Current Affairs

Underage forced marriages in Zimbabwe
 The UN has condemned underage forced marriages in Zimbabwe following the death of a 14-year-old girl reportedly during childbirth.
 The death has sparked widespread anger on social media and among children’s rights activists.
Child marriages across the world:
The total number of girls married in childhood stands at 12 million per year.
● Across the globe, level of child marriage is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where 35 per cent of young women were married before age 18, followed by South Asia, where nearly 30 per cent were married before age 18.
● Lower levels of child marriage are found in Latin America and Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

UN and other international efforts towards ending child marriages:
1. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: provides that the betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect.
2. The 1964 Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages says that States Parties to the present Convention shall take legislative action to specify a minimum age for marriage.
3. The right to ‘free and full’ consent to marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
4. Although marriage is not mentioned directly in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, child marriage is linked to other rights – such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to protection from all forms of abuse, and the right to be protected from harmful traditional practices.
5. In 2016, UNICEF, together with UNFPA, launched the Global Programme to End Child Marriage.
6. The elimination of child, early and forced marriage is now part of the Sustainable Development Goals under Target 5 – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

1. The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 to restrict the practice of child marriage.
2. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 to address and fix the shortcomings of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

Experts asked the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) to scrap certain provisions from the proposed Arunachal Pradesh marriage and inheritance bill, keeping in view the public sentiment and the state’s interest.
Overview of the draft Bill:
1. Essential conditions of marriage, registration of marriage: The bill is made applicable to any person who belongs to any indigenous scheduled tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It provides that a marriage between parties may be solemnized according to local customary rites and rituals of the either party.
2. Restitution of conjugal rights, void and voidable marriage: The bill also provides for restitution of conjugal rights stating when either of the party has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply by petition to the district court for restitution of conjugal rights.
3. Grounds for dissolution of marriage (divorce): Marriage solemnized after the commencement of the act can be dissolved on various grounds.
4. Permanent alimony and maintenance: A wife who is unable to maintain herself can file application to the court for maintenance. The court may order that the husband shall pay to her an appropriate lump sum of permanent alimony.
5. Bill’s status on polygamy: Every person who, being at the time married, procures a marriage of himself or herself to be solemnized under this act shall be deemed to have committed an offence under Section 494 or Section 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), as the case may be, and the marriage so solemnized shall be void.
 The main thrust of the bill is on legal status of marriage, procedure of marriage registration, property right of wife, widow’s rights, treating polygamy as an offence.
 Two significant contribution of the bill is with respect to criminalization of polygamy and property right of the legally wedded wife and widow.
An Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) woman married to non-APST man shall enjoy any immovable property inherited from the head of the family in her lifetime.
In the event of her death, her husband and her heirs would have full rights of it for disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Because of these Provisions, the draft Bill is termed as “anti-tribal”, “anti-Arunachal”, violative of customary laws and an invitation to outsiders to take over tribal land through marriage
 The Rajya Sabha has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
 The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
Key Highlights:
 The Bill removes the Abor tribe from the list of identified STs in Arunachal Pradesh.
 It replaces certain STs with other tribes. This includes Tai Khamti, Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi).

The Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in various states and union territories. Further, it permits Parliament to modify this list of notified STs.
Definition of STs: The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes. However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
 The Constitution 127th Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed with unanimous support in Lok Sabha.
 The Bill amends the Constitution to allow states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes.
On May 5, while scrapping a separate quota for the Maratha community in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court had ruled that after a 2018 amendment in the Constitution (102nd constitutional amendment), only the central government could notify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) – not the states.
The 102nd constitutional amendment (Inserted Articles 338B and 342 A after Article 342) was related to giving constitutional status to the National Commission of Backward Classes and interpretation of this constitutional amendment effectively struck a blow to the authority of state governments in identifying backward classes and provide them with reservation benefits.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 127TH AMENDMENT BILL: The Bill seeks to restore the power of State governments to identify Other Backward Classes that are socially and educationally backward. Please note that In May 2021, the Supreme Court, in an order, had empowered only the Central government for such identification.
2. The Bill amends this to provide that the President may notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes only for purposes of the central government.
3. This central list will be prepared and maintained by the central government.
4. The Bill enables states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes.
5. This list must be made by law, and may differ from the central list.

Implications of the new Bill: After passing, the 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 671 castes in the country would benefit from it and restore the States’ rights to make their own list of OBCs.
Consultation with the NCBC: Article 338B of the Constitution mandates the central and state governments to consult the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
 The Delhi High Court asked the Centre and search engine giant Google to respond to a petition by two businessmen, who have invoked the “right to be forgotten”, and sought the removal of certain articles relating to a criminal case lodged against them, from various online platforms.
 The petition argued that they “had been honorably discharged by the competent courts, yet the alleged articles and wrong information available online against petitioners continue to haunt them”.
About The Right to Forgotten
 The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy.
 In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).
 Right to privacy is also governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament. The bill exclusively talks about the “Right to be Forgotten.” Broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.

 The Supreme Court passed an order on the use and applicability of Prevention Detention in the Country.
 The judgment came in an appeal filed by the wife of a man placed under preventive detention under the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act shortly after he was granted bail in a cheating case.
About Preventive Detention: It involves the detainment (containment) of a person in order to keep him/her from committing future crimes and/or from escaping future prosecution.
 Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order
 Article 22(4) states that no law providing for preventive detention shall authorize the detention of a person for a longer period than three months unless an Advisory Board reports sufficient cause for extended detention.
 Note: The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.

1. Preventive detention could be used only to prevent public disorder.
2. The State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.
3. The court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably leads to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large.
4. Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.

Purpose of the Preventive detention:
1. In the case of Mariappan v. The District Collector and Others, the Court held that the aim of detention and its laws is not to punish anyone but to stop certain crimes from being committed.
2. In the case of Union of India v. Paul Nanickan and Anr, the Supreme Court said that the reasoning for such detention is based on suspicion or reasonable possibility and not a criminal conviction, which can be justified only by valid proof.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana has recused himself from hearing a petition filed by Andhra Pradesh accusing Telangana of depriving its people of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation.
The Chief Justice said he recused from hearing because he hailed from both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
About Judicial Disqualification or Recusal:
Judicial disqualification, referred to as recusal, is the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.
1. The judge is biased in favour of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be.
2. Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it.
3. Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer.
4. Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case.
5. Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
6. Rulings, comments or conduct.
There are no definite rules on recusals by Judges. However, in taking oath of office, judges, both of the Supreme Court and of the high courts, promise to perform their duties, to deliver justice, “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.

Governor’s pardon power overrides 433A: SC
The Supreme Court has observed that the power of the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution to commute sentence or to pardon will override the restrictions imposed under Section 433-A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
About the case:
 The Court was considering the feasibility of remission policies in Haryana. It was considering whether a state can frame policy to release a life-term convict prematurely before completing at least 14 years in jail or the government has to strictly go by Section 433 A of CrPC which specifies that remission cannot be granted till he/she has not served at least 14 years in jail
 Haryana policy stated that those convicts who stood convicted for a life sentence and are above the age of 75 years (in case of male convicts) and have completed 8 years of the actual sentence are entitled to be conferred the benefit of remission.

