9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 28th, 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

Preventing harm: On judicial intervention against hate speech

Source: This post is based on the article “Preventing harm: On judicial intervention against hate speech” published in The Hindu on 28th Apr 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Social Issues

Relevance: Judicial intervention on hate speech

Context: After the Supreme Court called for “corrective measures” against the peddling of communal hate from supposedly religious platforms, the authorities in Uttarakhand have prevented the holding of a ‘dharam sansad’ in Roorkee by imposing prohibitory orders against such gatherings.

Recently, many such cases have come to the forefront wherein inflammatory speeches against particular communities have been made from supposedly religious platforms.

To prevent any damage to the social fabric of our country, judicial intervention is, thus, supremely important.

Why a strict action on such incidents is required?

Provocateurs making hate speeches are trying to inculcate a collective sense of fear among the majority that their interests are not being protected by an allegedly minority-friendly Constitution.

The possible damage to the social fabric is incalculable, as the language of hatred may seep into the public consciousness as an acceptable thought process.

The result may be an atmosphere in which communal harmony and public tranquillity will be at perennial risk.

Way forward

Modern democracies make a clear distinction between freedom of expression and speech that tends to incite hatred against a public group or section of society.

Keeping this in mind, the Supreme Court in cases relating to lynching and ‘khap panchayats’, has laid down guidelines on preventive, remedial and punitive measures. While these are to be followed without exceptions, there is also a need for considering new criminal and penal provisions to combat hate speech.

Instances of controversial religious figures making unacceptable comments at different places and occasions have emerged as a disturbing pattern, one that the Court may have to arrest by stern action.

Scrap sedition: There’s no point trying to mend this broken law. It’s an anti-constitutional provision that must go

Source: This post is based on the article “Scrap sedition: There’s no point trying to mend this broken law. It’s an anti-constitutional provision that must go” published in The Times of India on 25th Apr 22.

Syllabus: GS2 – Govt policies and interventions, Constitution, Fundamental Rights

Relevance: Regarding sedition law

News: The Supreme Court has resumed its hearing of petitions seeking the scrapping of the sedition provision in IPC. This comes at a time when this colonial era law is becoming a major threat to political and personal freedoms.

Why sedition law must be scrapped?

Section 124A IPC punishes words or actions that attempt to incite hatred, contempt and disaffection towards governments with three years to life imprisonment.

“Hatred”, “contempt” and “disaffection” are such broad phrases that even legitimate criticism or dissent can earn a sedition charge. Not surprisingly, hundreds of dissenters over the years have paid a heavy price after being falsely accused of “deshdroh”.

Political rivals are being targeted by the governments by prosecuting their thoughts and words. This same tactic was used by British imperialists to silence freedom fighters, like Tilak and Gandhi.

The 1962 Kedar Nath Singh judgment has failed to achieve its objective of narrowing down sedition to offences betraying an “intention” and “tendency” to cause public disorder or endanger state security. Repeated emphasis by the SC and high courts that criticism of governments isn’t sedition has gone unheard, too.

Sedition cognisable and non-bailable. Further, it doesn’t require an actual crime to have been committed. Not surprisingly, sedition has been invoked against writers, cartoonists, politicians, and even ordinary citizens like the thousands of villagers who agitated against the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu.

There is now a growing trend of private complaints of sedition, where any motivated individual can lodge a sedition complaint and make life hell for people not even remotely connected to the complainant. This must also be noted by SC.

Way forward

Britain, which gifted India sedition, removed it from the country’s statute in 2009. SC should do the honours for India and scrap the sedition provision.

Building back to avert a learning catastrophe

Source: The post is based on an article “Building back to avert a learning catastrophe” published in The Hindu on 28th April 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 Social Sector; Education Sector

Relevance: State of School Education during Covid-19; and The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery’ 

News: Recently, a joint report by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, ‘The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery’, was released related to the Covid-19 impact on school education. 

What were the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?  

Schools in countries around the world were either partially or fully closed. This emerged as the biggest disruption in the field of school education in the last 100 years. It would take many more months in comprehending the medium- and long-term impact of school closure. 

What are the emerging threats of issues in the coming future? 

Probably the threat of a new wave of Covid-19 has led to suggestions for the partial closure of schools or even temporary. In addition, there are demands for roll-out of the hybrid mode 

This education spending stands at about 3% of GDP at present. This is almost half the average for the education spending of low- and middle-income countries. 

The mental health issues and needs in school-age children have doubled in the pandemic period.  

Should schools be closed in future? 

The demands for partial closure or even temporary closure are not scientifically supported. SARS-CoV-2 will stay with humanity in the months and years to follow. Therefore, ‘open and shut’ mode for schools is impractical, unnecessary, unscientific and unethical. It could prove a big threat to school education in India. 

