9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – September 14th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2


For India, the buzzword now is ‘all-alignment’

Source: The post is based on the article “For India, the buzzword now is ‘all-alignment’ published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Relevance: About India’s all alignment policy.

News: In his book the India Way, External Affairs Minister offers a critique of India’s traditional policy of “non-alignment”.  He distinguishes between the “optimistic non-alignment” of the past and the more realistic “multiple engagements of the future”.

How India’s participation in the SCO summit is a clear signal of India’s all-alignment policy?

Next year, India will host the SCO summit, and is expected to invite all members — this includes the Chinese President and Pakistan’s Prime Minister. India’s engagement with the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan highlights India balances various blocs. For instance,

a) India is a member of SCO and BRICS and also a member of Quad, groups such as the I2U2 (India-Israel-U.S.-UAE), and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

b) India joining the Russian-led ‘Vostok’ Army Exercises along with China, and plans to host SCO-RATS counterterror exercises. On the other hand, the Indian Air Force took part in the Australian ‘Pitch Black’ exercises, and the Indian Army is planning exercises with the U.S. (Yudh Abhyas).

This shows India is the only country that would form the intersection, a part of all of those groupings.

How does India’s all alignment policy function within the SCO grouping and what India can do in the upcoming SCO Summit?

India’s ties with Russia: India has refused to heed pleas from the U.S. and Europe to endorse resolutions critical of Russia at the United Nations. India often abstained from voting on the Ukraine crisis. Further, India’s imports of Russian oil jumped from 0.66 million tonnes in the first quarter to 8.42 million tonnes in the second this year.

In the recent Eastern Economic Forum meeting, India outlines it wants to further strengthen energy ties, building on the $16 billion investment Indian public sector units already have in Russian oil and gas fields.

India’s ties with China: The two leaders of India and China met 18 times between 2014-2019. But have not spoken directly once since the standoff that began in April 2020 between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). India-China bilateral ties have come to a virtual standstill on most fronts, with the exception of trade.

During the Doklam conflict, it was a “brush by” meeting between two leaders at the G-20 summit that led to the “breakthrough” in talks. So a similar can happen in the upcoming SCO summit or the G20 Summit.

India’s engagement with Iran: The SCO meeting is expected to pitch the Chabahar port terminal India is developing as an important route for trade to Central Asia and Russia.

Further, Iran has asked for India’s support with “above ground” equipment and parts for its plans to extend the rail line from the Afghan border outpost to Turkmenistan, the shortest possible route for India. This is in line with India’s plan to build a connectivity framework that counters the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor from Gwadar.

India’s engagement with Pakistan:  The decision by the Pakistan government in 2019 that no trade with India is possible without a reversal of India’s Article 370 moves in Jammu and Kashmir has ended formal communication between both the countries.

With Pakistan reeling from massive floods, an economic crisis, and growing worries of an unstable Afghanistan Pakistan might look for a way to hold a conversation with India.

All this shows India fights for its unique brand of multi-alignment or “all-alignment” with partners worldwide, without having to choose between them.


The solution to India’s stunted improvement on the Human Development Index: Improving access to quality education

Source: The post is based on an article The solution to India’s stunted improvement on the Human Development Index: Improving access to quality education” published in The Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education

News:  United Nation Development Program (UNDP) has released the Human Development Index (HDI) report for 2022.

HDI report involves four indicators with three dimensions — per capita income, health (life expectancy) and education (average and expected years of schooling).

What are the findings of Human Development Index at the global level?

The annual rate of progress in HDI which had gone up from 0.7 per cent in the Nineties to 0.8 in the next decade has now declined to half that level during 2010-21.

Higher achievements were recorded by medium and low HDI countries.

The worst affected are Latin America and Caribbean regions whose growth has slumped to 0.3 per cent during 2010-21.

Why are the concerns for India associated with findings of the reports?

The performance of India has declined in various categories in comparison to other developing countries for the last decade. The global HDI rank of India has slipped from 129 in 2019 to 131 in 2020 and to 132 in 2021-22.

India’s performance in all three dimension of HDI 2021-22 is lower than 2019. Whereas, in other very-high, high, medium and low HDI countries the decrease is found only in health index.

India’s per capita income in terms of Purchasing Power Parity has gone down by 5 per cent compared to a 2 per cent increase for the developing countries during 2019 and 2021-22.

The decline in life expectancy is sharper for India than for developing countries.

There is a sharp fall in the expected years of schooling and there is also high inequality in different dimensions of development.

Inequality: According to inequality-adjusted HDI figures, India’s rank has gone down from the 132nd to 134th position. This inequality is higher than the average figures for other countries.

However, India has seen decline in health and education inequalities compared to other low and medium HDI countries.

Health inequality: India’s rank in health inequality has improved during 2010-21 which is better than other low and medium HDI countries.

Still, the inequalities in health and education are more than twice that of the very high and high HDI countries.

Therefore, access to quality education is must for determining the focus of the country’s development strategy as it moves towards a 10 trillion dollar economy.

What are the issues associated with findings of the HDI report?

There is a doubt on the calculation methods and data used by UNDP for finding HDI.

We cannot come to the exact conclusion until the robustness of the data used is confirmed.

