9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 17th, 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

Treating values of individual freedom as trifles

Source: The post is based on an article “Treating values of individual freedom as trifles” published in The Hindu on 17th Mar 22. 

Syllabus: GS2 – Significant Provisions of the Constitution of India 

Relevance: Essential Religious Practices  and Freedom of Conscience (Article 25) 

News: Recently, The Karnataka high Court has given its judgment in the hijab controversy case (or the Resham v/s State of Karnataka Case (2022), wherein a ban imposed on the use of hijabs by students in classrooms across the State (Karnataka) was upheld. 

What has the High Court said in its judgement?

The High Court’s judgement is based on the following three conclusions:

The wearing of a hijab is not an essential practice of the Islam. Therefore, the right to freedom of religion is not impinged;  

No substantive right to free expression and privacy can be claimed within the confines of a classroom. The court classifies the classroom as “qualified public space”, where individual rights cannot be asserted to “the detriment” of “general discipline and decorum”.   

The government’s order does not by itself ban the use of a hijab, it is neutral, and therefore, there is no discrimination aimed at Muslim women students.  

The judgment holds that any accommodation in the uniforms defeat the very purpose of uniforms. 

The Court ruled that the individual’s rights could be abridged in the interests of public order, morality or health.  

What are the issues with the judgement?

Ideals of the Constitution of India: As per The Preamble, the state has to secure to all citizens, liberty, equality and fraternity which were called as “a union of trinity” by Dr. BR Ambedkar. Divorce one from the other defeats the very purpose of democracy.  

Enforcing popular morality: InResham vs State of Karnataka Case (2022), the Karnataka High Court (HC) has enforced the popular morality of the day. It has given a blow to the B.R. Ambedkar’s union of trinity.  

Court’s use of Precedent: The court referred to only those “essential religious practices” which are enjoying constitutional protection. These did not cover wearing of a hijab as a legitimate exercise of religious freedom. Similarly, the SC did the same Tandav Dance / Ananda Margis faith related case in 2004.  

Free choice and state action: In this case individual freedom was not at odds with group rights. Here, the exercise of free choice has been curtailed by state action.  

In this case, the wearing of the hijab was pleaded to be a matter of “freedom of conscience” guaranteed in Article 25 of the Constitution. Unlike this case, In the Bijoe Emmanuel Case (1986), SC protected the freedom of conscience i.e., right of a student of not singing of the national anthem.   

In the present case, the onus to prove that the petitioners conscientiously believed in the necessity of the hijab was put on the students. However, the onus should have been on the state to establish that students were not wearing the hijab out of a sense of conscience. 

Choosing to wear the hijab is merely exercising a form of identity relatable to the rights to freedom of speech and privacy. 

Ignoring the test of proportionality: Court ignored determining when and how the right to free expression can be legitimately limited 

What is the way forward?

There could have been “reasonable accommodation in this case. For example, Kendriya Vidyalayas(KVs), allow for hijabs within the contours of the prescribed uniforms i.e., even within the existing dress code, many accommodations can be made.  

Judiciary should act as a “sentinels on the qui vive”. It should prevent any effort to undermine social democracy.


United Nations votes are not black and white

Source: The post is based on an article “United Nations votes are not black and white” published in the Hindu on 17th Mar 22 

Syllabus: GS2 – International Organizations

Relevance: The voting system in United Nations 

News: Article highlights the finer details of the voting system followed at the UN and various other organs like UN Security Council.

Nature of Voting in UN System 

The UN General Assembly: The member country has various options for voting like ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Abstention’, ‘present and not participating’ or ‘absent at the time of the vote’. This makes it possible for member states to nuance their positions to suit their needs 

The UN Security Council: Here it is required that there is a “concurring votes of the permanent members. A permanent member who does not wish to cast a veto, may choose to abstain, thus allowing the resolution to be adopted (Earlier, abstention by a permanent member would amount to a veto), if it obtains the required number of nine favourable votes.

In UNSC, the members have an additional provision. It is allowed to add explanation of the vote before and after the vote. For example, China in present Ukrainian Crisis 2022, abstained from voting in UNSC. If it had voted against the resolution, it would have amounted to a veto. It would not be right for China which creates its image of a country which opposes foreign intervention in sovereign states. 