In most cases, students are getting the infection from family members instead of schools because children are a part of family and society. In fact, even before schools were re-opened, successive seroprevalence-surveys across Indian States have reported that nearly 70% to 90% of all children had already got infection (thus protected). 

The probability of adverse outcome of moderate to severe disease is very low in case of infected children. The risk of COVID-19 in children is very low. It is far lower than other prevalent health concerns such as dengue, malaria and typhoid.  

Real learning does not happen in the four walls of homes or through online classes. It happens through in-person education or when teachers and other children are in school.  

What are the measures that the Govt needs to take?

The government should ensure that ‘no child’ has dropped out from the education system, and that every eligible child is enrolled. The special attention be given for the enrolment of all children and girls, especially poor, backward, rural, urban slum-dwellers.  

The government should focus on how to deal with ‘the learning loss’. They should assess the learning level of children and strategize for learning recovery in the coming months.  

The curriculum should be consolidated and teaching time should be increased. 

The school teachers should be trained to accommodate the learning levels and needs of children. For example, the Delhi Government has launched the mentor teacher initiative 

The National Education Policy 2020 recommendations in the context of pandemic-related challenges should be studied. They should be implemented in an accelerated manner.  

The Union and State governments in India should increase financial allocation for school education. 

The State Education and Health Departments need to work together to ensure regular services such as school health, mental health services, counselling as well as a health check-up for schoolchildren.

The mid-day meal services are important for the nutritional status of 12 crore children in India. Its absence led to weakened immunity and higher susceptibility to various infections. Therefore, supplementary nutrition programme should be launched to protect children from the severe outcome of COVID-19.  

In addition, hand washing; and water, soap and toilet facilities should be improved. These can prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 & water-borne illnesses in school-age children.  

Governments, parents, communities and schools need to work together. The government can explore the participation of civil society organisations working in the field of education.  

A look at child and adolescent healthcare systems

Source: The post is based on an article “A look at child and adolescent healthcare systems” published in The Hindu on 28th April 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 – Social Sector; Health Sector

Relevance: Children and Adolescent Healthcare 

News: There are less than eight years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, many child and adolescent health targets are off track.

Therefore, there is a real risk that nations might completely fail to meet the United Nation’s sustainable development targets. 

Global status & achievements of children and adolescents’ health 

Globally, an estimated 8.62 million deaths occurred between 28 weeks of gestation and 20 years of age in 2019. 

Achievements so far 

Globally, child mortality and morbidity has declined. This has been attributed to key maternal, new-born, and early childhood interventions in low-income and middle-income countries. 

However, there are huge inequities in children and adolescents’ healthcare. Several children and adolescents do not thrive or survive because low-cost interventions are not deployed to their benefit.  

Importance of children and adolescent’s healthcare 

The growth and development are one of the human rights of children. They should also ensure their growth because children are considered the bulwark of a nation’s future.  

What are the steps that can be taken?

The crucial periods in the lifecycle before adulthood forms the foundation for building human capital. Therefore, the determinants and building blocks of children thrive from preconception through foetal development up to 20 years of age.  

The piecemeal approach catering only to certain age groups may not be the best way to handle the crises. A holistic approach is needed to build a foundation. It demands support to children and their families from before birth through early adulthood which will last a lifetime 

The evidence-based interventions should be scaled up for children under five years, school-going children and the period of transition from childhood to adolescence. For example, addressing mental health, unintentional injuries, non-communicable diseases, and neglected tropical diseases (NTD). 

Major focus on improving health and social systems for all children should be made in lowand middle-income countries 

The “structural reforms” should be undertaken to improve service quality. For example, governing for quality, redesigning service delivery to maximise outcomes, and empowering families to better care for children and to demand quality care from health and social systems. 

The health and social systems must be better equipped to work together. They should address the emerging needs of children and families as part of the effort to rebuild equitable and resilient services. 

The COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a wake-up call to the global community. The gaps exposed in the healthcare system must be given urgent attention. 

The comprehensive care should be provided across age groups from preconception through the age of 20. The care may span from nutrition, preventive health, education, economic, and community support. 

The families should be closely involved, particularly in offering support right from the stage of pregnancy, continuing through the relevant years.

Ride Between East & West

Source: The post is based on an article “Ride Between East & West” published in the Times of India on 28th April 2022. 

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations – International Groupings and Org

Relevance: India’s Foreign Policy; India’s geo-economic policy; and strategic economic self-interest doctrine 

News: Recently, the Group of Twenty (G20) was facing the heat of disruption. The G7 group of rich nations have ganged. Their leaders walked out of a meeting of G20 finance ministers demanding Russia’s ouster.  The developed countries have threatened to prevent the convening of the World Trade Organisation’s 12th ministerial meeting.  

About G20 

It was formed in 1999 in response to the Asian financial crisis. It was a gathering of finance ministers of globally economically consequential countries.   

