9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – September 19th, 2022
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- SCO meet highlighted flux in Eurasia; Delhi must help push new connectivity initiatives with region
- Geopolitics without geoeconomics, a fool’s errand
- About Prison reforms: What numbers don’t tell us
- Art of giving and our economic aspirations: To be world class, India’s top education institutions need its wealthy to donate generously
GS Paper 3
- Ease of moving – Lower logistics costs will boost output
- Funding the future: GoI reverting to earlier funding rule for research bodies is welcome. But India spends too little on science
- The gender pay gap, hard truths and actions needed
- Out of tune: An orchestra of multiple instruments is required to deal with the continuing high inflation
- Agriculture start-ups: Breaking ground and filling the gaps
- Dollar unrelenting rise spells trouble for global economy
- There are better ways than cheetahs to revive ecosystems
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- To curb use of chemical fertilizers, Govt to give nod to PM PRANAM
- Explained | The process of inclusion or exclusion from the Scheduled Tribes list
- PM launches National Logistics Policy
- Green Fins Hub: UNEP launches new worldwide digital platform to encourage sustainable marine tourism
- PM releases wild Cheetahs – which had become extinct from India – in Kuno National Park
- Govt to set up panel to study status of Scheduled Castes converts to Christianity and Islam
- Doctors got just 20% of insurance money under PMGKP
- How investigating agencies deal with the spread of objectionable content on the social media
- Caracal: As the cheetah returns to India, researchers map out most suitable areas for its coursing counterpart
- Explained | The ban on the export of broken rice
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source– The post is based on the following articles
“SCO meet highlighted flux in Eurasia; Delhi must help push new connectivity initiatives with region” published in the Indian Express on 19th September 2022.
“Era of war is over” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Relevance– About SCO Summit
News: Recently, the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand concluded with India taking over as chair of the regional forum.
What are the key highlights from the summit?
|Read here: Samarkand Declaration and the SCO Summit|
What are the challenges associated with SCO?
1) New lines of fracture within SCO: There is growing unease among the SCO member states at the continuing conflict in Ukraine. Many states, especially the former republics of the Soviet Union, are deeply worried about Russia doing a “Ukraine” on them. So these republics are looking to establish other partnerships, especially with China, Turkey, and India to enhance their strategic autonomy.
2) Lack of direct connectivity with India: India’s ability to contribute to peace and prosperity in Eurasia is hampered due to a lack of direct connectivity to the region.
|Read more: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its stature in the modern world|
What should India do as an SCO chair?
a) Despite the tensions, India needs to ensure the participation of all SCO members including China and Pakistan, b) Improve the connectivity with the Eurasian region: India must push through new connectivity initiatives with Eurasia. The entry of Iran into the forum opens the door for greater connectivity, c) On terrorism, India will have to ensure the SCO walks the talk on building a new consolidated list of terrorist groups.
India will also have to balance its ties, especially as the polarisation between the U.S.-EU coalition and a Russia-China-led combine continues to grow.
Source: The post is based on the article “Geopolitics without geoeconomics, a fool’s errand” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Relevance: Importance of geo-economics for India.
News: India has shown a great desire to be a part of the geopolitical developments in the Indo-Pacific. However, the efforts taken by India seem to be insufficient as India requires shifting from geopolitical to geo-economic policy.
What is the current situation of India in geo-economics?
India’s focus is still on geopolitical aspects rather than geo-economics while the advanced economies have moved beyond that.
This is evident from India’s decision to stay away from the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and walking out of the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Both agreements provided India with a chance to enter geo-economics and improve its economy in the Indo-Pacific region.
However, these examples show that India is interested only in bilateral trade agreements and not in multilateral or plurilateral agreements. For example, the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE and the signing of Early Harvest Agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom.
What will be the potential impacts on India for neglecting geo-economics?
India has shown a lack of geopolitical interest in the Indo-Pacific region by not joining the trade pillar of IPEF and the decision to stay away from the multilateral trade agreement can affect India’s interest in multiple ways.
An advantage for China: India’s absence from various regional trading platforms will automatically boost China’s geo-economic hegemony in Asia. India-China trade has only increased in the past years despite the increasing tension at the border.
There is a fear that China can misuse its increasing trade ties with India for geopolitical gains.
It was also a great opportunity for India to be the part of trade pillar of IPEF and find an alternative to China’s trade as it is impossible to completely end trade ties with China.
Hamper’s supply chains: It would be hard for India to integrate itself into the regional and global supply chains without being a part of important regional multilateral trading agreements.
Loses business opportunities: Since the U.S. is looking to find an alternative to China’s trade there are some businesses that are moving away from China and shifting to countries like Vietnam. These investments or businesses could have shifted to India if India would have joined multilateral trade agreements such as IPEF.
These businesses and investments are important for India’s growth.
