9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – October 11th, 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

Russia’s continued defiance of international law

Source: The post is based on an article Russia’s continued defiance of international law” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relations

Relevance: Russia and Ukraine war

News: Russia has continued invading Ukraine despite widespread condemnation and sanctions.

Around 141 countries in United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution demanding Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Ukraine.

International Court of Justice (ICJ) also ordered Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine.  However, Russia has continued its war against Ukraine.

What are the stands of Russia on war?

Russia has recently annexed Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine. Russia claims that these regions have had referendums and decided to join Russia.

However, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has pointed out that referenda in Ukraine were conducted in areas that are under Russian occupation.

Therefore, referendums in those regions may not constitute expression of the popular will of the people. Further, Russia has misused the international laws in favouring its position.

How Russia has misused the UN charter?

Russian President often invokes the UN Charter to justify his actions to the people of Russia.

He referred to Article 51 of the UN Charter just before invading Ukraine. The article provides for self-defence against an armed attack. However, it was wrong to refer the article as Russia did not have any threat from Ukraine.

He has currently referred to Article 1 of the Charter when he announced illegal annexations.

The reason behind using this article was that it provides the right of self-determination to the people and Putin wanted to say that the people of annexed regions did not have this right.

However, the right of self-determination under international law is debatable.

This right is also present in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It says that a group of people can freely determine their political status.

However, Article 1 has to be read with Article 2 of the UN Charter. Article 2 provides for the principle of non-intervention as one of the seven core principles of the UN.

Moreover, the principle of self-determination in Article 1 of the UN Charter has been understood in the context of decolonization rather than the annexation of new territories.

What does the international rule say on occupation of any territory?

Russia’s recent control over the four Ukrainian regions before referendums is known as ‘belligerent occupation’ under the international law.

The Hague Convention of 1899 talks about the rules on belligerent occupation.

Article 43 of the Convention states that if a country has occupied the territory of another country, then the country which has occupied the territory should take all steps to re-establish and ensure public order and safety in those territories.

Moreover, the occupant country shall respect the domestic laws of the country whose territory it has occupied.

Therefore, Russia has violated Article 43 of the Hague Convention by annexing the Ukrainian territories and imposing its laws on those territories.

Moreover, the Article also states that Russia, being the occupier, only has ‘authority’ and not ‘sovereignty’ over these regions. Further, any change in this status, i.e., from ‘authority’ to ‘sovereignty’ can only happen with Ukraine’s consent.

Moreover, the Russian President has recently said that he can use nuclear weapons in the war against the Ukraine.

What are the emerging threats of a nuclear war?

Russia and Ukraine have not signatories of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear-Weapons. However, the UN Charter is helpful to understand the legality of the nuclear threats.

The Charter provides the right of individual and collective self-defence which means that if Russia launches a nuclear attack, not only Ukraine but also its allies can launch a counter-attack on Russia in collective self-defence.

Furthermore, the Charter empowers the Security Council to take action even in the case of threat of force.

Therefore, it seems that international laws have not been enough to stop Russia from invading Ukraine and there is a need to look into it.

Indian prisons are stretched to their limits

Source: The post is based on an article Indian prisons are stretched to their limits” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: issues associated with prisons in India

News: The prisons in India are over-crowded. The National Crime Records Bureau’s ‘Prison Statistics India’ reports have provided various data on the condition of prison in India.

What does the data say about the over-crowded prison?

The capacity of prisons has increased from some 3.32 lakh to 4.25 lakh in the last decade, which is a 27% increase while the number of prisoners has increased from 3.7 lakh to 5.54 lakh in the same period, by 48%.

This imbalance has caused the occupancy rate to surge from 112% to 130% in the last decade.

The problem of over-crowding was worse in the northern States/Union Territories (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi). The occupancy rate crossed 180% in 2021 in these regions.

Moreover, the occupancy rate out of the 36 States and UTs increased in 26 states while in 18 of the states had the occupancy rate more than 100% in the year 2021.

However, the occupancy rate decreased in Chhattisgarh and Punjab by 108% points and 51% points respectively.

Among UTs the occupancy rate was highest in Delhi between the year 2011 and 2021. The occupancy rate increased from 60% to 183%, which is 122% increase.

These data provide for the Indian prisoners while the data on foreign prisoners also show the dismal condition.

What does the data say on prison officers?

