Need to bridge the gender technology gap

Synopsis: Access to technology is so crucial to ensure public health and safety. In recent years, health care has largely moved online, and it has resulted in the gender gap in accessing it. Gender gap in access to technology According to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) estimates, Around 390 million women in low- and… Continue reading Need to bridge the gender technology gap

Impact of Fed’s Policy changes on the Indian Economy

Synopsis: The decision of U.S federal reserve to increase interest rates by 2023 will have a significant impact on India. It may depreciate the Indian rupee and increase the inflation levels in the country thereby demanding robust reforms.   Why is a change in Fed rates a concern for all?  Any interest rate change in the U.S… Continue reading Impact of Fed’s Policy changes on the Indian Economy

Ownership rights to unauthorised colonies located on Yamuna Flood Plain 

Synopsis: The new master plan of Delhi 2041 would provide ownership rights to residents of at least 71 unauthorized colonies located along the Yamuna flood plain.  Background:  The new master plan for Delhi (MPD) 2041 is put in the public domain for suggestions and amendments.  Under this, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed to delineate Zone O, which encompasses… Continue reading Ownership rights to unauthorised colonies located on Yamuna Flood Plain 

Edge computing will be key to automating cars and factories.

Synopsis: Edge computing will be the key to automation of factories and cars.   What is Edge Computing?  Edge Computing is a distributed information technology (IT) architecture in which client data is stored and processed as near to the originating source as possible.  In simple terms, Edge computing is a computing that is done at or near the source of the… Continue reading Edge computing will be key to automating cars and factories.

Explained: How judges recuse from cases, and why

Synopsis: Recently, two Supreme Court (SC) judges have recused themselves from hearing cases relating to West Bengal.  What is the recusal of judges?  Recusal is the removal of oneself as a judge or policymaker in a particular matter.  Why does a judge recuse?   The judges usually recuse themselves when there is a Conflict of Interest:  Conflict of Interest: It can occur… Continue reading Explained: How judges recuse from cases, and why

Centre, states came together to roll out public friendly reforms, says PM

What is the News?  The Prime Minister write up on four reforms brought, as a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package in May 2020 have improved the ease of living for the public, particularly the poor, the vulnerable and the middle class.  Background:  In May 2020, the Centre had announced to increase borrowing limits of states from 3% to 5% of their… Continue reading Centre, states came together to roll out public friendly reforms, says PM

What the law says on compensation for Covid deaths

What is the News?  The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on a petition by two advocates seeking compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of those who have died of Covid-19 or related complications.  Provisions for Compensation for Death:  The Centre has declared Covid-19 as a notified disaster under the Disaster Management Act.  Section 12(iii) of… Continue reading What the law says on compensation for Covid deaths

We need a state agency to spur breakthrough research

Context: Quick development of COVID vaccines was possible due to mRNA technology and this critical technology could only be developed due to funding given by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). We need such agencies all around the world.  Rapid development of vaccines  Within 48 hours of the genetic sequence of the covid virus being… Continue reading We need a state agency to spur breakthrough research

The farmers’ protest began a year ago. How has it lasted this long?

Topic: Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints  Context: The farmer protest movement against three Acts passed by the Parliament has sustained itself for more than six months. Article discusses the plausible reasons behind it.  Why has the farmer protest movement lasted this long?  Support from the hegemonic agrarian class of Punjab: This… Continue reading The farmers’ protest began a year ago. How has it lasted this long?

Save jobs or protect savers? A new monetary policy dilemma

Context: Should RBI increase the interest rate or continue with its accommodative stance? A new model has also been suggested – HANK (Heterogenous Agents New Keynesian).  Introduction  While the world is still debating whether modern monetary theory (MMT), which encourages governments to spend without having any meaningful fiscal constraints, should be the norm, something new… Continue reading Save jobs or protect savers? A new monetary policy dilemma

Exports – India’s window of opportunity

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources  Tags  Context: Possibility of a sharp recovery for Indian economy can only be realized through a strong focus on exports.  Export-led growth of global economies  Since World War II, we have seen many countries grow on the back of rising investments and exports.   Japan, South… Continue reading Exports – India’s window of opportunity

