9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – December 7th, 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 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Why and how the Supreme Court should recognise same-sex marriage

Source– The post is based on the article Why and how the Supreme Court should recognise same-sex marriagepublished in The Indian Express on 7th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS1- Social empowerment. GS2- Vulnerable sections

Relevance– Issues related to LGBT

News– The article explains the issue of same-sex marriages.

Recently petitions were filed in higher courts of country for legal recognition of same sex marriages .

What are legal issues with same sex marriages in India?

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 under Section 4 lays down the conditions relating to solemnization of special marriages. It lays down the condition that male has completed the age of 21 years and female the age of 18 years.

Throughout the legislation, there are  references to “husband” and “wife” in provisions relating to marriage.

If same-sex marriages are to be recognized under SMA, then the SC would need to interpret in every reference to husband and wife under the present statute the word “spouse”.

What is the case of South Africa regarding the same subject?

The constitutional court of Africa did the same thing in  2005.

It held that same sex couples should be enabled to enjoy the status and benefits that is given to heterosexual couples.

What are other provisions of law that need to be corrected for same-sex marriages?

Section 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 of SMA mandates a notice of intended marriage publicly, the filing of objections by any parties who may object to any marriage, and the decision making by the marriage officer on such objections.

These sections are used by families of couples to prohibit inter-caste marriage. It will also be used against the same-sex marriages.

There is a need for seeking the deletion of these sections.

GS Paper 2

Denting democracy – On judicial appointments

Source– The post is based on the article “Denting democracy” published in the Business Standard on 7th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Judiciary

Relevance– Judicial appointment

News– The article explains the issue of appointment of judges by Collegium.

Recently, a Bench of the SC expressed anguish at the government sitting on Collegium recommendations for fresh appointments.

What is the constitutional provision related to appointment of judges?[Text Wrapping Break]Article 124(2) of constitution says that every judge of SC shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the judges of SC and of HCs as the President may deem necessary for the purpose. It also provides that in the case of appointment of judges other than chief justice, the chief justice of India shall always be consulted.

Which article of constitution was used by SC for the collegium system?

The Supreme Court assumes the role of chief appointer of judges by using a special provision of the constitution called Article 142(1). According to this provision the Supreme Court may pass such judgement as is necessary for doing complete justice. It shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such a manner as may be prescribed by law made by Parliament.

This provision allows SC not only to interpret the law but also write its own law.

Which instances show the tendency of the SC to assume law making powers?

It is willing to entertain all kinds of alleged PILs.

It has passed judgement ranging from validity of government decision on GM mustard to vaccine policy to additional taxes on SUVs entering Delhi.

Recently, it asked whether ECs can be appointed by a three member panel.

What does it signify?

There is a strong case to believe that the higher judiciary is becoming authoritarian and unaccountable. The delicate system of checks and balances has been set aside by the judiciary.

There is a strong case for abolishing article 142 amending article 124 to clearly reflect a reasonable role for executive and Parliament in selecting judges. The government must obtain a political consensus on this.

The pandemic’s big disruption of schooling calls for close analysis

Source: The post is based on the article “The pandemic’s big disruption of schooling calls for close analysis” published in the Livemint on 7th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

Relevance: About attaining universal elementary education.

News: Despite the enactment of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, a large number of children still continue to be out of the elementary education system.

How government is promoting elementary education?

With the aim of universalizing free and compulsory elementary education for all  India enacted the Right to Education (RTE) Act in 2009. The act holds local authorities responsible for a) Maintaining a record of children (up to the age of 14 years) residing in their jurisdiction, b) Ensuring that children are enrolled in schools and attending the same, and thereby on their way to completing their elementary education.

Read more: School education: Children and schooling in the post covid 19 era
Why children are still out of the elementary education system?

Multidimensional factors like poverty, disability, poor health, child marriage, child labour, migration, discrimination, and other children are not completing their elementary education.

Impact of a covid pandemic: According to the United Nations, about 24 million learners (from the pre-primary to university level) may never return to school globally.

India saw one of the longest periods of school closures (almost two years) during the pandemic compared to other countries in the world. India’s digital divide resulted in absenteeism from education. Inaccessibility to digital devices or the internet is the major hurdle. For instance, the proportion of children who ‘did not receive any online education’ ranged from 10% to 60%.

So, more children belonging to poorer households, lower caste groups and migrant households, apart from students with various disabilities, have been absent from online classes or have dropped out of school altogether.

