9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 16th, 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

The EU’s role in the Indo-Pacific

Source: This post is based on the article “The EU’s role in the Indo-Pacific’” published in The Hindu on 16th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Relevance: Understanding the EU policy & strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

News: To cope with the rise of China and other Asian economies, the EU unveiled its strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in 2016. In this backdrop, The Council of EU recently announced the initial policy conclusions.

Read here: EU unveils Indo-Pacific strategy
What does the EU strategy and policy say?

The strategy aims to enhance the EU’s engagement across a wide spectrum, It will work on various fields like maintaining “rules-based international order”; promoting a level-playing field for trade and investment, working towards Sustainable Development Goals and multilateral cooperation; support “truly inclusive policy-making” encompassing the civil society and the private sector, and protect human rights and democracy.

The policy document focussed on strengthening cooperation in sustainable and inclusive prosperity, green transition, ocean governance, digital governance and partnerships, connectivity, security, etc. It promises to focus on the security and development dimensions of its relationship with the region.

Read more: Increasing Importance of Indo-Pacific for EU
What are the shortfalls in the EU approach?

1) Limited security and defence capabilities, when compared to the U.S. and China. 2) Internal Market divisions.

What is the impact of EU strategy on India?
Read here: EU, Indian and the Indo Pacific

Pegasus inquiry must reverse the ‘chilling effect’

Source: This post is based on the article “Pegasus inquiry must reverse the ‘chilling effect’” published in The Hindu on 16th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions.

News: Pegasus controversy has raised many questions on the privacy right of citizens.

What is Pegasus? Why there is so much controversy surrounding it?
Read here: Pegasus spyware issue – Explained, pointwise
How did different governments handle the Pegasus controversy?

USA: The government blacklisted the NSO group by putting it on an “entity list”.

India: The government has not taken any strict action. Even the RTI is filed on seeking government response on whether the government had purchased the Pegasus was met with the response is like no information available. The government was tight-lipped in Parliament and even a Parliamentary inquiry into the matter was quashed.

What is the Supreme court’s reaction to Pegasus?

Given the seriousness of the matter and the right to privacy of citizens, SC appointed an inquiry committee to look into the issue.

Read here: SC Judgment on Pegasus spyware case – Explained, pointwise
What is the Supreme Court’s stance on privacy?

In R. Rajagopal case 1994: Though privacy was not a specifically guaranteed right earlier, unabated surveillance was never allowed.

2017 case judgement: SC said that the Right to privacy is as sacrosanct as human existence and is inalienable to human dignity and autonomy.

Court judgement on Privacy: Court restricts the conditions on snooping. It can be done only on 3 grounds.

1) the restriction must be by law; it must be necessary and only if other means are not available  2) It must be proportionate (only as much as needed) 3) It must promote a legitimate state interest (e.g. national security)

Structural inequality and the response to global emergencies

Source: This post is based on the article “Structural inequality and the response to global emergencies” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries

Relevance: Understanding the risks associated with global emergencies i.e climate change and covid

News: Structural inequalities in political and economic systems are compromising humankind’s capacity to deal with global emergencies such as climate change and Covid.

About the pandemic and climate change

World Health Organization’s message at the pandemic’s outset — “No one is safe till everyone is safe” expresses the need of adopting a collaborative approach. Also, with the rise of climate-related catastrophe, there is a need to put human well-being above parochial interests and commercial profits.

What are the key issues with respect to Climate change?

The occurrence of extreme weather events like storms, sea-level rise and floods led to an increase in deaths and generates livelihood issues, especially in the coastal regions. A recent example is of Madagascar that is currently in the grip of a drought. Fear escalates that it could trigger the first climate change-induced famine.

How is the world community dealing with Climate Change?

It is true that all countries are obliged to address global warming, but the responsibility lies more on the developed countries. So, the concept of CBDR arises.

Read more: How has developed world responded to the problem of climate change?

With the carbon space shrinking, the principle of climate justice has come under duress and its scope has become compressed. Even in the recently held COP 26, there are many challenges that were not addressed. These are:

-Decarbonization should not threaten the development of developing countries.
-Not addressed the challenges of intermittency related to wind and solar power.
-Not mentioned any solution to meet the funds of $2.4 trillion required by 2035, as estimated by IPCC.