Observations made by the Court:
1. Even if the prisoner has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person.
2. However, the power conferred on the Governor should be exercised on the aid and advice of the State. The advice of the appropriate Government binds the Head of the State.
3. The action of commutation and release can thus be pursuant to a governmental decision and the order may be issued even without the Governor’s approval. However, under the Rules of Business and as a matter of constitutional courtesy, it may seek approval of the Governor, if such release is under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Article 161 deals with the Pardoning Power of the Governor. The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.

CrPC Section 433A:
It deals with a restriction on powers of remission or Commutation in certain cases.
It says “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 432, where a sentence of imprisonment for life is imposed on conviction of a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment”

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021:
The Bill was recently passed in Lok Sabha by voice vote. The Bill replaces a similar Ordinance promulgated in April 2021.
The Bill seeks to provide for uniform terms and conditions of the various members of the Tribunal and abolish certain tribunals, as a part of its bid to rationalize the tribunals.

Key changes:
● It seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
● It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
● It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
● It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.
● For state tribunals, there will be a separate search committee.
● The Union government has to ‘preferably’ decide on the recommendations of the search-cum selection committee within 3 months of the date of the recommendation.
● Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.
Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, Airports Appellate Tribunal, Authority for Advanced Rulings, Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the Plant Varieties Protection Appellate Tribunal are the five tribunals which are sought to be abolished by the Bill and their functions are to be transferred to the existing judicial bodies.
What had the Court ruled and what are the key Issues with the Bill?
The Supreme Court in the case of Madras Bar Association v. Union of India had struck down the provisions requiring a minimum age for appointment as chairperson or members as 50 years and prescribing the tenure of four years.
● It held that such conditions are violative of the principles of separation of powers, independence of judiciary, rule of law and Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Issues: The Bill has sought to undo the judgment of the Apex Court wrt. to the following provisions:
1. The minimum age requirement of 50 years still finds a place in the Bill.
2. The tenure for the Chairperson and the members of the tribunal remains four years.
3. The recommendation of two names for each post by the Search-cum-Selection Committee and requiring the decision to be taken by the government preferably within three months

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021:
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was recently passed in Rajya Sabha.
As per the amendments:
1. The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions.
2. It means that DMs and ADMs will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district- including the Child Welfare Committees, the Juvenile Justice Boards, the District Child Protection Units and the Special Juvenile Protection Units.
3. The DM will also carry out background checks of CWC members, who are usually social welfare activists, including educational qualifications, as there is no such provision currently.
4. The DMs are also to check possible criminal backgrounds to ensure that no cases of child abuse or child sexual abuse are found against any member before they are appointed.
5. The CWCs are also to report regularly to the DMs on their activities in the districts.
6. Serious offences will also include offences for which maximum punishment is imprisonment of more than seven years, and minimum punishment is not prescribed or is less than seven years.
7. Instead of the court, the District Magistrate (including Additional District Magistrate) will now issue adoption orders.
● The changes give increased powers and responsibilities to District Magistrates.
● This has increased protection of children at the district level, with checks and balances in place, and will also speed up the adoption processes in the country.
About Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015:
The Act was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000.
● It allowed the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined.
● The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.
● It received impetus after the 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the accused was just short of 18 years, and was therefore tried as a juvenile.
● The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme 2.0’
The Centre has approved the continuation of the ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’ for school education for the next five years till March 31, 2026.
Key features the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) 2.0:
1. In order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child-centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through DBT [or direct benefit transfer] mode on an IT-based platform over a period of time.
2. This DBT would include RTE entitlements such as textbooks, uniforms and transport allowance.
3. Keeping with the NEP’s recommendations on encouraging Indian languages, it has a new component for appointment of language teachers, which includes salaries, and training costs as well as bilingual books and teaching learning material.
4. It will have the NIPUN Bharat initiative for foundational literacy and numeracy, which will get an annual provision of ₹500 per child for learning materials, ₹150 per teacher for manuals and resources and ₹10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
5. As part of digital initiatives, there is a provision for ICT labs and smart classrooms, including support for digital boards, virtual classrooms and DTH channels.
6. It includes a provision to support out of school children from age 16 to 19 with funding of ₹2000 per grade to complete their education via open schooling.
7. It also has a provision for an incentive of up to ₹25000 for schools that have two medal-winning students at the Khelo India school games at the national level.

Samagra Shiksha:
1. Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
2. It subsumes the three Schemes of -Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
3. The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focusing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
4. The scheme mainly aims to support States in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
5. The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. It involves a 60:40 split in funding between the Centre and most States.

Bhumiputra in Goa:
The Goa Assembly has passed the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021.
Highlights of the Bill:
1. It recognises anyone living in the state for 30 years or more as a ‘Bhumiputra (son of the soil)’ and gives such a person the right to own his or her ‘small dwelling unit’ if ownership was undetermined so far.
2. Once recognised as a Bhumiputra, an individual can stake claim to ownership of their house of not more than 250 sq m, built before April 1, 2019.
1. The Bill provides for the constitution of the Bhumiputra Adhikarini — a committee consisting of the Deputy Collector as its Chairperson, and officials from the departments of Town and Country Planning, Forest and Environment, and Mamlatdars of respective talukas as its members.
2. The Bhumiputra may apply to the committee if his house has been built before the cut-off date.
3. The committee will invite objections within 30 days, including from the land owner which could also be a local body, and then take a decision of granting ownership to the Bhumiputra. 4. An appeal against the Bhumiputra Adhikarini’s decision can be filed before the Administrative Tribunal within 30 days

No court shall have jurisdiction “to entertain, decide or deal with any question which is to be decided by the Bhumiputra Adhikarini and Administrative Tribunal under this Act”.

o In the last so many years there have been cases of homes built by a person or his parents but the land is not in his name. There is always a sword dangling over their head that someone will file a case against them (over ownership).
o Therefore, the objective of the Bill is to give ownership right to the self-occupied dweller of a small housing unit to enable him to live with dignity and self-respect and exercise his right to life.
The biggest concern is that the bill may give rise to regularisation of illegal structures. This might also open the floodgates for the migrant population that has been staying in densely populated areas in Goa and has no legality.

The new Information Technology (IT) Rules
Twitter has appointed a permanent Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), a Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and a Nodal Contact Person in compliance with the new Information Technology (IT) Rules.
About the Issue:
 The Supreme Court had recently expressed reservations over Twitter changing the status of the CCO appointment from “interim” to “contingent” in its affidavit.
 The IT rules mandated the appointment of a senior employee as CCO, but Twitter had appointed a “contingent worker” through a third-party contractor. This was opposed by the Centre.
What do the rules say?
 Twitter Inc is admittedly an ‘intermediary’ within the meaning of Section 2(1)(w) of IT Act, 2000, and an SSMI (Significant Social Media Intermediary) under the IT Rules 2021.
 SSMIs are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer, and a grievance officer — all whom are required to be residents of India, according to the IT rules.

What happens in case of non-compliance?
● Any non-compliance amounts to breach of provisions of IT Rules, leading to Twitter losing its immunity as an “intermediary”.
● A loss of its intermediary status, which provides its immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by it, makes it liable for criminal action in case of complaints
Overview of the new rules:
1.It mandates a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. This is necessary for the users of social media to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media.
2.Significant social media firms have to appoint a chief compliance officer and have a nodal contact person who can be in touch with law enforcement agencies 24/7.
3. A grievance officer: Social media platforms will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and dispose of it in 15 days.
4. Removal of content: If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.
5. A monthly report: They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal. 6. There will be three levels of regulation for news publishers — self-regulation, a self-regulatory body, headed by a retired judge or an eminent person, and oversight from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, including codes of practices and a grievance committee.