In 2008 the group played a very important role in the resolution of the 2008-09 financial crisis. 

What will be the implications of the ongoing split in the G20? 

This is a sign that the weaponization of global economic linkages and disruption of global economic institutions by developed economies has become a reality now. 

The grouping was created to resolve a crisis, not perpetuate an economic crisis. In 2008, China and the US adopted a cooperative stance that enabled the G20 to restore stability to the world economy unlike the adversarial stand-off taken in 2022.

As per Ex-PM of India Manmohan Singh, India should work for global cooperation on the economic front even if the nations are divided and engaged in geopolitical conflict. The reasons are
(1) The retaliatory economic sanctions imposed on Russia have disrupted the global village. It has hurt all nations, especially developing countries, including India included. The economic sanctions have contributed to global inflationary pressures 

(2) In this fractured G20, India has the opportunity to become leaders in the emerging world system. Apart from a non-aligned doctrine, India needs to adopt a nondisruptive geo-economic policy. It is important for India to adopt a strategic economic self-interest doctrine in all global economic institutions, be it WTO, IMF, World Bank, or indeed G20. 

(3) The global economic disruption caused by Western economic sanctions and the ongoing boycott of Russia in global economic forums need initiatives from the countries like India, Indonesia and South Africa. They can act as bridging powers between the East and West.
(4) There is going to be a reshaping and realignment of the world order. This will be a unique opportunity for India to reassess its foreign policy, economic policy and geopolitical strategy. 

(5) In the post-Cold War era of globalisation, the North-South economic differences were brushed under the carpet. The East-West geopolitical divide created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought to the fore North-South geo-economic differences. 

(6) Few major countries helped bridge both the East-West and North-South divides through cooperative approach. They were successful in creating a multilateral trading system under the auspices of WTO and the progress on climate change negotiations 

Atmanirbhar internet is about self-sufficiency, not protectionism

Source: This post is created based on the article “Atmanirbhar internet is about self-sufficiency, not protectionism” published in Indian Express on 28th April, 2022.

Syllabus – GS Paper 2 – Government policies for different sectors

Context: The criticisms levelled against the IT Rules and the idea of an atmanirbhar internet are baseless.

What are the arguments in favor of IT Rules?

Read – Draft IT Rules for Social Media

Firstly, it will strike a balance between the commercial interests of social media platforms and the rights of its citizens in the digital sphere.

Secondly, Nodal officers will facilitate coordination with law enforcement agencies. It will provide a platform for a victim to seek urgent recourse. For ex; a swift action can be taken in cases like Sulli Deals and the Bulli Bai controversies.

Third, Courts also have regularly pulled up social media platforms for failing in ensuring a safe and dependable platform for their users. For example, Recently, the Delhi High Court questioned Twitter for its lax response in blocking an account that was insulting Hindu deities.

Fourth, Critics of IT rules are mistaking IT minister’s call for an atmanirbhar internet for protectionism. However, they have been proved wrong by the success of RuPay Cards and Unified Payments Interface as an alternative to Visa and MasterCard. Thus, new initiatives encourage the development of alternative organic ecosystems and ensure that we are not left at the mercy of tech giants.

Fifth, the argument that compliance officers of social media intermediaries would be criminally liable for content on their platforms, is also misplaced. In reality, social media intermediaries enjoy the privilege of legal immunity under Indian law. Criminal liability is only imposed upon failure to observe measures of due diligence.

Lastly, Policy makers across the US have raised concerns about the hegemony of Big Tech and have introduced legislation to curb the same.

GS Paper 3

Unemployed Indians: For a country in the midst of a demographic transition, this is the biggest challenge

Source: This post is based on the article “Unemployed Indians: For a country in the midst of a demographic transition, this is the biggest challenge” published in The Indian Express on 28th Apr 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to growth and dev

Relevance: Tackling the problem of Unemployment in India

Context: India has an employment problem which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

For a country of the young, in the midst of a demographic transition, this problem is perhaps the most formidable challenge before the government.

What are some indicators of rising problem of unemployment in India?

Increase in work demanded under MGNREGA: One indication is the continuing increase, over the years, in work demanded by households under the MGNREGA.

YearHouseholds which got work under MGNREGA
2014-154.13 Crore
2019-20 (just prior to COVID)5.48 Crore
2020-217.55 Crore
2021-227.26 Crore (still higher than pre-pandemic level)

Sharp fall in LFPR: Over the years, there has been a sharp fall in the labour force participation rate in India.

Data from CMIE suggests that the labour force participation rate has fallen to around 40%. For comparable countries, it is significantly higher.

This decline suggests that despite India’s young population, many have simply opted out of the labour force, perhaps feeling let down by the absence of remunerative, productive jobs.

