9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 19th, 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.
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Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Genocide convention: Preventing genocide

Source: This post is based on the article “Preventing genocide” published in The Hindu on 19th January 2022.

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

Relevance: Understanding the provisions of genocide.

News: Speeches of Yati Narsinghanand have ignited the debate of hate speech. The Speeches called for violence against Muslims, a clear threat to minorities. This also goes against India’s international legal obligations like the convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide of 1948, which has been signed and ratified by India.

What is genocide convention?

The word Genocide is credited to Raphael Lemkin who also campaigned for its international treaty. General assembly resolution 96(I) against genocide was co-sponsored by Cuba and India. This resulted in a convention against genocide in 1948 which came into effect in 1951 with more than 150 states party to the convention. Its provisions include:

1. Article I: prevent genocide and punish genocide, 2. Article V: enact legislation to give effect to the convention, effective penalties for those guilty of the crime, 3. Article VI: try those charged with genocide in a competent tribunal.

What is the international legal development related to the genocide convention?

Recently, Gambia initiated proceedings against Myanmar in International Court of Justice. It raised a key point that even though a state may not be affected, it can still raise the issue of genocide against each other state.

Also read: ICJ orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide

The ICJ had previously addressed the question of violation of genocide convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro. In the final judgement, The court found a breach of the convention by Serbia.

What is the status of the genocide convention in India?

Instead of a key sponsor of the General Assembly resolution condemning genocide, India still has not enacted any legislation in accordance with Article VI of the Genocide Convention. Also, India is in violation of its international obligation to criminalise genocide within its domestic law per Articles V, VI and VII.

Indian Penal Code provisions relating to rioting, unlawful assembly and ‘promoting enmity between different groups’ do not incorporate the basic elements of the crime of genocide.

The convention calls for prevention and creating the conditions in which such hate speech and other associated acts are not allowed to flourish, which may facilitate the commission of genocide. Indian laws do not consist of this key aspect of the Genocide Convention.

Given these, it is important to incorporate legal provisions against genocide into domestic laws.

ForumIAS is now in Hyderabad. Click here to know more

Deepening debt crisis in SL strokes crisis over Chinese lending

Source: This post is based on the article “Deepening debt crisis in SL strokes crisis over Chinese lending” published in the Livemint on 19th January 2022.

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

Relevance: Understanding the debt crisis of Sri Lanka.

News: Sri Lanka struggling financially to pay for its imports. This raised questions about Chinese lending to the South Asian nations as part of its Belt and Road initiative programme.

Why Sri Lanka is struggling financially?

Sri Lanka’s key foreign exchange earners, tourists and remittances from abroad were hit hard by the pandemic. So, it declared an economic emergency in the state because of decade-high inflation, weak currency and high imports.

According to Fitch, currency foreign reserves were depleted to $1.6bn, enough to cover less than a month of imports. Also, Rating firms like Moody, Fitch and standard have also downgraded the country’s sovereign credit score into the junk category. It does not have sufficient reserves to import essential products like fuel, medicine etc.

Read more: Dealing with Sri Lanka
Why Sri Lanka is blaming China for its economic crisis?

According to Sri Lankan Central bank data, as of the end of 2020, Sri Lanka has about $3.5bn in debt from China excluding loans from state enterprises. In which, about 36% of its debt is owed through international sovereign bonds. Sri Lankan government was also unable to repay the loan for the Hambantota Port which was built by Chin and so gave it on a 99-year lease to it.

Sri Lanka accused China to push it into a debt trap to expand China’s sphere of political influence and use Sri Lanka to achieve the ambition of becoming the world power at the cost of the lives of innocent people. It requested China to restructure its debt, provide concessional trade terms and lift Covid related restrictions on Chinese tourists visiting Sri Lanka

What is China response to the crisis in Sri Lanka?
Read more: China-Sri Lanka ties: ‘No one should interfere in China-Lanka ties’
How India can make use of the opportunity in its favour?

The crisis has opened opportunities which India cashed in by providing $500 mn. It was the first major tranche of $4.5 bn of sovereign debt repayments in 2022. Both countries are also in talks of Indian loans totalling $1.5 bn for essential commodities, fuel, food and medicine.

Read more: Friend in need: On India-Sri Lanka ties

 

Why do Indian do so well abroad

Source: This post is based on the article “Why do Indians do so well abroad” published in the Indian Express on 19th January 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Human resources.

Relevance: Understanding the reasons behind Indians doing well in abroad and not in India.

News: In times of hyper-nationalism, there comes an interesting note on who is ruling the world. Currently, CEOs of many companies are Indians including Microsoft, Twitter etc. Also, many Indians can be found heading important political positions across the global level, for instance, Kamala Harris Vice President of the USA, Yasmin Trudeau as a state senator of the USA.