Adoption not limited by religion: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has ruled that a person interested in adopting a child was not limited by his or her religion, if adoption was sought under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
 The court was hearing a case where Christian couple had adopted a child under the Hindu law.
 The court has said that Christian and Muslim couples could not adopt a Hindu child under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA).
 However, since the child was being well taken care of by the foster parents and their family and the court said there is no cause to remove the child from their charge and custody.
 Also, no legal issues could arise in future since the Child has been adopted as per the Hindu adoption ceremony known as ‘Datta Homam’.
Legal Framework Governing Adoption Laws in India:
1. In India, adoption falls under the ambit of personal laws, and due to the incidence of diverse religions practiced in our country, mainly two different laws operate.
2. Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews are governed by the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, as formal adoption is not allowed in these religions.
3. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, on the other hand, follow the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
4. Juvenile Justice Act also deals with adoption.

NCPCR recommends minority schools be brought under RTE
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has released a report assessing minority schools in the country. The report has analyzed the impact of exemptions provided to Minority institutions under Article 15(5).
Please note, Minority schools are exempted from implementing The Right to Education policy and do not fall under the government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
How are minority schools exempted from RTE and SSA?
1. In 2002, the 86th Amendment to the Constitution provided the Right to Education as a fundamental right.
2. The same amendment inserted Article 21A, which made the RTE a fundamental right for children aged between six and 14 years.
3. The passage of the amendment was followed by the launch of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) that aimed to provide “useful and relevant, elementary education’’ to all children between six and 14 years.
4. In 2006, the 93rd Constitution Amendment Act inserted Clause (5) in Article 15 which enabled the State to create special provisions, such as reservations for advancement of any backward classes of citizens like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in all aided or unaided educational institutes, except minority educational institutes.

The Need:
The Commission is of the view that the two different sets of rules Article 21A that guarantees fundamental right of education to all children, and Article 30 which allows minorities to set up their own institutions with their own rules and Article 15 (5) which exempts minority schools from RTE creating a conflicting picture between fundamental right of children and right of minority communities.
The Commission has observed in the report that many children who are enrolled in these institutions or schools were not able to enjoy the entitlements that other children are enjoying.
1. For example, Missionaries school are elite cocoons. Such schools are admitting only a certain class of students and leaving underprivileged children out of the system, thus becoming what the Commission has called “cocoons populated by elites’’.
2. Also, students in madrasas which do not offer a secular course along with religious studies – such as the sciences – have fallen behind and feel a sense of alienation and “inferiority’’ when they leave school.

Vehicle scrappage policy:
About the Vehicle Scrappage Policy:
1. Old vehicles will have to pass a fitness test before re-registration and as per the policy government commercial vehicles more than 15 years old and private vehicles which are over 20 years old will be scrapped.
2. As a disincentive, increased re-registration fees would be applicable for vehicles 15 years or older from the initial date registration.
3. The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles to provide incentive to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles.
 The vehicle scrapping policy is aimed at creating an eco-system for phasing out unfit and polluting vehicles in an environmentally friendly and safe manner.
 The initiative will promote a circular economy and make the process of economic development more sustainable and environment friendly.
 The policy will also bring in investments of around Rs 10,000 crore and create 35,000 job opportunities.
Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021:
The Environment Ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022.
The New Rules:
1. What is banned? The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the identified single-use plastic will be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022.
2. The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
3. For banning other plastic commodities in the future, other than those that have been listed in this notification, the government has given industry ten years from the date of notification for compliance.
4. The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022.
5. The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose penalties already prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
6. The plastic packaging waste, which is not covered under the phase out of identified single use plastic items, shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) of the Producer, importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

India’s per capita consumption of plastic at 11 kilograms (kg) per year is still among the lowest in the world against global average is 28 kg per year. Close to 26,000 tons of plastic waste is generated across India every day and 10,000 tons uncollected.

RoDTEP scheme:
The Centre has notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme. A budgetary allocation of ₹12,454 crore has been made for 2021-22 under the scheme which covers 8,555 tariff lines, accounting for about 75% of traded items and 65% of India’s exports.
The scheme was announced in 2020 as a replacement for the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), which was not compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
The scheme would refund to exporters the embedded central, state and local duties or taxes that were so far not being rebated or refunded and were, therefore, placing India’s exports at a disadvantage.
Important features of the Scheme:
To enable zero rating of exports by ensuring domestic taxes are not exported, all taxes, including those levied by States and even Gram Panchayats, will be refunded under the scheme.
2. The rebates under RoDTEP is WTO-compliant as per legal advice, range from 0.5% to 4.3% of the Free On Board value of outbound consignments.
3. The lowest rate is offered on items like chocolates, toffees and sugar confectionary, while yarns and fibers have been granted the highest rate.
4. Steel, pharma and chemicals have not been included under the scheme because their exports have done well without incentives.
 Indian exporters will be able to meet the international standards for exports as affordable testing and certification will be made available to exporters within the country instead of relying on international organizations.
 Also under it, tax assessment is set to become fully automatic for exporters. Businesses will get access to their refunds for GST via an automatic refund-route.
 This would increase the economy for the country and working capital for the enterprise.

Ubharte Sitaare Fund
Finance minister has launched Rs 250 crore worth Alternative Investment Fund for export-oriented micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Objective of the fund:
 To Identify Indian enterprises with potential advantages by way of technology, products or processes along with export potential, but which are currently underperforming or unable to tap their latent potential to grow.
 The main purpose is to encourage MSMEs as they are vital to the economy in terms of creating jobs, fostering innovations and reviving the economy.

Important features:
● The Fund has been set up by Exim Bank and SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). ● The fund is a mix of structured support, both financial and advisory services.
● It will also have a Greenshoe Option of Rs 250 crore.
What is a greenshoe option? It is an over-allotment option. In the context of an Initial Public Offering (IPO), it is a provision in an underwriting agreement that grants the underwriter the right to sell investors more shares than initially planned by the issuer if the demand for a security issue proves higher than expected.
●The Fund covers potential companies, across various sectors such as pharma, auto components, engineering solutions, agriculture, and software etc.

Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana:
The government has launched ‘PM-DAKSH’ portal and app to make the skill development schemes accessible to the target groups of Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Safai Karamcharis.
About the Scheme:
1.The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.
2. Under the scheme, eligible target groups are being provided skill development training programmes on up-skilling/reskilling, short term training Programme, long term training programmes and entrepreneurship development program (EDP).
3. Eligibility: Marginalized persons of SC, OBC, Economically Backward Classes, De-notified tribes, Sanitation workers including waste pickers, manual scavengers, transgenders and other similar categories.
Ujjwala 2.0 scheme:
The government has launched the second phase of the Ujjwala gas connection scheme for the poor.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
 Launched in May 2016.
 Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
 Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to the eligible household with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
 Target: The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs 4,800 crore.
Major objectives of the scheme:
1. Empowering women and protecting their health.
2. Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
3. Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
4. Preventing young children from a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning fossil fuel.
Eligibility criteria:
1. Applicants must be a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
2. Applicants should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
3. No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
4. The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
5. Applicants must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.
Note: Under Ujjwala 2.0:
 Migrant workers would no longer have to struggle to get address proof documents to get the gas connections.
 These workers would only be required to submit a self-declaration of their residential address to get the gas connection.

