9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 15th, 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.
  • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
  • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Striding back into the Afghan theatre

Source: This post is based on the article “Striding back into the Afghan theatre” published in The Hindu on 15th 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: Afghan tangle: No easy options for New Delhi, especially given broader threats posed by Beijing, Islamabad
About Delhi Declaration
Read here: Allow unimpeded aid into Afghanistan, say NSAs in Delhi Declaration
What are the challenges in India’s approach towards Afghanistan?

1. India does not completely accept the consequences and realities of the Taliban in power, so Pakistan has a free hand in Afghanistan, 2. The recent meeting does not contribute to addressing the vast challenges that India now faces in its entire western neighbourhood, especially Afghanistan.

What should India do?

India will have to play a multi-faceted diplomatic game to safeguard and promote its interests in Afghanistan and the region. It cannot join the game unless it re-establishes a presence in Kabul.

1. Immediate re-assessment of the regional situation, 2. Develop a comprehensive action with salience given to strategic considerations, 3. Follow ‘all of political and strategic classes’ approach that is unaffected by political considerations of any nature, 4. Keep Indian missions open, for instance, all-important regional players and Russia have kept their missions open in Kabul, 5. As suggested by Taliban leaders, India-Afghan trade via Wagah should be allowed by Pakistan, 6. Enhance India’s assistance to Afghanistan

Note: India offered one million metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan at the Tokyo Afghanistan conference 2002.

Must ReadImplications of the rise of Taliban for India – Explained, pointwise

A routine matter or a punishment post?

Source: This post is based on the article “A routine matter or a punishment post?” posted in The Hindu on 15th November 2021.

Subject: GS2-Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: Understanding judicial transfers.

News: Recently, the Supreme Court collegium recommended the transfer of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court. It also recommended the transfer of the senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court to the Madras High Court. These transfers raise certain questions.

What does the constitution say about the transfer of high court judges?

Article 222 (after the formulation of collegium) states that the supreme court will provide recommendations for the transfer of HC judges. If the proposal came from the Supreme Court collegium, then the Central government can ask for relevant material before tendering any advice to the President of India.

If the Central government is not satisfied, then it can ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.

What are the questions raised by these transfers?

A matter of punishment: Meghalaya HC has only 4 judges while Madras High court has sanctioned strength of 75. So, the transfer of CJI of Madras HC to Meghalaya HC seems like a punishment.

A matter of reward: Transfer of the judge of the Allahabad High Court to the Madras High Court, makes him a senior-most judge in that court. It may also be possible that he will become the next CJI of Madras HC in the coming future.

Non-transparent: The court took one and a half months to make the appointments public, which raises the questions of transparency.

Not consultation with senior judges: While transferring of the judge, senior-most judges are also consulted. It is seen that in the case of transfer of Allahabad HC judge, only the junior most judge of SC is consulted not the senior one.

Also read: Appointment of judges stuck on the same road
What should be the way forward?

Any decisions, factors and reasons related to transfer/appointment should be put in the public domain to instil trust in minds of the public.

The central government should also step in and clear all the doubts raises about the appointment mechanism and make it a transparent process.


GS Paper 3

Creating safe digital spaces

Source: This post is based on the article “Creating safe digital spaces” published in The Hindu on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – issues related to the safety and protection of the child.

Relevance: Impact of online violence and cyberbullying on the children.

News: It is imperative that digital and social media platforms are free of cyberbullying. Govt must step up its efforts to counter this menace.

Recently, UNESCO Member States declared the first Thursday of November as the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including cyberbullying.

It has recognized that school-related violence is an infringement of children’s right to education and to health and well-being.

The aim is to raise awareness among students, parents, members of the school community, education authorities, and others about the problem of online violence and cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is defined as intentionally harassing someone with rude, mean and hurtful messages.
Why we must ensure safe digital spaces for children in India?

An increasing number of Child internet users: India’s active Internet user base is over 500 million. Out of this, an estimated 14%  are children aged 5-11 years who access the internet on the devices of their family members.

