What to read on 21st January

Polity, Governance and Policies

We did not wait, did what was right to help Sri Lanka: Jaishankar                           (Page;1)

SC tells A.P. High Court to hear plea on ban on public rallies                                   (Page;1)

Wayanad becomes country’s first district to provide basic documents to all tribal people (Page;9)

SC declines to entertain petitions on caste census                                                      (Page;12)

EPFO portal offers link to opt for higher pension                                                      (Page;14)

International Relations

A G20 presidency to amplify South Asia’s voice                                                      (Page;10)

Aging factory                                                                                                              (Page;10)

India, Egypt to hold dialogue on defence ties during Sisi visit                                  (Page;12)

Xi Jinping speaks to troops along India-China border                                               (Page;15)


AI fined .30 lakh, pilot suspended over midair urination row                                   (Page;1)

The Hindu Education Plus overseas learning fair to be held in six cities                  (Page;9)

New guidelines to regulate promotions on social media                                            (Page;13)


Trade winds                                                                                                                (Page;10)

Google axes 12,000 jobs or 6% of its workforce, tech sector layoffs mount             (Page;16)

Forex reserves increase to 5month high at $572 billion                                             (Page;16)


Stage set for capture of PT7 in Kerala; darting team to begin operation today           (Page;9)

On the shifting banks of the Ganga                                                                            (Page;11)

Govt. policy muddle is stalling production of biodegradable plastic                          (Page;14)

Science & Technology

India can lead efforts to find new TB vaccine, says former WHO scientist       (Page;12)


Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2022 report

ASER Report 2022:  released  January 18, 2023. ASER is an annual survey conducted by the education non-profit Pratham in rural areas of India. The survey was last conducted at this large scale in 2018. An annual survey that provides reliable annual estimates of children¡¦s schooling status and basic reading and arithmetic skills across India. It was first conducted in 2005

ASER is published by NGO Pratham, and the survey has been conducted every year since 2005.

The survey reaches children in the age group of 3-16 in almost all rural districts of India.

It uses household rather than school-based sampling.

n ASER 2022 Survey, 7 lakh candidates from 19,060 schools in 616 districts were surveyed to calculate the learning outcomes post-pandemic on school children.

Enrollment has gone from 97.2 per cent in 2018 to 98.4 per cent in 2022.

As many as 72.9 per cent of the surveyed students go to government schools.

In only three states, the number of girls not going to school is above 10% – Madhya Pradesh (17%), Uttar Pradesh (15%), and Chhattisgarh (11.2%).

Nationally, children’s basic reading ability has dropped to pre-2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years.

In both government and private schools, only 20.5% students of Class 3 can read, compared to 27.3% in 2018.

The proportion of Class 5 students who can read has dropped to 42.8% in 2022, compared to 50.5% in 2018.

Girls aged 11-14 who were out of school stood at 2% in 2022 (4.1% in 2018).  Proportion of 15-16-year-old girls not enrolled stood at 7.9% in 2022 (13.5% in 2018)

Percentage of students withdrawn from private schools and were investing in private tuitions increased from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022.



Hakku Patra: Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributed Hakku Patra (land title deeds) to five Lambani (Banjara) tribes, a nomadic Scheduled Caste group, during a launch programme in Karnataka.

The Hakku Patra is a property ownership document by which the bearer gets to own land. With the help of this document, the bearer is eligible to purchase and sell land to which the title deed is granted by the government. They will further receive bank benefits by means of the Hakku Patra.

This Hakku Patra will secure the future of thousands of people living in the “Thandas” (Lambani habitats) in Kalaburagi, Bidar, Yadgiri, Raichur and Vijayapura districts, he noted.

It makes you the legitimate owner of your land or property by giving an up-to-date and official record of who owns the land.

It is a state-guaranteed document.

The title deeds enable owners to avail of bank loans with the said document.

Hakku Patra distribution drive:

It is a part of the Ambedkar Rural Housing Scheme of Karnataka.

Under this, the government offers free registration of Hakku Patra land in the beneficiary’s name.

Any house built on the Hakku Patra land should be used as the beneficiary’s house and not for rental purposes.


IEA Sees Global Oil Demand Hitting A Record High In 2023

The International Energy Agency believes global oil demand will hit a record high of 101.7 million barrels per day this year.

The IEA raised its demand estimate by 200,000 bpd, with the agency saying China will drive nearly half of global demand growth.

Oil prices continued to rally early on Wednesday morning on IEA estimates that oil markets are set to tighten in 2023.

About the International Energy Agency:

It is an international intergovernmental organization based in Paris that was established in 1974. To maintain the stability of the international oil supply.

IEA operates within the broader framework of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).


