9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 2nd, 2021

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

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

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Kashmir’s fragility has more complex reasons

Source: This post is based on the article “Kashmir’s fragility has more complex reasons” published in The Hindu on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers.

Relevance: Understanding the violence in Kashmir.

Synopsis: Recently there has been an increase in violence in Kashmir. This needs careful analysis to avoid the failure of the Kashmir Policy.


Several civilians and armed forces personnel have been killed by terrorists in a series of violent attacks in Kashmir. This has led to comparisons with the situation that existed during the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century. But one needs to have a look at the ground reality.

What is the ground reality?

After the abrogation of Article 370, there was silence and peace in Kashmir. But recent events have created an impression of increasing support to militancy.

Read moreWhat the attacks against minorities in Kashmir reveal
What is the role of Pakistan and China in the violence in Kashmir?

There has been an undeniable role of Pakistan in the violence in Kashmir. This is complicated by the fact that Kashmir is bordered by Afghanistan and China. The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has further strengthened the role of Pakistan.

Read moreReturn of Taliban has implications for India

As India expands its role and world view, the changes of its competitors like China and Pakistan increase manifold.

Read moreWhat India can learn from China’s foreign Policy
How India can solve violence in Kashmir?

Credible and quick intelligence: India needs a broader set of agencies than the current RAW, IB and National Security Council. This will 1. Prevent any miscalculation (As highlighted by America’s war on Iraq, where they failed to find any weapons of mass destruction), 2. Predict the events of the future with precision, 3. Bring lasting peace.

Engage all segments of society and polity in reducing trust deficit.

GS Paper 3

Mixed signals on growth-inflation dynamics

Source: This post is based on the article “Mixed signals on growth-inflation dynamics” published in Indian Express on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: To understand India’s growth–inflation dynamics.

Synopsis: The post pandemic trajectory of economy has some trends and facts which are both challenging as well as encouraging.


The current economic cycle is a rare one, induced by a major public health shock.

To revive the economy, massive monetary stimulus was provided by various central banks by following loose monetary policy.

We are now at that point in the cycle where major central banks have begun to signal normalisation from the unprecedented loose monetary policy stimulus.

However, globally the data signals that the ‘recovery momentum‘ in the first half of 2021 is decelerating in many countries.

What are the current trends and challenges w.r.t economic recovery?

China’s policy and economy is the most salient risk for a sustained global recovery.

Inflation in almost all major economies continues to remain high. Crude oil prices remain the biggest concern besides inflation in natural gas, metals, minerals, ores, and select foods.

-A risk of the global economy going into “stagflation(growth stagnation plus inflation)”.

In India, RBI notes that “the external environment, which had been supportive of aggregate demand over the past few months, may lose momentum for a variety of reasons” including exports, financial markets volatility and imported inflation.

What are some trends indicating continuation of economic recovery of India?

Demand for both consumer non-durables (FMCG) and durables is doing well. Owing to festive season demand for consumer loans is strong.

As the economy opens up, with risk of a third wave receding, demand for “contact” services in travel, tourism, entertainment, etc, is evident.

Rural demand for FMCG has remained robust, post the rabi harvest, which are likely to continue with the      largely normal ongoing kharif crop season.

Urban demand is also reviving.

Real estate is reportedly doing well.

Residential real estate is reportedly doing exceptionally well, with low-interest rates on home loans, cuts in stamp duty and registration charges, and behavioural shifts towards own home ownerships.

Commercial real estate sector is reviving, with demand from IT, tech, data centres, and city centre warehousing for e-commerce companies.

Inflation-India’s retail price inflation rate eased to 4.35 percent in September of 2021 mostly due to lower food prices.

The green issues of tomorrow

Source: This post is based on the article “The green issues of tomorrow” published in “Times Of India” on 02 November, 2021.Syllabus: GS3- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Relevance: To understand some potential environmental issues besides the ongoing ones.

Synopsis: While the world is gathered at Glasgow for COP26 meeting and finalizing the climate action roadmap for the coming years, new threats to environment have already come up. Countries need to start thinking about solutions to these issues right away. Otherwise, a decade down the line, they will find that they are in a worse mess than ever.


The COP26 Climate Change Conference would debate over topics such as reducing the use of fossil fuels, cutting down greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the world’s carbon sinks.

Even while these efforts are underway, new threats to the environment are cropping up. Some of these have not received the attention they should have gotten.

What are the new threats for the environment?

Giant data centres:

As the world gets increasingly digitised, data centres and server farms are proliferating, that consume energy and generate heat.

Millions of litres of water are often required to keep them cool, particularly if the data centres are not set up in extremely cold regions.

Many regions where big data centres are located are already water stressed and their problems could get worse.

The carbon footprint of solar:

The sharp fall in prices of solar panels has played a role in the popularity of solar power.

But, most of the world’s cheap solar panels come from China where companies have largely depended on thermal power for manufacturing solar panels.

Producing solar panels using cleaner energy sources also increases their costs, thus creating a dilemma for policy makers.

The recycling problem:

The recycling issue of discarded solar panels, wind turbines and an increasing mountain of electronic waste is a major issue.

The average lifespan of a solar panel is 25 years, but their efficiency starts declining much earlier. Quite often they are replaced after a decade and a half. This was not a problem a decade ago when solar panels were not being installed at such a rapid pace. Over the next decade, it will become a major headache for all countries that have installed large solar power farms.