Read here: Glasgow Climate Pact – Explained, pointwise

What is the impact of covid on people?

1) It impacts social classes differentially, 2) Increased the lack of basic social security needs.

Read more: A Crisis of Reverse Migration
What is the status of vaccine equity?

Vaccine equity is vital in the battle against Corona. But data suggests that less than 10% of the adult population in at least 70 countries have completed the vaccination.

WHO also pointed that developed countries are giving extra booster doses while there are pockets of the inoculated population around the world.

Questions for SC: Chief Justice Banerjee’s transfer from Madras HC again points to the opaqueness of collegium

Source: This post is based on the article “Questions for SC: Chief Justice Banerjee’s transfer from Madras HC again points to the opaqueness of collegium” published in Times of India on 15th November 2021.

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

Relevance: Understanding judicial transfers.

News: Supreme Court collegium recommended the transfer of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court. Chennai bar commission has in fact raised many valid questions.

Read here: A routine matter or a punishment post?
What are the questions raised by the Chennai bar commission?

The bar raised questions like:

-What is the rationale behind transferring a judge heading a High Court with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges to a much smaller High Court with four judges.
-Whether all the procedural checks in the memorandum of procedure were followed.

What does the Memorandum of Procedure say?

Paragraph 25.2 of MoP: CJI should ascertain the views of Supreme Court judges knowledgeable of High Court concerned.

Paragraph 25.3 of MoP: CJI and four senior-most SC judges should seek the response of the judge to be transferred and his preferred choices of destination.

What should be the way forward?

The Supreme Court had already struck down NJAC citing independence of the judiciary. But this independence should also ensure accountability. So, the reason and rationale behind the transfer need to be disclosed to the public.

Extension of terms of CBI, ED chiefs by ordinance goes against SC verdicts

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • Extension of terms of CBI, ED chiefs by ordinance goes against SC verdicts” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2021.
  • Extension of power” published in Business Standard on 15th November 2021.
  • Exception to the rule” published in The Hindu on 16th November 2021

Syllabus: GS2 – Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Relevance – Understand the recent amendment to extend the tenure of CBI and ED directors.

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.

Must read: Centre brings Ordinances to extend tenure of ED, CBI directors up to 5 years
What are the concerns associated with the ordinances?

The criticisms include,

1. Can be used to target political opponents and take away the independence of CBI and ED,

2. Circumventing the Supreme court’s directive in two different cases:

i) SC stipulated a minimum of a two-year term for Directors of CBI and ED in the Vineet Narain case, ii) fixed tenure for certain posts means their superannuation within that period will not end their term. In the SK. Mishra’s case, the Supreme Court declined to interfere with the one-year addition to his original term of appointment. But the court held that “extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases”. And that the further extension should only be for “a short period”.

3. Instead of a consolidated five-year term, the Ordinances enable the government to extend each director’s tenure for a year at a time for three years. This will act as a reward for guided functioning instead of a necessity to keep ongoing investigations on track, 4. Dilute the ‘doctrine of pleasure’ implicit in civil service, 5. Using ordinance route,

Article 123  and 213 of the Constitution allows the Centre and state governments to frame laws through an ordinance respectively. But the Constitution-makers envisaged a much-restrained use of this practice.

In the DC Wadhwa case, 1986, the Supreme Court clarified that “the power to promulgate an Ordinance is essentially a power to be used to meet an extraordinary situation, and it cannot be perverted to serve political ends.”

The current government on average proclaim 11 ordinances a year.

What needs to be done?

1. As held in the Vineet Narain case, 1997, the organisations need “permanent insulation against extraneous influences”, 2. In the SK Mishra case, the court made clear that no further extension shall be granted to the incumbent Director of Enforcement. The government must abide by and not give the benefit of the amendment to the present Director of Enforcement.

Must read: How Enforcement Directorate (ED) became so powerful?

The extension allowed in exceptional circumstances cannot become a rule and a norm.

