9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 27th, 2023

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.
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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

Explained | Menstrual leave and its global standing

Source: The post is based on the article Explained | Menstrual leave and its global standing” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Justice

Relevance: issues associated with menstrual policies

News: The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a PIL that sought menstrual leave for workers and students across the country. According to the petition filed, the lack of menstrual leave in certain States is a violation of Article 14.

What is Menstrual leave?

Menstrual leave or period leave refers to all policies that allow employees or students to take time off when they are experiencing menstrual pain or discomfort.

At the workplace, it refers to policies that allow for both paid or unpaid leave, or time for rest.

What are the problems associated with menstrual cycle?

Most women experience a menstrual cycle of 28 days, and a normal cycle may vary from 23 to 35 days. The cycle leads to period pain (dysmenorrhea) for some of the women.

This pain lasts for a couple of days a month for some and for others the pain hampers daily activities and productivity.

It was estimated that employees lost around 8.9 days’ worth of productivity every year due to menstrual-cycle related issues.

Hence, menstrual leave policies are needed to allow leave to women. However, there are different stands on the need of the policy.

What are the different views on menstrual policy?

People supporting policy argue that menstruation is a biological process and women should not be discriminated against it in educational institutions and workplace.

However, others argue that menstrual leaves policies are not required because it will lead to discrimination against women by the employers.

What kind of menstrual leave policies are in place globally?

Spain: Spain recently became the first European country to grant paid menstrual leave to workers.

Japan: Japan introduced menstrual leave as part of labour law in 1947. However, as per a recent study, less than 0.9% of the women had actually taken leave.

Indonesia: It introduced a policy in 1948 which said that workers experiencing menstrual pain are not obliged to work on the first two days of their cycle.

Philippines: Workers are permitted two days of menstrual leave a month.

Taiwan: It has an Act of Gender Equality in Employment. The act says employees have the right to request a day off as period leave every month, at half their regular wage.

There are other countries that allow menstrual leave like the United Kingdom, South Korea, Zambia, China and Wales. Private Companies like Nike and Coexist have introduced menstrual leave as an internal policy.

However, the U.S does not have a formal menstrual leave policy.

What attempts are being made in India?

Private Companies: Companies like Zomato, Swiggy, Byjus have brought menstrual leave policies.

State governments: Bihar and Kerala are the only states to introduce menstrual leave to women. Recently, the Kerala government has also announced that the State’s Higher Education department will now grant menstrual and maternity leaves for students in universities.

Parliamentary measures: The measures taken in the Parliament have been mostly unsuccessful.

For example, The Menstruation Benefits Bill, 2017 was introduced in the Parliament but was disregarded as an unclean topic. Later, the Women’s Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill was introduced in 2018 but wasn’t approved.

However, again The Right of Women to Menstrual Leave and Free Access to Menstrual Health Products Bill, 2022 will be introduced in the Parliament.

It provides for three days of paid leave for women and transwomen during the period of menstruation. It also seeks to extend the benefit for students. As per the Bill, around 40 percent of girls miss school during their periods.

The council and caste – Caste discrimination becomes a political battle in the US

Source: The post is based on an article The council and caste – Caste discrimination becomes a political battle in the US” published in Business Standard on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests.

Relevance: protecting caste in the US

News: Seattle has become the first US city to ban caste discrimination after its local council voted to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws.

What are the implications of this measure?

Some Indian-Americans argue discrimination on the basis of descent or ethnicity is already illegal in many parts of the US and specifying caste focuses more on Indians or Hindus.

Moreover, two different groups of critics have emerged:

First or the right-wing in India sees this attack on caste as essentially an insult to India or to religious practices.

Second group worries that the addition of caste into the law might reduce the attractiveness of Indians and Indian-Americans to companies in the US because US corporations fear lawsuits more than anything.

They also fear that caste discrimination might become ground for action in court. There are already few cases going in the court. For example, one Dalit engineer is suing Cisco for discrimination on the basis of caste.

Hence, this kind of cases might affect Indian-Americans in getting job in the US companies.

What is the way ahead?

Even though there are issues with protecting caste in the US, it is a fact that caste discrimination exists everywhere. Therefore, it should not find a place in the US also and it must be treated on a par with racial and gender discrimination.

