9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – September 6th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2


Japan is recasting its national security vision in face of an aggressive China

Source: The post is based on an article Japan is recasting its national security vision in face of an aggressive China. India must inject strategic content into ties during 2+2 dialogue published in The Indian Express on 6th September 2022.

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

News: China’s growing military capabilities and fearless attitude on territorial disputes are at the heart of the deteriorating environment of India and Japan.

 

What is required by India and Japan in meeting common security challenges against China?

India has defence exchanges with Japan for nearly two decades.

They both share a common interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific “free and open” and been partners in the Quadrilateral forum but still their bilateral security cooperation remains underdeveloped.

It is required that Japan and India both should involve in strategic military partnership in order to counter China.

There is deep political resistance and bureaucratic inertia against effort to recast defence policies in both countries.

The recent 2+2 dialogue will be an opportunity to get a first-hand account from the Japanese leadership on Japan’s bold new plans to transform its military strategy and build on the common interest in preventing the rise of a new leadership in the Indo-Pacific.

What is the approach of Japan in tackling the threats from China?

Japan’s new strategy to cope with Chinese power involves three broad elements — reorienting Japan’s diplomacy, boosting national capabilities to prevent aggression and deepening defence partnerships.

Recently Japanese PM talked of a new “realism diplomacy”. It will allow Japan to meet the new security challenges through pragmatism and firmness. For that it has taken the following steps:

1) The Japanese PM has announced to increase budget on its defense from 1% to 2%.

2) A doubling of the defence allocation over the next few years, could make it the third-largest defence spender after the US and China.

3) Japan’s focus is on building “counter-strike” weapons to prevent Chinese aggression. China’s missile arsenals are growing but Japan does not have long-range missiles. Some experts in Japan are calling for the deployment of a thousand long-range missiles.

4) Japan is also looking to strengthen security partnerships with other like-minded countries such as Australia and India.

5) It is also promising to strengthen the defence capabilities of the Indo-Pacific countries, unilaterally as well as through the Quad.


Public health need not be led by doctors alone

Source-The post is based on the article ”Public health need not be led by doctors alone” published in The Hindu on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS2-Issues related to development and management of health

News-This article discusses the issues related to the concept of public health as a separate discipline. There is underrepresentation of public health experts in health sector bodies at central and state level.

Public health professionals are not present in State and Central advisory bodies of health. During pandemic as well, doctors with no experience in public health were guiding the public health issues.

This is because it is felt that public health does not require specific competencies, and anyone can do this work.

There is a difference between public health sector and public health discipline. Providing medical care at a primary health centre does not make the person a public health professional.

It is important to understand that public health is a separate profession with a specific set of competencies.

What constitutes public health?

4 A’s i.e. academics, activism, administration and advocacy, can describe public health work.

Academics: It is the brain behind public health. It means having good understanding of epidemiology and biostatistics.

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations.

Biostatistics is the study of development and application of statistical theory, methods and techniques to public health research data. Then, planning, implementation and evaluation of public health program

Activism: It is the heart of public health. It includes a good understanding of non-health determinants, including social and commercial factors. How they influence health and how these can be addressed?

Administration: It means administering health systems from a primary health centre to the district, State, and national level. It means implementing and managing health programmes, addressing human resource issues, supply and logistical issues, etc.

Advocacy: In public health, individual can hardly make a difference. It requires proper communication and negotiation skills with key stakeholders to enable the functioning of public health at the different levels.

How is it different to the clinical approach?

Historically, public health remained a medical college-driven discipline. However, now a specific college degree is required for public health professional.

Clinical approach is focused on individuals, which divide humans into organs or systems. However, but it is not inappropriate for a broader public health approach, aimed at working with communities or health systems.

Many doctors and other health professionals work at the grassroots level and develop a good sense of public health due to their inclination. But they do not become public health professionals as they may not have the necessary skills.

What should the course of action?

The Health Ministry has recently proposed the creation of cadres for public health professionals and health management at the State, district and block levels. It is a welcome step but there is also a need to look at the quality of public health training being provided.


Four years after landmark LGBT verdict: The march to full citizenship

Source-The post is based on the article”Four years after landmark LGBT verdict: The march to full citizenship” published in the Indian Express on 6th September 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2-Mechanisms and laws for protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.GS1-Social empowerment

News: Exactly, 4 years ago, Supreme Court in the case Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India, struck down provisions of Section 377 and decriminalised same sex relationship. The articles highlights the major developments that took place after this judgment to recognise many non-traditional forms of relationships and families.

What are the developments that have taken place after Navtej Singh Johar case?

Madhu Bala v State of Uttarakhand (2020) held that the right of a same sex couple to live together is a constitutional and human right.

In Vanitaben Damjibhai Solanki v State of Gujarat (2020), the Gujarat High Court ordered police protection for two women police constables in a relationship. The couple was facing threats by their families, who vehemently opposed their relationship.

