9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 6th, 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.
    • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
    • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Caste System In Indian Prisons: Unconstitutional But Legal

Source: The post is based on the article Caste System In Indian Prisons: Unconstitutional But Legal” published in The Times of Indiaon 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 –Governance

Relevance: Prison Reforms

News:The article discusses the prevalent caste system in Indian prisons and measures required to bring reforms.

How is the caste system still present in Indian prisons?

The law that governs management and administration of prisons is still the colonial era law – Prisons Act, 1894. 

The idea of purity and impurity is still present in the prison manuals.

Persons from the most marginalised and disadvantaged castes are often expected to perform activities like manual scavenging, cleaning and sweeping.

Manual scavenging is prohibited by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. 

However, this law has not been able to prohibit manual scavenging in the Indian prisons because the 2013 Act does not cover prison administration.

Prison manuals also protect the status of “savarna Hindus” by ensuring they enjoy a monopoly on cooking and carrying the food for all prisoners.

Christmas and Easter are recognized as jail holidays while Diwali is excluded from it.

Therefore, the Constitution of India and acts like Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1980 have not been able to prevent discrimination in Indian prisons.

What are some steps taken at the global level for better treatment of prisoners?

The United Nations General Assembly in 2015 adopted the Nelson Mandela Rules.These rules provide for all prisoners to be treated with dignity and state that there should be no discrimination amongst the inmates on the grounds of status.

These rules are however not binding but they help at strengthening prison management and providing humane conditions for inmates.

The Ministry of Home Affairs released a Model Prison Manual in 2016, based on the Nelson Mandela Rules, for all states to adopt.

However, states never felt the need to bring changes in its prison system and re-evaluate its prison manuals.

What measures can be adopted to bring equality amongst the prisoners?

First, state governments should amend outdated prison manuals and adopt the Model Prison Manual of 2016.

Second, state governments should ensure the implementation of change in policy, sensitization programmes for prison authorities and awareness campaigns for prisoners.

Third, reconsider the draconian provisions of the Prisons Act, 1894.

The hardships of a career in Ayurvedic practice

Source– The post is based on the article “The hardships of a career in Ayurvedic practice” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2-

Relevance: Traditional practices of medicine

News- Practice does not seem to be a feasible career option for most Ayurveda graduates. There is a trust­ deficit in AYUSH treatment.

What is scepticism among the public about Ayurveda?

There is widespread scepticism in the public mind about the soundness of Ayurvedic theoriesand the fruitfulness of its practices.

The Ayurveda establishment has failed to keep pace with the intellectual and scientific advances of the times. A major reason for the trust ­deficit in Ayurveda is its diminished evidence based quality.

Another perception is that Ayurveda treatments are slow to heal.

Why the view that Ayurveda is slow to heal is not correct?

Ayurveda’s thrust is on patient benefit and not merely on patient gratification. Real patientbenefit would be sustainable as opposed to patient gratification which is momentary.

Sustainability of treatments requires a gradual transition from illness to wellness. Sudden relief is deemed superficial and temporary. 

Therefore, the popular view that Ayurvedic treatments are slow to heal is thus a half­ truth. It can be corrected by appropriate patient education.

What are the challenges faced by an Ayurvedic practitioner?

A new Ayurvedic Practitioner faces the difficult realities of public perception.College training is a huge corpus of ancient medical wisdom, where has limited practicaluse.

Ayurveda does not have a vibrant ecosystem of science and research. The poor practitioner has to depend on himself to discover treatments and approaches that actually work.

The process involves a lot of trial and error with patients and predictably leads to an erosionof the practitioner’s reputation.

Ayurveda can be used safely and efficiently only in about 60%­ to 70% of primary care illnesses. For the rest, it is necessary to complement Ayurveda with modern medicine.

Most States prohibit the practice of modern medicine by Ayurveda graduates. Thepractitioners face difficulties due to it.

Practitioners resort to gimmickry and publicity, due to general trust deficit.It is harmful for genuine Ayurveda physicians.

What is the way forward to improve the condition of Ayurvedic practitioners?

Appropriate policy making can solve a lot of these problems.

Rejuvenating primary care is necessary to secure the health of its citizens. Ayurveda graduates can contribute enormously towards this if trained properly.

A proper training of Ayurveda graduates with a view to make them good primary care doctorswould involve- (1) A vigorous evidence based appraisal of Ayurvedic Theories and practises. (2) A statutory decision to allow Ayurveda graduates to practise modern medicine in stipulated primary care areas.

There is a need for sincerity, straight thinking, and some adventurism on the part of stakeholders.

