9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – September 15th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

India’s growing water crisis, the seen and unseen

Source– The post is based on the article “India’s growing water crisis, the seen and unseen” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS1- Economic geography.GS2- Government policies for development in various sectors.

Relevance– About water crisis

News-The articles explain the growing water crisis and its impact on rural-urban disputes.

What are various reports that tell us about the growing water crisis?

UNESCO UN water development report tells about the global concern over sharp rise in freshwater withdrawal, water stress and water scarcity in different parts of the world.

New water report of FAO– sounded caution about this impending crisis.

Water Scarcity Clock– Two billion people are living in countries having high water stress.

Global Drought Risk and Water Stress Map- Major parts of India, particularly central, western and peninsular India are highly water stressed.

NITI Aayog “Composite Water Index”– 600 million people in India are facing acute water shortages.

What are the impacts of water scarcity?

Response of areas with water scarcity includes transfer of water from hinterland.

When the city is small, it depends on groundwater. As it grows, dependence shifts to surface water. With further growth it shifts to the hinterland. It is enhanced at the expanse of irrigation water.

It triggers sectoral and regional competition. Rural-urban transfer has become a cause of concern.

According to a review paper in 210, urban water infrastructure imports an estimated 500 billion liters per day over a combined distance of 27,000 km. 12% of large cities depend on inter-basin transfer.

A UN report on “Transboundary Waters Systems- Status and Trends” linked this transfer with SDG goals.

What is the status of urbanisation in India?

India is urbanising at a very fast rate. According to the 2011 census, it was 34% of the total population. The World Urbanization Prospect report says that it will cross 50% by 2050.

What is the case of Ahmedabad and other cities in India?

80% of its water supply was from groundwater till mid-1980s.City now depends on Narmada canal for water supply. It includes inter-basin transfer.

Almost all cities, that depend upon surface water, import water from the hinterland.

City water supply has become subject of inter-basin transfer.

Available studies from Chennai and Nagpur show the imminent possibility of rural-urban conflict.

What needs to be done?

There is a need for a system-perspective and catchment scale approach to link reallocation of water with a wider perspective on development.

Infrastructure investment for water resource management is needed.

Further there is a need for fostering rural-urban partnership and integrated approach in water management.

Institutional strengthening to build flexibility in water resource allocation at regional level.

GS Paper 2

Cloudy prospects for India’s youth

Source: The post is based on an article “Cloudy prospects for India’s youth published in The Business Standard on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Population and associated issues

News: India’s population is still young with about 55 percent below 30 and over a quarter below 15. However, now it is becoming visible that this dividend is not available for long.

India’s billion-strong working age populations have an enormous potential for jobs and economic growth.

However, successive governments have not been able to utilize this potential due to wrong or weak policies and programs. An extremely complex and anti-job-creating maze of labor laws and regulations is prevalent.

What does the data say?

According to World Bank data –

  1. The employment rate is defined as number of employed divided by the population in the corresponding age category.
  2. The employment rate for the 15-24 age groups was 23.2 per cent in India in 2020. It is very low compared to 50.6 per cent in North America, 38.9 per cent in Pakistan and 35.3 per cent in Bangladesh.
  3. The employment rate for the 15-24 categories had fallen in India from 43.4 per cent in 1994 and 40.5 per cent in 2005 to 23.2 per cent in 2020.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) and Periodic Labour Force Surveys data, there is a sharp rise in the rate of open unemployment among youth from 5-6 per cent in 2004-05 and 2011-12 to 17-18 per cent in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The employment rate of women is even poorer. For example, the employment rate for female youth had declined from 34.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 13.5 per cent in 2017-18.

Furthermore, the rate of open unemployment among urban female youth nearly doubled to 27.2 per cent by 2017-18 from 14.9 per cent in 2004-05.

The data on unemployment shows a declining scenario similarly the data on state education systems in the government schools are also not good.

Annual Survey of Education Reports (ASER) produced by the Pratham Education Foundation focuses on the education of the younger children only.

According to this report –

  1. The result for government schools in 2008 was 53.1 per cent but it has fallen down to 44.2 per cent by 2018.
  2. This shows that half of the children are not able to pass in the basic tests.
  3. The success ratio for basic numeracy for class 5 students dropped from a 34.4 per cent in 2008 to a disastrous 22.7 per cent in 2018.
  4. The success ratio for even standard 7 children was only 40 per cent dropped from 65 per cent in 2008.

These data varies across different states.

It is the time for government to come up with policies and proper measures to ensure proper education and employment to its growing population.

The party’s over

Source: The post is based on an article “The party’s over published in The Business Standard on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 –  Indian Polity – Electoral Reforms

News: The Election Commission (EC) has recently moved to delist 86 unrecognized political parties and declare 253 inactive.

This step is appreciated as it will alert future parities before registering just for some gains.

Why is the importance of this step taken by EC?

First, many of these parties are suspected to have been set up to round-trip black money. Therefore, their removal cuts out one source of money laundering.