Shiv Sena debacle must stand as an important lesson

Source– The post is based on the article “Shiv Sena debacle must stand as an important lesson” published in The Indian Express on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Relevance: Issues relating to political parties

News-  Recently, the ECI recognised the Eknath Shinde faction as the Shiv Sena and ordered that the party name “Shiv Sena” and the bow and arrow symbol should be retained by it.

What are the statutory provisions for deciding the disputes relating to control of parties between rival groups in the party?

As per Section 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, “There may be rival groups of a recognised political party and each of them may claim to be that party. Then, the Commission may decide that one such rival section is that recognised party. The decision of the Commission shall be binding.”

Using the power under this Section, the ECI applies the test of majority support among the members of the “organisational and legislature wings” of the party to decide the dispute.

In its very first test in 1969, EC had used this formula. This was upheld by the Supreme Court in its judgement in Sadiq Ali v. Election Commission of India, 1971 and in several subsequent judgments.

What was the basis of ECI judgement in Shiv Sena case?

The Commission relied on the test of majority. The Shinde faction was able to prove that it had the support of a majority of MLAs and MPs.

The EC found that it could not rely on the test of majority in the organisational wing of the party as claims of numerical majority by both factions were not satisfactory.

As per EC, the “Test of Party Constitution” could not be relied upon. The party had not submitted a copy of its amended constitution in 2018 and the document had become more undemocratic after amendment.

What is the significance of inner-party democracy in regard to this case?

In the Shiv Sena order, the EC underlines the lack of inner-party democracies in political parties. It said it was the root cause of many of the cases that came before it.

The Representation of People Act requires that political parties have a written constitution. They should submit an undertaking stating that the constitution is democratic and promotes inner-party democracy.

The present Shiv Sena debacle is an important lesson to all the other parties of India.

Reducing pain: On menstrual leave

Source: The post is based on the article “Reducing pain: On menstrual leave” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.

Relevance: About menstrual pain leave.

News: Supreme Court of India directed a petitioner to approach the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to frame a policy on menstrual pain leave.

About the case and the observations of the Supreme Court on menstrual pain leave?

A petition has sought the Court’s direction to States to frame rules for granting menstrual pain leave for students and working women. The court in response observed that the biological process must not become a “disincentive” for employers offering jobs to women.

However, the challenges of granting menstrual pain leave include reinforcing negative gender stereotypes and increasing the existing stigma.

What is the status of menstrual pain leave in India and abroad?

In India, Kerala and Bihar have menstrual pain leave; the food delivery app Zomato has also introduced it.

Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Zambia have this policy included in labour laws.

What should be done to ensure gender equality?

The government should pay attention to immediate issues such as the lack of sanitation facilities in schools and at the workplace, especially in the informal sector.

According to World Bank data, between 2010 and 2020 the percentage of working women dropped from 26% to 19%. Hence, the government should provide access to higher education and more opportunities for women.

Many countries are trying out four-day work days for a quality life, while others are offering paternity leave so that parenting can be equally shared and ensure employers do not see recruiting women as a disadvantage. All constraints on the road to gender equality and equity must be addressed.

GS Paper 3

The New Abnormal: Global institutions, consensus are fraying under pressure from protectionism

Source– The post is based on the article “The New Abnormal: Global institutions, consensus are fraying under pressure from protectionism” published in The Indian Express on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy

Relevance: Economic scenario across the world

News- The world economy is undergoing major changes in recent times.

What is happening across the global economy in recent times?

De-globalisation and protectionism has reached new heights in recent times. The environment of growing distrust and reactionary policy actions is worrying.

The supply-side disruptions during the last three years have created problems for the world economy. Countries are adopting policies that build self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

Some policies also aim at exploiting the opportunity and becoming a part of the disrupted global supply chains. Many such policies do not comply with WTO rules.

In the US, “America first” policies are directed at protecting US producers from foreign competition. The Inflation Reduction Act promotes protectionism.

The European Commission has introduced its own Green Deal Industrial Plan. It provides for state aid to help Europe in clean tech products manufacturing.

The EU has also come out with a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to protect its industries from imports from jurisdictions with “less stringent” climate policies.

