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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 29th September ’21 | PDF Download

Bureaucracy’s digital challenge | TH

  • The biggest challenge today to Indian bureaucracy is the shift from desk to digital.
  • There are two opinions on the use of social media by civil servants.
  • While there are many people, including former civil servants, who are in favour of civil servants using social media in their official capacity, others argue that anonymity, the defining feature of Indian bureaucracy, gets compromised in the process.
  • It is true that many civil servants have become accessible to the common people and public service delivery issues have been resolved through the use of social media.
  • Social media has also created a positive outlook towards an institution long perceived as opaque and inaccessible.
  • Social media has increased awareness among people about government policies and programmes.
  • It provides an opportunity to bureaucrats to shape the public discourse and engage with the public while being politically neutral.
  • The use of social media is gradually getting institutionalised in many Westminster system-based countries.
  • During the Brexit debate in the U.K., many civil servants shaped public debate through the use of social media even while remaining politically neutral.
  • Social media is getting used by civil servants for self-promotion.
  • Through their selective posts and promotion of these posts by their social media fans, civil servants create a narrative of their performance.
  • Social media may have improved accessibility and accountability, but it is important to note that civil servants are at an advantage to share the information they want and respond to those they want.
  • It is, in fact, partly unethical to use social media during office hours and justify it when some people who have travelled long distances are waiting outside the office.

Cash is still king | Telegraph

  • Digital payments seem to be ubiquitous in India now
  • We find QR codes, mostly, everywhere
  • McKinsey: cash accounts for 89 per cent of all transactions
  • Cash is still the King in India
  • Systemic challenges like extreme dependence on cash, low access to finances, a lack of a digital identity for the masses and the absence of a robust inter-operable financial network had made the initial transition a Herculean task.
  • But it was the ‘JAM Trinity’ that provided a solid foundational framework to nudge the digital transformation.
  • The launch of the unified payments interface and the subsequent demonetization of 2016 combined with the rise in the penetration of both the smartphone and the internet further amplified the adoption of digital payments.
  • By the end of 2020-21, according to a report by the National Payments Corporation of India, the total number of digital transactions stood at over 37 billion.
  • The currency in circulation which helps understand the use of cash in a country is at a high of 13 per cent compared to the post-demonetization low of 8.7 per cent.
  • Digital payments are not yet seen as a perfect substitute for cash.
  • Further, much of the user base making digital transactions is still concentrated in urban areas.
  • A typical user of these services is literate, comfortable with English and has access to a smartphone with a stable internet connection.
  • Unfortunately, the majority of India’s demographic does not fit this bill.
  • Moreover, the dominance of cash is fuelled by shortcomings of digital payments on the supply side, like complex dispute redressal procedures, transaction failures, a paucity of comprehensive instructional and awareness programmes and an overall lack of accessibility in rural areas.
  • These factors, coupled with socio-economic hindrances, have contributed significantly to the problem.
  • While government schemes like the direct benefit transfer scheme have encouraged people to access their bank accounts and decreased leakages, they have failed to reduce the conversion to cash, with the majority of the DBT beneficiaries choosing to withdraw the entire credited amount in cash.
  • Widespread instances of fraud and a lack of trust, especially among the demographic with lower literacy, have amplified the aversion to digital payments.
  • Poor unit economics and operational challenges have deterred banks and other financial institutions from expanding to remote parts of the country.
  • This unviability is also evident in digital transaction services like the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System; several banks have limited the number of AePS transactions to one per day to reduce cost to service providers.
  • Other supply-side complications — server downtime, mismatched biometrics — have increased the average transaction failure rates and discouraged usage.
  • India is heading towards a digital revolution, but the rural and semi-urban populations, especially those people at the bottom of the pyramid, still remain largely untouched by the effects and benefits of a digital transformation.
  • The next tranche of digital products needs to be more accessible and inclusive.
  • Innovations like voice-based payment systems and the newly launched e-Rupi are a step in the right direction.