Read more: ASER Survey and issues in school education – Explained, pointwise
What are the challenges in attaining universal elementary education?

a) India still lacks a clear picture of the status of out-of-school children in the aftermath of the pandemic in India, b) A comparison with pre-pandemic data highlights an increase in the percentage of children in the age cluster of 6-14 years who were not enrolled in any school during the pandemic, and c) Only a few studies have documented the unique challenges faced by children with disabilities and migrant-household children.

Read more: Year End Review 2021-Department of School Education & Literacy

India needs to analyse the concerns and minimize the challenges faced in accessing education in times of crisis.

Maha-Nataka, Why? – Political grandstanding like that over Maharashtra, Karnataka border forgets many Indians are multilingual

Source: The post is based on the article “Maha-Nataka, Why? – Political grandstanding like that over Maharashtra, Karnataka border forgets many Indians are multilingual” published in The Times of India on 7th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Relevance: About the boundary dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.

News: Long-running boundary dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka has surfaced again.

About Maharashtra and Karnataka dispute
Must read: Explained | What is the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute?
What needs to be done?

a) India needs a more active national interstate council to manage tensions that arise out of disagreements over maps, b) India should move towards creating a common market. For instance, India aims to dismantle interstate fiscal barriers through the roll-out of GST. More such activities should be promoted, and c) Politicians should understand that one of India’s strengths is the extent of multilingualism even when internal borders have been determined largely on a linguistic basis.

GS Paper 3

Delhi choking, but do not blame stubble burning alone

Source: The post is based on the article “Delhi choking, but do not blame stubble burning alone” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment

Relevance: concerns and measures needed to address air pollution in Delhi

News:  The pollution in Delhi every year around winter is a serious concern that needs to be addressed as it has serious health concerns.

What are the problems with the polluted air?

India now reports 2.5 million air pollution-related deaths annually. Pollution makes throats and eyes burn.

Some pollutants are so small that they enter the bloodstream impacting almost every organ in the body causing heart attack and other serious health problems.

Why has there been no change in the air quality of Delhi?

The reason behind no change is that every year the same measures are tried to address the issue without evaluating the effectiveness of the previous measures.

For example, the Government formed the Commission for Air Quality Management. It issued the same orders like the Ministry and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority did.

These repeated ineffective guidelines make government to prohibit people from going outside, closing schools, banning entrance of trucks and construction activities every year. These lead to bad governance.

What are the reasons behind the bad air quality of Delhi?

Stubble burning: It is one of the major problems which government has tried to solve over years. However, those measures have not been successful. For example, Happy Seeder based solution has not been effective.

Biomass burning: The burning of biomass around Delhi is another major reason for the pollution. However, none of the government bodies whether municipal body or the Public Works Department is trying to solve the issue.

Other major reasons behind the pollution are dust and emission from industrial activities, vehicular emission, lack of last-mile connectivity of public transport, and lack of governance to monitor the existing mechanism.

How can the problem be addressed?

a) there is a need for fundamental shift in agricultural patterns along with providing compensation to farmers to tackle the issue of stubble burning, b) unauthorized industries are the large emitter so those industries should be monitored, c) ensuring the last mile connectivity of the public transport so that people use it as alternative to private vehicles, d) proper governance system is needed with a single entity that takes responsibility for air quality management,

The GM mustard debate

Source: The post is based on an article “The GM mustard debate” published in The Indian Express on 7th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and Technology

Relevance: concerns associated with GM crops

News: The government had cleared the environmental release of a genetically modified (GM) variety of mustard, DMH-11, recently which has been opposed by the activists and the matter has reached the court.

Why is the government trying to release GM mustard?

There has been a significant rise in the import bills of the edible oils which has led to a shoot up in the price of edible oils causing a food security issue in India.

Therefore, the government is trying to reduce the dependence on other countries and save its forex reserves.

It has said that approving the GM mustard variety would not lead to opening of the gates for all other transgenic crops.

For example, there has been no progress in the case of Bt brinjal which has passed all the safety tests and regulatory processes.

However, environmental activists and NGOs have opposed the efforts of the government.

They question biosafety data and claim that it will harm human and soil health, cause environmental damage, and threaten the existence of other species, like honeybees.

What are the arguments that favours GM crops?

Oppositions to GM crops rely on the precautionary principle.

This principle argues that new innovations may have severe impacts on human or environmental health in the absence of scientific consensus and adequate information.