Hinders maritime security: India is serious about its maritime security, but it cannot only rely on the military for its security. This also requires involving other countries in Indo-Pacific to create economic stakes in India as it is already done by China.
India’s Act East policy will go back to its earlier form – Look East if it does not create economic stakes with other nations.
India has FTA with the ASEAN countries but it is equally important for India to become part of trading arrangements which have major non-regional states. This would help India to become a major part of the region’s supply chains.
Result in economic isolation of India: If India stayed away from joining regional multilateral trading arrangements then it would be economically isolated.
What can be done to improve India’s participation in geo economics?
First, India should rethink its geo-economic preferences if it is serious about enhancing its geopolitical influence in the Indo-Pacific region. There is still an opportunity for India to join the trade pillar of IPEF and it should also think to join RECP.
Second, it can also seek to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The US have walked out of this agreement and China is seeking to join it.
Third, India can start by joining IPEF and CPTPP which China is not a member.
Fourth, India should also actively show its interest in joining the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP). It is led by US and focuses on securing supply chains of critical minerals.
Fifth, India has cleared that IPEF and QUAD are not military agreements. If they are not military agreements then they can be considered as geo-economic agreements that can also help members to pursue their geo-political interests.
Source: The post is based on the article “What numbers don’t tell us” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Prison reforms
Relevance: problems associated with prisoners and solutions for it.
News: The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Prison Statistics India Report highlights that 9,180 prisoners are with mental illness, 150 deaths occurred by suicide, and five prisoners with schizophrenia and epilepsy have died.
The report is alarming and there is a need to look into the condition of the prisoners and find solutions for it.
What are the problems with prisoners in India?
Prisons were considered a place for rehabilitation for prisoners but it has become a place of despair, hopelessness and helplessness for prisoners.
Prisons are overcrowded with the high number of undertrial prisoners (70 percent) than convicts.
According to the report of NCRB, more than half of those with mental illness were under trial (58.4% were under trial while 41.3% were convicts).
Deathworthy report on mental health and the death penalty reveals that over 60% of death row prisoners had mental illness and they have not been provided treatment.
India’s National Mental Health Policy, 2014 considers prisoners a class of people vulnerable to mental ill-health.
What are the reasons for distress among the prisoners?
First, there might be several reasons for the distress such as loss of liberty, loss of close contact with loved ones, loss of autonomy, etc.
Second, violence and overcrowding is generally associated with imprisonment which is a wrong perspective. This also affects the mental health of the prisoners.
Third, there is a fear among the prisoners of each other, and they also lack trust amongst them.
What can be the further course of action?
First, there is a need for reform, rehabilitation or reintegration. These will make prisoners confident in their lives, in their choices and in their ability to take decisions and be responsible and accountable for them. The rehabilitation process should be empathetic and caring instead of violence.
Second, there is also a need to look at social and structural perspectives of the prisoner’s mental health along with medical treatments.
Art of giving and our economic aspirations: To be world class, India’s top education institutions need its wealthy to donate generously
Source-The post is based on the article “Art of giving and our economic aspirations: To be world class, India’s top education institutions need its wealthy to donate generously” published in The Times of India on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Issues related with management and development of education.
Relevance – Higher education
News-This article explains the need for increasing charitable donations to the education sector.
What is the present scenario of philanthropy in India?
Cumulative donations in India have grown sixfold to 14750 crores in five years.
Education is the most favoured sector. It received a donation of 9659 crores.
USA case-Charitable donation was 263 times as compared to India. But its GDP is only 7.2 times of the Indian GDP.
Why is there a need for increasing donations to the Education sector?
The recent budget allocation for IITs was $1.06 billion.
In comparison to IITs, the expenditure of each of the top 30 Chinese universities was in excess of $1 billion for each.MIT’s annual revenue was $3.9 billion in 2021.
What IITs and other institutes need to get professional about fund-raising?
There is a need for a dedicated alumni office. It has to be staffed by professionals with fund-raising skills
There is a need for building alumni and donor databases, conducting market surveys and programmes. It is required to approach potential donors through sustained campaigns.
What is the case of IIT Bombay?
IT has established a well-staffed alumni office. The office is charged with engaging the alumni community and donors. Recently IIT Bombay heritage foundation raised over 400 crores from donors. This has to be replicated in other Indian institutions as well.
GS Paper 3
Source– The post is based on the article “Ease of moving-Lower logistics costs will boost output” published in the Business Standard on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Relevance– About the benefits of National Logistics Policy(NLP).
News: The Prime Minister has recently launched National Logistics Policy(NLP) to help Indian businesses improve efficiency.
What are the previous reforms in the Logistics sector?
a) The Union government created the Logistics Division in the Department of Commerce in 2017 to enable the integrated development of the sector, b) A draft logistics policy was published in 2019, but the implementation was delayed, partly because of the pandemic, c) The government recently revised the land use policy of the Indian Railways to enable longer-term leasing of surplus railway land at a much lower rate for setting up cargo terminals, among other things, d) A number of state governments have formed their logistics policy.
|Read more: How the economy gets a boost from efficient logistics|
What are the expected benefits of NLP?
