9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – September 16th, 2021

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

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

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly) 

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Bhashas & Bharat: The current language policy is wise, born out of pragmatism. We can’t afford linguistic extremism

Source: This post is based on ” Bhashas & Bharat: The current language policy is wise, born out of pragmatism. We can’t afford linguistic extremism” published in the Times of India on 15th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS 1 – Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Relevance: To understand Indian linguistic diversity.

Synopsis: India’s notion of diversity has allowed multiple languages to flourish and multiple communities to thrive and unite.


Recently, India celebrated the Hindi Diwas 2021.

About Hindi Diwas

The Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi in Devanagari Script as one of the official languages of the Union of India on 14th September 1959. This day is thus celebrated as Hindi Diwas.

Apart from Hindi, English is another official language of India. Moreover, India presently has 22 languages specified under the Constitution’s eighth schedule.

Why was Hindi adopted as an official language?

First To avoid any conflict between all the diverse languages.

Second, Hindi is India’s most widely spoken language. According to, Census 2011 43.63% of the people has Hindi as their mother tongue.

How language is part of a political project?

Language is not just a medium of communication, it also evokes strong emotional responses. Thus, we find that it needs to be handled with political wisdom. This is evident in many cases.

Switzerland, with a population of only 8.4 million, has four national and official languages.

Erstwhile Pakistan fell apart when it tried to impose Urdu as the state language on its Bangla-speaking population in what was East Pakistan.

Considering all these, India adopted a unique three-language model that suited its needs. Through this, three Indian languages were to be taught in the schools. This would promote brotherhood and unity amongst fellow Indians.

However, despite these, we find numerous challenges for this Indian project.

What are the threats?

Linguistic extremism: It is a scenario when a particular group adopts a tough stand towards other languages.

What should be the way forward?

Linguistic extremism can be avoided by ensuring that it does not become a political project or the issue should not be politicized. Further, there should be a lot more investment in translations of the works of one language into other languages. Translations will enrich Indian languages.

GS Paper 2

Democracy of Producers

Source: This post is based on the article “Democracy of Producers” published in Indian Express on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States

Relevance: Democracy, creation of welfare state

Synopsis: Real democratic freedom is impossible without economic equality.


Democracy is about freedom. Rosa Luxemburg famously opined that real freedom is the freedom to disagree. In a functional sense, democracy means discussion, debate and dissent.

But in India, these are fast disappearing and there is a deliberative deficit.

How democracy accumulates undesirable tendencies?

Shrinking Public space: There are only some spaces provided by political parties wherein discussions are directed and controlled.

Inequality: Structurally, democracy must mean equality, but equality is possible only in a non-hierarchical situation.

No real decentralisation: Under democratic decentralisation, what really happened was the devolution of certain centrally determined functions, responsibilities and resources to lower tiers of administration, without changing the power structures.

Hence, power, whether at the national, regional, local, corporate or family level, always tends towards centralisation.

Power itself is the problem: Power is always used by the powerful against the powerless. Thus, the state is an instrument of oppression. The more unequal a society, the more authoritarian the state.

Growth of authoritarian State: In India, because economic inequalities is increasing, the state is becoming more and more authoritarian. India is becoming a democracy without freedom.

Democracy prefers stability and continuity: questioning inequities invites draconian laws. For instance, statement in Madras High Court by famous lawyer and human rights activist Kannabiran: “Crime is defined by law, but the criminal is determined by the state.”

Another example, migrant workers were treated badly in the lockdown and the incident in 2018 in which a starving Adivasi in Attappadi, Kerala, was beaten to death for stealing some food.

What is the way forward?

First, in an egalitarian system, state power has no place. Marx had said that in a classless society, state would wither away.

Second, real democracy is economic democracy, as Ambedkar stressed. Hence, we need to ensure economic security to all, not through an income transfer programme (universal basic income), but through the provision of universal property rights.

Third, the poor should be treated not as welfare borrower, but as consumers, active producers, and potential entrepreneurs.

Fourth, MGNREGA allocation must be utilised not for creating wage-employment but for building the asset base of the poor, developing entrepreneurship among them, building idea/incubation centres and helping undertake production/ business units, individually or on a group basis.

We Ignore True Secularism At Our Own Peril

Source: This post is based on the article ” We Ignore True Secularism At Our Own Peril” published in the Times of India on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Secular feature of Indian Constitution.

Relevance: Understanding Indian notion of secularism.

Synopsis: Indian state shouldn’t be running Hindu temples when it doesn’t run mosques, churches, gurdwaras.


This article highlights the essence of Secularism and how it impacts Indian culture.

What is Secularism in the Indian context?

Secularism in the Indian context does not mean that the state will stay away from religion. In India State strives to maintain equal distance and equal engagement with all religions. But it looks like India often fails this secularism test too. This can be seen from numerous cases and examples.

Pre Independence India: Before 1947

1925: British introduced the Madras Religious and Charitable Endowments Act. It brought all religious establishments under government control. But this law faced a lot of opposition from Indian minorities and so was redrafted to exclude Muslim, Christian and Parsi places of worship.

That same year the Sikh Gurdwaras Act was passed. It was to bring Sikh places of worship under a Sikh council. In effect, government control was only left in place on Hindu temples.

