Current Affairs - Points to Ponder

Gender Justice through Economic Independence and Political Representation

Despite several policy interventions and increasing participation of women in various sectors like education, employment, etc. progress towards realising the goals of gender justice through economic independence and political representation of women remains slow. Explain the reasons for the same.

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. Constitutional and legal provisions and policy measures for increasing women's participation in various walks of life.
  2. The stumbling blocks to effective women's participation directed at economic independence and political representation.
  3. The mind set of patriarchal society, people's representatives and policy makers.
Economic Prowess and a Supportive International Environment

Recently, India celebrated her 75th year of Independence. In 2000, India targeted in its first NSAB report to become a world power in the 21st century. The country has become an aspirational power. Explain how economic prowess and a supportive international environment would be conducive to India‘s progress.

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. Geopolitical and economic challenges India faces currently and is expected to face in future.
  2. How India's strong foundation and a conducive international environment are contributing to India's steady rise as a major power.
  3. The emergence of globally competitive Indian firms and professionals who are redefining India's economic contours.
  4. Despite a slew of policy interventions aimed at jumpstarting growth, why there is no evidence yet that the economy is on track to achieve the targeted growth.
Capitalism and Patriarchy

How do capitalism and patriarchy work together to deny equality of status to women?

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. India had been at the forefront of gender budgeting more than a decade ago. However, over the years, it has slowly lost the gains made. The reasons for this turnaround are manifold.
  2. Patriarchal social conditioning and capitalism together have created an unjust, unequal, and exploitative relationship between men and women, severely hampering women’s social empowerment.
The ‘Modernisation’ of Ayurveda

What can India do for the modernization of Ayurveda?

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. Institutionalization of Ayurvedic training.
  2. Pharmaceuticalisation of drug production.
  3. Professionalisation of medical practice as well as biomedicalisation.
  4. Creolisation of Ayurvedic knowledge and therapeutics.
  5. There is a need to study various traditional medical practices prevalent in different regions so that the system can make a significant contribution.
  6. Indian traditions related to medicine have distinct regional and socio-cultural histories which have produced distinct regional Ayurvedic practices.
Vulnerability of Small and Marginal Farmers

Climate change poses the greatest threat to Indian agriculture. It increases the vulnerability of the small and marginal farmers.

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. How to improve agricultural productivity sustainably so that it boosts farm income.
  2. Effective policy measures to ensure that improved agricultural productivity translates into improved food and nutritional security.
  3. Steps needed to ensure effective natural resource management, community development and assistance through technology and trans-boundary agreements.
  4. Existing plans & policies of the government for social inclusion, skill improvement and employment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
  5. India’s progress in the areas of crop production, livestock, fisheries and food security.
Climate Change Adaptation

Facts in Brief

  • Recently tropical cyclones Tauktae and Yaas hit the Indian coastline. In recent years, many tropical cyclones originated from Arabian Sea. As per the government of India, the sea level is rising at a rate of 1.7 mm a year on average. India has a vast coastline of 8118 km.
  • Sunderban is the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest with about 40 % of its 10,200 sq. km area under Indian territory. The vulnerability of Sunderban to extreme weather events, including tropical cyclones, poses a serious threat to islands like Mousuni and Ghoramara.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • World Bank report 2020.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change.
  • Initiatives of the government for the vulnerable islands of Mousuni and Ghoramara.
  • Reasons behind Arabian Sea tropical cyclones and initiatives taken by government, especially in the technology domain and with respect to association with stakeholders.
India-EU Leaders’ Meeting

Recently India-EU Leaders’ Meeting was held in which the Heads of State of all 27 Member States were present. Both the parties agreed on resuming negotiations for balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreement and India-EU Connectivity Partnership.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Trade and connectivity issues between India and EU.
  • Why is the EU keen on a comprehensive trade agreement when India is in favour of a limited trade partnership?
  • Why did the India-EU dialogue fail after many rounds of discussion in 2013?
  • India-EU comprehensive trade agreement- compulsions for both parties in the present scenario.
  • What are the provisions and challenges of balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreement and the India-EU Connectivity Partnership?
Central Vista Project (CVP) Controversy

Recently an issue surfaced in which it was said that the right to life under Article 21 is more important than any other development. It questioned the Government of India’s investment in the Central Vista Project (CVP) during the ongoing pandemic.