Why Indian people migrated to the West?

People of Indian origin outperform everyone when they migrate to the west. The main reason for Indian people to do well in the West is the policies adopted by these countries like diversity, equity, inclusion and adoption of multiculturalism in their societies.

Looking at poverty, food insecurity, inequality in India, the migrated persons wonder about the greatness of the country they migrated to rather than the greatness of India. Moreover, in the World Happiness Report, India ranks alongside countries like Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen.

Must read: Brain drain from India – Explained, pointwise
Why Indians are unable to achieve well in India?

India has an unparalleled history of multiculturalism. It is the land where thousands of languages were spoken, which marks the birth of four of the world’s major religions, provide shelter to the others, and many more things.

But today, India is struggling with various fault lines like tension between communities, violence replacing the arts, culture and faith as the language of identity, and homogenisation is replacing diversity as the defining feature of our nationhood.

There is less representation of minorities in public institutions, rewriting of history to re-frame some of our customs as being foreign, demonisation of diverse food habits and customs, terror threatening cohabitation and marriage between communities is visible in India.

Read more: What are the implications of Emigration of India’s brightest youth?
What should India do to perform better?

From 2016 to 2019, the number of young Indians who fled the country to study abroad increased by 40% and this count can increase further. To stop this, India should adopt policies that embrace diversity and reaffirm the commitment to embrace, celebrate and protect this very essence of our nation.

Read more: What India’s student exodus means 

GS Paper 3

BS Number Wise: India’s labour, capital paradox

Source: This post is based on the article “BS Number Wise: India’s labour, capital paradox” published in Business Standard on 19th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Growth, Development, and Employment

Relevance: Labour productivity, Lewis model of economic development

News: Many sectors in India are showing improvements in labor productivity. On the other hand, employing a lesser number of laborers with no improvement in capital investment. This article shows how India is reinforcing Lewis’s argument about labor productivity.

What was Arthur Lewis model of development?

In 1954, Arthur Lewis presented a model to explain economic development in developing countries.

Stage 1: There is surplus labour in agriculture in developing countries.

Stage 2: Due to the transformation of economies, labour would move from agriculture to manufacturing. Hence, Agriculture labour productivity would improve.

Stage 3: Finally, wages would increase in agriculture and fall in manufacturing, which will bring parity.

Singapore proved to be a successful example of the Lewis model.

How India is reinforcing Lewis’s argument about labour productivity?

First, employment in Indian agriculture is falling, and labour productivity is rising. However, the improved productivity is not the result of technological changes.

Second, data from the capital (K), labour (L), energy (E), materials (M), and service (S) inputs (KLEMS) released by the Reserve Bank of India, shows that there has been no significant capital investment in agriculture either.

Third, In India, Labour productivity improved between 2008-09 and 2018-19, but the impact was not even.

Fourth, nine sectors saw a fall in employment. The output per worker improved because fewer people were employed.

For example, textiles. The share of capital income in gross value added decreased. That is why India lost out to its peers in textile exports.

Fifth, a decrease in capital income share indicates that either these sectors were not too dependent on technology or were more reliant on labor. It also suggests a reduction in inequality, but the Gini coefficient shows otherwise.

Sixth, wages across sectors are nowhere near parity in India because improved labour productivity is not due to improved production in India.

For example, in agriculture, productivity increased due to lower employment and not because of workers improving efficiency.

What is the way forward?

First, there is a need for significant improvement in technology.

Second, the government needs to focus on measuring development. The KLEMS database also shows the inadequacy of data.


Assure basic scientific research its due supply of oxygen

Source: This post is based on the article “Assure basic scientific research its due supply of oxygen” published in Livemint on 19th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life

Relevance: Significance of basic science, Role of NRF in development of basic science

News: Investment in basic science has helped the USA. Similarly, National Research Foundation (NRF) can help India in basic scientific research.

How investment in science helped the USA?

In 1941, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). It was given unlimited access to funds with a broad mandate to supervise the conduct of scientific research for military purposes. Its director reported directly to the president.

What was the significance of OSRD?

OSRD had spent over $450 million during the war and developed technologies, antibiotics, blood substitutes, radar, and explosives.

The OSRD contributed to the Allied victory. Also, Bush’s influence on the post-war conduct of science remains his lasting legacy.

How Bush influenced Science?

He favoured government investment in basic scientific research that could not be carried out in its laboratories. It was because basic research was performed without thinking about the practical ends.

Bush’s report ultimately led to the establishment of the National Science Foundation (NSF). It has led to the most remarkable advances of recent times. For example, magnetic resonance imaging, 3D printing, liquid crystal displays, and CRISPR for gene editing.