Read more: Women as temple priests: An idea whose time has come

After Independence

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959: This act gives state governments the power to exercise control over the finances of over four lakh Hindu places of worship while leaving out government control on mosques, churches and gurdwaras.

This was followed by similar legislation being passed in most South Indian states. For example, while Tamil Nadu controls and manages 44,000 temples, Andhra Pradesh controls 33,000 temples.

Read more: Archakas of all hues : About religious reforms

What was the motive behind this legislation?

The intent of such legislation was to avoid mismanagement and misappropriation of assets by temple authorities. But this has raised its own challenges. Recently the Madras high court asked the state government to explain how 47,000 acres of temple land had gone missing from records of the state. Courts called it a form of institutionalized plunder.

Read more: States control over temples is against Secularism

What should government do to become more secular?

Give up control of Hindu temples:  As the acts majorly regulate the Hindu temples alone, this is against the notion of secularism.

Bring India under Uniform Civil Code: It would define the framework for marriage, divorce, inheritance and many other areas. The indian government passed the Hindu Marriage Act, the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act in the 1950s. But some religions continue to be guided by their personal laws.

What should be done next?

In recent years there has been much debate about secularism, communalism, fundamentalism, Islamism and Talibanisation and such terms. But amongst all these, we have forgotten that India is essentially dharmic (Based on Dharma). 

As opposed to any ideology that attempts to impose a singular truth on a plural world, dharmic philosophy is plural. That is the very essence of the Upanishadic ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. The world is one family. If we want true secularism, we should walk the dharmic path.

Where is the strategy for dealing with learning loss during Covid?

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

  • Where is the strategy for dealing with learning loss during Covid?” published in the Indian Express on 16th September 2021.
  • “NEP Schools: The Future” published in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Education.

Relevance: Understand the challenges of school education in India.

Synopsis: As the schools reopen, it should not just be the regular business. This should be used as an opportunity to revamp the education system.


COVID has impacted the various sections of society, especially the students. With the question of reopening the schools, the parallel debate is going on how to cover the damage and how to frame the future of schooling.

What are the recent findings?

A survey named School Children’s Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) was conducted to understand the impact of the prolonged closure of schools due to the pandemic. It provided various data which can be used for analysis for the education policies.

Read more: SCHOOL Survey and Long Term Impact of school closure
How future schools should be like?

Extended networks: Schools should be extended networks rather than being closed classroom communities. Our schooling system has to be shifted from knowledge-centric to skill-centric. As a result of knowledge-centric education, we have job seekers, we hardly have job creators passing out of the school precincts.

Pro-Active Innovators: Schools should adopt ‘innovative pedagogies’ and ‘differentiated instructions’ as per the needs of the learners to enable them to become knowledge creators and, eventually, job creators.

Future-Oriented: The future of jobs will have a direct impact on the schools of the future. Students of the future will need a new set of capabilities like – hyper-information, virtual teams, and a constant swing between super speciality and cross-disciplinary skills. So, schools should frame the curriculum according to the need of students.

Communication: Schools should forge stronger and more trusting engagement with families and communities. The online world of e-parents-teachers meetings (e-PTMs), e-guidance to parents, and social media-based active communication with parents during the pandemic has opened up an entire world of possibilities

Innovation: There is a need to innovate the methods which will reverse the impact of the pandemic. For this, a differential instructions interventions approach should be implemented.

What will be the way forward?

A simple bridge course as the schools reopen will not solve the long-term challenges. There is a need for the contribution of various stakeholders like educationists, thinkers, practitioners, etc to frame the education policy which is most suited for the future need of students.

Hardly the India- China century Deng envisioned

Source: This post is based on: “Hardly the India-China century Deng envisioned” published in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Relevance: Understanding the issues of the India-China relationship.

Synopsis: As China becomes increasingly assertive, the options with New Delhi are limited.


This article is highlighting the changing trajectory of India-China relations. As China grows economically and militarily, it seems to be adopting a hardened posture towards its neighbours, including India.

How both the countries talked earlier tensions in India – China relations?

There have been political tensions between India and China ever since both countries gained independence. Border disputes have been the major cause. Then there is the issue of Chinese support to its “all-weather ally” Pakistan. Chinese have been sensitive about India’s stand on Dalai Lama and granting him asylum.

However, neither country had allowed these tensions to derail the bilateral relations. China had declared that the border dispute could be left to “future generations” to resolve, and India endorsed the “One China” policy, refusing to support Tibetan secessionism.

Read more: Taiwan-China conflict and India’s stand on it

Thus we can see that both countries have adopted a stance to keep the relations deteriorating beyond limits.

What are the recent developments in India China relations?

India’s stand on the border has been to manage the border and not provoke China. This has allowed the bilateral trade between the two nations to flourish to $100 BN. Further, India has made it clear that it will not join USA led policy of containing China.

In fact, in 2019, to mark the 70th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations both countries announced they would conduct 70 joint activities, improving their trade and supporting scholarly research into their ancient civilizational links.

India also lifted restrictions on bilateral Chinese investment in strategic sectors of the Indian economy (ports, airports, power generation and telecoms technology. By 2020, Chinese investment stood at about $26 billion with infrastructure projects accounting for about half the total.

How do India and China engage in Multilateral partnerships? 

India engages with China on multiple international forums like BRICS, RIC etc. India is also a partner in the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the  New Development Bank (NDB)

However, it has become clear that the strategy of sidestepping the controversial issues is not working in the Indian favour.