In Pramod Kumar Sharma v State of UP (2021), the Allahabad High Court reinstated the home guard to service whose appointment was cancelled due to a video, which displayed his affection to his same-sex partner. The Allahabad High Court order relied on Navtej Singh Johar and held that the display of affection amongst members of the LGBTQI community cannot be bogged down by any apparent disapproval by the majority.

Finally, in S Sushma v Commissioner of Police (2021) court banned the questionable practice of ‘conversion therapy’. The therapy attempts to cure or change the sexual orientation of queer people.

Read more about the case

The case has led to the National Medical Commission issuing directions that doctors practising conversion therapy to “cure” queer citizens will amount to professional misconduct under the Indian Medical Councils Rules.

In Deepika Singh v the Central Administrative Tribunal (2022), expanded the definition of family. The case involved a government employee who married her partner, a widower with two children. She was denied maternity leave for their third child (her first biological child) since she took leave to care for her “step”-children. According to the rules, she was entitled to 730 days of leave to take care of “upto two children”.

Read more about the case


The difficult path to India-Pakistan peace

Source: The post is based on the article “The difficult path to India-Pakistan peace published in The Hindu on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Relevance: About India-Pakistan relations.

News: After the promulgation of the new Prime Minister in Pakistan, there have been signs of a thaw in India-Pakistan relations.

Read more: Explained: What Imran Khan’s ouster as Pakistan PM means for India
What is the status of Pakistan’s economy?

After the Covid-19 pandemic, Pakistan’s economy is facing a) Widening current account deficit and high inflation, b) Unprecedented floods and decades of poor planning led to issues in Pakistan’s economy, c) International Monetary Fund (IMF) has begun its $6 billion Extended Fund Facility programme for Pakistan in 2019. It also increased the funding later.

What are the developments in India-Pakistan relations during Pakistan’s economic turmoil?

Earlier Pakistan thought of the economic benefit of seeking trade in essential commodities with India. But due to domestic pressure, they changed their decision.

Read more: Why Pakistan Reverses its Decision on Trade with India?

India provided essential vaccine supplies to Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pakistan Army chief had permitted backchannel talks and a “limited trade resumption package” with India to improve Pakistan’s economy.

What are the challenges in engaging with Pakistan?

Pakistan’s deep securitisation of the Kashmir dispute: This makes it hard for Pakistan’s leadership to stick to one decision for long time.

Domestic issues: In 1953 when Mohammed Ali Bogra and Jawaharlal Nehru negotiated the Kashmir dispute. They got close to an agreed solution on Kashmir. But each time, Bogra’s inability to foster domestic coalitions to support the peacemaking process with India overrode the negotiations.

The same issue of garnering the support of domestic coalitions is still present in Pakistan. This has derailed several India-Pakistan peace dialogues.

Must read: Pakistan’s National Security Policy and its Implications for India – Explained, pointwise
When India can expect improvement in India-Pakistan relations?

The outcome of the next general elections might open a sustained backchannel dialogue and trade. Until there is bipartisan support in Pakistan on the need to normalise ties with India and Pakistan enters a long period of de-securitisation, there will not be any long-term improvement.


Rear guard action: Car accident-related deaths can be drastically reduced by the use of seat belts

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Rear guard action: Car accident-related deaths can be drastically reduced by the use of seat belts published in The Hindu on 6th September 2022.

“Fasten rear seat belts published in The Times of India on 6th September 2022.

“Unsafe at any speed: Safety rules need to be tightened published in the Business Standard on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Issues – Road accidents.

Relevance: About car accident-related deaths.

News: The tragic death of former Tata Sons chairman in a car accident has turned the spotlight again on lax safety rules for car passengers in India.

About India’s car accident-related deaths

According to the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, India is among the global top 10 in terms of road accident deaths. Some 1,50,000 people die in road accidents each year.

The road and highways ministry’s road accidents report for 2020 reveals that 15,100 drivers and passengers were killed due to the non-use of seat belts.

Almost 17,800 travellers in four-wheelers were killed that year. Hence, the majority of these deaths of drivers and passengers could have been prevented had seat belts and airbags been deployed. 

Read more: Road accidents in India — 2020 Report
What are the Central Motor Vehicle Rules on seat belts?

Both front and rear seat belts have been mandatory under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules but the rule is rarely enforced. A study in 2019 across 11 cities revealed that only 7% of respondents said they used rear seat belts and only 27% were aware that their use was mandatory.

Why rear seat belts are essential to prevent car accident-related deaths?

A study in the US shows that rear seat occupants were eight times more likely to suffer serious injuries in a mishap if they did not wear seat belts. This is because, a) Rear seat belts slow down the dangerous forward momentum. b) A rear seat belt can act as a check against a sudden, violent force.