High global inflation is another unusual phenomenon.

What is the economic scenario in India?

India’s stance on trade policy has been confusing. It has not joined many important free trade agreements in the name of “national interest”. This inward-looking stance contradicts the aspiration to be a part of global value supply chains.

India’s desire to restrict trade with and investments from China hasn’t worked. India’s trade deficit with China has increased to $73 billion in 2021-22 and has reportedly crossed $64 billion during the first nine months of the current financial year.

CPI inflation hasn’t come down to 4%. It has been consistently high in recent months.

Its quest for atmanirbharta has kept import tariffs high. This is leading to a high-cost economy besides bringing in production inefficiencies.

The existing PLI scheme should be critically reviewed and its objectives spelt out.

What are the consequences of economic policies adopted across the world?

The basic structure of the world order is under threat. It was established over decades through trust, multilateral institutions and mutually beneficial and well-intentioned global negotiations.

Towards transparency in OTT regulation

Source– The post is based on the article “Towards transparency in OTT regulation” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy

Relevance: Entertainment and broadcasting industry

News- It has been two years since the government issued the Information Technology

(Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules through which the Ministry of I&B was given the task of regulating content on OTT and online platforms.

What is the regulatory approach followed by India in case of OTT platforms?

India’s approach can be termed as a light touch ‘co regulation’ model. There is ‘self regulation’ at the industry level and final ‘oversight mechanism’ at the Ministry level.

The Rules provide for a grievance redressal mechanism and a code of ethics.

They mandate access control mechanisms. It includes parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher and a reliable age verification mechanism for programmes classified as ‘A’ (18+).

The current Rules provide for the Inter ­Departmental Committee as the final tier. It comprises officer nominees from various ministries of the Central government, and domain experts.

It recommends the course of action on OTT content violations. The Secretary of the Ministry is competent to take the final decision.

What are issues related to OTT regulations?

There is little awareness about OTT rules among the general public. The Rules mandate the display of contact details relating to grievance redressal mechanisms and grievance officers on OTT websites/interface. However, compliance is very low.

In many cases, either the complaint redressal information is not published or published in a manner that makes it difficult for a user to notice easily.

What is the way forward for OTT regulations?

There is a need for ensuring uniformity in the way OTT publishers display key information relating to their obligations, timelines for complaint redressal, contact details of grievance officers. The manner, text, language and frequency for display of vital information could be enshrined in the Rules.

The OTT industry associations could be mandated to run periodic campaigns in print and electronic media about the grievance redressal mechanism.

The interpretation of age rating and the content descriptors could be in the respective languages of the video.

Further, age ratings and content descriptors could be shown prominently in full­screen mode for a mandatory minimum duration instead of a few seconds. Such a rule exists for films under the Cinematograph Act.

There is a need for clear guidelines to ensure that a film’s classification and rating is shown  prominently and legibly in advertisements and promos of OTT content.

A periodic audit of the actual existence and efficacy of age verification mechanisms and the display of grievance redressal details by each OTT platform may be undertaken by an independent body.

The full description of complaints received by OTT providers and self regulatory bodies and decisions given by them may be published in the public domain. Now, the reporting formats only capture the number of complaints received and decided

The Ministry could consider facilitating a dedicated umbrella website for publishing the details of applicable Rules, content codes, advisories, contact details for complaints and appeals.

There is a need for establishing a statutory body for regulating broadcast content. The Inter ­Departmental Committee Membership may be made more broad based and representative till the constitution of such body.

There is no provision for disclosure or publication of an apology and warning on the platform or website. This may be incorporated in the Rules. Financial penalties on erring entities may also be provided.

India’s OTT regulatory model should be efficacious combination of self regulation and legal backing.

RBI’s provisioning rule proposal for bad loans is good for banks

Source– The post is based on the article “RBI’s provisioning rule proposal for bad loans is good for banks” published in the mint on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy and mobilisation of resources

Relevance: Issues related to banking sector

News- The Reserve Bank of India recently proposed to adopt the Expected Credit Loss (ECL) approach under the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS-9).

What is the current RBI approach for NPAs?

RBI regulations consider non-payment of 90-plus days for classifying an asset as “non-performing”. Banks are currently making provisions after assets are identified as non-performing.

