9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 10th, 2022

Dear Friends,

We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
    • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
    • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Buckle up: The EU sustainability push will impact Indian business

Source– The post is based on the article “Buckle up: The EU sustainability push will impact Indian business” published in the mint on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Regional grouping

Relevance– EU-India trade and economic ties

News- This article explains the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive introduced by the EU and its impact on India.

What is the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive introduced by the EU?

As per this directive, larger European firms will be held accountable for human rights and environmental related violations in the global value chain.

What will be the impacts of these standards on India?

Indian companies will have to adapt their operations to meet requirements under the new EU law. If India value-chain partners falter on these obligations, large EU companies will face legal and financial costs. Our suppliers, buyers and exporters to large EU companies risk losing trust and business if they don’t follow these standards.

The EU is important for India from the perspective of trade and business. The EU will play a central role in achieving the target of $1 trillion exports by 2027-28. In 2020-21, the bilateral trade was $88 billion. 6000 European companies in India provide 1.7 million direct jobs. Child and labour trafficking is still prevalent in India. As per 2011 census, there were over 11 million child labourers in India. Covid has led to an increase in these numbers.

How can Indian companies prepare to deal with these standards?

Companies must establish clear and transparent contractual clauses with all tiers of suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors for risk assessment and mitigation, disclosure and remediation for human rights violations.

Internal audit and training exercise should percolate to lower tiers of the supply chain, where maximum risk lies.

Companies can introduce technology and automation to help reduce tiers, informality and fragmentation in the supply chain.

Partnership with third party experts and the government can help integrate existing best practices in their operations.

Ukraine: Peacemaker India? Jaishankar’s Moscow visit was crucial. New Delhi seems more ready to facilitate dialogue

Source– The post is based on the article “Ukraine: Peacemaker India? Jaishankar’s Moscow visit was crucial. New Delhi seems more ready to facilitate dialogue” published in The Times of India on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- International relations

Relevance– India and Russia relationship in context of Ukrainian conflict

News- The article explains the recent developments in Russia-Ukraine conflict. It also explains the recent development in India-Russia relationship.

What are important aspects of Jaishankar’s public statement on India-Russia bilateral relationship?

He emphasised on listing of high-level contacts, historical resilience of relationship, sharp rise in trade, multipolar and re-balanced world.

He repeated PM Modi’s remarks that it was not the time for war. He made a plea for return to dialogue and diplomacy, respect for international law and support for human rights.

He said that India would be supportive of all economic, peace and stability initiatives.

What is happening in the Ukrainian conflict?

There are reports in western media about mediation on the Ukraine issue, including by India.

There is lowering in the rhetoric by major European leaders against Russia as inflation and recession loom for Europe.

There was a recent trip to China by the German chancellor.

The conflict stands today at a critical point. It can either go out of control or move towards de-escalation.

What is India’s position in this conflict?

India appears willing to contribute to facilitate dialogue. Its comments in this direction are becoming more explicit. They reflect a genuine sense of concern at strategic and economic consequences of conflict.

Russia also understands the importance of relationships. Putin has spoken positively about INdia in recent speeches. India was one of five countries Russia choose to convey its allegation about a Ukrainian dirty bomb.

Why is resolving the dispute not easy?

Mediation is not easy in this conflict. It has deep-rooted historical origins.

Differing perception in the EU bloc makes the matter more difficult.

At the heart of conflict is security architecture in Europe, nature of transatlantic alliance and ability of parties to peacefully coexist.

There are few basic conditions for success.

What is the way forward  to resolve the conflict?

India can be useful for de-escalation. It enjoys good relationships with all sides. There is a lack of leadership in Europe except France.

India equities may not be sufficient but its voice matters.

A realistic approach is needed. A coalition of two or three leaders may halt the conflict.

Enforcing the ban on the two-finger test

Source: The post is based on an article “Enforcing the ban on the two-finger test” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2- Governance

News:  Supreme court has banned on conducting the ‘two-finger test’ on rape or sexual assault survivors.

What was said by the SC?

The court said that two-finger test has no scientific basis as it neither proves nor disapproves allegations of rape.

Moreover, the SC in Lillu v. State of Haryana (2013) had also held that the two-finger test violates the right of rape survivors.

