9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 22nd, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

China, India population: Implications of slowing dragon, racing elephant

Source: The post is based on an article “China, India population: Implications of slowing dragon, racing elephant” published in The Indian Express on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 1 – Population

News:  China will for the first time register an absolute decline in its population in 2022 whereas India’s population is expected to surpass China in 2023.

What are the factors responsible for change in the population?

There are two main factors – Mortality rate and Fertility rate.

Reduction in mortality rate leads to a rising population whereas a decline in fertility rate slows down population growth.

Mortality rate has fallen due to increased education levels, public health and vaccination programs, access to food and medical care, and provision of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in both nations.

The Crude Death Rate (CDR) has fallen from double digit to single digit for both countries and in 2020 it was 7.3-7.4 for both nations. Life expectancy at birth has also increased for both nations.

However, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has fallen for India in the last three decades (Chart 1). It came down from 3.4 to 2 between 1993-93 and 2019-21. It implies that India has reached replacement-level fertility.

A TFR 2.1 is considered as replacement-level fertility. It means that two new lives are born to replace parents. However, India’s population is still increasing despite the low level of TFR.

Why is the population still increasing?

It is because in order to reduce population growth, the TFR should be below replacement level which is not the case with India.

For Example, China’s TFR fell below replacement first in 1991 and it took over 30 years for below-replacement fertility rates to translate into negative population growth.

How is population decline a concern for China and increasing population advantage for India?

China

China’s declining population became a cause of concerns due to the decline in the working age population. China officially ended its one-child policy from 2016.

The working age population is useful for economic growth but a fall in the working age population results in less labour force required to look after the aging population with low economic growth.

India

India has just begun seeing fertility rates fall to replacement levels including in rural areas. India will achieve below replacement level of growth about 40 years from now even though it is seeing decline in fertility rate.

The share of the working age population is expected to peak in the mid-2030s. Therefore, India has an opportunity in the coming years to utilise its demographic dividend like China did from the late 1980s until up to 2015.

However, creating jobs that promote growth outside agriculture will remain a challenge for India as agriculture accounts for a large workforce in India (Chart 3).

Therefore, India needs to create job opportunities in manufacturing and modern services that employ its workforce and benefit its economic growth.

GS Paper 2


About transferring the judges: The Bar and the Bench

Source: The post is based on the article “The Bar and the Bench” published in the Indian Express on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS-2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About transferring the judges of High Courts.

News: The transfers of high court judges, especially from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh High Courts once again stirred the debate on transferring the judges.

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

Article 222 deals with the transfer of a judge from one high court to another by the President after consultation with the CJI.

What are the concerns associated with transferring the judges?

The desire to protect the independence of the judiciary was the bedrock of the Supreme Court. This is evident by its decision in 2016 to declare the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, including Article 124 A of the Constitution as unconstitutional.

But transferring of judges like the recent one from the collegium have raised serious doubt about their intentions to protect the independence of the judiciary.

Read more: Why does the SC collegium hold primacy over transfers?
What needs to be done while transferring the judges?

According to Justice J S Verma, a) Constitutional functionaries, who are involved in the process of appointing superior judges, have to “be fully alive to the serious implications of their constitutional obligations and be zealous in its discharge in order to ensure that no doubtful appointment can be made”, b) The primacy of the CJI and of the HCs was to ensure the best suitability and eliminate political influences, c) The personal factors relating to the judge concerned, and his response to the proposal, including his preference of places of transfer, should be taken into account by the Chief Justice of India before forming his final opinion.

Further, the CJI must take the views of those senior members of the Bar who can express views which may be considered relevant.

Read more: There’s a need for transparency in transfer of judges

Revised Personal Data Protection Bill: One step forward, one step back

Source: The post is based on the article “Revised Personal Data Protection Bill: One step forward, one step back” published in the Indian Express on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS-2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: About the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

News: The Union government released the revised version of the Personal Data Protection Bill for public comment. The Bill is now called as the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

What are the salient features of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022?
Read here: Draft digital data protection Bill tabled for comments
What are the major changes in the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

Liberal on cross-border data: The earlier version of the Bill imposes stringent conditions on cross-border data flows. Companies were mandated to store a copy of “sensitive” personal data within India, while taking out “critical” personal data from the country was barred.

The new draft does not impose any such requirements on firms. They can now transfer the data to countries which are listed by the government. This will be welcomed not only by Big Tech but also by the burgeoning start-up ecosystem in the country.