How Chinese policy is detrimental to India?

China has adopted a policy of mounting minor military incursions into India’s northern border. Their strategy is to control vital points along the LAC so that, when in future there is a discussion on the border, the Chinese will have a default claim on it.

Read more: China’s plans for new dams on Brahmaputra River

What has been India’s response and strategy?

India mounted a strong military response in Ladakh (Galwan clash) and halted the Chinese advancement. India also was able to reclaim finger areas. India also presented an economic response. While acts like banning Chinese apps were largely symbolic, India’s moves to keep the Chinese companies out of 5G could hurt Chinese interests. India has also placed limits on Chinese investment into critical areas like Railways, Airports etc.

Read more: Disengagement agreement at Pangong Tso Lake

How Indian response to the Chinese has been measured?

China is India’s major trade partner, with a bilateral trade of $100 Bn. The nature of imports is such that India is dependent on cheaper Chinese inputs for its exports products. Moreover, Indian trade constitutes only 3% of Chinese trade volume. Even critical inputs for medicines and vaccines like API come from China.

This leaves India with an option of either playing a second fiddle to China or forging a multilateral alliance with like-minded countries.

GS Paper 3

‘Know the enemy, know self’ is sound professional advice

Source: This post is based on the article “Know the enemy, know self is sound professional advice” published in The Hindu on 16th Sep 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

Relevance: Regarding Professional Military Education (PME)

Synopsis: India needs to up its game when it comes to Professional Military Education. We need professionals who are domain specialists having both academic and field experience.


Sun Tzu, Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher, famously said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles… if you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Considering the recent events in military circles, this needs examination, and certain facets of Professional Military Education (PME) in the Indian armed forces evaluated.

Must Read: Why Indian Military doctrine Should include both Sun Tzu & Kautilya?
What is the present scenario wrt PME institutions in India?

In our PME institutions most, if not all, instructors are service officers posted-in from field/staff appointments who do their two/three-year tenure and move on; there is no time to become an ‘expert’.

There are no subject-matter experts on staff doing full-time teaching.

But, things are changing in some institutions.

The Naval War College in Goa invites an eminent academic from abroad to run capsules on operational art. The college also has an adjunct faculty of tri-Service retired officers acting as mentors in specialised areas of learning.

National Defence College at Delhi set-up a President’s Chair of Excellence teneted by a retired scholar warrior; and, this is how it should be elsewhere too.

What more needs to be done?

Subject-matter experts: The Defence Services Staff College should have permanent chairs for subject-matter experts teaching military history, strategy, geo-politics. Service officers would be the links to field realities. It is a joint institution and hence the Commandant should be a reputed scholar warrior from any of the three services, and not just from the Army as has been till now.

The Army War College, College of Air Warfare, College of Defence Management, etc. should take similar action.

Implement IDU project: Indian Defence University (IDU) project (earlier INDU — Indian National Defence University) has failed to make progress after its foundation stone was laid in 2013 near Gurgaon. While the Ministry of Home Affairs has set up the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) in Gujarat, the Ministry of Defence should speed up implementation of IDU project.

National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and National Security Advisory Board (NSAB): Each body must have domain specialists from important fields and when one considers the NSCS and the NSAB, the three arms of the armed forces should be represented at the senior advisory level. These apex bodies conduct long-term analyses and provide perspectives on issues of national importance to India’s political leadership. These bodies need sound academic presence and military professionals from all three services.

India’s revamped FTA strategy

Source: This post is based on the article “India’s revamped FTA strategy “published in Business standard on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS-3 – Effects of Liberalization on the Economy

Relevance: Trade liberalisation, FTA’s, Early Harvest Schemes

Synopsis: Early Harvest Schemes (EHS) as an FTA strategy is misaligned with India’s immediate requirement of an employment-promoting trade policy.


Recent statements from the commerce ministry have indicated that India is going to revamp its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) strategy and that FTA negotiations would be expedited towards early conclusion.

The revamped FTA strategy is welcomed. However, its immediate agenda of Early Harvest Schemes (EHS) with Australia and the UK is misaligned with India’s immediate imperatives for an employment-promoting trade policy.

How India has progressed in signing FTAs?

India has not signed any major FTA in the last 10 years, when the cumulative number of regional trade agreements in force globally has increased from 224 to 350.

India signed its last trade agreement, a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Malaysia, in 2011. Since then, only a comprehensive economic cooperation and partnership agreement, covering a few commodities, was signed with Mauritius in 2021.

Not long ago, India withdrew from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019 after seven years of protracted negotiations. Whereas the FTA and CECA with Asean and Korea, respectively, are under review.

Must Read: Free Trade Agreements – Challenges and opportunities
Why signing EHS is not the right strategy?

EHS lacks comprehensive coverage: EHS as a trade liberalisation mechanism contradicts with the global trend of developing and developed countries actively pursuing membership of deeper FTAs.

Global Value chains: Global trade over the last two decades has been dominated by global value chain (GVC) activity. FTAs are therefore being designed with a comprehensive coverage, motivated by trade and investment linkages that are integral to GVCs. An EHS, on the other hand, is only a limited trade initiative that will undertake liberalisation of trade in a small set of commodities.