Improve infrastructure: India’s infrastructure deficit is often regarded as one of the biggest constraints in rapid economic growth. The NLP will improve India’s logistical infrastructure.
Address the fragmentation: India’s logistics sector is extremely fragmented, which adds to the cost of doing business. According to one estimate, the sector involves over 20 government agencies and a host of certifications.
Creates employment: An increase in systemic efficiency will boost overall activity and help create employment even in the logistics sector, which supports the livelihood of over 22 million people.
Brings digital service providers together: Along with the NLP, the recently launched Unified Logistics Interface Platform will help bring all digital services in the transport sector to a single portal.
Increase exports: Lower logistics costs will make Indian businesses more competitive and help push up exports, which can become an important driver of growth and employment generation over the medium term. For instance, a 10% reduction in logistics costs is estimated to push up exports by 5-8%.
Further, the logistics policy will build on the PM Gatishakti plan, which is expected to provide multimodal connectivity in various economic zones.
|Read more: How the logistics policy will speed up lumbering freight sector|
What should be done to improve the logistics sector?
a) The Union and all state governments work together to address inefficiencies in the logistics sector, b) The overall objective of reducing logistics costs by NLP will depend on sustained investment in the infrastructure sector. So the government should frame attractive policies to sustain investment in the sector.
Funding the future: GoI reverting to earlier funding rule for research bodies is welcome. But India spends too little on science
Source– The post is based on the article “Funding the future: GoI reverting to earlier funding rule for research bodies is welcome. But India spends too little on science” published in The Times of India on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.
Relevance– About the R&D in India.
News: Recently, the government reversed a procedural rule to facilitate the flow of funds to national research institutes.
About the procedural rules for R&D
In March, a new workflow rule mandated zero-balance accounts for each project replaced the system where institutes’ central accounts allocated funds. The new system was meant to free researchers from controls of university procedures.
This resulted in a) Opening these accounts was time-consuming, b) The advantages of a large pool of money coming into a central account were lost. For instance, interest earned from a central corpus helped researchers pay for administrative overheads. So the government reversed the decision.
What is the actual problem with R&D in India?
Despite India’s economic transformation over 30-plus years, India’s R&D spending is too little. As per the Niti Aayog’s latest India Innovation Index report, the per capita gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) is just $43 (the total spend is 0.7% of GDP) against $1,800 in the US (total spend 3.4% of GDP) and $325 (total spend 2.4% of GDP) in China.
|Must read: Research and Development in India: Status, Challenges and Recommendations – Explained, pointwise|
What should be done to improve R&D in India?
Ensure the proper functioning of NRF: In the 2020 Union budget, the government promised to set up an apex National Research Foundation with a Rs 50,000 crore outlay and a spending timeline of five years.
The government must clarify how the NRF will work with existing central funding agencies like DST, DBT, CSIR, SERB, ICAR and ICMR.
|Read more: India’s Research and Development (R&D) activities has achieved far less than it’s potential|
Source: The post is based on the article “The gender pay gap, hard truths and actions needed” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Relevance: Gender pay gap and issues related to it
News: International Equal Pay Day 2022 falls on the 18th of September. This day makes us think of the gender gap that has arisen between women and men. The commitment towards ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ has not been achieved.
What has led to the increase in the gender pay gap?
Pandemic: The pandemic affected women workers most in terms of job and income losses. Many women have gone back to full-time care of children and the elderly during the pandemic.
Economic recovery from the pandemic is impossible without improving women’s employment rate and reducing the gender pay gap.
Discrimination: Another reason for the increase in the gender pay gap is discrimination based on gender or sex.
Gender-based discriminatory practices include lower wages paid to women for work of equal value, undervaluation of women’s work in highly feminised occupations and enterprises, etc.
However, there are many steps taken at the international level to bridge the gender pay gap.
What steps have been taken internationally to address the gender pay gap?
The United Nations have taken efforts at the international level to eliminate all form of gender inequality. The ILO has enshrined ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ in its Constitution.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) provides an international legal framework for realising gender equality.
One of the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 is “achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities and equal pay for work of equal value” by 2030.
Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) was launched in 2017 as a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the ILO, UN Women and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) seeks to achieve equal pay for women and men everywhere.
What is the current situation of women’s wages?
Internationally: According to the Global Wage Report 2020–21 of the International Labour Organization, there is massive downward pressure on wages and this has affected women’s total wages compared to men.
At the India level: The gender pay gap in India remains high by international standards despite the efforts taken in bringing down the gender pay gap.
The estimates from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2020-21 show an increase in the gap by 7% between 2018-19 and 2020-21 due to the pandemic.