The situation is even more dire for women, who had a considerably lower participation rate to begin with. India’s female labour force participation is lower than the global average, and also lower than countries like Bangladesh.

High unemployment rate: Even as the unemployment rate has declined from the highs observed during the initial phase of the pandemic, it remains elevated, suggesting that among those looking for jobs, those unable to find jobs remains high.

The unemployment rate is higher among the younger and more educated. As per the periodic labour force surveys, the unemployment rate is higher among those in the 15-29 age group (22.5 per cent in September 2019), and those educated up to at least the secondary level (11 per cent).

While there are signs of increasing formalisation as indicated by the EPFO data, a substantial share of the labour force continues to remain employed in the informal sector, lacking a safety net.

What are some negative consequences of lack of jobs?

This demand supply gap b/w the number of job-seekers and the amount of jobs available in an economy is ultimately manifested in the following ways:

Demands for reservation in the public sector by various caste groups, and for including the private sector in its ambit

State governments exploring ways to ensure job quotas for locals.

All this is indicative of a wide and deepening anxiety over employment prospects.

Let us pause to think about ‘freebies’ versus incentives

Source: This post is based on the article “Let us pause to think about ‘freebies’ versus incentives” published in Livemint on 27th Apr 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Mobilization of resources

Relevance: Culture of freebies in India

Context: Sri Lanka government cut taxes across the board and provided several free goods and services, as a result of which the economy collapsed and the heavily-indebted country has had no choice but to default on its commitments.

As a corollary, the issue of freebies given out by Indian states has come under the lens here.

How various states in India indulge in giving freebies and are they justified?

States like Tamil Nadu and Bihar are known for giving women sewing machines, saris and cycles, but they buy these from budget revenues, contributing to the sales of these industries.

  • It can be considered a boost for the supplier industry and not a wasteful expenditure, given the corresponding production.

Punjab has been criticized for giving free water and power that helps rich farmers. The contention is that only the rich have access to pump sets that are run free of cost to extract water.

  • Here also, it can be argued that wheat and rice prices would have been higher if those costs were borne. Therefore, this is an incentive to produce at a low cost. It is analogous to support-price driven procurement by the Centre, which is also aimed at farm income support.

A similar thing is being done for the industry under Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, which promise businesses around 5% of their turnover for meeting investment and sale. The difference is, therefore, in terminology. A ‘subsidy’ is looked down upon, while an ‘incentive’ is considered progressive.

NPAs and Farm loan waivers: When industry defaults and a non-performing asset (NPA) is created, the payout indirectly comes from bank funds, which includes deposits. With no NPAs, depositors could get better returns and borrowers could be charged lower rates, as NPA provisions and write-offs raise the cost of intermediation.

– Farm loan waivers involve payments made to lenders from state budgets.

Here too, one cannot accept one and reject the other, as both sectors work under risk and uncertainty.

Fertilizer subsidies also ensure that food prices are kept under some control.

Can states exceed their deficit limits arbitrarily?

It is said that states are habituated to giving freebies, be it in the form of loan waivers or free electricity, cycles, laptops, TV sets and so on.

But, as the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) rules are more binding on states, so they can’t borrow beyond their limits and any deviation has to be approved by the Centre and central bank.

Therefore, while states have flexibility on how they choose to spend their money, they cannot in ordinary conditions exceed their deficit ceilings.

Centre’s role in giving freebies

Most so-called freebies are given by the Centre rather than the states.

– For example, the PM Kisan scheme assures cash transfers to farmers and costs the exchequer about 65,000 crore. Can we really object to such outlays, given that Indian inequality remains so stark and has not been addressed by the much talked-about ‘trickle-down theory’ of growth?

Way forward

The classic principle of the greatest benefit to the most disadvantaged needs to be invoked for government expenditure.

It is true that states will have to handle their finances better and a line needs to be drawn on hand-outs. Ideally, a proportion of state expenditure should be earmarked for so-called freebies. This would ensure better overall utilization of resources.

But the term ‘freebies’ should also be defined better so as to distinguish cash transfers from ‘free gifts’, as the latter can act as a direct boost to supplier industries.

A fair assessment of these would serve India well.

Energy independence through hydrogen

Source: The post is based on an article “Energy independence through hydrogen” published in The Hindu on 28th April 2022. 

Syllabus: GS3 – Energy and Infrastructure

Relevance: Hydrogen Economy 

News: Recently, the Indian government released India’s Green hydrogen policy. It is expected to create a hydrogen economy and further boost India’s energy transition.

Further, According to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India’s hydrogen consumption is anticipated to leapfrog by 2050.  

What are the benefits of the hydrogen fuel in the energy sector? 

In the long run, two envisioned prominent fuels are hydrogen and electricity. Thus, Hydrogen is a new age fuel and is touted as India’s gateway to energy independence 

Hydrogen can be stored on a large scale and for a longer duration. It has the huge potential to complement renewable energy in India. 