Green Tariff Policy

Synopsis- The green tariff policy will enable DISCOMs to supply clean electricity to consumer.  Introduction-   India is working on a green tariff policy and soon launches guidelines enabling power distribution companies to supply only clean electricity to customers at a green tariff.  Green tariff policy-   The Green Tariff Policy will assist DISCOMs in providing electricity generated… Continue reading Green Tariff Policy

Need to rethink discriminatory policy

Synopsis: Recent Assam government proposed to bar people with more than two children from welfare schemes.  Similar norms related to contesting local body elections are present in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha and Haryana.  How is the policy flawed and discriminatory?  Firstly, measures such as the two-child policy discriminate against the poor and the… Continue reading Need to rethink discriminatory policy

Why does China consistently beat India on soft power?

Synopsis: China’s has advantage over India in terms of hard power (economic power + military power) as well as soft power  What is soft power?  Soft power, a tool of foreign policy, is a mix of cultural, policy and political influences based on power of attraction. It is the ability to persuade others in a peaceful… Continue reading Why does China consistently beat India on soft power?

Infodemic due to Top down Misinformation

Synopsis: Domestic political actors are major source of false or misleading information about the coronavirus which is concerning many Indians.  What is infodemic, disinformation, misinformation and fake news?  Misinformation : It refers to information that is false or inaccurate, and is often spread widely with others, regardless of an intent to deceive.  Infodemic: It is an immense wave of information that includes false and misleading… Continue reading Infodemic due to Top down Misinformation

Countering a political act that has a legal garb

Synopsis: Sedition cases should be charged only when any act either spoken or written creates incitement into violence or social disturbance.  Background  Recently, Aisha Sultana, a filmmaker from Lakshadweep, booked for the alleged offences of sedition and statements prejudicial to national integrity.  She was alleged to have used the word ‘bioweapon’ in a television discussion while criticising the Lakshadweep Administrator’s… Continue reading Countering a political act that has a legal garb

Rare pygmy hogs released in Assam’s Manas National Park

Synopsis: Around Eight captive-bred pygmy hogs were released in the Manas National Park of Assam.   About Pygmy Hog:  Pygmy Hog is the smallest member of the pig family. It is native to alluvial grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas at elevations of up to 300 m.  Habitat: The only known population of Pygmy Hog lives in Assam, India, and possibly southern Bhutan.  Features: The pygmy hog is one… Continue reading Rare pygmy hogs released in Assam’s Manas National Park

Four theatre commands likely to be raised by year-end

Synopsis: The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has chaired a meeting with the Vice Chiefs of the three Services and representatives of Government to iron out differences on the integrated theatre commands creation.  What is a theatre command?  A theatre command is a military structure wherein all the assets of the army, air force and navy in a… Continue reading Four theatre commands likely to be raised by year-end

World’s first GM rubber sapling planted in Assam

What is the News?  Rubber Board has planted the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber at its Sarutari research farm in Guwahati, Assam.  About GM Rubber Crop:  GM Rubber Crop has been developed at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) in Kerala.  How was GM Rubber developed?  GM rubber was developed by inserting the MnSOD (manganese containing superoxide dismutase) gene which was taken from… Continue reading World’s first GM rubber sapling planted in Assam

Why is China targeting cryptocurrencies?

Synopsis: Bitcoin has fallen below $30,000 for the first time in more than five months. This is because of China’s crackdown against cryptocurrencies which are not sanctioned by China.  What has China done?  China has asked banks and online payment firms not to offer any crypto-related services, such as account openings, registration, trading, clearing, settlement and insurance reiterating the… Continue reading Why is China targeting cryptocurrencies?

Google hit with European Union antitrust probe on ad-tech dominance

Synopsis: Google faces a European Union enquiry into its advertising technology.  Introduction   What is Anti-Trust Policy?  EU developed its Antitrust policy based on Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).  Article 101 prohibits anti-competitive agreements between two or more independent market operators.  Article 102 prohibits abusive behaviour by companies holding a dominant position on any given… Continue reading Google hit with European Union antitrust probe on ad-tech dominance

What can we do to avoid the third wave of Covid?