What are the major concerns with the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

a) Wider exemptions are extended to government agencies from adhering to some of the provisions of the Bill along with limited safeguards, b) The new bill curtailed the independence and the extent of the authority vested in the proposed Data Protection Board, and c) The basis on which the government chooses a particular country is not yet clear.

Read more: Why the Personal Data Protection Bill is bad news for business
What needs to be done to improve the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

Implement the recommendations of the joint parliamentary committee: The committee’s study on an earlier version of the Bill suggested that the exemption provided under the Bill should be “just, fair, reasonable and proportionate procedure”. So, providing greater power to the government as opposed to an independent statutory authority, need to be re-examined.


Judging A Decade Of POCSO

Source: The post is based on the article “Judging A Decade Of POCSO” published in The Times of India on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS-2 – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Relevance: About the implementation of the POCSO Act.

News: On November 14, 2022, the POCSO Act completed a decade of being on the statute books in India. It is now time to analyse how the Act meets the objectives it set out to achieve.

What is the POCSO Act?
Read here: POCSO Act
What are the hurdles in the implementation of POCSO Act?

The Act has encountered hurdles at all stages of its implementation. This is because,

On the government side, there is a) A slow pace to designate Special Courts. b) A delay in investigation and filing of chargesheets, c) A non-appointment of support persons for child victims.

From the judicial angle, there is a delay in the disposal of POCSO cases presents one of the biggest challenges in meeting the Act’s objectives.

For instance, a) For cases ending in acquittal, while Chandigarh takes about six months (on average) to dispose of a case, Himachal Pradesh takes about two years and 10 months, b) For cases ending in conviction, the average case length ranges from about 10 months in Chandigarh to over three years and nine months in Delhi.

What are the potential impacts of the hurdles on the implementation of the POCSO Act?

1) Negatively impact the child victim who might be re-traumatised by being forced to relive the details of an incident of sexual violence years later, 2) Slow disposals may also have a bearing on the outcome of the trial. As more time passes, witnesses might start to forget important details pertaining to the case.

Read more: The POCSO Act and associated issues
What are the positive aspects in the implementation of the POSCO Act?

a) The criminal justice system is more sensitive towards child victims today than it was a decade ago, b) Varying performance of states in the time they take to dispose of POCSO cases goes on to show that the states lagging behind might catch up in some time.

Read more: Historical Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse under POCSO Act
What should be done to improve the implementation of the POCSO Act?

The government and the judiciary need to assess the gaps in implementation and strengthen the capacity of the various actors to meet the objectives of the Act.

-Policy interventions to improve the functioning of the Act must be tailored to meet the specific capacity constraints faced by different states and a one-size-fits-all approach is best avoided.

-The better-performing states can help to evolve certain best practices that can be adopted by other states.

-Strong data systems and digital platforms can help transfer learning across states and contextualise the best practices to the local courts.

GS Paper 3


Development of Great Nicobar: strategic imperative and ecological concerns

Source: The post is based on an article “Development of Great Nicobar: strategic imperative and ecological concerns” published in The Indian Express on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure

News: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has given environmental clearance for the development of a project on the Great Nicobar Island. The project is to be implemented in three phases over the next 30 years.

What is the project?

A “greenfield city” has been proposed, including an International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), a greenfield international airport, a power plant, and a township for the personnel who will implement the project.

The proposed port (ICTT) will allow Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major part in cargo transshipment. The port will be controlled by the Indian Navy.

The airport will have dual military-civilian functions and will be useful for tourism.

Roads, public transport, water supply and waste management facilities, and several hotels have been planned for tourists. The project will also help in creating direct and indirect jobs on the island.

However, the proposed project will lead to cutting of trees and acquiring the forest area.

What is the purpose of the project?

Tourism: The project will help in the growth of the tourism industry in the Great Nicobar Island. Further, the location of the island is important for economic and strategic reasons.

Hub for Cargo Ships: Great Nicobar is equidistant from Colombo to the southwest and Port Klang and Singapore to the southeast, and is close to the East-West international shipping corridor. The proposed ICTT can become a hub for cargo ships travelling on this route.

National Security: Great Nicobar is also important for national security purposes and consolidation of the Indian Ocean Region. The increase in the presence of Chinese ships in the region of Bay of Bengal and in the Indo-Pacific is also a major concern.

What are the concerns with the project?

Great Nicobar is an ecologically important area and the development of the project will lead to deforestation affecting the flora and fauna of the region.

It will also lead to increased runoff and deposits of the sediments in the ocean, which will impact the coral reefs including loss of mangroves on the island.

What has the government done to address this concern?