India needs to double down on bridging its digital gender gap

Source– The post is based on the article “India needs to double down on bridging its digital gender gap” published in the mint on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS1- Social empowerment. GS2- Vulnerable sections of the population

Relevance: Issues related to women empowerment

News- The article deals with the issue of digital access for women empowerment

What is the status of digital disparity between men and women in India?

According to a Unicef report, as many as 90% of the jobs in the world today have a digitalcomponent. These jobs are available only to the digitally able, and to more men than women.

According to the report, in developing countries, only 41% of women have access to the internet compared with 53% of men. Women are 20% less likely to own a smartphone and are more likely to borrow phones from a male family member.

The report also says that boys are 1.5 times more likely to own a mobile phone, and 1.8 times more likely to own a smartphone than girls.

Another report by the OECD revealed that the gender gap in internet use is widening. Software development remains a male-dominated field. Women comprise only 15% of software designers.

Data on the use of the internet in India indicates that in comparison with 58% male internet users, female users are only 42%.

Girls and women are denied access to digital technologies because they almost always come second in a patriarchal social order. The internet is seen as a ‘risk to the traditional social order’ and ‘male gatekeepers’ restrict or control girls’ and women’s access to the internet.

How Covid19 shows the importance of digital access?

Covid has demonstrated the seminal importance of digital tools in today’s world. Children struggled to keep up with their studies using the limited smartphones and computers.

UNESCO estimated that around 168 million girls enrolled in pre-primary to tertiary levels of education were affected.

What is the importance of digital inclusion?

Leaving women out of the digital world would amount to denying them basic skills for survival.

India aims to have a $1 trillion digital economy by 2025. Already, 40% of global digitaltransactions take place in India. As economies digitise further, most jobs will require someknowledge of digital technology.

In India, front-line workers are using tablets and smartphones. Public schemes such as the PM Janani Suraksha Yojana require beneficiaries to provide their bank account details. Social and financial inclusion will necessitate digital inclusion.

There are vast opportunities for girls and women to power India’s digital economy and benefit from it. Access to digital technology for a young woman can be a game changer with multiplier effects.

Digital literacy for women is a necessity if India wants to achieve the ultimate goal of genderequality. Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for ‘women-led development’ as India took over the G20 presidency.

What is the way forward for bridging the gender gap in digital space?

Leveraging India’s demographic dividend requires an equal emphasis on the country’s gender dividend.

It will require smart interventions specially designed for girls and women in health, education, employment, banking, skilling and transportation.

A favourable policy environment to promote the digital empowerment of women is a step in the right direction.

The roots of global success – on the global achievements of India diaspora

Source– The post is based on the article “The roots of global success” published in the Business Standard on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to development and management of human resources

Context – Indians have a remarkable presence in the leadership of global organisations: IBM, Google, Microsoft, and now the World Bank.

What are the reasons behind Indians achieving top leadership positions of global organisations?

India is known for multiculturalism and tolerance. Growing up in India involves accepting, absorbing and interoperating with many cultures. It involves a great deal of tolerance.

This gives Indians a natural edge in dealing with the cultural diversity of global organisations, when compared with people who have grown up in a monoculture.

What are the implications of its people having top leadership positions in global organisations for India?

The rise of Indians to leadership positions in the world helps to reduce asymmetric information and thus improve global engagement with India.

Each of these individuals is well plugged into the Indian elite. The top leadership of organisations has an instinctive common sense about India. This produces better decisions regarding India.

India should think about the meritocracy within those organisations.

India will gain by opening up to greater heterogeneity in our internal culture, to more meritocracy in global recruitment, to more engagement with the outside world.

How does the pool of knowledgeable persons benefit India?

This creates the agglomeration economies of these individuals collaborating and competing with each other. India is a good site for building research offices by global corporations.

It is the essence of the IT revolution in India.

Why are Chinese not successful in attaining leadership roles in global organisations?

Chinese universities took off only in the last 20 years. Other factors are English fluency, the homogeneity of Han-Chinese culture, the lack of the full cultural package located in enlightenment values, and the stifling of imagination by use of state power.

How these developments shape the future in India?

A lot of the Indian elite today does not play in the competitive exams for higher educational institutions.

The average IIT graduate today has read fewer books, seems more like a Chinese STEM graduate, and has less of the full cultural package required for rising beyond technical functions.

The domination of the IITs has probably peaked. The leadership cadre will come from a more diverse array of schools in India and abroad.