Tamil Nadu’s wage employment scheme for urban poor:
 This is an urban employment scheme proposed to be implemented by Tamil Nadu Government on the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
 It seeks to improve the livelihood of urban poor.
 Unlike other States, the urban population in Tamil Nadu is growing fast and it would reach 60% of the total population by 2036. A total of four crore people is now living in urban areas, accounting for 53% of the total population. But, many of them had lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Under the scheme, workers will be used for activities such as desilting of water bodies and maintenance of public parks and other places.

e-RUPI is a person and purpose-specific cashless digital payment solution.
 It is a contactless instrument for digital payment.
 It is based on a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries.
 The system will eliminate the need for any physical interface, mobile banking, debit, or credit cards by simply and directly allowing the beneficiary to avail the benefits by redeeming the codes at specific centers.
 It has been developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the Department of Financial Services, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the National Health Authority.
Working mechanism:
1.It is basically a prepaid voucher that can be issued directly to citizens after verifying mobile number and identity.
2. The e-RUPI voucher will be delivered in the form of a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher to the beneficiary’s mobile number.
3. The beneficiary can redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or internet banking access, at the service provider.

NITI bats for tax breaks to achieve monetization goal
Recommendation made by NITI AYOG pertaining to the monetization plan unveiled by the government recently
More on this:
● NITI AYOG has opined to make the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) a success, the government should give Income tax breaks to attract retail investors into instruments like Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)
● The AYOG has also recommended bringing such Trusts (InvITs) under the ambit of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to provide greater comfort to investors. (Presently, such trusts are not considered ‘legal persons’ in India, this inhibits investment from potential investors into this. However, investments made is protected under the SARFAESI act and the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993)
● The above recommendation if implemented will help in expanding investor base, a critical element for the success of NMP.
How will the recommendations benefit the InvITS?
The changes recommended will provide a structured opportunity for investors to invest in infrastructure assets with predictable cash flows, while the asset owners can raise upfront resources against future revenue cash flows from those assets, which in turn can be deployed in new assets or used to repay debt.
About NMP:
The Centre launched the National Monetisation pipeline (NMP) in an effort to list out the government’s infrastructure assets to be sold over the next four-years.
Key features:
1. The four-year National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) will unlock value in brownfield projects by engaging the private sector, transferring to them the rights but not the ownership in projects.
2. Components: Roads, railways and power sector assets will comprise over 66 per cent of the total estimated value of the assets to be monetised, with the balance coming from sectors including telecom, mining, aviation, ports, natural gas and petroleum product pipelines, warehouses and stadiums.
Objective of the programme:
1. To unlock the value of investments in brownfield public sector assets by tapping institutional and long-term capital, which can thereafter be leveraged for public investments. 2. To enable ‘Infrastructure Creation through Monetisation’ wherein the public and private sector collaborate, each excelling in their core areas of competence, so as to deliver socio-economic growth.

The Framework:
 Currently, only assets of central government line ministries and CPSEs in infrastructure sectors have been included.
 Monetization through disinvestment and monetization of non-core assets have not been included in the NMP.
 Estimated Potential: Considering that infrastructure creation is inseparably linked to monetisation, the period for NMP is coterminous with the balance period under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) i.e for FY 2022-2025. NMP is indicatively valued at Rs 6.0 lakh crore for 4 years.
Significance of the scheme:
 Asset Monetisation needs to be viewed not just as a funding mechanism, but as an overall paradigm shift in infrastructure operations, augmentation and maintenance considering the private sector’s resource efficiencies and its ability to dynamically adapt to the evolving global and economic reality.
 Such new models will enable not just financial and strategic investors but also common people to participate in this asset class thereby opening new avenues for investment.
 Hence, the NMP document is a critical step towards making India’s Infrastructure truly world class. Challenges to NMP: 1. Lack of identifiable revenue streams in various assets. 2. Level of capacity utilisation in gas and petroleum pipeline networks. 3. Dispute resolution mechanism. 4. Regulated tariffs in power sector assets. 5. Low interest among investors in national highways below four lanes. 6. The lack of independent sectoral regulators.

About InvIT model: It is a Collective Investment Scheme similar to a mutual fund, which enables direct investment of money from individual and institutional investors in infrastructure projects to earn a small portion of the income as return. The InvITs are regulated by the SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.

Record sugar exports
Sugar mills have surpassed their 60-lakh tonne export target this year, making it easier for them to pay sugarcane farmers and reducing the arrears for this year to less than rupees 9,000 crores.
Key points on this:
 Government has been encouraging diversion of excess sugar towards ethanol production and for exporting purposes ·
 In the last 4 years, exports of sugar have increased by more than 10 times ·
 The growth in the export is primarily due to demand for Indian sugar in the global market and also the assistance of centre to the tune of Rupees 6,000 per tonne to facilitate exports. Despite this impressive growth, arrears are a major issue for sugarcane farmers in the country.

National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP):
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced this new national initiative on palm oil production to help increase farm incomes.
 The scheme involves investment of over Rs 11,000 crore.

Aims and Objectives of the scheme:
1. Achieve self-reliance in edible oil.
2. Harness domestic edible oil prices that are dictated by expensive palm oil imports.
3. To raise the domestic production of palm oil by three times to 11 lakh MT by 2025-26.

Key features of the scheme:
● The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
● Under the scheme, oil palm farmers will be provided financial assistance and will get remuneration under a price and viability formula.
Benefits and significance of the scheme: It is expected to incentivise production of palm oil to reduce dependence on imports and help farmers cash in on the huge market.
Need for such schemes:
 India is the largest consumer of vegetable oil in the world. Of this, palm oil imports are almost 60% of its total vegetable oil imports.
 In 2016- 2017, the total domestic consumption of palm oil by India was 9.3 million MT, with 98.97 percent of it imported from Malaysia and Indonesia. This means India was producing only 1.027 per cent of its requirement.
 Also, in India, 94.1 per cent of its palm oil is used in food products, especially for cooking purposes. This makes palm oil extremely critical to India’s edible oils economy.

“Gati Shakti”
“Gati Shakti” infrastructure plan has been announced by PM on Independence Day.
Key Highlights of the scheme:
 Gati Shakti will be a National Infrastructure Master Plan for our country which will lay the foundation of holistic Infrastructure.
 This scheme of more than 100 lakh crores rupees will result in new employment opportunities for lakhs of youth.
 The plan will help raise the global profile of local manufacturers and help them compete with their counterparts worldwide.
 It also raises possibilities of new future economic zones.

India’s 5-point agenda to enhance maritime cooperation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently presided over a UN Security Council (UNSC) Open Debate on the topic- Enhancing Maritime Security. The UN Security Council then adopted India’s presidential statement on maritime security.