Increased incidence of cyberbullying and online child sexual exploitation by adults: School closures as a response to the COVID-19 lockdowns led to an unprecedented rise in unsupervised screen time for children and young people. This in turn exposed them to a greater risk of online violence.

Published in 2019 and drawing on data from 144 countries, UNESCO’s report ‘Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying’ highlighted the extent of the problem, with almost one in three students worldwide reporting being bullied at least once in the preceding month.

Negative consequences of Cyberbullying: There is growing scientific evidence that suggests that cyberbullying has negative consequences on the education, health, and well-being of children and young people. For instance, children who are frequently bullied are more likely to miss out on school. They have a higher tendency to leave formal education after finishing secondary school.

How can we ensure safe digital space for children?

Effective interventions: This requires gender-sensitive and targeted approaches that respond to the needs of learners who are most likely to be the victims of online violence.

Role of the education system: Concerted efforts must be made to provide children and young people with the knowledge and skills to identify online violence. This will allow them to protect themselves from its different forms.

Role of teachers: Teachers play a critical role by teaching students about online safety, and thus supporting parental involvement.

Grievance redressal: Confidential reporting and redress services must be established.

What steps have been taken so far?

UNESCO in partnership with NCERT has brought out an information booklet on Safe Online Learning in Times of COVID-19.

The Department of School Education and Literacy has circulated exhaustive guidelines to raise children and parental awareness to prevent the adverse effect of online gaming and the psycho-emotional stress that children could be undergoing.


Nuclear fusion could be close enough to start blue-sky gazing

Source: This post is based on the article “Nuclear fusion could be close enough to start blue-sky gazing” published in Livemint on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to the energy sector

Relevance: Clean energy and its benefits to the global economy

News: The nuclear-fusion startup, Helion, recently announced that it has developed new technologies that may make nuclear fusion viable.

Nuclear fusion could be used to produce relatively clean energy (hydrogen fuel), which could then be deployed in a number of ways, unleashing a chain reaction across the global economy.

How cheap and clean energy could benefit the global economy?

Development of remote places: It would facilitate faster transportation and a consequent faster transformation of remote places.

Greening of Deserts: Desalinating water would become cheap and easy and irrigation would become less expensive, enabling the transformation of many landscapes. For instance, the Middle East would become much greener.

Facilitate more control over the Environment: It might be possible to manipulate temperatures outdoors, so Denmark in January and Dubai in August would no longer be so unbearable.

Rise in wages: Increased tourism will increase the demand for labor, thereby resulting in higher wages.

Technological developments: Cheap energy would also make supercomputing more available, crypto more convenient, and nanotechnology more likely.

Social change: People might invest more resources in status-seeking due to the increased availability of material goods.

Impact on climate change: nuclear fusion could replace coal plants around the world. Further, protective technologies to remove methane and carbon from the air, are also likely to be more feasible and affordable.

What are some potential negative consequences?

Though clean energy will mostly be beneficial, but it can have some negative consequences too. Like,

In the short run, fossil-fuel-rich nations such as Saudi Arabia and Russia would face difficulties.

In the long term, commodity-exporting nations like Brazil and Argentina might face difficulties too as with cheaper irrigation, countries relying on their exports might start growing their own crops.

Increased methane emissions: As water desalination became more feasible and irrigation would become less expensive, many areas would be far greener, and people might raise more cows and eat more beef. Those cows, in turn, might release far more methane into the air.

Must Read: Energy security: Nuclear power – Explained, pointwise

An RBI public interface that can recast banking

Source: This post is based on the article “An RBI public interface that can recast banking” published in Livemint on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to the banking sector

Relevance: Roles and responsibilities of RBI

News: RBI has opened a retail window for bonds. Along with this, the launch of its digital rupee next could enable RBI to take over the bank depository function.

Recently, RBI launched the Retail Direct scheme. Under this scheme, people can invest directly in government bonds. As these are virtually risk-free, people would be attracted to use this window for access to market for gilts.

But this is not a welcome move, because the RBI’s outreach could set the stage for other financial relationships with the public resulting in disintermediation (removal of intermediaries from a supply chain. In this case, the banks).

What are the concerns/issues with RBI’s latest move?