However, labour force survey data of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) indicates that the gender pay gap has declined from 48% in 1993-94 to 28% in 2018-19.
What steps have been taken by India to decrease the gender pay gap?
India has taken required reforms in the Minimum Wages Act in 1948 and adopted the Equal Remuneration Act in 1976. India has also enacted the Code on Wages.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2005 has also benefited rural women workers and helped reduce the gender pay gap directly and indirectly. MGNREGA has helped women workers directly by raising their pay levels and indirectly by providing higher earnings to women involved in agricultural occupations.
India amended the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 which increased maternity leave with pay protection from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for all women working in firms that employ 10 or more workers.
Skill India Mission has helped women to learn market-relevant skills to bridge the learning-to-livelihood gap and the gender pay gap.
What can be the further course of action to bridge the gender pay gap?
Accelerated and bold action is needed to prevent a widening of the gender pay gap and closing the existing gap. Equal pay for work of equal value is necessary to close the gender pay gap.
Closing the gender pay gap is a key to achieving social justice for working women as well as economic growth for the nation.
Out of tune: An orchestra of multiple instruments is required to deal with the continuing high inflation
Source: The post is based on an article “Out of tune: An orchestra of multiple instruments is required to deal with the continuing high inflation” published in The Indian Express on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources.
Relevance: Inflation and issues associated with it
News: Covid pandemic and Ukraine war has led to the rise in inflation. The inflation is currently at 7 percent (CPI-based) and 12.4 percent (WPI based). However, inflation in India is better when compared to other countries.
What is the situation of inflation in India compared to other countries across the world?
India has done well when compared to the US and most European countries where inflation is higher ranging from 8 to 12 percent.
The rate of inflation in India is also lower than in Turkey (80%), Pakistan (27%) and Sri Lanka (64%).
What is the current situation of the Indian economy and what can be done?
Problems: RBI and MPC have been entrusted to keep inflation within the 4 +/- 2% band but targeting inflation should not be the only objective. Inflation has also impacted the GDP growth of the country.
Solution: Finance Minister has recently said that inflation management requires organization and coordination of many policies. Monetary policy alone cannot tackle inflation.
Therefore, monetary policy along with fiscal, trade and tariff policy, food and agricultural policy, and infrastructure policy should work together to control inflation.
Problem: Fiscal deficit has crossed 10% of GDP (Centre and states combined) for continuously three years. This deficit is causing inflationary pressures along with loose monetary policy.
Solution: A tight fiscal policy is needed.
However, India has effectively managed its inflation despite various problems.
How has India tried to manage its inflation?
India has effectively managed its inflation during the pandemic hit and protected its GDP growth also. This is done by a) Not giving an excessive stimulus to boost consumption demand, b) Spend more on infrastructure building that had a high multiplier effect on GDP which created demand, c) Recent deal with Russia for importing crude oil at discounted prices was part of an inflation management strategy.
What can be the further course of action to control inflation?
India needs better macroeconomic management to put inflation at 4% with GDP growth at 7%. The measure that can be taken are –
First, there is a need to re-orienting public policy from freebies to investments in rural areas. India needs to focus to create more and higher productive jobs, better rural infrastructure, improving the competitiveness of agriculture, agro-based industry and the MSME sector.
Second, there is a need for higher R&D allocations in agriculture. This will help to develop climate-smart agriculture with an increase in food supplies. Stable and higher farm productivity is required during unexpected climate change to control food inflation.
Third, there is also a need to rationalize the food and fertilizer subsidies that are expected to increase to Rs 5 lakh crore in 2022-23.
Fourth, food and beverages have a 45.86% weight in the CPI basket in India. The weights of food and beverages in the CPI basket need urgent revision.
Source: The post is based on the article “Breaking ground and filling the gaps” published in The Business Standard on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS3- Agriculture
Relevance: Agriculture start-ups
News: This article explains the functioning of farming sector startups in India.
What are the facts related to agri-start-ups in India?
They are new as compared to other sectors but have started to grow.
Services provided by them-
(1) They are providing consultancy and select services in fields like custom-hiring of agricultural machinery, including drones.
(2) They are promoting the sale and purchase of farm inputs and products through electronic platforms.
(3) They are providing advanced technologies to enhance the efficiency and precision of farm operations.
(4) They are also helping in water-resource management.
The agri-start-up ecosystem in India
The business models of most agri-start-ups are focused mainly on filling the gaps in the existing farming systems and their value chains to ensure optimal returns to farmers.
Many start-ups are working in agriculture’s allied fields such as dairying, poultry and fisheries.
Some of them are also collaborating with the government through public-private partnership mode to enhance the effectiveness of agriculture ministry schemes.
Out of the total startups in India, only 5% are in the agriculture sector.
The current value of these agri-start-ups is estimated at Rs 75,000-80,000 crore.