Safety research shows that wearing rear seat belts also reduces the risk for front passengers, who otherwise can be injured by rear passengers being thrown forward.

What does India need to tighten the Safety rules to reduce car accident-related deaths?

Indian cars are less safer: This is because,

a) Industry reluctant to provide safety features: The car industry has been arguing that the additional safety requirements — principally the deployment of six airbags — will push up the cost of cars at a time when the industry is struggling against sluggish demand.

Note: The introduction of mandatory front seat belts and airbags had been met with objections until car companies discovered that there was no correlation between safety features and demand. 

b) The state of the small car market: The small car market of India consists of the most unsafe vehicles on Indian roads today. The manufacturers have steadily reduced the thickness of the bodywork in the interest of cost savings is a cause of worry.

c) Double standards of car makers: The manufacturers do not add safety features to cars they make for the Indian market, though all safety features are added to export models.

Growth of highways: The proliferation of six-lane highways all over India has meant that speed limits have risen to 100 kmph. National highways constitute only 2% of the total length of roads in India, they contribute to 36% of fatalities.

Proven reports: A study by IIT-Delhi estimated that “air-bag deployment reduced mortality by 63%… lap-shoulder-belt use reduced mortality by 72%, and combined air-bag and seatbelt use reduced mortality by more than 80%.

Read more: Role of Motor Vehicle Act, 2019 in reducing road accidents
What should be done to reduce car accident-related deaths?

Role of car manufacturers: The car industry should accept the government proposal to mandate a) The introduction of Y-belts for middle rear seat passengers b) The deployment of side airbags in all cars irrespective of car size.

All cars must come with built-in warning beeps for both front and rear seat belts.

Enforcing India-specific and effective road safety policies: These include a) Looking at composite factors such as poor road design, b) Maintenance of road and traffic infrastructure in fixing responsibility for accidents, c) Removal of medians on intercity highways and replacing them with steel guard rails or wire rope barriers.

GS Paper 3


We may have to recalibrate the country’s decarbonization effort

Source: The post is based on an article We may have to recalibrate the country’s decarbonization effort published in The Live Mint on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Pollution and climate change

Relevance: problems associated in achieving net zero emission.

News: India faces challenge of raising economic growth, achieving decent living standards for all, and lowering carbon emissions simultaneously.

What is the current situation and challenges with India in achieving net zero emission?

Reducing emissions

Target: The latest announced NDC by India aims to increase non-fossil-fuel-based capacity to 50% of overall installed capacity by 2030.

Challenge: The emissions depend on the energy generated not on the installed capacity. Thus, the target of 50% generation might have been better, although tough because of the challenges of land and infrastructure availability and grid stability.

Target: India also pledged at CoP-26 to cut the country’s emission intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) by 45% from its 2005 level. It is an increase of 40% over the earlier commitment.

Challenge: This would mean lowering emissions across all polluting sectors, especially energy (thermal power and transportation). It accounts for the highest share (about 60%) of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The emission from manufacturing sector is about 20% and the efficiency of our coal-based plants is way below global standards.

Renewable and Green Energy

Target: Adopting renewable (solar, hydro, and wind etc.) energies is also a challenging task.

Challenges: 1) domestic availability of raw materials, 2) cost competitiveness, 3) access to technology and scalability, 4) increasing geopolitical conflicts and supply chain disruptions, 5) availability of green hydrogen, indigenous raw material for batteries and technology.

Solutions: 1) Having resilient, homegrown manufacturing bases with scalability and cost-competitiveness. 2) Incentivize green manufacturing which would create jobs as well, 3) A sharper focus on new sectors such as solar modules, batteries and cell manufacturing.

Decarbonizing Industries

Target: Decarbonizing conventional smoke emitting industries will also be challenging. Crisil’s analysis shows that only five sectors (iron and steel, cement, refining, non-ferrous metals, and chemicals) account for about 70% of all industrial emissions.

They also emit a higher intensity of non-CO2 gases (such as SOx, NOx, mercury and methane) and, hence, are hard-to-abate sectors.

Solutions: Green hydrogen-based direct reduced iron (DRI) processes along with the use of renewable energy will eliminate production of blast furnace slag and fly ash.

Recently the cement producers have announced green capital expenditure to meet 100% of their power requirement through renewables.

Challenges: Hydrogen is green only if produced from solar, wind or biofuel sources of energy. Now, the problem is that India’s cumulative solar and wind capacity is about 114GW currently. It is too little to meet the goal of 5 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen generation by 2030, which was announced in the country’s Green Hydrogen Policy.

What can be further course of action?

The efforts are needed on indigenous green technology to cut cost, improve scalability and ensure faster adoption.

Financial support either from government or from private investment or negotiations with advanced economies for climate action funds is needed.

There is a crucial need for a holistic, national decarbonization vision that lays out practical goals and guides implementation especially by using our local technological skills.