GS Paper 3

How the economy gets a boost from efficient logistics

Source: This post is based on the article “How the economy gets a boost from efficient logistics” published in Livemint on 16th Nov 2021. 

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to the Logistic sector 

Relevance: Efficient logistic sector and its subsequent benefits to the Indian economy 

News: Recently, the government released the annual Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) report for 2021.  

LEADS report ranks states and Union territories (UTs) on the efficiency of their logistics ecosystem. It aims to induce stakeholders to make necessary improvements. 

Must read: Gujarat retains pole position in logistics index: Commerce ministry report
How will efficient logistics help? 

With the country aspiring to be a manufacturing destination, an improved logistics environment will benefit in the following manner:

– Generating better economies of scale,  

– Minimizing cost per unit, leading to lower prices for the consumer. 

– Improved supply chain efficiencies will help bring down logistics costs   

– Enhances industry competitiveness. 

What are the initiatives taken by the government in this regard? 

Policy target: Centre’s aim is to bring down logistics costs in India by 4-5% of GDP over the next five years to approximately 8% of GDP.  

Developmental initiatives taken at the international level-The Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)

Developmental initiatives taken at Domestic front: Infrastructure development initiatives such as SagarmalaBharatmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, paperless EXIM trade process through E-Sanchit, mandatory electronic toll collection system (FASTag), etc. 

Why stubble burning is so hard to fix

Source: This post is based on the article “Why stubble burning is so hard to fix” published in Livemint on 16th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

Relevance: Stubble burning and pollution in the Indo-Gangetic region

News: Post Diwali, Delhi and the entire Gangetic plains have been covered in a thick blanket of smog.

Stubble burning by farmers in states such as Punjab, Haryana, and parts of Uttar Pradesh is just one of many causes for declining air quality in Delhi.

Recently, the Supreme Court too acknowledged this fact while directing the government to consider a temporary lockdown.

In this context, there is an immediate need to resolve issues related to stubble burning coupled with other mitigation strategies that can improve air quality in Delhi.

Why do farmers prefer to burn stubble?

There are multiple reasons behind stubble burning.

Long term causes

– Policy issues: In 2009 the Punjab government made a law that barred farmers from planting paddy before the dates notified. This was done to time plantings to the arrival of the annual monsoon.

This enforced delay in planting pushed the date of harvest to November, which meant farmers had to quickly clear their fields to plant wheat. A delay means lower yields. Due to this short window, farmers took to burning the crop residue in larger numbers.

Contribution of climate: Wind direction changes in late October-mid November, which carries the smoke all over the northern Gangetic plains.

Lack of trust on crop residue management machinery: Farmers fear a decline in productivity if crop residue management machines (happy seeder and super seeder) are used.

The lack of supply chain constituents like biomass aggregators, processors, and storage facilities have made the existing ex-situ ecosystem a failure.

Must read: Read more about stubble burning in these articles: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3

Immediate causes

– Cost-related issues: Rising prices of diesel pushed up the operational cost of using these machines. Fuel accounts for a quarter of the cost of operating these machines.

– Farmer protest: Some farmers seem to be putting their fields on fire as a mark of protest.

What are some potential solutions?

Firstly, using machines to incorporate crop residues into the soil, using straw as boiler fuel or for manufacturing packaging materials.

Secondly, finding an alternative to the paddy-wheat cycle. Such as growing pulses or oilseeds, instead of paddy.

What are the associated challenges?

Firstly, incorporating crop residues back into the soil is facing a severe challenge due to the rising cost of diesel and rent for the necessary machines.

Also, the machine-led solution is only benefitting manufacturers who have raised the prices (of crop management machines) to corner government subsidies.

Secondly, farmers are unwilling to move away from paddy since they can sell their entire production to the government at assured support prices, while growing pulses or oilseeds entails significant price risks.

What is the way forward?

– Scaling up biomass-based power generation to 1,000MW in a year, the problem of stubble burning in northern India can be remedied significantly.

– Discoms should pay a bit extra for biomass-based renewable energy for the sake of clean air.

– Assured government purchase at support prices for pulses like masoor and oilseeds like groundnut

State government-run cooperative MARKFED can stop the procurement of food grains for central agencies. It must focus on its original mandate of marketing farmers’ produce. It could enter into contract farming with farmers for oilseeds to improve supplies where India is deficient.