The turning point came during the pandemic. The investment in these startups have surged three times during the pandemic.
What is the financing scenario of these startups?
Earlier the financial institutions were wary of providing financing to these startups because of the risk associated with the agriculture sector. But now they have started to give loans to them.
Reserve Bank of India has now allowed commercial banks to treat loans of up to Rs 50 crore to agri-start-ups as priority sector lending.
What steps have been taken by the government?
The Finance Minister announced in her Budget speech this year that the government would set up a fund for agri-tech startups.
It will provide more resources through the NABARD to help agri-start-ups.
The government would encourage the use of Kisan drones for agriculture activities.
What are the challenges faced by these startups?
Their presence is uneven across the states. Agri-startups are generally more successful in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Maharashtra than elsewhere.
What steps should be taken by the government?
Central and state governments need to take steps to facilitate smooth functioning of agri-start-ups to diversify agriculture.
There is a need to diversify these startups from being largely service providers to producers and marketers of value-added farm products.
Source-The post is based on the article “Dollar unrelenting rise spells trouble for global economy” published in Livemint on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS3- Economy
Relevance: Global Economy
News: The article explains the phenomenon of the recent strengthening of the US dollar against other currencies.
The ICE US Dollar Index, which measures the US dollar against the basket of biggest trading partners, has risen more than 14% in 2022.
Other currencies like Euro, Yen and Pound have fallen to their multi-decade low.
What are the reasons behind the recent surge?
The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hike is responsible for it. It has encouraged investors to pull money from other markets and invest them in US assets.
Inflation in the US is compelling the Federal Reserve to increase the interest rate.
Dismal economic prospects like the Ukraine war around the world are further making a strong case for the Federal Reserve to continue with this policy.
What are the impacts of this surge?
There is increasing financial pressure on emerging markets. Sri Lanka and Pakistan have sought help from IMF. Serbia is also negotiating with IMF.
Emerging markets are already burdened by debt. It was augmented during the pandemic. According to the reports, They have a debt of $83 million in US dollars which is due by next year. The dollar surge will make payback expansive for them.
It is making food and fuel imports priced in US dollars expensive for smaller nations.
Not only emerging markets but Europe is also facing challenges. There is a slide of 12% in Euro this year. It is leading to a historical increase in inflation in Europe.
It is leading to decreased investment in commodities like gold and oil
What steps are being taken to stem this rise?
There are calls for coordinated global action. In 1985, a joint effort called the Plaza accord was launched to weaken the US dollar.
The Bank of China is releasing more dollar liquidity into the market to strengthen the Yuan.
Source: The post is based on the articles “The Cheetah moment” and “There are better ways than cheetahs to revive ecosystems” published in The Indian Express on 19th September 2022.
Syllabus: GS3- Environment
Relevance: Species reintroduction
News: The article explains the recent government project of Cheetah reintroduction to India. Eight African cheetahs were recently reintroduced to Kuno national park.
What are the challenges associated with cheetah reintroduction?
The carrying capacity of the ecosystem is limited. There have been no proper studies about it.
Limited prey base in shrinking habitats creates ecological imbalances.
The increase in species and their numbers may lead to more human-animal conflicts.
Development projects such as highways further fragment the protected areas. It compels animals to venture out.
There is a lack of suitable habitats of sufficient size for them. In the best of habitats like Kenya and Tanzania, cheetahs exist in very low densities of around 1 per 100 sq km. The area of kuno national park is only748 sq kms. It can at best accommodate only 10 Cheetahs.
To achieve the objective of establishing the Cheetah’s functional role in the ecosystem, the projected number of cheetahs is very small.
It diverts attention and resources from priority conservation initiatives that are part of India’s National Wildlife Action Plan (2017-2031), which does not even mention the introduction of African cheetahs.
This project makes unrealistic claims about its conservation value for grasslands and other open forest ecosystems in India. The 21 cheetahs that are projected after 15 years, that too at one site is insufficient to conserve grassland.
It challenges the rule of law. It is an attempt to stall and further delay the translocation of lions as ordered by the Supreme Court in 2013. NTCA in its review petition before Supreme Court mentioned that the reintroduction of the cheetah is sought to be made in other places.
Confining the animal to one Protected Area increases its vulnerability to epidemics.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: The post is based on the article “To curb use of chemical fertilizers, Govt to give nod to PM PRANAM” published in Indian Express on 19th September 2022.
What is the News?
The Union government intends to launch a scheme — named PM PRANAM — to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by incentivising states.
What is PM PRANAM?
PM PRANAM stands for PM Promotion of Alternate Nutrients for Agriculture Management Yojana.
Aim: To reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by incentivising states.
Features of the scheme: The scheme will have no separate budget and will be financed through the savings of existing fertilizer subsidies.
– Around 50% of subsidy savings will be passed on as a grant to the state that saves the money.