Firstly, it might result in taking away the depository role played by banks. For instance, consider the following situation. If RBI launches the central bank digital currency (CBDC), its public interface will expand to cover the country.

Since money kept with the RBI would be fully safe, such a facility will reduce the relative appeal of classic bank deposits.

This raises the question of the need for banks to keep depositor funds when a central bank could do the same.

Secondly, legacy banks are already under threat due to the disruptive potential of technology. For example,

From cryptocurrencies to decentralized finance (‘DeFi’), blockchain innovations have advanced at a great speed.

Digital advancements in banking allow the new online services to operate cheaply compared to legacy banks. As a result, it makes legacy banks uncompetitive.

Such a move could result in changing the core structure of the banking industry of the brick-and-mortar age.

What are the potential advantages of RBI taking over the depository role of banks?

The shift could act as a restraint on reckless Credit lending. Because It allows Banks to focus on assessing credit risk and price it profitably.

RBI will have more control over its monetary policy. A central bank with wide access to the cost-of-funds will make interest-rate settings easier to transmit.

It allows the central bank to execute fiscal transfers such as a universal basic income or an agenda of state-directed credit.


Shielding farm sector from climate change

Source: This post is based on the article “Shielding farm sector from climate change” published in Business Standard on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues/Challenges related to the Agriculture sector

Relevance: Climate change and its impact on Agriculture

News: Climatic anomalies affect agriculture directly. Hence, there is a need for effective strategy to protect agriculture from its ill effects.

Changes in the intensity, frequency, and seasonality of climate patterns, extreme weather events, rainfall pattern and river flows etc. are likely to impact agriculture sector.

How would climate change affect the farm sector?

The findings of various studies and the projections made by UNFCCC present a mixed picture.

Impact on rainfall: Monsoon rain might increase as a consequence of heat-induced acceleration in the hydrological cycle.

Unpredicted weather pattern: The incidence of severe and extended dry spells, interspersed with heavy downpour, might also increase.

Decrease in farm productivity: According to the vulnerability assessment done by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the overall productivity of paddy, irrigated paddy, wheat, maize might decrease between 2050 and 2080.

Benefit to few crops: Some crops might benefit from climate change. For instance, Chickpea (gram or chana).

Drop-in farm income. The government’s Economic Survey 2018 reports that every one-degree Celsius rise in temperature could reduce agricultural income by 6.2% in kharif and 6% in the rabi season in non-irrigated areas.

Other challenges: Reduces water availability, variations in the incidence of pests and pathogens (crop diseases).

What are the steps taken to address the issue?

India, nearly a decade ago launched the countrywide project on National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA).

Objectives of NICRA: 1) Identify vulnerable areas, 2) Assess the potential impact of temperature rise on crop farming, livestock, and fisheries, 3) Evolve crop varieties and agronomic practices adaptable to the emerging weather patterns.

How has NICRA helped farmers to cope up with Climate change?

Many water-harvesting structures have been created under the NICRA project to facilitate crop irrigation at critical stages of plant growth. These have resulted in yield gains in some low-rainfall areas.

Situation-specific advanced technologies for imparting climate-resilience to farming have also been evolved and successfully transferred to farmers in 151 climatically vulnerable districts.

Several climate-resistant crop varieties have also been developed.

More importantly, contingency plans to cope with climate anomalies have been drawn up for as many as 650 districts.

Almost all agricultural activities such as crop farming, horticulture, livestock rearing, and fisheries have continued to scale new highs, regardless of the increase in the frequency of weather-induced natural disasters.


Manipur flashpoint: Its insurgency and a volatile border continue to impose a toll on security forces and local people

Source: This post is based on the article “Manipur flashpoint: Its insurgency and a volatile border continue to impose a toll on security forces and local people” published in The Times of India on 14th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

Relevance: To understand the reason behind the recent Manipur insurgency.

News: The ambush on an Assam Rifles convoy by Manipur insurgents in Churachandpur district killing five soldiers breaches the fragile calm prevailing in the border state.

About the insurgency in Manipur

Manipur insurgency has lost much steam from a decade or so ago, the state remains troubled by insurgent groups operating from Myanmar’s Chin state and staying out of peace talks while propping up a parallel economy run through extortion and narcotics.