Supreme Court’s order on CEC selection panel

Source: The post is based on the article “Supreme Court’s order on CEC selection panel” published in the Indian Express on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Relevance: About the formation of a selection panel for Election Commissioners.

News: Recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners(ECs) will be done by the President on the advice of a neutral selection committee.

What is the Supreme Court ruling?

Read here: President to appoint CEC, ECs on advise of committee comprising PM, LoP, CJI: Supreme Court

What are the advantages of the formation of a selection panel?

Read more: Supreme Court verdict will ensure a more independent Election Commission

What are the challenges associated with the formation of a selection panel?

The presence of a Leader of Opposition: This will ensure a strong case for the Opposition to have a voice in the composition of an institution whose primary job is to conduct free and fair elections.

The presence of CJI: This will violate the constitutional system of checks and balances as it raises doubts regarding the presence of the court’s authority in the functioning of ECI.

Regarding the formation of the panel: The SC’s Basic Structure doctrine mandates the court to review and restrict Parliament’s powers to amend the Constitution’s foundational principles. But the SC verdict invites questions about the country’s highest court intruding outside its domain.

Other issues: a) The Court has prefaced its decision to set up the panel with a mention of the “unrelenting abuse of the electoral process over a period of time”.  The Court has been very respectful of the EC’s powers in the past and there is little evidence for “unrelenting abuse”, b) The selection panel is similar to the appointment of the CBI director. But CBI’s record of prosecution doesn’t quite read like an exemplary testament of institutional autonomy. The same might be true for ECI also.

Must read: Changes to the process of selecting election commissioner: Significance and challenges – Explained, pointwise

Power against knowledge: On Centre for Policy Research FCRA licence suspension

Source: The post is based on the article “Power against knowledge: On Centre for Policy Research FCRA licence suspension” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – The role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Relevance: About restricting NGO operations.

News: The government has recently suspended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) licence of the country’s premier think tank, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR).

This is due to a) lapses in the income-tax paperwork of CPR’s staff, b) lack of due process in the accounting process, and c) diversion of funds to publication of books, which the authorities allege is not part of the CPR’s objectives.

What are the concerns associated with invoking CPR Licence and restricting NGO operations?

Firstly, the CPR has been working on improving governance and enhancing state capacity among other things, in collaboration with governments, and the public and private sectors. Hence, the action against the CPR lowers the bar of tolerance for the political establishment to an abysmal level.

Secondly, the FCRA is a regulatory mechanism to ensure that foreign vested interests are not unduly influencing the domestic politics of India. But the application of the law in a manner that clearly disables the non-governmental sector suggests a thoughtless approach bordering on vindictiveness.

Thirdly, India’s New Education Policy envisages academic exchanges and cooperation between Indian and global institutions to raise the standard of higher education and research in the country. However, India’s global ambitions are clashing with insecure and reactionary actions such as the restrictions on the CPR.

Fourthly, assuming Indian thinking should be insulated from foreign ones, while seeking international technology and capital inflow at the same time is a paradox.\

Read more: Restrictions on NGO activities: Beyond civil society – ‘Protectionism’ in social services is impractical

What should be done instead of restricting NGO operations?

Collaboration with the world requires the flow of information, personnel and funds in both directions. But stringent restrictions on all these for national security reasons should be exercised sparingly.

In a country growing as fast as India, a massive expansion in capacity for research is the need of the hour. Along with public funding, private and philanthropic funding are essential for India to continuously expand its knowledge horizons in all fields. So, the government should not only tolerate, but also facilitate the emergence of several more institutions like CPR.

GS Paper 3

A sugar rush for emissions – on ethanol blending

Source: The post is based on the article A sugar rush for emissions”published in Business Standardon 6thMarch 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 –Environment

Relevance: concerns associated with ethanol production

News: All cars in showrooms have to be E20 compliant from April this year. This means that cars should be able to run with 20 percent ethanol blended petrol.

How much ethanol blending has been achieved by India?

India had already crossed the 10 percent ethanol blended petrol and according to the National Policy on Biofuels, India could hit the 20 percent mark by 2025.

India is the world’s fifth-largest producer of ethanol after the US, Brazil, the European Union (EU) and China.

What is the major concern associated with ethanol production and how has the government tried to tackle it?

Ethanol in India is mostly produced from sugarcane. Other crops from which ethanol can also be produced are maize, broken-rice, wheat, etc.

Hence, one of the concerns with ethanol production from sugarcane is its pricing.

The government has tried to solve the issue of price by adopting the system of Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane farmers and that of minimum support price for sugar mills.

This has become the reason farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra prefer sugarcane to other crops.