FTAs with the UK or even Australia will not offer India the opportunity to integrate with low-skill, labour-intensive supply chains: Australia is not at the centre of the Asian regional value chain production network. The UK is seeking to expand its value chain linkages with the East/ South-East Asian region through the CPTPP.

Both countries have value chains that are technology and knowledge intensive. Integration with these segments will not yield India the benefits that it should be seeking, i.e., employment generation.

Lastly, India’s success in converting EHS in to full-fledged FTA is poor.

What are the reasons for India’s poor success in converting EHS in to full-fledged FTAs?

Higher domestic tariffs: India has higher domestic tariffs in some of the most trade dynamic sectors, relative to other developing countries.

India hesitates to offer “more” preferential tariff lines in its FTAs.

Industrial lobby from domestic sectors limits the potential of trade liberalisation: For example, this has been India’s experience of the EHS with Thailand wherein 83 commodities, including from the electronics and automobiles sector, were delineated for preferential liberalisation in 2004.

Effective opposition from the protected industry in these sectors has not allowed, in the last 17 years, for the EHS to graduate to an FTA with Thailand.

Persisting Issues in the negotiations of trade: For example, liberalisation of the dairy sector, that most recently, in 2019, was among the major contributory factors for India’s withdrawal from the RCEP.

Similarly, issues around liberalisation in the auto sector and alcoholic beverages that have been difficult to resolve in the India-EU trade negotiations could continue to be sore points in the India-UK trade pact.

What is the way forward?

If the underlying idea of getting into FTAs is to enhance exports, then concluding reviews and increasing depth of FTAs with the GVC-intensive East Asia and ASEAN member economies should be the way forward.

There finally seems to be a path forward for GST. Centre and states must strike bargain

Source: This post is based on the article “There finally seems to be a path forward for GST. Centre and states must strike bargain “published in Indian express on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS-3 – Issues related to mobilisation of resources

Relevance: GST reforms

Synopsis: After one and a half years of dispute, and with the economy showing signs of recovery, a path forward for the GST finally seems visible. This opportunity needs to be seized

What has set back the GST for the past year and a half?

Lack of revenues: In 2016-17 the various taxes that were folded into the GST yielded revenues of Rs 9.7 lakh crore (Economic Survey, 2017-18). But in 2019-20, the growth rate decelerated sharply. And in 2020-21, collections actually fell. As a result, there have not been enough resources to satisfy the needs of the Centre or the states.

Future collections have become uncertain: A gap opened up between the amount that the Centre felt it could afford to promise and the minimum that the states felt they needed and were entitled to.

Why, the path forward for the GST finally seems visible?

More recently, confidence in GST has improved. Collections have revived, averaging Rs 1.1 lakh crore in the first five months of the current fiscal year, exceeding even pre-pandemic levels.

Even more important, the GST’s past performance now seems much better than it once did. The weak revenue performance of the GST now seems attributable to wider economic difficulties and policy actions, rather than problems with the tax itself.

Consequently, most of the ingredients for a compromise are now in place. A sense that the country is in this together and confidence that sufficient resources will be available.

What can be done to seize the opportunity?

Three key changes are necessary: Re-casting compensation, simplifying the rate structure, and improving governance.

First, the principle of compensation must be re-cast because the original needs have vanished, and new ones have taken their place. The GST has reached maturity and well understood by producers, consumers, and tax officials. The states should give up their demand for an extension of the compensation mechanism, while the Centre should offer a new counter-cyclical buffer. That is, the compensation guarantee should be converted into revenue insurance.

The shift to revenue insurance, in turn, should allow the compensation cess to be abolished. Once it is gone, all payments could again be made from the consolidated fund of India.

Second, the GST structure needs to be simplified and rationalised, as recommended by the Fifteenth Finance Commission and the Revenue Neutral Rate report: To achieve the promised Good and Simple Tax, a new structure should have one low rate (between 8 and 10 per cent), one standard rate (between 16 and 18%) and one rate for all demerit goods.

The single rate on demerit goods also requires eliminating the cesses with all their complexity. For example, taxes/cesses based on the length of cigarettes are an absurdity deserving immediate abolition.

Finally, the GST Council’s working needs reform. Currently, all GST decisions were taken by consensus. But that can be sustained only if there is a shared sense of participatory and inclusive governance.

To make GST council more inclusive and participatory, the following changes can be implemented. For example, discussions in the Council could be steered by the central Finance Minister (Chair), aided by a finance minister (Vice-chair) from an Opposition state, rotating periodically.

The agenda-setting and technical work could be done jointly by these two, and they could even take turns chairing council meetings. The council secretariat would report to both officials.

Transient easing: On inflation

Source: This post is based on the article “Transient easing” published in the Hindu on 16th September 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning

Relevance: Inflation in Indian economy

Synopsis: Cutting fuel taxes is a sure-shot way to address a major component of price pressures.


The latest retail inflation data suggest, that price pressures have begun to moderate in the economy, with CPI showing inflation having slowed for a second month to 5.3%, after July’s 5.59%.

However, price trends among the constituents of the Consumer Price Index and the Wholesale Price Index-based inflation, show that it would be premature to drop the guard on price gains.

Why it is necessary to control price gains?

Contradictory inference of softening inflation: the year-earlier inflation reading was elevated which passed a favourable base effect. However, the CPI nudged up 0.25% from July, contradict the inference of softening inflation.

Price gains of essential food items: In at least three essential food components price speeded up from the preceding month, with meat and fish, dairy and oils and fats posting significant rise.