It was founded in response to the 1973 oil crisis, in which the supply chain for oil temporarily broke down.

As of 2022, the IEA has 31 member nations.

India became an associate member of IEA in 2017.

According to the IEA, a member country must maintain “crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply”.



Red-Billed Quelea Birds

6 Million Red-Billed Quelea Birds Feasting on Rice Fields Prompt for Pesticides in Kenya Farms

Conservation status:

IUCN: Least Concerned

Experts are concerned that as farmers in Kenya attempt to drive back the horde of 6 million red-billed quelea birds that ravaged their rice fields, they may pesticide-bomb endangered raptors.

Due to the drought that has been going on in the Horn of Africa, queleas’ primary food source-native grass seeds-has decreased. As a result, the birds are increasingly invading grain fields, endangering 2,000 acres of rice. Recently, the birds have destroyed roughly 300 acres of rice fields.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that a single quelea can consume up to 10 grams of grain per day. Nearly 60 tonnes of grain could be lost to birds by farmers in western Kenya. The Food and Agricultural Organization calculated crop losses caused by birds in 2021 would total $50 million per year.

The preferred method for eradicating pests in Africa has been to spray fenthion, which is an organophosphate pesticide, but scientists have noted that the substance is toxic to people and other non-target organisms.

Fenthion has been listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam convention which aims to reduce risks from hazardous chemicals in agriculture.


Application Supported by Blocked Amount system (ASBA)

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday proposed to introduce a settlement mechanism for stock trades that will result in investors’ funds effectively leaving their bank accounts only after trades are completed. This would result in investor money bypassing the broker in the trade settlement chain, a move aimed at safeguarding investors’ funds from misuse by stockbrokers.

What is Application Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA):

This process is developed by SEBI to apply for IPOs, Rights and Debts Issues, FPS and more.

It entails that the amount to be paid for subscribing to the shares does not get debited from the investor’s account until the shares have been allotted by the company.

Investors can apply for ASBA and have the bank block out the application money until the shares get allotted to the investor.

This system will provide the authorization of the investor to subscribe only when the application is selected for the issue.

This blocking is carried out by Self-Certified Syndicate Banks (SCSB).

Upon the approval of the issue to the investor, the funds are paid accordingly.

Self-Certified Syndicate Banks (SCSBs): These are SEBI-authorized banks that conform to the conditions laid by SEBI to accept the applications, verify and block the amount to the extent of what the application requires, upload the details to the web and stay updated with the process until the shares are allotted.

If the issue gets withdrawn, or the investor has not been allotted the shares, then SCSBs refund the money back to the investor’s account.

Subscribing to issues via ASBA is a mandatory option since 2016.

If the money has been blocked in an interest-bearing ASBA account then the amount will continue to earn interest during the time it takes to get the allotment of the share. The investor needs to be an Indian resident to avail of ASBA.

Significance: The reason for this process to come into effect was to eliminate the inconvenience of finding refunds or having shares not be allotted.



Bhopal Declaration

It was released after the Think20 (T20) meeting of G20 countries’ think tanks and research centres.

Highlights of the declaration:

 To focus more on inclusive development

 Care for the welfare of every section of society  in comparison to GDP

 Give special attention to children

 Encourage the model of development led by women

Bridge the gap between North and South

Work together to ensure the health of all

Importance of localization in achieving G-20 sustainable development goals

Triangular cooperation of government, society, and private organizations.
















Q1) Which are the following species are “Least concern” as per IUCN classifications?

  • Indian peafowl, Indian rhinoceros, Indian eyed turtle
  • Indian rhinoceros, Indian flying frog, some species of python
  • Indian blue robin, Indian peafowl, blue kingfisher
  • Indian clue robin, Indian eyed turtle, some species of python


Q2) The term ‘shadow banning’ is in news associated with

  1. Taking stealth action limit post’s visibility in social media.
  2. Banning NBFC’s banks.
  3. Special operation on terrorists hide-outs.
  4. None of the above

Q3) ASBA (application supported by Blocked Amounts) is a term used in which of the fallowing sectors?

(a) Aviation  (b) Real estate  (c) Insurance               (d) Capital markets


Q4) The term “round-tripping” often appears in financial news these days. What does it mean?

  • Importing products that are not easily available in the domestic markets
  • Imposing high customs duty to discourage dumping of goods in Indian market
  • Bring back illicit money hidden abroad by Indians under a different name
  • Indian companies re-exporting imported products without any value addition.


Q5) In which year, the Indian Wildlife (protection) act was implemented?

(a) 1970           (b) 1971           (c) 1972           (d) 1974



1)c                   2)a                   3)d                   4)c                   5)c


Mains: What is G-20? Discuss India’s role as leader of global south? How does it affect India’s economic interests?  










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