Therefore, there is an urgency of conducting the population Census and regular national surveys in India.


On India opting out of IPEF: India must actively pursue trade agreements, not only bilateral ones but also plurilateral pacts

Source: The post is based on an article On India opting out of IPEF: India must actively pursue trade agreements, not only bilateral ones but also plurilateral pactspublished in The Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India

News:  India has recently decided to stay away from the trade pillar of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

India also decided to opt out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019.

The decision of India from staying away from such multi-trade agreements may be a concern to its trade development.

What is Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

Read More about  IPEF

IPEF offers member countries the option to not participate in all of the given pillars.

Therefore, India has joined the other three pillars (supply chains, tax and anti-corruption and clean energy) and stayed away from the trade pillar.

Why has India decided to stay away from the trade pillar of IPEF?

The government has said that there are several areas of concern such as labor to environmental standards, digital trade, and public procurement.

Further, the terms of the agreements and the benefits that the member countries will get, are also not clear.

These are important concerns however these important concerns should not prevent India to stay away from the trade pillar of the IPEF.

These term and can also be sought in other bilateral agreements.

What are the challenges involved with India staying away from trade component?

This decision of India to opt out of the trade pillar has come at a time when the global economic environment is uncertain and challenging.

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for global growth and world trade in goods and services this year. The issue is low demand and tightening policy of central banks to tackle increasing inflation. This slowdown in trade has already become visible in India’s trade statistics.

The export growth of India slowed down after the country witnessed unexpected exports growth in the first quarter of 2021-22.

What can be the course of action?

India must take part in the trade agreement of both bilateral and multilateral. It will help in improving trade and exports of the nation.


India at 100 should be a society where gender is not used as a tool to exclude

Source: The post is based on an article “India at 100 should be a society where gender is not used as a tool to exclude” published in The Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2- mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections

News: The article discusses the problems associated with Trans-genders and steps taken by the government to resolve them.

What steps have been taken by government and court for the welfare of Trans-gender community?

Court

The NALSA vs Union of India judgment of 2014 gave equal rights to the transgender community.

It talked about the self-determination of gender, prevention of discrimination in all spheres of life and spoke about positive action for the community.

The Madras High Court in a series of judgments has issued orders for reforming queerphobic curricula, banning conversion therapy, issuing a glossary for trans-sensitive media reporting, among others.

Government

The Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Act was enacted and its rules were notified in 2019.  It led to the formation of National Council for Transgender Persons for the first time.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal ministry for the welfare of transgender persons. It launched social measures like a National Portal for application for Transgender ID cards, the SMILE scheme, etc.

The recent one is Ayushman Bharat TG Plus card that provides health insurance for transgender persons including gender-affirming care.

However, all these measures are not enough to improve the condition of trans-gender community and there is still a lot to be done.

What problems are still faced by the trans-gender community?

The Transgender Persons Act and Rules don’t provide for a reservation which was directed in the NALSA judgment.

Many states and UTs have not yet notified rules, or created separate washroom for trans-persons, among others.

Only 2 percent of transgender persons have been issued transgender ID cards which makes them eligible for various social schemes.

Transgender Welfare Boards have also not been constituted in many states and UTs.

The government has also opposed same-sex marriages and abstained from voting at the UN on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Laws on reproductive health have excluded trans and queers from committing surrogacy, availing artificial reproductive techniques or seeking a legal abortion.

These all show that there is a lot more to be done and India should transform itself from gender biased state towards a gender inclusive state.

How should India move forward in recognizing other genders?

India should not continue excluding a section of society for the way they are born even after 75 years of our Independence.

India should have a society where gender is not used as a tool to exclude, discriminate or harass.

It should be a nation where transgender people are sitting in Parliament or in the assemblies and shaping their destiny.


India’s great anaemia mystery

Source– The post is based on the article “India’s great anaemia mystery” published in The Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Development and management of health

News- The article explains the increase in prevalence of anaemia among women and children despite improvement in other health indicators.

The prevalence of anaemia among women has increased from 53% in 2015 to 57% in 2019-20. Similarly, the percentage of anaemic children has increased from 58% in 2015 to 67% in 2019-20.

How WHO defines anaemia?

Anemia is a condition where the number of red blood cells or the hemoglobin concentration within them is lower than normal.

What could be the probable reason behind it?

Cereal-centric diets, with relatively less consumption of iron-rich food groups. However, there is increase in children and women consuming iron dense food from NFHS-4 to NFHS-5. The children consuming an adequate diet has increased from 9.6 percent to 11.3 percent from NFHS-4 to NFHS-5.

Poor water quality and sanitation conditions. Sanitation coverage of households has increased from 48.5 percent to 70.2 percent. Households with access to improved drinking water sources improved from 94.4 percent to 95.9 per cent.

Delivery of health and nutritional interventions. Women’s consumption of folic acid during pregnancy and access to ante-natal check-ups has improved over the last five years

Women’s empowerment is another factor. But women empowerment has increased during this period

Why does the data on anaemia seem anomalous?

Several factors that are responsible for anaemia have improved since NFHS-4.

All other major undernutrition outcomes like stunting, wasting and underweight have improved over the past four to five years.

