9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 25th, 2022
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- The G20 president’s responsibility: Ensuring the delivery of the new loss and damage climate fund
- Russia’s nuclear icebreakers and militarisation of the Arctic
- Courts’ Pendency Crisis: One Wheel Cannot Move A Chariot
- Why the admission of a disabled person to the European Space Agency is a win
- Disquiet in Northeast
- India-Australia trade pact’s ratification is good, but staying competitive is critical
- A word of advice on OTT and the draft Telecom Bill
- What the measles outbreak in India reveals
GS Paper 3
- Be Punchy On Munchy – On Front of Packet Labelling (FOPL)
- Pricing power – After doing course correction, TRAI needs to free tariffs
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill-2022: Coming, a tough law to prevent cruelty to animals. Why is it needed?
- Startup India launches Startup applications for MAARG Portal
- India strengthens the CITES protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle
- India carries out successful training launch of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-3 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island
- India Air Force conducting HADR Exercise Samanvay 2022
- Civil Aviation Ministry notifies draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022
- Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT): Govt mulls nodal body to secure power grids
- Exercise Naseem-Al-Bahr
- What is a loan write-off and why do banks do it?
- Centre launches ‘Toilets 2.0’ campaign in Bengaluru
- Supreme Court questions ‘lightning speed’, 24-hour procedure appointing Arun Goel as Election Commissioner
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source– The post is based on the article “The G20 president’s responsibility: Ensuring the delivery of the new loss and damage climate fund” published in The Indian Express on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral groupings involving India interest. GS3- Environment degradation
News- The article explains the opportunity provided by the G20 presidency to ensure concrete steps on climate change.
COP27 agreed to enable financing Loss and Damage associated with climate change.
What is Loss and Damage?
It refers to the adverse impacts that vulnerable communities and countries face as a result of a changing climate.
It includes the increased incidents and intensity of natural disasters and extreme weather as well as slow-onset temperature increase, sea-level rise, or desertification.
What was decided at COP27 on climate change?
The COP27 decision includes the development of a Transition Committee dedicated to Loss and Damage, with equal representation across rich and poor countries.
This committee has been tasked with configuring institutional arrangements, identifying and expanding sources of funding, and coordinating with existing funding arrangements. It has to be done by COP28 in the UAE next year.
How should India use the opportunity provided by the G20 presidency to ensure concrete steps on Loss and Damage provisions agreed at COP27?
First, develop a Global Vulnerability Index to climate change. Such data and research in the public domain helps map critical vulnerabilities. It helps to plan strategies to build resilience by climate-proofing communities, economies and infrastructure.
Last year, CEEW developed a Climate Vulnerability Index for India. It was based on exposure to extreme events, sensitivity of the communities, and adaptive capacity of local administrations.
Pressure will also be put on large emerging economies, with rising emissions, to contribute to LD financing. India must continue to press for higher volumes of international adaptation funds.
Secondly,there is a need to encourage attribution science. The purpose is to assess whether and to what extent human-caused climate change altered the likelihood and intensity of extreme climatic events.
Contributions from the Global South on global research on climate change are limited. A recent study found that only 3.8% of global climate research spending is dedicated to Africa. 78% is spent in Europe and North America.
India should encourage the development of a South-led research consortium dedicated to scientific exploration of event attribution science.
Thirdly, there is a need to promote Early Warning Systems Initiative. The Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All Initiative, unveiled at COP27 aims to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years.
It has called for targeted investments of $3.1 billion during 2023-27. It could avoid annual losses of $3-16 billion against natural hazards in developing countries.
The rollout of such systems with last mile connectivity in Odisha has already shown its usefulness.
Fourthly, leverage the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). India founded CDRI to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development.
India can also push for a Global Resilience Reserve Fund. It will act as insurance cushion against severe physical and macroeconomic shocks imposed by climate risks. It can be capitalised by IMF Special Drawing Rights.
What should be the way forward to fight climate change?
L&D financing is not enough. Enhanced and accelerated emissions mitigation is still much needed. This is in India’s development interests.