For provisioning, Indian banks are subjected to a gradual age-wise provision rule for sub-standard assets. It starts from 15% in the first year and goes to 100% in the fourth year. This is irrespective of whether collateral is available or not.

What are some facts about Expected Credit Loss?

An Expected Credit Loss is defined as a loss anticipated on a credit exposure or credit portfolio due to defaults expected to occur during the normal course of business.

The major inputs of ECL are: a) Probability of Default (PD); b) Exposure at Default (EAD); and c) Loss Given Default (LGD).

The PD is an estimate of the likelihood of default over a given time horizon.

EAD provides an estimate of the exposure at a future default date, taking into account expected changes in the exposure after the reporting date.

LGD is an estimate of the percentage loss arising from default. It is based on the difference between the contractual cash flows due and those that the lender would expect to receive, including from any collateral.

What are some facts about the Expected Credit Loss approach for NPAs?

ECL-based provisioning norms under IFRS-9 require institutions to use point-in-time projections of PDs, LGDs and EADs.

The new financial accounting system requires banks and other financial institutions to internally model the key elements of their credit risk loss, stay forward-looking and derive more risk-sensitive measures for loan-loss provisions.

IFRS-9 or Ind-AS-109 accounting standards explicitly require provisions and loss allowances to be made as per ECL data. RBI’s prescribed expected credit loss principle is in line with the IFRS-9 standard.

ECL-based provisions are to be applied at origination and for all subsequent reporting periods of loan assets till their de-recognition.

Three stages have been specified under the new accounting standard to determine the amount of impairment to be recognized as ECL at each reporting date.

For Stage 1 assets that at initial recognition show low credit risk on the reporting date, a 12-month ECL based provisioning is applicable.

Banks need to assess at each reporting date whether the credit risk on a corporate loan has increased significantly since initial recognition. Thus, the asset reaches Stage 2. At this stage, allowances are to be made based on lifetime analysis of any expected loss.

If the loan is credit impaired, it will be put under Stage 3. The standard requires that provisions be based on lifetime expected losses with the probability of default taken as 100%.

What are the positive aspects of ECL based provisioning approach for NPAs?

The new accounting standards aim to simplify and strengthen risk measurement and the reporting of financial instruments in an efficient and forward-looking manner.

The ECL based provision measure will enable banks to more pro- actively identify credit impairment and make necessary loss provisions.

Early detection of a significant increase in credit risk may incentivize banks to go in for better credit portfolio planning and lower their prospective non-performing asset burdens.

The ECL methodology takes into account historical PD trends as well as current and future economic scenarios and predictions. Thus, it significantly changes the incentives of banks by inclining them to manage and dispose of bad loans much more actively.

Heat alert – No apparent impact, but March weather crucial for wheat

Source: The post is based on the article “Heat alert – No apparent impact, but March weather crucial for wheat” published in Business Standard on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints.

Relevance: About wheat production and food inflation.

News: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted the temperature to be two to five degrees Celsius above normal in the major wheat-growing states for a few days.

What will be the impact of temperature rise on the Wheat crop?

Last year, the heat wave depressed wheat productivity by 2.5%, raising wheat prices above the minimum support price level, and denying the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other agencies to meet their wheat-procurement targets.

Hence, the government set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee of officials and farm experts to constantly monitor the crop and weather situation and issue timely advisories for the farmers to cope with the contingencies.

What are the steps taken by the government to control food inflation?

The management of food inflation has been fuelled partly by the high prices of cereals.

The government is reducing it by a) banning exports and releasing grains from public stock holding at concessional rates, b) The FCI has offloaded 5 million tonnes of wheat in the markets.

What should be done to further manage food inflation effectively?

Due to steps taken to reduce food inflation, the state reserves have dipped to their minimum level since 2017. Hence, the government should pay attention to the public stocks as further dropdown might challenge the needs of the vast public distribution system and welfare schemes.

The government’s wheat-price management policies seem to have got tilted towards the consumer to the detriment of the producer. This could prove counterproductive by hurting the wheat farmers. The government needs to strike a balance between the interests of the consumer and the grower.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mad cow disease case halts Brazil’s beef exports to China: What is it?