The Government has successfully translocated a coral reef from the Gulf of Mannar to the Gulf of Kutch. The Zoological Survey of India is also assessing the amount of reef required to be relocated for the project.

The government has said that a conservation plan for the leatherback turtle is also under consideration.

As per the government, the project site is outside the eco-sensitive zones of Campbell Bay and Galathea National Park and the project will acquire only a small portion of the island.

Moreover, 15 percent of the development area itself will be green cover and open spaces. Therefore, it is necessary to develop the project as it is important for national security and strategically.


Private-sector participation in space: Space for start-ups

Source: The post is based on the article “Space for start-ups” published in the Business Standard on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Awareness in the field of space

Relevance: About the private-sector participation in space.

News: The successful launch of Vikram-S, India’s first privately built rocket from start-up Skyroot, has focused on the opening up of space to private enterprises. Once the technology stabilises, the firm expects to launch two rockets a month.

About Vikram-S
Read here: Vikram-S: India’s first private launch vehicle all set for maiden flight
What is the potential of the Indian private sector in the space sector and the advantages of rapid launch capabilities?
Read here: Importance of the private sector in manufacturing quick launch capabilities 

The global commercial space market is worth $360 billion and expected to grow to at least $500 billion by 2030. Both government agencies and private-sector firms are intent on launching satellites to service demands across areas ranging from internet broadband to entertainment delivery, climate monitoring, and multiple geo-location-based services.

How private-sector participation in space will enhance the capability of ISRO?

India’s space market share is just about $7 billion, which is tiny, given the impressive capacity developed by ISRO. But the private participation will a) Help to translate ISRO’s demonstrated capabilities into business opportunities, b) Boost India’s market share to $50 billion, or roughly 10%, by 2030, c) Help ISRO to focus on R&D and farm out the job of manufacturing components in accordance with specifications to the private sector, d) Ensure technology transfers from the agency to private players, and e) Allows private players to use Isro facilities for launches and tests as Skyroot did.

All this will enable private enterprises to move up the value chain from being component suppliers to players in the aerospace sector. On the other hand, ISRO could concentrate on more demanding tasks such as building bigger rockets and satellites with more capacity and more sophisticated capabilities.

What are the steps taken by the government to increase private-sector participation in space?

ISRO will soon induct a batch of five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) which are being built by a consortium of Hindustan Aeronautics and Larsen & Toubro. This marks the first instance where an entire rocket has been built outside the agency.

Hughes communication is in collaboration to deliver commercial broadband using ISRO satellites.

How did NASA benefit from private-sector participation in space?

NASA now tenders out all its manufacturers and issues tenders for innovative designs according to its specifications. For example, a) the reusable Falcon 9 rockets and the Starlink satellite service of SpaceX arose out of this policy, b) All the designs for NASA’s Artemis Mission is getting obtained through private R&D working to NASA specifications.

On the other hand, NASA does some of its own designs and releases many patents. So, the adoption of a similar policy could turn India into an aerospace powerhouse.


Low crop yield in India: WHAT FARMING NEEDS: A GIANT TECH LEAP

Source: The post is based on the article “WHAT FARMING NEEDS: A GIANT TECH LEAP” published in the Livemint on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS-3 – Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

Relevance: About low crop yield in India.

News: Low crop yield in India is a grave concern for Indian Agriculture.

How low crop yield in India stands against the yield of various countries?
India's Yield Gap
Source: Livemint

Soy yields in India are three-four times lower compared to the US and Argentina

Mustard yields are almost half compared to canola grown in Canada (mustard and canola belong to the same Brassica genus).

India is among the top producers of cotton in the world but yields are less than a fourth when compared to China.

Average rice yields in India are 57% of China and lower than even Bangladesh and Vietnam.

India is the largest producer of milk in the world but cattle milk yields (per animal per year) are 60% of China and less than a fifth of the US.

Why are crop yields so abysmally low in India?

This is because,

1) Low investments in public research: Total agriculture research spending in India grew from $0.5 billion in 1981 to $4 billion in 2016 (in purchasing power parity terms). During this period, spending in China grew from $0.2 billion to $7.7 billion,

2) A weak IPR regime discourages the private sector to invest and innovate, 3) Small farmers are unable to invest in crop management practices and technologies which can improve yields, and 4) Under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, 2001, farmers are allowed to reuse, exchange and sell seed of any variety. This restricts the private sector only to hybrid seed varieties.

5) In India, farmers have been growing the same seed variety for two decades. For instance, Indian farmers are forced to plant soybean seeds which were released for cultivation more than 15 years ago.

6) Outdated technologies: For instance, In cotton, India is the only large producer growing hybrids. While the rest of the world is growing open-pollinated varieties.