In the case of technology, sectoral partnerships and technology co-development are likely to be the way forward. We should not wait for technologies that never get transferred.
Future COPs must focus almost exclusively on ensuring delivery and accountability. Otherwise, the COP process will be lost and multilateralism more permanently damaged.
Source– The post is based on the article “Russia’s nuclear icebreakers and militarisation of the Arctic” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Effects of policies of developed and developing countries on India interest
Relevance: Increasing importance of Arctic
News- The article explains the increasing significance of the Arctic. It also explains the recent Russian efforts to increase its presence in this region.
The Russian President recently launched two nuclear-powered icebreakers Ural and Yakutia.
Why are Russian icebreakers significant?
The icebreakers were laid down as part of their systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet. There are two already similar vessels in service.
A much more powerful nuclear icebreaker “Rossiya” would be completed by 2027.
In the last two decades, Russia has reactivated several Soviet era Arctic military bases and upgraded its capabilities.
It will strengthen Russia’s status as a “great Arctic power”.
Northern sea route is important for Russia. It cuts down time to reach Asia by up to two weeks compared to the current route via the Suez canal.
Why are countries racing towards the Arctic?
There has been a race among Arctic states and near-Arctic states to augment their capabilities. They want to capitalise on the melting Arctic. Climate change is opening up the Arctic giving access to new routes and resources.
Russian military modernisation in the Arctic has prompted other Arctic states to join the race.
NATO has been conducting regular exercises in the region. Its partner countries are investing in upgrading military capabilities.
China has also announced ambitious plans for a ‘polar silk route’ to connect to Europe as well as building massive icebreakers.
Where does India stand with respect to the Arctic?
Since 2007, India has an Arctic research programme. It has undertaken as many as 13 expeditions till date.
In March 2022,India unveiled its first Arctic policy titled: ‘India and the Arctic: building a partnership for sustainable development’.
India is also one of the 13 Observers In the Arctic Council, the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic.
Source: The post is based on an article “Courts’ Pendency Crisis: One Wheel Cannot Move A Chariot” published in The Times of India on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance
Relevance: reforms required in Indian judiciary
News: India has the largest number of pending court cases in the world which is around 47 million and as per Niti Aayog, it would take more than 324 years to clear the backlog. Therefore, reforms are needed for proper functioning of the court.
What reforms are required?
Government agencies: The cases involving centre and state governments constitute 46% of the pending cases. So, it would be better to come up with proper mechanism which would not require government agencies to move courts for every small case.
Number of judges: As per the data, there were 21. 03 judges per million people in 2021 while the UK had 51 and the US- 107 judges per million people. Therefore, more judges are required in the courts.
Appointment of judges: Judges are appointed by judges. This should be changed and tussle between the executive and the judiciary in deciding judicial appointments must be resolved.
Work Overload: Judges in India also get involved in administrative work such as scheduling hearings, deciding admission, etc. Therefore, this should be corrected and external agencies should be hired for looking at the administrative work like other developed countries.
Disincentive for litigations: Cases such as dishonouring of cheques or landlord-tenant disputes take a lot of time of the court. Therefore, disincentives should be created for such type of litigation by which the losing party would pay a hefty fine.
Retirement: Judges of High Court retire at 62 and Supreme Court judges retire at 65 while judges in the UK and Canada continue for till the age of 75. The judges of the Supreme and subordinate courts in the US hold office for life. Therefore, the retirement of judges in India should also be increased.
Technology: Certain categories of cases should be completely made online by leveraging technology. Computer algorithms could also be used to manage the list.
Indian Bail Act: The act should be introduced because around 76% of prisoners in Indian jails are those waiting for trial and three out of four prisoners are not even convicted.
Adjournments: Adjournments should be made expensive; this would help in speedy hearing of the cases.
Reducing appeals: SC judges waste a lot of time in hearing Special Leave Petitions each day. Almost 40% of the working days of SC judges are consumed in determining admission while 90% of those SLPs are rejected. Therefore, hearing of SLPs should be reduced.
Best Management practices: Judiciary in India should be in line with best management practices such as ending vacation, reviewing the productivity of judges periodically, using simple legal languages among others.