Second, delisting or inactivating dormant parties prevents the crowding out of the electoral space by non-serious parties.

Third, some parties register with EC for only some benefits.

For example, candidates belonging to political parties registered by the EC get preference in terms of allotment of free symbols that cannot be used by any other political party in elections across India.

What are the benefits available for recognized national or state political party?

First, recognized state and national parties get two sets of electoral rolls free of cost from the EC. Each candidate contesting general elections also gets a free copy of the electoral rolls.

Second, national parties receive land and buildings from the government to establish their party offices.

Third, national parties can have up to 40 star campaigners and state parties up to 20. The travel and other expenses of such campaigners are not included in the election expenditure of the party’s individual candidates.

Fifth, candidates of national parties get free time slots on national and state television and radio.

Sixth, all registered parties whether recognized or not are fully exempted from income tax of received donations, income from property, and other capital gains.

What can be further course of action?

EC should continuously review the state of a large number of political parties that are not actively participating in the democratic process.

Strict scrutiny from EC will discourage people from forming political parties only to take tax concessions and financial gains.

Examining the Dolo scandal

Source: The post is based on an article Examining the Dolo scandal” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Government policies for various sectors

News: Recently, a controversy came up regarding the marketing strategies of Micro Labs which is a Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company.

Micro Labs is the maker of Dolo-650. It was charged of having bribed medical doctors with freebies worth ₹1,000 crore in one year to promote Dolo-650.

Dolo is a paracetamol tablet to help with fever and mild pain.

What are the problems with paracetamol markets In India?

The paracetamol API is mostly imported from China. There has been an upward pricing pressure because of the difficulty of ensuring regular supply from China.

Paracetamols markets in India are full of competitors.

Therefore, The Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) has established ceiling prices for over 850 medicines which include the brands of paracetamol.

It makes it difficult for pharma companies to offer freebies to doctors in paracetamol marketing.

Still, Micro Labs took this challenge of offering Rs 1000 crore for the promotion of Dolo.

What could be the reason for offering freebies for the marketing of Dolo?

There may be two reasons for offering freebies –

  1. To increase higher sales at low margins in order to make the valuation look better.
  2. For building their brands by higher over-the-counter sales.

However, there might be other reasons for giving freebies as well.

What steps have been taken by the government to stop freebies for doctors?

The Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices of 2015 prohibits gifts, payments and hospitality benefits to doctors by the medical representatives. However, this code has been fully voluntary since 2015 and there is no enforcement mechanism.

The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance is meant to enforce the code has also given a clean chit to Micro Labs.

Further, the Income Tax Act, 1961 disallows deductions for payments to doctors and the tax deducted at source (TDS) is applicable for all payments made to doctors.

The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 also prohibits the disbursement of gifts. It may also lead to cancellation of license if found guilty.

What can be the further course of action?

First, prescriptions should be written without brand names. It should be made the normal practice.

Doctors will then have no incentive to promote particular brands. Pharmaceutical companies also will have no incentive to give freebies to doctors.

Second, there should be a flat dispensing fee in place of incentives for pharmacists. It will prevent pharmacists from recommending a brand name.

The future of old times in India

Source: The post is based on an article “The future of old times in India” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States

News: India has showed remarkable improvements in life expectancy and fertility rate. But it has brought another emerging challenge of ageing population in India.

India needs to take effort and rebuild its social security scheme to ensure a decent quality of life for the elderly in the near future.

What are the problems with ageing population of India?

According to National Commission of Population, share of the elderly (persons aged 60 years and above) in India’s population was close to 9% in 2011 and it is growing fast and may reach 18% by 2036.

According to a recent survey, 30% to 50% of elderly people had symptoms that make them depressed. A large majority of elderly persons living alone are women, especially widows.

Depression is strongly correlated with poverty, poor health, and loneliness.

Cash in the form pension can help to cope with many health issues and avoid loneliness as well.

That is why old-age pensions are a vital part of social security systems around the world.

What steps have been taken by India for its ageing population?

India has important schemes of non-contributory pensions under the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) for the elderly, widowed women and disabled persons.

However, NSAP is only available to elderly people who belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL). The data of BPL lists are also unreliable as they are too old.

The central contribution to old-age pensions under NSAP is very low at Rs 200 per month for elders and Rs 300 per month for widows since 2006.

However, many states have increased the coverage of social-security pensions beyond NSAP norms using their own funds and schemes.

One of the reasons behind the low coverage of NSAP is that it is based on targets.

What are the problems with targeting or setting limits on social benefits?

Targeting social benefits is always difficult and is based on household rather than on the individuals. It needs to be corrected because there are many good households where elders and widows may face problems.

Therefore, a pension based on individuals can help them to avoid extreme dependence on relatives.

Targeting also involves complicated formalities such as the submission of BPL certificates and other documents.

These formalities often become problems for less-educated and low-income elders.