How to properly understand the reason behind the increase in anaemia?

There is a need to go beyond haemoglobin and look for some other iron-specific biomarkers, like serum ferritin and marker of inflammation. It will identify the role of iron deficiency as a driver of anaemia.

Measurement of anaemia should account for non-iron nutritional deficiencies like that of vitamin B12. There is a need for screening for genetic blood disorders, like thalassemia and sickle-cell anaemia.

The NFHS data must be expanded on food consumption to estimate the intake of various micronutrients. We need to compare it against recommended intake.

GS Paper 3


Connecting the dots to boost the patent ecosystem

Source: The post is based on the article “Connecting the dots to boost the patent ecosystem published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Relevance: About India’s patent ecosystem.

News: The recent report of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), ‘Why India Needs to Urgently Invest in its Patent Ecosystem?’, highlights the significance of a robust patent system for a knowledge economy and for the promotion of technological innovations.

What are the key findings of the report on India’s patent ecosystem?

The rising share of residents in the total number of patent applications filed in India has more than doubled during the last decade.

For the first time, the number of patent applications by residents has surpassed that of foreign applications during the last quarter of the financial year 2021-22.

Read more: India Patents report: Indian companies filed 1.38 lakh tech patents during 2015-22
What are the suggestions of the report to improve India’s patent ecosystem?

The report expressed the long pendency of processing patent applications in India as a major concern. So the report suggested a) Increasing the efficiency of processing patent applications, b) Investigate the patent ecosystem more closely to connect the dots so that appropriate measures are adopted to improve the patent ecosystem.

What are the other concerns in India’s patent ecosystem?

Increasing abandoned applications: The total number of patent applications to the Indian patent office has increased by 48% between 2010-11 and 2020-21. Similarly, the number of abandoned patent applications also increased by almost 350% during this period.

These applications do not meet the requirements under Sections 9(1) and 21(1) of the Patents Act.

Note:

Section 9(1) of the Patents Act provides that those applications accompanied by provisional specifications be supported by complete specifications within one year.

Section 21(1) requires patent applicants to re-file documents if the patent examiner finds them not meeting the requirements.

The applicants did not refile or submit specifications due to a) applicants are not confident, b) the long pendency discouraging applicants from following up on their applications.

Incentives to file patents and associated issues: Since the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016, a lot of emphasis has been attached to the filing of patent applications. This resulted in encouraging the filing of patent applications even when the innovator knows that their claims will not pass scrutiny.

India’s poor performance in industry-academia collaboration: India’s score for the industry-academia collaboration indicator has declined over the last few years, from 47.8 in 2015 to 42.7 in 2021. Consequently, India’s ranking in this indicator in the GII declined from 48 to 65 during this period.

Note: India’s improvements in some other indicators have resulted in India’s overall ranking in the GII improving from 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021.

The draft of the National Auto Policy 2018 points out that collaboration between the industry and academia in India has been limited to niche research areas that have low commercial significance.

Read more: The awkward grant of patents to artificial intelligence
What should be done to improve India’s patent ecosystem?

To improve India’s patent ecosystem, India needs to a) Eliminate perverse incentives in the system that promote patent filing, b) Fasten the entire patent filing system, c) Promote the quality of patent applications and d) Increase the collaboration between academia and industry.


About the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022: An improved Bill, but still contentious

Source: The post is based on the article “An improved Bill, but still contentious published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure – Ports.

Relevance: About the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022.

News: The draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022 will replace the Indian Ports Act of 1908.

What is the performance of Indian major and non-major ports?

India has 12 major ports and 212 non-major ports. Most of the non-major ports are small fishing harbours and only a few of them cater to international shipping.

Major ports figure in the Union List and come under the jurisdiction of the Central government. Non-major ports are in the Concurrent List and come under the respective State governments.

Data show that non-major ports have fared much better than major ports. Between 1993-94 and 2021-22, the share of the total cargo of non-major ports went up from 8% to 45%, and the CAGR of cargo traffic of non-major ports was 14% compared to the 4.8% of major ports. 

Major ports performed various port functions with their own staff and equipment. States developed non-major ports almost entirely on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. For instance, Gujarat developed India’s first private port, largest captive port, largest commercial multipurpose port, etc.

Maritime State Development Council (MSDC): It serves as an apex advisory body for the coordinated development of major ports and non-major ports. It has met only 18 times in the last 25 years.

What are the issues associated with the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2021?

A few major provisions of the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2021 are, the bill a) Give statutory status along with wide-ranging powers and functions to the MSDC, b) Make MSDC a permanent body with its own office, staff, accounts and audit, c) Empower the MSDC to formulate a national plan, to be notified in the official gazette, for the development of major and non-major ports, d) Order an appropriate inquiry if any port contravenes the national plan, and e) Empowered the Centre to make a port non-operational if it was not in consonance with the national plan.

The maritime States oppose the 2021 bill as they thought 1) A statutory-cum-permanent MSDC will curtail their powers to develop and manage non-major ports, 2) The bill reflects Socialist-era issues of Central planning and Inspector Raj.