What is the status of scientific research in India?

One, India has many scientific accomplishments, but it has not adopted the NSF approach to encourage basic scientific research.

Two, India has delivered far less than potential and nearly all scientific achievements have either come from government institutions or through the investment of private capital.

Three, in the 2021 budget announcement, India’s National Research Foundation (NRF) was allocated a budget of ₹50,000 crores over five years. Now, for the first time, a dedicated fund for investment in scientific research will be established.

How NRF can boost basic science?

First, ensure that all projects taken up by the NRF are assured of the stability of funding. It gives scientists the confidence to undertake long-term research.

Second, projects funded by the NRF should be protected against changes in government and shifting political priorities. NRF funds once granted should not be vulnerable to being revoked at the whims of the political class.

Third, NRF funded projects should have the operational autonomy, needed to be able to determine the methods and scope of their research.

Fourth, basic research should be free to proceed, unlike other government projects where funds are provided against quantified targets.

Fifth, NRF funds should not make their way to government laboratories as they are subjected to the pressure of achieving specific targets.

What is the way forward?

First, NRF has just a fraction of the funding compared to NSF. But if it is deployed strategically, it could go a long way towards improving basic scientific research in the country.

Second, India has a long history of excellence in basic research and now there is a need to nourish that expertise.

Third, the government should make it a priority to move its research projects to research institutions where they can receive the attention they deserve.


Farm reforms need not be a lost cause in India

Source: This post is based on the article “Farm reforms need not be a lost cause in India” published in Livemint on 19th Jan 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies

Relevance: Need to give Agri reforms a fresh chance, Issues with farm loan waiver

News: Recently, a lawsuit against the Patiala Central Cooperative Bank was heard by India’s Supreme Court. This case drew attention to an attitudinal problem in the farm sector.

What is the issue between farmers and Patiala Central Cooperative Bank?

The bank sought to pay less compensation than what was ordered by a High Court. The bank gave an argument that such cases would cause financial distress because farmers are not repaying the loans. It is because they are expecting a waiver once a new administration takes charge after next month’s Punjab polls.

The apex court saw merit in this and hence lessened the bank’s burden. It highlights the issue of poor credit discipline.

How farm loan waiver is a cause of concern?

First, vote bank politics over the decades have reinforced this informal social contract. Hence, farmers are not at fault to view loan waivers as bonus or part of an unstated social contract with the state.

For example, a farm-loan waiver declared during 2009 general election by Centre worth ₹60,000 crore helped the party in retaining power. Thus, it became a tool in the hands of political parties.

Second, all waivers usually impose fiscal costs that are usually unaffordable. Also, such an approach is bad for lenders and also discourages farm reforms.

Finally, these facilities have turned the cultivators more into state suppliers instead of business units that maximize earnings by adjusting the market constraints. It is causing stagnancy in this sector. Demand and supply are increasingly misaligned.

What is the way forward?

First, use such write-offs for a bigger reason.

Second, loans should not be mistaken for grants, and they should be an elementary aspect of any reform exercise.

Third, prices set by freely-traded agricultural crops should play the role of reformists, which signals scarcities and overflows. It would help farmers to adapt their expenses and effort to market reality.

Fourth, Insurers and future deals can help in reducing risks.

Fifth, Reform-minded states should take up a model bill drafted by the Centre in 2017 and secure farmers from exploitation by private buyer cartels.


Grow the pie-Rising Inequality per se isn’t a problem if economic growth raises income over all

SourceThis post is based on the article “Grow the pie-Rising Inequality per se isn’t a problem if economic growth raises income over all” published in Times of India on 19th Jan 2022.  

Syllabus– GS3-Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. 

Relevance– Inequality, Inclusive growth,  

News 

Oxfam International and its India unit have recently brought out reports on inequality.  

However, the are some apprehensions regarding this report. 

What are the issues with the Oxfam report? 

Problem with measure of inequality-Oxfam has used wealth, not income, as the parameter. 

The problem with this approach is that it is heavily dependent on the market value of financial assets, which fluctuate almost every minute.  

Issues linked to some of its suggestion-Although its suggestion for need of good quality statistics is appropriate, it’s another suggestion on wealth tax is problematic. 

Report suggests a temporary 1% surcharge on the richest 10%. 

What has been India’s experience with wealth tax? 

India used to levy a wealth tax but it was abolished in the 2015 Union Budget. It had no or very little impact, for example, in 2015, GoI could raise only Rs 1,079 crore as wealth tax.  

That is, just Rs 1.4 for every Rs 1,000 that accrued through direct taxes. Also, there are practical difficulties in taxing wealth. 