Fixing the quality problem of Make in India

Source: The post is based on an article Fixing the quality problem of Make in India published in The Business Standard on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Industries and industrial policies

News: There are lots of programmes and incentives announced by the government of India to make India a global manufacturing hub. However, there are many challenges in achieving this goal.

Production-linked incentive schemes are an attempt to make Indian an attractive global manufacturing hub. However, the question arises, would these policies be more successful compared to the previous attempts.

Why is it important for India to become a global manufacturing hub?

First, the recent geo-political tension and supply chain disruption has made compulsory to reduce its dependence on China.

Second, it is not possible to find a solution to rising unemployment without focusing on the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing sectors play an important role in job creation.

What are the challenges, in front of India, in becoming a global manufacturing hub?

First, India has tried to reduce its dependence on China but the progress made by India is not upto the mark. It has not been able to attract big global strategic manufacturing investment.

Second, India’s dependence on China for inputs and manufactured goods has also increased.

Third, there are infrastructure issues, like, the cost and ease of doing business, high taxes as well as frequent policy changes.

Fourth, there are also regulatory failures in enforcing quality consciousness among manufacturers. Indian government and regulators have adopted lower manufacturing standards than developed countries. But they have not been able to enforce even those low standards.

For example, Indian automobile manufacturers export products with higher safety norms and at a cheaper price than the ones they sell in the domestic market.

Indian drug makers exporting medicines build and operate manufacturing facilities that pass the US Food and Drug Administration’s inspections, but the same medicines sold in the domestic market have far less regulatory scrutiny and made in factories with fewer quality controls.

The excuse often given for lower quality standards is that stricter norms could increase costs sharply, which is a baseless point.

It is often the taxes and infrastructure issues that add to the costs rather than higher quality standards.

Why don’t the government and manufacturers in the country focus on producing uniformly higher quality products?

Indian manufacturers did not have to worry about quality before the liberalization.

After the economic reforms of 1991, there was a large gap between what the Indian consumer expected and what consumers in developed markets demanded.

The Indian middle-class consumer often accepted products that their counterparts in developed countries rejected.

This was one of the reasons of adopting low quality standard by Indian manufacturers but the quality is critical in becoming a major manufacturing hub.

India needs to enforce stringent quality norms for goods produced within the country for both domestic and international consumers if it wants to become a manufacturing hub.


Dangerous divergence

Source: The post is based on an article “Dangerous divergence” published in The Business Standard on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Inequality in India

News: This article discusses the measures that can be taken to address the regional inequality in India.

Economists have been arguing for a long time that there will be a convergence “convergence”, in which similar economic units such as states will eventually converge in output and related indicators, removing inequality.

However, in recent times Indian states have provided little evidence of convergence.

There is a need to address the degree of regional inequality in India else this inequality will pose a major challenge to India’s unitary and federal structure.

Data suggests that the richer states, such as those in the south of India, are between 3 to 4 times as wealthy in terms of per capita income compared to populated states of north and east-central India.

Inflation also hits the citizens of poorer states more than it does those in richer states.

How can this inequality be reduced?

There can be fiscal transfers from the richer states to the poorer ones but there are political issues related to it.

There is a hope that dynamic leadership in the poorer states will bring a business-led change but the problem is that there are other states available to investors for investing.

Public spending might focus on building up human capital in the poorer regions rather than on consumption subsidies. But this too will not work unless the returns to human capital in these regions are clear and demonstrable.

Another solution is to enable and protect internal migration.

Internal migration acts as a safety valve and equalizes the returns to labor and human capital allocation across regions.


Gorbachev, macro-economics, and Gandhi

Source: The post is based on the article “Gorbachev, macro-economics, and Gandhi published in The Hindu on 6th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy – Growth and development.

Relevance: About the capitalist model and its alternative.

News: Recently, Mikhail Gorbachev passed away. He has been for his role in ending the ideological conflict between communism and capitalism.

About Mikhail Gorbachev’s political and economic decisions

Economic policy: Gorbachev favoured a slow transition to a “mixed economy” like the Indian model and had even approached Rajiv Gandhi for advice.

With his concepts of perestroika and glasnost, Gorbachev wanted to save common citizens from being oppressed by powerful people.

Political decisions: He also brought down the Iron Curtain and ended the Cold War between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev also helped to bring the world back from the nuclear precipice.

Read more: Why Rajiv Gandhi hailed Mikhail Gorbachev as ‘crusader of peace’
How did Russia evolve after Mikhail Gorbachev’s Presidency?

Boris Yeltsin: He took power after Gorbachev. During his regime, “big bang” capitalisation was imposed on Russia by U.S. economists. Instead of the Indian model, the “Washington economics” model prevailed.

Note: After 1991, India itself opened up its economy to the US model.