The UN regulations and practices on voting are designed to enable the delegations to express their national opinions, considering their vital national interests.  

The delegations do not vote for or against other countries. They vote for themselves.  

What are the instances of Indian Abstention in Past and Present?

In 1979, India abstained in the UN General Assembly after the Soviet Union had vetoed a Security Council resolution against its intervention in Afghanistan.  

In 2022, India abstained on the resolution criticized Russian invasion of the Ukraine in the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council.

Justification for India’s abstention

India expressed its fundamental position that war is not a solution. The diplomacy should be the only option to prevent war. 

India’s votes in the UNSC, the UNGA and the Human Rights Council reflect its current national concerns in the light of the situation in Ladakh, Afghanistan, the increasing ties between Russia and China, and its membership of the Quad.  


Looming fertilizer shortage

Source: The Post is based on an article “Looming fertilizer shortage” published in the Business Standard on 16th Mar 22. 

Syllabus: GS2 – Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 

Relevance: Impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on the Fertilizer Industry 

News: The Ukraine war has disrupted the supplies of fertilisers in the international market. It could impact India too, as it depends heavily on imports for meeting their burgeoning requirement of fertilizers, For example, India’s import dependence is about 25% for urea, nearly 90% for phosphates, and 100% for potash.  

Why the supplies of fertilisers have shrunk?

It is due to interruption from the war-hit Black Sea region as well as reduction in exports by many European countries and China. For example, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine meet a sizeable part of India’s plant nutrients requirement, especially that of DAP and MOP. 

What is the likely impact on India?

Inevitable surge in fertiliser subsidy: The subsidy bill is bound to outstrip the budget amount of Rs 1.05 trillion for 2022-23 by a huge margin if the government intends to shield the farmers against the high cost of imported fertilisers by raising the price discount (subsidy) on decontrolled phosphoric, potassic and mixed fertilisers 

Any decline in fertiliser use is bound to impact the crop yields in the next season. It may affect farmers’ income, push up prices of agricultural commodities, fuel inflation and result in the black marketing of fertilizers in several states.  

Exploring other markets: Many private importers have already begun exploring possibilities of buying the stuff from Canada and other countries. 

What measures have been taken by India? 

The government invoked the Fertiliser Control Order to penalise hoarders and others indulging in malpractices,  

The local output of urea is likely to improve due to revival of the defunct fertiliser plants at Ramagundam, Sindhri, Barauni and Gorakhpur. But the same cannot be said about phosphatic and potassic fertilisers. 

What is the way forward?

Discovery of some phosphate deposits: It has been found in different parts of the country, notably Rajasthan, Central peninsula, Hirapur area in Madhya Pradesh, and Cuddapah basin in Andhra Pradesh.  

India needs to intensify its ongoing efforts to become self-sufficient in urea and explore means to reduce import dependence on phosphatic and potassic fertilisers.


Our weak educational outcomes have a wide set of societal causes

Source: This post is created based on the article “Our weak educational outcomes have a wide set of societal causes” published in Live Mint on 17th March 2022.
Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Issues related to education

Context: There are various societal reasons due to which children are not achieving appropriate learning outcomes in schools. This article describes the societal reasons.Overall governance and administrative culture

Low prioritization of education – as manifested in budget allocation and human resources.

Failure to recognize that education is a matter of deep expertise: Key decisions are taken by people who have almost no background in the field.

Lack of continuity of direction and action: Education interventions require 10-15 years to show changes. However, in India priorities and directions change rapidly.

Socio-political trends

Considering the private sector as a panacea: India has lost two decades due to this. Wherein over 30% of children go to private school but learning outcomes have still dropped.

Notion that technology will solve problems: This has been debunked during the pandemic which has seen tragic learning losses. But still, too much of our little resources got diverted.

Effect of sharp and deep inequalities: The children of the well-to-do have more access to more resources at school and home. But the vast majority of other children do not receive such facilities.

Effect of poverty

Poverty means poor nutrition: It hinders physical and social development along with causing day-to-day implications. Such as → Lack of concentration and frequent illness causing absenteeism.