Read more: Karbi Agreement – another milestone in PM’s vision
What forced this attack?

1. Effective curbing the narcotics trade, 2. A political shift of Myanmar towards China after Military rule, 3. Complicated peace efforts: This is due to Manipur’s diverse ethnic mix comprising social groups like Meitei, Naga and Kuki-Zo with separate and overlapping geographical areas of influence alongside many insurgent groups, 4. An overstretched Indian army slowed down in battling insurgencies.

The twin challenges of talking peace without any quarter for illegal activities is hard to achieve for security forces. But, a breakthrough here will help India better focus its resources on the LAC fight.


A lost cause: On the Gadchiroli encounter and Maoists

Source: This post is based on the article “A lost cause: On the Gadchiroli encounter and Maoists” published in The Hindu on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

Relevance: To understand the present situation of Left-Wing Extremism in India.

News: At least 26 Naxals were killed recently in an encounter with the Maharashtra police in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra.

Must read: Left Wing Extremism in India – Explained, Pointwise

About Gadchiroli district

Gadchiroli is a largely forested and tribal-dominated district. The district is among Maharashtra’s poorest and “severely affected” by left-wing extremism.

The present situation of Left-Wing Extremists in India

Over time, the Maoists have managed their own strikes against security forces, but such attacks have not yielded an increase in support base or increase in the red corridor. This is because,

1. Contribution of the Indian government: The government improved both the security establishment’s work and development schemes in LWE areas, 2. Issues with Indian Maoists’ programme: The programme has issues such as Replicating the Chinese Revolution of the previous century, using armed struggle as the means to achieve its aims, India’s condition at present is not similar to China in the 1920s etc., 3. Change in people and peasants mindset, 4. Maoists’ refusal to acknowledge the diverse industrial base and liberal democratic instruments in the country.

Read more: Union Minister of Home Affairs chairs review meeting in New Delhi on Left Wing Extremism

So, to curb LWE areas, the government must act continually in winning over the support of tribals, peasants and other sections of people in the region and retaining people’s faith in the liberal democratic institutions.


What is RBI’s stand on the use of cryptocurrency

Source: This post is based on the article “What is RBI’s stand on the use of cryptocurrency” posted in Livemint on 15th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3 Indian economy.

Relevance: Understanding the concerns associated with cryptocurrency.

News: RBI governor has raised his concern over the cryptocurrency investment in India.

How the RBI has responded to the crypto business so far?
Read hereCryptocurrency in India – Lessons from other Countries

The RBI has raised its concerns over the usage of a cryptocurrency over macroeconomic and financial stability points. It wants to explore the possibility of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Also readFuture of Cryptocurrencies in India
How many Indians invest in cryptos and whether the amount is taxed?
Source: Livemint

According to a newspaper ad, Indians have invested  ₹6 trillion in cryptocurrency. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Wazir X, India has around 15-20 million crypto investors, while it has 25 million mutual fund investors.

Investors are liable to pay tax if they are making gains on cryptocurrency. In the case of active traders, this will be considered as business income and tax will be charged according to the slab rate. In the case of investors, the tax will be charged according to the short-term and long term capital gain.

What are the concerns associated with cryptocurrency?

1) Limit the government to tax the amount as it is difficult to trace. 2) Can be used against various criminal activities like money laundering. 3) Can harm the investors as they will be vulnerable to hacks, scams etc 4) Can harm the lending capacity of banks as more people will invest in cryptocurrency and less in banks.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

MoHUA to launch awareness campaign on SafaiMitra Suraksha Challenge

Source: This post is based on the articleMoHUA to launch awareness campaign on SafaiMitra Suraksha Challengepublished by PIB on 15th November 2021.

What is the News?

As part of the ‘World toilet Day’ celebrations,  the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has launched a week-long awareness campaign on Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge(SSC).

What is the Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge(SSC)?

Aim: To prevent ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks and promote their mechanized cleaning.