India will need more than green hydrogen | HT

  • In recent weeks, zero-carbon (“green”) hydrogen has moved from the margins of India’s energy infrastructure planning to centre stage.
  • PM Modi’s Independence Day speech: National Green Hydrogen Mission aimed at kickstarting development and deployment of the emerging technology.
  • Theme of International Climate Summit in New Delhi: “Powering India’s Hydrogen Ecosystem.”
  • PM Modi’s recent meetings in Washington also focused on green hydrogen as a key tool in India’s arsenal to combat the climate crisis.
  • Investing in green hydrogen is prudent.
  • Hydrogen will only ever be cost-effective in slashing emissions in a handful of sectors.
  • Green hydrogen’s commercial viability relies on renewable energy used to manufacture it being available at a low price.
  • The government is almost certain to fall short of its goal of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022, and its goal of 450 gigawatts by 2030 is projected to meet the same fate.
  • One of the principal reasons for this impending slowdown is India’s broken electricity distribution companies (discoms).
  • Transitioning to a renewables-intensive energy paradigm is a formidable challenge, requiring utilities to (among other things) cope with greater variability of electricity supply than they are used to from traditional fossil fuel generation.
  • Adaptation requires not only new investments in battery storage and transmission capacity, but also more fundamental changes in how discoms operate, such as a shift to coordinating energy dispatch over larger geographic areas.
  • A long history of manipulation by politicians for the sake of short-term electoral objectives has left discoms bankrupt and institutionally weak.
  • Chronic financial shortfalls prevent them from making forward-looking investments in the infrastructure necessary to support higher levels of renewable energy.
  • Their limited independence from political interests, meanwhile, makes it difficult to enact more structural changes to grid management.
  • Starved of funds, risk-averse, and largely insulated from voter demands for change, most discoms will continue to take the path of least resistance, dragging their heels on the path to a high-renewables future.
  • Power sector reform must be seen as a political problem rather than a technical one.
  • A critical mass of states acting in concert could create a virtuous circle in which investors would vote with their feet and voters would see the benefits of a more robust energy sector, encouraging them to exert pressure on their own representatives to enact similar policies.
  • By contrast, if the government continues to defer reform on the fundamental problems crippling the power sector, the growth of India’s renewable energy will falter, and the promise of a decarbonised economy will remain a pipe dream.

CJI’s call for women’s quota | Tribune

  • Hopefully, India will get its first woman CJI in 2027.
  • CJI NV Ramana’s call to women lawyers to strongly demand 50 per cent representation in the judiciary assumes significance.
  • Educational, social and economic advancement has been a pre-requisite for empowerment of women and of late many fields, hitherto considered male bastions, have seen the entry of women, breaking gender stereotypes and also signifying their talent and ability to meet the changing nature of work requirements.
  • Justice Ramana’s tenure has seen the appointment of three women judges to the Supreme Court, the maximum so far, and his plea focuses attention on an area which usually goes unconsidered even as the courts are generally plagued by a shortage of judges.
  • Matters are not helped either by the fact that the qualification for appointment as a judge only lists the criteria — either from judicial service or from the Bar — and is not specific about the gender of candidates.
  • The aspiring candidates also have to be clear about their career choice for there are lawyers who prefer having a lucrative practice over appointment as a judge.
  • Individual choices apart, the road ahead will not be easy for women in judiciary, considering that laws to ensure the representation of women in legislative bodies have met with stiff resistance.
  • The working of the judges is also not easy because of the workload and the need for security.
  • With law education becoming more accessible to women, the scope for their representation, not just in the apex court but also in high courts and the lower judiciary, has to expand correspondingly.
  • The idea of giving preference to women is also guided by the need to check gender discrimination in the dispensation of justice.
  • More women in the judicial service may help instill confidence among the litigants and bring sensitivity to the handling of cases.


  • PM Modi dedicates 35 crop varieties with special traits to nation
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserts, public-private partnership can bring Defence Production Revolution
  • Defence Ministry increases income limit of disabled dependents for family pension
  • Sarbananda Sonowal reiterates India’s commitment to enhance share of renewable energy to 60% of total power demand at major ports
  • Election Commission announces bye-elections to three Lok Sabha seats, 30 Assembly constituencies in 14 States
  • India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crosses 87 crore
  • Extensive road network in Himalayan region will help in boosting tourism sector: Nitin Gadakari
  • Amit Shah releases training manual of Aapda Mitra Scheme, plan documents of Aapda Mitra and Common Alerting Protocol
  • Indian fencer Bhavani Devi’s sword in e-auction of gifts, mementos received by PM
  • Agriculture Minister N S Tomar launches Amul Honey
  • US Prez Joe Biden takes COVID-19 vaccine booster
  • Japan to shorten its COVID-19 quarantine period from 14 to 10 days starting October 1
  • International Day for Universal Access of Information will be observed on Sep 28
  • China witnesses unprecedented power cuts in the nation’s history; households, factories hit

Q.) Xu Jaiyin is the founder of which major business estabilshment in China, that is currently in the news?

  1. Huawei
  2. Evergrande
  3. Tencent
  4. JD.com

Q.) Which Nordic country topped the World Economic Forum’s ranking of most egalitarian countries for the past 12 years?

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Sweden
  4. Greenland


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