Same scenario is with edible oils and an earlier round of cuts in import duties have had little impact in cooling their prices.

Inflation in vital protein sources: price rise of eggs and pulses also continued to remain a cause for concern. However, a wider deflation in vegetable prices was the main positive contributor to the easing in overall food and beverages inflation last month.

Higher transportation costs: The pace of inflation in fuel and light, clothing and footwear, health as well as household goods and services all saw a contraction last month.

Transport and communication, which includes pump prices of the main automotive fuels of petrol and diesel, stayed stuck in double digits at 10.2%.

The WPI data show higher transportation costs combined with input price pressures ignite faster inflation in manufactured products as well.

PMI survey: the outlook for inflation is far from positive for services, as the input costs rose in August at the fastest rate in four months. Also, as per a recent CII poll of CEOs, a majority 67% expect average retail inflation this year to exceed the RBI’s mandated monetary policy upper threshold of 6%.

What is the way forward?

First, policymakers need to be well aware that inflation is not just about a point reading, but about consumers’ and businesses’ expectations of the trend in prices. Fears of future high inflation dampen sentiment and thus retard economic activity.

Second, government need to consider cutting fuel taxes to address a major component of price pressures.

Cabinet approves major Reforms in Telecom Sector

Source: This post is based on the following articles –

Cabinet approves major Reforms in Telecom Sector published in PIB on 15th Sep 2021.

Centre rolls out lifeline for debt-ridden telecom sector & A relief package to lift India’s telecom gloompublished in Livemint on 16th Sep 2021.

4-year moratorium on AGR dues will give relief for now to telcos, but may not stop balance sheet bleed published in Indian Express on 16th Sep 2021.

Lifeline for telcos as govt. offers four-year moratorium on dues published in The Hindu on 16th Sep 21.

Syllabus: GS3 – Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.

Relevance: Reforms in telecom sector

Synopsis: Govt has introduced a range of reforms for improving the ailing telecom sector. These reforms were much needed in light of the recent Vodafone Idea crisis resulting in a likely duopoly of Airtel and Jio in India’s telecom space.


The Union Cabinet approved a number of structural and process reforms to rescue the ailing telecom sector. The package is also expected to boost 4G proliferation, infuse liquidity and create an enabling environment for investment in 5G networks.

What are the major reforms that have been announced?

Nine structural reforms and Five procedural reforms plus relief measures for the Telecom Service Providers have been announced.

Structural reforms:-

i). Rationalization of Adjusted Gross Revenue:  Non-telecom revenue will be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR. To protect government revenues, companies availing of the moratorium will have to pay interest. This would be at the rate of marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) plus 2%.

ii). For auctions held henceforth, no Bank Guarantees (BGs) will be required to secure installment payments. Industry has matured and the past practice of BG is no longer required.

iii). To encourage investment, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route permitted in Telecom Sector. All safeguards will apply. Currently, 100% FDI is allowed in the sector, but only 49% was on the automatic route, and any investment above that limit required government approval.

Lifeline for telcos as government offers four-year moratorium on dues

Procedural Reforms:-

i). Ease of doing business promoted: cumbersome requirement of licenses under 1953 Customs Notification for wireless equipment removed. Replaced with self-declaration.

ii). Know Your Customers (KYC) reforms: Self-KYC (App based) permitted. E-KYC rate revised to only One Rupee. Shifting from Prepaid to Post-paid and vice-versa will not require fresh KYC.

Addressing Liquidity requirements of Telecom Service Providers:-

i). 4-year Moratorium/Deferment of dues arising out of the AGR judgement and the dues arising out of the spectrum purchased in past auctions.

ii). Option to the TSPs to pay the interest amount arising due to the said deferment of payment by way of equity.

iii). At the end of the moratorium period, the government will provide an option to the telecom player to pay the interest amount arising out of the deferment of payment by way of equity, and at the option of the government, to convert the entire due into equity.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Folk rice: Researchers spot a dozen Indian paddy varieties that can boost nourishment

What is the news? 

As per the recent study, 12 folk varieties of Indian rice can supplement the nutritional demand of important fatty acids in undernourished mothers. 

These can further supplement the arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in neonates through breast-feeding. DHA and ARA are fatty acids found in breast milk, as well as in some foods, like fish and eggs. 

The study looked at the nutritionally important fatty acids (FA) in 94 indigenous rice landraces / varieties of India, which are at the risk of disappearing. They are cultivated by a few marginal farmers.

What are the advantages of the folk rice varieties? 

Firstly, these rice varieties are cost-effective and reliable than marketed formula foods. They can add essential FAs in the staple diet and provide for FA requirement in the normal brain development in infants. Fatty acids help in meeting daily nutrition.  

Secondly, seven rice varieties of North East India — Meghalaya lakang, Chingphourel, Manuikhamei, Kemenyakepeyu, Wainem, Thekrulha, and Koyajang — have the potential to resist leaf and neck blast disease in rice plants. 

Thirdly, in India, many folk varieties like Athikaraya, Dudh-sar, Kayame, Neelam samba, Srihati, Maharaji and Bhejri are known in folk medicine to enhance milk production in lactating women. Other traditional varieties like Kelas, DudheBolta and Bhutmoori are rich in iron and can be included in diet of mothers to treat anaemia. 