Poverty means lack of adult care: Children do not get the same adult support and care as in middle class families, which are critical for learning.

Lack of resources to support the learning environment: As there is shortage of books, learning resources, adults are also insufficiently educated.

As a society we regard education as a panacea. Despite this we treat education and our educators poorly. We need to re-calibrate our expectations from education.


Towards inclusive education

Source: This post is created based on the article “Towards inclusive education” published in The Hindu on 17th March 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Issues related to education

News: Recently, the draft accessibility guidelines and standards for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Universities were released by the Universities Grants Commission (UGC).

How can the guidelines be further improved?

Correction of Procedural flaw: The public notice preceding the guidelines was inaccessible to persons with visual disabilities. The document was poorly scanned, instead a digital document would have been fully accessible.

The guidelines have a wide scope but can be more realistic. Each chapter of the guidelines can be followed by a checklist that distils the key action items contained in that chapter. Checklist can divide these items into ‘immediately implemented’ and those which can be ‘implemented progressively’.

Powers to UGC with regards to checklist should be given: UGC should monitor such compliance of HEIs with the checklist. It should also be empowered to take disciplinary action in case of non-compliance.

Requirement of assessment of disability based needs

  • An annual or biannual assessment should be conducted of persons with diverse disabilities. This can equip the institution to take specific need based intervention.
  • Each HEI should maintain data of students with disabilities. It should contain information regarding application, enrollment, retention, participation of students in academic and non-academic activities.

Grievance redressal mechanism

  • Provision should be provided for redressal along the lines of Rights of Person with Disabilities Rules, 2017.
  • District Education Officers can be empowered to deal with any violations by the HEIs.
  • Provisions of time-bound redressal of complaints can be provided.

For disabled, high quality education can lead to meaningful participation in society. If modified suitably, these guidelines can serve as a catalyst towards an inclusive society.


Why next FATF review is critical for India?

Source: This post is created based on the article “Why next FATF review is critical for India?” published in Live Mint on 17th March 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – International Institutions

News: The evaluation of India by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) could start by the September-October year, followed by an on-site visit in February 2023.

What is FATF and what is its objective?

FATF is an inter-governmental body that

  • Sets standards, and develops and promotes policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Generates the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • Works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.

FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions (countries) and two regional organizations (European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council).

What are the FATF recommendations?

These are framework of measures that countries should implement in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

FATF also monitors and conducts peer reviews of each member to ensure they implement its standards fully and effectively.

What is FATF’s grey list?

This means that a jurisdiction is under increased monitoring. The country has to swiftly resolve the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes. Presently, 23 countries — including Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Morocco — are in the grey list.

FATF also has ‘high risk jurisdictions’ above the grey list. These are countries with serious deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML) rules and regulations.

Why should India be concerned this time?

The last review of India was in 2010. In that review, FATF observed that India has made significant progress in addressing the deficiencies.

This round will be crucial due to following reasons:

Money laundering instances: From Yes Bank to IL&FS to Dewan Housing Finance. In all these cases, allegations of money laundering were levelled against the top management and promoters.

Questions over demonetization and crackdown on shell companies will be raised during the assessment.

Recent case of the Paytm Payments Bank – The banking regulator has ordered an external audit of the IT systems of the payments bank. The reason for clampdown is not clear but it could be due to violation of the KYC-AML norms.

Issue of PEP — Politically Exposed Persons: There has been no mention of PEPs in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. This could be viewed as a regulatory gap during the FATF assessment.

How are the regulators preparing?

The Indian financial sector regulators have also increased their vigil and scrutiny on regulated entities. The focus on AML has gone up significantly in the last two-three years.

The Reserve Bank of India has, for instance, introduced a dedicated KYC-AML inspection team to exclusively look into compliance of banks and other financial sector entities.

​​Financial sector is only a part of the FATF assessment. The watchdog will also look at other sectors such as narcotics, smuggling, wildlife trafficking, which are known for fund diversion and money laundering.

GS Paper 3


Why ‘de-dollarisation’ is imminent?