There are also other issues with NSAP such as lack of proper awareness, eligibility criteria, lack of implementing mechanism and bureaucratic wills.

What can be done to correct this?

A better approach should be to consider all widows and elderly or disabled persons as eligible.

The eligibility can be made self-declared and time-bound verification responsibilities should be placed on the local administration or gram panchayat.

India’s social assistance schemes have low budgets and these needs expanding.

For example, the NSAP budget this year was less than 0.05% of India’s GDP which is very low compared to the elderly population.

Some states like Odisha and Rajasthan have achieved a near-universal social security pension which is 75%-80% coverage of elderly and widows.

Therefore, other states may also follow this if central government takes efforts to rebuild NSAP.

What can be the further course of action?

India should move from targeted to near-universal pensions as some states have done it.

Social security pension will not be alone sufficient for the elderly as they also need other facilities like health care, disability aids, assistance with daily tasks, etc.

Therefore, the government should research and find possible solutions for its ageing population.

What unites India and the UK on trade isn’t all positive

Source– The post is based on the article “What unites India and the UK on trade isn’t all positive” published in Live Mint on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- International Relations.

Relevance– About trade.

News- The article explains the economic challenges faced by Britain and similarity with India on the trade front.

What are the challenges faced by Britain?

Britain is facing economic questions like peak inflation rate, high energy bills, higher interest rates.

On political fronts there are increasing calls for a referendum in Scotland. A bill is about to pass in Parliament that seeks to make unilateral arrangements on goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland, instead of negotiating these disagreements with the EU.

The new PM Truss commitment to cancel a corporate tax hike that would take effect from April 2023. This will impact the fiscal revenue.

The UK had been steadily losing ground to its European partners in terms of both productivity increases and income growth.

According to The Resolution Foundation, the UK performed worse than most European countries from 2007 to 2018 on household spendings with only households in Greece and Cyprus seeing less growth. Incomes rose by 34 percent in France and 27 percent in Germany Compared to the UK.

What is the similarity between India and the UK?

Britain has exited the biggest trade union. India also opted out from RCEP and is seeking clarification before it joins the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

The UK has fallen behind most of Europe. India is also lagging behind East Asia in per capita income and human development metrics.

Both the UK and India are led by bureaucrats and politicians with a weak understanding of regional supply chains and how essential they are to boosting exports.

GS Paper 3

Labouring under an illusion

Source– The post is based on the article “Labouring under an illusion” published in The Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Employment

News- The article explains the complex labour laws in our country and reforms needed in the system.

Employment elasticity of growth has declined. It is half of what it used to be two decades ago.

What are the reasons behind low employment elasticity?

Labour laws are very rigid. There are about 50-55 Union laws. Their definition differs, which increases the scope of litigation and complicates case law.

There is a lack of harmonisation in these laws as they were enacted at different times.

Sections of the Industrial Disputes Act related to lay-offs and closures are offending.

It increases the non-wage transactions cost of hiring labour.

Complex labour law affects the working of an enterprise in all three stages of life cycle- entry, functioning and exit.

Which states have introduced flexible labour laws?

Economic survey classifies states into those having flexible labour laws and those without them. Almost half of the states have introduced flexible labour laws.

What is the meaning of flexibility?

It does not always mean statutory changes. It can be done by flexible orders and regulations.

Why is it difficult to assess the impacts of flexibility?

First, there is not a long enough time-series.

Second is the lack of data sources. The only data source is the Annual Survey of Industries.

Third, Services are covered by state level Shops and Establishment Act.

Fourth, Covid has disrupted the labour market.

Fifth, technology has turned the manufacturing sector into capital-intensive and there is an increasing trend of contract labour.

Sixth, labour intensity is a function of labour prices and capital. It is influenced by subsidies and tax exemptions.

What steps have been taken by the Union government and state governments?

On the recommendations of the Second National Labour Commission (2002), and several other reports, the Union government unified 29 statutes and passed (2019, 2020) four Codes on wages, safety (and health), industrial relations and social security. These are statutory changes, to be followed by new rules under the new Codes.

Except for two or three large states, most states have announced these rules

What needs to be done?

Labour market rigidities and complex procedures also exist in state-level Shops Establishments Acts. These need to be made flexible in the spirit of Model Shops and the Establishment Act.

Is The Long Wait For Private Investment Over?

Source– The post is based on the article “Is the Long Wait For Private Investment Over?” published in Times of India on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy.

Relevance– About investment

News- The article explains the current scenario of investment in India.

There are favourable macroeconomic indicators that can lead to higher investment in the fiscal year 2023.

What are the macroeconomic indicators which are not favourable?

Gross Fixed Capital Formation that is private investment, was at its peak at 34.3% in 2012-13. It has been in the range of 30-32% since that time.

Share of the manufacturing sector in GDP remains below the stated government policy of 25%. It was 17.4% in 2020.

Labour force participation rate was below 40% in 2022.

What drives private investment in India?