When was two-finger test for rape survivors started?

It started in 2014 after the guidelines were issued from the Union Ministry of Health.  It directed health providers to conduct a medical examination as per the guidelines and a copy of the report should be given to the victim.

These guidelines were circulated to hospitals. However, it seems that the instructions were not taken seriously by the doctors handling medico-legal cases.

What are the reasons behind misinterpretation of the guidelines by doctors?

Lack of awareness: There is lack of awareness amongst doctors regarding recent judgments and there is no institutional platform to share such judgments with medical practitioners. The Supreme Court has said that workshops must be conducted to spread awareness.

Lack of coordination: There is a lack of coordination and interaction between the Health Ministry and Home Ministry. These both departments get involved in any medico-legal cases.

Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS): The Health Department is not one of the pillars of the ICJS. It is an extension of the Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network Systems under the Home Ministry. This creates a gap between the two Departments.

Roll Call: It is an old system followed by police every day to share information, allocated duties and explain the orders of senior officers to the police personnel. However, this practice has lost its importance.

This is evident that cases under Section 66A of the IT Act were still registered despite being scrapped by SC. Therefore, the system of daily roll call must be revived at all police stations.

Inappropriate communication channels: The communication channels between the heads of department and the officers are never direct and straight.

What can be the course of action?

First, an institutional mechanism needs to be developed to ensure the proper sharing of information amongst the stakeholders in the criminal justice system.

Second, the medico-legal section of the Health Department needs to be integrated with the ICJS.

Third, training and communication channels need to be improved in the medico-legal cases.

The government’s push to facilitate international trade in domestic currency is a good idea

Source: The post is based on an article “The government’s push to facilitate international trade in domestic currency is a good idea” published in The Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2- International Relations

News:  The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are promoting international trade in Rupee instead of the US dollar.

What will be the benefits of promoting international trade in domestic currency?

Reduce depletion of forex reserves: Forex reserves of India have been continuously declining. Therefore, international trade in rupees will reduce the depletion.

Reducing dependence on dollars: International trade is generally conducted in the US dollars. However, with this effort, bilateral trading now will be done in rupee by opening a Vostro account in India. This will help in paying in rupees to the Indian exporters instead of dollars.

However, it is not a new concept. India has already done trading in rupee with Iran and it is now looking to expand this with other countries such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Russia, etc.

However, there are few limitations to such domestic currency-based trade settlements especially with Russia.

What are the limitations of using rupee trade settlements with Russia?

Geopolitical: There are geopolitical concerns related to trade with Russia. Russia has now emerged as India’s biggest crude supplier despite sanctions. This may raise geopolitical issues.

Trade imbalance: India’s import with Russia is greater than its exports. This trade imbalance would leave too much unused rupees in the Vostro account.

What can be the course of action?

Rupee pay settlement in international trade is a great move. However, India should first look at its national interest. It should focus more on exporting with improving bilateral payment settlement mechanism.

Reservation criteria: The EWS judgment and the shadow of Pandora

Source: The post is based on the article “The EWS judgment and the shadow of Pandora” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.  

Syllabus: GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: About India’s reservation criteria.

News: The Supreme Court of India has upheld the constitutional validity of granting 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the upper castes.

What are the salient features of the 103rd constitutional amendment?
Read here: 103rd constitutional amendment
What are the Supreme Court rulings on the 103rd constitutional amendment?
Read here: Supreme Court, in a majority verdict, upholds constitutional validity of EWS quota
How India’s affirmative action programme defined reservation criteria?

The constitution inaugurated the world’s oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action programme. Such as guaranteeing Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes not only equality of opportunity but guaranteed outcomes, with reserved places in educational institutions, government jobs and seats in Parliament and the State Assemblies.

The addition of the OBC category — after the acceptance Mandal Commission recommendation — also did not change the basis on which reservation benefited: despite the “C” in “OBC” referring to “classes”, the OBC lists contained castes and sub-castes.

What are the Supreme Court observation on reservation criteria?

The court while upholding the validity of the 103rd constitutional amendment said that recognition of backwardness has been associated with caste in India owing to historical conditions, particularly in Hindu society.