Source: The post is based on an article “Why ‘de-dollarization’ is imminent?” published in the Indian Express on 17th Mar 22

Syllabus: GS3 – Money and Banking

Relevance: Macroeconomy, Monetary Exchange System  

News: The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has given an impetus to the question of de-dollarisation of the global forex framework.
Efforts are already underway for the possible introduction of a new Russia-China payment system, bypassing SWIFT and combining the Russian SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) with the Chinese CIPS (Cross-Border Interbank Payment System). 

What is “de-dollarisation? 

It refers to the changes in the overall global forex market framework where the leading central banks would diversify their reserves away from US Dollar to other assets or currencies like the Euro, Renminbi or gold. 

How this hegemony of dollar was established? 

The US sealed a deal with the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 1970s to conduct global energy trade in dollars.  

The collapse of the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s: It enhanced the status of US Dollar by eliminating other developed market currencies from competing with the USD. 

Why “de-dollarisation” by central banks is imminent?  

To insulate the economies from geopolitical risks. US dollar as a reserve currency can be used as an offensive weapon, leading to potential foreign policy coercion or sudden disruptions. For example, the war in Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions can trigger central banks to proceed in this direction.  

The multipolar world requires each country to enjoy economic autonomy in the sphere of monetary policy.   

2008 global financial crisis exposed underlying cracks within the US economy and challenged the western hegemony of the financial system.  

Rise of Asian economies: As major economic powers like China and India rise, the importance of other currencies like the Yuan and the Indian rupee is going to increase   

What are Russian and Chinese efforts towards de-dollarisation?  

Russia: It started three-pronged efforts towards de-dollarisation in 2014 (after annexation of Crimea).  

– First, Russia reduced its share of dollar-denominated assets.  

– Second, it prioritises national currencies (instead of US Dollar) in bilateral trade.  

– Third, Russia developed a national electronic payments system called “Mir” in 2015.   

China: China aims to use trading platforms and its digital currency to promote de-dollarisation. It has established RMB trading centres in Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe.  

In 2021, the People’s Bank of China submitted a “Global Sovereign Digital Currency Governance” proposal at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to influence global financial rules via its digital currency, the e-Yuan.  

The IMF has already added Yuan to its SDR (Special Drawing Rights) basket in 2016.  

In 2017, the European Central Bank exchanged EUR 500 million worth of its forex reserves into Yuan-denominated securities.   

What are the challenges that de-dollarisation faces?  

US Dollar share in the global trade and foreign exchange: Currently, about 60% of foreign exchange reserves of central banks and about 70% of global trade is conducted using USD.   

Psychological Angle: The USD is considered as a “safe-haven” asset i.e., the people continue to view the currency as a relatively risk-free asset. Therefore, the world will continue to prefer the USD as a “store of value” and a “medium of exchange”, fulfilling the basic functions of money.  

Side effects of de-dollarisation: Sudden dumping of dollar assets by adversarial central banks, may give rise to balance sheet risks as it will erode the value of their overall dollar-denominated holdings.  

Most other foreign currencies (Apart from the Euro and gold) have some inherent risks associated with them.   

What is the way forward? 

Thus, despite triggers to the move away from the dollar, in reality, it will be a protracted process.  


Clean energy should use the battery of a circular economy

Source: The post is based on an article “Clean Energy should use the battery of a circular economy” published in The Hindu on 17th Mar 22. 

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues in mobilization of resources, Infrastructure (Energy), Environment 

Relevance: Clean Energy and Circular Economy  

News: The Union Finance Minister, in the Budget speech 2022-23, emphasised the role of circular economy, and cleaner technologies such as solar energy and batteries in India’s future economic growth. 

A robust renewables waste management and recycling ecosystem could help people and India reduce environmental harm, provide energy security, and also create new jobs. 

In order to achieve India’s net-zero target in the year 2070, India would need over 5,630 GW of solar and 1,792 GW of wind energy.
Why India should transition towards a circular economy?

It can lead to an efficient waste management ecosystem necessary to manage the enormous waste that would be generated by renewable energy projects in the coming decades. For example, India’s total installed solar capacity could be as high as 325 kilotonnes by 2030.  

A circular economy could also partially insulate the renewable energy industries from potential supply chain shocks triggered by extraneous developments. 

It would also offer quality employment opportunities for the future generations. For example, new jobs across the entire value chain of waste management and recycling. 