Synopsis: India needs to urgently adopt a targeted vaccination strategy, prioritizing high risk groups and potential super spreaders.  Introduction   Targeted vaccination strategy is critical to avoid a possible third wave of Covid-19 infections. Due to limited resources, optimal utilisation of the scarce resource must be a key strategy.  What are the policy gaps in the current vaccination strategy?   The current policy of vaccination benefits digitally aware citizens and creates… Continue reading What can we do to avoid the third wave of Covid?

The role of multilateral lenders in minimizing climate change

Synopsis: Asia should take bold measures and launch green projects in the energy sector to make a difference.  Introduction   We must fight climate change, meet the emission-reduction goals under the Paris Agreement, all while promoting economic growth and putting the region’s development on a green path.  Why is the efforts of  Asia important in the climate change battle?  Asia accounts… Continue reading The role of multilateral lenders in minimizing climate change

Covid leaves Indian adults poorer by 6.1% in 2020: Credit Suisse

What is the News?  Credit Suisse has released a report titled Global Wealth Report 2021.  Key Takeaways from the Global Wealth Report 2021:  Report on Global Wealth:  The aggregate global wealth has risen by $28.7 trillion to reach $418.3 trillion at the end of 2020 despite the pandemic.  In terms of current US dollars, total wealth… Continue reading Covid leaves Indian adults poorer by 6.1% in 2020: Credit Suisse

Digital Agristack for Farmers

Synopsis:  The agricultural ministry is working towards creating a Digital Agristack for farmers. It will collect granular data to provide growers with a range of customized services like input quantity, output choice, potential market etc.  About Agristack:  The project will collect granular data to provide growers with a range of customized services. Like, what to plant, where to… Continue reading Digital Agristack for Farmers

Covid-19 vaccines: EU ignores India, S Africa’s patent waiver plea at WTO

Synopsis: The European Union has presented a declaration to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that overlooks the goals of India and South Africa’s combined request for an intellectual property (IP) waiver on Covid-19 pharmaceuticals and vaccines.  Introduction   Despite the fact that the waiver idea has the support of over 100 countries, the EU has been opposing… Continue reading Covid-19 vaccines: EU ignores India, S Africa’s patent waiver plea at WTO

Bt Cotton adoption in Punjab has resulted in net economic, environmental benefits: Study

Context: Bt cotton’s positive and negative impacts, a recent study titled ‘Long-term impact of Bt cotton: An empirical evidence from North India’ has said its adoption in Punjab in the past over a decade has resulted in net economic and environmental benefits.  Bt Cotton in India  Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton has been commercially grown in India for the past 19 years. The Genetic… Continue reading Bt Cotton adoption in Punjab has resulted in net economic, environmental benefits: Study

Corpses did not add to Ganga pollution: Centre

Do corpses increase pollution level in Ganga?  Context: The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) informed that the Floating bodies are not the reason for pollution in Ganga.  About the study:  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has received a complaint from a citizen. He alleged that the disposal of bodies in and around the river would not only pollute the river… Continue reading Corpses did not add to Ganga pollution: Centre

Social media is a distraction, undeserving of so much sound and fury

Context: Recently, government withdrew Twitter’s safe harbour status, and In the Parliament standing committee on IT, Members of parliament reportedly “grilled” Twitter officials. Author argues that too much attention is being given to Twitter.   Why government shouldn’t focus too much on Twitter?  Source of fake and unverified info: Twitter is a chaotic echo chamber, which is not a source of verified information.  Twitter and social… Continue reading Social media is a distraction, undeserving of so much sound and fury

What is Hallmarking

Synopsis:  What are the impacts of new RBI rules that mandates to sell only hallmarked gold jewelry and artefacts.   What is hallmarking?   Hall marking is a certification of purity. it is given by hallmarking centers (AHCs) accredited by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).  It assures that the quality of Gold is of same quality as promised by the jeweler.   Hall marking… Continue reading What is Hallmarking