Over 60% of officer positions were vacant in 2019 in Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand and less than ₹20,000 was spent on each prison inmate in 2019-20 in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Therefore, there are high vacancies for prison officers in some states and also the money spent on each prison inmate also varies widely across States.

How China reduced poverty; lessons for India

Source: The post is based on an article ExplainSpeaking: How China reduced poverty; lessons for India” published in The Indian Express on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Justice

Relevance: measures to alleviate poverty in India

News: The World Bank has recently released a report on global poverty.

The report stated that economic disruption brought by Covid-19 and the Ukraine war had produced “an outright reversal” in poverty reduction across the planet.

The pace of poverty reduction had been slowing down since 2015. Further, the pandemic and Ukraine war have affected so much that the “world is unlikely to meet the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030”.

What has the World Bank stated about India’s poverty levels?

According to the WB, India has the highest number of poor people.

Further, the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) used by WB found that the number of people living in abject poverty increased by 56 million (5.6 crore) in 2020.

What did China achieve?

According to the WB, China lifted 765 million (76.5 crore) people from extreme poverty between 1978 and 2019.

This led to almost 75 per cent of the global reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty in China. China has also achieved improvements in other measures of well-being.

For example, the Life expectancy at birth went from 66 years in 1978 to 77 years by 2019 and the infant mortality rate dropped from 52 in 1978 to 6.8 per thousand infants in 2019.

China’s improvement in health, education, and income over the four decades has led its position to rise from 106 (out of 144 countries) in 1990 to 85 (out of 189 countries) in 2019 in the Human Development Index.

How was China successful in alleviating poverty?

First, the rapid economic growth was supported by broad-based economic transformation in China. It provided new economic opportunities for the poor and raised average incomes.

  • China started reforming from the agricultural sector where poor people got benefit directly from improvements in productivity associated with the introduction of market incentives.
  • Further, the development of low-skilled, labor-intensive industries provided a source of employment for workers released from agriculture.
  • Public investment in infrastructure improved living conditions in rural areas and it also connected them with urban and export markets.

Second, the government policies tried to alleviate persistent poverty.

  • These policies initially targeted areas disadvantaged by location and a lack of economic opportunities. Later, the policies subsequently focused on poor households irrespective of their location.
  • These policies also included social protection policies for poor households like specific programs in social assistance, social insurance, social welfare, etc.

Third, the success in China was made possible from effective governance. It acted as a key to the successful implementation of the growth strategy as well as the evolving set of targeted poverty reduction policies.

Fourth, China also got benefit from the high level of human capital. It is important to benefit from new economic opportunities once market reforms set in.

Fifth, China also invested massively in education and expansion of health care in 1950s that resulted in achievement later.

Therefore, China’s poverty alleviation strategy can be characterized as development oriented with a focus on creating economic opportunities as a means to escape poverty and India can also learn from China.

The message in a bottle on quality from Gambia

Source: The post is based on an article The message in a bottle on quality from Gambia” published in Live Mint on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: loopholes present in the regulation of pharma companies in India

News: 66 children have lost their lives in Gambia after consuming contaminated cough syrup manufactured in India. Findings of the various reports highlight quality issues in the cough syrup.

What are the findings of WHO?

WHO found unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol in the syrups. They both are toxic for humans and can lead to serious injury or death, especially in children.

Diethylene glycol is cheaper, which is why it could have been used by the manufacturer. However, manufacturers are responsible for maintaining quality and following good manufacturing practices.

The health ministry’s statement that the four syrups made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals were meant for sale only in Gambia and not India is also misleading.

Moreover, investigation by other agencies also highlights that there has been violation of laws by the pharma company.

What are the findings of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)?

The investigation carried out by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and state regulators suggest that there has been violation of laws by Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

Maiden’s products have failed regulatory tests in several states. It was fined in Kerala for selling low-quality drugs and was blacklisted by Bihar.

Even though the drug maker continued to manufacture low quality drugs.

What are the regulatory problems associated with drug manufacturing companies in India?

The drug regulation in India works in isolation with other states and drugs that fail quality tests in one state can keep selling in other states.

There is also a lack of coordination among states and central regulators and it is further worsened by the absence of a central drug recall mechanism.

The CDSCO estimated that around 5% sub-standard drugs are being sold by Indian manufacturers and there is no proper measure to stop it.

Indian pharma companies have also been penalized by the US in the past for selling low quality drugs.

Therefore, compromise with medicines on standards can have devastating consequences at home or elsewhere in the world.