Vladimir Putin: Under him, Russia again moves towards authoritarianism.

Is the capitalist model the best?

No, overall life expectancy is a good measure of the well-being of a nation’s citizens. This is because, when all citizens are well-nourished when public health systems function well, and when violence in society is low, an average person lives longer.

International comparisons reveal that GDP per capita is an insufficient contributor to longevity. Many countries with substantially lower incomes outperform the U.S. in life expectancy.

For example, Cuba is one place above the U.S. in longevity tables even though its income per capita is just 14% of U.S. incomes.

What is the impact on Russia due to the capitalist model?

The big bang capitalist reforms of the Russian economy in 1991 and 1994, life expectancy fell from 64 to 57 years. Many Russian deaths were caused by suicides, alcohol poisoning, homicides, and heart attacks brought upon by despair with joblessness and hopelessness, created by wholesale privatisation of the economy and disruption of social safety nets.

What are the basis of the capitalist model, and what are the challenges?

It is founded on two fundamental ideas.

The ideology of “property rights” outdoing human rights

In this, whosoever owns more shares in a property must have a greater say. Thus, one dollar owned gives one vote in governance, and a million dollars, one million votes.

This is visible by the a) Creation of international tribunals which adjudicate disputes between foreign investors in countries and the governments (representing the interests of millions and billions of people) of those countries, b) Global trade rules, and national financial and trade regulations also favour the needs of financial investors, making it easier for them to enter and exit. But the governments stopping human migrants from searching for better opportunities across national borders.

On the other hand, the democratic principle of “human rights” requires that every human being, black or white, or whether billionaire or pauper, has an equal vote in governance.

Read more: Humanity matters, capitalism needs an upgrade
Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons”

It says that communities cannot manage shared resources; therefore, a common property must be privatised for its protection. When a public resource is privatised, those who already have wealth can buy it. Those with more wealth will win and become even wealthier. Thus, inequalities will increase.

What is an alternative to the capitalist model India should follow?

Follow Gandhi’s ethical economics: Concepts of free trade, financial freedom, and privatisation, promoted by macroeconomists, are not good solutions for India’s billion citizens struggling for resilience in their lives.

India’s economic governance must be guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s calculus, with principles of human rights and community management, to realise the promise of our commons, and provide “poorna swaraj” to all citizens.

Read more: It’s time for the world to reform capitalism from within

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Ladakh to have India’s first ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ to promote astronomy tourism

Source: The post is based on the article “Ladakh to have India’s first ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ to promote astronomy tourism” published in Indian Express on 6th September 2022

What is the News?

By the end of 2022, India will establish the country’s first Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle, Ladakh.

What is Dark Sky Reserve?

Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. 

Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core. 

How does a site become a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’?
Dark Sky Reserve
Source: Indian Express

Individuals or groups can nominate a site for certification to the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), a United States-based non-profit organization incorporated in 1988.

There are five designated categories namely International Dark Sky parks, communities, reserves, sanctuaries and Urban Night Sky Places.

The certification process is similar to that of a site being awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag or getting recognised as a Biosphere Reserve. 

Between 2001 and January 2022, there have been 195 sites recognised as International Dark Sky Places globally.

What are the criteria for becoming a dark sky reserve?

The IDSA considers a piece of land suitable for dark sky place only if 1) It is either publicly or privately owned, 2) It is accessible to the public partially or entirely during the year, 3) The land is legally protected for scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment purposes, 4) The core area of the land provides an exceptional dark sky resource relative to the communities and 5) Cities that surround it and the land offers prescribed night sky brightness either for a reserve, park or sanctuary.


Prime Minister announces a new initiative – PM SHRI Schools on the occasion of Teachers Day

Source: The post is based on the articlePrime Minister announces a new initiative – PM SHRI Schools on the occasion of Teachers Daypublished in PIB on 5th September 2022

What is the News?

On the occasion of National Teachers’ Day, the Prime Minister has announced a new initiative – PM SHRI Schools.

What are PM SHRI Schools?
PM SHRI Yojana
Source: AIR

Full Form: PM ScHools for Rising India(PM SHRI)

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Education

Type: Centrally Sponsored Scheme

Aim: To upgrade and develop more than 14500 Schools across the country by strengthening the selected existing schools from amongst schools managed by Central Government/ State/ UT Government/ local bodies.

Features: PM-SHRI schools will have a modern, transformational and holistic method of imparting education.

The focus of these schools will be on modern infrastructure including latest technology, smart classrooms, sports and more.

They will also be developed as “green schools” with water conservation, waste recycling, energy-efficient infrastructure and integration of an organic lifestyle in the curriculum.

Hence, these schools will showcase all components of the National Education Policy 2020 and act as exemplar schools and also offer mentorship to other schools in their vicinity.