Covid 2.0 has sparked a complex interplay of consumption trends

Context:  How the businesses should adjust themselves to the changing reality posed by Covid19.  Changing Consumer Behaviour  Covid 2.0 has highlighted three important trends with respect to Consumer behavior and market strategies.  Rising duality in consumption trends.  On one hand, consumers are moving away from the brand consciousness and are increasingly preferring for indigenous brands with organic ingredients.  … Continue reading Covid 2.0 has sparked a complex interplay of consumption trends

Preferential Treatment

Context: PNB Housing has filed an appeal before the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) against a letter issued to it by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).  SEBI had asked PNB Housing to keep its resolution (for the preferential issue of equity shares and warrants to the Carlyle Group and others) on hold until valuation of the shares is carried out by… Continue reading Preferential Treatment

Surveys on learning losses by month end, panel told

Context: Recently the House panel on education discusses COVID-19 impact on education and syllabus reforms.  About the discussions:   Surveys:  A survey of Classes 8-12 in centrally run schools last August showed that 80-90% of students were dependent on mobiles rather than laptops for digital schooling. Around 30% of students were affected by electricity supply disruptions.   States… Continue reading Surveys on learning losses by month end, panel told

For govt job, J&K now wants CID nod, details of kin’s ‘political activity’

Context: The recent amendment by the Union Territory administration in the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Verification of Character and Antecedents) Instructions, 1997 make stricter norms for government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.  Changes in the new amendment:  No person can get a government job in Jammu and Kashmir without a satisfactory CID report on their antecedents.   The Appointing authorities… Continue reading For govt job, J&K now wants CID nod, details of kin’s ‘political activity’

Explained: What govt proposes to change in film certification

What is draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021?  Context:   Last week, the Centre released the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 to the general public for comments until July 2. The new draft proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952 with provisions that will give the Centre “revisionary powers”. The new draft will also enable it to “re-examine” films already cleared by the… Continue reading Explained: What govt proposes to change in film certification

Measles vaccine effective against COVID

News: Measles-containing vaccines (MCVs) might offer children some protection against Covid-19 infection, shows early evidence from a study by researchers from BJ Medical College in Pune.  The study analyzed 548 participants (aged 1 to 17) who were split into two groups – those who have tested positive for Covid (via RT-PCR) and those who haven’t.  Findings of the study … Continue reading Measles vaccine effective against COVID

China’s realpolitik lesson to India

Context:  The well-known historian Avtar Singh Bhasin’s latest book “Nehru, Tibet and China” answers a simple question: As both India and China emerged in their current avatars at the end of the 1940s, what went wrong in relations between them and why.  About the India-China war in 1962:   Like other analysts, he also apportions a large share of the blame… Continue reading China’s realpolitik lesson to India

There’s no easy victory in the country’s crypto cold war

India’s Pessimistic attitude towards Crypto currencies  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is pessimistic about the use of Cryptocurrencies in India. Consistently, the RBI had highlighted the disadvantages of using cryptocurrencies.  Further, in 2019, a high-level intermediate committee constituted by RBI recommended a blanket ban on private cryptocurrencies in India.   The pessimistic attitude towards digital… Continue reading There’s no easy victory in the country’s crypto cold war

The issue of MSME financing gap

Synopsis: Micro, small and medium (MSME) enterprises act as the backbone of wealthy economies. However, pandemic has worsened the issue of delayed payments for their goods and services. It is causing MSME financing gap.  What are the issues facing MSMEs?  Micro, small and medium (MSME) enterprises are the backbone of a healthily balanced economy.  They supply components, intermediate goods and services… Continue reading The issue of MSME financing gap

PMC Bank gets some cooperative support, but revival to take time

What are the regulatory conditions for Urban-Cooperative Banks in India?  Context:  The Centrum-Bharat Pe combined and takeover a bankrupt urban cooperative bank. The RBI has also granted an “in-principle” approval to Centrum Financial Services and BharatPe to set up a small finance bank (SFB). This marks the first instance of NBFCs, high-net worth individuals and fintech being allowed entry in the urban-cooperative bank (UCB) space.   Regulatory conditions for urban-cooperative bank (UCB):  The RBI in 2019 brought… Continue reading PMC Bank gets some cooperative support, but revival to take time

Towards a more federal structure

Why India needs better tax sharing mechanism between Center and States?  Context:  The current policy of tax sharing between center and states will increase the regional differences.   Current policy of Tax sharing mechanism in India:  In India, direct taxes go entirely to the Central government. State governments get funds from the Central government according to the Finance Commission’s recommendations. Though this is… Continue reading Towards a more federal structure

GST: A turning point?