This has ultimately led India to surpass Brazil in sugar production in the current sugar season (2022-23) and has become the world’s second-largest exporter.

This FRP and MSP model to control prices of ethanol and expect sugarcane farmers and millers to respond with production shifts has worked well.

For example, the year 2021-22 (October-September) saw about 35 lakh tonnes of sugar diverted for ethanol production. This number is expected to reach 60 lakh tonnes by 2025-26.

What are other concerns with ethanol production in India?

Ethanol Production from other corps: The government has plans to offer price support for maize or broken rice.But due to the higher prices in the market, there has been no attempt by the grain-based distilleries to produce ethanol from these two crops.

Stock reserves for Ethanol: Stocking the ethanol crops is another concern because crops like sugarcane or maize production depends on the weather. However, this issue can be solved once the automobiles incorporate a flexi-fuel design that allows the car to run on any combination of ethanol and oil.

Increasing Demand: As per Niti Aayog, the demand for ethanol is expected to increase 1,016 crore litres by 2025. The domestic production of 684 crore litres will have to jump by 48 per cent to achieve this target.

FIscal Requirement: The government will need more money for FRP and MSP in order to reduce dependence on oil imports.

Read More: Ethanol Blending of Petrol and its challenges: Explained

What can be the way ahead?

There is a need to come up with an option of storage of ethanol like that of petroleum reserves because a sudden drought could be dangerous to the production.

How to double India’s farmers’ income

Source– The post is based on the article “How to double India’s farmers’ income” published in The Indian Express on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Agriculture.

Relevance: Issues related to agriculture policy

Context –On February 28, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his dream of doubling farmers’ incomes in the year when India completes 75 years of Independence.

What is the importance of agriculture?

Unless the incomes of farmers go up, sustained high growth of GDP is not possible. This is because the manufacturing sector starts facing a demand constraint soon after meeting the demand of well-off urban consumers, due to low income of farmers.

Agriculture engages the largest share of the workforce. It is 45.55% in 2021-22 as per PLFS.

Agriculture also provides food and nutritional security to the largest population on this planet.

What are different types of subsidies and support provided by the government to farmers?

Government provides fertiliser subsidy whose budget crosses Rs 2 lakh crore. It provides income support to farmers through PM-Kisan.

Many small and marginal farmers also get free ration of at least 5 kg/person/month through the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

There are also subsidies for crop insurance, credit and irrigation. States also dole out power subsidies in abundance, especially on irrigation. Even farm machinery for custom hiring centres is being subsidised by many states.

Combined subsidy is about Rs 4 lakh crore per annum.

What are issues with agriculture policy in India?

Trade and marketing policies adopted by the government are suppressing farmers’ incomes. For example, the ban on exports, the suspension of several commodities from the futures markets, and the imposition of stocking limits on certain commodities.

These are hidden policy instruments of “implicit taxation” of farmers’ incomes. This is not a “pro-farmer approach”. In fact, the approach is pro-consumer. This is the fundamental problem with our policy framework.

The policy of heavy subsidisation along with assured and open-ended procurement of paddy and wheat is creating challenges for the environment.

What is the way forward to improve agriculture in India?

There is a need to realign farmer support policies keeping in mind environmental outcomes. Millets, pulses, oilseeds, and much of horticulture could perhaps be given carbon credits to incentivise their cultivation.

Subsidies support should be crop-neutral. Even if they need to be skewed, they should be in favour of those crops that are benign to the planet’s basic resources.

There is a need for innovations in technologies, products, institutions and policies for more diversified high-value agriculture that is also planet friendly.

Increasing productivity through better seeds and better irrigation is necessary. It will have to be combined with unhindered access to the best markets for their produce.

Diversifying to high-value crops, and even putting solar panels on farmers’ fields as a third crop will be needed.

Why India needs a Green Revolution 2.0

Source: The post is based on the article “Why India needs a Green Revolution 2.0” published in the Indian Express on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

Relevance: About the rabi crops and impacts of heatwaves on them.

News: More than the monsoon, it is temperatures that are emerging as a greater source of uncertainty for farmers. The recent rise in heat waves in February and March threatens India’s rabi harvests.

Why rabi crops are important for India?

a) The rabi crops are considered assured and immune from rainfall vagaries, b) India produces more food grains now during the rabi (winter-spring) than in the kharif (post-monsoon) season. (This highlights the role of irrigation in drought-proofing). 

Read more: Winter Heatwaves – Explained, pointwise

What are the vulnerabilities faced by Rabi crops?