What is the present status of folk rice varieties? 

India was home to 200,000 varieties of rice. They are currently at the risk of disappearing as they are being cultivated by a few marginal farmers.

High-yield hybrids have pushed out indigenous rice varieties and many of these varieties, called landraces are nearing extinction in India.  For example, Bindli and Kalanamak rice varieties in Uttar Pradesh.

What is the way forward?

In situ conservation of these neglected and vanishing landraces of rice, rich in nutrients, is a cheaper option than high-yielding varieties (HYVs).

It helps address the problem of undernutrition in under five children in India.

Source: This post is based on the article “Folk rice: Researchers spot a dozen Indian paddy varieties that can boost nourishment” published in the Down to Earth on 15th September 2021.  

When climate crisis meets human rights conundrum: Decoding death curves of environment, land avengers

What is the news? 

Recently, Global Witness Foundation, a Washington DC-based human rights watchdog, released its latest report titled Last Line of Defence.  

The report discusses the environment and land rights activists. As per the report, 227 environment and land rights activists were murdered globally in 2020.   

What are the key findings of the report? 

Firstly, the report defined land and environmental defenders as “people who take a stand and peaceful action against the unjust, discrimi­natory, corrupt or damaging exploitation of natural resources or the environment.” 

Secondly, they are often targeted for protecting particular ecosystems. They generally reside with communities whose land, health and livelihoods are in jeopardy by mining, logging, agribusiness companies or other industries.  

Thirdly, nearly 71 per cent of those who died had been working to defend the world’s forests from deforestation and industrial expansion. Others died for their work protecting rivers, coastal areas and the oceans.   

Fourthly, nearly three-fourth of the recorded attacks took place in the Amazon region in Brazil and Peru. Nicaragua was the most dangerous country per capita for land and environmental defenders in 2020. 

Fifthly, at least one in 10 defenders killed in 2020 was women. Women often face a double challenge: The public struggle to protect their land, water and the planet, and the often-invisible struggle to defend their right to speak within their communities and families. In many parts of the world, women are still debarred from land ownership.  

Lastly, violence against land and environmental defenders is more asymmetrical and is overpoweringly concentrated in countries in the Global South. 

What are the recommendations? 

Accountability: Governments and companies need to be held accountable for violence against environmental and land defenders, who are often standing on the front line of the climate catastrophe.  

The United Nations should formally recognize the human right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.   

On the national front, governments can protect environment and land defenders by ensuring effective and robust regulatory protection of the environment, labour rights and land rights to free and prior and informed consent. 

There should be provision for mandatory human rights due diligence (m-HRDD) for domiciled companies and financial institutions, and ensure access to remedy (A2R) or access to justice and due process. 

Source: This post is based on the article “When climate crisis meets human rights conundrum: Decoding death curves of environment, land avengers” published in the Down to Earth on 14th September 2021. 

India urges East Asian nations to lower non-tariff barriers to trade

What is the news? 

India has raised concerns over restrictive measures faced by Indian Agri exporters, at the 9th East Asia Summit – Economic Ministers’ Meeting. 

India highlighted that proliferation of trade agreements in Indo-Pacific region has led to a decline in tariff rates over time, but non-tariff measures act as a major trade barrier in the region.

There is a need for fair, transparent, reciprocal and inclusive trade which promotes the interest of all. 

Why restrictions should be lifted? 

In this time of Covid-19, when there is already supply chain disruptions, restrictive barriers created by certain countries have increased the difficulties for nations.

Facilitating exports of essential goods and food products are important for food security and wellbeing of people. 

What course of action has India proposed? 

India is willing to collaborate with East Asian partners in the production of generic drugs as well as vaccines used against covid-19. International collaboration will help to work together against the covid-19 pandemic to keep everyone safe.  

India also proposed for TRIPS waiver on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. As per World Trade Organisation (WTO), strong monetary and fiscal policies introduced by many governments in response to pandemic helped to sustain the global demand and trade.

Hence, global and equitable vaccine roll-out is a prerequisite for the strong and sustained global recovery.  

Source: This post is based on the article ” India urges East Asian nations to lower non-tariff barriers to trade ” published in the Livemint on 16th September 2021. 

Discovery of New Species of Hybodont Shark From Jurassics of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

What is the news? 

Recently, teeth of new species of hybodontshark  of Jurassic age (approximately, between 160 and 168 million-years-old) have been reported for the first time from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.   

What is the history of Hybodonts? 

Hybodonts, an extinct group of sharks, was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic time.  

It started to decline in marine environments from the Middle Jurassic onwards until they formed a relatively minor component of open-marine shark assemblages. 

Hybodonts finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago. 

 What is the recent discovery? 

The newly discovered crushing teeth from Jaisalmer represent a new species named by the research team as Strophodusjaisalmerensis.  

The genus Strophodus has been identified for the first time from the Indian subcontinent and is only the third such record from Asia, the other two being from Japan and Thailand.   

What is the significance of the discovery? 

This discovery marks an important milestone in the study of Jurassic vertebrate fossils in the Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan, and it opens a new window for further research in the domain of vertebrate fossils. 

Source: This post is based on the article ” Discovery of New Species of Hybodont Shark From Jurassics of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan ” published in the PIB on 15th September 2021. 

Terms to know

US, UK, Australia form new partnership

What is the news?