What is a better alternative to reduce inequality? 

India should focus on economic growth and economic mobility, instead of messy taxation laws. 

This confirms well with the saying that a rising tide lifts all boat up. India should focus on increasing economic growth to reduce inequality. For example, Post-1991, the rise in India’s economic growth lifted millions out of poverty even as inequality widened.  


The Silver Line project is anti-development

Source – This post is based on the article “The Silver Line project is anti-development” published in The Hindu on 19th Jan 2022.  

Syllabus– GS 3- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. 

Relevance– Ecological and economical aspects of government initiatives. 

News 

Kerala government has recently announced a rail project named Silver Line. 

This has received some aversive reactions from ecologists, engineers, activists and citizens which include Madhav Gadgil, E. Sreedharan, Prashant Bhushan and Medha Patkar, etc. 

What are the concerns regarding Silverline project? 

Concern of flooding– Mr. Sreedharan, perhaps India’s most famous railway engineer has put forth the view that the proposed project can lead to environmental disaster, mainly through flooding. 

Concerns were also raised regarding absence of a detailed project report, Kerala government has till now uploaded a related document on a restricted site. 

Threat to ecological security– Professor Gadgil, India’s pre-eminent ecologist, has spoken about the ecological damage this project can cause.  

Economically unviable-There is also a concern that the Silver Line project may end up becoming economically unviable. 

There are concerns that the cost of the complementary infrastructure, such as underpasses, may not have been incorporated. 

Kerala already has high per capita public debt and cannot afford to be caught up in an unprofitable project. 

Also, there can be no monetary measure of the environmental threat posed by the project. 

What can be the alternative for this? 

In a democracy, the government must be guided by public opinion as there is no point in introducing a project for the citizens which they are not welcoming of. 

There are also concerns regarding the necessity of the project as the two extremities of the State are already connected by road and rail and it already has the highest road density in the country.  

Government should instead focus on projects involving steady power supply based on green energy, the provision of safe drinking water and urban sewerage, and building infrastructure for the scientific disposal of waste.  

These projects would address the most pressing needs of today, yield high social returns and will also contain environmental degradation. 


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Explained: The Ravidassias of Punjab

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: The Ravidassias of Punjab” published in the Indian Express on 19th January 2022.

What is the news?

Recently, the Punjab elections have been postponed to 20th February from the earlier 14th February. This was done because of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti, an annual occasion during which Ravidassias travel to Varanasi in large numbers.

Who is Guru Ravidas and who are considered as Ravidassias?

Guru Ravidas was a mystic poet-saint of the Bhakti Movement from the 15th and 16th centuries. He founded the Ravidassia religion. It is believed that he was born in Varanasi in a cobbler’s family. He gained prominence due to his belief in one God and his unbiased religious poems. His devotional songs made an instant impact on the Bhakti Movement. Around 41 of his poems were included in ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, the religious text of the Sikhs.

Read more: About Guru Ravidas

Ravidassias are a dalit community, mostly live in the doaba region of Punjab. The Dera Sachkhand Ballan, is their largest dera with 20 lakh followers worldwide.

Why do devotees visit Varanasi to celebrate Guru Ravidas Jayanti?

After identifying the birthplace of Guru Ravidas at Seer Goverdhanpur village near Banaras Hindu University, the dera established the temple there.

Since then, several followers started visiting the temple and, gradually, it became a practice to celebrate Guru Ravidas Jayanti in Varanasi.

How did the Dera Sachkhand Ballan establish?

It was founded in the early 20th century by Baba Sant Pipal Das. After the death of Sant Pipal Das, his son Sant Sarwan Das headed the dera from 1928 to 1972. There have been three more heads Sant Hari Das, Sant Garib Das and Sant Niranjan Das after that and none was chosen by heredity.

The dera severed their decades-old ties with Sikhism in 2010 and announced to follow the Ravidassia religion. It replaced Guru Granth Sahib with its own granth, Amritbani, carrying 200 hymns of Guru Ravidas, in Ravidassia temples and gurdwaras.

What was the reason behind severing ties with Sikhism?

There had been a deadly attack by fundamentalists on Shri Guru Ravidas Temple in Vienna in 2009. They killed the Dera Sachkhand Ballan’s then second-in-command, Sant Ramanand, and injured 30 people.

The Vienna attack triggered riots in doaba, mainly in Jalandhar, where a curfew was imposed for 15 days. This event led to severing Ravidas community ties with Sikhism. Ravidassias even demanded a separate column for their religion in the 2021 Census.


Explained: The Devas-Antrix deal and its aftermath

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: The Devas-Antrix deal and its aftermath” published in the Indian Express on 19th January 2022.