Rabi crops were always vulnerable mainly to shorter winters and the advanced onset of summers. They are also vulnerable to spring thunderstorms and hail.

The impact of the temperature surge was seen in March 2022, when the wheat crop had just entered its final grain formation and filling stage. The heat stress led to early grain ripening and reduced yields.

Vulnerabilities this year: There is an absence of active western disturbances that bring rain and snowfall over the Himalayas. Currently, both minimum and maximum temperatures are ruling 3-5 degrees Celsius above normal in most wheat-growing areas.

What are the other challenges faced by Indian agriculture?

Climate change isn’t the only risk farmers are confronting. They also confront a) the prospects for wheat are uncertain, b) prices of onion and potato have crashed, c) Mustard is trading below its minimum support price with the arrival of the new crop, d) edible oil inflation had peaked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The frequency, volatility and intensity of climate change and crop damages have also increased.

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

What needs to fast-pace Green Revolution 2.0 to avert the challenges in Indian agriculture?

Green Revolution 2.0 has to be about varieties that can withstand extreme temperature and rainfall variations, while yielding more, using less water and nutrients.

Along with fast pacing, a) Farmers, scientists and policymakers have to adapt for the challenges, b) Implement better crop planning and market intelligence, c) Farmers must know what to plant, how to manage their crops at various stages under different stress scenarios and when to sell.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Regulator’s guidelines on Rajasthan power lines ‘flout’ Supreme Court orders, threaten the Great Indian Bustard: Petitioner

Source: The post is based on the article “Regulator’s guidelines on Rajasthan power lines ‘flout’ Supreme Court orders, threaten the Great Indian Bustard: Petitioner” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

The Central Electricity Authority(CEA) has released draft guidelines titled “Construction of Electric Lines in Great Indian Bustard Area Regulations, 2023”. 

What do these guidelines provide?

The guidelines proposed that electric lines of 33 kV and lower voltage, passing through the Great Indian Bustard area would have to travel underground  but that electric lines above 33 kV voltage passing through the area can do so overhead, as long as bird flight diverters are installed. 

These diverters are aimed at improving power line visibility for birds and reducing the risk of collision.

Why are these guidelines being opposed by Conservationists?

High Tension power lines in Rajasthan and Gujarat from solar plants often lie on the flight path of the birds. According to the Wildlife Institute of India(WII) report titled “Power Line Mitigation, 2018, every year 1 lakh birds of multiple species die due to collisions with power lines. 

The matter is of particular concern to the future of the Great Indian Bustard as fewer than 150 of them remain.

In 2019, environmentalists approached the Supreme Court, which directed all ‘low voltage’ power lines, in areas demarcated as “priority and potential habitats of the Great Indian Bustard” in Thar and Kutch deserts be pushed underground. This court order would have required several existing and proposed lines to move underground, hiking the cost of supplying solar power.

These draft regulations appear to be a way to circumvent the orders of the Supreme Court. Hence, if the regulations come into effect, this would lead to the extinction of the Great Indian Bustard which is the State Bird of Rajasthan. 

If this happens, it would be the second major species after the [Asiatic] cheetah to go extinct in post­ Independent India.

Nations secure U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact

Source: The post is based on the article “Nations secure U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

For the first time, United Nations members have agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity on the high seas. The last international agreement on ocean protection was signed 40 years ago in 1982 – the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

What are High Seas?

The high seas begin at the border of countries’ exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 370 km (200 nautical miles) from coastlines. Beyond that point, the seas are under the jurisdiction of no country.

Even though the high seas comprise more than 60 percent of the world’s oceans and nearly half the planet’s surface, they have long-drawn far less attention than coastal waters and a few iconic species.

Only about 1 percent of the high seas are currently protected.

What is the need for the Treaty on High Seas?

Click Here to read

What are the key provisions of the Treaty on the High Sea?

The treaty is legally binding. It aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. It is a legally binding treaty.

Key Provisions of the treaty

New body: The treaty will create a new body to manage the conservation of ocean life and establish marine protected areas on the high seas.

The treaty includes various aspects of marine conservation such as 1) establishing marine protected areas to put limits on certain activities, 2) establishment of ground rules for Environmental impact assessments (EIA) or clearances for the sustainability of works, 3) financial support to countries and 4) sharing other scientific knowledge.

Rights of companies engaged in exploration activities on the high seas: A key aspect of the treaty is deciding on the rights of companies that undertake exploration for biological resources on the high seas.

Significance of the treaty: The treaty is crucial for enforcing the 30×30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in December, to protect a third of the sea (and land) by 2030. 