Recently a new Trilateral Security Partnership grouping has been formed between the US, UK and Australia (AUKUS) for the Indo-Pacific. The aim of the grouping is to advance the strategic interests, uphold the international order and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

What will be the central feature of this AUKUS group?

Submarines: The group will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in an 18-month effort. These Nuclear powered submarines are more capable and can be deployed for longer periods. But, the submarine will not carry nuclear missiles. This would also ensure that there is no nuclear proliferation.

Cooperation: It also envisages an engagement across other emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Technology etc.

Significance of AUKUS Grouping

The grouping will help to sustain peace and stability across the entire Indo-Pacific region.

The Indo-Pacific is fast emerging as the theatre of geopolitical rivalry, with China staking claim over the whole of the South China Sea.

AUKUS is significant as the USA sharing the technology for nuclear submarines. This has happened only once in 70 years when it shared the technology with UK.

Source: This post is based on: US, UK, Australia form new partnership” published in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.

28% jump in filing of cases in 2020: NCRB

What is the News?

National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) has released a report titled Crime in India 2020.

What are the key findings of the Crime in India Report?

Source: The Hindu

Registration of Cases: There was a 28% increase in the registration of cases in 2020 in the country compared to 2019. The surge in cases was primarily due to cases registered under violation of COVID-19 norms. 

Special and Local Laws:  Cases increased by four times under the Special and Local Laws (SLL) between 2019 and 2020. This section refers to state regulations imposed to enforce COVID-19 norms. On the other hand, the cases under ‘traditional crime’ had reduced by about 2 lakh cases in 2020.

Crime/Atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs): A total of 50,291 cases were registered for committing crimes against Scheduled Castes (SCs), showing an increase of 9.4% over 2019 (45,961 cases). 

Crime/Atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (STs): A total of 8,272 cases were registered for committing crimes against Scheduled Tribes (STs), showing an increase of 9.3% over 2019 (7,570 cases).

Crime against Women: A total of 3,71,503 cases of crime against women were registered during 2020, showing a decline of 8.3% over 2019. The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 56.5 in 2020 in comparison with 62.3 in 2019. 

Crime against Children: A total of 1,28,531 cases of crime against children were registered during 2020, showing a decrease of 13.2% over 2019 (1,48,090 cases). The crime rate registered per lakh children population is 28.9 in 2020 in comparison with 33.2 in 2019.

Sedition Cases: The cases of sedition declined from 93 in 2019 to 73 last year, with Manipur reporting 15, Assam 12, Karnataka eight, Uttar Pradesh seven, Haryana six, Delhi five and Kashmir two.

Cyber Crimes: A total of 50,035 cybercrime cases were registered in 2020, showing an increase of 11.8% compared to the 2019 figures of 44,735 cases.

Fake News: A total of 1,527 cases of fake news were recorded in 2020. This is a 214% increase — against 486 cases in 2019 and 280 cases in 2018. Telangana with 273 cases tops the list of states, followed by Tamil Nadu (188) and Uttar Pradesh (166).

Source: This post is based on the following articles 

  • “28% jump in filing of cases in 2020: NCRB” published in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.
  • NCRB data: 214% rise in cases relating to fake news, rumours” published in The Indian Express on 16th September 2021.

PM launches Sansad TV

What is the News?

The Prime Minister of India has launched Sansad TV on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy.

About Sansad TV

Sansad TV has been formed by merging the two parliamentarian channels Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV. 

The merger was done based on the recommendations of a committee formed in 2019 under former Prasar Bharati Chairman Surya Prakash.

The channel will primarily be in four categories — functioning of Parliament and democratic institutions, governance and implementation of schemes/policies, history and culture of India and issues/interests/concerns of contemporary nature.

The budget of Sansad TV will be shared jointly by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. While Lok Sabha will bear two-third of the overall cost, Rajya Sabha will share one-third.

Read more: “Sansad TV”: A merger of the LSTV and the RSTV
About International Day of Democracy

International Day of Democracy is celebrated around the world on 15 September each year. 

It was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.

The day owes its existence to the Universal Declaration on Democracy which was adopted on September 15, 1997, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is an international organisation of national parliaments. 

The theme for 2021: Strengthening democratic resilience in the face of future crises.”

Source: This post is based on the following articles 

  • “PM launches Sansad TVpublished in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.
  • Democracy is our lifestream, says PM at Sansad TV launch” published in TOI on 16th September 2021.

Cabinet clears PLI for auto sector to spur ‘green’, high-tech

What is the News?

Government of India has approved Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Auto Industry and Drone Components.

About PLI Scheme for Auto Industry

Aim: To overcome the cost disabilities to the industry for the manufacture of Advanced Automotive Technology products in India. 

Eligibility: The scheme is open to existing automotive companies as well as new investors who are currently not in the automobile or auto component manufacturing business. 

Components: The scheme has two components viz 

Champion OEM Incentive scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles of all segments. 

Component Champion Incentive scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable to Advanced Automotive Technology components of vehicles.

Significance of the Scheme

The scheme will encourage the industry to make fresh investments for indigenous global supply chains of Advanced Automotive Technology products. 

Read more: Production-Linked Incentive or PLI Schemes and its challenges – Explained, pointwise

About PLI Scheme on Drones and Drone Components

Aim: To provide incentives for manufacturers of Drones and Drone Components.