Earlier, rich countries would send their e-wastes to poorer countries but now increasingly the latter are declining to become dump yards for e-waste

The crypto conundrum

Source: This post is based on the article “The crypto conundrum” published in The Hindu on 1st Nov 2021.Syllabus: GS3 – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

Relevance: Cryptocurrencies and their future

Synopsis: Controlling money supply and issuing money are at the root of the power and influence that the governments of this world command. Leaving the limited use case and exchange value aside, if Cryptocurrencies pose any real challenge to the existing fiat currencies it may result in a stern policy action.


Bitcoin and other private cryptocurrencies have been on a bull run recently. Unlike previous rallies, the current rally in bitcoin has witnessed the increasing participation of retail investors in India. Yet, the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is unlikely to be as bright as many believe it to be.

What attracts retail investors towards Cryptocurrency?

The key feature which has attracted many retail investors is the limited supply of Cryptocurrencies. With increased demand, scarcity of anything will push up its price. A similar thing is happening with Cryptocurrencies.

As more and more investors are buying them, their price is going up.

And as their price goes up, more and more investors are lining up to buy them.

Now, consider the case of fiat money whose supply is unlimited and depends upon the central bank of a country. A central bank can create any amount of it as per its will. This increased supply of money in the economy devalues it further. The more money a central bank prints, the lesser its value.

Hence, scarcity of Cryptocurrencies is a key reason behind their popularity.

But, is it enough for large scale adoption?

Why scarcity is not sufficient for large scale adoption of Cryptocurrency?

Scarcity alone is not sufficient to facilitate the adoption of cryptocurrencies as money.

Any asset must have either use value or exchange value in order for it to possess any fundamental value. This fundamental value, in turn, is reflected in the price of these assets in the long run.

For instance:

– Stocks and bonds, for instance, possess exchange value that is based on the expected future cash flow from these assets.

Commodities such as oil and steel possess use value because these assets are used to run vehicles and build real estate.

– Gold and silver have traditionally served as hedges against inflation because they possess fundamental value derived from their use as jewellery and money.

Cryptocurrencies may be scarce but its doubtful whether they possess any use value or exchange value. Presently, Bitcoin can buy very few real goods and services.

In short, cryptocurrencies possess no significant fundamental value to sustain their current high prices.

What are the benefits of private alternatives to fiat currencies?

Private alternatives to fiat currencies offer people greater choice in what currencies they choose to use as a medium of exchange. The benefits of free market competition in money were elaborated by economist Friedrich Hayek in The Denationalization of Money.

Most notably, competition between currencies to cater to the demands of customers would ensure that fiat currencies that are printed indiscriminately simply go out of use.

Why increased acceptance of Cryptocurrencies increases likelihood of a govt crackdown on them?

The monopoly that governments (and central banks) possess over the issuance of money is at the root of their power and influence.

If cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are going to challenge fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar as a medium of exchange, they would essentially be challenging the authority of the government to print and spend. This is not an assault that governments will tolerate for long. They will allow cryptocurrencies to exist only as long as these currencies remain a speculative asset and not a medium of exchange.

Hence, the more cryptocurrencies are accepted in exchange for goods and services, the greater the chances of governments cracking down on them.

COP26 | PM’s Modi word: Net Zero 2070, clean & green 2030

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

‘National Statement by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at COP26 Summit in Glasgow’ published in PIB on 1st Nov 2021

‘PM’s Modi word: Net Zero 2070, clean & green 2030’ published in The Indian Express on 2nd Nov 2021

‘India sets net-zero climate goal by 2070’ published in The Livemint on 2nd Nov 2021

‘CoP26 summit | India will achieve net zero emissions by 2070, says PM Modi’ published in The Hindu on 1st Nov 2021

‘CoP26: Modi offers ‘Panchamrita’ concoction for climate conundrum at Glasgow’ published in Down to Earth on 2nd Nov 2021

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Relevance: The ongoing COP26 meeting at Glasgow

Synopsis: India has made significance announcements at the ongoing COP26 meeting, including a target year for reaching net zero. Now the ball is in the developed world’s court wrt climate finance wherein India expects developed countries to provide $1 trillion at the earliest.

What has been India’s track record wrt its efforts on climate change?

Today India is at number four in the world in installed renewable energy capacity. India’s non-fossil fuel energy has reached 40% of our energy mix.

India’s railway system has set itself a target of making itself ‘Net Zero’ by 2030. This initiative alone will lead to a reduction of 60 million tonnes of emissions annually.

Similarly, India’s massive LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually.

India has also given institutional solutions to cooperate with the world at the international level. It initiated the International Solar Alliance. It also created a coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure (CDRI) for climate adaptation.

What are the new announcements made by India at Glasgow?

India made five big-ticket announcements terming them as ‘Panchamrit’, at the climate change meeting in Glasgow:

First– India will reach its non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW (India had earlier extended its target to 450GW out of which 100GW is already installed) by 2030.

Second– India will meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.

Third– India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030. India’s emissions are rising, at about 4 to 5% every year. So the total emissions between now and 2030 is expected to be in the range of about 40 billion tonne. It is in this amount, that a one billion tonne reduction has been announced.