Explained | The ban on conversion therapy for the LGBTQIA+ community

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The ban on conversion therapy for the LGBTQIA+ community” published in The Hindu on 6th September 2022

What is the News?

The National Medical Commission(NMC), the apex regulatory body of medical professionals in India has written to all State Medical Councils banning conversion therapy and calling it a “professional misconduct”.

What is Conversion Therapy?

Click Here to read

What did the Madras High Court ruled on Conversion Therapy?

Madras High Court has given a landmark verdict on conversion therapy. It has issued several guidelines which include:

Firstly, it has prohibited any attempt to medically “cure” or change the sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or of any other orientation) people. 

Secondly, it urged the authorities to take action against professionals involving themselves in any form or method of conversion therapy which could include the withdrawal of licence to practice medicine.

Thirdly, it has directed the police, for example, to close complaints of missing person cases without subjecting them to harassment if it found on investigation that the parties were consenting adults belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Fourthly, it has asked the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to draw up a list of NGOs and other groups which could handle the issues faced by the community.

Fifthly, it has directed the National Medical Commission to issue necessary official notification by enlisting ‘Conversion Therapy’ as a professional misconduct.

Lastly, it said that it is important to hold sensitisation programmes for an all-out effort to understand the community and its needs.

How can schools, colleges and medical professionals help in this?

Schools: Schools and colleges must bring changes in curricula for a better understanding of the community. Gender-neutral restrooms should be compulsory in educational institutes and other places.

Parents: Parents too need to be sensitized because the first point of misunderstanding and abuse often begins at home, with teenagers being forced to opt for “conversion” therapies. 

Medical Professionals: Adults opting for sex reassignment surgeries need to get proper guidance like therapy pre and post-operation.


Explained | Seat belts, head restraints and safety regulations

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained | Seat belts, head restraints and safety regulationspublished in The Hindu on 6th September 2022

What is the News?

The death of Cyrus P. Mistry, former Chairman of Tata Sons in a car crash has turned the focus on compulsory use of seat belts in cars, including by passengers in the rear seat.

What are the functions of a seat belt?

The seat belt came into existence in 1959 after Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin invented the V-type three-point seat belt at the behest of Volvo. 

The seat belt performs many functions, notably slowing the occupant at the same rate as the vehicle, distributing the physical force in a crash across the stronger parts of the body such as the pelvis and chest, and preventing collisions with objects within the vehicle and sudden ejection.

What is the importance of wearing a rear seat belt?

As per the World Health Organisation, the use of rear seat belts can prevent lower the risk of death in the rear seat by up to 25%. 

Not only this, it can also prevent excess injury or death for the front seat passenger as the rear seat passengers won’t topple on the front seat passengers. 

What does the law say about wearing a rear seat belt?

Rule 138(3) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 makes it mandatory for the rear passengers too to wear seatbelts. 

Further, non-wearing of seat-belts by the driver or passengers has been made punishable with a fine of one thousand rupees according to Section 194B(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (as amended by the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019).

Draft Rules on Seat Belts: In February 2022, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification providing for three-point seat belts to be provided in all vehicles coming under the M1 category (motor vehicle used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats) vehicles manufactured from October 1. 

– Also, it stipulated relevant Indian Standards to be followed by the manufacturers for both seat belts and reminder systems alerting occupants to wear them.


28th edition of Status Report on India’s External Debt 2021-22 released

Source: The post is based on the article 28th edition of Status Report on India’s External Debt 2021-22 releasedpublished in PIB on 5st September 2022

What is the News?

External Debt Management Unit(EDMU) in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance has released the 28th edition of the Status Report on India’s External Debt 2021-22.

What are the key highlights from the report?

India’s external debt rose by 8.2% to stand at $620.7 billion on March 31, 2022 compared to $573.7 billion on March 31, 2021.

– Out of total external debt, 53.2% of external debt was denominated in US dollars. Indian rupee-denominated external debt was estimated at 31.2% and was the second largest.

– The long-term debt estimated at $499.1 billion formed the largest chunk (80.4%) of the total external debt amount while the short-term debt, at $121.7 billion accounted for 19.6%.

– Commercial borrowings, NRIs deposits, short-term trade credit and multilateral loans accounted for around 90% of the total external debt.

External debt as a ratio to GDP fell marginally to 19.9% as of March 2022 compared to 21.2% of the year-ago period. 

Foreign currency reserves as a ratio to external debt stood slightly lower at 97.8% as of March 2022, compared to 100.6% of the year-ago period.

Sovereign External Debt: As of March 2022, sovereign external debt(SED) increased by 17.1% over the level a year ago reflecting the additional allocation of SDRs by the IMF during 2021-22.

FPIs: Foreign Portfolio Investors(FPIs) holding Government Securities(G-Sec) slid to the US $19.5 billion from US$ 20.4 billion a year ago.  