Therefore, Kautilya’s Arthashastra quote should be kept in mind that says “Judges shall discharge their duties objectively and impartially so that they may earn the trust and the affection of the people.”
Source: This post is created based on the article “Why the admission of a disabled person to the European Space Agency is a win” published in Indian Express on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Issues
News: European Space Agency (ESA) has expanded the requirements to become an astronaut to make it more inclusive.
The space flights in the beginning were much more dangerous, and more exclusive, than today. In the beginning of space age, the idea that who should be an astronaut was limited by imagination, opportunity and resources. The requirements to become an astronaut or cosmonaut are not the same now.
Women, people of colour, and those with disabilities can also become astronaut or cosmonaut.
Therefore, European Space Agency (ESA) has expanded the mental and physical fortitude required to be an astronaut or cosmonaut.
A Paralympics medallist John Mcfall may become the first disabled person in the ESA’s astronaut programme. He lost a leg at the age of 19 and since then has achieved peak physical and medical condition. However, he will have to undergo a feasibility programme along with other potential candidates.
Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections
Source: This post is created based on the article “Disquiet in Northeast” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
News: The boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam has resurfaced after the killing of five villagers from Meghalaya by Assam forest guards. Both state governments are putting their versions of the incident, blaming each other for the incident.
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1970 as an autonomous region and became a full-fledged State in 1972.
In March, Assam and Meghalaya resolved the boundary dispute at six out of total 12 such locations along their 884.9 km boundary.
Though the latest flare-up did not arise out of this dispute, it happened along a disputed border stretch.
Assam has boundary disputes at various points in time with the States carved out of it — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
Last year, the police forces of Assam and Mizoram clashed, killing five on the Assam side. Dozens of people have died in conflicts along State borders in the northeast over the years.
What are the reasons behind such interstate disputes?
These conflicts have their origins in the colonial cartography that overlooked the life patterns of local communities.
Traditional hunting, grazing and farming grounds of communities got divided by modern administrative boundaries at many places.
When new States were formed, such concerns acquired a more serious nature, and the Naga demand for a unified homeland that is now spread beyond the State of Nagaland is instructive.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had asked Assam to take the lead in resolving the lingering disputes.
Source– The post is based on the article “India-Australia trade pact’s ratification is good, but staying competitive is critical” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral groupings and agreements
Relevance: India-Australia trade and economic relations
News- The article explains the recently concluded free trade agreement between India and Australia.
What are the strategic reasons behind this trade pact?
Australia has been particularly upset with what it called the ‘weaponization of trade’ by China.
Countries across the world want to reduce their dependence on China as part of “China plus one strategy”. They want to ensure a resilient supply chain.
There is growing strategic convergence between India and Australia. Both are part of strategic groupings like Quad, the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative and the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF).
What is the way forward for India?
It is critical to remember that trade deals open new doors. They do not automatically mean higher exports or better trade balances, as India’s past pacts with ASEAN and Japan have shown. India should increase its overall global competitiveness.
For further reading– https://blog.forumias.com/india-australia-trade-pact/
Source– The post is based on the article “A word of advice on OTT and the draft Telecom Bill” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Parliament and state legislatures
Relevance: Bills and Acts of the Parliament
News- The article explains the issues related to inclusion of OTT communication services within the new Telecom Bill.
Why is the rationale behind this move not logical?
The main argument behind its inclusion is the principle of “same service, same rules”. However, this is erroneous. Same service means the user should be able to substitute one for the other at their own discretion. But no OTT provider can reach a customer without the intermediation and services of a telecom service provider.
OTT communication services are applications or value-added communication services that ride on the basic communication services that telcos provide. The latter is in the domain of carriage and the former is in the domain of applications such as group and video communication, encryption, etc.
The inflow of venture capital funding to OTTs would be severely discouraged.
Telecom Bill will impact only India-based OTT players. Those operating from overseas would not be impacted. This would be disadvantageous for Indian service providers vis a vis their foreign competitors.
Why should OTT communication services be kept out of the ambit of Telecom law?