It also held that a) Caste may be a prominent factor for ‘easy determination of backwardness. But new practices, methods and yardsticks have to be continuously evolved moving away from caste-centric definition of backwardness, b) The gates of reservation would be opened only to permit entry of the most distressed. Any other inclusions would be a serious abdication of the constitutional duty of the State, c) Social backwardness is a “distinct concept” that emerges from multiple circumstances ranging from the social and cultural, to economic, educational and even political.

Citing its own decision to recognise transgenders as a distinct community with justiciable rights, the Court congratulated itself for identifying a form of social backwardness that had nothing to do with caste or class.

Why does the present judgment is a death knell for caste as a factor in reservation criteria?

The judgment’s proverbial can be a gateway for policy-makers. From now on the historical wrongs are no longer sufficient grounds for government benefits. New methods have to be developed to identify the backwardness of a group of people.

But the court does not define the criteria to apply. One could imagine a list of differently-weighted categories, ranging from income, family situation, disability, education level, etc.

GS Paper 3

The master map fast-tracking infra

Source– The post is based on the article “The master map fast-tracking infra” published in the mint on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Infrastructure

News- The article explains the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan.

What is PM GatiShakti National Master Plan?

It is like the google map of infrastructure. It offers a dashboard with a bird eye view of bridges, roads, tunnels, pipelines, power transmission cable, forest, water bodies and airports in any region of the country.

It has over 2000 layers of data.

It aims to solve the complex problem of delay in important projects.

It includes projects that cost over 500 crore. The projects will be screened before they use this database because of the amount of data and information provided by it.

A three tier system monitors the plan. At the bottom of the pyramid is the technical support unit. The middle layer is the National Planning Group. At the very top is an empowered group of secretaries headed by Cabinet secretary.

What are the benefits associated with this initiative?

Earlier, the information was not centralised. It was available in silos. This led to bureaucratic delays. The GatiShakti database breaks the departmental silos.

Because of the lack of a unified database, agencies worked at cross-purpose with each other. The database will increase coordination between agencies.

The database will save time and money. It could optimise the project performance.

What are the roadblocks ahead for PM GatiShakti?

The database is loaded with sensitive information. It is not easy for the government to open it up for the private sector.

Lack of digitised land records is a big hurdle. Without private sector participation, the benefits of this tool can be limiting. Private sector has to rely on bureaucrats to access the platform. It would add another layer to the process.

Policing with talent, resource sharing, not squabbling

Source– The post is based on the article “Policing with talent, resource sharing, not squabbling” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Internal security

News- The article explains the centre-state relations in the context of policing. It also suggests the way forward for better coordination.

What is the contribution of Sardar Patel for internal security?

He placed great value on professional policing. This was the reason for his insistence on an elitist and well-trained corps such IPSwhich worked alongside the IAS.

The two all-India services have been a cementing force and have greatly contributed to establishing nationally accepted standards of governance, especially in the area of law and Order.

What are the issues with policing today? There is conflict between the MHA and some States over utilising talent in the IPS and the sharing of resources available in the States. Both sides have to be partially blamed for

this unfortunate state of affairs. Differences in personnel management has occasionally affected

administration in the Centre and States.

There are frequent spats between States and the Centre over the use or alleged misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation. Insensitive action by a few States to withdraw consent to the CBI to function in a State. This is influenced by politics and vindictiveness, which diminishes the fight against public servant graft.

What is the way forward?

Friendly conduct between states and centre is needed.. The Centre has always been provided  with support from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

There have also been other outfits such as the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which have also worked in tandem with the State Police.

Crime and bureaucratic corruption have inter-State ramifications and only a national agency can bring in a much-needed and wide perspective. So, Body like the CBI is the need of the day.

Police is a State subject under the distribution of powers laid down in the Constitution of India. But that does not mean the Union government has no say in the matter.

Training and technology are two areas where the Centre does greatly contribute to sharpening police ability to combat terrorism and other major public disturbances. The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad is a world-class institution that has resources and the professional excellence which are generously available to State Police forces.

We need a political leadership that does not care about petty differences but promotes a free exchange of talent and resources between New Delhi and the States.

Our choking cities: How we can improve air and water quality in urban spaces

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Our choking cities: How we can improve air and water quality in urban spaces” published in the Indian Express on 10th November 2022.  