Bad drugs can cost lives and such losses make global news which may provide a negative image for India as a ‘pharmacy of the world’.

Therefore, the government must take urgent steps to correct all issues in our drug testing and regulatory system.

Too few rules: Without some codification, SC collegium will keep running into problems in selecting judges

Source– The post is based on the article “Too few rules: Without some codification, SC collegium will keep running into problems in selecting judges” published in The Times of India on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Judiciary

Relevance– Reforming the system of appointment of judges

News- The article explains the issues with the collegium system for appointment of judges.

What are the recent reforms introduced in the collegium system?

Procedure for vetting the previous judgements of the prospective candidates has been introduced for the first time.

What are the issues with the collegium system?

There is a lack of transparency in the college system. The appointments are not open to scrutiny.

Very little part of the process followed by collegium has been codified after the second and third judges’ case.

The collegium system is unable to cope whenever controversy over appointments arises.

Government has not been able to finalise the Memorandum of procedure for appointment of judges. It was mandated by the Supreme Court after it struck down the NJAC.

There is a lack of criteria for ap[pointment of eminent lawyers as SC judges.

Throttled at the grass roots: how to strengthen decentralised governance

Source– The post is based on the article “Throttled at the grass roots: how to

strengthen decentralised governance ” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2-  Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein

Relevance– Democratic Decentralisation

News- The article explains the constitutional provisions related to devolution of powers to local government. It also tells about the issue faced by panchayats and the way forward to resolve them.

73rd and 74th constitutional amendments mandated the establishment of panchayats and municipalities. It devolved a range of powers and responsibilities to them.

What is devolution?

It is a formal assignment of power by law. It is accompanied by adequate financial and human resources to carry out this responsibility.

The Constitution empowers states to devolve necessary functions to panchayats. Given diverse habitation patterns, political and social history, it makes sense to mandate States to assign functions to local governments.

A study for the Fourteenth Finance Commission by the Centre for Policy Research, shows that all States have formally devolved powers with respect to five core functions of water supply, sanitation, roads and communication, streetlight provision and the management of community assets to the gram panchayats.

What are key issues with Panchayats?

Funding– The local bodies have inadequate funds.

The money provided to them is not flexible. Thay are mostly tied grants with conditionalities attached to them.

They cannot raise their own taxes and other charges.

Violation of constitutional mandate– The elections are not held regularly at intervals of five years. In Tamil Nadu, panchayat elections have not been held for over two years now, resulting in the State losing finance commission grants from the Union government.

Centralising tendencies– The current Union government has further centralised service delivery by using technology. Panchayats are nothing more than front offices for several Union government programmes.

These tendencies also exist in the case of urban governance. The Smart city programme does not devolve its funds to municipalities.

Corruption– Criminal elements and contractors win elections by bribing the voters. There operates a nexus between elected representatives and officials.

What is the way forward?

Empowering of Gram Sabhas- Gram Sabhas and ward committees need to be strengthened. Consultations with the grama sabha could be organised through smaller discussions where everybody can really participate. Even new systems of Short Message Services, or social media groups could be used for facilitating discussions between members of a grama sabha.

Organisation– Local government organisational structures have to be strengthened. Local governments must be enabled to hold State departments accountable and to provide quality, corruption free service to them, through service-level agreements.

Taxation powers– They should have taxation powers. It will introduce accountability for local governments.

Pakistan-US: The Bajwa reset

Source– The post is based on the article “Pakistan-US: The Bajwa reset” published in The Indian Express on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- International Relations

Relevance– Pakistan angle US-India relationship

News- The article explains the reasons behind renewed engagement between the USA and Pakistan. It also suggest India to not worry about these development

What factors might explain the renewed engagement between the US and Pakistan?

Importance of Pakistan– Pakistan has always been taken into consideration by foreign policy establishment of western world.

Pakistan gains importance due to its geostrategic location that sits between the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, Arabia, Central Asia, Russia and China.

Pakistan continues to enjoy leverage both positive and negative due to its support for international terrorism. Whether it is promoting jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s or in countering international terrorism during 2001-21, the Pakistan Army’s cooperation was seen as vital in Washington.

The Pakistan army controls the major decisions related to international diplomacy.

US- China relationship– The increasing tensions between the US and China has increased the importance of its neighbours.

Pakistan enjoyed productive relations with both the US and China. Pakistan has been a “major non-NATO ally” of the US. China and Pakistan define their partnership as an “all-weather relationship” that is  “higher than Himalayas, deeper than the Indian Ocean, and sweeter than honey”.