Charting India’s path to a ‘Digital Rupee’

Source: This post is based on the article “Charting India’s path to a ‘Digital Rupee’” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2021.

Syllabus– GS3- issues related to development of digital currencies

Relevance: Challenges associated with CBDCs

News: Recently, Nigeria launched its non-interest-yielding central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the eNaira.

Along the similar lines, CBDC pilot projects are underway in at least 17 other countries. The primary drivers for central banks of EMDEs (emerging market and developing economies) to study CBDCs are domestic payments efficiency, financial inclusion, and payments safety.

In this context, it should be noted that CBDC’s design and implementation should be as per the domestic priorities.

What are the ways in which CBDCs can be designed?

A particular CBDC could be designed in the following ways:

– Account-based or tokenised

– Distributed directly by the central bank or through intermediaries

– Interest-bearing CBDC’s

– Can be programmed to offer limited pseudonymity (the state of using or being published under a pseudonym) to its holders

How is eNaira designed to achieve the intended benefits?

Unique identification of beneficiaries: It has been designed as an account-based CBDC with know your customer (KYC) norms linked to the unique identity indicators under Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Eliminating the need for intermediaries: It enables targeted welfare payments into the wallets of citizens directly.

Increases the efficiency of the Payment system

Must Read: Private partners could help RBI run a digital currency
What are the issues with introduction of a CBDC by the RBI?

– Threat to the banking system: Adopting an interest-bearing Indian CBDC could pose an existential threat to the banking system by eroding its critical role as intermediaries in the economy according to Former RBI Governor D Subbarao.

If CBDCs compete with bank deposits and facilitate a reduction of bank-held deposits, banks stand to lose out on an important and stable source of funding.

Banks may respond by increasing deposit rates, but this would result in higher lending rates and decreased lending activities. Also, banks may be incentivized to engage in riskier lending and hold relatively risker, less-liquid assets. This could have long-term effects on financial stability.

– The introduction of CBDCs would require central banks to maintain much larger balance sheets, even in non-crisis times. They would need to replace the lost funding by lending potentially huge sums to financial institutions, while purchasing correspondingly huge amounts of government and possibly private securities.

– CBDCs could also have implications for the state from seigniorage (profit made by a government by issuing currency) as the cost of printing, storing, transporting and distributing currency can be reduced.

Must Read: The merits of an RBI digital currency outweigh risks

The debacle of demonetisation

Source: This post is based on the article “The debacle of demonetisation” published in The Hindu on 16th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment.

Relevance – Demonetisation and its outcomes.

News: Not a single one of the claims made for demonetisation has been materialised.

Read more here: https://blog.forumias.com/the-case-of-demonetisation-in-india/

Physical cash remains the dominant mode of exchange: The ratio of currency with the public to national income has, at 11.5%, remarkably remained the same from 2015-16 onwards. Money seems to remain a chosen medium of exchange for Indians, even if purchases are increasingly being made online.

No real increase in direct tax payments: The ratio of direct tax collections to the national income rose marginally in 2016-17. But this cannot be attributed to demonetisation alone. The Goods and Services Tax introduced in 2017 may have nudged potential income tax assesses to comply with the laws.

Reversed a growth acceleration: India’s economy did register a slight increase in the rate of growth. But it was mainly due to the growth of the agricultural sector. As agricultural yield is weather-related, it is independent of economic conditions in the short term. Whereas the other sectors of the economy, production suffered from the cash crunch engineered by demonetisation. For instance, data on the manufacturing sector shows growth slowing by about a third immediately.

A traffic lockdown may be what Delhi requires

Source: This post is based on the article “A traffic lockdown may be what Delhi requires” published in Livemint on 16th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Relevance: Tackling Delhi’s pollution problem

News: Supreme Court described air pollution in and around Delhi city as a “crisis” and asked the Centre and Delhi administration to take action.

SC has asked authorities to consider a lockdown, among other measures

It has also advised the Centre to call an emergency meeting and work out specific ways to tackle the identified “culprits”: construction activity, industry, transport, power and vehicular traffic, apart from stubble burning.