Five-point agenda laid down by PM to increase maritime cooperation:
1. Removal of barriers to legitimate maritime trade.
2. Resolution of maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law.
3. Fight threats from natural disasters, non-state actors.
4. Conservation of marine resources.
5. Promoting responsible maritime connectivity.
Efforts by India to enhance maritime cooperation:
1. ‘SAGAR’ Security and Growth for All in the Region.
2. Indian Navy has been patrolling to counter piracy in the Indian Ocean since 2008.
3. White Shipping Information Fusion Centre.
4. Support for hydrographic surveying and training of maritime security personnel to several countries.
5. India’s ‘Deep Ocean Mission’.

Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP):
Maldives government has officially signed an agreement with Mumbai-based company AFCONS, for the construction of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).
The seeds of the project were planted during India’s External Affairs Minister’s visit to Malé in September 2019.
About the project:
 This infrastructure project is the largest ever by India in the Maldives.
 It involves the construction of a 6.74-kmlong bridge and causeway link that will connect the Maldives capital Malé with the neighbouring islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
 This project was funded by India in a grant of $100 million, with a line of credit of $400 million.
The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.
Significance of the project:
 The GMCP is not only the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives but also the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.
 It facilitates inter-island connectivity in the country.
 Also, the GMCP is concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of the Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives.

The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations:
 Navies of the four member nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad — India, the United States, Japan, and Australia —participated in the 25th edition of the Malabar Exercise, which was held off the coast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
 Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015
About Quad grouping:
● The quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
● All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
● The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.
● It then met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
● The intention was to enhance maritime cooperation between the four nations.
Significance of the grouping:
● Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
● Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
● It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.
● In March 2020, the Quad members held a meeting with representatives from New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam to discuss their respective approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instigated by the US, this new grouping of key Indo-Pacific states was called “Quad Plus”.

UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)
Overcoming resistance from China, an unprecedented India-led UN Security Council session recently highlighted the primacy of the UNCLOS. A concept note incorporating the framework was also circulated in this regard.
 Adopted and signed in 1982.
 It became effective in the year 1994. It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April, 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.
 The Convention has become the legal framework for marine and maritime activities.
 Also known as Law of the Sea, it divides marine areas into five main zones namely- Internal Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the High Seas.
 UNCLOS is the only international convention which stipulates a framework for state jurisdiction in maritime spaces. It provides a different legal status to different maritime zones. The Convention has created three new institutions on the international scene: 1. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. 2. The International Seabed Authority. 3. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Implications and significance of the move:
1. As per the UNSC Presidential statement, “UNCLOS is the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea.”
2. The framework highlights the importance of enhancing international and regional cooperation to counter threats to maritime safety and security. It also calls for efforts by regional and sub-regional organizations and individual countries in this regard.
3. Also, this was the first ever standalone discussion on “Maritime Security” in the UN Security Council (UNSC).
China’s response:
 China submitted diplomatically to asserting the primacy of UNCLOS under severe international pressure.
 China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea, island building and bullying of countries by its fishing militia have been a source of international concern.
 Even though the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under UNCLOS ruled in 2016 that China’s activities in the South China Sea are illegal, Beijing has continued undeterred, leading to growing tensions.

International Criminal Court:
 Sudan has decided to hand long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court along with other officials wanted over the Darfur conflict.
 Mr. Bashir has been wanted by the ICC for more than a decade over charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sudanese region.
About Darfur conflict:
● The Darfur war broke out in 2003 when non-Arab rebels took up arms complaining of systematic discrimination by Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.
● The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the Darfur conflict.
About ICC:
● The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
● It is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. ● Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.
Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar has announced the rollout of a technological platform in partnership with the UN — ‘UNITE Aware’ — to help enhance the safety of UN peacekeepers. The platform has been used in four UN missions.
This was announced during the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate on technology and peacekeeping.
UNITE AWARE is a mobile tech platform developed by India to provide terrain-related information to the UN peacekeepers so as to ensure their safety. It is being developed in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support. India has spent 1.64 million USD for this project

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Context: World leaders are planning to meet to discuss the renewal of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which expires on September 17.
● UNAMA was established on 28 March 2002 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401.
● It was basically established to assist the state and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development.
● Its original mandate was to support the implementation of the Bonn Agreement (December 2001).
● Reviewed annually, this mandate has been altered over time to reflect the needs of the country.
● UNAMA is an integrated mission. This means that the Special Political Mission, all UN agencies, funds and programmes, work in a multidimensional and integrated manner to better assist Afghanistan according to nationally defined priorities.
The term ‘Special Political Mission’ encompasses entities that are not managed or directed by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) such as the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

South Africa grants patent to an artificial intelligence
Recently, South Africa, first time in the world, has granted a patent to an ‘artificial intelligence system’ relating to a “food container based on fractal geometry” innovation.
The innovation involves interlocking food containers that are easy for robots to grasp and stack.
The patent has been given to an artificial intelligence (AI) system (called DABUS); not a human being.
About DABUS:
 DABUS stands for “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified sentience”.
 It is an AI system created by Stephen Thaler, a pioneer in the field of AI and programming. The system simulates human brainstorming and creates new inventions.
 DABUS is a particular type of AI, often referred to as “creativity machines” because they are capable of independent and complex functioning.

 Creativity machines can process and critically analyze data, learning from it. This process is known as machine learning.
 Once the machine learning phase has occurred, the machine is able to “autonomously” create without human intervention.
Historic’ Nuclear Fusion
Physicists in California, using lasers the size of three football fields, have generated a huge amount of energy from fusion. This offers hope for the development of a new clean energy source.
 Experts focused their giant array of almost 200 laser beams onto a tiny spot to create a mega blast of energy – eight times more than they had ever done in the past.
 Although the energy only lasted for a very short time – just 100 trillionths of a second – the scientists were able to create more energy than they are using.
 In this experiment, scientists used two isotopes of hydrogen, giving rise to helium.

Hydrogen Fuel
Under ‘Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’ by 2030, Indian Railways are set to run trains on hydrogen fuel-based technology. For this, it is considering retrofitting of existing trains.
About HF:
 Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.
 At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas. Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen.
 It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines.
 It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
Potential of clean hydrogen industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
1. The only by-product or emission that results from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water — making the fuel 100 per cent clean.
2. Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency.
3. In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline.
4. Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines.
5. The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.

Food fortification
Experts have warned of the adverse impacts on health and livelihoods because of Food Fortification.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food fortification is defined as the practice of deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
 Centre has plans to mandatorily fortify rice and edible oils with vitamins and minerals. But experts say adding a few synthetic micronutrients could harm the health of consumers.
 Instead, dietary diversity and higher protein consumption can solve the undernutrition problem in India.
 15 States have been identified for implementing Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on Fortification of Rice & its distribution through Public Distribution System.
 The Pilot Scheme has been approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020

Issues associated with fortification:
1. Evidence supporting fortification is inconclusive and certainly not adequate before major national policies are rolled out.
2. Many of the studies which FSSAI relies upon to promote fortification were sponsored by food companies which would benefit from it, leading to conflicts of interest.
3. Mandatory fortification would also harm the vast informal economy of Indian farmers and food processors, including local oil and rice mills, and instead benefit a small group of multinational corporations.
4. Also, a major problem with chemical fortification of foods is that nutrients don’t work in isolation but need each other for optimal absorption.