Non-sovereign external debt estimated at US$ 490.0 billion as of March 2022 posted a growth of 6.1% over last year.CBs, NRI deposits and short-term trade credit accounted for about 95% of non-sovereign debt.

Debt Service Ratio: The debt service ratio fell to 5.2% during 2021-22 from 8.2% during 2020-21 due to buoyancy in current receipts and a decline in debt service payments.

Is India’s external debt position at risk?

India’s external debt continues to be sustainable and prudently managed. From a cross-country perspective, India’s external debt is modest, occupying the 23rd position globally. 

In terms of various debt vulnerability indicators, India’s sustainability was better than the Low-and-Middle Income Countries (LMICs) as a group and vis-à-vis many of them individually.


Blue Energy Motors unveils India’s first LNG-fuelled green truck near Pune

Source: The post is based on the article “Blue Energy Motors unveils India’s first LNG-fuelled green truck near Pune” published in PIB on 5th September 2022

What is the News?

Blue Energy Motors has launched India’s first Liquified Natural Gas(LNG) fuelled green truck manufacturing facility at Chakan in Pune.

How do Liquified Natural Gas(LNG) trucks work?
LNG
Source: Energy.gov.in

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles work much like gasoline-powered vehicles with a spark-ignited internal combustion engine.

The natural gas is supercooled and cryogenically stored in liquid form, usually in a tank on the side of the truck. 

Because it is a liquid, the energy density of LNG is greater than CNG, so more fuel can be stored on board the vehicle. 

What is Liquified Natural Gas(LNG)?

Click Here to read

What are the benefits and issues with LNG?

Click Here to read


What is kurki, and why is it a big issue in Punjab?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is kurki, and why is it a big issue in Punjab?published in Indian Express on 5th September 2022

What is the News?

A farmer in Punjab died by suicide. He had been sitting on a dharna outside the District Collector’s office against kurki orders for his land based on a court case filed against him by the local moneylender for defaulting on loan payment. 

What is Kurki?

Kurki means attachment of a farmer’s land, already pledged to the money lending institution or individual, in case of loan default. 

Apart from banks, private moneylenders, and commission agents also get these decrees against farmers from time to time.

How is the Kurki order executed?

Kurki orders are executed under Section 60 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. The land which is pledged by the farmer to the bank or moneylender gets registered in their name. In some cases, the land is auctioned as well.

The process begins after the money lender moves court to get kurki orders in case the farmer is unable to pay back his loan. 

Hence, in kurki, the attachment of the farmer’s land, as well as his tractor, can be done as per Section 60.

Is the Kurki system banned in Punjab?

A plea filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2018 sought a complete ban on kurki.

However, the Punjab government in its affidavit stated that there was no need to ban kurki as relief was being given to farmers in terms of loan waiver, compensation etc.

Moreover, it stated that Section 60 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 – under which kurki takes place — was over 110 years old and needed a complete revision

What is the ground reality of the Kurki system in Punjab?

Farmers point out that they are made to give post-dated cheques for loans, which are then used to get arrest orders issued in cheque bounce cases. 

They have also accused money lenders of using pronotes signed by them to get kurki orders. “Pro-notes” (promissory notes) are written documents taken from farmers, and signed by them at the time of giving the loan.


Lumpi-ProVacInd Vaccine: How ICAR’s new vaccine against Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing India’s cattle, will work

Source: The post is based on the article “How ICAR’s new vaccine against Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing India’s cattle, will work” published in Indian Express on 4th September 2022

What is the News?

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is aiming to commercially launch the “Lumpi-ProVacInd” Vaccine.

What is Lumpi-ProVacInd Vaccine?

It is an indigenously-developed vaccine against the Lumpy Skin Disease(LSD) virus.

Developed by: ICAR’s National Research Centre on Equines(NRCE) at Hisar, Haryana and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Izatnagar, UP

Type: It is a live attenuated vaccine, similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella.

Efficacy: This vaccine provides 100% protection against LSD in cattle.

How was the vaccine developed? 

Researchers collected skin nodule samples from LSD-infected cows. The virus was then isolated.

The next step was to propagate the isolated virus in African green monkey kidney (Vero) cells used in cultures. The culturing was done over 50 generations (“passages”). As the virus mutated after repeated passages, its virulence or disease-causing ability weakened

The attenuated live virus was identified as a vaccine candidate after the 50th passage and tested in the laboratory on mice and rabbits.


BPaL: Trial confirms a new therapy regime can work for drug-resistant TB

Source: The post is based on the article “Trial confirms a new therapy regime can work for drug-resistant TB” published in Indian Express on 2nd September 2022

What is the News?

A short treatment regimen of six months called BPaL has shown favourable outcomes in highly drug-resistant tuberculosis patients.

What is BPaL?