Fourth– By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45%.

Fifth By the year 2070, India will achieve the target of Net Zero.

Note: ‘Panchamrita’ is a traditional method of mixing five natural foods — milk, ghee, curd, honey and jaggery. These are used in Hindu and Jain worship rituals. It is also used as a technique in Ayurveda.

What is LIFE?

India has also given the idea of LIFE at Glasgow.

LIFE is shorthand for Lifestyle For Environment Today which entails the need for all of us to come together, together with collective participation, to take Lifestyle For Environment (LIFE) forward as a campaign.

Comparison of announcements made by India at Paris and Glasgow
SectorParis (COP21)Glasgow (COP26)
Emission intensity of GDPReduction by 33%–35% by 2030 below 2005 levelsReduction by less than 45% by 2030 below 2005 levels
Share of renewable energy in India’s total energy generationIncreasing the share of renewable energy to 40% by 2030.Increasing the share of renewable energy to 50% by 2030.
Carbon sinkTo create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.No new announcement.
Why are the latest announcements by India at Glasgow important?

The latest announcements assume significance since this is is the first time India has taken any climate target in terms of absolute emissions.

Before this, the closest reference to altering its emissions trajectory used to be in the form of emissions intensity.

This is because under the international climate change architecture, only developed countries are mandated, and expected, to make reductions in their absolute emissions.

Decarbonization mustn’t overlook the rich-poor divide

Source: This post is based on the article “Decarbonization mustn’t overlook the rich-poor divide” published in Livemint on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Relevance: Suggestions to achieve decarbonisation

Synopsis: Unless the world addresses the distributional and inequality-causing impact of highly carbon-intensive economic models, our job towards limiting temperature rise to 1.5°Celsius will remain unfinished


With increased carbon emissions the global carbon budget is also decreasing. We need to make suitable changes to our lifestyles to make them less and less carbon intensive. At a global level we need to reduce the fossil-fuel subsidies as they contribute to global warming.

How much subsidies does India spend on fossil fuels?

As per an estimate of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, India’s subsidy bill on coal, gas and oil alone was roughly $11 billion.

Another ₹800 billion annual subsidy goes into the transmission and distribution of electricity, which is mainly coal based, and hence an indirect fossil-fuel subsidy.

By comparison, our subsidies on renewable power and electric vehicles till 2018-19 were barely ₹99 billion, i.e., just about one-seventh of the direct subsidy on fossil fuels. With higher global oil prices, subsidies have also risen.

How much carbon space is available as of now?

The planet has a finite “carbon budget”; i.e., how much cumulative carbon dioxide concentration the atmosphere can tolerate and still keep the planet below 2° C of warming.

Already, our atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is 420 parts per million, which is 50% above pre-industrialization levels.

The world is fast running down its carbon budget at its current rate of CO2 emission. Unless drastically cut, we will exhaust the budget in just seven or eight years.

Beyond 2° C, the world will suffer irreversible change, causing havoc with weather cycles, a rise in ocean levels, the submergence of island nations, as well as droughts, floods and food shortages. No amount of greening the economy or net-zero targets will help thereafter.

What is the way forward?

First, focus on solar energy, steep carbon taxes, and cut in carbon subsidies, will help to some extent.

Second, more than the poor, the rich, with their resource-intensive lifestyles, need to bear the burden of carbon taxes.

The rich world, including the small segment of high and middle-income earners in developing countries like India, needed to significantly alter their lifestyles. A reduction in consumption is imperative.

A good synthesis of climate and transport economics would help

Source: This post is based on the article “A good synthesis of climate and transport economics would help” published in Livemint on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

Relevance: Significance of Public transport, Transit cities

Synopsis: An analysis of urban India’s need for sustainable mobility suggests that we must rely heavily on clean public transit systems.


Road transport contributes about 10% of global emissions and is rising faster than any other sectors. Hence the emphasis of developed countries is towards shifting away from car possession.

Why slow transition towards zero-emission vehicles looks difficult for India?

Road-infrastructure: It majorly focuses on satisfying pressing traffic needs and creation of new transport infrastructure may result in decongestion for a temporary period.

Lack of motivation to use public transport: Transport policies and investment patterns in India’s fast-evolving cities influence the country’s mobility pattern. Almost all metropolitan cities are presently saturated with traffic. The development of new expressways in these cities favours automobiles as a dominant mode of urban mobility, with increased car ownership taken as a given.

Unauthorized street parking: it is another major cause of traffic congestion.

What are ‘transit cities’ & How India can develop transit cities?

Transit cities are characterized by a package of services so comprehensive, convenient and integrated that it acts as an alternative to car ownership.

Transit cities are developed in response to traffic-saturation crises, where cars are considered a luxury instead of necessity.

The need is to focus on public-transport investments which is oriented towards mass-transit planning. It needs greater emphasis on improving ‘mobility’ and ‘accessibility’.

If road space for cars is reallocated, it may reduce congestion delays, increase traffic speed and reduce overall traffic levels by significant amounts.

What are the challenges in designing a transport system?

Dilemma: The conventional theory of roadway design argues that wider, straighter, flatter and more open streets ensure traffic safety.

However, climate-change economics argues for measures to improve the ‘accessibility’ and ‘place’ functions of any street to restrict private cars and improve public transport.