Rice fortification plan to tackle malnutrition:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the fortification of rice distributed under various government schemes, including the Public Distribution System (PDS) and mid-day meals in schools, by 2024.
Significance of the announcement:
 The announcement is significant as the country has high levels of malnutrition among women and children.
 According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anemic and every third child is stunted.
 India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
 Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children poses major obstacles in their development.
The government distributes over 300 lakh tonnes of rice under various schemes covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013. For 2021-22, the Centre has allocated 328 lakh tonnes of rice under NFSA for schemes such as the Targeted PDS, MDM and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

Fortified rice:
● According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets.
● According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).
● In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc (10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.

Genetically modified (GM) soybean
The Union government has decided to allow the import of crushed genetically modified (GM) soybean, which is a major ingredient of poultry feed.
India allows the import of GM soybean and canola oil. Import of GM soya bean seeds was so far not approved in India.
About GM crop:
A GM or transgenic crop is a plant that has a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. GM crop can contain a gene(s) that has been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through pollination
Approval Process for GM crops in India:
● The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
● Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs. 1 lakh under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
● Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authorised body to regulate the imported crops in India.

World’s second-largest refurbished gene bank
The world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank was inaugurated recently at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa, New Delhi.
 Researchers or farmers can withdraw samples from these “gene” banks to help rebuild populations of rare plant varieties and animal breeds or to help increase genetic diversity within species.
 Gene banks also preserve cells or organisms that host unusual gene variants — genes with special traits. Those genes might later prove useful when some disease epidemic strikes, when the climate changes or when other factors threaten the survival of plants or animals.
 Farmers could use the banked deposits — stored cells or tissues — to restore genetic diversity or to introduce traits from other breeds or varieties.

About the National Gene Bank:
 Established in 1996 to preserve the seeds of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations. It has the capacity to preserve about one million germplasm in the form of seeds.
 It stores different crop groups such as cereals, millets, medicinal and aromatic plants and narcotics, etc.
 Presently, the National Gene Bank has been protecting 4.52 lakh accessions, of which 2.7 lakh are the Indian germplasm while the rest have been imported from other countries.

IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report:
IPCC released its Sixth Assessment Report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science”
About the report:
 The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the sixth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.
 This report evaluates the physical science of climate change – looking at the past, present, and future climate.
 It reveals how human-caused emissions are altering our planet and what that means for our collective future.
Highlights of the report:
● Weather and climate events – such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall, fire conditions, and droughts – are becoming more severe and frequent because of climate change.
● The report finds we are already edging closer to a 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer world, and every day emissions rise the prospects for averting the worst impacts of climate change become dimmer. ● Carbon dioxide has been and will continue to be the dominant cause of global warming under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
● It says, if greenhouse gas emissions are halved by 2030 and net zero by 2050, global warming can be stopped.
● Also, IPCC report vindicates India’s position that historical cumulative emissions are the source of the climate crisis that the World faces today.

The report highlights that our climate is rapidly changing due to human influence and is already altering our planet in drastic ways –
 Arctic Sea ice is at its lowest level in more than 150 years;
 Sea levels are rising faster than at any time in at least the last 3,000 years; and
 Glaciers are declining at a rate unprecedented in at least 2,000 years.

Ramsar recognition
Four more Indian sites have been recognised as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention taking the number of such sites in the country to 46.
The new sites include:
1. Sultanpur National Park, Haryana: More than 10 globally threatened, including the critically endangered sociable lapwing, and the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Black-bellied Tern birds are found here.
2. Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, Haryana: It is a human-made freshwater wetland. It is also the largest in Haryana.
3. Thol, Gujarat: It is a Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here. It supports more than 30 threatened waterbird species, such as the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture and Sociable Lapwing, and the vulnerable Sarus Crane, Common Pochard and Lesser White-fronted Goose.
4. Wadhwana, Gujarat: It is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway. Pallas’s fishEagle, the vulnerable Common Pochard, and the near-threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Grey-headed Fisheagle and Ferruginous Duck are some birds found here.
Ramsar Convention:
● The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement promoting the conservation of wetlands.
● The Convention was adopted at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Almost 90% of the UN member states are part of the Convention.
Montreux Record:
Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List. The Montreux Record was established by Recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990).
● Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.
Currently, two wetlands of India are in Montreux record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur). Chilka lake (Odisha)was placed in the record but was later removed from it.

Kigali Amendment to the 1989 Montreal Protocol:
India has decided to ratify Kigali Amendment, a key amendment to the Montreal Protocol. About Kigali Amendment:
● Negotiated in the Rwandan capital in October 2016.
● The amendment has already come into force in January 2019.
● It enables the gradual phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a family of chemicals used extensively in the air-conditioning, refrigeration and furnishing foam industry.

Goals under Kigali Amendment:
 Before the middle of this century, current HFC use has to be curtailed by at least 85 per cent. Countries have different timelines to do this.
 India has to achieve this target by 2047 while the developed countries have to do it by 2036. China and some other countries have a target of 2045.
 While the reductions for the rich countries have to begin immediately, India, and some other countries, have to begin cutting their HFC use only from 2031.

‘SUJALAM’ Campaign:
The Ministry of Jal Shakti has begun (From 25th August) ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
About the campaign:
● The objective is to create more and more ODF Plus villages by undertaking waste water management at village level.
● This is done particularly through creation of 1 million Soak-pits and also other grey water management activities.
The key activities that will be organised in the villages under this campaign include:
1. Organizing Community consultations, Khuli Baithaks and Gram Sabha meetings to analyze the current situation.
2. Pass resolution to maintain ODF sustainability and achieve needed number of soak pits to manage the grey water.
3. Develop a 100 days’ plan to undertake sustainability and soak pit construction related activities.
4. Construct requisite number of soak pits.
5. Retrofit toilets where needed through IEC and community mobilization.
6. Ensure all newly emerging Households in the village have access to toilets.

The use of leaded petrol has been eradicated from the globe as per the observation made by UNEP
More on this
 Achieving of this milestone will prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths and save world economies over $2.4 trillion annually
 Algeria — the last country to use the fuel — exhausted its supplies last month.
 India banned leaded petrol in March 2000
Harmful effects of leaded petrol:
● Lead exposure can have serious consequences for the health of children. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning may be left with mental retardation and behavioral disorders.
● Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.
● The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated that in 2017, lead exposure accounted for 1.06 million deaths and 24.4 million years of healthy life lost (disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)) worldwide due to long-term effects on health.
● Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.

To solve the Assam- Mizoram border dispute and to arrive at a permanent solution, the Centre has asked the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC) to map and demarcate the State boundaries using satellite imaging.
About NESAC:
● Established in 2000, it is a joint initiative of the Department of Space (DoS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC).
● It is located in Shillong.
● It helps in augmenting the developmental process in the region by providing advanced space technology support.

Karnataka State Mental Health Authority:
Context: Formation of Karnataka State Mental Health Authority in process.
About Mental Health:
According to WHO, Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Notable facts on mental health in India:
As per the WHO data (2020):
1. India accounts for 36.6 percent of suicides globally.
2. About 7.5 per cent Indians suffer from some mental disorder and by the end 2020 it will shoot up to roughly 20 percent.
3. According to the numbers, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders.
4. The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India in terms of DALYs (Disability adjusted life year) increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.
5. But, per 100,000 population there are psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07), while the desirable number is anything above 3 psychiatrists and psychologists per 100,000 population.