Source: The post is based on the article “Mad cow disease case halts Brazil’s beef exports to China: What is it?” published in Hindustan Times on 23rd February 2023.

What is the News?

Recently, Brazil has halted its beef exports to China after a case of Mad Cow Disease was confirmed in China. It will have a massive impact as China is the main destination for Brazil’s beef exports.

What is Mad Cow Disease?

It is a degenerative, transmissible, slowly progressive, and fatal infection that affects the central nervous system of adult cattle. It is also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Causes: It is caused by a protein called a prion normally found on cell surfaces. The normal prion protein changes into an abnormal prion protein that is harmful. After getting altered, these proteins destroy the nervous system tissue-the brain and spinal cord.

Note: The reason for the abnormal prion formation is still unknown.

Transmission: A cow gets BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE.

Symptoms: A sick cow has trouble walking and getting up and may also act very nervous or violent. Once a cow starts to show symptoms, it gets sicker and sicker until it dies, usually within two weeks to six months.

It usually takes four to six years from the time a cow is infected with the abnormal prion to when it first shows symptoms of BSE. This is called the incubation period. During the incubation period, there is no way to tell that a cow has BSE by looking at it.

Treatment: There is no treatment and no vaccine to prevent BSE.

The body of a sick cow does not even know the abnormal prion is there. Without knowing, the cow’s body cannot fight off the disease.

Blue foods can help India improve nutrition, livelihood: Study

Source: The post is based on the article “Blue foods can help India improve nutrition, livelihood: Study” published in Indian Express on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

According to a study, blue food can reduce nutritional deficiencies and contribute to employment and export revenue in India.

What is Blue Food?

Blue food is a food derived from aquatic animals, plants or algae that are caught or cultivated in freshwater and marine environments.

Importance of Blue Food: Blue food generates lower emissions compared to terrestrial meat and can also be used to address vitamin B12 and omega-3 deficiencies. 

– Blue food over red meat overconsumption could reduce cardiovascular diseases. 

– Additionally, blue foods have revenue potential for the global south and indigenous communities in the global north.

What are the issues faced by Blue Food?

Firstly, Bycatch is a significant challenge. It refers to the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing nets, which can lead to the death of these animals.

Secondly, the presence of pollutants such as heavy metals, PCBs and microplastics in the ocean can affect the quality and safety of seafood.

Thirdly, mislabeling and fraud also pose risks to consumers with cheaper fish sometimes sold as more expensive varieties, potentially leading to health problems. 

Fourthly, according to the World Bank, almost 90% of global marine fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished.

What are the suggestions given by the study?

Governments, NGOs, and the private sector should work together to increase awareness about the benefits of blue food and its potential to address malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation.

Fishing practices that are unsustainable, such as overfishing, destructive fishing methods, and bycatch, need to be addressed to ensure that fish stocks are not depleted and the marine ecosystem is protected.

Governments can encourage the development of sustainable aquaculture practices by providing technical assistance, training, and incentives. 

As part of Banjara community outreach, Union government to mark Sant Sevalal Maharaj Jayanti

Source: The post is based on the article “As part of Banjara community outreach, Union government to mark Sant Sevalal Maharaj Jayanti” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

The Government of India is celebrating the birth anniversary of Banjara community icon Santh Sevalal Maharaj Jayanti for the first time at a national level.

Who is Sevalal Maharaj?

Santh Sevalal Maharaj was born on 15 February 1739 at Surgondankoppa in Shivamogga district of Karnataka. 

He is considered a social reformer and spiritual teacher of the Banjara community. 

His final resting place or Samadhi is situated at Pohradevi in Maharashtra’s Washim district, also known as Banjara Kashi.

Who are Banjaras?

The Banjara (also known as Lambadi, Gour Rajput, Labana) are a historically nomadic trading tribe who may have origins in Rajasthan.

They have settled across the country with different names and have permanently abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and settled in their settlements called Tandas.

They are now mainly distributed in Maharastra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal States and living in all the other States except the North-Eastern States and Union Territories. 

They speak Gor Boli also called Lambadi which belongs to the Indo-Aryan Group of Languages.