Trade-offs between development and values: the most prominent issue being displacement. As the stakeholders in development projects are varied, some sections may be more comfortable than others with private-vehicle usage.

What is the way forward?

First, Indian policy needs redesigning of street parking so that the most crowded places charge the highest parking fees. A rising trend in cities is for new shopping areas, buildings, etc, to have ‘minimum parking requirements.

Second, we need street parking management with more effective and up-to-date enforcement and pricing practices

Third, public transport must combine accessibility to stops/stations, connectivity, frequency, span of coverage, speed, civility, fairness, simplicity, reliability and presentation.

Fourth, the integration of cycling pathways with public transit systems. It requires gentle track- bends and cyclist-friendly junctions, could attract car owners to use bicycles instead.

Fifth, there is need to redesign the timing, frequency and connectivity of bus and train services, etc, so as to synchronize the same with various other services such as Metro and monorail networks that are run by metropolitan and state governments.

Sixth, Implement transport-sector investments that favor environmental sustainability: for example, Delhi Metro, earned carbon credits from the United Nations under its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Expanded Metro networks by 2030 can go some distance towards attaining the sustainable development of safe, affordable and accessible transport systems for all, with improved road safety as an additional benefit.

Improved finances gives Centre leeway to slash fuel excise duties, but a renewed spending spree is avoidable

Source: This post is based on the article “Improved finances gives Centre leeway to slash fuel excise duties, but a renewed spending spree is avoidable” published in Indian Express on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 –issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development.

Relevance: Resource mobilisation and Fiscal policy of centre

Synopsis: Reasons for the increase in Centre’s gross tax revenues during April-September 2021.


The Centre’s gross tax revenues have grown 64.2% year-on-year during April-September. This has resulted in a reduced fiscal deficit for the first half of 2021-22 that is, just 35% of the budget estimate for the whole year.

According to the Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse, this is the lowest since 2007-08 and way below the 10-year-average of 74%.

What are the reasons?

There are two probable reasons for the above,

One, due to the increasing formalisation of the economy. Demonetisation, GST (goods and services tax) and the lockdown have led to organised sector firms gaining market share from informal enterprises.

Two, improved tax compliance. For instance, e-way bills and other systems now for tracking transactions and plugging leakages, has translated into overall improved tax compliance.

Three, increased corporation and income tax collections. For example, corporation and income tax collections during April-September 2021 was higher than their corresponding respective levels for April-September 2019.

Four, increased fiscal resource through petrol and diesel taxes. The Centre’s revenues from excise duties (mainly on fuels), have grown 79% over the same period two years ago.

What should be the way forward?

First, the Centre should start consolidating its fiscal gains. That is important in the current scenario where yields on its 10-year bonds have been increasing. With most central banks signalling their intent to suck out excess liquidity in response to inflation concerns, the pressure on yields may only go up.

Second, Improved finances gives the Centre enough space to slash fuel excise duties necessary to curb inflation expectations.

Small, medium issue: Economic recovery gaining steam. But low-income groups’ demand & MSMEs are concerns

Source: This post is based on the article “Small, medium issue: Economic recovery gaining steam. But low-income groups’ demand & MSMEs are concerns” published in The Times of India on 1st November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3 Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Relevance: Understanding the recovery of the Indian economy post-Covid times.

Synopsis: Targeted support should be ensured to ensure desired growth of the sectors.


Recent economic data shows that the Indian economy is bouncing back and is likely to exceed the pre-pandemic levels. RBI’s October Bulletin also indicated a GDP growth of 9.6% in the July-September quarter. But still, there are some sectors that are lacking in growth.

What are the improvements recorded?

Employment: The total employment estimate was at 406.2 million in September, almost at the level of the pre-Covid estimate of 408.9 million in 2019-20.

Salaried jobs rose sharply in September to touch 84.1 million, once again almost at the pre-Covid level of 86.7 million.

Advance tax collection in April-September 2021 was 14.6% higher than the pre-Covid collection in 2019-20.

What are the matters of concern?

Poor availability of Informal Jobs: MGNREGA Demand in the April-September 2021 period was higher than the pre-Covid 2019. This reflects the poor availability of informal jobs in the market. This may translate to poor purchasing power in rural India and might impact the economic recovery.

Increase in Personal Loans: During the second quarter of the current financial year, outstanding personal loans overtook industrial credit for the first time. Personal loans now makeup about 27% of the total credit, propelled mainly by home loans.

Fund crunch for MSMEs: MSMEs contribute about 45% of manufacturing output. The decrease in industrial credit shows the inability of MSMEs to get institutional credit.

Thus, there is a need for targeted support to ensure that the current growth momentum is maintained.

Digitization could ease MSMEs’ access to supply-chain finance

Source: This post is based on the article “Digitization could ease MSMEs’ access to supply-chain finance” published in Livemint on 2nd November 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 –  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources.Relevance: To understand the need to link the GST system and TReDS Platform.

Synopsis: Access to formal credit to MSMEs can be provided by linking the GST system and TReDS platform.


Access to formal credit continues to be a challenge for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Lack of reliable financial information is one of the main reasons. This can be solved by linking India’s GST system with the TReDS (Trade Receivables Discounting System) platform.

Why India should link the GST system and TReDS platform?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, while reviewing The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, recommended that the GST e-invoices above a certain threshold should flow directly to the TReDS platform.