OTT communication services are already covered under the existing IT Act. OTTs can be regulated but not licensed or pre-authorised.
The Telecom Bill is based on the principle that provision of telecommunication services is the sole privilege of the government except to the extent that private entities are licensed or authorised.
On the other hand, the IT Act is based on the exact opposite premise. Everything is permitted except that which is specifically and explicitly barred. It enables and encourages creativity, innovation, new products and venture capital funding.
What if only the communications component of OTTs were to be regulated?
It is not possible to distinguish an OTT communication service from any other OTT platform. Every OTT platform such as Flipkart, Ola, MakeMyTrip also incorporate an element of messaging.
Requiring a licence or authorisation for an element that is an inherent part of a platform’s activity would be tantamount to control of the entire activity.
Source: The post is based on the article “What the measles outbreak in India reveals” published in the Indian Express on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS – 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Relevance: About the recent Measles outbreak.
News: A measles outbreak in Mumbai has raised concerns amongst the country’s public health authorities. A rise in measles cases has also been reported from Ranchi, Ahmedabad and Malappuram. The outbreak highlighted a backslide in the performance of India’s universal immunisation programme during the pandemic.
What is Measles?
|Read here: Measles and Rubella|
Why there is a measles outbreak at present?
The measles outbreak has occurred at present because,
-According to the state government(Maharastra) data, only 41% of the eligible children have been inoculated against measles in Mumbai. This is because a) Parents are showing a disinclination to continue the inoculation regime for their children after they developed a fever on being administered the first jab, b) Early in the pandemic, the National Health Mission’s information system reported that at least 100,000 children missed their shots because of the restrictions on movement.
-The Centre’s Mission Indradhanush project has improved vaccine coverage and reduced delays between shots. But WHO and UNICEF studies have shown that immunisation programmes especially those focusing on DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and measles have taken a hit in low and mid-income countries, including India.
– Measles is a highly contagious disease. Experts had cautioned that even a 5% fall in the vaccination rate can disrupt herd immunity and precipitate an outbreak.
What should be done to contain the measles outbreak?
Implement Centre’s request: The Centre asked States to consider administering an extra dose of vaccines to children, aged five to nine, in vulnerable areas. This should be done immediately.
Look beyond emergency measures: India has to look beyond emergency measures and provide a boost to the country’s public health services through more fund allocation.
GS Paper 3
Source: The post is based on an article “Be Punchy On Munchy” published in The Times of India on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Food Processing
Relevance: benefits and concerns associated with Front of Packet Labelling
News: Front of Packet Labelling (FOPL) will become mandatory for the Indian snack industry after four years by FSSAI.
What is FOPL?
FOPL is a warning given to consumers to indicate which products contain excessive amounts of sugars, total fats, saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.
What will be the benefits of FOPL?
It will inform consumers about the unhealthy ingredients involved in the snacks as snacks are mostly the causes of various diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, etc.
This will force the industry to follow to safer levels of sugar, salt and fat content. Further, FSSAI is opting for star rating – five stars for the healthiest food and half a star for the unhealthiest.
However, higher ratings would not be beneficial if sugar, salt or fat content are also high with healthy products.
What are the concerns?
Consumers would have benefitted from knowing Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) from a particular food but FSSAI has kept it optional. RDA refers to the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements.
Further, RDA claims of the packaged industry needs rigorous laboratory testing but FSSAI’s baseline reference value for food risk factors is at 21 gms per 100 gms serving of sugar in solid foods.
It is very high considering WHO recommendation of keeping daily sugar intake to below 25 gms ideally.
What can be the course of action?
Products should be taxed according to the contents of the sugar, salt and fat they have.
For example, products with higher content should be taxed higher while those having low content should be taxed lower. This will help in discouraging junk foods.
Kerala has already come up with a “fat tax” on burgers and pizzas in 2016. Further, FOPL and regular tax hikes on cigarettes have helped disencentivise smoking.
Therefore, the government should consider putting tax like these by keeping concerns of its citizens first.