World’s first 200-meter-long Bamboo Crash Barrier “Bahu Balli” installed on the Vani-Warora Highway, Vidarbha, Maharashtra

Source: The post is based on the articleWorld’s first 200-meter-long Bamboo Crash Barrier “Bahu Balli” installed on the Vani-Warora Highway, Vidarbha, Maharashtra published in PIB on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

The world’s first 200-metre-long bamboo crash barrier named  ‘Bahu Balli’ has been installed on a highway connecting Chandrapur and Yavatmal districts in Maharashtra.

What is a Crash Barrier?

Crash barriers are installed on either side of a highway to prevent vehicles from moving out of the road network and also restrict the movement of outside elements onto the highways. 

What is the bamboo crash barrier installed in Maharashtra?

The bamboo crash barrier named Bahu Balli has been developed after rigorous testing at various government-run institutions such as the National Automotive Test Tracks(NATRAX) and Central Building Research Institute(CBRI).

The bamboo species used in the making of this barrier is Bambusa Balcoa which has been treated with creosote oil and coated with recycled High-Density Polyethylene(HDPE). 

Significance: The use of bamboo is remarkable for the bamboo sector and India as a whole, as this crash barrier offers a perfect alternative to steel and addresses environmental concerns and their aftermath. 

President of india confers Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman 2023

Source: The post is based on the article “President of India confers Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman 2023” published in PIB on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

The President of India has conferred the Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman 2023. The President also launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain (JSA-CTR) Campaign 2023.

Note: Nobel laureate Michael Kremer, in his study, has reported that 1.36 lakh lives of children under five years of age can be saved every year in rural India by providing safe and adequate drinking water through tap connections and having safe sanitation practices.

What is Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman?

Organized by: Ministry of Jal Shakti 

Aim: To honour the women champions of the rural water and sanitation sector.

The event felicitated the exceptional and exemplary work being done at the grassroots level by women in the implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBM-G), Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain (JSA-CTR).

What is the Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain (JSA-CTR) campaign?

Click Here to read

Theme of 2023: Source Sustainability for Drinking Water.

Focused interventions of the JSA-CTR-2023 include (1) water conservation and rainwater harvesting; (2) enumerating, geo-tagging & making an inventory of all water bodies; preparation of scientific plans for water conservation based on it; (3) setting up of Jal Shakti Kendras in all districts; (4) intensive afforestation and (5) awareness generation.

ETIAS to soon become compulsory for Europe travel, here’s how it will impact you

Source: The post is based on the article “ETIAS to soon become compulsory for Europe travel, here’s how it will impact you” published in Livemint on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

From 2024, travellers from over 60 countries that are currently allowed to visit the Schengen Area without a visa will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System(ETIAS).

ETIAS is not a visa. It is an online system that will screen travellers from visa-exempt countries before their arrival in the Schengen Area, with the aim of improving border security and reducing illegal migration.

Who is eligible to apply for ETIAS?

The system applies to over 60 countries that don’t currently need a visa to visit the European Union. These include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom among others.

What is the Schengen Area?

Schengen Area signifies a zone where 27 European countries abolished their internal borders for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation.

Schengen Area covers most of the EU countries, except Ireland, and the countries that are soon to be part of the Schengen Area: Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. 

Although not members of the EU, countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone.

Raisina Security Dialogue: Away from the spotlight, India holds conference of global intelligence chiefs

Source: The post is based on the article “Away from the spotlight, India holds conference of global intelligence chiefs” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

India has held the second Raisina Security Dialogue conference.

What is Raisina Security Dialogue?

Raisina Security Dialogue is a conference of intelligence and security chiefs and top officials from around the world.

Organized by: Research and Analysis Wing(R&AW) and the National Security Council Secretariat(NSCS).

The conference was held for the first time in 2022, a day before the start of Raisina Dialogue.

The focus of the discussions of the dialogue was largely focused on global security which encompassed counterterrorism, radicalisation, drugs trafficking, and illegal arms smuggling among others.

The conference is modelled on the lines of the Munich Security Conference and Singapore’s Shangri­La Dialogue.

What is Raisina Dialogue?

Raisina Dialogue is India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-strategy.

It is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation(ORF).

Theme for 2023: “Provocation, Uncertainty, Turbulence: Lighthouse in the Tempest”

Union Sports Minister launches Yuva Utsav across the nation

Source: The post is based on the article Union Sports Minister launches Yuva Utsav across the nationpublished in PIB on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched pan India Yuva Utsava-India@2047 from IIT Ropar in Punjab. 