Duration of the Scheme: Three years starting FY 2021-22.

Under the scheme, incentives will be as high as 20% of the value addition made. The government has also agreed to keep the PLI rate constant at 20% for three years.

Note: In PLI schemes for other sectors, the PLI rate reduces every year.

Source: This post is based on the following articles 

  • “Cabinet clears PLI for auto sector to spur ‘green’, high-tech” published in The Hindu on 16th September 2021.
  • ‘Cabinet approves Rs 26,000-crore PLI scheme for auto sector’ published in TOI on 16th September 2021.
  • “The Government has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Auto Industry and Drone Industry to enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities” published in PIB on 16th September 2021.

NITI Aayog to Launch Report on ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’

What is the News?

NITI Aayog will launch a report on ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’.

About Report on Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India

Prepared by: The Report has been prepared by an advisory committee headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman.

Purpose: The report will review the urban planning education system in India and examined the availability, demand and supply of qualified urban planners in the country.

Recommendations: It has given a set of recommendations on various aspects of urban planning. These include interventions for planning healthy cities, optimum utilization of urban land, ramping up human-resource capacities. It also includes recommendations for strengthening urban governance, building local leadership, enhancing the role of the private sector and advancing the urban planning education system.

Urban Planning Related Schemes in India

Source: This post is based on the articleNITI Aayog to Launch Report on ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’published in PIB on 15th September 2021.

NITI Aayog, RMI, and RMI India Launch ‘Shoonya’ Campaign

What is the News?

NITI Aayog along with Rocky Mountain Institute(RMI), an independent non profit organization has launched Shoonya Initiative.

About Shoonya Initiative

Shoonya is an initiative to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and the industry. 

Aim: To accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the urban deliveries segment and create consumer awareness about the benefits of zero-pollution delivery.

As part of the campaign, a corporate branding and certification programme is being launched to recognise and promote the industry’s efforts towards transitioning to EVs for final-mile deliveries. 

Moreover, an online tracking platform will share the campaign’s impact through data such as vehicle-kilometres electrified, carbon savings, criteria pollutant savings and other benefits from clean delivery vehicles.

Advantages of Electric Vehicles in goods delivery

Urban freight vehicles account for 10% of freight transportation-related CO2 emissions in India, and these emissions are expected to grow by 114%  by 2030. 

On the other hand, EVs emit no tailpipe emissions which can contribute immensely to improved air quality. Even when accounting for their manufacture, they emit 15-40% less CO2 compared to their internal combustion engine counterparts and have lower operational cost

Source: This post is based on the articleNITI Aayog, RMI, and RMI India Launch ‘Shoonya’ Campaignpublished in PIB on 15th September 2021.

Reforms in jewellery sector to help achieve export target: Minister

Source: This post is based on the articleReforms in jewellery sector to help achieve export target: Ministerpublished in PIB on 16th September 2021.

What is the News?

The recent reforms in the gems and jewellery industry would help it achieve the $43.75 billion exports target for this fiscal year.

About the performance of Gems and Jewellery Sector

Gems & Jewellery sector is one of the important sectors of Indian Economy with a contribution of around 7% to GDP, 10-12% share in the country’s total merchandise export.

It is also one of the leading sectors in terms of employment generation, providing employment to approximately 5 million skilled and semi-skilled workforce.

The government has permitted 100% FDI in the Gems & Jewellery sector under the automatic route, wherein the foreign investor or the Indian company does not require any prior approval from the Reserve Bank or Government of India.

However, the Gems and Jewellery sector has been one of the worst-hit sectors in India during the Covid-19 pandemic and its exports saw a record decline of (-) 98% in April 2020 due to the complete lockdown situation in the country.

Government of India Initiatives in Gems and Jewellery Sector:

The Government has introduced a number of reforms, such as the revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme, reduction in import duty of gold, hallmarking, etc.

Gold Monetization Scheme: It was launched in 2015 with the aim to mobilise gold held by households and institutions of the country and facilitate its use for productive purposes, and in the long run, to reduce the country’s reliance on the import of gold.

Read more: Gold hallmarking

Union Cabinet clears decks for National Asset Reconstruction Company

Source: This post is based on the article “Union Cabinet clears decks for National Asset Reconstruction Company” published in Business Standard on 16th September 2021.

What is the News?

The Union Government has approved a proposal that requires the government to guarantee Security Receipts(SR) issued by National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) when buying non-performing assets (NPAs) from banks.

This will clear the path for the launch of National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL). 

Note: Security Receipts (SR) are issued by ARCs when Non-Performing Assets(NPAs) of commercial banks(CB) or financial institutions(FI) are acquired by the ARCs for the purpose of recovery.

About National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd(NARCL)

The NARCL is a type of Bad Bank that has to be set up to resolve the problem of bad loans impacting the public sector banks.

Note: A bad bank is basically an entity that houses the bad loans (non-performing assets) of banks and resolves or liquidates them to recover as much money as it can.

Read more: Establishment of Bad Banks – associated Issues and Significance 

Sponsored by: The NARCL is sponsored primarily by Canara Bank (likely to take a 12% equity stake) and has equity participation by other nationalised banks.

Functions: NARCL will buy the bad loans from banks and issue security receipts (SR) for up to 85% and cash for the remaining, in line with standard industry practice. These receipts are redeemable as and when the ARC recovers a specific loan. 


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