Source: The post is based on the article “Pricing power – After doing course correction, TRAI needs to free tariffs” published in the Business Standard on 25th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS – 3 – Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Relevance: About the recent amendment to the new tariff order (NTO) 2.0.
News: Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) decided to amend the new tariff order (NTO) 2.0 to restore the price cap for a television channel to Rs 19 from Rs 12 earlier.
About the Bouquets and recent amendment to the new tariff order (NTO) 2.0
Bouquets are a business model for broadcasters to package some less popular channels with TRP (television rating point) churners. Typically, broadcasters get more than 90% of their subscription revenues from bouquets.
In 2020, the regulator set a price cap of Rs 12 per channel in a bouquet under NTO 2.0. But the broadcasters and direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasters termed the new pricing as prohibitive. This resulted in the regime being put on hold several times. But recently the TRAI restored the price to Rs 19 from Rs 12 earlier.
Further, TRAI also capped the channel bundle discounts at 45% and the NTO 2.0 becomes effective in February 2023.
What are the benefits of the recent amendment to the NTO 2.0?
a) Over-regulation in tariffs forces firms to disproportionately depend on advertising revenues. Hence, the recent decision will help TV broadcasters to balance advertising and subscription revenue, b) Help traditional TV broadcasters in their competition with over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
|Read more: The right price: on TRAI’s latest recommendations|
What are the challenges with the recent amendment to the NTO 2.0?
Capping bundle discounts is not consumer friendly: Earlier broadcasters argued that limiting the discounts on bundles would force them to hike the prices of smaller channels. . Since the cap on discounts remains, TRAI has not achieved the task of making the new tariff structure truly consumer friendly.
TRAI should not cap the prices: TRAI must stay away from regulating channel prices or broadcasting platform tariffs in keeping with competitive market dynamics. Platform owners and broadcasters have the right to do mutually negotiated agreements.
|Read more: TRAI to roll out caller ID system to rival Truecaller in 3 weeks|
To check any unfair practices, TRAI must act and also direct broadcasters to be transparent about their offers and tariffs.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill-2022: Coming, a tough law to prevent cruelty to animals. Why is it needed?
Source: The post is based on the article “Coming, a tough law to prevent cruelty to animals. Why is it needed?” published in Indian Express on 25th November.
What is the News?
The government has introduced the draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill-2022 to amend the six-decade-old law Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960.
What are the key provisions of the Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill-2022?
Bestiality as a Crime: The draft includes ‘bestiality’ as a crime under the new category of ‘gruesome cruelty’.
– “Bestiality” means any kind of sexual activity or intercourse between a human being and animal.
– Gruesome cruelty has been defined as “an act that leads to extreme pain and suffering to the animals which may cause lifelong disability or death”.
Punishment for Gruesome Cruelty: A minimum fine of Rs 50,000 may be imposed and may be increased to Rs 75,000 by a judicial magistrate in consultation with the jurisdictional veterinarians, or the cost may be determined by the judicial magistrate whichever is more, or a maximum fine of one year that may be extended to three years.
Punishment for killing an animal: The draft proposes a maximum 5-year imprisonment, along with a fine, for killing an animal. For this, a new clause, Section 11(B) has been proposed.
Freedom to animals: The draft proposes the insertion of a new Section 3A which provides ‘five freedoms’ to animals.
– It shall be the duty of every person having charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in his care or under his charge has: 1) Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; 2) Freedom from discomfort due to the environment; 3) Freedom from pain, injury and diseases; 4) Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species, and 5) Freedom from fear and distress.
Community animals: The local government shall be responsible for their care.
– Community animal is any animal born in a community for which no ownership has been claimed excluding wild animals as defined under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Who has called for these amendments and on what grounds?
In 2014, the Supreme Court, in ‘Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja & Others’, had said that “Parliament is expected to make a proper amendment of the PCA Act to provide an effective deterrent” and that “for violation of Section 11, adequate penalties and punishments should be imposed”.
In 2020, a group of MPs cutting across party lines wrote to the Animal Husbandry Minister urging that the punishment in the 1960 Act be increased.
What are the concerns against these amendments?