Read more: We must break ‘lock-ins’ of water usage in agriculture
What are the potential impacts of low crop yield in India?

a) Impact farmer incomes, b) Low yield will lead to inefficient and unsustainable use of soils, nutrients, water and land.

c) Farmers resort to illegal seeds: As seed technology is outdated, to save on labour costs of clearing weeds and increasing yields farmers resort to planting non-approved seed varieties. For instance, nearly a fifth of India’s cotton area is now planted with illegal herbicide-tolerant GM cotton seeds.

Why India needs to work on its low crop yield?

1) According to the FAO, the world will need 50% more food by 2050 to feed the increasing global population along with a lower carbon footprint, 2) India’s arable land is shrinking, and 3) As climate shocks become frequent, agriculture will emerge as a strategic sector for India and the entire world.

The only option left for India is to achieve agriculture sector growth by improving productivity.

Read more: India’s Agriculture Exports: Status and Challenges – Explained, pointwise
What should be done to improve low crop yield in India?

-The focus should be to increase output not just per unit of land but also with respect to water and fertilizer use.

Upgrade farmers regularly with improved seed varieties.

-Central bodies and others have to be strengthened with resources, so they have the capacity to deliver to the changing needs.

-India should develop science-based crop management practices armed with data analytics. For instance, the variable rate technology (VRT) in US helps farmers to track soil health in real-time.

Overall India has to focus on precision agriculture along with sustainable practices like zero-till and mulching to improve its low yield.


Private-sector participation in space: Space for start-ups

Source: The post is based on the article “Space for start-ups” published in the Business Standard on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Awareness in the field of space

Relevance: About the private-sector participation in space.

News: The successful launch of Vikram-S, India’s first privately built rocket from start-up Skyroot, has focused on the opening up of space to private enterprises. Once the technology stabilises, the firm expects to launch two rockets a month.

About Vikram-S
Read here: Vikram-S: India’s first private launch vehicle all set for maiden flight
What is the potential of the Indian private sector in the space sector and the advantages of rapid launch capabilities?
Read here: Importance of the private sector in manufacturing quick launch capabilities 

The global commercial space market is worth $360 billion and expected to grow to at least $500 billion by 2030. Both government agencies and private-sector firms are intent on launching satellites to service demands across areas ranging from internet broadband to entertainment delivery, climate monitoring, and multiple geo-location-based services.

How private-sector participation in space will enhance the capability of ISRO?

India’s space market share is just about $7 billion, which is tiny, given the impressive capacity developed by ISRO. But the private participation will a) Help to translate ISRO’s demonstrated capabilities into business opportunities, b) Boost India’s market share to $50 billion, or roughly 10%, by 2030, c) Help ISRO to focus on R&D and farm out the job of manufacturing components in accordance with specifications to the private sector, d) Ensure technology transfers from the agency to private players, and e) Allows private players to use Isro facilities for launches and tests as Skyroot did.

All this will enable private enterprises to move up the value chain from being component suppliers to players in the aerospace sector. On the other hand, ISRO could concentrate on more demanding tasks such as building bigger rockets and satellites with more capacity and more sophisticated capabilities.

What are the steps taken by the government to increase private-sector participation in space?

ISRO will soon induct a batch of five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) which are being built by a consortium of Hindustan Aeronautics and Larsen & Toubro. This marks the first instance where an entire rocket has been built outside the agency.

Hughes communication is in collaboration to deliver commercial broadband using ISRO satellites.

How did NASA benefit from private-sector participation in space?

NASA now tenders out all its manufacturers and issues tenders for innovative designs according to its specifications. For example, a) the reusable Falcon 9 rockets and the Starlink satellite service of SpaceX arose out of this policy, b) All the designs for NASA’s Artemis Mission is getting obtained through private R&D working to NASA specifications.

On the other hand, NASA does some of its own designs and releases many patents. So, the adoption of a similar policy could turn India into an aerospace powerhouse.


The geoheritage value of Ram Setu

Source: The post is based on the article “The geoheritage value of Ram Setu” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 3: Environmental Conservation.

Relevance: About Ram Setu and Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP).

News: The Supreme Court gave the Centre four weeks’ time to file a response clarifying its stand on a plea seeking national heritage status for the ‘Ram Setu’.

What is Ram Setu?
Read here: Ram Setu – A bridge across history, mythology and controversy

In 2003 researchers at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad using satellite remote-sensing imagery concluded that Ram Setu is not man-made, “but comprises 103 small patch reefs lying in a linear pattern with reef crest, sand cays and intermittent deep channels”.