It can accelerate India’s clean energy transition, thereby supporting India’s ambitious plan to achieve 500 GW renewable capacity by 2030. 

Hydrogen fulfils the three Es of India’s energy road map — energy security, energy sustainability and energy access. 

Hydrogen fuel can help in the decarbonisation of India’s transport sector and India’s industrial sector, like iron and steel, aluminium, copper sectors.  

In comparison, the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are more ideal for long-haul transportation than the Li-Ion batteries. They have the capacity for faster fuelling and long-driving range. 

Hydrogen could help India to transition from the status of an energy importer to a dominant exporter over the next few decades.  

It can help in achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.  

Hydrogen could lay the foundation of a new India which would be energy-independent; a global climate leader and international energy power 

It can help India achieve Prime Minister Modi’s commitment of Net Zero by 2070 in making India ‘Aatmanirbhar in energy’. 

What are the challenges ahead in boosting India’s hydrogen sector? 

The hydrogen fuel cell requires electrolysers. Therefore, India would be required to augment its electrolyser production capacity. 

The hydrogen fuel production would entail an exponential increase in electricity demand. India would require 110-130% of its current total electricity generation (2020-21) by 2050 

The hydrogen manufacturing requires a lot of water (For example, production of 1 kg of hydrogen by electrolysis requires around nine litres of water). Therefore, water scarcity could also pose a challenge. It can increase the cost of production of hydrogen fuel.  

What are the measures that can be taken for boosting the hydrogen economy in India? 

A road map for rapid growth in demand for electricity, especially from renewables should be prepared. 

Therefore, hydrogen project planning should be holistic and targeted in areas that are not water-scarce. 

India should strive to seize economic opportunity so that industry can be encouraged to its full potential 

Demand side:  

 The mature industries such as refining and fertilisers, should be mandated to buy hydrogen fuel.  

 Government should incentivise industries manufacturing low emission hydrogen-based products like green steel and green cement.

 Hydrogen can be blended with natural gas. For example, H-CNG stations can be promoted. 

 To promote FCEVs, Hydrogen fuel stations may be planned on dedicated corridors where long-distance trucking is widespread  

 The concept of carbon tariffs needs to be introduced on the lines of European countries. 

Supply side 

R&D investment should be accelerated to bring its cost at par with fossils. 

The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme could be leveraged by exploring biogas conversion into hydrogen.  

A Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme may be introduced for hydrogen-based projects to commercialise and scale-up nascent technologies,  

The Priority Sector Lending (PSL) can be extended to electrolyser manufacturing and hydrogen projects to promote affordable financing.  

The government can launch the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme reducing the cost of electrolysers. This could help India become a global hub for electrolyser manufacturing and green hydrogen. 

On the transportation front 

Ammonia, having high energy density, could be promoted as a mode of transportation.  

The existing infrastructure used for natural gas transportation can be used for hydrogen gas transportation. Additionally, hydrogen transportation projects may be integrated with the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan. 

Social dialogue for safe workplaces

Source: The post is based on an article “Social dialogue for safe workplaces” published in The Hindu on 28th April 2022. 

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy; Issues related to employment in India

Relevance: Labour reform: Occupational Safety and Health at the workplaces  

News: Recently, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrated April 28 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work to stress on the prevention of accidents and diseases at work. The ILO also published “Enhancing social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health with theme, “Act together to build a positive safety and health culture”. 

Situation wrt occupational safety and health (OSH) since Covid-19 

The occupational safety and health (OSH) issues are prevalent in many industries which directly and indirectly affect workers’ and their families’ well-being 

Globally, an estimated 2.9 million deaths and 402 million non-fatal injuries are attributed to occupational accidents and diseases.  

The occupational safety and health (OSH) mechanisms need to be strengthened to establish workplaces that are not hazardous for workers. 

What are the problems associated with OSH? 

Occupational accidents and diseases entail economic losses for enterprises and economies.

They lead to presenteeism (working with less effectiveness), productivity losses associated with permanent impairment, and staff-turnover costs (i.e., loss of skilled staff). At national level, they can cost 5.4% of the global GDP annually. 

Occupational injuries and illnesses cause immeasurable suffering and loss to victims and their families.  

The lack of awareness of health hazards at workplaces leads to misdiagnosis by doctors.  

What measures have been taken in India so far? 

The Government of India declared the National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace in 2009. The Government has compiled the available OSH information as National OSH Profile in 2018.  

At the state levels, the Uttar Pradesh Government carried out participatory OSH training workshops in various informal sectors in cooperation with employers and workers.  The Government of Kerala applied the ILO’s participatory OSH training methodologies to small construction sites. The Rajasthan Government also organized an OSH awareness campaign. 

Way Forward 

The government should launch a strategic National OSH Programme across all the sectors.  