Firstly, simply increasing the quantum of punishment may not be enough to stop cruelty against animals. Some already marginalized communities like ‘madaris’ (who perform with animals) and ‘saperas’ (snake charmers) may be disproportionately affected.
Secondly, focusing on the individual act of ‘cruelty’, such as farmers putting up electric fences around their fields, is an incomplete approach and steps are needed to mitigate the larger issues of vanishing animal habitats and climate change exacerbating man-animal conflict.
Source: The post is based on the article “Startup India launches Startup applications for MAARG Portal” published in PIB on 25th November.
What is the News?
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched a call for startup applications for registration on the MAARG portal.
What is MAARG Portal?
MAARG portal is the National Mentorship Platform by Startup India.
Full-Form: MAARG stands for Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience and Growth.
Purpose: It is a one-stop platform to facilitate mentorship for startups across diverse sectors, functions, stages, geographies, and backgrounds.
– Through this portal, startups can connect with academicians, industry experts, successful founders, seasoned investors and other experts from across the globe, through artificial intelligence(AI)-based matchmaking to get personalized guidance on growth and strategy.
Key Features of the Portal: Customizable mentorship programs for ecosystem enablers, mobile-friendly user interface, recognition for contributing mentors, video and audio call options, etc.
Phases: The MAARG Portal is being operationalized in three phases:
Phase I – Mentor Onboarding: Successfully launched and executed, 400+ expert mentors are on boarded across sectors.
Phase II – Startup Onboarding: DPIIT is launching the onboarding of startups on the MAARG Portal with effect from 14th November 2022.
Phase III – MAARG Portal Launch and Mentor Matchmaking: Final launch where the mentors will be matched to the startups.
Source: The post is based on the article “India strengthens the CITES protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle” published in PIB on 25th November.
What is the News?
India’s proposal for transferring Leith’s Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia leithi) from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) has been adopted by the Conference of Parties (CoP) to CITES.
What is Leith’s Softshell Turtle?
Leith’s Softshell Turtle is a large freshwater soft-shelled turtle.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Indian Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule IV which gives it protection from hunting as well as trade.
Distribution: It is endemic to Peninsular India. They inhabit rivers and reservoirs mainly in southern peninsular India, in states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Its presence is substantial in the Cauvery, Tungabhadra, Ghataprabha, Bhavani, Godavari and Moyar drainages.
Threats: The species has been subject to intensive exploitation over the past 30 years. It has been poached and illegally consumed within India. It has also been illegally traded abroad for meat and for its calipee.
The population of this turtle species is estimated to have declined by 90% over the past 30 years such that the species is now difficult to find.
What are the other decisions taken at the COP to CITES?
Jeypore Hill Gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis)
India’s proposal for the inclusion of Jeypore Hill Gecko in CITES Appendix II has been approved.
Jeypore Hill Gecko is a species of gecko found in India. The species was first discovered in 1877 and was later thought to be extinct. It was rediscovered in 2010 in the Eastern Ghats of Odisha state.
IUCN Status: Endangered
Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga)
India’s proposal to transfer of Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle) from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES has also been approved.
Red Crowned Roofed Turtle is a large, shy riverine turtle. The bright red colored stripes on the head of the males during the breeding season give it the name “Red-crowned”.
Distribution: It is native to India, Nepal and Bangladesh and known to be widely found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins, according to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
– At present in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only geographic area where the species is found in substantial numbers.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Indian Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule I
India carries out successful training launch of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-3 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island
Source: The post is based on the article “India carries out successful training launch of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-3 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island” published in PIB on 24th November.
What is the News?
India has carried out a successful training launch of an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-3 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
What is Agni-3?
Agni-3 is an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile(IRBM).
Developed by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The first known developmental trial of Agni-3 was conducted back in 2006, but could not yield the expected result. It was later subsequently successfully flight-tested in 2007 and the system has been successfully tested several times since then.
Key Features of the Missile: The missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system.
– The missile has a strike range of over 3,000 and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
– The missile is 16-meter long and weighs more than 48 tonnes.