However, simply relying on this principle does not hold true for GM crops.

GM crops have been under cultivation for almost three decades in different parts of the world. There is little evidence to justify the dangers that are being highlighted.

Countries such as the United States and Canada, Brazil. South Africa, and India’s neighbours like Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh are already growing GM crops.

Even in India, Bt cotton has been in cultivation for two decades and there has not been any such concerns with it.

Moreover, a certain portion of imported edible oils as well as some other crops are genetically modified varieties which have already been consumed by Indians without any harm.

Further, as per the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), arguments made against GM mustard are totally unscientific and fallacious.

Scenarios for the future of India, and the world

Source– The post is based on the article “Scenarios for the future of India, and the world” published in The Hindu on 6th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy and development

Relevance– Scenario of economic growth and development

News– The article explains the possible scenarios for growth and development of the Indian economy. It also explains the choice of developmental model that should be promoted by India at global level.

Making predictions of the economic growth of nations is a lucrative industry employing many economists, researchers, analysts, and commentators.

What are the scenarios of India’s future predicted by the WEF and CII report called ‘India and the World: Scenarios to 2025’?

It projected three scenarios of India’s future-

First scenario– It looked deeper within India’s current reality at that time.It revealed forces which would dampen growth in the future if not responded to in good time. The opening of India’s economy had created more opportunities for private enterprises. There was rapid increases in the wealth of the top 1%. Millionaires were multiplying.

While entrepreneurial spirits were unleashed, signs of their increasing frustration were also visible. Violence was increasing. It was not restricted to rural, and Naxal areas. Urban crimes were also increasing.

Second scenario– It showed increasing inequality and insecurity. It could compel the government to impose controls on politics for security and also play a larger role in the economy without adequate resources. A heavy-handed government would weaken India’s democracy and stall its economy.

Third scenario– It was more attractive. Here, the changes that people need are produced by them. They are led by local leaders based on local production and consumption. Such enterprises use local resources and local energies.

They are more sustainable than top-down, large-scale programmes. If India’s policymakers pursued this model of change, economic growth would be more inclusive, more environmentally sustainable, and faster too.

What is the situation around the world today?

There are tensions within wealth driven economic growth the world has pursued in the last 30 years. Increasing inequality and insecurity around the world have resulted in reactionary forces in many countries, including China and Russia amongst the BRICs. They have appeared in India too.

Inequalities have further increased. Top-down solutions to the global environmental crisis are producing only more hot air. Violence between powerful countries deploying the latest technologies is harming millions of innocent people around the world.

Which model India should promote at G-20?

It must promote the choice that revolves around local systems solutions for environmental and economic problems, cooperatively implemented by communities. This model solves global systemic problems. It also creates a more harmonious world.

It must also adopt the “Gandhian” approach to promote this choice.

Fixing gas prices

Source– The post is based on the article “Fixing gas prices” published in the Business Standard on 6th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Infrastructure- Energy

Relevance– Petroleum and gas sector

News– The article explains the issue of gas pricing in India.

What are the commendations of Kirit Parekh for gas pricing?

It has suggested a cap of $6.5 per million British thermal unit(btu) as a ceiling and a floor of $4 per million btu on gas supplies from ONGC and Oil India older fields. It also applies to administered price mechanism gas.

What is the current mechanism for gas price in India?

Gas prices are adjusted every six months in India in line with international pricing benchmarks.

It is pegged to oil or substitute fuels. India current gas pricing formulae are pegged to international benchmarks like US Henry Hub and Russian and Canadian domestic gas rates. It brings them close to markets.

What is the rationale behind the recommendations of this committee?

Domestic gas prices will be linked to 10% of the cost of crude oil imported into India.

The reason for altering the peg is that gas now costs more than oil. In such a situation, industries and households move to alternatives like naphtha and fuel oil.

It does not matter much in mature markets. But, in the case of India, it has invested large sums in gas transmission pipelines, LNG import terminals and city gas networks. This can become a cause of concern.

India allocates scarce APM gas to fertilizer plants and city gas facilities. It depends on imported LNG for over half its needs. This ratio will increase in the near future due to government policies.

What is the way forward for gas pricing?

Oil and gas exploration is an expensive and high-risk business. Investors expect pricing freedom and policy certainty to protect their investments.

Therefore, it is important to provide pricing freedom and policy certainty at all times.

If the government wants to prevent supernormal profits during periods of high prices, a transparent windfall tax could be an option.