The agencies should effectively implement The OSH and Working Conditions Codes 2020, especially in informal sector where 90% of India’s workforce is engaged. The code includes fair and effective labour inspections, and active workplace OSH committees. 

At the national level, the government needs to include all relevant ministries to ensure that workers’ safety and health are prioritised in the national agenda.  The resources should be allocated to increase general awareness around OSH, knowledge of hazards and risks, and an understanding of their control and prevention measures.  

At the state level, workers’ and employers’ organisations, should do bilateral discussions on the safety and health training 

A reliable occupational accident and disease reporting system should be created. It can help in making effective prevention policies and remedying victims.  

The doctors should be trained on the various occupational diseases and workplace hazards and risks. 

Social dialogue should be promoted to create a positive safety and health culture at workplaces. This can be achieved through cooperation and discussions between employers and workers. 

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Argentina to revive Falklands issue in India

Source: The post is based on an article “Argentina to revive Falklands issue in India” published in The Hindu on 23rd April 2022. 

What is the News?

The Government of Argentina has launched a campaign in India demanding negotiation with the United Kingdom to settle the territorial dispute over the Islas Malvinas that are known as the Falkland Islands in the UK. 

What is Falkland Island?

Source: BBC

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf and is considered a British overseas territory. 

The Islands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. 

It’s capital and also the largest settlement is Stanley on East Falkland.

History of Falkland Island Dispute

The Falkland Islands were largely uninhabited before France became the first country to establish a permanent settlement there.

In 1820, an American privateer named David Jewett claimed control of the islands on behalf of Argentina. His claim resulted in a conflict between Argentina and the UK. 

Both sides engaged in minor clashes over the next two decades. Finally, the British government took control of the Islands in the 1830s and created settlements there.

Why was Falkland Island important for the UK?

The Falkland Islands were important to Britain, and they were used as a military base in the South Atlantic Ocean, both during the First and Second World Wars. 

What happened to Falkland Island after World War II?

In 1965, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2065, a non-binding resolution that recognized the existence of a sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina over these islands that urged both countries to find a peaceful solution to the dispute.

In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands with the claim that the Falkland Islands were stolen from it unjustly in 1833. This led to the Falklands War between UK and Argentina. The war ended with the United Kingdom’s victory.

In 1989, the diplomatic relations between the UK and Argentina were restored, but no change in either country’s position regarding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands was made explicit. 

In 1994, Argentina adopted a new constitution that declared the Falkland Islands as part of one of its provinces by law.

Currently, Falkland Island continues to operate as a self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Explained | The Raisina Dialogue 2022 and its significance

Source:  The post is based on an article “Explained | The Raisina Dialogue 2022 and its significance” published in The Hindu on 23rd April 2022. 

What is the News?

The Prime Minister of India has inaugurated the seventh edition of the Raisina Dialogue 2022.

What is Raisina Dialogue?

The Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference of India on geopolitics and geoeconomics. It addresses issues facing the global community. It takes its name from Raisina Hill, the seat of the Indian government.

Since its inception in 2016, the Raisina Dialogue has emerged as a leading global conference on international affairs featuring the participation of heads of state, ministers, journalists, academics and researchers. 

Hosted by: Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 

Theme for 2022: “Terranova: Impassioned, Impatient, and Imperiled”

What is the significance of Raisina Dialogue?

Firstly, the dialogue helps in finding ways to move toward a global order that is inclusive and rules-based.

Secondly, it serves as an opportunity to discuss the big ideas defining the emerging global realities.”

Thirdly, the dialogue is a platform that brings together India’s friends and partners seeking common ground.

Birth, death reporting to be automated

Source:  The post is based on an article “Birth, death reporting to be automatedpublished in The Hindu on 28th April 2022. 

What is the News?

According to the 2020-21 annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Central government is planning to revamp the Civil Registration System(CRS). It will enable the registration of birth and death in real-time with a minimum human intervention that will be independent of location.

What is the Civil Registration System(CRS)?

CRS is the process of continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of births and deaths in the country.

CRS is linked to the National Population Register(NPR) which already has a database of 119 crore residents. 

History of Civil Registration System in India

The history of the Civil Registration System(CRS) in India dates back to the middle of the 19th century. 

In 1886 a Central Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act was promulgated to provide for voluntary registration throughout British India.

Post-independence, the Registration of Births and Death Act (RBD Act) was enacted in 1969. With the enactment of the Act, registration of births and deaths became mandatory in India. 

The Registrar General, India(RGI) under the Home Ministry at the Central Government level coordinates and unifies the activities of registration throughout the country.  

However, implementation of the statute is vested with the State Governments. The registration of births and deaths in the country is done by the functionaries appointed by the State Governments. 

What are the challenges faced by CRS currently?