– Under this grant, 70% of the grant provided under the scheme can be used for asset creation related to the technological adoption of alternate fertilizers and alternate fertilizer production units at village, block and district levels.
– The remaining 30% of grant money can be used for rewarding and encouraging farmers, panchayats, farmer producer organizations and self-help groups that are involved in the reduction of fertilizer use and awareness generation.
– The government will compare the state’s increase or decrease in the use of chemical fertilizer in a year to its average consumption in the last three years.
Why is the PM PRANAM Scheme necessary?
In the past five years, the requirement for four fertilizers — Urea, MOP (Muriate of potash), DAP (Di-ammonium Phosphate) and NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) — rose 21% from 528.86 lakh metric tonnes in 2017-18 to 640.27 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) in 2021-22.
The most-used chemical fertilizer in India is urea, which recorded an increase of 19.64% from 298 LMT in 2017-18 to 356.53 in 2021-22.
In order to promote the balanced use of fertilizers or alternative fertilizers, the government plans to introduce the PM PRANAM scheme.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The process of inclusion or exclusion from the Scheduled Tribes list” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
What is the News?
Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to add several tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes(ST) in States such as Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh so that they can avail of benefits meant for STs including reservation.
Which communities have been added to the ST list?
How many Scheduled Tribes are there officially?
According to the Scheduled Tribes in India, as revealed in Census 2011, there are said to be 705 ethnic groups listed as Scheduled Tribes under Article 342.
Over 10 crore Indians are notified as STs, of which 1.04 crore live in urban areas. The STs constitute 8.6% of the population and 11.3% of the rural population.
How is a community added or removed from SC, ST lists?
The process begins at the level of a State or Union Territory with the concerned government or administration seeking the addition or exclusion of a particular community from the SC or ST list.
The inclusion or exclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list comes into effect only after the President assents to a Bill that amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order,1950 as is appropriate after it is passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
What are the criteria to be added to an SC/ST list?
To establish whether a community is a Scheduled Tribe, the government looks at several criteria, including its ethnological traits, traditional characteristics, distinctive culture, geographical isolation and backwardness.
However, the Supreme Court has recently said that it wanted to fix fool-proof parameters to determine if a person belongs to a Scheduled Tribe and is entitled to the benefits due to the community.
The Supreme Court has now referred the question of fixing the parameters to a larger Bench, pointing out that the issue was a “matter of importance” when it came to issuing caste certificates.
Source: The post is based on the article “PM launches National Logistics Policy” published in PIB on 18th September 2022.
What is the News?
The Prime Minister has launched the National Logistics Policy(NLP).
What is Logistics?
Logistics encompasses planning, coordinating, storing, and moving resources —people, raw materials, inventory, equipment, etc from one location to another, from the production points to consumption, distribution, or other production points.
What is the aim of the National Logistics Policy(NLP)?
Reduce the cost of logistics from 14-18% of GDP to global best practices of 8% by 2030. Countries like the US, South Korea, Singapore, and certain European nations have such a low logistics cost-to-GDP ratio.
Improve the country’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranking to be among top 25 countries by 2030.
Create data-driven decision support systems (DSS) to enable an efficient logistics ecosystem.
Key Building Blocks of the policy
Unified Logistics Interface Platform(ULIP): It aims to collapse all logistics and transport sector digital services into a single portal, thereby freeing manufacturers and exporters from the present tyranny of long and cumbersome processes.
Ease of Logistics Services (E-Logs): It aims to allow the industry to directly take up operational issues with government agencies for speedy resolution.
Comprehensive Logistics Action Plan: It comprises integrated digital logistics systems, standardization of physical assets, benchmarking service standards, human resource development, capacity building, development of logistics parks etc.
Green Fins Hub: UNEP launches new worldwide digital platform to encourage sustainable marine tourism
Source: The post is based on the article “UNEP launches new worldwide digital platform to encourage sustainable marine tourism” published in Down To Earth on 16th September 2022.
What is the News?
The United Nations Environmental Programme(UNEP), along with UK-based charity Reef-World Foundation has launched the Green Fins Hub.
What is Green Fins Hub?
The Green Fins Hub is the first-ever global marine tourism industry platform.
Purpose: The hub offers enhanced and global membership for participating dive and snorkel operators to conserve the marine environment.
Features: The platform will help diving and snorkelling operators worldwide to make simple, cost-efficient changes to their daily practices by utilizing tried and tested solutions.
– It would also help them keep track of their annual improvements and communicate with their communities and customers.
Significance: Coral reefs are home to at least 25% of marine life, are the mecca for marine-related tourism contributing up to 40% or more of the gross domestic product in some island nations.
– However, they are a most vulnerable ecosystem, especially to climate change with the difference between a global temperature rise of 1.5 or 20C being existential for reefs.