The Great Jobs Hunt – Too few Indians are seeking work and mostly among those working quality of employment isn’t great

Source: The post is based on the article “The Great Jobs Hunt – Too few Indians are seeking work and mostly among those working quality of employment isn’t great” published in The Times of India on 7th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Employment.

Relevance: About the quality of employment.

News: India’s faster GDP growth does not translate into good quality jobs. Further, India does not also have timely and reliable job data.

About India’s unemployment rate

The government’s quarterly urban Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) and Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey peg India’s unemployment rate at 7. 2% and 8% as of September and November 2022 respectively.

This means that around 3.5-3.9 crore Indians of the working age population, who are willing and able to search for jobs, are not getting jobs.

These are two large-scale datasets. But these surveys do not mention, a) Unemployed persons who are not looking for jobs, b) About the quality of jobs and their productivity. For instance, disguised unemployment is completely neglected in these surveys.

Read more: India’s big problem of low-quality employment
What is the ground reality of India’s quality of employment?

Low labour force participation rate (LFPR): The LFPR in India is currently around 46%. So, for every 100 Indians of working age, a staggering 54 are not participating in the labour force. On the other hand, in 2021, the LFPR for Brazil was 58% and for all the OECD countries the ratio was 60%.

Low female labour force participation: India’s female LFPR is just 19%. This is even lower than in Saudi Arabia.

Youth unemployment: It has increased steadily. For instance, the ratio stood at 22% in 2019 and was 28% in 2021 as compared to 18% in 2010.

Increase in farm employment: The PLFS indicates 46.5% of the labour force works in the agriculture sector today as compared to 42.5% in 2019. Agricultural employment increased by 3.4 crores while industry and services employment only grew by 93 lakh.

Overall, India might be the only developing country that is pushing people back to agriculture.

Decrease in salaried employment: Regular salaried employees have dropped from 24% in 2018-19 to 21% in 2020-21.

More subsidy per job: The government plans to create around 8 lakh jobs over the next five years through the Production Linked Incentives schemes. Overall, the estimated cost of government subsidies will be Rs 2 lakh crore, amounting to Rs 25 lakh per job created. This is an enormous subsidy per job.

The youth’s response to the army’s Agnipath Scheme reinforces the failure of India’s job creation programmes.

Read more: The employment-income crisis
What should be done to improve the quality of employment?

Government, private sector, and civil society must come together to find a sustainable way to create more and better jobs.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Pendency falls in the rate of adoption of children two months after notification

Source: The post is based on the article “Pendency falls in the rate of adoption of children two months after notification” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

Of the 905 adoption cases pending with the various courts in the country, as many as 361 adoption orders have been issued in just two months since the new Adoption Regulations were notified.

What are the new adoption rules notified?

The Adoption regulations, 2022 have been notified under the amended Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act),2015.

Key provisions of the rules

Firstly, the rules empower District Magistrates to issue adoption orders. Earlier, this power was exercised by the judiciary.

Secondly, pre-and post-adoptive counselling sessions will be provided to prospective adoptive parents by counsellors trained with the help of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences(NIMHANS).

Thirdly, prospective adoptive parents can now opt for children from their home State or region. This has been mandated to ensure that the child and the family adjust well with each other, belonging to the same socio-cultural milieu.

Fourthly, children placed in foster care by Child Welfare Committees(CWC) used to wait for five years for adoption. Now, the new regulations provide that if the child adjusts well with the foster family, the foster family can adopt the child after two years of fostering.

Fifthly, to promote in-country adoptions, a new provision has been made under which those children who could not find families within their stipulated referral cycles are now being offered to willing resident Indians, non-resident Indians and overseas citizens of India, irrespective of their seniority.

Bird survey: Around 200 bird species in Kanger valley park

Source: The post is based on the article “Bird survey: Around 200 bird species in Kanger valley park” published in TOI on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

Around 200 bird species were documented during the Kanger Valley Bird Survey in the state’s first-ever systematic interstate bird survey.

What is Kanger Valley National Park?

Kanger Valley National Park is located in Chattisgarh. It got the status of a national park in the year 1982.

The name of Kanger Ghati National Park is derived from the Kangar river, which flows in its length.

Kanger Valley National Park is a typical mixed humid deciduous type of forest, in which the Sal, Saugaun, teak and bamboo trees are available in abundance.

