Current Affairs December 11, 2021

Royal gold medal

  • Architect Bal Krishna Doshi will receive the Royal Gold Medal, 2022, one of the world’s highest honors for architecture,
  • The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual’s or group’s substantial contribution to international architecture.
  • It is given for a distinguished body of work rather than for one building, and is therefore not awarded for merely being currently fashionable.
  • The medal was first awarded in 1848 to Charles Robert Cockerell.


Democracy summit

  • The Summit for Democracy was convened by Mr. Biden to strengthen democracies around the world.
  • Opening the summit on, he announced the establishment of the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, under which the administration plans to provide $424.4 million for supporting free and independent media, fighting corruption, strengthening democratic reforms, advancing technology for democracy, and defending free and fair elections.

What India PM said?

  • India is the largest democracy in the world and has 2,500-year old democratic traditions.
  • He proposed to share India’s democratic experience through digital solutions.
  • “We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and cryptocurrencies, so that they are used to empower democracy, not undermine it.
  • “Different parts of the world have followed different paths of democratic development.
  • There is much we can learn from each other.
  • We all need to constantly improve our democratic practices and systems.
  • And, we all need to continuously enhance inclusion, transparency, human dignity, responsive grievance redressal and decentralization of power,”
  • “Centuries of colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people. It again found full expression with India’s Independence and led to an unparalleled story in democratic nation building over the past 75 years.
  • “Democracy is not only of the people, by the people, for the people, but also with the people, within the people.


Stubble as biofuel

  • The Union Government is working on a plan to use stubble as a biofuel and manure as part of an effort to deal with stubble burning that was often cited as a source of pollution in northern India.
  • National Thermal Power Corporation had procured 3,000 tonnes of stubble to be used as bio-fuel and would study the results.
  • About one lakh acres of manure and compost from stubble were used in Punjab and Haryana, while Uttar Pradesh used it in six lakh acres.


Climate justice

  • The President said while non-discrimination was the first condition for absolute respect for human dignity, the world was beset with countless prejudices.
  • He said the world needed to debate and discuss the “right to a healthy environment and climate justice”.
  • “We owe it to our children that we save Mother Nature from the worst effects of industrialization. The time is running out,”
  • “Climate justice” is a term, and more than that a movement, that acknowledges climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations. Advocates for climate justice are striving to have these inequities addressed head-on through long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Climate justice begins with recognizing key groups are differently affected by climate change.
  • Climate impacts can exacerbate inequitable social conditions
  • The President said while the human rights discourse was justifiably focused on rights, India had always understood that rights and duties were two sides of the same coin.


Teacher mental health

  • India has an estimated nine million teachers, but they are not a homogeneous group in India.
  • There are extremes: those working in schools under the Union government with better qualifications, working conditions, salaries and systemic protection to those in low-fee private schools with abysmally low salaries, poor working conditions and no systemic protection.
  • Those in medium range, urban private schools faced a new type of ‘bullying’ by being under constant ‘watch’ of parents who pointed out even the tiniest mistakes, including variety in pronunciation in online classes.
  • In addition to this, under COVID-19 duty, their deployment in undertaking door-to-door COVID-19 survey, distributing immunity booster tablets, policing inter- and intra-district check posts, managing queues outside fair price shops, keeping records in COVID-19 care facilities and, at times, disciplining queues outside liquor shops led them to a sense of ‘loss of identity’.
  • This peculiar situation, juxtaposed with media reports suggesting that ‘teachers drew salary without any work’ led to much mental turmoil, a lowering of the self-image and self-respect.
  • Teachers were also under constant pressure to submit records of efforts made to keep learning ‘alive’
  • Teachers, as primary caregivers to children, influence the emotional environment of a classroom as well as the emotional and behavioral well-being of those in their care.
  • The teacher’s ability to navigate this responsibility is significantly shaped by their own mental health and well-being.
  • Systemic investments in school mental health allow for a creation of an environment focused on well-being, addressed through clearly defined policies on antibullying, redress of harassment and grievances, creating a support system of psychosocial services that teachers can access.



  • GST as “one nation one tax” package, and was accepted by India on the midnight of July 1, 2017.
  • It was expected to improve tax-GDP ratio, end tax cascading, enhance efficiency, competitiveness, growth, and ensure lower prices. It was also projected as a watershed in India’s fiscal federalism.
  • While the States have forgone a substantial part of their own tax revenue, they were in turn guaranteed a GST compensation assuring 14% growth in their GST revenue during the initial five years.
  • India’s GST architecture is built on the firm foundations of a GST Council and the GST Network (GSTN).
  • The first is the key decision-making body, chaired by the Union Finance Minister with a Minister of State in charge of Finance and the Finance Ministers of States as members.
  • This is envisaged as a due federal process to protect the interests of the States.
  • GSTN generates high frequency data and subjects them to analytics for informed policy making.
  • Built on this foundation, India’s GST paradigm stands on two key pillars: revenue neutrality and GST compensation for the States.
  • Designed on the principle of destination based consumption taxation, with seamless provision for input tax credit with CGST levied by the Centre, SGST by the States, UTGST by the Union Territories, and IGST levied on inter-State supply including imports, GST is applicable to all goods and services except alcohol for human consumption and five specified petroleum products with a common threshold exemption applicable to both CGST and SGST.
  • The assured revenue neutrality remains a mirage and many States have experienced a declining tax GDP ratio.
  • Studies show that in the case of major 18 States, the ratio of own tax revenue to GDP has declined.
  • While the share of the Centre in total GST increased by 6%.
  • The problems were compounded with massive evasion following the dismantling of check posts, and later on fake invoices that grew by leaps and bound.
  • Given the revenue neutrality failure and the host of other issues, many of the States are left with no option except to depend on GST compensation.
  • It was pointed out that GST is discriminatory to manufacturing States, indicating the need for a revenue sharing formula that duly incentivizes exporting States by sharing IGST revenue among three parties instead of two.