Government capital expenditure is insignificant to drive private investment.

External causes had a negative impact on the investment cycle in recent years. It explains the need for durable growth and demand outlook to spur private investment.

What are the factors conducive to private investment?

Balance sheets of both corporates and banks have improved. Both corporate debt to GDP ratio and NPAs have declined.

Central government policy of high capital expenditure can create a strong multiplier effect for the economy.

Corporate profitability is at a high despite higher input cost pressures.

Capacity utilisation is improving. It was at 74.5% in March 2022 and surpassed the pre-pandemic level.

At 15.1% in July 2022, credit growth is highest in nearly 2.5 years.

According to RBI’s Industrial Outlook Survey, business confidence among corporates has recovered well above pre-pandemic levels.

Atmanirbhar Bharat policy can offset global slowdown.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

No specific law against hate speech: EC

Source: The post is based on the article “No specific law against hate speech: EC published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Election Commission of India (ECI) in the Supreme Court has said that due to the lack of a specific law against hate speech and rumour during polls.

About the case on hate speech and rumour during polls

The Supreme Court asked a specific query to the Law Commission whether the ECI ought to be conferred with the power to derecognise a political party for committing the “offence of hate speech”. But the Law Commission of India, in its 267th Report on hate speech, had not made any recommendations with regard to the query.

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to take appropriate steps to implement recommendations of the Law Commission Report 267 on hate speech.

Must read: Issue of hate speech in India | Timeline
How does the ECI regulate hate speech and rumour during polls?

Firstly, the ECI has resorted to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Representation of the People (RP) Act to ensure that members of political parties do not make statements which can create disharmony in society.

Secondly, in the Abhiram Singh case, the court held that “any appeal to vote or refrain from voting for a candidate on the grounds of religion, caste, race, community or language by a candidate or his agent to the electors would amount to corrupt practice under the 1951 Act”.

Based on the judgement, the ECI asked the political parties to desist from making hate statements. Hate speech and communal statements by candidates or their agents could be raised in election petitions.

Note: According to the ECI, hate speeches were “often interconnected with appeals to religion, caste, community, etc, during election campaigning.

Thirdly, the Model Code of Conduct had no “legal sanctity.” But the ECI had introduced guidelines in the Code asking political parties to desist from making communal statements. In case any complaints were made, the ECI said it took “strict note” of it.

Read more: Hate speech, IPC Sec 295A, and how courts have read the law

Union govt. push for use of Hindi

Source: The post is based on the article “Union govt. push for use of Hindi published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to promote the use of Hindi for official work in banks, public sector undertakings, embassies and other government offices located in foreign countries.

Further, the MHA asked the Ministry of External Affairs to provide a list of all the government institutions in foreign countries and constitute an Official Language Implementation Committee that would oversee the progress of Hindi in official work.

What are the recent steps taken by the government to promote Hindi?

The 2011 report of a parliamentary standing committee on Hindi recommended the following to promote the Hindi language, a) Option to write exams in Hindi, b) Minimum knowledge of Hindi must for government jobs, c) 50% of government advertisements in Hindi, d) Railway tickets should be bilingual with Hindi being one of the languages and announcement at railway stations in “C” category (non-Hindi speaking states) such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala.

In 2017, the MHA accepted most of the recommendations. Along with that, the MHA also said that a) The websites of all the Union Ministries and the offices under their control should be bilingual and b) The Hindi pages should also be compulsorily uploaded while updating the website.

Read more: Foundational Learning Study: Basic skills poor in Hindi, but poorer in regional languages: NCERT
What are the outcomes of the government decision to promote Hindi?

Accordingly, 1) Most government websites are bilingual now – Hindi and English, 2) The websites of organisations such as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and even the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) open in Hindi by default, 3) In the past two years, most press releases by the Union Ministries were released first in Hindi, and 4) More than 80% staff in at least seven offices of MHA including the Directorate of Census Operations in West Bengal and the Delhi Police’s Commissioner office had attained the working knowledge of Hindi.

Read more: English-Vinglish, Hindi-Shindi: India doesn’t need a national language. Plus, Hindi is growing & English is no longer elitist

Cabinet approves addition of four tribes to ST list

Source: The post is based on the article “Cabinet approves addition of four tribes to ST list published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra has approved the addition of four tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST), including those from Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

Note: Demands for the inclusion of the communities had been pending for decades. For instance, the Hatti tribe had been seeking their inclusion for around 50 years.

What are the tribes included in the list of the Scheduled Tribes (ST)?

1) The Hatti tribe in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh, 2) The Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes of Tamil Nadu, 3) Binjhia tribe in Chhattisgarh. The tribe was listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh.

Other decisions:

1) The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community, residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list. This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community: Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari and Rajgond.

2) The Cabinet had also approved the inclusion of synonyms for 11 tribes in Chhattisgarh and one tribe in Karnataka so that variations in their spellings and pronunciations do not result in beneficiaries being left out of schemes.