The CRS system is facing challenges in terms of timelines, efficiency, and uniformity, leading to delayed and under-coverage of birth and death.

What are the amendments proposed to the Registration of Births and Deaths(RBD) Act, 1969?

Automate the registration process: The government is planning to revamp the Civil Registration System (CRS) to enable the registration of birth and death in real-time with a minimum human interface that will be independent of location.

Maintain database at National Level: RGI has proposed amendments to the RBD Act,1969 that will enable it to maintain the database of registered birth and deaths at the national level.

The database may be used to update the Population Register, Electoral Register, Aadhaar, Ration Card, Passport, and Driving License databases.

New premium quality wheat variety gives soft and sweet chap

Source: The post is based on an article New premium quality wheat variety gives soft and sweet chappublished in PIB on 27th April 2022. 

What is the News?

Researchers from Punjab Agricultural University have developed a new wheat variety named  ‘PBW1Chapati.

What is Chapati and why was PBW1Chapati developed?

Chapati is a flat-baked product prepared from wheat. It forms a cheap, primary source of protein and calories and is the staple diet in Northern Western India. 

The desired quality characteristics for chapati are greater pliability, puffability, soft texture and light creamish brown color, and slight chewiness with baked wheat aroma. 

Tall traditional wheat variety C 306 has been the golden standard for chapati quality. Later, PBW 175 variety was developed. However, both these have become susceptible to stripe and brown rusts.

The challenge now was to combine high yield potential and disease resistance and retain the actual chapati quality.

Taking up this challenge, Punjab Agricultural University has developed PBW1Chapati.

PBW1Chapati has a good chapati quality, sweet in taste, and soft in texture. The color of the chapati is also comparably white, and it remains soft even after hours of baking.

India launches Digital India RISC-V(DIR-V) program for next generation Microprocessors

Source: The post is based on the article India launches Digital India RISC-V(DIR-V) program for next generation Microprocessorspublished in PIB on 27th April 2022. 

What is the News?

The Minister of Electronics and Information Technology has launched the Digital India RISC-V Microprocessor (DIR-V) Program. 

What is the Digital India RISC-V Microprocessor(DIR-V) Program?

Launched by: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology 

Aim: To enable the creation of Microprocessors for the future in India, and for the world, and achieve industry-grade silicon and Design wins by December 2023. 

Significance: DIR-V will promote partnerships between Startups, Academia & Multinationals to make India a RISC-V Talent Hub for the World and a supplier of RISC-V SoC (System on Chips) for Servers, Mobile devices, Automotive, IoT & Microcontrollers across the globe.

Note: IIT Madras and the Center for Development of Advanced Computing(CDAC) have developed two microprocessors named Shakti (32-bit) and Vega (64-bit) respectively under the Microprocessor Development Program.

What is the Microprocessor Development Program(MDP)?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

Aim: To design and develop indigenously, a family of Microprocessors, related IPs, and the complete ecosystem to enable fully indigenous product development that meets various requirements in the strategic, industrial, and commercial sectors. 

Explained: The PIL against the lifetime status of ‘Cabinet minister’ to Goa’s Pratapsingh Rane

Source: The post is based on an article Explained: The PIL against the lifetime status of ‘Cabinet minister’ to Goa’s Pratapsingh Ranepublished in Indian Express on 28th April 2022.

What is the News?

A petition has been filed in the High Court of Bombay challenging the “lifetime status of the rank of Cabinet minister” accorded to Pratapsingh Rane, a six-time Chief Minister of Goa and a legislator for a full 50 years.

What is the “Lifetime Status of the rank of Cabinet Minister”?

Government of Goa has decided that those who completed 50 years and hold posts like CM and Speaker will be given “lifetime status of the rank of Cabinet minister”.

This status was recently given to Pratapsingh Rane, a six-time Chief Minister of Goa and a legislator for a full 50 years.

What is the issue with this status?

A petition has been filed in the High Court of Bombay to quash the notification of the government.

The petitioner has argued that Goa has a 12-member Cabinet and the conferment of Cabinet status results in the number of Cabinet ranks rising to 13 which exceeds the ceiling mandated by the Constitution.

This ceiling was mandated by the 91st Amendment, which aimed to prevent jumbo Cabinets and the resultant drain on the public exchequer.

What does the 91st amendment say on this?

The Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003 inserted clause 1A in Article 164.

It says the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State.

It provided a condition that the number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in a State, shall not be less than twelve.

100 cities in six months: Govt’s ambitious ONDC pilots today

Source: The post is based on an article 100 cities in six months: Govt’s ambitious ONDC pilots todaypublished in Business Standard on 28th April 2022.

What is the News?

The government of India’s ambitious Open Network for Digital Commerce’s(ONDCs) implementation is set to begin this week. It will be checked how the technology-enabled infrastructure works, thereby making processes more robust, before it is officially launched.