What are the changes in the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022?
Read here: Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022 issued for Stakeholder Consultation

The Bill dropped or toned down many of the 2021 bill provisions. However, the Bill a) Retained the MSDC as a statutory-cum-permanent body, b) Authorise the Central government to entrust any administrative and financial functions to the MSDC.

What are the challenges with the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022?

Does not resolve the main issue of disagreement between the Centre and the maritime States: A statutory-cum-permanent MSDC will make the better performing non-major port struggle with the issues of major ports. It will choke future development of non-major ports and stifle novel initiatives by the maritime States.

Ensure that the composition of the MSDC is in favour of the Centre: The Bill makes five Secretaries and one Joint Secretary to the Government of India, besides the administrators of the coastal UTs, as members. Further, the vote of an officer is also counted the same as the vote of a Minister.

What should be done to make the draft Indian Ports Bill of 2022 holistic?

1) Like the Goods and Services Tax Council, the MSDC should consist only of the concerned Ministers of the Union and maritime States/UTs; officers should only be special invitees.

2) Ports in Germany, the US and China are managed at the municipal and regional levels. A 2011 World Bank Report, ‘Regulation of the Indian Port Sector’, observed that non-major ports are perceived as “more business-oriented, customer friendly, cheaper and in general more efficient.”

So the Centre should understand that the ports are best managed by local and regional governments.

3) The draft Bill relating to the MSDC must be scrapped and the MSDC should remain an apex advisory body.

Overall the centre should work towards greater decentralisation, deregulation, corporatisation and private sector participation.


An opportunity for India Inc

Source: The post is based on the article “Connecting the dots to boost the patent ecosystem published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Relevance: About Indian business activities.

News: At present, businessmen are seen not as wealth creators but as nation builders. Corporate India receives trust, goodwill and confidence from the nation, and it must provide returns to the nation in equal measure.

What is the present state of Indian business activities?

Challenges with corporate: Corporate India focuses on brand power, digital technology, talent pools, scales of operations, and global connectivity. So, Corporate India’s response to the country’s job crisis has been more symbolic than substantial.

Challenges with the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): a) Much of India’s blue-collar employment is generated in SMEs and in its sprawling gig economy. The jobs thus created are sub-optimal with low wages and unstable working conditions, b) Some 45% of India’s manufacturing takes place in garments units, hazardous chemical factories and in unsafe engineering workshops.

What should be done to improve Indian business activities?

1) Learn from Taiwan: Technology and innovation in Taiwan has transformed its low-level economy into a part of a global value chain. Taiwanese SMEs which manufactured cotton shirts, plastic flowers and wooden toys are now producing memory chips and laptops and assembling smartphones.

The Government’s ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) and collaboration from other corporate can also transform Indian SMEs.

2) India’s SME sector needs to modernise itself with the help of digital technology, professional management and better scale of operations.

3) India’s corporate sector can extend a helping hand across the aisle to help the SMEs achieve a transformation. This helping hand should be market-driven and backed by a strong value proposition.

4) Indian food is popular worldwide. However, India has not been able to create a McDonald’s or KFC to bring Indian food to the world stage as a global business in scale and sophistication. So, the corporates has to utilise this space.

5) Across the world, the informal sector is steadily evolving into the formal sector in partnership with the organised industry which is creating innovative business models. For instance, Uber, Ola, etc. This model could now be replicated in other situations. This can create a win-win situation for both corporates and informal sector.

Mahatma Gandhi’s insight that “what we need is not mass production, but production by the masses” must be an enlightened vision of Indian business.


Don’t curb rice exports in anxiety over evidence

Source: The post is based on the article Don’t curb rice exports in anxiety over evidence” published in The Live Mint on 14th September 2022.

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

News: Recently the Centre has imposed a 20% export duty on some varieties of rice and a complete ban on broken-rice shipments.

This has delivered an instant shock to traders and exporters.

India’s reputation as a reliable trade partner was already hurt by the Centre’s decision in May to stop wheat exports. The ban came after it declared to “feed the world” in response to the global food shortages caused by the Ukraine war.

The latest decision to ban rice exports is a bigger concern to India’s reputation worldwide.

What are the issues associated with the ban on exports of rice?

Exporters

The ban and high import duty has affected the exporters.

The price of the rice has gone up and the buyers are not ready to buy at that price. Therefore, around 1 million tons of outbound rice is estimated to be stuck.

Farmers

The ban on export can also affect farmer’s income as the rice ban will increase stocks and the new harvested crops will not be bought from farmers.

Food security

India is the world’s top exporter of rice. It has shipped 21.2 million tons of rice in 2021-22.

The export ban will lead to food security concerns all over the world.

However, it is necessary for India to ensure that its citizens get enough food and domestic priority should be given more importance.

With the help of different scheme like NFSA, 2013 India has ensured that there is enough food to meet the nation demands at the time of high food inflation.

Why India should not put ban on export of rice?

The ban has been put due to the fear for food shortages in India.

There has been a deficient rain in some paddy growing states this year causing low output. Still, there are other states where paddy has grown in abundance.

Central buffer stocks are down from 31.7 million tonnes at the start of July to 24.5 million tonnes in September. However, it is still almost twice the country’s required minimum level.