What are the steps needed to nurture a circular economy in the Indian renewable energy industry? 

First, the existing electronic waste management rules should be revised. For instance: Bringing various clean energy components under its ambit, and clear definition of responsibilities of various stakeholders involved in the renewable energy value chain for example, manufacturers, assemblers, importers and distributors etc. 

Second, dumping in landfills and burning of different components should be banned. It is because dumping leads to leaching of metals (like heavy metals such as lead and cadmium) and non-metals into the environment. They then enter the food chain. Also, burning the items of the solar photovoltaic modules releases toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide and some volatile organic compounds. 

Third, the renewable energy industry should invest in the research and development of recycling technologies/new ways of recycling that result in higher efficiency and a less environmentally damaging footprint.

Fourth, there is a need to create innovative financing routes for waste management. It may include (a) nudging public and private sector banks to charge lower interest rates on loans in this sector, (b) issuing performance-based green certificates to recyclers that could be traded to raise money for waste management and (c) The mandatory procurement by the renewable energy and other relevant manufacturing industries be done to create market for recycled materials.  

Fifth, there is a need to improve the product design like finding substitutes for toxic metals such as cadmium and lead used in their products. There is a need to improve product designs to reduce recycling steps.  

Sixth, the end-of-life of components may be increased by imposition of stringent quality control standards. It will consequently reduce waste creation. Such quality enforcement could also position India’s renewable energy industry as a global supplier of quality products. 

Seventh, India’s recycling sector is informal. The workers have to work in unsafe environments without standardised wages. Therefore, the government should develop an efficient renewable energy waste management and circular ecosystem, i.e., a kind of formal industry.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

What are MANPADS that the West is sending Ukraine?

Source: This post is based on the article What are MANPADS that the West is sending Ukraine?published in Indian Express on 17th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) are shipping weapons into Ukraine, including highly sensitive items such as shoulder-fired missiles called Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS) that can take down aircraft.

What are MANPADS?

MANPADS are short-range, lightweight and portable surface-to-air missiles that can be fired by individuals or small groups to destroy aircraft or helicopters.

They help shield troops from aerial attacks and are most effective in targeting low-flying aircraft.

The first MANPADS were introduced by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

Russia is by far the biggest exporter of MANPADs. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Germany, the UK, Turkey and Israel have also used MANPADS in their defence efforts.

Key Features of MANPADS

Range: MANPADS have a maximum range of 8 kilometres and can engage targets at altitudes of 4.5 km.

Shoulder-Fired: They can be shoulder-fired, launched from atop a ground vehicle, fired from a tripod or stand, and from a helicopter or boat.

Light Weight: They are fairly lightweight as compared to other elaborate weapon systems, making them easy to operate by individual soldiers.

Fire and Forget Guidance Systems: Most of them have passive or ‘fire and forget’ guidance systems, meaning that the operator is not required to guide the missile to its target, enabling them to run and relocate immediately after firing.

Infrared (IR) Seekers: The missiles are fitted with infrared (IR) seekers that identify and target the airborne vehicle through heat radiation being emitted by the latter.

Concerns with MANPADS

Civilian Attacks: According to a 2019 study, more than 60 civilian aircraft have been hit by MANPADS since the 1970s, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 civilians.

Illicit Use by Non-State Actors: Over time, non-state actors such as rebel and terrorist groups are known to have illicitly acquired MANPADS using them during civil wars and other high-intensity conflicts.


National Rail Plan Vision – 2030

Source: This post is based on the article National Rail Plan Vision – 2030 published in PIB on 17th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Railways has informed Lok Sabha about the National Rail Plan Vision – 2030.

What is the National Rail Plan Vision – 2030?

Prepared by: Indian Railways

Aim: To create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030

Salient Features of the plan

– Formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase the modal share of the Railways in freight to 45%. 

– Reduce transit time of freight substantially by increasing the average speed of freight trains to 50Kmph. 

– As part of the Plan, Vision 2024 has been launched for accelerated implementation of certain critical projects by 2024 such as 100% electrification, multi-tracking of congested routes, up-gradation of speed to 160 kmph on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes and elimination of all Level Crossings on Golden Quadrilateral- Golden Diagonal (GQ/GD) 

– Identify new Dedicated Freight Corridors and High-Speed Rail Corridors. 