How to link GST System and TReDS platform?

The creditworthiness of MSMEs can be judged from three data points on the GST system: 1) Input tax credit (ITC) being claimed by the MSME; 2) Trade volume as per the e-way bills (EWBs) created by it, and 3) Trade volume as per the electronic invoices raised by MSMEs.

But the ITC and EWBs may not be useful to link with the TReDS platform due to shortcomings like

-ITC does not provide the break-up of ITC seller-wise or invoice-wise.

-EWBs only applies to manufacturers/traders that supply physical goods and one EWB may correspond to multiple buyers.

In the e-invoicing system, a supplier generates a unique 64-character alphanumeric code called the IRN (invoice reference number) with details of its GSTIN, invoice date, internal invoice number. These invoices can be identified with their IRN and can be sent to the TReDS platform to be made available for factoring.

But, to link GST data with the TReDS requires GST Council approval.

Must Read: Analysis of GST regime in India – Explained, Pointwise
What are the benefits of linking the GST system and TReDS Platform?

An EWBs that is coupled with an e-invoice can act as a supporting document for a factoring unit, enhancing MSMEs authenticity.

Help digitize the supply chain of MSMEs, making their access to finance much easier.

Can provide for buyers’ acceptance, which would serve as valid proof, like a goods receipt note.

The GST system can develop a rating system for all taxpayers based on their tax compliance. This may prove valuable for factoring agencies on the TReDS.

Finding a way out of India’s deepening water stress

Source: This post is based on the article “Finding a way out of India’s deepening water stress” published in The Hindu on 2nd November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

Relevance: To understand India’s water crisis.

Synopsis: India’s water crisis will increase in future, so the government, people, and all should come together to solve the issue.


Recently, the draft National Water Policy has been submitted by the Mihir Shah committee.

What are the reasons behind the water crisis in India?

Lack of sustainable urban planning: Many cities in India are developing by encroaching flood plains and reducing green cover. This will reduce the water retention capacity of the city. This is reflected exactly in Chennai. The city face floods during rainfall and droughts during the shortage of rainfall.

Continuous extraction of groundwater: In the rural areas, 80%-90% of the drinking water and 75% of the water used for agriculture is drawn from groundwater sources. In urban areas, 50%-60% of the water supply is drawn from groundwater sources.

A case of Punjab: The success of the green revolution and continuous cultivation of water-intensive crops in Punjab has turned the water into saline. The draft report of the Central Ground Water Board concluded that Punjab would be reduced to a desert in 25 years if the extraction of its groundwater resources continues unabated

Ever-increasing demand: The composite water management index of NITI Aayog, points out that by 2030, the demand for water is projected to be twice the available supply. The introduction of Jal Jeevan Mission will play a significant role in this.

What can be done to address water crisis?

Integrate the ongoing work of different Ministries and Departments: This will enhance coordination and protect water bodies, groundwater sources, wetlands and green cover. It will also enhance wastewater recycling and water recharge activities.

Note: In 2019, Ministries of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation were merged as the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Replenish groundwater: The government has to create a participatory groundwater management approach with a combination of water budgeting, aquifer recharging and community involvement.

Water governance and management plans with expert opinions: Increase interactions from the expertise of fields such as hydrology (watershed sustainability), hydrogeology (aquifer mapping and recharge) and agriculture sciences (water-sensitive crop choices and soil health).

In conclusion, India needs to encourage conserving water resources and efficient usage of water.

Terms to know:

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

What is the metaverse? 2 media and information experts explain

Source: This post is based on the article “What is the metaverse? 2 media and information experts explain” published in Down To Earth on 01 November 2021.

What is the news?

There is a new push in tech-firms for dominating the “Metaverse” technology. Recently Facebook renamed itself as “Meta” highlights one such push.

Technology industry envision it as the successor to today’s internet.

What is “Metaverse”?

The “metaverse” is a network of always-on virtual environments in which many people can interact with one another and digital objects through virtual representations of themselves.

There are 3 key aspects of the metaverse: presence, interoperability and standardization.

-Presence is the feeling of actually being in a virtual space, with virtual others. This sense of presence is achieved through virtual reality (VR) technologies such as head-mounted displays. It improves the quality of online interactions.

-Interoperability means being able to seamlessly travel between virtual spaces with the same virtual assets. That is, one virtual representation created, can be used in different virtual worlds.

-Standardization-These are common technological standards are essential for widespread adoption. This enables interoperability of platforms and services across the metaverse.

International organizations such as the “Open Metaverse Interoperability Group” define these standards.

Sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash” to describe the virtual world in which the protagonist, Hiro Protagonist, socializes, shops and vanquishes real-world enemies through his avatar. The concept predates “Snow Crash” and was popularized as “cyberspace” in William Gibson’s groundbreaking 1984 novel “Neuromancer.”
Why the Metaverse matters?

It is extremely important to the future of the economy and society as a whole. Companies like Facebook are aiming to make it the setting for many online activities, including work, play, studying and shopping.

Union Education Minister launches Bhasha Sangam initiative for schools, Bhasha Sangam Mobile App and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Mobile Quiz

What is the News?

The Union Education Minister has launched the Bhasha Sangam Initiative for schools, Bhasha Sangam Mobile App and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Quiz App.