Key Activities under the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge (SSC)

1. Creating citizen awareness against ‘hazardous cleaning’ of septic tanks, 2. Infrastructure creation for mechanized cleaning and capacity building of the workforce, 3. A dedicated helpline number(14420) to register complaints and provide real-time solutions on sewer overflow, 4. The actual on-ground assessment of participating cities.Based on this assessment, cities will be awarded, 5. Organising Loan Melas.

What are Loan Melas?

Loan Melas were organized by National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the support of MoHUA.

Aim: To help Safai mitras avail loans for procurement of sewer/ septic tank cleaning machine/ equipment for mechanized cleaning. 


Kaiser-i-Hind is Arunachal’s State butterfly

Source:  This post is based on the articleKaiser-i-Hind is Arunachal’s State butterflypublished by The Hindu on 15th November 2021.

What is the News?

For the first time, Arunachal Pradesh’s cabinet meeting was held outside the State capital Itanagar. It was held at Pakke Tiger Reserve.

What were the key decisions taken at this meeting?
Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 declaration

Cabinet adopted the Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 declaration on climate change-resilient and responsive Arunachal Pradesh. The declaration is aimed at lowering emissions and sustainable development.

Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly
Source: The Hindu

Cabinet approved Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.

Kaiser-i-Hind (Teinopalpus imperialis) literally means Emperor of India. 

Habitat: The Butterfly is found in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and southern China.

In India, it is found in six states along the eastern Himalayas at elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in well-wooded terrain.

Vegetation: It flies high in the canopy of broad-leaved temperate evergreen forests.

Indicator Species: The presence of this butterfly indicates the existence of a good forest ecosystem.

Protection Status

  • IUCN Status: Near Threatened
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule II. 

Cybercrime went up by 500% during pandemic: Chief of Defence Staff

Source: This post is based on the article Cybercrime went up by 500% during pandemic: Chief of Defence Staff published by The Hindu on 13th November 2021.

What is the News?

The Chief of Defence Staff has delivered an inaugural address of the 14th edition of c0c0n, the annual cyber security and hacking conference.

What are the key highlights of his address?

Increased cybercrime Incidents: Cybercrimes have gone up by almost 500% in India during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dependence on Technology: During the lockdown, the rise of Digital Payments, deeper adoption of interconnected devices and a hybrid work environment has increased our dependence on technology. This has made people vulnerable to cybercrime.

Not well-equipped law on Cyber crime: Information Technology Act, 2000, that dealt with cybersecurity and cybercrimes is not equipped to consider new-age changes in the mode of functioning of businesses and modus operandi of crimes in cyberspace.

What are the Suggestions provided?

Firstly, a National Cybersecurity Strategy is needed to deal with cyber attacks.

Secondly, a data protection law should be passed as cybercriminals are increasingly using data as a weapon against national security in the post-pandemic age.

Thirdly, the government needs to consider the emerging threats from new technologies such as drones, ransomware, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and also the role of nation-states in such cyber attacks.

Read more: Cyber attacks and Cyber Security in India


Multicopter DRONE design & developed by National Aerospace Laboratories- NAL has successfully demonstrated Covid-19 Vaccine delivery at remote location in outskirts of Bengaluru

Source: This post is based on the article Multicopter DRONE design & developed by National Aerospace Laboratories- NAL has successfully demonstrated Covid-19 Vaccine delivery at remote location in outskirts of Bengaluru published by PIB on 15th November 2021.

What is the News?

CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories(NAL)’s “Octacopter” drone has successfully delivered 50 vials of Covid vaccines to a primary health centre in Karnataka.

What is an Octacopter?

Octacopter is an indigenous medium-class drone developed by National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) a constituent of CSIR.

Features of Octacopter

The drone is made of lightweight carbon fibre with a foldable structure for ease of transportation.

It has unique features like autonomous guidance through dual redundant MEMS-based digital autopilot with advanced flight instrumentation systems.

It can fly at an operational altitude of 500 metres and can carry a payload of 15 kg.

Applications

The drone can be used for the last-mile delivery of medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets and human organs.

It is also integrated with Powerful onboard embedded computers and the latest generation sensors for other applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping among others.