Developed by: TB Alliance, a not-for-profit organization 

Purpose: BPaL is a 6-month, all-oral, three-drug regimen that is used to treat people with highly drug-resistant forms of TB. 

Composition: BPaL is a combination of three newer antibiotics, namely bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid. 

Note: Drug-resistant TB develops when the long, complex, decades-old TB drug regimen is improperly administered or when people contract TB from others who have drug-resistant disease.

What is the significance of BPaL?

Firstly, BPaL will drastically cut short the treatment duration by half (and more) and reduce the amount of medication an MDR-TB patient must take during treatment. Hence, from a treatment duration of 18 to 24 months, the BPaL is likely to bring down treatment time to around six months.

Secondly, the older all-oral drug regimen included nearly 14 different anti-TB drugs for a patient to take every day. With BPaL, it is likely to take just three daily tablets. Hence, a shorter regimen which is all oral and requires lesser doses per day makes it easier for a patient to adhere to and complete treatment.


Keep up pressure: India-US teaming up on Pacific Islands will trouble China. That’s welcome

Source: The post is based on the article “Keep up pressure: India-US teaming up on Pacific Islands will trouble China. That’s welcome” published in The Times of India on 30th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 2: India and its neighbourhood- relations. Relevance: About India-China relations. News: The troop disengagement process in eastern Ladakh remains incomplete and China continues to… Continue reading Keep up pressure: India-US teaming up on Pacific Islands will trouble China. That’s welcome

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Saving the world – DART can reduce risks from meteors

Source: The post is based on the article “Saving the world – DART can reduce risks from meteors” published in the Business Standard on 30th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3: Awareness in the fields of Space. Relevance: About DART Mission. News: NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft has collided with the asteroid Dimorphous. What is the DART… Continue reading Saving the world – DART can reduce risks from meteors

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The right corporate culture would end moonlighting

Source: The post is based on the article “The right corporate culture would end moonlighting” published in the Livemint on 30th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3: Indian economy and employment. Relevance: About Moonlighting. News: Wipro has sacked 300 employees it found guilty of working for its competitors. This triggered the ‘moonlighting’ debate. What is moonlighting? Read here: What is moonlighting… Continue reading The right corporate culture would end moonlighting

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A costly decision – Extension of PMGKAY should have been avoided

Source: The post is based on the article “A costly decision – Extension of PMGKAY should have been avoided” published in the Business Standard on 30th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3: Indian economy. Relevance: About extending PMGKAY. News: Recently, the government has extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase VII) for a further period of 3… Continue reading A costly decision – Extension of PMGKAY should have been avoided

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UNESCO launches list documenting 50 iconic Indian heritage textiles

Source: The post is based on the article “UNESCO launches list documenting 50 iconic Indian heritage textiles” published in The Hindu on 30th September 2022. What is the News? UNESCO has released a list of 50 exclusive and iconic heritage textile crafts of India under the title “Handmade for the 21st Century: Safeguarding Traditional Indian… Continue reading UNESCO launches list documenting 50 iconic Indian heritage textiles

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How climate change is threatening Himalayan hydropower projects

Source: The post is based on the article “How climate change is threatening Himalayan hydropower projects” published in TOI on 30th September 2022. What is the News? According to a study, more than 650 hydropower projects planned or under construction in the Himalayan region are at risk from hazards related to melting glaciers. About the… Continue reading How climate change is threatening Himalayan hydropower projects

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What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple

Source: The post is based on the article “What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple” published in Indian Express on 30th September 2022. What is the News? The Prime Minister will be inaugurating the Mahakaleshwar Corridor, constructed in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain. What is the Mahakal corridor? Mahakal Maharaj Mandir Parisar Vistar… Continue reading What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple

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Major floods on Mars? China’s rover finds evidence

Source: The post is based on the article “Major floods on Mars? China’s rover finds evidence” published in Down To Earth on 28th September 2022 What is the News? China’s Zhurong rover that landed on Mars in 2021 has found evidence of major floods that took place billions of years ago. What is Zhurong Rover?… Continue reading Major floods on Mars? China’s rover finds evidence

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SC moves the needle on marital rape debate: for MTP purposes, it is rape

Source: The post is based on the article “SC moves the needle on marital rape debate: for MTP purposes, it is rape” published in Indian Express on 30th September 2022. What is the News? The Supreme Court has recently given its verdict on the termination of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy(MTP) Act. It… Continue reading SC moves the needle on marital rape debate: for MTP purposes, it is rape

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Supreme Court’s abortion ruling

Source: This post is based on the following articles: a. “Supreme Court’s abortion ruling” published in Indian Express on 30th September 2022. b. “Doctors need not report identity of minors seeking abortion, says Supreme Court” published in The Hindu on 30th September 2022. c. ​​”Supreme Court axes 51-year-old curb, single women get equal abortion rights”… Continue reading Supreme Court’s abortion ruling

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