China has been nudging Pakistan into the anti-American coalition led by Beijing and Moscow. Bajwa was concerned about Imran Khan going very close to China and Russia.The Pakistani army recognised the dangers of a strong Indo-US strategic partnership.

Improvement of US image in Pakistan– Imran Khan was arousing anti-American feelings in Pakistan. Imran khan celebrated the US defeat and departure from Afghanistan in August 2021. He has accused the US officials of conspiring with Bajwa to oust him.

The USA wants Bajwa to have internal and external policies conducive to American interests.

What is Bajwa ‘s vision for Pakistan’s external policies?

He wants the Pakistan army to stay away from politics. He prefers geo-economics over geopolitics. He has emphasised the importance of putting Pakistan’s house in order and seeking regional peace to achieve that objective.

Why should India not be worried about renewed US engagement with Pakistan?

India’s economy today at nearly $3.5 trillion is 10 times larger than Pakistan’s. Pakistan’s political leverages against India have steadily weakened. Pakistan might be useful for the USA. But it will not regain its past position as a leading strategic partner of the US.

GS Paper 3

Building resilient mineral supply chain

Source– The post is based on the article “Building resilient mineral supply chain” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy

Relevance– Mines and minerals sector

News- The article explains the challenges for securing access to key minerals. It also provides suggestions to secure the mineral supply.

In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need to have aatmanirbharta in energy by focusing on clean energy technologies.

The Indian government established Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) in 2019 with the mandate to secure mineral supply for the domestic market.

Why is there a renewed focus on the need for self-reliance in the energy sector?

The Ukraine crisis led to concerns over pricing and availability of oil and gas.

India imports 85% of oil and half of gas. Imported inflationary pressures pose risks to macroeconomic growth and stability.

Why is securing access to key minerals a challenging task?

First, reserves are often concentrated in regions that are geopolitically sensitive. These regions do not perform well from an ease of doing business perspective.

Second, a portion of existing production is controlled by geostrategic competitors. For example, China has considerable influence in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Third, future mine production is often tied up in advance offtake agreements by buyers from other countries.

What are suggestions for policymakers to secure mineral supply for them?

First, figure out the mineral requirements of the domestic industry. An inter-ministerial task force should be set up. A five-year road map with clear targets for deployment and indigenous manufacturing across clean energy applications need to be created.

Second, Government should coordinate with the domestic industry to determine where strategic interventions by the government would be necessary for the purpose. KABIL could collaborate with industry to bolster its market intelligence capabilities for tracking global supply-side developments.

Third, if there are no conducive investment opportunities, KABIL should sign offtake agreements with global mineral suppliers to secure future production.

Fourth, Government should jointly invest in mining assets with geostrategic partners. KABIL should make investments in countries where private sector investment is risky.

The government supports technologies that utilise domestically available materials.

We need to develop policies aimed at recycling minerals.

Do we really need the e-rupee?

Source: The post is based on the article “Do we really need the e-rupee?” published in The Business Standard on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth.

Relevance: About concerns and benefits of e-rupee

News: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a concept note on an Indian central bank digital currency or CBDC.

About the concept paper on e-rupee
Must read: RBI unveils features of digital rupee, plans to launch pilot soon
What is the state of present monetary and financial systems?

The Indian monetary and financial systems are mainly bank-based, with money taking the form of cash and bank deposits. In this system, digital payments were based on virtual money created by commercial banks.

After the Unified Payments Interface(UPI), India became the pioneer in developing digital payment systems. Using the UPI platform, apps like Google Pay, Paytm and PhonePe have popularised digital payments tremendously.

Recent data indicates that demand for cash may have even gone up once the pandemic started retreating. This seems to indicate that even if a CBDC is introduced as a form of legal tender. It may play a secondary role to cash.

Must read: UPI and Digital Payments in India – Explained, pointwise
What is the need for e-rupee?

Along with other reasons, there is a massive push from China to establish the digital yuan, not only as a domestic currency, but also to be used for cross-border payments with their trade and investment partner countries.

Once the digital yuan gains acceptability as a global currency, it will only be a matter of time before it starts flowing into the Indian economy. This leads not only to the possibility of a dollarisation-type problem in the conventional sense but also grave data security risks. So, it is in India’s interest to limit this possibility by introducing the e-rupee.