Facts in Brief

  • Total estimated cost of the CVP is Rs. 20,000 crore, to be completed by 2026. The cost of the first phase of CVP is Rs. 1339 crore. The move is being opposed, saying the govt. is compromising the financial resources available under healthcare funds to CVP.
  • During the second wave of COVID-19, India struggled for getting medical supplies, shortage of oxygen, medicines and medical personnel and not scarcity of financial resources.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Read how infrastructure development for public services serves national interest, boosts economic development and security. It is crucial as is the right to life.
  • All relevant judgments and issues regarding the environment, economy, cultural heritage, etc.
State of Indian Economy

India’s GDP for 2020-21 shrank by 7.3%. India needs an economic booster in the form of a stimulus package to significantly improve consumption, investment and job creation.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Read about the government’s initiatives to boost consumption, investment and job creation.
  • Discuss the fundamental features of Indian economy and elaborate on the role played by the core, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy in economic development.
  • Suggest changes/measures that could be undertaken in the Indian economy and economic policies to ensure robust economic development.
Wave of the COVID-19

  • The national lockdown imposed in 2020 resulted in a GDP growth rate of -23.9% for the quarter ending June 2020. Analysis by the Pew Research Centre estimated that the middle class in India shrunk by nearly 32 million and the number of poor people (with income of Rs. 160 or less a day) increased by nearly 75 million because of the recession in 2020.
  • By December 2020, 21.4% population had been exposed to Coronavirus as per the sero survey and only 2% population was infected.
  • At the Davos meeting (January 2021), it was reiterated that India was among the most successful countries in saving lives during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study the following with reference to the above points:

  1. All models and initiatives of development undertaken by the government and other institutions in India with reference to lives lost due to the pandemic and lives lost due to economic deprivation.
INSACOG and Genome Sequencing Of corona virous

  • Recently, the government has added more laboratories to the INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia). In India, scientists are not worried about the origin of the mutation so much; they are more interested to find out to what extent the virus can mutate and the focus of research will be on which variant is causing what and how can the transmission be efficiently handled.
  • According to GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data), UK, microbiologists and genome sequencing specialists have found that the B.1.617 strain is a combination of 15 mutations and its sub variant like B1.617.2 is responsible for the second wave of the pandemic in India.

Study the following points for the above topic:

  1. How genome sequencing works, research institutions in India like INSACOG, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), working parameters, nodal ministry and previous research.
  2. Know variant names and key characteristics.
Sustainable and resilient climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies

India’s climate vulnerability is very high. Some states, districts and regions show a higher frequency of natural hazards, including extreme fluctuations in weather patterns, droughts, cyclonic storms, regional micro climatic changes, etc. What changes need to be brought about in development strategy? Discuss the need and importance of investing in cost effective, environment-friendly, sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure.

Read the following points for the above topic:

  1. As per analysis of CEEW (Council on Energy, Environment and Water), higher frequency of extreme weather in the last 50 years has recorded a 12 fold increase.
  2. During this period, associated cyclonic events like extreme rainfall, floods, sea level rise and thunderstorms increased in frequency and intensity over the country.
  3. Arabian Sea cyclones and west coast cyclones have a major impact of hotter summer, warmer days and droughts.
  4. Micro climatic changes are primary reasons causing regional floods and drought in the same season.
  5. Deforestation, encroachment upon wetlands and water bodies are the main causes of changing microclimatic patterns.
  6. There is an urgent need to invest in cost effective, environment-friendly, sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure in India, particularly in climate vulnerable states at the local and regional levels.
  7. Impact of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project 2015 for western coast and eastern coast; rules and regulations under NGT, IMD, NDRF and SDRF with emphasis on policy, schemes, programmes, constitutional provisions and SC judgments and guidelines.
Universal access to health services in India