What is the news?

The Supreme Court has upheld the liquidation of Devas, whose foreign investors continue to fight for compensation following the cancelled 2005 satellite deal with Antrix. The Supreme Court has kept the $1.2 billion award in suspension.

What is Devas- Antrix deal?

Devas entered into a lease contract with ISRO’s private sector arm Antrix Corporation in 2005. According to the deal, ISRO would lease two satellites GSAT-6 and 6A to Devas for 12 years. Devas was supposed to provide multimedia services to cell phones in India using the S-band spectrum, with ISRO leasing 70 MHz of the S-band spectrum.

The deal was terminated on February 25, 2011, by the government citing “security reasons“.

What happened after the termination of the deal?

After the termination, Devas and its foreign investors approached various international tribunals and courts seeking compensation. This led to arbitration between Antrix and Devas at the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) and two bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitrations.

India lost all three disputes. Devas was awarded compensation of $1.2 billion by an International Chamber of Commerce tribunal in 2015. Apart from that,

– Deutsche Telekom was awarded $101 million-plus interest by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Geneva in 2020.

– Mauritius investors were awarded $111 million by the UN Commission on International Trade Law tribunal in 2020.

– The German investors claimed compensation for violation of an India-Germany bilateral investment treaty and the Mauritius investors for an India-Mauritius BIT.

What steps are performed by India?

In 2014, the Indian government allocated the case to CBI to look into the 2005 deal. It highlighted the misuse of official positions for their own benefits. The Enforcement Directorate also filed a charge sheet in 2018 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against a former managing director of Antrix and five Devas officials for corruption.


World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022: Global unemployment projected to stand at 207 million in 2022: ILO

Source:  This post is based on the article ‘Global unemployment projected to stand at 207 million in 2022: ILO’ published in Down To Earth on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

The International Labour Organisation(ILO) has released the World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022.

The report examines the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on global and regional trends in employment, unemployment and labour force participation as well as on job quality, informal employment and working poverty. 

What are the key findings of the World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022?

Unemployment: Global unemployment is projected to stand at 207 million in 2022. This is 21 million more than in 2019 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.

Working Hours: Global working hours in 2022 will be almost 2% below their pre-pandemic level — that is equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs.

Global Labour Force: In 2022, around 40 million people will no longer be participating in the global labour force.

Poverty: a) In 2020, an additional 30 million adults fell into extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 per day in purchasing power parity) while being out of paid work b) The number of extreme working poor — workers who do not earn enough through their work to keep themselves and their families above the poverty line — rose by eight million.

Vaccine Inequality: Many low and middle-income countries have low access to vaccines and limited scope to expand government budgets to address the crisis. Thus, these countries are struggling more than high-income ones to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment and job quality.

Impact on Sectors: Some sectors such as travel and tourism have been particularly hard hit, while other sectors such as those related to information technology have thrived.

Impact on women and Young Children: Women have been worse hit by the labour market crisis than men, and this is likely to continue. The closing of education and training institutions will also have long-term implications for young people, particularly those without internet access.


Neanderthal-inherited gene variant helps in protecting against severe COVID-19: Study

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Neanderthal-inherited gene variant helps in protecting against severe COVID-19: Study ’ published in Down To Earth on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

A study was conducted to understand why Covid-19 has infected people differently — while some witness severe disease, others are impacted by milder symptoms. The study has found that a gene variant is what provides protection against severe disease.

Who conducted the study?

​​The study was conducted by an international team of researchers. It also included the COVID-19 Hosts Genetics Initiative.

Note: COVID-19 Hosts Genetics is a Global Initiative that brings together the human genetics community to generate, share, and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes.
What are the key findings of the study?

The study has found that a gene variant named Neanderthal-derived haplotype provides protection against severe disease. This is a group of DNA variants that are inherited together because they are similar in nature.

It confers approximately 23% reduced risk of becoming critically ill on infection with SARS-CoV-2. This gene protects by alerting the body to produce proteins that would help break down the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Further, the study has also revealed that 80% of those with African ancestry had this protective gene.

Hence, these findings have the potential to advance treatment for COVID-19, giving way to a more targeted response.


Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) to launch its first bi-monthly E-Newsletter

Source: This post is based on the articles:

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) to launch its first bi-monthly E-Newsletter published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment e-launched the E-Newsletter” published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (DEPwD) is going to launch its first bi-monthly E-Newsletter.

What is an E-Newsletter?

The E-Newsletter is an attempt to showcase the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities activities in an accessible platform. 

The E-Newsletter will be helpful in the continuity of the flow of information and to bridge the gap with the Persons with Disabilities.