What is the Bhasha Sangam Initiative for schools?

Bhasha Sangam is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

Aim: To teach school students basic sentences of everyday usage in 22 Indian languages.

Significance: This will help students to acquire basic conversational skills in an Indian language other than their mother tongue.

What is Bhasha Sangam Mobile App?

It is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education(DoHE) in collaboration with MyGov.

The App initially has 100 sentences of everyday usage in 22 Indian languages. These sentences are available in both Roman script and in the script of the given language and also in audio format. 

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Quiz App

It is a quiz game targeted toward children and youngsters for helping them learn more about our different regions, states, culture, national Heroes, monuments, traditions, tourist locations, languages, geography, history and topography.

Source: This post is based on the articleUnion Education Minister launches Bhasha Sangam initiative for schools, Bhasha Sangam Mobile App and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Mobile Quizpublished in PIB on 1st November 2021

‘Har Ghar Dastak’ nationwide vaccination campaign begins

What is the News?

The Government of India has launched the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign.

What is the Har Ghar Dastak campaign?

Har Ghar Dastak is the Government of India’s mega COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

It is a month-long door-to-door vaccination campaign.

Under this, the healthcare workers will go will vaccinate eligible candidates in poor-performing districts. 

How much of the population has been vaccinated till now?

According to Government data, around 78% of India’s eligible population has been administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 38% have received both doses.

Read more: One billion Covid Vaccines and beyond – Explained, pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article “‘Har Ghar Dastak’ nationwide vaccination campaign begins” published in AIR on 1st November 2021.

Glacier in Antarctica named after Glasgow climate summit

What is the News?

A glacier in Antarctica has been experiencing rapid melting. It has now been named Glasgow Glacier in honour of Glasgow, Scotland.

This is because Glasgow is hosting the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Besides Glasgow Glacier, eight other nearby glaciers will also carry the names of cities where important climate reports were issued or policies were agreed.

Why were these Glaciers named after cities?
Source: BBC

Scientists from the University of Leeds in England have studied several glaciers in the Getz basin of Antarctica.

They have found that 14 glaciers in this region are thinning by an average of 25% between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change. 

They also found that 315 gigatonnes of ice were lost from the region in the last 25 years. 

Hence, they were naming these glaciers after cities will be a symbol of what is at stake and is also a great way to celebrate the international collaboration on climate change science and policy over the last 42 years.

About the other glaciers named after cities

Geneva: Named after the world’s first climate conference in 1979. The conference set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Rio: Commemorates the first Earth Summit in 1992 where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was opened for signatures.

Berlin: It is named after the first Conference of Parties (COP) in 1995 which assessed the progress of dealing with climate change.

Kyoto: It commemorates the formal adoption in 1997 of the protocol that legally bound developed countries to emissions reduction targets.

Bali: It marks the release of the IPCC fourth assessment report (AR4) in 2007. 

Stockholm: It honours the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5) approval session in 2014. 

Paris: It memorializes the agreement of a legally binding treaty in 2015 that aimed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2C, preferably below 1.5C.

Incheon: It marks the meeting of the IPCC in 2018 to consider the special report on the impacts of 1.5 degrees of warming and the difference in risks of going to 2C.

Must read: UNFCCC Summits

Source: This post is based on the article “Glacier in Antarctica named after Glasgow climate summit” published in Indian Express on1st November 2021.

BASIC nations underline climate finance goal

What is the News?

The Union Environment Minister has delivered the statement on behalf of the BASIC group of countries at the UN Climate Change Conference underway at Glasgow.

What was the statement delivered by BASIC Group?

Firstly, demanded a clear road map from developed countries on their existing obligations to mobilise $100 billion per year from 2021 to 2025 for developing countries.

Secondly, expect a market mechanism that facilitates private sector engagement in carbon markets in the larger fight against the climate crisis.

Thirdly, BASIC views were aligned with the position taken by the western African country of Guinea on behalf of the G77 group of developing nations and China.

What are BASIC Countries?

BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

The group was formed as the result of an agreement signed by the four countries on November 28, 2009.

The four countries committed

-To act together at the Copenhagen Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.

-Stand at a common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change. 

The BASIC countries also constituted one of the main parties in the Copenhagen Accord reached with the US-led grouping. However, the accord was not legally binding.

What is the G77 Group?

Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations. It was established in 1964 by 77 developing countries.

Aim: To promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations and promote South-South cooperation for development.

Members: The members of G-77 have increased to 134 countries. However, the original name was retained due to its historic significance. India is one of the members of the G77.

Chairmanship: Guinea holds the chairmanship as of 2021.

Source: This post is based on the articleBASIC nations underline climate finance goal published in Hindustan Times on 2nd November 2021.

Rescue guide launched for Ganges river dolphin

What is the News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has released a document for the safe rescue and release of stranded Ganges river dolphins. 

Who has prepared the document for the Ganges river dolphins?

Prepared by: Turtle Survival Alliance and the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department (EFCCD) of the Uttar Pradesh Government. 

Based on: Years of experience of rescuing 25 Ganges river dolphins stranded in irrigation canals.

About Gangetic River Dolphin
Source: WWF

The Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) was officially discovered in 1801.