What is the story behind the formation of Ram Setu?

During a global glaciation period that began around 2.6 million years ago and ended 11,700 years ago, the Indian coast, including parts of the Sethusamudram, may have been raised above the water.

And in time, the platforms may have been used by migrants to cross oceans. The Ramayana refers to a putative land bridge in this region.

The post-glaciation period witnessed a steady rise in sea levels around the world leading to the submergence of the bridge.

About Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP)

It can be traced back to the British, who proposed creating a channel to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar. The project was inaugurated in 2005. However, the project has been opposed on various grounds.

The CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute ruled out any serious environmental risk and certified the feasibility of the project. The SSCP, if completed, is expected to considerably reduce the navigation time between the east and west coasts of India.

What are the concerns associated with the SSCP?
Environmental concerns

Impacts of Waves: Computer models suggest that the central, eastern and northeastern parts of Palk Bay may be impacted by waves of higher energy. This means that these areas will receive more sediment, rendering them more turbid.

Impact of Cyclone: The area is also vulnerable to cyclonic storms. A cyclone in 1964 was so powerful that it wiped out the town of Dhanushkodi. So, finding safe places for dumping dredged material without harming terrestrial or marine ecosystems is a big challenge.

Emissions from ships: Emissions from ships will pollute the air and water. Any accident to a ship carrying oil or coal will lead to an ecological disaster.

Might be a final blow to the marine biosphere: The coral reef platforms between Thoothukudi and Rameswaram in the Gulf of Mannar were notified as a marine biosphere reserve in 1989. The reserve has more than 36,000 species of flora and fauna.

This area is already threatened by discharge from thermal plants, brine run-off from salt pans, and illegal mining of corals. The SSCP, if it becomes a reality, might be the final blow to this sensitive environment and to the livelihoods of the people.

Religious grounds

Religious groups have been opposing the project as they believe that the structure is mentioned in the Ramayana and have immense religious significance.

What needs to be done?

Geodiversity consists of varied landforms and features representative of dynamic natural processes. The natural heritage of a country includes its geological heritage. The value of abiotic factors like geology, soils and landforms is also recognised for their roles in supporting habitats for biodiversity.

The Ram Setu carries the unique geological imprints of an eventful past. Therefore, it needs to be preserved not just as a national heritage monument, but also as a geoheritage structure as defined from a scientific perspective.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Union Health Ministry rolls out country’s first suicide prevention policy

Source: The post is based on the article “Union Health Ministry rolls out country’s first suicide prevention policy” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced a National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

About National Suicide Prevention Strategy

National Suicide Prevention Strategy is a first of its kind in the country.

Purpose: It seeks time-bound action plans and multi-sectoral collaborations to achieve reduction in suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.

The strategy is in line with the WHO’s South East-Asia Region Strategy for suicide prevention.

Key features of the strategy: The strategy broadly seeks to 

– Establish effective surveillance mechanisms for suicide within the next three years

– Establish psychiatric outpatient departments that will provide suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in all districts within the next five years

– Integrate a mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutions within the next eight years. 

– Develop guidelines for responsible media reporting of suicides and restrict access to means of suicide. 

– Develop community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention.

About the status of suicide cases in India

In India, more than one lakh lives are lost every year to suicide and it is the top killer in the 15-29 years category.  In the past three years, the suicide rate has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 1,00,000 population.

The most common reasons for suicide include family problems and illnesses, which account for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related deaths.


Andaman & Nicobar’s first application for the Geographical Indication tag is for the Nicobari hodi craft

Source: The post is based on the article “Andaman & Nicobar’s first application for the Geographical Indication tag is for the Nicobari hodi craft” published in The Hindu on 21st November 2022.

What is the News?

Andaman & Nicobar Islands has filed an application, seeking the Geographical Indication(GI) tag for the Nicobari Hodi craft.

This is the first application from the Union Territory seeking a tag for one of its products.

What is Nicobar Hodi?
Nicobar Hodi
Source: Dinamani

The Hodi is the Nicobari tribe’s traditional craft. It is an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in the Nicobar group of islands.

Process of Making Hodi: The technical skills for building a hodi are based on indigenous knowledge inherited by the Nicobarese from their forefathers.

– The hodi is built using either locally available trees or from nearby islands and its design varies slightly from island to island.

– Considerations to be taken into account while building hodi include the length of the finished canoe, which has to be 12 times that of its width while the length of the undressed tree trunk has to be 15 times this width.

Uses: Hodis are used for transporting people and goods from one island to another, for sending coconuts, and for fishing and racing purposes.