Banjara people celebrate the festival of Teej during Shravanam (in the month of august). In this festival young unmarried Banjara girls pray for a good groom.

Fire dance and Chari are the traditional dance forms of the banjara people.

Decoding the $5 billion defence exports target, which PM Modi spoke of at Aero India 2023

Source: The post is based on the article “Decoding the $5 billion defence exports target, which PM Modi spoke of at Aero India 2023” published in Indian Express on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

The Ministry of Defence has a target to raise India’s annual defence exports to $5 billion by 2024-25, from the $1.5 billion currently.

About India’s Defence export figures

As per government data, India’s defence export value till December 2022 had reached Rs 6,058 crore.

India’s defence exports have grown by 334% in the past five years. They had touched nearly Rs 13,000 crore in 2021-22.

Which defence items does India export?

The major defence items being exported are Personal Protective items, Offshore Patrol Vessels, ALH Helicopter, SU Avionics, Bharati Radio, Coastal Surveillance Systems, Kavach Launcher, Spares for Radar, Electronic System and Light Engineering Mechanical Parts among others.

What are the major countries India is planning to export defence items?

According to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report 2022, India is among the top 25 exporters of major arms. 

Myanmar has been the biggest importer of Indian arms at 50 per cent during the 2017-2021 period, followed by Sri Lanka at 25 per cent and Armenia at 11 per cent.

In 2022, India signed a $375 million contract with the Philippines to export the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. 

Armenia also inked a government-to-government deal in 2022 to buy the DRDO-developed Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, rockets and ammunition. 

India is now in talks with Argentina and Egypt among other countries to export its indigenous LCA Tejas. 

eSanjeevani app a great boon for people, says PM

Source: The post is based on the article “eSanjeevani app a great boon for people, says PM” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat address, said experiments such as eSanjeevani application had ensured medical services to people living in far-flung areas of the country.

What is eSanjeevani?

eSanjeevani is a national free telemedicine service that strives to provide an alternative to conventional physical consultations via the digital platform.

eSanjeevani allows for both ‘doctor-to-doctor’ and ‘patient-to-doctor’ teleconsultation.

Working: It establishes a virtual link between the beneficiary and the doctor or specialist at the hub, which will be a tertiary healthcare facility. This network’s spoke would be a paramedic or generalist at a health and wellness centre.

– It allows for real-time virtual consultations between doctors and specialists at the hub and the beneficiary (via paramedics) at the spoke.

– The e-prescription generated at the conclusion of the session is used to obtain medications.

Significance: eSanjeevani is currently operational in approximately 50,000 health and wellness centres across the country.

– More than 57% of e-Sanjeevani beneficiaries are women, with only about 12% being senior citizens.

Supreme Court intrigued by the lack of ‘protection officers’ for domestic violence cases

Source: The post is based on the article “Supreme Court intrigued by the lack of ‘protection officers’ for domestic violence cases” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has sought more information about Mission Shakti because it is concerned about a persistent lack of protection officers to handle domestic violence cases.

Note: Currently, 4.4 lakh cases of domestic violence are pending in 801 districts, a protection officer in each of these districts would be saddled with over 500 cases.

What is Mission Shakti?

Click Here to read

What are protection officers?

Appointment of protection officers (ideally women) is mandated under Section 8 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

These officers have a pivotal role: Help victims file complaints, Give Information to the police, provide immediate protection and support, Inform victims about their legal rights and Support them through the court proceedings.

What has the Supreme Court asked the government?

Mission Shakti provides “one-stop centers” in most of the districts to receive domestic violence victims. But it is unclear how many of them employ protection officers.

Hence, the Supreme Court has asked the government about whether Mission Shakti will serve as an umbrella scheme for implementing the Domestic Violence Act as it is concerned about a persistent lack of protection officers to handle domestic violence cases.

Within Earth’s inner core may lurk an ‘innermost’, fifth layer

Source: The post is based on the articleWithin Earth’s inner core may lurk an ‘innermost’, fifth layerpublished in Times Now on 26th February 2023

What is the News?

Seismologists at The Australian National University(ANU) have documented the evidence of a distinct fifth layer of earth at the centremost part of Earth— the “innermost inner core”.