What is Yuva Utsav?

Organized by: Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan(NYKS)

Aim: To rekindle the spirit of patriotism and values of India’s Freedom Struggle by engaging the youth in various events progressing from District level to State and National levels. 

– Young Artists, Writers, Photographers, practitioners of Traditional art forms shall lead this movement from the grass-root level to the national level, bringing the rich heritage, culture and values of our nation to the central stage of public discourse.

Theme: The theme for the Yuva Utsav will be Panch Pran: 1) Goal of developed India; 2) To remove any trace of slavery or colonial mindset; 3) Take pride in our heritage and legacy; 4) Unity and solidarity and 5) Sense of duty among citizens.

What are ‘bio-computers’ and how do they function?

Source: The post is based on the article What are ‘bio-computers’ and how do they function? published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have recently outlined a plan for a revolutionary new area of research called “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “bio computers”.

What are Organoids?

Click Here to read

What is Organoids Intelligence?

Organoid intelligence refers to the ability of organoids to exhibit certain behaviors or responses that are indicative of intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, or adapting to changing environments. 

For example, researchers have created brain organoids that can form neural networks and exhibit electrical activity similar to that of a developing brain. 

These organoids can be used to study neurological disorders and test potential therapies.

What are Bio-computers?

Biological computers use biologically derived molecules — such as DNA and/or proteins — to perform digital or real computations.

These computers can perform certain operations much faster than traditional electronic computers and have the potential to revolutionize fields such as medicine and biotechnology.

How are researchers planning to develop bio-computers?

Researchers have announced plans to combine brain organoids with modern computing methods to create “bio-computers”.

They have planned to couple the organoids with machine learning by growing the organoids inside flexible structures affixed with multiple electrodes (similar to the ones used to take EEG readings from the brain). 

These structures will be able to record the firing patterns of the neurons and also deliver electrical stimuli, to mimic sensory stimuli.

Scrub typhus: combination therapy can save more lives

Source: The post is based on the article “Scrub typhus: combination therapy can save more lives” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

A team of researchers from Christian Medical College in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, and PGIMER Chandigarh found that an antibiotic combo is best for severe scrub typhus.

What is Scrub Typhus?

Scrub Typhus
Source: The Hindu

Scrub Typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi

Transmission: Scrub typhus is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). 

Symptoms: The most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash.

Cases of Scrub typhus: It is a major public health threat in South and Southeast Asia. As per estimates, nearly one million cases are reported from South and Southeast Asia with 10% mortality. India is one of the hotspots with at least 25% of the disease burden.

Treatment: Scrub typhus should be treated with antibiotics. No vaccine is available to prevent scrub typhus.

What did the researchers find about the treatment against Scrub Typhus?

Researchers found that a combination of antibiotic treatment (with intravenous doxycycline and azithromycin) is more effective for treating Severe Scrub Typhus than single-drug therapies.

What India’s labour force and national income data tell us about jobs shifting from agriculture

Source: The post is based on the article “What India’s labour force and national income data tell us about jobs shifting from agriculture” published in the Indian Express on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

Two recent sets of data released by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the National Statistical Office (NSO) highlight the process of structural transformation in the Indian economy, especially in relation to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

About workforce in agriculture and manufacturing

Agriculture vs manufacture
Source: Indian Express

Based on the data on the total workforce compared to manufacturing (from 1993 to 2021), the agricultural workforce share fell from 64.6% in 1993-94 to 42.5% in 2018-19. The biggest decline happened between 2004-05 and 2011-12.

Since 2011-12, this structural transformation has slowed, with the share of agriculture in employment not falling fast enough. The share of manufacturing has dropped behind even that of construction and trade, hotels & restaurants. For instance, in 2017-18, the latter construction and trade, hotels & restaurants sectors accounted for 11.7% and 12% of the total workforce respectively, as against manufacturing’s 12.1%.

Overall, the structural transformation has stalled since the pandemic.

About the value addition in agriculture

Value addition
Source: Indian Express

Based on the NSO’s first revised estimates of national income for 2021-22, value addition is the highest in agriculture.

On the other hand, value addition is the lowest, at just over a fifth, for manufacturing. Purchased inputs are very little in agriculture, unlike manufacturing.

Note about GVA-GVO ratio:  One way to assess how much value an industry or sector actually creates in the process of production is by looking at the ratio of GVA (gross value of added) to GVO (gross value of output). GVO is the total value of all goods and services produced by the country. GVA is GVO at current prices minus the value of intermediate consumption.