Significance: The tuhet, a group of families under a headman, consider the hodi an asset. Hodi races are held between islands and villages.


Centre launches framework for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce

Source: The post is based on the following articles:

 “Centre launches framework for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commercepublished in PIB on 21ST November 2022.

Centre sets standard for e-commerce reviews” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

What is the News?

The Department of Consumer Affairs has unveiled the new standard – Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 on “Online Consumer Reviews” and Ratings.

What is Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 on “Online Consumer Reviews” and Ratings?

Prepared by: Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS) 

Aim: To protect consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce platforms. 

Applicability: The standards will be applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews.

Key Provisions

Guiding principles: integrity, accuracy, privacy, security, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness. 

The standard will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms. BIS will also develop a Conformity Assessment Scheme for the standard to assess compliance. 

Responsibilities: The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.

-For review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions, providing contact information.

For review administrators, these include safeguarding personal information and training of staff.

– The standard provides for methods for verification of the review author through email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using captcha system to check traceability and genuineness of the review author

– With respect to moderation, the standard provides for both automated and manual moderation and provides checks for analyzing the review content.

What is the significance of these standards issued for online consumer reviews?

Over the last few years, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country. 

Reviews posted online play a significant role in making purchase decisions and consumers exceedingly rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service.

Online reviews have a greater influence on consumers mainly in three sectors – tour and travel, restaurant and eateries and consumer durables.

However, there are complaints about the menace of fake online reviews. Countries are struggling with how to handle fake reviews.

In this context, these standards are important. Moreover, with the notification of the standard, India will be the first country in the world to have such a norm for Online Consumer Reviews.


Dalbergia sissoo: India gets CITES rules eased for export of Shisham items

Source: The post is based on the following articles:

 “India gets CITES rules eased for export of Shisham itemspublished in TOI on 22nd November 2022.

Cites Cop-19: Huge Relief to Handicraft Exporters of Indiapublished in PIB on 21st November 2022.

What is the News?

India has got rules for the export of Shisham or North India Rosewood (Dalbergia Sissoo) eased under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES).

What is Dalbergia sissoo?

Dalbergia sissoo is commonly known as North Indian Rosewood or Shisham. It is a fast-growing, hardy, deciduous rosewood tree native to the Indian subcontinent and southern Iran. 

Distribution: It is native to the foothills of the Himalayas. It is primarily found growing along river banks.

Uses: It is used as firewood, timber, poles, posts, tool handles, fodder, erosion control and as a windbreak. Oil is extracted from the seed and tannin from the bark.

What is the CITES status of Dalbergia sissoo?

Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is included in Appendix II of the convention, thereby requiring countries to follow CITES regulations for the trade of the species.

As of now every consignment of weight above 10 kg requires a CITES permit.

Impact of Restriction on India: In India, the species Dalbergia sissoo is found in abundance and is not treated as an endangered species. 

But due to the restriction, exports of furniture and handicrafts made of Dalbergia sissoo from India have been continuously falling from an estimated 1000 crore Indian Rupees per annum before the listing to 500-600 crore Indian Rupees (~64 to 77 million USD) per annum after the listing. 

The decrease in exports of Dalbergia sissoo products has affected the livelihoods of around 50,000 artisans who work with the species.

What happened at the 19th meeting of CITES?

India and other countries had asked for delisting Dalbergia sissoo from CITES Appendix II. However, CITES did not agree to de-list the species from Appendix II. But it gave relief in terms of the weight of each item.

This will solve the problem of Indian artisan communities to a great extent and will give a tremendous boost to exports of articles produced by them.


Qatar signs world’s ‘longest’ gas supply deal with China

Source: The post is based on the article “Qatar signs world’s ‘longest’ gas supply deal with China” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

What is the News?

China has signed a landmark $60 billion agreement for purchases of liquefied natural gas from Qatar.

What is the deal signed between Qatar and China on LNG?

China has reached a $60 billion agreement with Qatar to secure Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) flows.

The deal is for 27 years, making it China’s longest LNG supply agreement till date.

The deal also marks the longest gas supply agreement in the history of the LNG industry.

Note: Europe is also trying to replace Russian pipeline gas with LNG from Qatar though talks with Qatar have stalled amid reluctance from Germany to commit to long-term contracts.

– Many EU governments want to phase out fossil fuels and believe LNG deals would work against their climate goals.

What is North Field?

The North Field is part of the world’s biggest gas field that Qatar shares with Iran which calls its share South Pars.