Must Read: Explained: The demand for ‘tribal’ status for Himachal’s Trans-Giri and its Hatti community
About the list of Scheduled Tribes

Article 342 provides for the specification of tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which are deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or UT.

Accordingly, the Scheduled Tribes list is notified for each State or Union Territory. These lists are valid only within the jurisdiction of that State or UT and not outside.

What are the criteria for inclusion in ST List?

The criteria presently followed for the specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe are: a) Indications of primitive traits; b) distinctive culture; c) geographical isolation; d) Shyness of contact with the community at large; and e) backwardness.

However, these criteria are not mentioned in the Constitution.

Must read: [Yojana July Summary] Policies on Scheduled Tribes – Explained, pointwise
What is the process for inclusion in ST List?

The process begins with a recommendation from the respective State governments. These recommendations are then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry. After review, the Ministry sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.

This is followed by the approval of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.

Must read: Major legal initiatives by India since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)

SCO fights ‘anti-West dictators club’ tag

Source: The post is based on the article “SCO fights ‘anti-West dictators club’ tag” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

Days before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, the SCO officials said that the SCO is not a military bloc nor is it aimed at any one country or group.

About the statement

The statement is issued because the western countries consider SCO as a counter to their western coalition and the majority of the SCO countries are particularly targeted by the West — Russia, Iran, China, Belarus and Turkey. These countries are accused by the western countries for their human rights violations and domestic anti-democratic moves.

According to India, the SCO is a venture for constructive cooperation and peace and stability in the world. There could be concerns of different countries on various kinds of issues, but the forum is there to talk about these issues.

What is Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)?
Read here: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
About the upcoming SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The SCO Summit will bring together 15 regional “strongmen”, including Russian President, Chinese President, Iranian and Turkish Presidents and Indian Prime Minister, etc. The major significance are,

a) This will be the first such summit after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked sanctions by the U.S. and the EU and their partners, b) This is the first time the Chinese President is stepping out for a multilateral conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, c) India will host the SCO summit in 2023 so the summit is important for India to get the cooperation of all SCO countries, d) According to the Uzbekistan President, the “Samarkand Spirit” would launch a “new format” in a world where the present international system has begun to “falter”, and e) India will look closely at the Samarkand declaration for language on terrorism and the listing of terror groups such as the LeT and the JeM that target India.

Read more: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its stature in the modern world

BCCI office-bearers can have two terms before cool-off period

Source: The post is based on the article “BCCI office-bearers can have two terms before cool-off period published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court held that the three-year cooling-off period for BCCI office-bearers will kick in only after they complete two consecutive terms in the apex cricket body.

About the ‘cooling-off period’ in cricket associations

The ‘cooling-off period’ was a major recommendation made by the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee to reform cricket administration in the country.

In its 2018 judgment, the apex court had seen eye-to-eye with Justice Lodha’s conclusion that “the game will be better off without cricketing oligopolies”.

The court introduced a cooling-off period to prevent an office-bearer from growing vested interests by occupying a position of power in a cricketing body for a long period.

Earlier, an office-bearer who had completed a term in a State association and another in the BCCI had to comply with the cooling-off period requirement.

Must read: SC alters Lodha’s BCCI proposals
What are the other modifications done by the court to cricket associations?

The BCCI proposed a few amendments that do not detract from the basic purposes/objects of the Supreme Court’s 2018 judgment. So, the court accepted these modifications to the BCCI Constitution. These are,

1) Cool-off period for State cricket associations: Office-bearers of State cricket associations need to cool off only after serving two successive terms. However, a State association office-bearer need not undergo the three-year hibernation if he or she wants to contest a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) election.

A person who has finished two back-to-back tenures in office at a State association should take a three-year breather before contesting for a third time in that State association.

2) Lifting the bar on office-bearers having posted in other sports bodies, 3) Removing the disqualification on office-bearers who have been charged with criminal offences. So, from now on the disqualification should only kick in after they are convicted and sentenced for the crime, 4) Disqualification from being an office-bearer is now restricted to government Ministers and public servants.

Read more: The problem with India’s sporting bodies

Who was activist-author Annabhau Sathe, whose statue Devendra Fadnavis unveiled in Moscow?

Source: The post is based on the article “Who was activist-author Annabhau Sathe, whose statue Devendra Fadnavis unveiled in Moscow?” published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister is in Moscow to unveil the statue of Annabhau Sathe at the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature.

Sathe’s work was immensely inspired by the Russian Revolution and the Communist ideology. He was a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and featured among the selected authors from India whose work was translated into Russian.

Who was Annabhau Sathe?

Tukaram Bhaurao Sathe who later came to be known as Annabhau Sathe was born in a Dalit family in 1920 in Maharashtra. In 1930, his family left the village and came to Mumbai. 

During his days at the Matunga Labour Camp, he got to know R B More, an associate of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in the famous ‘Chavdar Lake’ satyagraha at Mahad, and joined the labour study circle. It was during these study circles that he learned to read and write.