Read more: What are the advantages of having own digital currency for the Indian economy?
What are the benefits of e-rupee?

The e-rupee can make the monetary system more efficient and the financial markets more stable in a number of ways. For instance,

Monetary system benefits of e-rupee: e-rupee will a) Reduce the cost of physical cash management, b) Push the monetary system towards more digitisation, c) Cash is used significantly in small-value transactions. These transactions may be redirected towards the e-rupee if reasonable anonymity is assured.

Benefits of e-rupee in financial markets: a) As the e-rupee will provide an alternative to crypto assets, it will provide financial stability in the economy, b) Provide the public with a risk-free virtual currency.

Benefits of e-rupee on payments infrastructure: As e-rupee 1) Provide the domestic payments system with an additional channel, 2) Increases resilience by providing payment services even outside of the commercial banking system, 3) Diversify the range of payment options, particularly for e-commerce, 4) Helps the international payments infrastructure by making cross-border transactions faster and far less costly, and 5) Ease frictions in cross-border payments that is critical for international trade.

Increase the welfare for poorer sections through financial inclusion: This is because the e-rupee can a) Make financial services more accessible even to the unbanked and underbanked population, b) Offline functionality as an option will allow the e-rupee to be transacted without the internet. This will enable access in regions with poor or no internet connectivity.

Read more: Digital Rupee: Advantages and Challenges – Explained, pointwise
What needs to be done to increase the benefits of e-rupee?

India needs to a) Establish global protocols on the development of cross-border use of CBDCs, b) Create a credible and working CBDC.

Read more: RBI shouldn’t rush the launch of India’s official digital rupee

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Climate tipping points could lock in unstoppable changes to the planet — how close are they?

Source: The post is based on the article “Climate tipping points could lock in unstoppable changes to the planet — how close are they?” published in the Down To Earth on 8th October 2022.

What is the News?

Continued greenhouse gas emissions risk triggering climate tipping points. According to a major study, the climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points.

What are climate tipping points or CTPs?

These are markers of a larger climate system which when triggered beyond a threshold, perpetuates warming on its own.

Read here: Basic IPCC terms: Mitigation, Adaptation, tipping point, etc.
What are the key findings of the Study on climate tipping points?

Climate Tipping Points

According to the Study, five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1 degree Celsius of global heating caused by humanity to date. Four of these five become more likely as global warming exceeds 1.5°C.

The collapse of the west Antarctic ice sheet was once thought to be a risk when warming reached 3°C-5°C above Earth’s pre-industrial average temperature. Now it’s thought to be possible at current warming levels.

The researchers found that every fraction of a degree makes tipping more likely, but the researchers are not sure exactly when tipping becomes inevitable. This is especially true for the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets. The front edge of some retreating west Antarctic glaciers are only kilometres away from the unstoppable retreat.

Both tropical coral reef death and abrupt permafrost thaw are possible at the current warming level. But thresholds vary between reefs and patches of permafrost. For instance, both are already happening in some places.

Researchers also found that Amazon tipping might occur in several regions at varying warming levels rather than as one big event.

What are the suggestions to stop reaching climate tipping points?

Currently, the world is heading toward 2 to 3 °C of global warming, at best, if all net-zero pledges and nationally determined contributions are implemented it could reach just below 2 °C.

Ambitious emissions cuts in line with the Paris Agreement aims to halt warming at 1.5 °C. This would reduce the chances of triggering multiple climate tipping point.

To set uniform safety standards, testing of electric vehicles to begin from April 1

Source: The post is based on the article “To set uniform safety standards, testing of electric vehicles to begin from April 1” published in the Indian Express on 9th October 2022.

What is the News?

For the first time, India is set to begin testing of EVs (electric vehicles) from April 1 next year.

What is the reason for testing EVs?

There are concerns over multiple instances of fires in electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers in recent months. Currently, there are no centralised testing facilities for EVs in India and manufacturers have their own benchmarks.

So, in June, the Bureau of Indian Standards issued performance norms for lithium-ion battery packs and traction systems in line with broader ISO norms.

About the Testing of EVs

The government has mandated the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to procure the infrastructure needed to test battery-powered vehicles.

The proposed testing infrastructure is likely to cover battery cells, battery management systems, onboard chargers, battery pack designs and screens for thermal propagation linked to internal cell short circuits that could potentially lead to fires in EVs.