It would also be a gateway to know the department’s activities. It will also keep track of the performance of different Schemes.

The first E-Newsletter will highlight important events of one year, Success Stories, Digital Corner, Covid Corner, Media and the upcoming events of the Department.

Future E News-letters will add more features to it including Employment Corner, Citizen Corner, quiz on various schemes and the regular feature of the subject experts.

Other News mentioned in the Article

Union Minister will be inaugurating the main building of Composite Regional Centre for Skill Development, Rehabilitation & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(CRC), Kozhikode.

Note: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has set up Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities in various states to provide both preventive and promotional aspects of rehabilitation like education, health, employment and vocational training, research and manpower development, rehabilitation for persons with disabilities.

Unique IDs: From PAN to Aadhaar, the universe of unique IDs is expanding in India

Source: This post is based on the article ‘From PAN to Aadhaar, the universe of unique IDs is expanding in India’ published in Business Standard on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

Central Government and State Governments have been launching various Unique IDs to bring transparency and curb leakages in the system.

What are the Unique IDs launched by the Central Government?

Aadhaar: It is a 12-digit random number issued by the UIDAI (“Authority”) to the residents of India after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority. Around  312 schemes were linked to Aadhaar, and ten ministries accounted for 70% of linked schemes.

PAN Card: PAN is an abbreviation of Permanent Account Number. It is an alphanumeric, 10-digit unique number issued to every taxpayer by the Income Tax Department of India. 

There are other unique IDs as well such as voter ID for election, unique health ID for vaccination and health-related data, a unique ID for persons with disabilities, a unique ID for property across 12 states, a corporate ID for each company and one unique ID for migrant workers.

Moreover, the government in 2019 ann­oun­ced that it would start distributing 12-digit unique IDs to farmers, which will encompass all the agriculture-related schemes. 

What are the Unique IDs launched by the State Governments?

Haryana government has launched the Parivar Pehchan Patra scheme. The scheme will accord a unique eight-digit ID to each family and link all state government schemes on subsidy, pension and insurance.

Bhamashah Yojana is a scheme introduced by the Government of Rajasthan to transfer financial and non-financial benefits of governmental schemes directly to women recipients in a transparent way.

Madhya Pradesh provides Samagra IDs and passwords for its residents to register themselves and avail themselves the government benefits.

Note: Instead of each state launching its own unique IDs, they can easily assign all Aadhaar IDs to one family unit and then distribute benefits based on that information.


Year End Review: 2021- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Source: This post is based on the article Year End Review: 2021- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has taken several initiatives in the year 2021.

Several of them are

PM- KISAN

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maandhan Yojana (PM-KMDY)

MSP: In the Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the predetermined principle to keep MSP at levels of one and half times the cost of production. 

National Food Security Act, 2013 

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER): It is a Central Sector Scheme. It was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare for implementation in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

The scheme aims to develop certified organic production in a value chain mode to link growers with consumers and to support the development of the entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds, certification, to the creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing and brand building initiative.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana(PKVY): It was launched in 2015-16. The scheme stresses on end to end support to organic farmers, i.e from production to certification and marketing. Post-harvest management support including processing, packing, marketing is made an integral part of these schemes to encourage organic farmers.

Large Area Certification (LAC) programme

Rashtrya Krishi Vikas Yojana

Seed Village Programme

​​Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojana(PMFBY)

Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM)

Trade: The export of Agri and allied commodities during 2020-21 compared to the same period last year has increased. The commodities which posted significant positive growth in exports were wheat, Other Cereals, Rice (other than Basmati), Soya meal, Raw Cotton, Fresh Vegetable, Processed Vegetables etc.

Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level(MPRNL) scheme: It was initiated by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, during 2005-06 to regularly monitor pesticide residues in food commodities and environmental samples such as soil and water. 

National Beekeeping & Honey Mission(NBHM)

ATMA Scheme: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under implementation since 2005. The scheme promotes a decentralized farmer-friendly extension system in the country.

Under the scheme, Grants-in-Aid are released to the State Governments with an objective to support the State Government’s efforts to make available the latest agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices in different thematic areas of agriculture and allied areas to farmers.

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme: It is being implemented since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014. India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy. The scheme aims to encourage farmers to plant multipurpose trees together with agriculture crops for climate resilience.


In Kohima, a cemetery with a tennis court

Source: This post is based on the article In Kohima, a cemetery with a tennis court published in The Hindu on 19th January 2022.

What is the news?

Kohima War Cemetery in Nagaland has figured in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) five sites with unusual features. These sites are associated with World War I and World War II.

What is Kohima War Cemetery?

Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the British Division of the Allied Forces who died in World War II at Kohima in April 1944. 