– It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonnes, which is protected by a carbon all-composite heat shield.
Source: The post is based on the article “India Air Force conducting HADR Exercise Samanvay 2022” published in PIB on 24th November.
What is the News?
The Indian Air Force is conducting the Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief(HADR) Exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ at Air Force Station Agra.
The exercise will see participation by representatives from the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) countries as well.
What is Exercise Samanvay?
Conducted by: Indian Air Force
Purpose: It is an Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief(HADR) Exercise.
Aim: To assess the efficacy of institutional Disaster Management structures and contingency measures.
– To provide a unique platform for the exchange of domain knowledge, experience and best practices with the participating ASEAN member countries.
The exercise will consist of: Seminar on Disaster Management, a ‘Multi-Agency Exercise‘ involving static and flying displays of various HADR assets and a ‘Table Top Exercise‘.
Significance: The exercise will promote a synergistic approach towards HADR by various national and regional stakeholders involved in Disaster Management including the Civil Administration, the Armed Forces, NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, DRDO, BRO, IMD, NRS and INCOIS.
Source: The post is based on the article “Civil Aviation Ministry notifies draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022” published in The Hindu on 24th November.
What is the News?
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified the Draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022.
What is the purpose of Draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022?
The Draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022 is proposed to replace the Aircraft Security Rules of 2011.
These new rules were required after the Aircraft Amendment Act of 2020 was passed by Parliament.
This act granted the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security(BCAS), the Director General of Civil Aviation and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau statutory authority. These enable them to impose punishments that, in the past, could only be imposed by courts. Also, the Act increased the maximum fine from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.
What are the key provisions of the Draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022?
Firstly, the rules enable the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to impose fines up to Rs.1 crore on airports and airlines for violation of security measures.
– For instance, if airports and airlines don’t develop and implement a security programme or start operating before obtaining a security clearance, the BCAS may punish them between Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 1 crore
Secondly, BCAS will have the authority to revoke or suspend an entity’s airport security clearance and security programme, in accordance with the proposed rules.
Thirdly, each institution should safeguard its information and communication technology systems from unauthorized use and forbid the leaking of critical aviation security information in order to address cybersecurity concerns.
Source: The post is based on the article “Govt mulls nodal body to secure power grids” published in Livemint on 25th November.
What is the News?
The Government of India is planning to set up a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at the Central Electricity Authority to avert cyber attacks on the country’s power grid.
What is the Computer Security Incident Response Team(CSIRT)?
CSIRT is being created to avert cyber attacks on the country’s power grid.
It will act as an arm of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT-In CERT-In but will remain under the administrative control of the Central Electricity Authority.
The officers will be recruited through the Combined Engineering Services Examination conducted by UPSC. The officers will be trained to detect cyber security incidents, create awareness among stakeholders, monitor incidents and respond accordingly.
Why is CSIRT being created?
Red Echo, a hacker group affiliated with the Chinese government, targeted the control rooms managing critical power grids in 2021. The campaign could have caused widespread blackouts, but the Chinese hackers failed to break into the systems and no data breach was detected.
To monitor and prevent such cyber attacks on power grids, CSIRT is being created.
Source: The post is based on the article “Exercise Naseem-Al-Bahr” published in PIB on 24th November.
What is the News?
The Indian Navy’s guided missile stealth frigate, INS Trikand, offshore patrol vessel, INS Sumitra, and Maritime Patrol Aircraft(MPA) Dornier participated in the 13th Edition of the Exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’(Sea Breeze).
What is Exercise Naseem Al Bahr?
Exercise Naseem-Al-Bahr is a bilateral naval exercise between the Indian Navy(IN) and the Royal Navy of Oman(RNO).
The exercise had three phases:
Harbour phase: It included professional interactions between IN and RNO operations teams and friendly sports fixtures between the two navies.
Sea phase: It included tactical maritime exercises involving surface action, air defense, maritime surveillance and interdiction/VBSS.
Debrief: It was the last phase of the exercise. This was conducted at the RNO Naval Base.
Significance: The first naval exercise between the two countries was conducted in 1993. This year marks 30 years of Indian and Omanese bilateral naval exercises.