Read more: EVs, CNG vehicles don’t need permits
About Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)

The ARAI is the leading automotive R&D organization in the country set up by the Automotive Industry with the Government of India. It was established in 1966. It is an autonomous body affiliated with the Ministry of Heavy Industries.

The ARAI currently offers a range of certification and homologation services for automotive vehicles, systems, and components. It also assists the government in the formulation of automotive industry standards and harmonisation of regulations, alongside helping establish vehicle inspection and certification centres across the country.

Read more: No short circuits: On electric vehicles catching fire 

Vultures mostly forage outside protected areas; conservation efforts should be focused there, urges study

Source: The post is based on the article “Vultures mostly forage outside protected areas; conservation efforts should be focused there, urges study” published in the Down To Earth on 8th October 2022.

What is the News?

A recent study on Vulture conservation has found that vultures mostly forage outside Protected Areas (PAs). So, to control the decline in vulture populations one needs to remove threats such as poison-laced carcasses from these places also.

What are the key findings of the study on Vulture conservation?

Global findings: African white-backed vultures are most likely to forage early in the day outside National Parks, specifically in Game Reserves and Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), but avoid areas with high livestock numbers to feed.

Vultures avoiding areas with high livestock density when feeding suggests that vultures did not use cattle as the main food source and avoided areas with high human habitation.

Findings related to India: Vultures in India also forage mostly out of protected areas. They travel long distances every day while foraging for food. But they use cattle as the main food source.

India being an agrarian country, the livestock population has only increased over the years.

Must read: Vulture Conservation in India
What are the suggestions of the study on Vulture conservation?

Understanding Vulture habitat use and their behaviour in certain habitats, like outside of protected areas, is critical for their conservation.

It is vital to identify and remove threats near nesting and roosting sites, and to provide them with food and water.

Read more: Conservation centres in 5 states among host of ideas to protect vultures

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative launched on occasion of World Mental Health Day

Source: The post is based on the article “Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele MANAS) initiative launched on occasion of World Mental Health Day” published in the PIB on 10th October 2022.

What is the News?

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele MANAS) initiative was launched.

What is the need for Tele MANAS?

There is an urgent need to establish a digital mental health network that will withstand the challenges amplified by the pandemic.

About Tele MANAS

The programme includes a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence.

Aim: To provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas.

Initiated by: Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Nodal Centre: NIMHANS

Technology support: International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB)

Functioning: A toll-free, 24/7 helpline number (14416) has been set up across the country allowing callers to select the language of choice for availing services. The calls would be routed to Tele-MANAS cells in the respective state and union territory.

The organizational framework of Tele MANAS
Source: PIB

Tele-MANAS will be organised in a two-tier system; Tier 1 comprises state Tele MANAS cells which include trained counsellors and mental health specialists. Tier 2 will comprise specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)/Medical College resources for physical consultation and/or e-Sanjeevani for audio-visual consultation.

Indian scientists find efficient way to quantify quantum entanglement in higher dimensional systems

Source: The post is based on the article “Indian scientists find efficient way to quantify quantum entanglement in higher dimensional systems” published in the PIB on 10th October 2022.

What is the News?

Indian scientists have found a simpler way to quantify the amount of entanglement in higher dimensional systems.

What is Quantum entanglement?
Read here: Quantum Entanglement
What are the key findings of the study on the quantum entangled state?

The quantum entangled state is a crucial state of quantum mechanics and can be used as a resource for quantum communication, quantum computation and information processing tasks that are impossible for classical systems.

The existing method of characterising a quantum entangled state is Quantum State Tomography (QST). QST can then be used to quantify entanglement. It requires the determination of an increasingly large number of parameters as the dimension of the system grows. A method for empirical estimation of entanglement for any arbitrary dimensional entangled state was not available.

Indian researchers have formulated analytical relations between statistical correlation measures and known entanglement measures for any arbitrary dimension. By using just two sets of measurements, they have experimentally quantified the amount of entanglement.

What are the benefits of the study on quantum entangled state?

The research gives a more experimentally friendly and less cumbersome alternative to QST.

-The study will enable a better assessment of the efficacy of an entangled state for technological applications like quantum teleportation.

-Higher dimensional systems (dimensions greater than two) are proven to have advantages in both quantum computing and quantum communications. Therefore, finding a way to quantify the amount of entanglement in higher dimensional systems are of critical importance.