Therefore, it seems that there will be price stability and enough grain supplies for the nation.

What are other concerns for India and what can be future course of action?

India has also put a ban on the exports of steel.

These measures from the government raise overall cost of doing business and goes against the perception of an open economy.

Therefore, the government should stay away from these decisions and it is best to rely on RBI for controlling the inflation.


Moonlighting & market: Should employees have side gigs? Bosses & HR gurus are divided. But answer is in supply & demand

Source– The post is based on the article Moonlighting & market: Should employees have side gigs? Bosses & HR gurus are divided. But answer is in supply & demandpublished in The Times of India on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy (Employment)

Relevance– About Moonlighting

News- The article explains the concept of moonlighting and concerns of employers about this new concept.

Moonlighting has expanded exponentially during pandemic. It is prevalent in sectors where demand outstrips supply, like IT sector.

A PwC survey found that 54% of respondents strongly or moderately agreed that India faces a shortage of their skill sets.

What are some facts about moonlighting?

It is related to employees doing jobs on the side of their contracted full-time work.

It expanded exponentially during the pandemic period.

It is resisted by major employers who want to restore their white-collar works to the definition of pre-pandemic level.

What are employers’ viewpoints about moonlighting?

(a) Some employers are worrying about productivity. They are concerned about IP (Intellectual Property) leaks and conflicts of interest. For example, Infosys has called it “two-timing” and the Wipro chairman called it “cheating, plain and simple”.

(b) Others are open to the idea of companies working productively with employees without having exclusive ‘ownership’ of them. For example, Swiggy and Cred have greenlighted moonlighting.

According to them, moonlighting can help one do one’s day job better.

An American study published in the Academy of Management Journal last year found that it made employees feel empowered. It resulted in uplifting their mood and increasing performance.


The governance model to take on climate change

Source– The post is based on the article “The governance model to take on climate change” published in Live mint on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Climate change. GS2- Important aspects of governance.

Relevance– About governance model

News- The article looks into the collaborative governance model needed to manage the ongoing transition in the world economy.

Why is there scepticism about the government’s ability to lead the transition?

Polarisation and authoritarian populism have undermined the capacity of societies to mount collective action at local and international levels.

Government has neither sufficient information nor the capabilities necessary to achieve positive structural change in the economy. If given too much power, they will direct resources toward the wrong places. They will promote special interests.

What are the policy challenges on climate?

Governance is difficult here. The regulations must not only be effective at the national level, they also must be negotiated globally among states with different interests and circumstances.

Why is the Montreal protocol successful in comparison with UNFCCC?

Both have similar challenges because both involve significant scientific and technological uncertainty. There are also major differences among the positions of advanced and developing economies. This is the reason why UNFCCC took Montreal protocol as its model.

Case of Montreal protocol– Montreal Protocol created sectoral committees in which ODS emitting firms joined national regulators and scientists in seeking technological alternatives.

These groups multiplied as knowledge was accumulated, capabilities were acquired and trust was built among parties.

This approach worked because the problem solving was devolved to local actors called firms with the requisite technological know-how.

Case of UNFCCC– Under the climate regime, firms have been kept at arm’s length from regulators. This has created conflicts of interest and hampered innovation.

What are other successful examples?

There are examples like the US Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) Ireland’s agricultural-pollution regime.

In each case, ground level experimentation is coupled with higher level goal setting.

At the local level, the most successful initiatives took the form of private-public collaborations. They bring together training programs, businesses, non-profit groups and public officials.

What should be the proper strategy?

We should start out with ambitious, somewhat ill-defined goals. Program leaders must acknowledge deep uncertainty and hence the likelihood of mistakes.

We must use a carrot and stick approach. There must be incentives for the parties with the most detailed and accurate information. There must also be a threat of regulation.

There is a need for frequent reassessments and revisions, setting milestones and monitoring progress. When solutions do emerge, they can be generalized in the form of standards or regulations.

This kind of policy making differs from current approaches. The ‘state versus market’ dichotomy is simply irrelevant. States and markets are complementary. The standard top-down, principal-agent model of regulation is not useful.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

After failing to get ‘National Importance’ status, NCERT vies for ‘deemed university’ tag

Source: The post is based on the articleAfter failing to get ‘National Importance’ status, NCERT vies for ‘deemed university’ tag published in Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has applied to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the “deemed university” status under the de novo category. 

What is Deemed University?

The status of deemed-to-be-university is awarded in accordance with Section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956.

An Institution of Higher Education, other than universities, working at a very high standard in a specific area of study, can be declared by the Central Government on the advice of the UGC as an Institution ‘deemed-to-be-university’.

Institutions that are ‘deemed-to-be-university’ enjoy the academic status and privileges of a university.

What is De Novo Deemed University?

De-Novo Deemed University is an institution that can apply to the UGC for setting up a new institution as deemed to be a University which will undertake study and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge that are not offered by any existing institution.

Why does NCERT want the Deemed University status?

Currently, the graduate and postgraduate programmes offered by NCERT’s Regional Institute of Education (RIE) are affiliated with local universities.

The deemed university status would allow NCERT to offer its own graduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees and have autonomy in terms of introduction of programmes, course structure, conducting examinations and management among others.