What steps have been taken to curb pollution in NCR?

Curbs on building projects, firecrackers, and diesel gen-sets

Momentary restrictions on industrial exhaust

Deals for farmers to stop setting their post-harvest waste on fire

Smog towers and water spraying

Even odd scheme, where only vehicles with odd number-plates were allowed on streets one day and even numbers the next. It did not prove helpful enough to justify the disruption caused.

A full traffic lockdown of the NCR might not be a bad idea to alleviate the harmful effect of pollution.

Why a full traffic lockdown can be a potential solution for Delhi’s pollution problem?

Will lower street emissions from vehicular exhaust: By the analysis of the Centre for Science and Environment, vehicular exhaust accounts for about half the seasonal rise in the capital’s levels of pollutant particles. A full traffic lockdown for about a week or so, depending on the smoke dispersal of winds, should cause a notable reduction.

Deep-sea mining for building EV batteries: A sustainable approach or an invitation to another catastrophe?

Source: This post is based on the article “Deep-sea mining for building EV batteries: A sustainable approach or an invitation to another catastrophe?” published in DTE on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

Relevance: Understanding whether we need to pursue deep sea mining or not.

News: Almost 70% of our planet is an ocean and of that, 90% is the deep sea. It houses countless species, ranging from tiny zooplankton to the heaviest whales. This combination supports in maintaining the ecological cycle of our planet.

Mining investors are eying metals they can extract from the sea bed to build electric vehicle (EV) batteries. These talks are at an early stage but slowly making headlines.

Transition to electric mobility is welcome, but it should happen without undervaluing the importance of living in the deep waters.

Why deep sea mining is necessary?

– Need for alternative sources of minerals: Building EV batteries requires minerals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, copper, vanadium and indium. Demand for these minerals will shoot up with the rising demand for EVs. It will put pressure on the existing land mineral ores, so there is a need to identify alternative sources to extract these minerals.

– Potential to reduce child labor: It is a greener option than land-based mining and can significantly reduce child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where abundant mineral mining sites are present.

What are the factors that may discourage deep-sea mining?

First, the projected rise is subject to multiple factors such as technological advancements in battery chemistry, capability to recycle minerals from used batteries, and investment in public transport infrastructure.

– Second, Many projections assume the use of current lithium-ion battery technology (incorporating cobalt and nickel) will continue. But, while some alternatives of cobalt-free lithium-ion batteries are in-development such as lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, some alternatives are already available. For example, Tesla’s EV battery requires neither cobalt nor phosphate.

– Third, The automobile sector is gearing up to invest in battery mineral recycling. This will further reduce the future mineral demand. Battery recycling could reduce lithium demand by 25%, cobalt by 35% as well as nickel and copper by 55% by 2040, according to the Institute of Sustainable Futures.

– Fourth, In countries where governments bring down private motorised vehicle share by improving existing public transportation as well as implementing vehicle restraint measures, the demand for EV batteries will also be less.

– Fifth, Irreversible damage to aquatic life: During deep-sea mining, the unwanted sediments containing heavy metals are pumped back into the sea. This creates sea pollution and can choke jellyfish and other species that transfer a significant amount of carbon back to the sea bed. There is also a possibility that species that have not yet been discovered are lost.

What is the way forward?

We should plan our cities in such a way that trips are more local in nature and can be made by walking and cycling so that there is little need to use a private electric car. This will result in a lower demand for EV batteries.

It may prove costlier to combat than adapt to climate change

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

CoP26: A ‘net nothing’ summit that the UN termed a global compromise published in DTE  on 15th Nov 2021.

The Glasgow Pact: Does it make climate finance available to us? &It may prove costlier to combat than adapt to climate change‘ published in Livemint on 16th Nov 2021. 

‘Four ticklish questions on India’s climate pathwaypublished in Times of India on 15th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

Relevance: Climate finance and Glasgow Climate pact

News: Now that the Glasgow Climate Pact has finally been agreed upon, it is time to figure out one of the critical components of climate change action – Climate Finance.

How finance can be worked out for the climate targets under Glasgow pact?

