a range of telescopes deployed on different regions of the planet.
This study will help scientists understand whether the kinetic effect of a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.
Which asteroid will be deflected by the mission?
The target of the spacecraft is a small moonlet called Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”). Dimorphos orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”).
Why was Dimorphos chosen?
Firstly, the Didymos and Dimorphos do not pose any threat to Earth.
Secondly, Didymos is an eclipsing binary, which means it has a moonlet that regularly orbits the asteroid, and scientists can see it when it passes in front of the main asteroid. Due to this, Earth-based telescopes can make the most precise measurement possible.
Indian astronomers develop methodology to understand the Exoplanets accurately
Source: This post is based on the article “Indian astronomers develop methodology to understand the Exoplanets accurately” published in PIB on 12th November 2021.
What is the News?
Indian astronomers have developed a methodology named “critical noise treatment algorithm”. This algorithm can help understand exoplanets accurately by reducing the contamination by the Earth’s atmosphere and the disturbances due to instrumental effects and other factors.
What are Exoplanets?
Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star other than the Sun. The first confirmation of detection of exoplanets occurred in 1992.
Why study exoplanets?
Astronomers study the physical properties of exoplanets with extreme accuracy as it can help them to explore the ones that could be similar to planet Earth and hence might be habitable.
How exoplanets are studied at present?
Astronomers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore have been studying exoplanets using the ground-based optical telescopes available in India and the data obtained by the space telescope “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite(TESS)“.
The method used by TESS: It uses the photometric transit method to detect exoplanets. However, the transit signals received through this method are heavily affected by the noise due to various sources that pose a challenge to estimate the physical parameters of the planets accurately.
Hence, Indian astronomers have developed an algorithm named “critical noise treatment algorithm” to reduce disturbances and understand exoplanets accurately.
Countries at COP26 launch plan for net-zero shipping lanes
Source: This post is based on the article “Countries at COP26 launch plan for net-zero shipping lanes” published in TOI on 10th November 2021.
What is the News?
The United Kingdom has announced the launch of the Clydebank Declaration on Green Shipping Corridors at the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
What is the Clydebank Declaration?
The Clydebank Declaration aims to set up green shipping corridors, which are zero-emission maritime routes between 2 (or more) ports.
As part of the declaration, the signatory countries will support the establishment of at least six green shipping corridors by 2050.
Signatory countries: Around 19 countries have signed the declaration.
India has not signed the declaration yet.
What is the significance of this declaration?
According to the World Economic Forum, International shipping which transports 90% of world trade accounts for about 3% of global carbon emissions.
Hence, without efforts to decarbonize, the sector’s emissions could increase by 50% by 2050 based on the projected expansion of seaborne trade.
Remote education was inaccessible to most children, says survey
What is the News?
According to a survey conducted by ICRIER and LIRNEAsia, a think tank focusing on digital policy, remote education was inaccessible to most children in India.
What is remote learning?
Remote learning is where the student and the educator, or information source, are not physically present in a traditional classroom environment. Information is passed on through technology such as discussion boards, video conferencing and online assessments.
About the survey
The survey covered a nationally representative sample of 7,000 households. Only Kerala was excluded, due to high COVID-19 cases.
What are the key findings of the survey?
Access to Remote Education: Only 20% of school-age children in India had access to remote education during the pandemic. Among them, only half participated in live online lessons.
Dropped out of School: Around 38% of households said at least one child had dropped out of school due to COVID-19.
Access to the Internet: Around 64% of all households with enrolled school-age children had internet access, while the remaining 36% did not have access to the internet.
Among children aged 5-18 years, the survey found that 80% of those who were enrolled in schools prior to the pandemic did not receive any educational services at all during school closure.
Source: This post is based on the article “Remote education was inaccessible to most children, says survey” published in The Hindu on 13th November 2021.
China exports warship to Pak., to be deployed in Indian Ocean
What is the News?
China has handed over the first Type 054A/P frigate (warship) named PNS Tughril to Pakistan.
What is PNS Tughril?
PNS Tughril is the largest and most advanced warship that China has ever exported. It is designed and built by China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC).
What are the key features of PNS Tughril?
Firstly, the ship is a highly capable platform with enormous surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and underwater firepower, besides extensive surveillance potentials.
Secondly, the ship has world-class stealth capability and can easily dodge any radar.
Thirdly, it also has long-range missiles and a state-of-the-art cannon capable of firing multiple rounds in a minute.
Lastly, the warship is also fitted with a state-of-the-art Battle Management System (BMS), which will increase the fighting capability of the Pakistan Navy manifold.
Note: Battle Management System(BMS) helps share battalion-level land and air-land combat information on the battlefield.
What are the concerns for India?
This will strengthen Pakistan Navy’s capabilities to respond to maritime challenges to ensure seaward defence in the Indian Ocean region.
Moreover, the ship’s delivery to Pakistan is also China’s way of stepping up its naval presence in the Indian Ocean.