Habitat: It is found throughout the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

Population: The global population is estimated at 4,000 and is mostly found in the Indian subcontinent. 

Click here to read more about the Gangetic River Dolphin

Source: This post is based on the article “Rescue guide launched for Ganges river dolphin” published in The Hindu on 2nd November 2021.

GoI constitutes 20-member Empowered Group of Secretaries to monitor development and implementation of the PM Gati Shakti NMP

What is the News?

The Government has constituted a 20-member Empowered Group of Secretaries to monitor the development and implementation of the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP).

Click Here to read about PM Gati Shakti

About the Empowered Group of Secretaries(EGoS)

Chaired by: It is a 20 member body chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

Members: It will include the chairman of the Railway Board and secretaries from various ministries as its members.

Secretariat: The Logistics division in the Department of Commerce will act as the Secretariat to the Group.

The mandate of EGoS: The terms of reference for the Empowered Group are,

-Review and monitor implementation of the NMP to ascertain the logistics efficiency,

-Adopt a framework for undertaking any amendments to the NMP,

-Coordinate any changes to the projects already included in the NMP,

-Set a timeframe for synchronisation of various activities for construction of roads, railways along with all utility services in an area-based approach,

-Issue appropriate directions for achieving the objectives under NMP,

-Address demand-side requirements such as transporting bulk goods based on the requirement of various ministries.

Source: This post is based on the article GoI constitutes 20-member Empowered Group of Secretaries to monitor development and implementation of the PM Gati Shakti NMPpublished in PIB on 1st November 2021.

Statsguru: Six charts show India’s infrastructure projects in a slow lane

What is the News?

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has released a report that shows the cost overruns and time overruns for various projects.

What are cost and time overrun?

Cost overrun: It is an unexpected change in the project budget that ends up increasing the total project cost.

Time overrun: It can be defined as a condition where a project does not complete within the designed schedule.

What are the Key Findings of the report?

The cost overruns for 1,670 projects worth more than Rs 150 crore value were on average around 20%.

Among these projects, Larger projects (worth more than Rs 1,000 crore) faced higher cost overruns as the anticipated cost exceeded the original by a quarter.

Among all these projects, a third of the total projects faced time overruns.

Region-wise: The Northeast region faced the highest cost overruns for central projects.

Sectors with high-Cost Overruns: Water, telecom and Railways. For example, in water resources, the anticipated costs were 184% higher than the original cost.

The sector with high Time Overruns: Roads and Railways. For example, the average time of delay in Railways was 69 months or nearly 6 years. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Statsguru: Six charts show India’s infrastructure projects in a slow lane” published in Business Standard on 2nd November 2021

Union Minister of Cooperation launches the “Dairy Sahakar” scheme

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Cooperation has launched the Dairy Sahakar Scheme.

What is the Dairy Sahakar Scheme?

Aim: To encourage the cooperative dairy businesses in the country which will help realize the vision of  “from cooperation to prosperity”. 

Implementing Agency: National Cooperative Development Corporation( NCDC) under the Ministry of Cooperation.

Financial Assistance: Financial support will be extended by NCDC to eligible cooperatives for activities such as bovine development, milk procurement, processing, quality assurance, value addition, branding, packaging, marketing, transportation and storage of milk and milk products.

Convergence with other schemes: Various schemes of Government of India or State Government or Development agencies or bilateral/multilateral assistance or CSR mechanism will be converged.

Source: This post is based on the articleUnion Minister of Cooperation launches the “Dairy Sahakar” schemepublished in PIB on 31st October 2021

Explained: A proposed Bill and its possible ramifications in matrilineal Meghalaya

What is the News?

A district autonomous council in Meghalaya has announced that it would introduce the ‘Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021’.

What is the purpose of Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021?

The bill is aimed at the “equitable distribution” of parental property among siblings in the Khasi community. 

If implemented, the proposed Bill would modify an age-old customary practice of inheritance of the matrilineal Khasi tribe. Moreover, the Bill has also brought into focus the practise of matriliny in Meghalaya.

​​What does matriliny in Meghalaya mean?

The three tribes of Meghalaya — Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos — practise a matrilineal system of inheritance. 

In this system, lineage and descent are traced through the mother’s clan. In other words, children take the mother’s surname, the husband moves into his wife’s house, and the youngest daughter (khatduh) of the family is handed over the full share of the ancestral — or the clan’s — property.

The khatduh becomes the “custodian” of the land and assumes all responsibility associated with the land, including taking care of aged parents, unmarried or destitute siblings. 

The khatduh cannot sell the property without the permission of her mother’s brother (maternal uncle).

Moreover, this inheritance tradition applies only to ancestral or clan/community property which has been with the family for years. On the other hand, the self-acquired property can be distributed equally among siblings.

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: A proposed Bill and its possible ramifications in matrilineal Meghalayapublished in Indian Express on 1st November, 2021

UNSC adopts resolution on protection of education in armed conflict

What is the News?

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a unique first-of-its-kind resolution called “Resolution 2601”.

What does Resolution 2601 call for?

Resolution 2601 calls for the protection of education in armed conflict. It also,

-Condemns attacks against schools, children and teachers.

-Urges parties to armed conflict to immediately stop such violence and to safeguard the right to education.

-Urges the Member States to create domestic legal frameworks that should include comprehensive measures to prevent attacks and protect schools, children, teachers as well as related civilians during armed conflict and in post-conflict phases.