Mental Healthcare Act, 2017:
 Formation of AUTHORITY- the Central Mental Health Authority and the State Mental Health Authority.
 Formation of BOARD- Mental Health Review Board constituted by the State Authority.
 Decriminalization of Suicide- A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code.
 Prohibiting electro-convulsive therapy- Electro-convulsive therapy is allowed only with the use of muscle relaxants and anesthesia. The therapy is prohibited for minors.
 Advance Directive- The Act empowers a person with mental illness to make an advance directive that states how he/she wants to be treated for the illness.
 Insurance: The act mandates that every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness.

Rights of persons with mental illness:
1. Every person shall have the right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government.
2. Protection from inhuman and degraded treatment.
3. Right to Confidentiality in respect of his mental health.

Havana Syndrome’
 In late 2016, US diplomats and other employees stationed in Havana reported feeling ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes.
 The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss, which have since come to be known as “Havana Syndrome”.
 The immediate symptoms that patients reported including sensations of pain and buzzing sound apparently emanated from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room.
 Directed pulsed RF energy appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered.

Electronic visa (e-visa)
India has decided to “invalidate” or cancel all visas issued to Afghan nationals, including about 2,000 issued in the last few months, as the Taliban began to make advances across the country. Now, all Afghans must enter India now only on special e-visas applied online.
About e-visa:
 The e-visa system is an innovation introduced by the government in 2014. The facility was expanded in 20172018.
 It has its roots in the 2010 Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) scheme for Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.
 The government merged the TVOA with Electronic Travel Authorisation, thereby creating the e-visa. The Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry that issues visas to foreigners
 An e-visa also called Electronic Visa is provided in five categories—tourist, business, conference, medical, and medical attendant.
 The facility is not available for the citizens of Pakistan and they are expected to apply for regular visas from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
 E-visas are not valid for foreign diplomats which are dealt separately

Drug trafficking in India
The anti-drug law enforcement agencies are suspecting a steep surge in cross-border trafficking of heroin and crystal methamphetamine with the rapid Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:
1. Afghanistan reported a 37% increase in the extent of land used for illicit cultivation of opium poppy during 2020 compared with the previous year.
2. The country accounted for 85% of the global opium production last year.
3. Despite the improved capabilities of the Afghan specialized units over the years, drug seizures and arrests had minimal impact on the opium-poppy cultivation.
4. Afghanistan is also turning out to be a major source for methamphetamine.

1. Around 275 million people used drugs globally in the last year. Over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.
2. Rise in the use of cannabis during the pandemic has been reported by most countries.
3. Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs has also been observed in the same period.
4. The latest global estimates say, about 5.5 per cent of the population between 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once in the past year.
5. Over 11 million people globally are estimated to inject drugs – half of them have Hepatitis C.
6. Opioids continue to account for the largest burden of disease-linked to drug abuse.

India’s Initiatives:
1.The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’ or a ‘Drugs-Free India Campaign’ was flagged off on 15th August 2020 across 272 districts of the country found to be most vulnerable based on the data available from various sources.
2. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has begun implementation of a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
3. The government has constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in November, 2016.

4. The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.

Minervarya Pentali:
● The newly discovered species is endemic to the southern Western Ghats (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
● This species is also among the smallest known Minervaryan frogs.
● The species is named after Prof. Deepak Pental in appreciation of his tremendous support and encouragement for setting up of Systematics Lab at University of Delhi.
Exercise Talisman Sabre
 Australia is keen on India joining its biggest war games ‘Exercise Talisman Sabre’ in 2023. A formal invitation in this regard will shortly made.
 Talisman Sabre 2021, which just concluded, was the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the U.S. military and saw the participation of approximately 17,000 military personnel from seven nations on land, air and sea.
 The other countries include Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and U.K.

Agalega island:
● It is an island in Mauritius.
● It is located about 1,000 km north of the archipelago’s main island.
● It was in news because some reports said Mauritius has allowed India to build a military base on this island.
● However, Mauritius has now clarified that no such agreement exists with India.

Island of Evia:
● Also called Euboea, it is the second-largest Greek island in area.
● It is separated from Boeotia in mainland Greece by the narrow Euripus Strait.
● It was recently in news because of raging wildfires.

Pensilungpa Glacier:
● The Pensilungpa Glacier is located in Zanskar, Ladakh.
● It is retreating due to an increase in the temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters. ● The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the union territory of Ladakh that separates Zanskar from Ladakh.
● Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya.
● Marbal Pass and many other passes which connect Ladakh with Kashmir are in this area.
● 13000 feet high Zojila Pass is in the extreme northwest of Zanskar range.

Three new species of wild balsam identified Kerala:
● The species belong to the genus Impatiens (family Balsaminaceae).
● Plants of this genus are popular as ‘Kashithumba’ in Malayalam.
● They were spotted in the Western Ghats region of southern Kerala and the Idukki district.
● Of the three species, two have been named after Communist veteran and former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and the former Health Minister, K.K. Shailaja.

Sainik Schools is now open for girls
● The announcement was made by prime minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.
● Sainik Schools are the brainchild of VK Krishna Menon, who was the Union defence minister from April 1957 to October 1962. Menon conceived this idea in 1961.
● These schools are run by the Sainik Schools Society under the Union ministry of defence (MoD).

● The ‘SonChiraiya’ brand and logo was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for marketing urban Self-Help Group (SHG) products.
● This initiative will prove as a step in the right direction towards increased visibility and global access for the products made by urban SHG women.

RBI unveils financial inclusion index:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the formation of a composite Financial Inclusion Index (FIIndex) to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.
The FI-Index for the period ended March 2021 stood at 53.9 compared with 43.4 for the period ended March 2017.
1.The annual FI-Index will be published July every year.
2. The index incorporates details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators.
3. The index captures information on various aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 and 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
4. The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters, including access, usage and quality with each of these consisting of various dimensions computed on the basis of on several indicators.
5. It has been constructed without any ‘base year

Purified drinking water supply via tankers taxable:
 Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has ruled that supply of drinking water to the public through mobile tankers or dispensers by a charitable organisation is taxable at 18% under the GST. About
 Advance Ruling and AAR: Advance ruling means the determination of a question of law or fact specified in the application in relation to tax liability of an applicant arising out of transactions which have been undertaken or proposed to be undertaken.
 Composition: The Authority for Advance Rulings consists of a chairman who is a retired Judge of the Supreme court and two members of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India, one each from the Indian Revenue Service and the Indian Legal Service.

 Hazara is an ethnic group from Afghanistan.
 They are believed to be descendants of the founder of the Mongol empire, Genghis Khan, and his army that overran the entire region during the 13th century.
 Their distinct Asiatic features and use of a Persian dialect called Hazaragi also sets them apart from the rest of the country.

India’s largest floating solar project:
 India’s largest floating solar photo voltaic (PV) project of 25 mega watt (MW) has been commissioned on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
 This is also the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilisation Scheme, notified by the Government of India in 2018.
 Once operational it is expected to minimize 46,000 tons of CO2 annually. It is also believed to conserve 1,364 million liters of water per annum.