  • India's comprehensive vision for improving universal access to health services includes a holistic approach to health and a robust multi-tier system that provides protection to the poorest citizens.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Steps taken by the centre and the states towards improving health infrastructure, economy and condition of the vulnerable and distressed sections, particularly through digital infrastructure.
Cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity

  • Recently there was a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, one of America's largest fuel suppliers. According to media reports, the attack was carried out by an affiliate of DarkSide, a criminal hacking group. The company had to pay ransom in cryptocurrency.
  • Is cryptocurrency - based on blockchain technology - a possible future for global finance?
India’s sovereign right over tax laws and its sovereign commitment

There have been instances of judgments delivered against India by international arbitration tribunals. The judgment in one of the cases relates to India’s sovereign right over tax laws and its sovereign commitment to honour international treaties.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Provisions of retrospective taxation (amendments of 2012) and kind of amendments required for India’s long term benefit.
  • Indian government’s stand on the judgment.
  • Impact on potential FDI, disinvestment exercise and investment atmosphere.
  • Role of international arbitration tribunals and dispute resolution mechanism.
  • Bilateral investment treaties on FDI.

Data gives us power but it creates vulnerabilities.

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. Cyberspace has been called the fifth domain after land, air, water and space. India has no single rule for protection from cyber-attacks in all five domains across all activities -military, economic, commercial, political and cultural.
  2. Recently a cyber-attack shutdown the electric grid of Mumbai. The New York Times reported it was China’s cyber-attack. China could not only fight with India in the Himalayan region but across all our activities, viz. geopolitical, economic, commercial, military, political, cultural and social also.
  3. Rogue nations and well organised digital terrorist hacker groups steal data, IP, R&D and innovation work and pry into diplomatic and strategic plans.
  4. To strengthen cyberspace operations, India needs to technologically advance with 5G technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Who will determine the new world order in the digital age - world’s democratic nations or techno-autocratic nations?

Read the following for the above topic:

Authoritarian nations find the freedom of cyberspace very threatening. To protect their societies from freedom and for geopolitical reasons, they use cyber weapons to attack other countries.

  1. How can protection be ensured - by the techno-autocratic nations like China, Russia, North Korea or the democratic nations like the US, Japan, India and others? What can be done with hackers if they originate from Russia, China and North Korea?
  2. To develop awareness systems about ransomware attacks (the DarkSide attack, for example), we should have developed foolproof encryption to protect national data. What do we do to address the vulnerabilities of the least developed nations (LDCs)?
  3. There is a need to fundamentally change the application of technology and law by the democratic nations.
  4. There is a need to develop more aggressive measures that identify and penalise illegal intruders into proprietary networks.
  5. Read provisions of the UN charter and international security act and bilateral agreement.
Advantages of invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the states and the centre.

Read the following for the above topic:

  • India has been facing major problems during the pandemic with reference to real-time data collection from the states and other stakeholders. To initiate necessary policy measures, real-time analysis of collected data as well as clinical measures are most important to be able to tackle the issue and manage the epidemic within a stipulated time frame.
  • Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and role of the centre and states during pandemics.
  • Understand what are notifiable diseases and the responsibility of the government in notifying such diseases.
  • Constitutional provisions in relation to health emergencies and epidemics.
  • Mechanism of coordination and management of relations between the centre and the states during epidemics.
Jurisdiction and Authority of Supreme Court and High Courts

Read the following for the above topic:

  • Constitutional provisions regarding the jurisdiction, authority and respective roles of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • As per the Constitution, in matters having trans-national or international ramifications, the HCs should refrain and restrain from passing any order since the SC is best suited to deal with these issues.
  • Instances of HCs crossing their limits and passing orders having pan India ramifications.
  • HCs are constitutionally entitled to scrutinize state government actions and point out deficiencies.
Recently, the government issued directions to social media platforms under the IT Act with reference to "content against security of the state and public order."

Read the following for the above topic:

  1. Information Technology (IT) Act and the issue; content which is covered under "content against security of the state and public order" and the perspective of constitutional provisions such as freedom of speech and expression.