Why was this resolution needed?

As per Education under Attack Report 2020, more than 22,000 students, teachers, and academics were injured, killed or harmed in attacks on education during armed conflict or insecurity over the past five years.

The Report of the Secretary-General 2020 and 2021 on ‘Children and armed conflict’ also reported a significant increase in the number of attacks against schools.

So, the resolution has been adopted.

Source: This post is based on the articleUNSC adopts resolution on protection of education in armed conflictpublished in Business Standard on 1st November 2021

NREGA: low funds, caste-based payment delays, and implications for the economy

What is the news?

Two organizations, People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) and LibTech India, monitored the government MGNREGA programme and concluded a report known as MGNREGA Tracker. 

Note: This is the fourth such “tracker” on MGNREGA.

What is MGNREGA?
Must ReadMGNREGA: Issues and Significance – Explained, pointwise

The MGNREGA can play a critical role in reviving the Indian economy, especially rural India, as it puts the money directly in the hands of workers.

What are the main findings of the report?
Source: Indian Express

Inadequate Allocation: The total budget allocation for MGNREGA this year was 34% less than the budget of the last financial year (2020-21).

Total utilisation of funds in a short time: Every year Budget allocation has to manage the previous year’s arrears or unpaid dues. And for this year, the entire budget allocated has been spent in just six months.

Must read: No money left in MGNREGA coffers; 21 States in the red

Job Demand: The demand for MGNREGA jobs is down 25% from last year. But it is still higher than the pre-Covid period.

Demand suppression: Inadequate budget allocation has led to reduced demand for MGNREGA work. This is because people seeking MGNREGA work cannot afford to wait for payments for long and the provisions of payment have not been followed on the ground.

Note: Work should be provided within 15 days of demanding work and workers should be paid within 15 days of completion of work.

Caste issues: This year government passed an order asking states to give 3 FTOs (Funds Transfer Orders) 1. For “SC” (Scheduled Castes), 2. For “ST” (Scheduled Tribes) and 3. For “Other” categories.

The Survey found that after the Caste-based circular, workers belonging to the “others” categories, which constitutes 87% of all workers, ended up facing much longer delays in payments.

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • NREGA: low funds, caste-based payment delays, and implications for the economy” published in Indian Express on 2nd November 2021.
  • Drying up of MGNREGA allocation will shrink the rural economy further” published in Down to Earth on 1st November 2021.

PSBs to introduce common staff accountability guidelines for NPAs

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • “PSBs to introduce common staff accountability guidelines for NPAs” published in Business Standard on 1st November 2021.
  • “Confidence boosters for over-cautious bankers” published in Livemint on 2nd November 2021.
What is the news?

The finance ministry has issued guidelines on staff accountability that aim to shield them from good decisions gone bad. Banks should revise Staff Accountability Policies based on these guidelines and frame the procedures with the approval of their respective boards.

What are the staff accountability policies of PSBs?

At present, different banks are following different procedures. In general, Bank staff will be held accountable if the sanctioned loans turn into non-performing assets (NPAs). And these staff accountability policies are carried out to all accounts which turn into NPAs.

About the guidelines issued by Finance Ministry

The Public Sector Banks(PSBs) will implement common staff accountability policies for loan accounts up to Rs 50 crore turning into non-performing assets (NPAs) on or after April 1, 2022. But this condition will not apply in case of sanctioning loans to fraud accounts by PSBs staff.

Aim: Easing the anxiety of officials at PSBs in extending loans that carry default risk.

Time limit: PSBs should complete staff accountability exercises within six months from the date of classification of the account as NPA.

Guidelines issued by: Department of Financial Services (DFS).

How the staff accountability will be ensured under the new guidelines?

Loans up to Rs 10 lakh: According to guidelines, these loans do not constitute a major percentage of the NPA. So, staff accountability will not be examined if it turns into NPA.

Loans between Rs 10 lakhs–Rs 1 crore: Banks may decide on a threshold of Rs 10 lakh or Rs 20 lakh and accountability depending on their business size. The accountability will be examined by a committee formed at regional/controlling offices.

Loans between Rs 1 Crore – Rs 50 crore: A detailed accountability examination will take place by a committee, headed by an official senior to the sanctioning authority.

Note: Staff accountability will be ensured by the committee after a preliminary investigation of the sanctioned loan.

Loans above 50 Crores: will follow existing guidelines.

What is the existing RBI Framework for Loans above 50 crores turning NPAs?

Banks should bifurcate all fraud cases into vigilance and non-vigilance categories.

-Vigilance cases: referred to investigative authorities,

Non-vigilance cases: Dealt with at the bank level within a period of six months

Non-vigilance details along with the action taken report may be placed before the SCBF (Special Committee of the Board for monitoring and follow-up of Frauds) and intimated to the RBI at quarterly intervals.

What is the significance of these guidelines?

1. Ensure a common approach across PSBs for accounts becoming NPA and save employees for undue hardships, 2. Protect the staff taking bonafide business decisions, 3. Boost the morale of the PSB employees, 4. Speedy delivery to credit to industries and boost the economy, 5. Eliminate subjectivity and ensure Fair, predictable and transparent systems for staff accountability.


Print Friendly and PDF[social_warfare]