North Field is at the center of Qatar’s expansion of its liquefied natural gas production by more than 60% to 126 million tonnes a year by 2027. 

China is the first country to seal a deal for North Field East.


NCPCR launches ‘GHAR’ to enable smooth repatriation of children to their native place

Source: The post is based on the article NCPCR launches ‘GHAR’ to enable smooth repatriation of children to their native placepublished in TOI on 21st November 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development has launched the GHAR – GO Home and Re-Unite Portal on the occasion of World Children’s Day (20th November).

What is GHAR – GO Home and Re-Unite Portal?

Launched by: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) 

Purpose: It is a portal for restoration and repatriation of children.

Key Features of the Portal: Digital tracking and monitoring of children who are in the Juvenile Justice(JJ) system and have to be repatriated to another Country/State/District.  

– Digital transfer of cases of children to the concerned Child Welfare Committees(CWCs) of the State. It will help in the speedy repatriation of children. 

– CWCs and District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) will ensure proper restoration and rehabilitation of children by digitally monitoring the progress of the case of the child.

A checklist format will be provided in the forms so that the children who are being hard to repatriate or children who are not getting their entitled compensation or other monetary benefits can be identified. 

– A list of Government implemented schemes will be provided so that at the time of restoration the CWCs can link the child with the schemes to strengthen the family and ensure that the child remains with his/her family.


Jeevan Pramaan: 25 lakh Central govt. pensioners receive digital life certificates

Source: The post is based on the article “25 lakh Central govt. pensioners receive digital life certificates” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

What is the News?

Around 25 lakh Central government pensioners have been provided Jeevan Pramaan certificates out of which 2.2 lakh certificates were enabled by facial authentication.

What is Jeevan Pramaan?

Jeevan Pramaan is a digital life certificate for pensioners that is biometrically enabled and based on Aadhaar.

Aim: To streamline the process of getting the life certificate hassle-free and much easier for pensioners. 

Eligibility: Pensioners of the Central Government, State Government or any other Government organization can take benefit from this facility.

How is Jeevan Pramaan different from a traditional life certificate?

For Jeevan Pramaan (Digital Life Certificate) the pensioner is not required to present himself/ herself personally before the Pension Disbursing Officer. 

DLC also does not have to be submitted physically to the Pension Disbursing Agency (Bank/Post Office etc) as it is available to them digitally and is automatically processed by the Pension Disbursing Agency. Also each DLC has a unique id called the Pramaan-Id.

What is the change the government has brought in the issuance of Jeevan Praman certificates?

The government has been issuing Jeevan Pramaan certificates for pensioners through face recognition technology to ensure transparency and ‘ease of usage’.

Pensioners can get this by using a web-based or mobile-based application ‘Jeevan Pramaan’ – accessible at www.jeevanpramaan.gov.in.

The identity of a person is established through a face recognition techniques using the Aadhaar platform and a digital life certificate(DLC) gets generated.


India opposes attempt to link action on emissions to farming

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia opposes attempt to link action on emissions to farmingpublished in Hindustan Times on 20th November 2022.

What is the News?

India has communicated strong objections to discussions under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture(KJWA) which has sought to expand efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to the agriculture sector.

What is Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture(KJWA)?

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture(KJWA) is a landmark decision recognizing the unique potential of agriculture in tackling climate change. 

The KJWA was established at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) in Fiji in 2017 as a new process to advance discussions on agriculture in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC).

The joint work will address six topics related to soils, nutrient use, water, livestock, methods for assessing adaptation, and the socio-economic and food security dimensions of climate change across the agricultural sectors.

Why has India opposed the discussions under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA)?

A draft decision under the Koronivia Joint Work mentions mitigation – the efforts to reduce greenhouses gases emissions from the agriculture sector.

India has opposed this draft and said that these are not “luxury” emissions but “survival” emissions of the poor. It blamed the developed countries’ historic emissions for the current climate crisis.

In most developing countries across the world, agriculture is done by small and marginal farmers who till hard, toil hard and brave the vagaries of extreme weather and climate variability as well as the additional stress of climate change.

By seeking to extend the scope of mitigation to agriculture, India has contended, developed countries want the world agriculture, lands and seascapes to become a site of mitigation for their profligate, excessive emissions.

Note: Similar stand has been taken by India on emissions from methane in the farm sector also. It doesn’t want any reference to emissions from agriculture because India is highly dependent on agriculture. Nearly half of all Indians depend on farm-derived income.


Poland row: What invoking NATO’s Article 4 means

Source: The post is based on the articlePoland row: What invoking NATO’s Article 4 means published in Indian Express on 20th November 2022.