“Reduce year-round pollutants to make Delhi’s air less hazardous” published in Livemint on 10th November 2022.  

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environmental pollution and degradation.

Relevance: About India’s air and water pollution.

News: Recently, in Delhi, pollution-related curbs were lifted and schools opened, despite air quality continues to be in the “very poor” category.

About air and water pollution in India
PM 2.5 levels
Source: The Hindu

Air pollution: More than 1,10,000 infants are likely to have been killed by air pollution in India in 2019. Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution was estimated to be responsible for about 1.67 million annual deaths amongst the adult population in the country.

Water pollution: The Central Pollution Control Board reckons that more than 50 per cent of 351 river stretches (on 323 rivers) are polluted. About 72% of urban sewage is untreated in India’s urban freshwater bodies.

What needs to be done to reduce air and water pollution in India?

A massive improvement in public bus services: Public bus services must procure services from private operators on structured contracts, b) Special services to the airport, railway stations, employment hubs and local circulators will help bring down the extent of personal motor-vehicle use.

Deployment of clean technologies: electric mobility must be taken forward aggressively. For instance, electric buses can be significantly cheaper than diesel/CNG options so they needed to be procured more.

Infrastructure upgrades for non-motorized modes of conveyance: It needs a safer infrastructure for cycling and walking. India should develop pedestrian and bicycle masterplans to ensure that walking and cycling in urban spaces become safe and pleasant is essential.

A plan to reduce travel demand: This can be done by a) Improving online delivery of public services, b) Mixed land-use planning to reduce trip lengths, c) Encourage policy and support to work from home or shop online options and d) Commercial and residential areas should be co-located

Increase green cover across urban areas: For instance, Ahmedabad’s municipal corporation using the Miyawaki technique has more than urban forests. Chandigarh has about 1,800 parks. Close to 46% of the city was classified as a green area in 2019.

Read more: About winter pollution in Delhi: Severe policy lapse

Involve more Civil society: In Chennai an NGO has been able to grow 25 Miyawaki forests, raising over 65,000 trees. Such plantations are now being replicated in other cities including Tuticorin, Vellore and Kanchipuram. This can be done in other Indian cities as well.

Implement globally successful airshed management systems: a) In the US, the passage of the Air Quality Act (1967) saw the state of California being divided into 35 districts and pollution was regulated at the state level. This approach was successful in reducing emissions by 98% from 2010 to 2019, b) London’s air pollution revolution has initiated an Ultra Low Emission zone in Central London. It has a hefty daily fee on cars that emit more than 75g/km of pollution.

Protect water and riverine pollution: India needs to adopt a systems-based approach along with a push for protecting “blue infra” areas — places that act as natural sponges for absorbing surface runoff, allowing groundwater to be recharged.

At the household level, India needs to encourage rainwater harvesting, urban roof terrace greening, urban roof water retention tanks and green corridor around residential buildings.

At the city level and beyond, policymakers should push for “sponge cities” and incorporate disaster planning.

For example, Mangalore’s City Corporation (MCC) has wastewater treatment plants with end-user linkages. The MCC offered to supply treated water to such industrial end-users in the city’s special economic zone if the latter agreed to fund about 70% of the operations and maintenance cost of the pumps and the sewage treatment plant.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mother Tongue Survey of India, involving 576 languages, is ready: what is this survey?

Source: The post is based on the article “Mother Tongue Survey of India, involving 576 languages, is ready: what is this survey?” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs has completed the Mother Tongue Survey of India(MTSI).

What is the Mother Tongue Survey of India(MTSI)?

MTSI is a project that “surveys the mother tongues which are returned consistently across two and more Census decades”. It also documents the linguistic features of the selected languages.

Aim: To preserve and analyze the original flavour of each indigenous mother tongue.

Surveying agencies: National Informatics Centre(NIC) and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) will be documenting and preserving the linguistic data of the surveyed mother tongues in audio-video files.

As part of this survey, field videography of 576 mother tongues was done. The video-graphed speech data of these languages and dialects will be uploaded to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) server for archiving purposes.

How many “mother tongues” does India have, and what is spoken the most?

Mother Tongues: As per an analysis of 2011 linguistic census data in 2018, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues.