What is NCERT?

NCERT is an autonomous organization set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education.

The Executive Committee (EC) is the highest decision-making body of NCERT and is chaired by the Education Minister.


India to hold G20 summit in September 2023

Source: The post is based on the article “India to hold G20 summit in September 2023published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

India will assume the presidency of the G20 from December,2022 and host the summit of leaders of the G20 in New Delhi during September 9-10, 2023.

What is G20?

Click Here to read

India’s G20 Presidency

India will assume the Presidency of the G20 for one year from 01 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.

Under its Presidency, India is expected to host over 200 G20 meetings across the country, beginning in December 2022. 

The G20 Leaders’ Summit at the level of Heads of State / Government is scheduled to be held on 09 and 10 September 2023 in New Delhi.

G20 Troika

India is currently part of the G20 Troika which comprises the current, previous and incoming G20 presidencies and includes Indonesia, Italy and India. 

During its presidency, the troika will include India, Indonesia and Brazil. This will be the first time that the troika will consist of three developing countries and emerging economies providing them with a greater voice.

What are the guest countries invited by India as a G20 Presidency?

In addition to G20 Members, there has been a tradition of the G20 Presidency inviting some Guest countries and International Organizations (IOs) to its G20 meetings and summits. 

Accordingly, India will be inviting Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and UAE as Guest countries.

ISA (International Solar Alliance), CDRI (Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure) and ADB (Asian Development Bank) will also be invited as Guest IOs.


National List of Essential Medicines(NLEM): 384 drugs on essential medicines list

Source: The post is based on the article “384 drugs on essential medicines list published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) list.

It has added 34 new medicines and dropped 26 old ones from the previous list.A total of 384 medicines now features on NLEM 2022 under 27 therapeutic categories. 

Note: This revised list has come out after a gap of seven years.

What is the National List of Essential Medicines(NLEM)?
National List of Essential Medicines(NLEM)
Source: Business Standard

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs, based on efficacy, safety, quality and total cost of the treatment. 

The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote the rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety and efficacy.

The NLEM was first formulated in 1996 and has been revised in 2003, 2011, and 2015.

In NLEM, the medicines are categorized based on the level of the healthcare system as P- Primary; S- Secondary and T- Tertiary.

Medicines that feature in the NLEM are called scheduled drugs. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA) fixes the prices of these drugs based on the wholesale price index inflation. 

For other drugs, companies are allowed to take a maximum hike of up to 10% annually.

Currently, scheduled drugs roughly constitute 17-18% of the estimated Rs 1.6-trillion domestic pharma market.

What is the significance of NLEM?

NLEM plays an important role in ensuring the accessibility of affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare. This will give a boost to cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute to the reduction in Out of Pocket Expenditure on healthcare for the citizens.

This is critical because the recently released National Health Accounts Estimates 2018-19 point to a high burden on households to pay for healthcare which is a key reason pushing Indians into poverty. 

For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, out-of-pocket health expenditure accounts for 71.3% of the state’s total health expenditure. For India, the figure was 48.2%.


Explained | What is windfall tax and why are countries imposing it on the energy sector right now?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | What is windfall tax and why are countries imposing it on the energy sector right now?” published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Finance Minister has defended the windfall tax imposed by the Government on domestic crude oil producers by saying that it was not an ad hoc move but was done after full consultation with the industry.

What is the Windfall Tax?

Windfall taxes are designed to tax the profits a company derives from an external, sometimes unprecedented event— for instance, the energy price rise as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

These are profits that cannot be attributed to something the firm actively did like an investment strategy or an expansion of business.

Note: The United States Congressional Research Service defines a windfall as an unearned, unanticipated gain in income through no additional effort or expense.

What is the rationale behind imposing a windfall tax?

There have been varying rationales for governments worldwide to introduce windfall taxes, from redistribution of unexpected gains when high prices benefit producers at the expense of consumers, to funding social welfare schemes and as a supplementary revenue stream for the government.

Why are countries imposing Windfall Tax now?

Prices of oil, gas and coal have seen sharp increases since late 2021. This increase stems from a combination of factors including a mismatch between energy demand and supply during the economic recovery from COVID-19 further amplified by the Russian war in Ukraine.

These rising prices meant huge and record profits for energy companies while resulting in hefty gas and electricity bills for household bills in major and smaller economies. 

Since the gains stemmed partly from external change, multiple analysts have called them windfall profits.

What are the issues with the windfall tax?

Firstly, companies are confident in investing in a sector if there is certainty and stability in a tax regime. Since windfall taxes are imposed retrospectively and are often influenced by unexpected events, they can brew uncertainty in the market about future taxes.

Secondly, there is another argument about what exactly constitutes true windfall profits and how can it be determined. For instance, companies may argue that it is the profit they earned as a reward for the industry’s risk-taking to provide the end user with petroleum product.

Thirdly, there is an issue of who should be taxed- only the big companies responsible for the bulk of high-priced sales or smaller companies as well— raising the question of whether producers with revenues or profits below a certain threshold should be exempt.