It has been identified as the only cemetery on the Earth which incorporates a tennis court.

It is also one of World War graves across the continents maintained by the CWGC.

What is the sequence of events that led to the formation of Kohima War Cemetery?

In 1944, Japanese forces attacked Kohima and its strong British force.

This led to fighting as the British forces were pushed back to the former house of the British Deputy Commissioner. The lawn of this house had a tennis court where the British officers played for recreation.

The British forces who were around the garden tennis court prepared for their final stand. As the Japanese forces prepared to attack, they were attacked in turn by the lead tanks, saving the defenders and pushing the attackers back.

Despite this setback, the Japanese force continued to fight for Kohima before they were finally forced to withdraw in May 1944. Those who had fallen in the defence of Kohima were buried on the battlefield, with further burials from the surrounding areas.

What is the significance of Kohima in World War II?

Present Day ​​Kohima (Nagaland) and adjoining Imphal (Manipur) comprised the only theatre of World War II in the Indian subcontinent.

The invasion of these areas meant that the Japanese could strike further into India.

What is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)?

It is an intergovernmental organisation of six member-states (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom) who ensure the men and women who died in the wars will never be forgotten.

It was formed in 1917 as the Imperial War Graves Commission. However the present name was given in 1960.

Headquarters: Maidenhead, UK


Activities of 2022 discussed at BRICS STI Steering Committee: India to host 5 events

Source: This post is based on the article Activities of 2022 discussed at BRICS STI Steering Committee: India to host 5 events published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

The 15th meeting of the BRICS Science Technology Innovation(STI) Steering Committee was held recently.

What are the key highlights of the 15th meeting of BRICS Science Technology Innovation (STI) Steering Committee?

India to host 5 events as part of BRICS Science Technology Innovation Committee

India will be hosting five events in 2022 as part of the BRICS Science Technology Innovation (STI) Steering Committee.

These five events are — 1) BRICS Startups Forum Meeting, Working Groups meetings on Energy, 2) Biotechnology & Biomedicine, 3) ICT & High-Performance Computing, 4) STIEP (Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Partnership) Working Group Meeting, 5) the launching of BRICS innovation Launchpad as a microsite( Knowledge Hub).

BRICS Chairmanship

India has successfully handed over the BRICS Chairmanship to China from January 2022. 

The theme for BRICS 2022 is “Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”.


Year End Review 2021: Ministry of Culture

Source: This post is based on the article Year End Review 2021: Ministry of Culture published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Culture has taken several initiatives in the year 2021.

Initiatives taken by Min of Culture in 2021

Atmanirbhar Incubator Programme: It was launched by the Ministry of Culture in partnership with Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust to preserve the skills and arts of artisans/crafts persons on the verge of extinction. 

Parakram Diwas 

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB)

Abhidhamma Day at the Mahaparinirvana Temple in Kushinagar

Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019 and 2020

UNESCO World Heritage Tag :  (i) Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (2021) and (ii) Dholavira: A Harappan City (2021) under protection of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been inscribed on World Heritage List taking the number of World Heritage properties in India from 38 to 40.

RashtraGaan

Jallianwala Bagh Smarak 

Azad Hind Government

Adi Shankaracharya

18th Century Idol of Goddess Annapurna retrieved from Canada: Goddess Annapurna is the goddess of food. She is also known as the manifestation of the goddess Parvati, partner to Lord Shiva.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav mobile app: It was launched by the Minister of State for Culture to enable all single point access to all information related to the 75th anniversary celebrations of India’s independence.

Sri Aurobindo

National Archives of India (NAl)

Quit India Movement


ICAAP and NCDC Jointly Release a Handbook on Global Good Practices for Cooperatives

Source: This post is based on the article ICAAP and NCDC Jointly Release a Handbook on Global Good Practices for Cooperatives published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the news?

International Co-Operative Alliance Asia And Pacific (ICAAP) and National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have released a policy recommendation handbook on SAHAKAR PRAGYA Good Practices for Cooperatives.

What is the purpose of the Handbook on Global Good Practices for Cooperatives?

The Handbook is a compendium of guidelines, resources, methodologies, key learning, case studies of the best performing cooperatives in India and abroad and the outcome and impact.

Cooperative Sector in India

India has more than 8 lakh registered cooperative societies, especially in the agricultural and agri-allied sector, banking and housing sectors.

The cooperative movement in the country has regained focus after the Union Government created the Ministry of Cooperation to provide a separate administrative legal and policy framework for streamlining the cooperatives.

The Govt is also in the process of framing a new cooperative policy and proposes to work in tandem with states to strengthen the cooperative movement.

What is the International Co-Operative Alliance?