– Note: The category “mother tongue” is a designation provided by the respondent, but it need not be identical with the actual linguistic medium. Hence, after subjecting these languages to linguistic scrutiny, they were grouped into 121 mother tongues.

Most spoken Mother Tongue: Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue, with 52.8 crore people or 43.6% of the population declaring it as the mother tongue. The next highest is Bengali spoken by around 8% of the population.

Where does the mother tongue feature in the education of children? 

The new National Curriculum Framework(NCF) for the foundational stages of education, has recommended that the mother tongue should be the primary medium of instruction in schools for children up to eight years of age.

The focus on the mother tongue as the medium of instruction, especially for primary schooling, has been a feature of education policies for years.

Centre devises new guidelines for TV channels; broadcast of socially relevant topics compulsory

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre devises new guidelines for TV channels; broadcast of socially relevant topics compulsory” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022. 

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the “Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022”. 

These guidelines will ensure the ease of compliance for the permit holders of TV Channels and will also promote ease of doing business by simplification of rules and procedures.

What are the key provisions of the guidelines?

Broadcast National Importance content: All the stations holding permission — except for the foreign channels and where it may not be feasible — would have to broadcast content on issues of national importance and social relevance for at least 30 minutes every day.

– The content must be related to education; agriculture; health; science and technology; welfare of women; welfare of the weaker sections of society; protection of the environment and of cultural heritage and national integration.

Note: The guidelines exempt the channels including those related to sports, where it would not be feasible to broadcast such content. 

Live Telecast: The requirement for seeking permission for the live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary.

Penalty: The penalty clauses have been rationalized and graded penalties proposed for different types of contraventions.

Net worth: The required net worth for the first channel is ₹20 crore and ₹5 crores for the subsequent ones.

Other important guidelines 1) Specific timelines have been proposed for a grant for permission, 2) Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) entities can also seek permission and 3) A news agency can get permission for a 5-year period as against one year at present.

FinMin clears framework for sovereign green bonds

Source: The post is based on the article “FinMin clears framework for sovereign green bonds” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The Finance Minister has approved the final sovereign green bonds framework to fund environmentally sustainable projects. 

What are Green Bonds?

Click Here to read

About Sovereign Green Bonds Framework
Green bonds
Source: TOI

Aim: To mobilize Rs 16,000 crore through the issuance of green bonds in the current fiscal ending March 2023.

Under the framework, the Finance Ministry will, every year, inform the RBI about spending on green projects for which the funds raised through these bonds will be used.

Eligible Sectors: The proceeds from the green bonds would be used to fund renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, water and waste management, pollution prevention and control and green buildings among others. 

Excluded sectors: Nuclear power generation, landfill projects, alcohol/weapons/tobacco/gaming/palm oil industries and hydropower plants larger than 25 MW have been excluded from the framework.

Where will the proceeds go? The proceeds from the issuance of the green bond will be deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) in line with the regular treasury policy, and then funds from the CFI will be made available for the eligible green projects.

What constitutes green expenditure?

All eligible “green expenditures” will include public expenditure undertaken by the government in the form of investment, subsidies, grants-in-aid or tax foregone (or a combination of all or some of these) or select operational expenditures and R&D expenditures in public sector projects.

– The eligible expenditures will be limited to government expenditures that occurred a maximum of 12 months prior to issuance of the green bonds.

Who will implement the Sovereign Green Bonds Framework?

The Ministry of Finance has constituted a Green Finance Working Committee (GFWC) including members from relevant line ministries and chaired by the Chief Economic Advisor.

– The GFWC will meet at least twice a year to support the Ministry of Finance with selection and evaluation of projects and other work related to the Framework.

– Initial evaluation of the project will be the responsibility of the concerned Ministry/Department in consultation with experts.

– The allocation of the proceeds will be reviewed in a time-bound manner by the GFWC to ensure that the allocation of proceeds is completed within 24 months from the date of issuance.

India’s first private satellite vehicle set for launch: All you need to know about Vikram S, and why it is a big deal

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s first private satellite vehicle set for launch: All you need to know about Vikram S, and why it is a big deal” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

India’s first-ever privately developed rocket named “Vikram S” is ready for launch. It will be launched by Hyderabad-based space firm Skyroot Aerospace as part of its Mission “Prarambh”.