High value-addition in agriculture: is a key reason why agriculture is able to employ so many people. The sector’s share in GVO was only 11.4% in 2021-22. When measured in terms of GVA, the share rose to 19%. On the other hand, manufacturing’s share in overall GVO was as high as 35.4%, while being just 15.8% relative to GVA. In short, an agriculturalist may be adding more value to every unit of input he consumes than a manufacturer.

What needs to be done to increase productivity in agriculture?

Productivity is a function of output per worker or per unit of land. Productivity is low in agriculture compared to modern manufacturing and services. So, the average farmer earns less than his urban counterpart. To earn more, the farmer’s productivity has to go up — which means producing more on the same land with fewer hands.

India has too many people in agriculture. They need to be enabled to find employment in other sectors, which will, in turn, raise agriculture’s productivity.

10 PM UPSC Current Affairs Quiz 15 June, 2024

We are posting 10 PM UPSC Current Affairs Quiz 15 June MCQs for today. Best UPSC institute In Delhi, On a daily basis, we post 10 MCQs, based on daily current affairs from PIB, The Hindu, Indian Express, DTE, TOI, and Live Mint. Daily UPSC Current Affairs Quiz 10 PM Current Affairs MCQs Archive – Click Here… Continue reading 10 PM UPSC Current Affairs Quiz 15 June, 2024

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9 PM UPSC Current Affairs Articles 15th June, 2024

Dear Friends, We are posting the 9 PM UPSC Current Affairs Articles 15th June, 2024 based on today’s current affairs. What is the aim of 9 PM? Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is… Continue reading 9 PM UPSC Current Affairs Articles 15th June, 2024

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Issue with Meloni’s Privatization Plan

Source: The post issue with Meloni’s Privatization Plan has been created, based on the article “Economic shortsightedness is jeopardising Italy’s G7 ambitions” published in “Business standard” on 15th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2-international relation-Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Context: The article discusses Italy’s hosting… Continue reading Issue with Meloni’s Privatization Plan

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Critics of the National Education Policy (NEP)

Source: The post critics of the National Education Policy (NEP) has been created, based on the article “Why NEP implementation has been a failure” published in “Indian Express” on 15th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2– Governance – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education Context: The article… Continue reading Critics of the National Education Policy (NEP)

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High food price despite slight decrease in inflation

Source: The post high food price despite slight decrease in inflation has been created, based on the article “Food factor: Policymakers must keep in mind that inflation hits the poor the hardest” published in “The Hindu” on 15th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3 – Indian Economy- Growth and Development Context: The article… Continue reading High food price despite slight decrease in inflation

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Challenges faced by Indian companies, due to amendment in the foreign investment rules

Source: The post challenges faced by Indian companies, due to amendment in the foreign investment rules has been created, based on the article “India growth story has a ‘beneficial ownership’ hurdle” published in “The Hindu” on 15th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2 – Governance- Government policies and interventions for development in various… Continue reading Challenges faced by Indian companies, due to amendment in the foreign investment rules

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Climate Change Negotiations after Bonn Climate Meet – Challenges and Way Forward

A recent Climate Change Negotiations in Bonn, Germany, struggled to agree on a new target for climate finance beyond the current $100 billion annually from developed to developing countries by 2024. The talks were expected to outline specific figures ahead of COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, but instead produced a lengthy “input paper”. According to the… Continue reading Climate Change Negotiations after Bonn Climate Meet – Challenges and Way Forward

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Divya Drishti

Source– This post on Divya Drishti is based on the article “DRDO Unveils the Power of AI” published in “PIB” on 14th June 2024. Why in the News? The Ingenious Research Solutions Pvt Ltd., a start-up developed an AI tool named ‘Divya Drishti.’ The development of ‘Divya Drishti’ was supported by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence… Continue reading Divya Drishti

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National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage (NIIMH)

Source– This post on National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage (NIIMH) is based on the article “NIIMH is the first WHO Collaborating Centre for “Fundamental and Literary Research in Traditional Medicine” published in “PIB” on 14th June 2024. Why in the News? Recently, The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the National Institute of Indian Medical… Continue reading National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage (NIIMH)

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Iskander-M missile system

Source– This post on Iskander-M is based on the article “ On Cam: Putin’s Iskander Missile Strikes Ukrainian Airbase; Su-27 Jet & S-300 System Hit” published in “Hindustan Times” on 14th June 2024. Why in the News? Recently, Russia claimed that it used the nuclear-capable Iskander-M missile system to target the Ukrainian military airbase in Mirgorod.… Continue reading Iskander-M missile system

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