About the organizations formed by Annabhau Sathe

He formed Dalit Yuvak Sangh, a cultural group and started writing poems on workers’ protests, and agitations. The group used to perform in front of the mill gates.

In 1943, he formed the Lal Bawta Kala Pathak. The group toured across Maharashtra presenting programmes on caste atrocities, class conflict, and workers’ rights.

What are the famous literary works of Sathe?

The prominent Dalit novel in Marathi Fakira (1959) is among his best-known works and bagged the state government’s top literary award in 1961.

Some of the other notable works include Stalingradcha Powada, Majhi Maina Gavavar Rahili, and a travelogue titled Majha Russiacha Pravas (My Travel to Russia). 

Another notable work Bangalchi Hak (Bengal’s Call) on the Bengal famine was translated into Bengali. It was later performed at London’s Theatre Royal.

Sathe also used folk music like ‘powada’ (ballad) and the ‘lavani’ folk dance of Maharashtra to further popularize his work. In 1939, he wrote his first ballad, Spanish Powada.

How the logistics policy will speed up lumbering freight sector

Source: The post is based on the article “How the logistics policy will speed up lumbering freight sector” published in Livemint on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The government will announce the National Logistics Policy (NLP) this week with the aim to bring down logistics costs and address challenges plaguing importers and exporters.

What is the need for a logistics policy?
National Logistics policy
Source: Livemint

India’s logistics sector is largely unorganized and fragmented. So, the country’s logistics costs are as high as 14-15% of the GDP, against 7-8% in developed nations such as Singapore and the US which leverage it to boost exports. 

The National Logistics policy aims to bring down India’s logistics cost to 8% in the next five years.

What role will technology play in the logistics policy?  

The NLP will aim to harness technologies such as AI and blockchain. It aims to create a data analytics centre for driving greater transparency and continuous monitoring of key logistics metrics.

A portal will also be created where service providers such as warehousing providers, shipping experts, transporters, customs brokers and various governmental agencies will be unified.

Will logistics policy boost cooperation among ministries?

Currently, the logistics value chain is managed by several ministries—road transport and highways, shipping, railways, and civil aviation.

Agencies like the Central Drug Standard Control Organization and the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India provide clearances. The NLP could enhance their integration at the central level.

How will the logistics policy help in reducing carbon footprint?

The policy lays emphasis on the shift to more energy-efficient means of transportation, as well as the use of greener fuels which could reduce the supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Moreover, the policy emphasizes on creating regulations for controlling vehicular noise, emissions and wastage.

The policy also aims to incorporate green principles in the functioning of warehouses which contribute to nearly 10% of the logistics costs.

Will the logistics policy change India’s commodity transport?

The policy aims to focus on the transport of crucial commodities such as coal, steel, iron ore, food grains, steel, cement, fruits and vegetables.

The current logistical network for transporting them is mainly confined to regional clusters.

The policy could help establish a link between the place of origin and destination and integrate the supply on a national level.

Who was Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, on whose life Malayalam movie Pathonpatham Noottandu is based?

Source: The post is based on the article Who was Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, on whose life Malayalam movie Pathonpatham Noottandu is based?published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The recently-released Malayalam film Pathonpatham Noottandu (‘Nineteenth Century’), has earned both critical acclaim and audience approval. It is based on the life of Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, a social reformer from the Ezhava community in Kerala.

Who was Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker?

He was a social reformer from the Ezhava community in Kerala who lived in the 19th century.

He was one of the most influential figures in the reformation movement in the state. He challenged the domination of upper castes or ‘Savarnas’ and brought about changes in the lives of both men and women.

He was given the title of ‘Panicker’ by the then-king of Travancore in 1869. 

What are the contributions of Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker?

He is credited with building two temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, in which members of all castes and religions were allowed entry. 

In 1858, he led the Achippudava Samaram strike at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha. This strike aimed to earn women belonging to oppressed groups the right to wear a lower garment that extended beyond the knees. 

In 1860, he led the Mukkuthi Samaram at Pandalam in the Pathanamthitta district for the rights of lower-caste women to wear ‘mukkuthi’ or nose-ring and other gold ornaments. 

He led the first-ever strike by agricultural labourers in Kerala named Karshaka Thozhilali Samaram. 

He also established the first Kathakali Yogam (area-based schools for the classical dance form Kathakali) for the Ezhava community in 1861.

A ‘One Water’ approach is key to combat urban challenges, manage resources

Source: The post is based on the article “A ‘One Water’ approach is key to combat urban challenges, manage resources” published in Down To Earth on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The United Nations has estimated that by the year 2050, four billion people will be seriously affected by water shortages which might lead to multiple conflicts between countries over water sharing.

Therefore, shifting the attention from a single-minded and linear water management to a multi-dimensional integrated water management approach, that is, the ‘One Water’ approach is the need of the hour.