Ahead of PM’s trip, station gets Gond queen’s name

Source: This post is based on the article “Ahead of PM’s trip, station gets Gond queen’s name” published by The Hindu on 15th November 2021.

What is the News?

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has renamed the Habibganj railway station after Rani Kamlapati.

Who is Rani Kamlapati?

Rani Kamalapati was the 18th Century Gond queen of the region. She was the widow of Gond ruler Nizam Shah, chief of Ginnorgarh.

She is known to have shown great bravery in facing aggressors during her reign after her husband was killed. 

Kamlapati is also claimed to be the “last Hindu queen of Bhopal” who did great work in the area of water management and set up parks and temples.

Kamalapati Palace: It is a secular architecture built-in 1722. The palace has been designated as a Monument of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

About Gond Community

Gond community is the largest tribal group in India. The community is largely spread in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Odisha.


Remembering Birsa Munda on Janjatiya Gaurav Divas

Source: This post is based on the articleRemembering Birsa Munda on Janjatiya Gaurav Divaspublished by Indian Express on 15th November 2021.

What is the News?

Union Cabinet has approved 15th November as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas to remember the contributions of tribal freedom fighters for the country. This date was chosen as it is the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda who is revered as Bhagwan by tribal communities across the country.

Who is Birsa Munda?

Birsa Munda was born in 1875. He belonged to the Munda tribe in the Chota Nagpur Plateau area. He converted to Christianity in order to join the German Mission school. However, he later decided to renounce Christianity and drop out of the School.

Birsait Faith: He created a new religion called Birsait, which worshipped only one god. Given his growing influence in the tribal community, Birsait soon became the popular religion among the Mundas and Oraons. He was also given the nickname ‘Dharti Abba’ or Father of the Earth.

Influence on Birsa Munda: During the 1880s, Birsa closely witnessed the Sardari Larai movement in the region, which demanded the restoration of tribal rights through non-violent methods like sending petitions to the Raj. However, the oppressive colonial regime paid no heed to these demands. 

About Munda Rebellion

It was led by Birsa Munda. It was a revolt against the colonial masters and exploitative dikus(outsiders) and was aimed at establishing Munda Raj or Munda rule in this region. The revolt later came to be known as The Ulgulan or “the Great Tumult”.

Reason for Munda Revolt: In 1874, the British replaced the Khuntkari system of Munda tribals with the zamindari system. The introduction of the zamindari system created the classes of zamindars (landlords) and ryots (tenants). It also intensified the forced labour (veth bigari) in the forested tribal areas and made tribals depend on money lenders for money.

Impact of the Munda Revolt: The movement compelled the British to take cognisance of the plight and exploitation of tribals and bring in the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 for their protection. This Act restricted the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals giving Adivasis a huge relief and became a landmark legislation for the protection of tribal rights. 


Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) holds crucial emergency meet in wake of deteriorating air quality of the Delhi-NCR region

What is the News?

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has convened a crucial emergency meeting in wake of deteriorating air quality of the Delhi-NCR region. During the meeting, it has asked States to be ready for implementing ‘Emergency Measures’ as listed under Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP).

What are the reasons identified by the commission for the adverse air quality scenario in Delhi-NCR region?

Paddy stubble burning

Vehicular and Industrial pollution

Post-Diwali pollution and dip in temperature 

Dust storms moving in from the South-Westerly directions of the Thar Desert brought in huge quantities of dust that further amplified the PM2.5 / PM10 levels.

What are the suggestions given by the commission?

Firstly, Control stubble burning, Reduce dust from construction and demolition activities, Check dust from roads and open areas and cut down on vehicular and industrial pollution.

Secondly, regular assessments should be conducted to be well aware of the visible impact of the efforts initiated on-ground towards the improvement of air quality in Delhi-NCR.

Thirdly, Citizen Charter / Advisory should be issued for the general public to suggest various steps that need to be taken during various stages/ categories of the GRAP Action Plan.

Fourthly, states should consider the closure of schools and have also advised government and private offices to switch over to work from home.

Source: This post is based on the article Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) holds crucial emergency meet in wake of deteriorating air quality of the Delhi-NCR regionpublished by PIB on 15th November 2021.