What is Vikram S?

Click Here to read

Features of Vikram S

Payload Capacity: Skyroot is designing three Vikram rockets that will use various solid and cryogenic fuels to carry between 290 kg and 560 kg payloads to sun-synchronous polar orbits.

— In comparison, India’s workhorse PSLV can carry up to 1,750 kg to such an orbit while the newly-developed small satellite launch vehicle – meant for carrying smaller commercial satellites – can carry up to 300 kg to sun-synchronous orbit.

Unique Capabilities: Vikram vehicles offer unique capabilities like multi-orbit insertion, interplanetary missions while providing customized, dedicated and ride-share options covering a wide spectrum of small satellite customer needs.

Low Cost: Vikram rocket can be assembled and launched within 24 hours from any launch site and has the “lowest cost in the payload segment”.

Why does India need private players in the space market?

Firstly, ISRO is centrally funded and its annual budget is between Rs 14-15,000 crore and most of this is used in building rockets and satellites. This is a drop in the ocean. Hence, to increase the scale of the space sector, it is imperative for private players to enter the market. 

Secondly, ISRO is capable of launching satellites into space but the demand is quickly outrunning its capacity especially as it also has other, larger goals it needs to focus on. Therefore, the sector is being opened up to private players with ISRO helping them with facilities and knowledge. 

Thirdly, ISRO can also earn some money by making its facilities and data available to private players.

Kerala moves to remove Governor as Chancellor of universities

Source: The post is based on the article “Kerala moves to remove Governor as Chancellor of universities” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The Kerala government has decided to bring in an ordinance to remove the Governor from the post of Chancellor of all state-run universities.

Why does the Kerala Government want to remove Governor from the post of Chancellor of state-run universities?

Firstly, the Punchhi Commission that studied Centre-State relations had said that State governments should desist from burdening Governors with the role of chancellor of universities lest the extra authority impede them from the discharge of their constitutional obligations.

Secondly, Kerala Government said that the Legislative Assembly had created the office of the chancellor and weaved the legislation into the founding statute that established State universities. Hence, the Assembly was assertively competent to withdraw the Governor’s powers as chancellor.

Who will then be appointed as Chancellor of state-run universities?

The Kerala government wants to replace Kerala Governor with “renowned academic experts” as chancellors of various universities.

But it was still being determined whether the government would appoint a separate chancellor for each of the 14 universities in the State

Nushu: The secret language men don’t know

Source: The post is based on the article “Nushu: The secret language men don’t knowpublished in BBC on 8th November 2022.

What is the News?

BBC Culture’s Secret Languages series has described the significance of the Nushu language.

What is Nushu?

Nushu literally means “the script of women”. It is a secret language invented 400 years ago in China’s Hunan province.

Purpose: This language allowed women to communicate with each other without men’s understanding.

– This language was developed as a way to allow women to communicate with one another in confidence. To some extent, this demand came from a desire for privacy as it allowed women a forum for communication in a society that was dominated by a male-orientated social culture.

Significance: Nushu language script is being preserved as a cultural artefact as it meant much more to its practitioners – and its role is still important today.

Level of groundwater extraction lowest in 18 years, finds study

Source: The post is based on the article “Level of groundwater extraction lowest in 18 years, finds study” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

Union Minister of Jal Shakti has released the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment Report for the entire country for the year 2022.

About the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment Report

The assessment was carried out jointly by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), States and Union Territories.

Such joint exercises between the CGWB and States/Union Territories were carried out earlier in 1980, 1995, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2020.

What are the key findings of the report?

Main Source of Groundwater: The main source of replenishable ground water resources is recharge from rainfall, which contributes to nearly 61% of the total annual groundwater recharge. India receives about 119 cm. of rain annually on average with high spatial variation. 

– A major part of the country receives rainfall mainly during the South West(SW) Monsoon season, spread over the months of June to September, except in Tamil Nadu where the major contribution is from the NE monsoon during the period October– December.

Groundwater usage in India:  The total annual groundwater recharge for the entire country is 437.60 billion cubic meters(BCM).