– Hence, increasing accessibility of best practice, knowledge and citizen science through the Green Fins Hub could be a game changer in ensuring a future for coral reefs and other fragile marine ecosystems.
What are Green Fins?
Green Fins is a proven conservation management approach – implemented internationally by The Reef-World Foundation and the UN Environment Programme – which leads to a measurable reduction in the negative environmental impacts associated with marine tourism.
Aim: To protect coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines promoting sustainable diving and snorkelling.
– To provide the only internationally recognised environmental standards for marine tourism and its robust assessment system measures compliance.
Source: The post is based on the article “PM releases wild Cheetahs – which had become extinct from India – in Kuno National Park” published in PIB on 18th September 2022.
What is the News?
The Prime Minister has released wild Cheetahs – which had become extinct from India – in Kuno National Park as part of Project Cheetah.
What is Project Cheetah?
The introduction of cheetahs in India is being done under Project Cheetah.It is the world’s first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project.
Under this project, eight Cheetahs (five female and three male Cheetahs) have been brought from Namibia and released in Kuno National Park (Madhya Pradesh).
Significance: Cheetahs will help restore open forest and grassland ecosystems in India. This will help conserve biodiversity and enhance the ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration and soil moisture conservation, benefiting society at large.
What are the achievements made by India in the area of environmental protection and sustainability?
Protected areas: The coverage of Protected Areas which was 4.90% of the country’s geographical area in 2014 has now increased to 5.03%.
Forest cover: Forest and tree cover has increased by 16,000 square km in the last four years. India is among the few countries in the world where forest cover is consistently increasing.
Community reserves: There has also been an increase in the number of community reserves. From just 43 in 2014 their numbers are more than 100 in 2019.
Tigers: India is home to 52 Tiger Reserves covering approximately 75,000 Sq Km area in 18 States with approximately 75% population of the wild tiger at the global level.
– India achieved the goal of doubling the tiger numbers in 2018 itself, four years in advance of the targeted year 2022. The Tiger Population in India has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018.
Asiatic Lions: The population of Asiatic Lions has shown a steady increase with a population of 674 individuals with an increase rate of 28.87% (one of the highest growth rates so far) from the 523 lions in 2015.
Leopards: India now (2020) has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted in 2014. More than a 60% increase in population has been recorded.
Source: The post is based on the article “Govt to set up panel to study status of Scheduled Castes converts to Christianity and Islam” published in Indian Express on 19th September 2022.
What is the News?
The Government of India is all set to constitute a National Commission to study the social, economic and educational status of members of Scheduled Castes or Dalits who converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order,1950 under Article 341 stipulates that no person professing a religion different from Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism can be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste(SC).
The original order under which only Hindus were classified as SCs was amended in 1956 to include Sikhs, and in 1990 to cover Buddhists.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking SC reservation benefits for Dalits who converted to Christianity or Islam.
What has been the government’s response to this?
The Government of India is all set to constitute a National Commission to study the social, economic and educational status of members of Scheduled Castes or Dalits who converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
The commission will also study the impact of adding more members to the current SC list.
Has this matter been taken up before by the government?
The matter of providing the SC quota benefits to Dalits who converted to Christianity or Islam has come up before earlier governments as well.
The Ranganath Mishra Commission’s report submitted in 2007 recommended that SC status be completely delinked from religion and be made religion-neutral like STs.
However, the then government rejected the proposal on grounds that it was not substantiated by field studies.
Source: The post is based on the article “Doctors got just 20% of insurance money under PMGKP” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
What is the News?
Dependents of doctors got just over 20% of the total money distributed under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) insurance scheme for health workers who died fighting COVID-19 in the country.
What is Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP)?
The scheme aims to provide comprehensive personal accident insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to all healthcare providers who 1) Lost their life due to Covid-19 and 2) Accidental death on account of COVID-19 related duty.
What has been the progress of the PMGKP scheme?
Dependents of doctors got just over 20% of the total money distributed under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP) insurance scheme for health workers who died fighting COVID-19 in the country.
This means over 75% of doctors who succumbed to the infection have not benefited from the scheme because a majority of them were not working in COVID-designated hospitals.
Source: The post is based on the article “How investigating agencies deal with the spread of objectionable content on social media” published in The Hindu on 18th September 2022.
What is the News?
As allegations of an objectionable video of women students of Chandigarh University being leaked have triggered outrage.
What is the first step to tackling objectionable content that goes viral?
The first task for the investigation agency is to identify the social media intermediary through which the objectionable content in any form i.e., pictures, videos, or voice messages are being spread.
Usually, investigation agencies rely on the disclosure of the first arrested accused who discloses about the first method through which the content was shared.
What happens after the social media intermediaries are identified?
After identifying one or multiple social media intermediaries, the investigation agency communicates with the regulating authorities/headquarters of these intermediaries.