From promise to reality: 10 years after breakthrough, a CRISPR solution to problems of health begins to take shape

Source: The post is based on the articleFrom promise to reality: 10 years after breakthrough, a CRISPR solution to problems of health begins to take shapepublished in Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

In the 10 years since the CRISPR technology has been developed, it has begun to deliver on its unlimited potential which will help in improving the quality of human life.

What is CRISPR Technology?
CRISPR
Source: Indian Express

CRISPR is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

It is a ​​powerful gene editing technology which replicates natural defense mechanisms in bacteria to fight virus attacks using a special protein called Cas9.

Working: CRISPR-Cas9 technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information. 

– The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or edited, is identified on the DNA strand, and then, using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, that location is cut off from the strand.

– A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself. Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.

Applications: It has many potential applications, including correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases, and improving the growth and resilience of crops.

How is CRISPR technology being used in different sectors?

Health: Several therapeutic interventions using CRISPR for diseases like thalassaemia or sickle cell anaemia have gone into clinical trials, mainly in the United States, and the initial results have been flawless.

In India, researchers at CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology have indigenously developed a CRISPR-based therapeutic solution for sickle cell anaemia, which is now being readied for clinical trials.

Agriculture: ​​Japan has approved the commercial cultivation of a tomato variety that has been improved using CRISPR-based intervention.

– In India, several research groups are working on CRISPR-based enhancements for various crops including rice and banana.

What are the ethical concerns related to CRISPR Technology?

In 2018, a Chinese researcher disclosed that he had altered the genes of a human embryo to prevent the infection of HIV. This was the first documented case of creating a ‘designer baby’.

This has caused widespread concern in the scientific community because: 

1) Preventive interventions to obtain special traits are not something that scientists currently want the technology to be used for, and 

2) The changes were made in the embryo itself which means the newly acquired traits were likely to be passed to future generations. CRISPR is not 100% precise and could induce a few errors as well, making changes in other genes. This has the possibility of being inherited by successive generations.


Explained | The fall in natural rubber prices in India

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The fall in natural rubber prices in India” published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

After a moderate post-pandemic revival, the price of Natural Rubber(NR) has crashed to a 16-month low of ₹150 per kg in the Indian market. 

Where does India stand currently in the production and consumption of Natural Rubber?

India is currently the world’s fifth largest producer of natural rubber. It is also the second biggest consumer of natural rubber globally.

About 40% of India’s total natural rubber consumption is currently met through imports.

The auto-tyre manufacturing sector accounted for 73.1% of the total quantity of natural rubber consumption.

Why have Natural Rubber prices fallen sharply?

The current fall in prices is attributed primarily to weak Chinese demand and the European energy crisis, along with high inflation and an import glut, among other things.

How does the fall in Natural Rubber prices affect growers?

The fall in Natural Rubber prices has mostly impacted the small and medium-scale growers and has left them staring at an uncertain future, forcing some to stop production for the time being.

This impact is mostly seen in Kerala which accounts for nearly 75% of the total Natural Rubber production.

How has the Rubber Board reacted to this?

Rubber Board is an organization constituted under the Rubber (Production and Marketing) Act, 1947 and working under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

The Rubber Board is currently optimistic as it regards the price fluctuation as cyclical and rests its hopes on the projections of a remarkable shortage of rubber seven years from now.


Japan-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise – Jimex 2022

Source: The post is based on the articleJapan-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise – Jimex 2022published in PIB on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The sixth edition of Japan India Maritime Exercise 2022 (JIMEX 22) hosted by the Indian Navy commenced in the Bay of Bengal.

What is Exercise JIMEX?

It is an annual maritime exercise between India and Japan.

Aim: To consolidate the high degree of interoperability that exists between maritime forces of the two countries, through complex exercises in the surface, sub-surface and air domains.

Phases: JIMEX 22 involves two Phases; exercises at sea and a harbour phase at Visakhapatnam.

Significance: This edition marks the 10th anniversary of JIMEX, which began in Japan in 2012. It also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.

What are the other exercises between India and Japan?

Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN- It is an annual joint military exercise between India and Japan from 2018.

SHINYUU Maitri– It is a joint exercise between the Indian Air Force and the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).


Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive – bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

Source: The post is based on the article “Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive – bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

Election Commission of India has delisted 86 non-existent Registered Unrecognized Political Parties(RUPPs) and declared additional 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’.

What are Registered Unrecognized Political Parties(RUPPs)?

If a party satisfies any one of the below-mentioned criteria, then they are called Registered Unrecognized Political Parties(RUPPS). The conditions are: 

1) If the political party is newly registered, 

2) If the political party have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party, and 

3) Political Parties that have never contested in elections since they got registered with the Election Commission.

These parties are not entitled to an exclusive allotment of a reserved election symbol. They have to choose from a list of ‘free symbols’ issued by the Commission.

They are also not eligible either to get free copies of electoral rolls, free authorisation for broadcast/telecast facilities over All India Radio / Doordarshan during Assembly and general elections, and are not eligible for subsidized land for party offices.

Why has EC declared several RUPPs parties as non-existent and inactive?

Firstly, as per statutory requirements under section 29A of the RP Act, every political party has to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, and PAN to the Commission without delay. 86 RUPPs have been found to be non-existent after physical verification.