Must read: Nobel Prize in Physics: Breakthroughs in quantum tech

Nobel Prize for economics 2022: Banks’ role in financial crises

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Fed ex-Chair Ben Bernanke shares Nobel with 2 other U.S. economists” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

“Banks’ role in financial crises” published in the Indian Express on 11th October 2022.

What is the News?

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2022 — popularly called the Nobel Prize for economics — has been awarded to three US-based economists: Ben S Bernanke, Douglas W Diamond and Philip H Dybvig.

What are the contributions that led to Nobel Prize for economics 2022?

Ben S Bernanke: He analysed the Great Depression of the 1930s. During the crisis, banks collapsed everywhere, people were forced to leave their homes and widespread starvation occurred even in relatively rich countries.

Until Bernanke’s paper, bank failures were seen as a “consequence” of the financial crisis. But Bernanke’s 1983 paper proved it was exactly the opposite— bank failures were the “cause” of the financial crisis.

Bank runs happen when depositors become worried about the bank’s survival, and rush to withdraw their savings. Due to bank runs, the recession of 1929 had turned into a full-fledged banking crisis by 1930 as half the banks went bankrupt.

Now it is understood that the deposit insurance provisions — where a certain amount of one’s deposits in a bank are insured — are a critical tool towards building trust and preventing bank runs.

Must read: Svante Paabo awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine: Mapping Neanderthal genome

Douglas W Diamond and Philip H Dybvig:  Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, banks are often seen as money-grabbing institutions that exist to profit off borrowers as well as depositors.

But, Diamond and Dybvig’s 1983 paper showed that there are “fundamental conflicts between the needs of savers and investors”.

Savers always want access to at least some part of their savings for unexpected use; this is also called the need for liquidity. They want the ability to pull out money when they need it.

Borrowers need the money for a much longer time. Borrowers cannot function if the money can be demanded back at a short notice.

Diamond and Dybvig showed that these mismatches can best be solved by institutions constructed exactly like banks. They also explained that banks are able to resolve this conflict through the process of maturity transformation.

The bank’s assets have a long maturity, because it promises borrowers that they will not need to pay back their loans early. On the other hand, the bank’s liabilities have a short maturity; depositors can access their money whenever they want.

Read more: Nobel Prize in Physics: Breakthroughs in quantum tech
What are the outcomes of Nobel laureates on the functioning of banks?

Together, their work laid the foundation for modern bank regulations. Their works are crucial to subsequent research that has enhanced the understanding of banks, bank regulation, banking crises and how financial crises should be managed.

Ben S Bernanke used his academic expertise on the Great Depression to work in reviving the American economy after the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Diamond and Dybvig showed how government guarantees on deposits can prevent a spiralling of the financial crisis.

PM Modi to launch Mahakal Lok Corridor today

Source: The post is based on the article “PM Modi to launch Mahakal Lok Corridor today” published in the Indian Express on 11th October 2022.

What is the News?

PM will inaugurate the first phase of Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple expansion — Mahakal Lok Corridor.

About the Mahakal Lok Corridor

The project — Mahakal Maharaj Mandir Parisar Vistar Yojna — is a comprehensive development plan for the expansion, beautification and decongestion of the Mahakaleshwar temple premises.

The first phase of the project entails the development of Mahakal Lok Corridor with a visitor plaza having two entrances — Nandi Dwaar and Pinaki Dwaar.

A 900-metre-long pedestrian corridor has been built connecting Mahakal temple to 108 murals and 93 statues of Lord Shiva along the way.

Must Read: What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple

JATE Manesar Anti-terror 2022: Pakistan to take part in closing ceremony of SCO anti-terror exercise hosted by India

Source: The post is based on the article “Pakistan to take part in closing ceremony of SCO anti-terror exercise hosted by India” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

What is the News?

Pakistan has been invited to the closing ceremony of the ongoing Joint Anti-Terror Exercise (JATE) within the ambit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being hosted by India.

About JATE Manesar Anti-terror 2022

JATE is an annual counter-terrorist exercise held within the framework of the SCO RATS. The National Security Guard (NSG) is hosting the multinational JATE “Manesar Anti-Terror 2022”, under the framework of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).

The exercise is aimed at exchanging expertise, best practices and building synergy between the Counterterrorism Forces of the SCO RATS member countries. This is to enhance capabilities for conducting anti-terrorist operations and countering other security threats collectively.

The present one is stage 2 of the exercise. Stage 1 of the Exercise was conducted in July-August by the National Counterterrorist Forces of SCO Member Countries in their respective territories.

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