A large part of climate finance will have to come domestically from both public and private sources. Some could come from international private flows (both equity and debt) and a third component could come from bilateral and multilateral public flows.

For instance:  The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, which was active in CoP-26, includes over 450 firms controlling about $130 trillion in private assets. A small proportion of these assets, re-directed to green energy projects, would provide significant support for mitigation efforts. For this, the risk perceptions about investment in developing countries would have to be taken care of.

Special Drawing Rights: It may also be possible to use the substantial special drawing rights given recently by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to developed countries.

– Differentiated carbon tax is proposed by the IMF to be levied at $75 per tonne of CO2 for the US and EU, $50 for China, and $25 for India. Different levies would protect India’s competitiveness while raising much-needed resources for climate adaptation. Petrol and diesel are already heavily taxed, and the proposed carbon tax would be subsumed within these taxes. India can also increase the environmental tax on coal (from $3.5 per tonne of CO2 to $15) to generate resources that could be used for climate adaptation.

Must Read: Glasgow Climate Pact – Explained, pointwise

A coordinated effort by India, Indonesia and Brazil should push for commitments on climate finance at G-20, where critical decisions on financing are actually taken (Indonesia will chair the G-20 in 2022, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024)

– Domestic action by India: India needs to fix the financial weakness of its electricity distribution companies so that private investors can invest in electricity generation. Domestic policy action is also needed for the removal of fuel subsidies.

What are some potential side-effects of the climate change policies?

In the latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) by International Monetary Fund (IMF) mentions the following:

– High demand for metals like copper, nickel, lithium and cobalt. These metals would reach historical peak prices for an unprecedented sustained period under a ‘net zero by 2050’ emissions scenario. The total value of metals production is estimated to rise to $13 trillion by 2040, equalling the value of crude oil output that year. This will result in significant gains for producers, and resource constraints for consuming nations.

Significant investment in mines will be needed to extract those metals.

Further, the available supplies of rare metals will get cornered, leaving many nations faced with a choice between high carbon emissions and financial ruin.

– Impact of the green economy on the labor market. Jobs have become greener in the last decade. But people with higher education are likely to get them, as green jobs tend to require higher skills and pay more. Hence, decarbonization would also result in concentrated education, skills, income and wealth in fewer hands.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Why BRCA gene testing is important for reducing cancer risk in women

Source: This post is based on the article “Why BRCA gene testing is important for reducing cancer risk in women” published in the Indian Express on 16th November 2021.

What is the news?

There is an increased risk of having breast and ovarian cancers in women who have a strong matrilineal family history of the disease.

What are BRCA (Breast Cancer) genes?

These are proteins associated with breast tissues that played a big role in preventing breast cancer. They help repair damaged DNA or destroy cells if the damaged DNA cannot be repaired. Because of this, the BRCA genes are known as tumor suppressor or caretaker genes.

However, in some people, these tumor suppression genes do not work properly. When a gene becomes altered or broken, it doesn’t function correctly. This is called a gene mutation. So, when BRCA itself undergoes a mutation, it loses the ability to repair DNA.

What are the risks associated with BRCA mutations?

BRCA mutations are primarily associated with breast and ovarian cancer. However, in some cases, they are also linked with other cancers, especially in the abdominal and thoracic cavities.

Women with abnormal BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes have up to 80 % risk of developing breast cancer by age 90. Women with BRCA 1 mutations have up to 55% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Also, affected women have a high risk of having pancreatic cancer.

What are the preventive strategies women should adapt to prevent BRCA mutations?

Early screening: Women with a strong matrilineal family history of breast/ovarian cancers should get tested for BRCA mutations after consulting their gynecologists.

Regular checkups for breast cancer: If BRCA mutation is tested positive for breast cancer, the following steps should be adopted.

At 18yrs: Regular breast self-examination should start.

From 25yrs: Clinical examination and risk assessment must be done every 6months-1year. Mammography should also be done on annual basis.

From 30yrs: Woman with BRCA mutation must get an annual breast MRI.

In SOS cases, Women should go for risk reduction through tamofixen (not chemo, but oestrogen) or risk-reducing surgery (mastectomy).