– Assess rolling stock requirement for passenger traffic as well as wagon requirement for freight. 

– Assess Locomotive requirements to meet twin objectives of 100% electrification (Green Energy) and increasing freight modal share. 

– Sustained involvement of the Private Sector in areas like operations and ownership of rolling stock, development of freight and passenger terminals, development/operations of the track infrastructure.


National eVidhan Application(NeVA)

Source: This post is based on the article National eVidhan Application(NeVA)published in PIB on 16th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

Minister Of State For Parliamentary Affairs has informed Lok Sabha about the National eVidhan Application(NeVA).

What is the National eVidhan Application(NeVA)?

National eVidhan Application(NeVA) is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) included in the Digital India Programme.

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs(MoPA) 

Aim:  To make the functioning of all Legislative Houses in the country paperless on the theme of ‘One Nation – One Application’

– To transform all State Legislatures into ‘DIGITAL HOUSES’ so as to enable them to transact entire Government Business on digital platforms including information exchange with the State Government Departments in digital mode.

Note: The application has also enabled provisions for onboarding the two Houses of Parliament.

Funding: The funding for e-Vidhan is provided by the MoPA. It is on the pattern of Central Sponsored Scheme, i.e. 60:40 for States;  90:10 for North East & hilly States and 100% for UTs. 


Beneficiaries Under PM-Daksh Yojana

Source: This post is based on the articleBeneficiaries Under PM-Daksh Yojanapublished in PIB on 16th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment has informed Rajya Sabha about the  PM-Daksh Yojana.

What is PM-Daksh Yojana?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Full Form: Pradhan Mantri-Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi Yojana (PM-DAKSH) 

Purpose: It is a National Action Plan for skilling marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Sanitation workers including waste pickers.

Aim: To increase the skill levels of the target youth by providing them short term and long term skills, followed by assistance in wage/self-employment. 

Implementation: It is being implemented through 3 Corporations: National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation(NSFDC), National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation(NBCFDC) and National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation(NSKFDC).

Salient Features of PM-Daksh

Training Institutions: The training is provided through Government Sector training institutions and reputed institutions enabling them to take up suitable job/self-employment opportunities. 

Age of the candidates for undergoing skill training: Beneficiaries between the age of 18-45 years are considered for Skill Development Training.

Stipend to the trainees: Stipend is provided to the eligible candidates based on their attendance through DBT.


Explained: The rank-pension case

Source: This post is based on the article Explained: The rank-pension casepublished in Indian Express on 17th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court upheld the manner in which the government had introduced the “One Rank One Pension” scheme in defence forces.

What is One Rank One Pension(OROP)?

One Rank, One Pension rule means that retired soldiers of the same rank and length of service will receive the same pension, regardless of when they retire.

Roughly translated, a sepoy who retired in 1995 with 20 years of service should get the same pension as a sepoy who retired in 2010 after 20 years of service. 

Background of OROP

From 1950 to 1973, there was a concept known as the Standard Rate of Pension, which was similar to OROP. 

In 1974, when the 3rd Pay Commission came into force, certain changes were effected in terms of weightage, additional years of notion service, etc regarding pensions. In 1986, the 4th Pay Commission’s report brought further changes.

What ultimately happened was that the benefits of the successive pay commissions were not passed to servicemen who had retired earlier. Pensions were deferred for those who had retired at the same rank, with the same years of service, but years apart.

Demand of OROP

Ex-servicemen demanded OROP to correct the discrepancy. Over the decades, several committees looked into it. 

The Brig K P Singh Deo committee in 1983 recommended a system similar to the Standard Rate of Pension, as did Parliament’s standing committees on defence.

In 2011, the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions (Koshyari Committee) recommended the implementation of OROP

In 2015, the government notified the current OROP scheme and it was made applicable from July 1, 2014.

Challenge in Supreme Court against this OROP Scheme

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the current OROP Scheme implemented since 2015.

The petitioner argued that in the course of implementation, the OROP principle has been replaced by ‘one rank multiple pensions’ for persons with the same length of service. 