Was it really a black hole that the EHT imaged in 2019?

What is the News?

A paper published in The European Physical Journal C has said that M87* (a compact object that was imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope) is not necessarily a black hole but could even be a “naked singularity with a gravitomagnetic monopole”.

About the research
Source: The Hindu

In 2019, astronomers of the Event Horizon Telescope captured the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole (M87*) which was located at the centre of a galaxy Messier 87 (M87). 

This black hole was calculated to be 6.5 billion times the Sun’s mass and is 55 million light-years away from the Earth. 

This discovery also found a mention in the “popular information” section of the announcement of the Nobel Prize in physics for 2020.

However, recent research has said that M87 is not necessarily a black hole but could even be a “naked singularity with a gravitomagnetic monopole”.

What is a Black Hole?

The simplest definition of a black hole is an object that is so dense that not even light can escape its surface.

Formation of Black Hole: When stars much more massive than the Sun reach the end of their lives, they collapse under their own gravity, and the product of this collapse, most astronomers believe is a black hole. 

Parts of Black Hole: A black hole has two parts: 

  • Singularity: At the core of a black hole is a singularity. It is a point that is infinitely dense, as all the remnant mass of the star is compressed into this point. 
  • Event horizon: It is an imaginary surface surrounding the singularity, and the gravity of the object is such that once anything enters this surface, it is trapped forever. Not even light can escape the pull of the singularity once it crosses the event horizon. 
What is Naked Singularity?

In many scenarios of stellar collapse, the event horizon does not form, and the singularity is exposed to the outside without any event horizon shielding it. This has been called as “naked singularity” or a “troublesome sibling” of a black hole.

What is a Gravitomagnetic Monopole?

In the 19th Century, James Clerk Maxwell unified electricity and magnetism as one combined phenomenon, showing that light is an electromagnetic wave. 

But there is an asymmetry between electricity and magnetism. While positive and negative electric charges can be found to exist independently, the poles of a magnet are always found in pairs, north and south bound together. 

Hence, the researcher based on this analogy between gravitational force and electromagnetism explains that in 1963, Newman, Tamburino and Unti (NUT) proposed a theoretical concept called a “gravito-magnetic charge” also called a gravitomagnetic monopole.

Source: This post is based on the article “Was it really a black hole that the EHT imaged in 2019?” published by The Hindu on 15th November 2021.


Centre brings Ordinances to extend tenure of ED, CBI directors up to 5 years

What is the News?

The Government of India has brought two ordinances to extend the tenure of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) directors up to 5 years.

Note: Currently, the tenure of chiefs of ED and CBI is two years. While they can not be removed (with some exceptions) before their tenure ends, an extension can be given by the government.

Which are the acts amended to bring in the ordinances?

The change in tenure of the CBI Director was done by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

On the other hand, the changes to the tenure of the ED Director was brought in by amending the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.

What are the key provisions of the ordinances?

The CBI or ED director can be appointed first for a period of two years. But if needed, the tenure can be extended for three more years. This will require three separate annual extensions.

However, no extension can be granted to an ED or CBI chief after a period of five years.

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • CBI, ED chiefs can now have five-year termspublished in The Hindu on 15th November 2021.
  • Centre brings Ordinances to extend tenure of ED, CBI directors up to 5 yearspublished in Indian Express on 15th November 2021.

India’s new employment policy ought to focus on young adults

What is the News?

Research has been conducted to study the employment data in India, for which it used the findings of India’s Periodic labor Force Data survey, National Sample Survey Organization.

What are the findings of the research?

Farm Employment: A sharp decline was seen in the farm works among young adults. Less than 10% of young adults (aged 20-29 years) in states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu work on farms.

Non-Farm Employment shows a disappointing result: Tamil Nadu has the highest ratio of non-farm employment of young adults at 41.5% in 2018-19. In Karnataka also, it is rising rapidly. In states like Kerala and UP, the ratio has fallen over time.

Unemployment: It is rising by double digits in many states, among young adults.

Read moreEmployment crisis in India

Zero unemployment among men who crossed 30’s: It seems they have accepted any job because of their age group.