The most popular species in this area is Bastar Maina (The state bird of Chattisgarh). Bastar Maina, is a type of Hill maina (gruncula Dhariosoa) which is capable of emulating human voices.

The park comprises two waterfalls – Tirathgarh and Kanger Dhara, three caves – Kutumsar, Dandak and Kailash, one crocodile park – Bhainsa Darha and also a daily tribal bazaar. 

Calling Name Presentation(CNAP): How is TRAI proposing to help callers identify spammers?

Source: The post is based on the article “How is TRAI proposing to help callers identify spammers?” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has floated a consultation paper seeking comments about the potential introduction of a Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) feature. 

What is a Calling Name Presentation(CNAP)?

CNAP feature would provide an individual with information about the calling party (similar to ‘Truecaller’ and ‘Bharat Caller ID & Anti-Spam’). 

The idea is to ensure that telephone subscribers are able to make an informed choice about incoming calls and curb harassment by unknown or spam callers.

What is the need for CNAP? 

Existing technologies present the number of the calling entity on the potential receiver’s handset.

Since subscribers are not given the name and identity of the caller, they sometimes choose not to answer them believing it could be unsolicited commercial communication from unregistered telemarketers. This could lead to even genuine calls being unanswered.

Additionally, there have been rising concerns about robocalls (calls made automatically using IT-enabled systems with a pre-recorded voice), spam calls and fraudulent calls.

Truecaller’s ‘2021 Global Spam and Scam Report’ revealed that the average number of spam calls per user each month in India, stood at 16.8 while total spam volumes received by its users were in excess of 3.8 billion calls in October alone.

What are the concerns related to CNAP?

According to experts, it is not clear how the CNAP mechanism would balance the caller’s right to remain anonymous, an essential component of the right to privacy. 

To put it into perspective, an individual may opt to remain anonymous for multiple reasons, for example, whistle-blowers or employees being harassed. 

Will CNAP feature be enough to identify spam numbers and block them?

Previously, telemarketers were required to be registered as promotional numbers, making it easier to identify and block them. 

However, now marketers have started deploying people who are not necessarily part of the entity’s set-up, but rather “at-home workers” to whom work is being outsourced. They are given SIM cards not registered to a particular company but rather to the individual themselves.

Hence, just showing the identity would not have much impact. Government must also invest in digital literacy, skilling citizens to navigate and use the tech better, ensuring they do not share their data indiscriminately and are informed about dangers such as financial fraud and spoofing.

Curbing terror in Afghanistan, enhancing connectivity key to India-Central Asia security: NSA Doval

Source: The post is based on the article “Curbing terror in Afghanistan, enhancing connectivity key to India-Central Asia security: NSA Doval” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

For the first time, India hosted a meeting of top security officials of Central Asia with a focus on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and ways to deal with threat of terrorism emanating from that country.

What are the key highlights from the meeting?

Situation in Afghanistan: The participating countries discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the security and stability of the region. They reiterated their strong support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan and emphasized respect for its sovereignty, unity and urged non-interference in its internal affairs.

Connectivity Initiatives: The countries emphasized that the connectivity initiatives should be based on principles of transparency, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

– India highlighted the role that Chabahar Port played during the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

– The participants also supported India’s proposal to include the Chabahar port within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor. The corridor connects Iran to Russia via Central Asia.

Coordinated action against emerging threats: The participants also spoke about the need for collective and coordinated action against 1) the misuse of new and emerging technologies, 2) arms and drugs trafficking using terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism and 3) abuse of cyber space to spread disinformation and unmanned aerial systems.

What is the significance of this meeting?

This was the first time India hosted a conclave of top security officials from Central Asian countries. It coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.

Explained | Why is Europe worried about the U.S Inflation Reduction Act?

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained | Why is Europe worried about the U.S Inflation Reduction Act?published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

French President has raised concerns over the US Inflation Reduction Act(IRA) which European countries believe is discriminatory to non-American companies. 

What is the US Inflation Reduction Act(IRA)?

The Inflation Reduction Act is a $430 billion package of federal spending, tax breaks, credits, and levies aimed at fighting climate change, reducing healthcare costs and making large corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

Key Provisions of the act

Healthcare: The act extends expiring Medicare subsidies to 13 million Americans and aims to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, for which Americans pay two to three times more than citizens of other countries.

Tax code: The act aims to make the U.S tax code fairer by imposing a minimum tax of 15% on America’s wealthiest, most profitable corporations. 