There are two methods for communication
First is the emergency disclosure, in which the agency seeks the phone number and IP address of a device which was used to create/record the objectionable/vulnerable content. Routine matters in which there is no urgency are pursued through this method.
Second is the emergency response. Matters related to national security, threats to human lives and child abuse are followed through this method.
Can an individual approach the grievance redressal officer of social media sites independently in India?
According to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, a victim can directly approach the grievances redressal officer of any social media site independently or through an investigation agency.
All major social sites including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter are bound to place their grievances redressal officers in India as per the rules.
The grievances officer is bound to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of a such complaint within a period of fifteen days from the date of its receipt.
Is it a complicated process to identify the suspect or erase, delete and make the content inaccessible?
Removing/deleting and identifying the culprit on WhatsApp is more complicated than on Facebook or Twitter.
In the case of Facebook or Twitter, the investigation agency can identify the suspect through their account, be it fake or based on a fictitious identity.
But in the case of WhatsApp, the video, pictures or voice messages spread instantly and are forwarded to many at a time. However, once the objectionable content is removed from the original number, the content shall be removed in the coming days automatically.
Caracal: As the cheetah returns to India, researchers map out most suitable areas for its coursing counterpart
Source: The post is based on the article “Caracal: As the cheetah returns to India, researchers map out most suitable areas for its coursing counterpart” published in Down To Earth on 16th September 2022.
What is the News?
Caracal species is struggling to survive in India and is on the verge of extinction.A team of researchers have now mapped out the most suitable areas for the species to survive in India.
What is Caracal?
Hunting purpose: The caracal was the only other feline apart from Cheetah which was used for hunting in India.
– For instance, Firoz Shah Tughlaq had many Caracals in his hunting establishment and Akbar was very fond of using Caracal for hunting purposes.
Threats: Large-scale hunting, illegal trading and loss of natural habitats are considered significant threats to the species.
What are the most suitable areas for the caracal species to survive in India?
The most significant potential habitat for caracals is in Rajasthan, followed by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The large amounts of caracal suitable habitats in these states fell within protected areas thus providing an excellent opportunity for its conservation in the already existing management and conservation setup.
For instance, the protected areas which provided high conservation potential for caracals included 1) Kachchh Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) in Gujarat, 2) tiger reserves of Ranthambhore, Mukundra hills and Sariska and the WLS of Kumbhalgarh, Mount Abu and Todgarh-Raoli in Rajasthan, and 3) Gandhi Sagar WLS in Madhya Pradesh.
Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The ban on the export of broken rice” published in The Hindu on 19th September 2022.
What is the News?
The Government of India has instituted a ban on the export of broken rice. Additionally, it mandated an export duty of 20% on rice in the husk (paddy or rough), husked (brown rice) and semi-milled or wholly-milled rice. These measures do not affect the export of basmati or parboiled rice.
What happened to rice production this year?
The major rice cultivation season in India is the Kharif season, which entails sowing the crop during June-July and harvesting them in November-December.
Rice is a water-intensive crop which requires a hot and humid climate. Thus, it is best suited to regions which have high humidity, prolonged sunshine and an assured supply of water.
It is for this reason that the eastern and southern regions of the country, with sustainable humidity and suitable mean temperatures, are deemed favourable for the crop.
However, there have been potentially lower rice production this year due to deficient rainfall in some areas.
What will be the impact of this ban on the export of broken rice?
On Inflation: The lower the supply of a commodity, the higher would be the price of a product, which results in inflationary pressures. The adequacy of rice stocks in the country would ensure that markets do not experience excess demand and thus trigger an abrupt price rise.
On Ethanol Blending Programme: Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from molasses, which is a by-product of the sugar industry.
– The Ethanol Blending Programme(EBP) endeavors to blend ethanol with vehicular fuels as a means to combat the use of fossil fuels and in turn, rising pollution.
– As per the government, sugar-based feedstocks alone would not be able to meet its stipulated target of 20% ethanol blending by 2025.
– In the 2018-19 Ethanol Supply Year (ESY), the government had allowed the FCI to sell surplus rice to ethanol plants for fuel production.
– However, in the ongoing ESY, because of supply constraints, there has been an uptick in the procurement of rice from the FCI. This means that the production accruing from FCI rice has increased 10-fold from the 2.2 crore litres used in a full ESY. At the same time, production from damaged food grains stands at half.
– Thus, the export ban would endeavor to catch-up with this supply and additionally, unburden the FCI from provisioning to distillers.
What are the likely effects of this ban globally?
India accounted for 41% of the total rice exports in the world in 2021 larger than the next four exporters (Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and United States) combined.
In descending order, China, Senegal, Vietnam, Djibouti and Indonesia are the biggest importers of India’s broken rice. Hence, these countries would be impacted by the ban.
However, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan would gain if we lose this market. Once lost, regaining the market would be a task.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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