About the research

Previously, many researchers believed that Earth had four distinct layers — the crust, the mantle, a liquid outer core and a solid inner core. 

But in the past couple of decades, scientists have proposed that the inner core actually consists of two layers, referred to as the inner core and the innermost inner core. 

Two Harvard seismologists, Miaki Ishii and Adam Dziewonski, first proposed the idea of the innermost inner core in 2002.

What did the researchers find about the innermost inner core?

The Innermost Inner core is a 400-mile-wide (644-kilometre-wide) ball of metal.

It exists in a solid state as an alloy of iron and nickel because of the extreme pressure at the centre of the Earth.

Its temperature is estimated to be about 5,500-6,000 degrees (Celsius/9,930-10,830 Fahrenheit), similar to the sun’s surface temperature.

It has a distinct anisotropy, which is a property of a substance that allows it to take on different characteristics depending on the angle from which it’s approached.

The reason this layer had not been previously observed in more detail is because its composition is so similar to what lies above it.

The sophisticated anatomy of heat waves

Source: The post is based on the article “The sophisticated anatomy of heat waves” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that the maximum temperatures over northwest, west, and central India would be 35 °C higher than the long-term average.

What are Heat Waves?

According to the IMD, a region has a heat wave if its ambient temperature deviates by at least 4.5­-6.4°C from the long-term average. There is also a heat wave if the maximum temperature crosses 45°C (or 37°C at a hill station).

How do Heat Waves originate in India?

A study published in Nature Geoscience offers explanations as to how different processes contribute to the formation of a heat wave. (The study’s findings have been adapted here to the Indian context):

In spring, India typically has air flowing in from the west-northwest. The Middle East is warming faster than other regions in latitudes similarly close to the equator and serves as a source of the warm air that blows into India.

Air flowing in from the northwest rolls in over the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so some of the compression also happens on the leeward side of these mountains, entering India with a bristling warmth.

The air flowing over the oceans is also expected to bring cooler air, but the Arabian Sea is warming faster than most other ocean regions.

The strong upper atmospheric westerly winds that come in from the Atlantic Ocean over to India during spring control the near-surface winds. The energy to run past the earth near the surface, against the surface friction, can only come from above. This descending air compresses and warms up to generate some heat waves.

Global warming also tends to warm the upper atmosphere faster than the air near the surface. This in turn means that the sinking air is warmer due to global warming and thus produces heat waves as it sinks and compresses.

How do La Nina and El Nino impact Heat waves?

Heat waves are expected to become longer and more intense and more frequent over the Indian subcontinent.

In 2022 itself, the heat waves started early and were more numerous. They also extended further south into peninsular India due to a north-south pressure pattern set up by the La Ni-ña. 

2023 is expected to be an El Nino year. Heat waves tend to be confined to north and north-west India in El Niño years.

Surya Nutan: Smoke signals from the renewable energy sphere

Source: The post is based on the article “Smoke signals from the renewable energy spherepublished in The Hindu on 27th February 2023

What is the News?

The formal launch of the Indian Oil Corporation’s Surya Natan solar cook-stove at the India Energy Week 2023 must be looked at closely from the point of view of India’s national energy story.

What is Surya Natan?

Surya Nutan is a Stationary, rechargeable, and always kitchen-connected indoor solar cooking.

Developed by: Indian Oil Corporation(IOC)

Working: Surya Nutan works in a Hybrid Mode (i.e. can work on both solar & auxiliary energy sources simultaneously) which makes it a reliable cooking solution.

– In solar mode, the stove collects energy from the sun, converts it into heat through a specially designed heating element, stores thermal energy in a scientifically proven thermal battery and reconverts the energy for use in indoor cooking. The energy captured not just covers the daytime cooking needs of a family of four but also the night meal.

Significance: Surya Nutan can be used in all weather and seasons including when the Sun is not available for long durations or for continuous days, such as monsoons and extreme winters.

– Insulation design of Surya Nutan minimizes radiative and conductive heat losses.

– Surya Nutan is a low or no-maintenance system and the product has a long life.

– The stove which entails a one-time procurement cost and has zero maintenance, is being touted as a substitute for fossil fuels. It does not have a traditional battery that needs replacement. Also, the solar panel has a 25-year life.

[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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