What is Open Network for Digital Commerce(ONDC)?

ONDC has been set up as a private sector-led non-profit organization.

Aim: To promote open networks for all aspects of the exchange of goods and services over digital networks.

Nodal Ministry: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Implementing Agency: Quality Council of India (QCI).

Significance: The network will provide access to businesses by increasing its discoverability at a low cost and will cover retail, mobility, hospitality, food delivery, wholesale trade, and tourism. It will support small, traditional retailers while curbing digital monopolies.

Click Here to read more about ONDC

How will the ONDC pilot initiative work?

Source: Business Standard

As many as 150 retailers will participate in the pilot initiative that will be launched in the five cities.

Five seller platforms will be participating in this exercise and onboard sellers/retailers on the ONDC-compliant application(app), giving them visibility.

Similarly, a buyer-side app, which in this case will be Paytm will also be connected to the ONDC architecture.

Delivery or logistics providers — for delivery of goods — are also being onboarded.

Mains Answer Writing

Government’s new announcements for the labor market

Source: The post government’s new announcements for the labor market has been created, based on the article “Govts have limited impact on jobs: Policy reforms would work better than programmes or projects” published in “Business standard” on 24th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- Economy- Employment Context: The article discusses how government programs aimed… Continue reading Government’s new announcements for the labor market

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How has India lowered its fiscal deficit estimate to 4.9% of GDP

Source: The post how has India lowered its fiscal deficit estimate to 4.9% of GDP has been created, based on the article “Deficit numbers signal: PRUDENT PATH” published in “Live Mints” on 24th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- Indian Economy – Fiscal Consolidation in India Context: The article discusses how Finance Minister Nirmala… Continue reading How has India lowered its fiscal deficit estimate to 4.9% of GDP

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India’s plans for energy transition

Source: The post India’s plans for energy transition has been created, based on the article “For clean energy, govt rolls: OUT POWER TOOLS” published in “Live Mints” on 24th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3-infrastructure-energy Context: The article discusses India’s plans for a balanced energy transition, including policies for green finance, renewable energy… Continue reading India’s plans for energy transition

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Focus of the India’s budget 2024-25

Source: The post focus of the India’s budget 2024-25 has been created, based on the article “An overdue pivot to human capital and employment” published in “Live Mint” on 24th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- Economy-budget Context: This article discusses the first of Narendra Modi’s third term. It emphasizes job creation, small business… Continue reading Focus of the India’s budget 2024-25

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Agricultural Initiatives in the 2024-25 Union Budget

Source-This post on Agricultural Initiatives in the 2024-25 Union Budget has been created based on the article “To tackle climate risk, agri gets A RESEARCH RESET” published in “Live Mint” on 24 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Government Budgeting. Context– The 2024-25 Union Budget introduces ambitious agricultural initiatives alongside modest financial allocations. It highlights research,… Continue reading Agricultural Initiatives in the 2024-25 Union Budget

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Research and Development in Agriculture

Source-This post on Research and Development in Agriculture has been created based on the article “Neglect of agriculture R&D in budget risks India’s food security and growth” published in “The Indian Express” on 24 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Government Budgeting Context – Nearly two-thirds of India’s population resides in rural areas, where agriculture employs… Continue reading Research and Development in Agriculture

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Social Sector Allocations in Budget 2024

Source-This post on Social Sector Allocations in Budget 2024 has been created based on the article “For the social sector, it is old wine in an old bottle” published in “The Hindu” on 24 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Government Budgeting. Context-The Budget 2024 continues the trend of previous years regarding social sector allocations, despite… Continue reading Social Sector Allocations in Budget 2024

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Union Budget 2024-25- Analysis- Explained Pointwise

The Union Budget for 2024-25 was presented in the Parliament yesterday by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Finance Minister asserted in her budget speech that the focus of the government remained on serving the four ‘castes‘- poor, women, youth and farmers. It was also stressed by the Finance Minister that this year’s Budget… Continue reading Union Budget 2024-25- Analysis- Explained Pointwise

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Employment-Linked Incentive Schemes

Source- This post on the Employment-Linked Incentive Schemes has been created based on the article “Five new schemes to aid job creation” published in “The Hindu” on 24 July 2024. Why in the news? The Union Budget allocates ₹2 lakh crore for employment and skilling schemes. About Employment-Linked Incentive Schemes 1. The Centre will implement… Continue reading Employment-Linked Incentive Schemes

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Road Map for ‘Hard to Abate’ Industries

Source- This post on the Road Map for ‘Hard to Abate’ Industries has been created based on the article “Emission standards may be imposed on polluting industries” published in “The Hindu” on 24 July 2024. Why in the news? Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech indicated that “hard to abate” industries such as iron, steel,… Continue reading Road Map for ‘Hard to Abate’ Industries

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