For ovarian cancer: Regular use of oral contraceptives should be adopted to avoid any risk.

Till 30 yrs: Women should consider transvaginal ultrasound and CA-125 blood tests on the basis of family history of the disease.

Between 35-40 yrs: Women who have had children can choose risk reduction through salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of ovaries and the fallopian tube) on an SOS basis

What the rise of pan-Turkism means for India

Source: This post is based on the article “What the rise of pan-Turkism means for India” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2021.

What is the news?

Recently, on the 8th Istanbul summit, the Council of Turkic States has been elevated to “Organisation of Turkic States”.

About the formation of the Organisation of Turkic States

In 1992, the then Turkish President convened the first Turkish summit with some central Asian states.

In 2009, the annual summit with the inner Asian states was converted into a Council of Turkic States. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan joined Turkey as founding members. It was hailed as the “first voluntary alliance of the Turkic states in history”.

During the Istanbul summit, the forum has been elevated to an “Organisation of Turkic States”.

About the Istanbul Summit and Organisation of Turkic States

Joining of new members and observers: Uzbekistan joined the organisation at the Istanbul Summit. Hungary and Turkmenistan have joined the organisation as observer nations.

Adopted a vision document “Turkish World 2040”: The document aims to guide the organisation’s efforts to develop intensive cooperation among its members and contribute vigorously to regional and international security.

What will be the potential of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS)?

With the formation of OTS, Turkey is determined to rewrite the geopolitics of Eurasia. The potential of OTS includes 1. Could become an economic and political community like the European Union, 2. Could emerge as an “Army of Turan”, 3. Possibility to become an EU-like federation or NATO-like military alliance.

Note: In Persian, “Turan” refers to Central Asian regions to the north of Iran.

PM launches multiple key initiatives for the welfare of Janjatiya community at Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas Mahasammelan

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched multiple key initiatives for the welfare of the Janjatiya (Tribal) community at Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas Mahasammelan.

What are the key initiatives launched by the Prime Minister?
‘Ration Aapke Gram’ scheme in Madhya Pradesh

Under this scheme, the ration will be distributed in the village itself through ration distribution vehicles. Tribal beneficiaries will no longer have to go to the Panchayat Headquarters to get the fair price ration. This will facilitate them in getting ration, as well as save time.

Madhya Pradesh Sickle Cell Mission

The scheme is aimed at spreading awareness among people about genetic disorders including ‘Sickle Cell Anaemia’

50 Eklavya Model Residential Schools

The Prime Minister laid the foundation of 50 Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country.

Tribute to Babasaheb Purandare

The Prime Minister also paid tributes to Babasaheb Purandare for his contribution in connecting coming generations to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Babasaheb Purandare was a celebrated historian, author, and theatre personality. He was famous for his work on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. 

The author started writing tales related to the period of Shivaji’s reign at a very young age, which was later compiled into the book titled, ‘Thinagya’. His other renowned books include Raja Shiva Chatrapati and Kesari

He also directed ‘Jaanta Raja’, which is a popular play on Chhatrapati’s life. 

Source: This post is based on the following articles: 

  • PM launches multiple key initiatives for the welfare of Janjatiya community at Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas Mahasammelan published in PIB on 15th November 2021.
  • “PM reaches out to tribal people, unveils schemes” published in The Hindu on 15th November 2021.

Explained: How the climate has warmed over the last 24,000 years

What is the News?

Scientists from the University of Arizona have studied and reconstructed Earth’s climate since the last ice age which was about 24,000 years ago. 

What are the key findings of the study?

The study has suggested that current temperatures are unprecedented in 24,000 years. It has three main findings, which are:

Source: Indian Express

Firstly, the main drivers of climate change since the last ice age are rising greenhouse gas concentrations and the retreat of the ice sheets.

Secondly, there is a general warming trend over the last 10,000 years. This settles a decade-long debate in the palaeoclimatology community about whether this period trended warmer or cooler.

Thirdly, the magnitude and rate of warming over the last 150 years far surpasses the magnitude and rate of changes over the last 24,000 years

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: How the climate has warmed over the last 24,000 yearspublished by Indian Express on 15th November 2021.

India launches the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

What is the News?