What is the News?

NATO is in the eye of the storm after one of its member nations Poland said that a Russian missile killed two of its citizens.

What is NATO?

Click Here to read

What is Article 4 of NATO?

Article 4 of the NATO charter says that member states will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of another member is threatened.

It establishes a consultation mechanism among members to exchange views and information and discuss issues prior to reaching an agreement and taking action.

Member states are not obligated to act if Article 4 is invoked, although deliberations could result in a decision to take joint NATO action.

Article 4 has been invoked seven times since NATO was established in 1949. 

What is Article 5 of NATO?

Article 5 is a collective defense clause. It states that the parties to the NATO treaty agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.

It says that each member of NATO must take such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. 

It also authorizes the alliance to launch an armed response, but the wording is broad and leaves room for other types of action.

This clause was only invoked once, after the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.


The future of Indian economy: Should it play the power game or values game?

Source– The post is based on the article “The future of Indian economy: Should it play the power game or values game?” published in the Business Standard on 26th November 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy Relevance: Economic policy News- The article explains the dilemmas faced by Indian policymakers while deciding the right policies for economic… Continue reading The future of Indian economy: Should it play the power game or values game?

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Climate justice means rich nations helping migrants

Source: The post is based on the article “Climate justice means rich nations helping migrants” published in The Times of India on 26th November 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment Relevance: impact of climate change. News: The article discusses the impact of climate change. What is the impact of climate change? Climate change causes climate refugees, i.e., people… Continue reading Climate justice means rich nations helping migrants

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Why India’s push for millets is yet to gain widespread traction

Source: The post is based on an article “Why India’s push for millets is yet to gain widespread traction” published in The Indian Express on 26th November 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Agriculture Relevance: importance of millets News: The year 2023 will be celebrated as the International Year of Millets. The external affairs minister S. Jaishankar has put… Continue reading Why India’s push for millets is yet to gain widespread traction

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The Constitution of India deserves better

Source– The post is based on the article “Constitution Day: A rare, enduring document” published in The India Express and “The Constitution of India deserves better” published in The Hindu on 26th November 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Indian Constitution Relevance: Making of Indian constitution News- The article explains the basic facts about evolution and present working… Continue reading The Constitution of India deserves better

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COP27 and the ambiguity about responsibility

Source– The post is based on the article “COP27 and the ambiguity about responsibility” published in The Hindu on 26th November 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Environmental degradation Relevance: Climate change News- The article explains the issues related to the climate finance and Loss and Damage provisions. What is Loss and Damage agenda for developing countries? The… Continue reading COP27 and the ambiguity about responsibility

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All India Open Test for Prelims 2023 by ForumIAS | 4th December 2022

Dear Friends,   Prelims is the gateway to Mains Exam. Before appearing for the actual examination of UPSC CSE, it is necessary to appear in the mock test and get used to the real exam interface. One can only be a master of something when someone assesses his own strength and weakness and overcome this.… Continue reading All India Open Test for Prelims 2023 by ForumIAS | 4th December 2022

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What is CDSL, India’s registered share depository?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is CDSL, India’s registered share depository?” published in Indian Express on 24th November. What is the News? Certain services at Central Depositories Services India Ltd(CDSL) were disrupted due to a suspected cyber attack. What is CDSL? CDSL or Central Depositories Services India Ltd was founded in… Continue reading What is CDSL, India’s registered share depository?

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China plans to build its first moon base powered by nuclear energy by 2028

Source: The post is based on the article “China plans to build its first moon base powered by nuclear energy by 2028” published in Business Standard on 26th November. What is the News? China plans to build its first base on the moon by 2028 followed by the landing of astronauts there in the years… Continue reading China plans to build its first moon base powered by nuclear energy by 2028

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Work on India’s first-ever Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh’s Hanle going on in full swing and shall be complete in over a month’s time

Source: The post is based on the article “Work on India’s first-ever Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh’s Hanle going on in full swing and shall be complete in over a month’s time” published in PIB on 26th November. What is the News? The Department of Science & Technology (DST) has announced the setting up of… Continue reading Work on India’s first-ever Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh’s Hanle going on in full swing and shall be complete in over a month’s time

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Indians received the biggest share of U.K. work visas: report

Source: The post is based on the article “Indians received the biggest share of U.K. work visas: report” published in The Hindu on 26th November. What is the News? According to the British High Commission in India, Indian nationals continued to be the top nationality to be granted ‘worker’ visas from the UK. Increased mobility… Continue reading Indians received the biggest share of U.K. work visas: report

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