What is the One Water Approach?
One Water Approach
Source: Wikimedia

One Water Approach also referred to as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is the recognition that all water has value, regardless of its source.

It includes managing that source in an integrated, inclusive and sustainable manner by including the community, business leaders, industries, farmers, conservationists, policymakers, academics and others for ecological and economic benefits.

It is an integrated planning and implementation approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability meeting both community and ecosystem needs.

Objectives: 1) Reliable, secure, clean water supplies, 2) Aquifer recharge, 3) Flood protection, 4) Minimizing environmental pollution, 5) Efficient use and reuse of natural resources, 6) Resilience to climate, 7) Long-term sustainability, 8) Equity, affordability and accessibility to safe drinking water and 9) Economic growth and prosperity.

What are the characteristics of the One Water Approach?

All Water has Value: The mindset that all water has value — from the water resources in our ecosystems to our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.

A Multi-faceted Approach: Our water-related investments should provide economic, environmental, and societal returns.

Utilizing Watershed-Scale Thinking and Action: It should respect and respond to the natural ecosystem, geology, and hydrology of an area.

Partnerships and Inclusion: Real progress and achievements will only be made when all stakeholders come forward and together will take a decision.

How is One Water Approach Superior to Conventional Water Management?

Firstly, in the conventional water management approach, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are managed separately, whereas in ‘One Water’, all the water systems, regardless of their source, are connected intentionally and managed meticulously for water, energy and resources.

Secondly, water is recycled and reused several times in one water approach, in contrast to a one-way route from supply to use, treatment and disposal.

Thirdly, the water system includes green infrastructures and a mix of grey and green infrastructure that form a hybrid system as compared to grey infrastructure in conventional water management.

– Grey infrastructure refers to structures such as dams, seawalls, roads, pipes or water treatment plants.

– Green infrastructure refers to natural systems including forests, floodplains, wetlands and soils that provide additional benefits for human well-being, such as flood protection and climate regulation.

Fourthly, active collaborations with industry, agencies, policymakers, business leaders and various stakeholders is a regular practice in the ‘One Water’ approach, whereas collaboration is need-based in conventional water management systems.

India, France agree to expand cooperation on Indo-Pacific body

Source: The post is based on the article “India, France agree to expand cooperation on Indo-Pacific body” published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The French Foreign Minister is on a visit to India.

What are the key highlights from her visit?

On Indo-Pacific: India and France have agreed to work towards the establishment of an Indo-Pacific trilateral framework. As part of this, they will hold separate trilateral ministerial meetings with Australia and the United Arab Emirates(UAE).

– The two countries have agreed to work towards the establishment of an Indo-Pacific Trilateral Development Cooperation Fund that will support sustainable innovative solutions for countries in the region.

On Cultural Contact: India and France are launching a scheme for the exchange of young professionals in the age group of 18 to 35 years as a follow-up to the migration and mobility partnerships.

– India will be the first “country of honour” at the Sea Tech Week in Brest, France, a major international event bringing together blue economy stakeholders.

The two countries welcomed the launch of India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in France.

On Defense Cooperation: The two countries welcomed the Safran Group, a French multinational company, that decided to set up their largest and first aircraft engine MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facility in Hyderabad.

India Discrimination Report 2022: Tale of women workers: Rapid exit from workforce, sliding earnings

Source: The post is based on the article “Tale of women workers: Rapid exit from workforce, sliding earnings” published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

Oxfam India has released a report titled ‘India Discrimination Report 2022’. The report is based on the data from the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

What are the key findings of the India Discrimination Report 2022?

Women: Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women in India declined from 42.7% in 2004-05 to 25.1% in 2021. This shows the withdrawal of women from the workforce despite rapid economic growth during the same period.

– In 2019-20, 60% of all males aged 15 and above had regularly salaried or self-employed jobs; the rate for females was 19%.

– For regular, self-employment in urban areas, the average earning for males was Rs 15,996. It was less than half of that — Rs 6,626 — for women.

– Overall discrimination in wages for people from SC, ST and Muslim communities declined in regular/salaried jobs, it increased for women in this period — from 67.2% in 2004-05 to 75.7% in 2019-20.

SC/ST: Mean income for people from SC or ST communities with regular employment in urban areas was Rs 15,312 in 2019-20 against Rs 20,346 for those from the ‘general’ category. This means the general category is earning 33% more than SCs or STs.

Muslims: 68.3% of Muslims in urban areas faced discrimination in 2019-20 — up from 59.3% in 2004-05.

CDSCO falling short in effectively regulating the medical devices industry: Parliamentary panel

Source: The post is based on the article “CDSCO falling short in effectively regulating the medical devices industry: Parliamentary panel” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health has submitted a report titled “Medical Devices: Regulations and Control”.

What are the key highlights from the report?

Regulating Medical Devices Sector: Central Drugs Standard Control Organization(CDSCO) was set up to regulate pharma, related segments and medical devices. However, it is falling short in effectively regulating the medical devices industry.