Enrollment in higher education- There is an increase in the proportion of young adults in higher education. Around 18% of young adults in Haryana and 20% in Kerala reported being in education in 2018-19. Even the less prosperous states like Bihar and UP, shown a high proportion of young adults in education, delaying their entry into the workforce.

The employment to population ratio among young adults in India has declined to 43.4% in 2018-19 from 63% in 2004-05.

Why is this research important?

The government is in the process of setting up an expert committee for drafting a National Employment Policy. The findings of this research will be beneficial for the government to formulate the policy.

What are the suggestions provided by the research?

The research shows the demand-supply mismatch between job seekers and job providers. It suggested that government should focus on this aspect and should remould the education system to reduce its focus on higher education and raise the profile of skill-based occupations and manufacturing work.

New Employment policy should also pay close attention to the labour market dynamics of young adults in India.

Source: This post is based on the article ” India’s new employment policy ought to focus on young adults” posted in the Livemint on 15th November 2021.


Centre plans to give some strategic disinvestment powers to DPE

What is the news?

The central government has decided to give some powers in the strategic disinvestment process to the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE). This department has been brought under the Ministry of finance.

How does the current disinvestment process work?

As per the current process, NITI Aayog identifies companies for disinvestment. This proposal is sent to the cabinet secretary, led by the Core Group of Secretaries on Divestment (CGD). It consists of the finance minister, the Minister for administrative reforms and the Minister for Road transport and highways.

The CGD gives suggestions to the alternative mechanisms (AM).

chart

Once approved by AM, DIPAM moves the proposal to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs.

What are the challenges with the current procedure?

The existing process involves around 12 steps and takes around 12 to 13 months. The current proposal would lead to speeding up this process.

What is the new procedure?

The Government may empower DPE to seek approvals on candidates for privatization from the Cabinet after NITI Aayog suggests names of public sector enterprises for strategic disinvestment.

The existing task of the Department of Asset and Public Asset Management of taking the candidates for privatization to the CGD and then to the Alternative Mechanism and the Cabinet may be given to the DPE.

The DPE is preparing the new guidelines for the closure of PSUs.

The track record of the government on strategic sales has been dismal. These changes can bring positive outcomes and lead to better resource utilization.

Source: This post is based on the article “Centre plans to give some strategic disinvestment powers to DPE” posted in the Business Standard on 15th November 2021.


Habibganj to Rani Kamlapati: How a railway station’s name is changed

What is the news?

The name of Bhopal’s Habibganj railway station has been changed to Rani Kamlapati station.

How did the name of the railway station get changed?

While Indian Railways may own the station, it does not get involved in the business of naming it. Similarly, Indian Railways did not change the name of the stations. Change of station names is entirely a state subject.

Ministry of Home Affairs, the nodal ministry for the name change. The state governments send the request to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry accords its approval, keeping the Ministry of Railways in the loop.

Note: Usually, it is ensured that no other station with the new name proposed exists anywhere in India.

What happens when a name is changed?

Once the name change is notified by the state government following all due process, Indian Railways steps in to do the necessary work. A new station “code” for railway operation purposes may need to be invented.

The name change is then fed into its ticketing system so that the new name along with the code is reflected on its tickets and reservation and train information.

Lastly, it physically changes the name written at the station — building, platform signage, etc, and also in its communication materials for all practical purposes.

How are the languages, spellings to be displayed on the signboard?

Traditionally, station names were written only in Hindi and English. Over time, it was instructed that a third language, which is the local language, should be included.

Paragraph 424 of the Indian Railway Works Manual says that Railways should obtain approval from the state government concerned on the spelling of the names (in all three languages) before putting them on its signboards.

Note: Indian Railway Works Manual is a 260-page document that codifies everything related to civil engineering construction works of Railways.

The station names shall be exhibited in the following order: Regional Language, Hindi and English, except for Tamil Nadu where the use of Hindi will be restricted to important stations and pilgrim centres as determined by the Commercial Department.

Source: This post is based on the article “Habibganj to Rani Kamlapati: How a railway station’s name is changed” published in Indian Express on 15th Nov 2021.

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF[social_warfare]