Electric Vehicles: The act features tax credits for electric vehicles – up to $7,500 for new purchases – that will only apply if the product is assembled in the US and the majority of components are sourced domestically or from a free trade partner.

Tax credit: The Act offers tax credits to build clean technology manufacturing facilities and grants for refurbishing existing auto manufacturing facilities to make zero-emission vehicles.

What are Europe’s concerns about the IRA?

Firstly, EU member countries fear that the IRA tax credits and subsidies to EVs and other green product makers in North America and free-trade partner countries put European companies at a disadvantage.

Secondly, the EU’s own new green plan ‘Fit for 55’ is targeting to cut CO2 emissions from cars by 55% and vans by 50% by 2030 and all emissions from cars by 2035. For this, it will need to significantly increase its uptake of electric vehicles. However, IRA raises fears of automakers moving to the U.S.

What is the US Government’s stand on this?

U.S. President has said that there was room for “tweaks” in the IRA to “make it easier for European countries to participate” and it was “never intended” to exclude cooperating countries. 

What is St Edward’s Crown, to be worn by King Charles III on his coronation?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is St Edward’s Crown, to be worn by King Charles III on his coronation?” published in Indian Express on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

Since King Charles III of England was made monarch in September, there has been anticipation over his coronation ceremony and the St Edward’s Crown will be on display for the event.

What is St Edward’s Crown?

St Edward’s Crown is the crown historically used at the moment of Coronation in the UK. It was worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at her Coronation in 1953.

The crown was made for Charles II in 1661 as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649. 

The original was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor – the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Note: Britain is the only European monarchy still using its regalia for the consecration ceremony of crowning the Sovereign.

– Regalia consists of all the traditional clothes and items which someone such as a king or a judge wears and carries on official occasions.

Semeru Volcano: Alert at highest level in Indonesia as volcano erupts

Source: The post is based on the article “Semeru Volcano: Alert at highest level in Indonesia as volcano erupts” published in Indian Express on 6th December 2022

What is the News?

Semeru volcano has erupted in Indonesia’s Eastern Java Island.

What is Mount Semeru?
Semeru volcano
Source: Wikipedia

Mount Semeru is an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. This volcano is also known as Mahameru, meaning “The Great Mountain” in Sanskrit.

It is located in a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian plate subducts under the Eurasia plate. It is the highest mountain on the island of Java.

Note: Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

What is the Pacific Ring of Fire?

Click Here to read

Only 31% women own mobile phones, says Oxfam report on India digital divide

Source: The post is based on the article “Only 31% women own mobile phones, says Oxfam report on India digital divide” published in Hindustan Times on 7th December 2022

What is the News?

Oxfam has released a report titled ‘India Inequality Report 2022: Digital Divide’. The report highlights the extent of the digital divide in India and its impact on essential services such as education, health and financial inclusion.

What is Digital Divide?

Digital divide refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to both their opportunities to access information and communication technologies(ICTs) and to their use of the internet for a wide variety of activities.

What are the key findings of the report?

61% of men-owned mobile phones in 2021 compared to just 31% of women. 

Only 31% of the rural population uses the Internet compared to 67% of their urban counterparts.

The reach of digital technologies remains largely limited to male, urban, upper-caste, and upper-class individuals. While 8% of the general caste have access to a computer or a laptop, less than 1% of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 2% of the Scheduled Castes(SC) afford it.

The use of computer devices has decreased in rural areas. While 3% of the rural population used to own a computer before the pandemic, the number slipped to just 1% post-Covid.

The employment status of Indians also proved to be linked to access to digital services as 95% of the permanent salaried workers have phones, as compared to only 50% of the unemployed.

The digital push driven by the pandemic resulted in India experiencing the largest number of real-time digital transactions in 2021 at 48.6 billion. However, the likelihood of a digital payment by the richest 60% is four times more than the poorest 40% in India.

Among states, Maharashtra has the highest internet penetration, followed by Goa and Kerala, while Bihar has the lowest, followed by Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

What are the recommendations given by the report to bridge the digital divide?

a) Improve internet availability in rural and hard-to-reach areas through community networks and public Wi-Fi/ internet access points, b) Improve affordability by investing in digital infrastructure, bringing a strong regulatory framework and lowering taxes on computers and phones, c) Conduct digital literacy camps, especially in rural India, and digitize panchayats and schools, and  d) Grievance redressal mechanism to handle EdTech and Healthtech related complaints.