What are the other exercises between India and Oman?
Exercise Al-Najah: It is an army exercise conducted between India and Oman.
Exercise Eastern Bridge: It is an Air Force exercise that is held between India and Oman.
Source: The post is based on the article “What is a loan write-off and why do banks do it?” published in Indian Express on 23rd November.
What is the News?
According to RBI data, banks wrote off more than Rs 10 lakh crore in loans over the last five years. They have been able to recover only 13% of the Rs 10 lakh crore they wrote off.
What is a loan write-off?
Writing off a loan essentially means it will no longer be counted as an asset. By writing off loans, a bank can reduce the level of non-performing assets (NPAs) on its books. An additional benefit is that the amount so written off reduces the bank’s tax liability
Why do banks resort to write-offs?
The bank writes off a loan after the borrower has defaulted on the loan repayment and there is a very low chance of recovery. The lender then moves the defaulted loan, or NPA out of the assets side and reports the amount as a loss.
After the write-off, banks are supposed to continue their efforts to recover the loan using various options. They have to make provisioning as well. The tax liability will also come down as the written-off amount is reduced from the profit.
What is the amount written off by private banks and public sector banks?
Private banks wrote off loans worth Rs 2.7 lakh crore in the last five years in their effort to bring down NPAs and whitewash their balance sheets. This works out to 27.28% of the total write-off of the last five years.
On the other hand, Public sector banks reported the lion’s share of write-offs at Rs 734,738 crore accounting for 72.78% of the total write-off.
Source: The post is based on the article “Centre launches ‘Toilets 2.0’ campaign in Bengaluru” published in The Hindu on 21st November.
What is the News?
The Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) has launched the Toilets 2.0 campaign in Bengaluru on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2022.
What is Toilets 2.0 Campaign?
Aim: To change the face of public and community toilets in urban India through collective action involving citizens and Urban Local Bodies.
Thematic Areas: The campaign has five thematic areas:
– The People for Toilets program: It is an inter-city competition envisaged for cleaning and maintaining community and public toilets in which top-performing cities will be recognised.
– The Partners for Toilets theme: It aims to forge partnerships with potential organizations for the adoption of community and public toilets for interim cleaning, annual operations and maintenance, one-time financial aid, beautification activities, innovation, and feedback among others.
– The Design Challenge: It is being organized in collaboration with the Council of Architecture through which entries will be invited from students of architecture and practising architects on designs for aspirational toilets in the two categories of Public toilets and Community toilets. The top designs will be turned into a compendium for cities’ consideration to adopt for their facilities.
– Rate your Toilet is for promoting user feedback to improve public and community toilets
– My thoughts – Our Toilets is a general public survey among citizens on public toilets across the country. A questionnaire on citizen aspiration for toilets will be available on the MyGov platform for the public to answer. The results from the survey are expected to help States and cities to understand gaps and provide course corrective measures.
Supreme Court questions ‘lightning speed’, 24-hour procedure appointing Arun Goel as Election Commissioner
Source: The post is based on the article “Supreme Court questions ‘lightning speed’, 24-hour procedure appointing Arun Goel as Election Commissioner” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.
What is the News?
The Supreme Court is hearing a case about the election commissioners’ (ECs) appointment.
About the case and Court’s observation on election commissioners
|Read here: Election Commissioner shouldn’t be a ‘yes-man’: Supreme Court|
What are the court’s observations regarding the appointment of Election commissioners?
The court mentioned that the whole number of appointments made after 2015 had taken a maximum of two to three days.
The court said the government has reduced the scope of candidates to just bureaucrats and moreover ensured that neither the CEC nor the ECs serve their full term.
The law says CEC and ECs should separately have six years terms. But the court observed that the government is promoting ECs to CECs and ensuring that both don’t have a full term of six years, which is contrary to the law.
|Read more: Supreme Court calls out Centre over short tenures of Chief Election Commissioners|
Why the judiciary may not be the best selector of election commissioners?
|Read here: Why the judiciary may not be the best selector of election commissioners|
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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