This is because the current OROP scheme says that equalization of pension would happen periodically every five years.

However, the equalization of pension should be automatic, that is, whenever there is disparity. The gap of five years would leave them at a great disadvantage.

What has the Supreme Court said?

The Supreme Court upheld the manner in which the government had introduced the “One Rank One Pension” scheme in defence forces. The court said that it did not come across any “constitutional infirmity” in the manner in which OROP was being implemented.


Union Minister launches world’s most advanced technology – developed Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Toyota Mirai

Source: This post is based on the article Union Minister launches world’s most advanced technology – developed Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Toyota Miraipublished in PIB on 16th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has launched the world’s most advanced technology – developed Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Toyota Mirai.

What is Toyota Mirai?

Toyata Mirai (‘Mirai’ in Japanese means ‘future’.) is India’s first green hydrogen-based advanced Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle(FCEV). 

The car is capable of providing a range of up to 650 km in a single charge, with a refuelling time of five minutes. 

What is the significance of this launch?

Firstly, this is a first of its kind project in India which aims to create a Green Hydrogen based ecosystem in the country by creating awareness about the unique utility of Green Hydrogen and FCEV technology.

Secondly, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) powered by Hydrogen is one of the best Zero-Emission solutions. It is completely environment friendly with no tailpipe emissions other than water.

What is a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)?

Click Here to read about it 


Global Entrepreneurship Monitor(GEM)

Source: This post is based on the article Global Entrepreneurship Monitor(GEM)published in PIB on 16th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has informed Lok Sabha about the Startup and Entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.

Startup Ecosystem in India: India has become the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world after the US and China, with over 60,000 start-ups. India created 42 Unicorns in the year 2021 alone.

About Global Entrepreneurship Monitor(GEM)

GEM is an international project which seeks to provide information on the entrepreneurial landscape of countries. 

GEM carries out survey-based research on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world and is being led by the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad.

As per GEM India Report (21-22), India’s entrepreneurial activity expanded in 2021, with its Total Entrepreneurial Activity rate(percentage of adults (aged 18–64) who are starting or running a new business) increased to 14.4% in 2021 up from 5.3% in 2020.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) Programmes to encourage entrepreneurship in India:

Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Startups by Women (WEE): It is being implemented in collaboration with German development agency GIZ to accelerate women microentrepreneurs to enable them to start new businesses and scale up existing enterprises in Maharashtra and other States, viz. Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and the North-Eastern region of the country.

Pilot Project on Entrepreneurship Development(PM YUVA): It has been launched in 2019 for creating an enabling ecosystem through entrepreneurship education, training, advocacy and easy access to entrepreneurship networks, for students and alumni of skill training institutes.

Entrepreneurship Promotion and Mentoring of Micro and Small Businesses in Six Holy Cities: The project seeks to catalyze local entrepreneurial activities through the involvement of potential and existing entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship awareness, education and mentoring in Pandharpur, Puri, Varanasi, Haridwar, Kollur and Bodh Gaya.


India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers, says SIPRI

Source: This post is based on the article “India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers, says SIPRI” published in New Indian Express on 17th Mar 2022.

What is the News?

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released a report titled “Trends in International Arms Transfers 2021 Report”.

What are the key findings of the report?

The volume of international transfers of major arms in 2017–21 was 4.6% lower than in 2012–16, but was 3.9% higher than in 2007–11.

The five largest arms exporters in 2017–21 were: the United States, Russia, France, China and Germany. 

The five largest arms importers were: India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and China.

Findings of the report regarding India

India accounted for 11% of global arms imports in 2017-21.

India’s total volume of imports fell by 21% from 2012-16, which could be a reflection of the push to manufacture arms and weapons systems indigenously.

Russia was India’s largest supplier of arms in both 2012-16 and 2017-21. However, the volume of India’s imports from Russia fell by 47% between these two periods. Russia’s share of total Indian arms imports fell from 69% to 46%. 

India’s imports from France also increased substantially, making France the second-largest supplier of arms to India in this period. France comprised 27% of its total imports during 2017-21. 

The US was the third-largest supplier with 12% of the Indian arms imports.

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