India has successfully launched the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica with the arrival of the first batch of its contingent at the Antarctic.

Click Here to Read about India’s Antarctic Expeditions

What is the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica?

The 41st expedition is being led by scientists from the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism.

The expedition has two major programs:

First Program

Focus: It includes geological exploration of the Amery ice shelf at Bharati station. 

Significance: This will help explore the link between India and Antarctica in the past. 

Second Program

Focus: It involves reconnaissance surveys and preparatory work for drilling of 500 meters of ice core near Maitri. 

Agencies Involved: The ice core drilling will be done in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Significance of the 41st Scientific Expedition

It will help in improving the understanding of Antarctic climate, westerly winds, sea-ice and greenhouse gases from a single climate archive for the past 10,000 years. 

Note: In addition to accomplishing scientific programs, the expedition will replenish the annual supplies of food, fuel, provisions, and spares for operations and maintenance of life support systems at Maitri and Bharati.

Source: This post is based on the articleIndia launches the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarcticapublished by PIB on 15th November 2021.

Explained: What is Kamo’oalewa?

What is the News?

A study in the journal Communications Earth and Environment has provided details about Kamo’oalewa.

What is Kamo’oalewa?

Kamo’oalewa is a quasi-satellite. This means that it is a near-Earth object that orbits the Sun and yet remains close to the Earth.

Discovered by: This quasi-satellite was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in 2006 in Hawaii.

Note: The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System(Pan-STARRS)  is a telescope operated by the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. The telescope’s purpose is to survey the night sky for moving or variable objects and to also gather accurate astrometric and photometric data on previously-detected objects. 

Size: The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel. Because of its small size (about 50 meters wide), this quasi-satellite has been difficult for scientists to study and little was known about it so far.

What are the new findings about Kamo’oalewa?

The study has offered insights into where this quasi-satellite could have come from. It has offered three possibilities, which are:

Part of Earth-Moon: It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.

Near-Earth Objects: Captured in its Earth-like orbit from the general population of Near Earth Objects.

Earth’s Trojan Asteroids: It might originate from an as-yet-undiscovered quasi-stable population of Earth’s Trojan asteroids (Trojans are a group of asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet).

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: What is Kamo’oalewa?published by Indian Express on 16th November 2021.


What is the News?

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette, is participating in the 3rd edition of Exercise SITMEX.

About Exercise SITMEX

Exercise SITMEX is a trilateral annual maritime exercise between India, Singapore and Thailand.

Aim: To enhance mutual interoperability and imbibing best practices between the Indian, Singapore and Thailand Navy.

The first edition of the exercise was hosted by India at Port Blair in 2019.

The third edition of the exercise is being hosted by Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

The 2021 edition of the exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 restrictions.

What are the other exercises between India, Singapore and Thailand?

SIMBEX– It is a bilateral naval exercise between the Indian and Singapore Navy.

Maitree- It is a bilateral military exercise between India and Thailand.

Source:  This post is based on the article INDIAN NAVY PARTICIPATES IN INDIA, SINGAPORE AND THAILAND TRILATERAL MARITIME EXERCISE SITMEX published by Indian Express on 13th November 2021.

Centre proposes setting up new body for river-linking projects in India

What is the News?

The Government of India is planning to set up a National Interlinking of Rivers Authority(NIRA).

About National Interlinking of Rivers Authority(NIRA)

NIRA is supposed to be an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing and the implementation of the river interlinking projects in the country.

Headed by: The authority is to be headed by a Government of India Secretary-rank officer.

Who will it replace? NIRA will replace the existing National Water Development Agency (NWDA).

Functions of NIRA

Firstly, it will coordinate with neighbouring countries and concerned states and departments on river interlinking projects.

Secondly, it will have powers on issues related to the environment, wildlife and forest clearances under river linking projects and their legal aspects.

Thirdly, it will have the power to raise funds and act as a repository of borrowed funds or money received on deposit or loan given on interest.

Lastly, it will also have the power to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for individual link projects.

Source: This post is based on the articleCentre proposes setting up new body for river-linking projects in Indiapublished by Indian Express on 16th November 2021.


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