How to improve Tax to GDP ratio with GST?  Context:  For the last 25 years, our tax-to-GDP ratio has been stuck at between 16 and 17 per cent. This is severely constraining our fiscal capacity to devote more resources to our underinvested sectors such as education and health.   How to improve tax to GDP ratio with GST?  The goods and services… Continue reading GST: A turning point?

China’s Huawei seeks access to Trusted Source Portal

News: Chinese telecom gear giant Huawei Technologies has sought permission for access to the government’s ‘Trusted Telecom Portal’ so that it can share details about the telecom products which telecom service providers have agreed to buy from it.  What is the ‘Trusted Telecom Portal (TTP)’?  Government recently launched a ‘trusted telecom’ portal as a part of the national security directive on the telecommunications… Continue reading China’s Huawei seeks access to Trusted Source Portal

World Investment Report 2021 released

Context: UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its World Investment report 2021  Key findings: –  Specific to India  FDI in 2020  India was 5th biggest recipient: India’s FDI rose 27% to $64 billion in a year when global investment flows shrank 35% to $1 trillion. This peculiar phenomenon happened due to the following reason:  Mergers and acquisitions (M&A), especially in the technology… Continue reading World Investment Report 2021 released

Lakshadweep could face major coastal erosion due to rising sea levels: study

Context: Environmental impact of climate change on sea-level rise in Lakshadweep Islands.  News: A group of scientists carried out a study to gauge the impact of climate change on sea-level rise in Lakshadweep islands.   What are the findings of the study?  Some key findings:  Sea levels around Lakshadweep are estimated to rise between 0.4 mm and 0.9 mm annually, causing coastal erosion in… Continue reading Lakshadweep could face major coastal erosion due to rising sea levels: study

Share info with Govt, ban on ‘specific’ flash sales: Move to tighten e-commerce norms

Context: Tightening of norms for e-commerce companies   News: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is planning major changes to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020. A range of amendments has been proposed. Comments sought from relevant stakeholders by July 6.  Background  In December 2018, the Industry Department had published changes to its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for e-commerce. These changes were introduced to… Continue reading Share info with Govt, ban on ‘specific’ flash sales: Move to tighten e-commerce norms

CDS to chair meet on theatre commands

Context: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat is scheduled to chair a meeting with the Vice-Chiefs of the three services, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, and the representatives from the Ministries of Defence, Home and Finance. This meeting is part of a broad plan to create four integrated tri-service (theatre) commands.  What is a theatre command?  A theatre command is a military structure wherein all the assets… Continue reading CDS to chair meet on theatre commands

China Surpasses India in Vaccine Delivery

Synopsis: China has surpassed India in vaccine delivery to other countries. India had an opportunity to make diplomatic gains, however, it lost that to fulfil its domestic needs.  Introduction  China has surpassed India in delivering more covid-19 shots worldwide. It is despite the fact that India is the world’s top vaccine producer.  As per UNICEF, China has donated a… Continue reading China Surpasses India in Vaccine Delivery

Counting the dead

Context: Undercounting of COVID-related deaths in India  What is the issue?  Due to gaps in the civil registration data, the actual death toll due to COVID is still a mystery. There’s no way to know it because the aggregated all-India civil registration data is only available until 2018.  What is the impact of lack of data? Or… Continue reading Counting the dead

Justice delivery system is headed towards a disaster. Judges must take responsibility. Here’s what they must do

How to address the pendency of cases in Judiciary?  Context: Currently, the number of pending cases in our courts is 446 lakhs and by 2022 it will cross 500 lakhs. The justice delivery system is hurtling towards a disaster.   What possible solutions can avert the pendency?  Filling sanctioned judicial positions: A detailed analysis shows that between 2006 and 2017, the average… Continue reading Justice delivery system is headed towards a disaster. Judges must take responsibility. Here’s what they must do