Source: This post is based on the article “China exports warship to Pak., to be deployed in the Indian Ocean” published by The Hindu on 12th November 2021.
PM launches 2 RBI schemes. All about the central bank initiatives
What is the News?
Prime Minister has launched two innovative customer-centric initiatives of RBI, viz. Retail Direct Scheme and the Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme.
What is a Retail Direct Scheme?
The Retail Direct Scheme allows retail investors to invest in government securities (G-Sec) by opening a gilt security account with the RBI. The account opened will be called Retail Direct Gilt(RDG) Account.
From this RDG account, retail investors can buy bonds sold by the central government, state development loans, or bonds issued by state governments, and sovereign gold bonds, whose price is linked to gold.
However, the participation and allotment of securities will be as per the non-competitive scheme, which means investors can submit bids without specifying a price. The bonds get allotted to the investors at a price established by competitive bidding among financial institutions.
What is Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme?
The scheme is aimed at further improving the grievance redress mechanism for resolving customer complaints against entities regulated by the RBI.
|Read more: PM to launch two innovative customer centric initiatives of RBI|
What is an Ombudsman?
Ombudsman is a public authority that consumers can approach if they are not satisfied with the grievance redressal mechanism of a financial institution.
Until now, there were three different ombudsman schemes for the three categories of financial intermediaries: Banking Ombudsman Scheme(BOS) launched in 1995, Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies(OS-NBFC),2018 and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions (OSDT),2019.
But now an integrated ombudsman scheme has been launched. It covers banks, non-bank lenders and other entities that the RBI regulates.
Source: This post is based on the following articles:
- “PM launches 2 RBI schemes. All about the central bank initiatives” published in Hindustan Times on 13th November 2021
- “PM launches schemes for financial inclusion” published in Livemint on 13th November 2021.
- “PM launches two innovative customer centric initiatives of RBI” published in Livemint on 13th November 2021.
IIT Kanpur develops web-based ‘green’ monitoring system for Ganga
What is the News?
Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Kanpur has developed an Aquatic Autonomous Observatory named Niracara Svayamsasita Vedh Shala(NSVS) to monitor the “health” of the River Ganga.
This observatory has been developed with the help of the Department of Science and Technology, the Government of India, and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
What is Niracara Svayamsasita Vedh Shala(NSVS)?
It is a low-cost, water quality monitoring platform that would enable in situ monitoring, real-time data transmission and web-based visualisation of River Ganga.
How does NSVS work?
NSVS consists of an array of sensors and auto sampler on a stationary platform that is semi-submersible, all-weather, robust and perfectly stable.
The system can sense three parameters namely, pH (a scale to measure acidity/alkalinity), conductivity and dissolved oxygen capacity of water. This can be further utilised to estimate total dissolved solids, specific gravity and the presence of metallic ions in water.
It can also autonomously collect data every 15 minutes and report it through a wireless network to the institute.
What is the significance of this platform?
With its large riverine network, India battles frequent floods, foam-filled toxic water bodies, unexpected rise in water levels, polluted rivers and so on. Hence, in this context, this river monitoring system is expected to aid conservation efforts.
Source: This post is based on the article “IIT Kanpur develops web-based ‘green’ monitoring system for Ganga” published in Business Standard on 13th November 2021.
Explained: Why Indian kids show diabetes signals early
What is the news?
The study was conducted in Pune to understand why diabetes is so common in Indians. They have tracked women from before they became pregnant and during their pregnancy, and their children through childhood, puberty and now as adults.
What are the findings of the study?
High glucose and insulin concentration in early childhood: It was found that at 18 years, 37% of men and 18% of women had elevated glucose levels (prediabetes). This was despite half of them being underweight.
Risk Factors: Children with sub-optimal growth in the womb carry high levels of risk factors for diabetes from early childhood.
It was found that poor functioning of the pancreas with increasing age is linked to high glucose levels. This is also linked to poor growth of the pancreas during fetal life.
What is the status of diabetes in India?
World Health Organization (WHO): India has an estimated 8.7% diabetic population in the age group 20-70, with around 77 million people with diabetes.
First National Nutrition Survey (2016-18): Almost 1 in 10 children (ages 5-9) were pre-diabetic, and 1% were already diabetic. This survey is jointly conducted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNICEF and Population Council.
What are the reasons behind the high prevalence of diabetes?
This is because of the combination of various factors like rapid urbanization, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and increasing life expectancy.
|Read more: Prevalence of Diabetes in India|
What are the key suggestions provided by the study to control diabetes?
According to experts, the government should adopt the following measures
–Lower the screening age for diabetes from 30 to 25 years.
-Main focus should be on women and child health. Maternal nutrition during pregnancy should be focussed upon as a preventive measure.
– Need to adopt an integrated life course approach. Prevention should be started at the community level and not just in the clinic.
-India does not yet have sufficient data to translate research into policymaking. This calls for robust and comprehensive research work.
Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Why Indian kids show diabetes signals early” published in the Indian Express on 13th November 2021.