Secondly, of the 253 RUPPs parties declared inactive, 66 RUPPs actually applied for a common symbol as per the Symbol’s Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. The privilege of a common symbol is given to RUPP based upon an undertaking for putting up at least 5% of total candidates with regard to said legislative assembly election of a State. 

Thirdly, according to EC guidelines, a political party must contest an election conducted by the Election Commission within five years of its registration and thereafter should continue to contest. If the Party does not contest elections continuously for six years, the Party shall be taken off the list of registered parties.


Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav to start from September 17

Source: The post is based on the article “Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav to start from September 17” published in The Hindu on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health is planning a nationwide mega voluntary blood donation drive called Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav. 

What is Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav?

It is a mega drive for voluntary blood donation from 17th September to 1st October 2022.

Besides collecting life-saving blood for its blood banks, the drive also hopes to create a database of donors who can be called upon at times of emergency.

Registration: The registrations for the blood donations can be done on the E-Raktkosh portal and Aarogya Setu app. 

Note: 1st October is observed as the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day.

What is the E-Raktkosh portal?

Click here to read


US, India launch new initiative to increase tree coverage in India

Source: The post is based on the article “US, India launch new initiative to increase tree coverage in India” published in The Print on 12th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, the Government of India and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the launch of the “Trees Outside Forests in India” Initiative.

What is Trees Outside Forests in India Initiative?

Aim: To increase tree coverage outside of forest lands in India in a bid to support global climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.

Features: The programme will bring together farmers, companies and private institutions in India to rapidly expand tree coverage outside of traditional forests by 28 lakh hectares.

– It will use innovative financing models and leverage India’s private sector to promote tree-based enterprises, helping to create sustainable markets and improve rural economies and livelihoods.

Implementation: The program will be implemented by a consortium led by the Center for International Forestry Research(CIFOR) and World Agroforestry.

Coverage: The program will be implemented in seven states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

Significance: The program will enhance carbon sequestration, support local communities and strengthen the climate resilience of agriculture.


[Download] Mains Marathon Weekly Compilation – September, 2022 – 3rd week

Hello everyone, We are posting a compilation of Mains Marathon for the month of September 2022 – Third week. Click on the following link to download Download About Mains Marathon Daily Mains Marathon is focused on UPSC Mains 2023. Under this initiative, we post, daily 2 articles, based on the provided weekly schedule. For More… Continue reading [Download] Mains Marathon Weekly Compilation – September, 2022 – 3rd week

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[Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I September 29th, 2022

Dear Friends, Following are answers to Mains Marathon questions, we posted yesterday. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. Every morning, we post 2 questions are based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant to the exam.… Continue reading [Answered] Mains Marathon I Daily Answer Writing I September 29th, 2022

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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – September 30, 2022

About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – September 30, 2022

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Democracy in Kashmir: Indira’s failure, Vajpayee’s success

Source: The post is based on an article “Democracy in Kashmir: Indira’s failure, Vajpayee’s success” published in The Indian Express on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 Relevance: concerns associated with Jammu and Kashmir News:  Elections in Jammu and Kashmir is due for the past four years. It has been under direct administration of the Union government since Article 370… Continue reading Democracy in Kashmir: Indira’s failure, Vajpayee’s success

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Centre extends Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for another three months

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre extends Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for another three months” published in PIB on 28th September 2022 What is the News? Union Cabinet has approved the extension for the  Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase VII) for a further  period of 3 months… Continue reading Centre extends Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for another three months

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Talent, recognition – on awards to scientists

Source– The post is based on the article “Talent, recognition” published in The Hindu on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Science and Technology Relevance– Importance of awards News– The article explains the rationale behind central government’s proposed move to have a re look at awards, prizes and fellowships. It also explains the issues faced by… Continue reading Talent, recognition – on awards to scientists

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Foreign trade: Going beyond a phrase

Source: The post is based on the article “Foreign trade: Going beyond a phrase” published in the Business Standard on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. Relevance: About India’s foreign trade policy. News: Recently, India’s foreign trade policy, 2015 was extended by six months at a time… Continue reading Foreign trade: Going beyond a phrase

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In nature’s warning signs, a nudge to riparian states

Source– The post is based on the article “In nature’s warning signs, a nudge to riparian states” published in The Hindu on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– Hydro Diplomacy News-The article explains the challenges faced by India due to frequent floods in trans-boundary rivers. It also explains the international mechanism to mitigate… Continue reading In nature’s warning signs, a nudge to riparian states

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Globe-changing reverberations of the Ukraine war

Source– The post is based on the article “Globe-changing reverberations of the Ukraine war” published in The Hindu on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– Global impacts of Ukrainian crisis News– The article explains the impacts of Russia-Ukraine powers. It also explains the response of major powers and its implications for future world… Continue reading Globe-changing reverberations of the Ukraine war

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Eye of the State – on draft Telecommunication Bill

Source– The post is based on the article “Eye of the State” published in The Indian Express on 29th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Fundamental rights Relevance– Surveillance powers of state News– The article explains the vast surveillance power provided to the State by the draft Telecommunication Bill and its impact on fundamental rights enjoyed by… Continue reading Eye of the State – on draft Telecommunication Bill

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