- "Battle of plassey the very notion of modern India, and modern Indians, and the fact that we are conducting this interview in English and not French or Marathi or Persian, is an indicator of the importance of the Battle of Plassey, and its riveting, little-known and little-discussed backstory.
- Demand for speedy passage of Social Security Bill gains steam(Mint) The code seeks to amend and consolidate nine laws relating to social security of employees, including access to healthcare and income security.
- The pandemic imposes a steep learning curve(TH) Online higher education using MOOCs, or massive open online classrooms, has been encouraged by the Ministry of Human Resource Development for some time now via the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) and SWAYAM platforms. (SWAYAM is a Hindi acronym for “Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds”.) If this is to make a serious difference, both the quality and quantity of online courses need to be enhanced.
GS2: International Relations
- ASEAN states warn of S. China Sea tensions(TH) The pandemic is fanning the flames of dormant challenges within the political, economic and social environment of the world and in each region,
- UN75 declaration delayed(TH) The phrase, “community with a shared future for mankind” is closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and especially Chinese President Xi Jinping as an articulation of the country’s vision for the world. While objecting to the language that is apparently inspired by the CPC ideology is not new, the current impasse comes at a time when China’s relationships with a number of democracies, including India, Australia and the U.S., are strained.
- Getting out of the ‘guns, germs and steel’ crisis(TH) The Chinese military threat calls for immediate and strategic action by our defence and foreign affairs establishments. The COVID-19 health epidemic is here to stay and needs constant monitoring by the Health Ministry and local administration.
- India’s forecast bleak, but there is a silver lining(Mint) There are signs of normalization as electricity generation is gradually reaching pre-lockdown levels, and e-way bill generation and toll collections have begun to improve. Similarly, petroleum consumption increased by 47.4% in May over April, reaching 77% of the previous year’s levels while PMI for services and manufacturing showed a lower contraction in May to reach 30.8% and 12.6%, respectively.
GS3: Internal Security
- Drug abuse amidst pandemic(TH) The economic downturn may leave people vulnerable to use and trafficking of illicit drugs
- Hardship may push people into making drugs for a living: UNODC(TH) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in its 2020 World Drug Report, has highlighted a wide range of possible consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on illegal drug production, supply and consumption.
- Role of ancient algae in building a healthy global marine ecosystem(PIB) Coccolithophores are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world's oceans. They have been playing a key role in marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle for millions of years. Coccolithophores calcify marine phytoplankton that produces up to 40% of open ocean calcium carbonate and responsible for 20% of the global net marine primary productivity.
- Student unions seek recall of EIA draft(TH) It is appalling that the Ministry has put out a draft notification for public comments in the midst of a global economic and public health emergency when there is restricted public movement, social distancing and challenges to everyday life activities
- Ease of harming environment(IE) The government’s actions on environmental regulation (as opposed to its bon mots and rhetoric) show that it considers it an impediment to the ease of doing business. During the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the MoEF has been working swiftly to clear projects, even carrying out public hearings over video conference.