Hence, new legislation should be enacted for setting up a new set of regulators at different levels for regulating the medical devices’ industry.

Medical Device Testing Laboratories: India has only 18 certified Medical Device Testing Laboratories that have been approved by CDSCO. This is grossly insufficient keeping in view the size of the country.

Feedback system: There is a dire need for developing a robust IT enabled feedback driven post-market surveillance system for Medical Devices to evaluate the efficiency of specific Medical Devices.

Training of officers: The Central Government should work in synergy with State governments and impart the necessary skills to the local medical device officers and also devise a mechanism to regularly designate State Medical personnel as Medical Device/Medical Device Testing Officers.

Involve institutions for testing: Government should allow the new regulator to involve institutions such as IISC, CSIR, DRDO and a network of IITs to test medical devices for safety and efficacy. These institutes have high-tech labs and thus can be used to test medical devices

Fast Track approval: A single window clearance for all the departments/Ministries should be set up. This would significantly boost investment in R&D in the field of medical devices and would also reduce the time required for obtaining approvals from different Departments/Ministries. 

Govt’s FY19 health spending dropped: what the accounts show

Source: The post is based on the article Govt’s FY19 health spending dropped: what the accounts show published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has released findings of the National Health Accounts (NHA) Estimates for India for 2018-19.

What are National Health Accounts(NHA) Estimates 2018-19?

National Health Account(NHA) estimates 2018-19 is the sixth consecutive NHA estimates report prepared by NHSRC.

— Note: NHSRC has been designated as National Health Accounts Technical Secretariat(NHATS) by the Union Health Ministry in 2014.

Purpose: It describes the country’s total expenditure on healthcare — whether by the government, the private sector, individuals, or NGOs — and the flow of these funds. 

What are the key findings of NHA Estimates 2018-19?
NHA Estimates 2018-19
Source: IE

Health expenditure: Government spending as a percentage of total health expenditure increased by more than 11 percentage points over the previous five years, from 23.2% in 2013-14 to 34.5% in 2018-19.

– However, government spending as a proportion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went down to 1.28% from 1.35% in the previous year’s(2017-18) report.

– The total health spending — which includes spending by both government and non-government agents — declined from 3.9% of the GDP to 3.2% in the five years up to 2018-19.

Out of Pocket expenditure: The Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) as percentage of total health expenditure has declined substantially by 16% points, from 64.2% to 48.2%.

– This fall is good because India’s out-of-pocket expenditure continues to be high in comparison to other countries in the region.

– However, still, out-of-pocket expenditure for the year 2018-19 stood at 2.87 lakh crore which was equivalent to 1.52% of the GDP for the year. This means people spent much more than the government, with all its health schemes and new hospitals, spent on healthcare that year.

Current Health expenditure: The current health expenditure — not accounting for any expenses that can be utilized over a few years — stood at Rs 5.4 lakh crore which was 90.6% of the total health expenditure.

— The Centre’s share in the current health expenditure stood at 11.71%, state governments accounted for 19.63%, local bodies 1.01% and households (including insurance contributions) 60.11% of the current health expenditure. 

Apricot export under Ladakh Produce brand receives fillip from centre

Source: The post is based on the article Apricot export under Ladakh Produce brand receives fillip from centrepublished in PIB on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry through its export promotion body APEDA is in process of hand-holding of Apricot value chain stakeholders to enhance export from Ladakh under the brand ‘Ladakh Apricot’.

What is an Apricot?

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) belongs to the Prunus genus and is widely consumed throughout the world.

It is cultivated throughout the temperate regions of the world, especially in the Mediterranean.

Apricots are a good source of vitamin A and are high in natural sugar.Dried apricots are an excellent source of iron.

Apricot cultivation in Ladakh

Apricot is one of the important fruit crops of Ladakh and is locally known as ‘Chuli’.

Ladakh is the biggest apricot producer in the country with a production that constitutes nearly 62 percent share in total. 

Ladakh Apricots have a unique soothing taste and texture with high sugar contents and total soluble solids.

Exercise Kakadu: Indian Navy’s INS Satpura Reaches Australia For Multinational Exercise

Source: The post is based on the article “Exercise Kakadu: Indian Navy’s INS Satpura Reaches Australia For Multinational Exercise” published in PIB on 14th September 2022.

What is the News?

INS Satpura and a maritime patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy have reached Australia to take part in the multinational Exercise Kakadu-2022.

What is Exercise Kakadu?

Exercise Kakadu is a multinational maritime exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy.

The exercise derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Aim: To foster and strengthen effective security and humanitarian partnerships across the Indo-Pacific region through a series of training and engagement activities.

Participating Countries: Around 14 countries are participating in the exercise including India.

Note: Indian Air Force(IAF) has recently also participated in Exercise Pitch Black. It is a multinational biennial exercise hosted by the Australian Air Force.

[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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