International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was founded in 1895. It is an independent, non-governmental association that unites, represents and serves the co-operatives worldwide.

ICA is not a United Nations Organization. However, the ICA enjoys General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN/ECOSOC).

To implement its activities, ICA has four Regional Offices (Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) and eight Global Sectoral Organizations (agriculture, banking, retail, fisheries, health, housing, insurance, and industry & services). 

Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium


Union Minister addresses India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress”

Source: This post is based on the article Union Minister addresses India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress” published in PIB on 19th January 2022.

What is the news?

The Union Minister for Science & Technology has addressed the joint India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress”.

Who organised this India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress”?

The meeting is being organised jointly by National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), and University of Birmingham, UK and supported by Newton Bhabha Fund and British Council.

What are the key takeaways from this meeting?

The South Asian region is facing the shrinking Arable land (any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops) besides the problem of global climate change.

According to World Bank data, arable land in South Asia was reported at 43.18% in 2018 which has been stagnant since the early 1970s and recently declining.

To fight against this, the global pattern of food production and distribution may need to shift significantly as climate change progresses.

For this, India-UK can collaborate to develop a coherent and stakeholder-relevant R&D programme.

Moreover, India and the UK can also collaborate on issues of mutual concern, such as achieving the goals of food security and zero hunger.

What is the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI)?

NABI is the first Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, established in 2010. It is an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology.

The institute aims at catalysing the transformation of the Agri-food sector in India.

Located at: Mohali, Punjab 


Mains Answer Writing

Debate on Billionaire Consumption

Source: The post debate on billionaire consumption has been created, based on the article “The problem with billionaire consumption” published in “The Hindu” on 17h July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- Economy- growth, development and employment; Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Context: The article discusses the ethical and economic impacts of wealthy… Continue reading Debate on Billionaire Consumption

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Critique of the Juvenile Justice System

Source: The post critique of the Juvenile Justice System has been created, based on the article “Trying juveniles as adults is not the answer” published in “The Hindu” on 17h July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-Laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection of vulnerable sections. Context: The article discusses how India’s Juvenile Justice… Continue reading Critique of the Juvenile Justice System

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Money Bill

Source- This post on the Money Bill has been created based on the article “Key issue will be back in SC: What constitutes a Money Bill?” published on “Indian Express” on 17 July 2024. Why in the news? The Supreme Court is set to hear petitions challenging the government’s use of the “Money Bill route”… Continue reading Money Bill

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The failures of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in India

Source: The post the failures of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in India has been created, based on the article “Centralised examinations have not aced the test” published in “The Hindu” on 17h July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-Governance-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Context:… Continue reading The failures of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in India

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How climate change reduces children’s outdoor play opportunities in India.

Source: The post how climate change reduces children’s outdoor play opportunities in India has been created, based on the article “Heatwaves are evaporating the right to play” Published in “The Hindu” on 17h July 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-governance-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, Context:… Continue reading How climate change reduces children’s outdoor play opportunities in India.

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Impact of schemes on social ties

Source-This post on Impact of schemes on social ties has been created based on the article “Laapataa Ladies: How public policy impacts personal choice and social ties” published in “The Indian express” on 17 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-2- Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design… Continue reading Impact of schemes on social ties

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AgriSure: A New Initiative to Boost Agricultural Innovation

Source-This post on AgriSure: A New Initiative to Boost Agricultural Innovation has been created based on the article “Supporting agripreneurs – New fund should support innovation” published in “Business Standard” on 17 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3-  Technology Missions; E-technology in the aid of farmers Context-The government of India is planning to launch the “Agri… Continue reading AgriSure: A New Initiative to Boost Agricultural Innovation

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Challenges in India’s Energy Sector

Source-This post on Challenges in India’s Energy Sector has been created based on the article “THE ROADMAP FOR NET-ZERO EMISSIONS “published in “LiveMint” on 17 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. Context- India’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2070 faces many challenges in the energy sector. Tackling… Continue reading Challenges in India’s Energy Sector

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Challanges in India’s Spice Exports

Source-This post on Challanges in India’s Spice Exports has been created based on the article “Spice route: Tackle barriers faced by turmeric exports published in “Live Mint” on 17 July 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints Context- India, known as the “Spice Bowl of the World,”… Continue reading Challanges in India’s Spice Exports

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National Quantum Mission- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

The launch of National Quantum Mission in 2023, put India among the top six leading nations involved in the research and development in quantum technologies. The National Quantum Mission worth Rs. 6,003.65 crore, is planned during 2023-2031. The mission aims to strengthen India’s research and development in the quantum arena. However, the mission also faces… Continue reading National Quantum Mission- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

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