– The analysis indicates an increase in groundwater recharge which may mainly be attributed to increasing in recharge from canal seepage, return flow of irrigation water and recharges from water bodies/tanks & water conservation structures.

Groundwater extraction in India saw an 18-year decline. The total annual groundwater extraction (as in 2022) has been assessed as 239.16 bcm.

– Out of the total 7089 assessment units in the country, 1006 units have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’.

– There is also an improvement in groundwater conditions in 909 assessment units in the country compared with 2017 assessment data.

Rupee-denominated trade made eligible for export promotion, obligation schemes

Source: The post is based on the article “Rupee-denominated trade made eligible for export promotion, obligation schemes” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The Government of India has expanded the norms for incentives and export obligations under the Foreign Trade policy to cover foreign trade transactions settled in rupees.


In July 2022, RBI announced the setting up of a mechanism to settle global trade in rupees. 

Under the mechanism, all exports and imports may be denominated and invoiced in rupees, with the exchange rate between the currencies of the two trading partner countries to be market determined. 

To settle these transactions, authorized Indian banks have to open Special Rupee Vostro Accounts of correspondent banks of the partner trading country.

What has been announced now?
Rupee trade
Source: The Hindu

The government has announced that exporters settling trade in rupee terms will now be able to access export incentives or duty rebates.

Before this, incentives to exporters in the form of duty drawbacks, export promotion capital goods(EPCG) incentives and advance authorization schemes were available only if payments or export realization came in freely convertible currencies. These are the US dollar, British pound, euro and Japanese yen.

WRupee-denominated trade made eligible for export promotion, obligation schemess the significance of this decision?

Allowing trade settlements in the rupee under the various export promotion schemes should help boost exports and signal ‘internationalization of the domestic currency’. These are also early steps towards 100% convertibility of the Indian rupee.

Centre’s capex infusion strategy needs rethink

Source: The post is based on the articleCentre’s capex infusion strategy needs rethinkpublished in Livemint on 10th November 2022. 

What is the News?

The Government of India is likely to raise its capital expenditure plan further.It could raise its expenditure from 7.5 trillion rupees in FY23 to 10 trillion rupees in FY24. 

What has been the trend of Capital expenditure by the Central Government?
Capital expenditure
Source: Livemint

The Central government has announced a record capital expenditure to offer much-needed support to the economy which struggled to find its feet following the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This support came in the form of 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021-22 and 2.9% for the current financial year. 

However, the growth story will be incomplete without state governments and the private sector taking action and also without a sustained revival in consumption.

What are the issues faced by the Indian economy in reviving its growth?

Lack of Private Investment: The lack of private investment goes back a decade. In this period, many steps were taken to attract investment. For instance: 

– During the pandemic-hit period, interest rates were at record lows and the system was flush with liquidity. However, while companies made record profits in that period, they chose to repair their balance sheets instead of investing further. 

– Corporate taxes were cut. But it came at a time when consumption was faltering and without a sustained revival in consumption, they could not be expected to invest.

– Currently, with high inflation and low consumption, a broad-based revival in private investment is unlikely soon.

States’ low capital expenditure: The capital expenditure of states is also behind target despite nudges from the Centre. The Centre has spent 4.6% of its Capex plan in the six months till September, but no major state comes close, despite having fiscal space to spend more than their budgeted amount.

No Diversified CapEx spending by Centre: The sizable capital expenditure by Centre was limited to only a few ministries led by roads, defense, and railways. It needs to identify newer areas such as clean energies and green infrastructure including grid upgradation among others to make sure public spending plays a vigorous role in the economy.

2015-22 on track to be the eight warmest years on record: WMO

Source: The post is based on the article 2015-22 on track to be the eight warmest years on record: WMO published in TOI on 7th November 2022. 

What is the News?

The State of the Global Climate report 2022 has been released by the World Meteorological Organization(WMO).

What are the key findings of the report?
State of the Global Climate report 2022
Source: ToI

Global mean temperature in 2022: The global mean temperature in 2022 is currently estimated to be about 1.15°C above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900 average). This makes it difficult to meet the goal of keeping warming within the 1.5°C goal by the end of the century.

Eight warmest years on record: Fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat, the past eight years (2015-22) are on track to be the eight warmest on record.