India prioritises engaging Lusophone world to tap potential

Source: The post is based on the article “India prioritises engaging Lusophone world to tap potential” published in Indian Express on 6th December 2022

What is the News?

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in partnership with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Government of Goa is organizing the International Lusophone Festival in Goa.

What is the Lusophone world?

Lusophones are peoples that speak Portuguese as a native or as a common second language and nations where Portuguese features prominently in society.

The Lusophone world is spread over nine countries across four continents and Portuguese is the most widely-spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere.

What is the Community of Portuguese Language Countries(CPLP)?

CPLP is also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth (Comunidade Lusofona).

Founded in: It is a multilateral forum, founded in 1996 at the 1st CPLP Heads of State & Government Summit in Lisbon. 

Members: The founding members were Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome e Principe; while Timor Leste and Equatorial Guinea joined later. 

– These 9 Lusophone countries comprise approximately 300 million people on 4 different continents (Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe).

India and Lusophone countries: Lusophone economies are among the fastest-growing in the world. India’s trade with the Lusophone world has grown six-fold in the last decade. 

– India joined the CPLP as an associate observer in July 2021. As part of India’s engagement with CPLP, the Ministry of External Affairs celebrated World Portuguese Language Day in Delhi on 5 May 2022.

[Answered] UPSC Mains Answer Writing 13th July 2024 I Mains Marathon

Following are today’s UPSC Mains Marathon Questions. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their mains answer writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. UPSC Mains Answer Writing 13th July 2024 Every morning, we post 2–3 questions based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant… Continue reading [Answered] UPSC Mains Answer Writing 13th July 2024 I Mains Marathon

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India-Austria Relations- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

Recently, the India-Austria relations has assumed significance with the visit of the Indian PM to the European Country. The recent visit of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Vienna was the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Austria since June 1983, when Indira Gandhi travelled to the country. This was the Prime Minister’s first visit… Continue reading India-Austria Relations- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

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SDG India Index Report

Source- This post on the SDG India Index Report has been created based on the article “India shows good progress on SDGs: NITI Aayog report” published in “The Hindu” on 13 July 2024. Why in the news? Recently, NITI Aayog released its fourth evaluation report of India’s progress on the 16 sustainable development goals (SDGs)… Continue reading SDG India Index Report

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MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System) Initiatives

Source- This post on the MeDevIS Initiative has been created based on the article “MeDevIS platform announced to boost access to medical technologies and devices” published on the official website of WHO on 8 July 2024. Why in news? The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System). About MeDevIS 1. MeDevIS… Continue reading MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System) Initiatives

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Supreme Court of India’s thoughts on menstrual leave for women

Source: The post Supreme Court of India’s thoughts on menstrual leave for women has been created, based on the article “For women-friendly workplaces, a larger conversation about menstrual leave is a good starting point” published in “Indian Express” on 13th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2 -Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social… Continue reading Supreme Court of India’s thoughts on menstrual leave for women

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Amendments to Administrative Role of J&K L-G

Source- This post on the Amendments to Administrative Role of J&K L-G has been created based on the article “Centre amends rules to broaden the administrative role of J&K L-G” published in “The Hindu” on 13 July 2024. Why in the news? The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently widened the ambit of the… Continue reading Amendments to Administrative Role of J&K L-G

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Political impact on India’s fertilizer sector

Source: The post political impact on India’s fertilizer sector has been created, based on the article “Explained: Argument for deregulating non-subsidised fertilisers” published in “Indian Express” on 13th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3 -Agriculture -Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies. Context: The article discusses the unlikely prospect of significant reforms in… Continue reading Political impact on India’s fertilizer sector

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Impacts of PDS on household spending

Source: The post Impacts of PDS on household spending has been created, based on the article “The PDS impact on household expenditure” published in “The Hindu” on 13th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- Economy-Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security. Context: The article discusses the impact… Continue reading Impacts of PDS on household spending

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Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas

Source- This post on the Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas is based on the “Centre declares June 25 as ‘Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas” published in “The Hindu” on 13 July 2024. Why in the news? The Union government has declared June 25 as ‘Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas’. Centre Declares June 25 as ‘Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas’ 1. Significance: The day will… Continue reading Samvidhaan Hatya Diwas

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Importance of road safety

Source: The post importance of road safety has been created, based on the article “Crash course: There must be better monitoring of the road-worthiness of transport vehicles” published in “The Hindu” on 13th July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2- Governance-Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their… Continue reading Importance of road safety

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