– The warmest year on record so far has been 2016, when the global mean temperatures were measured to be about 1.28 degree Celsius higher than pre-industrial times.

Impact of rise in temperature: The impact of rise in temperature can be seen in 1) record breaking rain in July and August that led to flooding in Pakistan, 2) large parts of Europe sweltered in repeated episodes of extreme heat and 3) UK saw a new national record in July, when the temperature topped more than 400C for the first time.

Vulnerable population most affected: The report flagged how global warming made every heatwave more intense and life-threatening especially for vulnerable populations.

Sea Level rise: The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993. It has risen by 10 mm since January 2020 to a new record high this year. The past two and a half years alone account for 10% of the overall rise in sea level.

Impact of omitting several critical events from NCERT textbooks

Source: The post impact of omitting several critical events from NCERT textbooks has been created, based on the article “Erasures in NCERT textbooks go against NEP’s mandate to enhance critical thinking” published in “Indian express” on 18th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2- Governance- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating… Continue reading Impact of omitting several critical events from NCERT textbooks

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G7 and India- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

The Prime Minister of India attended the 50th Summit of G7 group which was held in from 13 to 15th June 2024. India is not a member of the G7. However, India participated as a guest in the 2019, 2021, and 2022 G7 summits at the invitation of France, the UK, and Germany respectively. This reflects… Continue reading G7 and India- Significance and Challenges- Explained Pointwise

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Direct Seeding of Rice

Source-This post on Direct Seeding of Rice has been created based on the article “Why direct seeding of rice (DSR) is yet to pick up in Punjab” published in “The Indian Express” on 18 June 2024. Why in the news? The Punjab government has been actively promoting the DSR or ‘tar-wattar‘ technique for rice cultivation.… Continue reading Direct Seeding of Rice

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B.R. Ambedkar’s View on Constitutional Morality

Source: The post B.R. Ambedkar’s View on Constitutional Morality has been created, based on the article “Constitutional respect should not be reduced to optics” published in “The Hindu” on 18th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-Indian constitution Context: The article criticizes disregarding the Indian Constitution despite his public displays of respect. It highlights instances… Continue reading B.R. Ambedkar’s View on Constitutional Morality

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Limitations of the existing Laws on Mercenaries

Source: The post limitations of the existing Laws on Mercenaries has been created, based on the article “Laws on mercenaries in war zones” published in “The Hindu” on 18th June 2024 UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-international relation-Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. Context: The article discusses the recruitment of Indian citizens by… Continue reading Limitations of the existing Laws on Mercenaries

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Issues with Growing Tourism in Antarctic

Source-This post on Issues with Growing Tourism in Antarctic has been created based on the article “The last continent must remain a pristine wilderness “published in “The Hindu” on 17 June 2024. Context- The 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46), held in Kochi, Kerala, recently discussed Antarctic tourism and sought to bring in a regulatory… Continue reading Issues with Growing Tourism in Antarctic

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Elderly Population in India

Source-This post on Elderly Population in India has been created based on the article “The vulnerabilities of India’s elderly “published in “The Hindu” on 18 June 2024. UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-2- Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States. Context -By mid-century, India’s elderly population is expected to reach 319 million,… Continue reading Elderly Population in India

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MATSYA 6000 Submarine

Source- This post on “MATYSA 6000 Submarine” has been created based on the article ” India set to be the 6th country to have its own Deep Sea Mission” published in the PIB on 16th June 2024. Why in News? India is set to be the 6th country of the world to have its own… Continue reading MATSYA 6000 Submarine

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Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2024

Source- This post “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2024” has been created based in the World Bank’s article published on 12th June 2024. Why in News? According to the recently released “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2024“, the the world is not on course to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)… Continue reading Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2024

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UPSC Mains Answer Writing 18th June 2024 I Mains Marathon

Following are today’s UPSC Mains Marathon Questions. About Mains Marathon – This is an initiative of ForumIAS to help/aid aspirants in their mains answer writing skills, which is crucial to conquering mains examination. UPSC Mains Answer Writing 18th June 2024 Every morning, we post 2–3 questions based on current affairs. The questions framed are meaningful and relevant… Continue reading UPSC Mains Answer Writing 18th June 2024 I Mains Marathon

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