● It is a Geospatial Planning Portal for facilitating Gram Panchayat level planning of MGNREGA. It is a new portal under ‘Bhuvan’.
● Launched by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
● The platform will serve as a repository of assets (Geotags) created under various national rural development programmes i.e., MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Per Drop More Crop and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, etc.
Kilauea volcano:
 Kilauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands.
 Historically, it is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.
 Scientists have warned that the mountain could once again disgorge lava.
Hurricane Ida
Context: Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana.
 The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June to November and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30.
 Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed.
 Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are called ‘major hurricanes’ because of their potential to cause devastating damage to life and property.

September Current Affairs
Consent of Attorney General (AG) on Contempt Proceedings
Context: AGI has granted his consent to a lawyer for initiating contempt proceedings against author of a YouTube video.
• Consent has been given under Section 15 of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
o Under Rule 3(c) of Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court,
About Contempt of Courts:
• Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines civil and criminal contempt. It lays down the following:
o Powers and procedures by which courts can penalize contempt.
o Penalties that can be given for offence of contempt.
• It is offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers.Usually,in form of behavior that opposes or defies authority, justice and dignity of court.

Consent of AG to initiate contempt proceedings:
• AG’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that
AG is as an officer of court.
o Judicial time is squandered if frivolous petitions are made.
• AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.
• When court itself initiates a contempt of court case, AG’s consent is not required.
• If AG denies consent, the matter all but ends.
o Complainant can, however, separately bring the issue to notice of court and urge court
to take Suo motu cognizance.
• Article 129: SC to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of motion brought before it by AG or with consent of AG.

Parliamentary Privileges
Context: The Rajya Sabha Chairman said that disrupting parliamentary proceedings amounts to contempt of House and it cannot be claimed as a privilege.
Parliamentary Privileges:
Rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament on individual and collective basis.
And to enable them in effectively discharge their functions.
Article 105: MPs’ privileges:
o Freedom of speech in Parliament.
o Right of publication of its proceedings.

Right to Get Aid from Govt: Not Fundamental Right
About the case:
• Judgment came on an appeal filed by UP government challenging the 2018 Allahabad High Court verdict. It holds regulation framed under Intermediate Education Act, 1921 is unconstitutional.
• The apex court set aside HC verdict.
Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions
• Article 30(1): Recognizes linguistic and religious minorities.
• Article 30:
o recognizes right of religious and linguistic minorities.
o Allows to establish and administer educational institutions.
o Recognizing role educational institutions play in preserving distinct culture.
Special rights enjoyed by religious minority institutions include:
o Right to education as a Fundamental Right.
o In case property is taken over by state, due compensation to be provided to establish
institutions elsewhere
o Not considered for reservation.
o Right to Education Act.
o Up to 25% of enrolment reserved for economically backward section of society.

Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021
Important Provisions:
• Slaughter of cow, calf and heifer is prohibited.
• Transportation of cattle from or through Assam is prohibited.
• Sale of beef /beef products is prohibited in the following places:
o Predominantly areas of Hindu, Jains, Sikhs, other non-beef eating communities.
o Within 5-km radius of any temple, Satra etc.
• Need for this law:
Rise of illegal cattle smuggling along India-Bangladesh border.
Veterinary Officer, Sub Inspector or above or any authorized person is empowered to
search, inspect etc.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019
• It amends Citizenship Act, 1955.
• It provides ways in which citizenship may be acquired.
• It provides citizenship: By birth, descent, registration, naturalization, by incorporation of
• About CAA: It is to grant Indian citizenship to minorities.
o Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
who came to India by December 31, 2014.
• Exceptions:
o Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya.

Jharkhand State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2021
• It provides 75% reservation for locals in private sector jobs.
Jharkhand will become the 3rd State, after Andhra Pradesh and Haryana to do so.
• Concerns and issues: Article 16 is violated
In this context, read about the art 16 of the constitution.

Bill to scrap NEET in Tamil Nadu
Context: Tamil Nadu passed a Bill to dispense with NEET.
Reasons behind the bill
• It came after AK Rajan committee recommendations.
• It allows admission to medical courses based on Class 12 marks to “ensure social justice”.
• State assembly says NEET is not a fair or equitable method of admission as it favors the rich and elite sections of society who can afford coaching.
Challenges ahead:
 Since it challenges a central law, it cannot come into force until and unless approved by the President of India.
 Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance from the Centre.
 Also, when a state law contradicts a central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.
Important article in this context:
Article 131: It provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters
between the states and the Centre.
Article 254 (2): It empowers states to pass legislations which negates Central acts in matters enumerated under Concurrent List.
A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires President assent.

Govt relief package for Telecom Sector
Union Cabinet has approved a crucial relief package for cash-strapped telecom firms.
Relief package
• It includes a 4-year moratorium on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies.
• It allows 100% FDI through automatic route.
• The wide set of measures proposed entail reforms for ailing sector by way of:
o Granting moratorium on unpaid dues.
o Redefining Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) prospectively.
o Cutting in Spectrum Usage Charges.
Significance of package:
It provided much needed relaxation to telecom companies.
These are expected to Protect and generate-
 Employment opportunities, Promote healthy competition
 Protect interests of consumers, Infuse liquidity.
 Encourage investment.
 Reduce regulatory burden on Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).

Mekedatu Project
Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA) urged Karnataka to deliver water owed to Tamil Nadu.It is based upon Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s decision of 2007, modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Tamil Nadu claimed that Karnataka had only provided 85.8 TMC water instead of 119.5 TMC water until September 26.

Mekedatu Project:
o Multipurpose (drinking and power) project.
o Building reservoir, Ramnagar, Karnataka (Cauvery Basin).

NCRB data on ‘Offences against State’
• Highest registered cases of ‘offences against State’(2020): Manipur, Assam and UP.
• However, there is decline in overall number of cases registered in 2020 as against in 2019.
• 80.6% of the cases were registered under Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act
and 14.2% under UAPA.
• Highest number of sedition cases (2020) were registered in Manipur, Assam, Karnataka, UP. Among UTs, Delhi recorded 5 sedition cases.
About ‘Offences against state’:
• It includes cases booked under:
o Sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)
o Official Secrets Act, Damage to public property
o Imputation, assertions prejudicial to national integration.

Assam, Mizoram border dispute
Assam and Mizoram have sought to ease tensions along the border.

Origin of dispute:
Mizoram claims land based on 1875 notification. It came from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873.
Assam claims land based on a 1933 notification. It demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
Possible solutions:
• Judiciary should be approached.
• CRPF forces should patrol and monitor the region.
• Judicious use of social media platform.

Bharat Net project, 2011
• Context: Implementation of Bharat Net project in Meghalaya. Government approved revised implementation strategy of Bharat Net through PPP mode.
• About:
• It launched as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). It renamed as Bharat-Net in 2015.
• Aim: To provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through optical fibre.
• Implementation: By Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
Government launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission to provide a digital health ID.
• It will come under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY.
• It comprises 6 key building blocks (Refer Image).
• Implementation: By National Health Authority
• Private stakeholders can integrate and create their own products for the market.
• Core activities and verifications will remain with government.

• Every Indian will get a Health ID card. It will store all medical details of person.
• Health ID: A randomly generated 14-digit number. It will be used for:
 Uniquely identifying persons, Authenticating them.
 Threading their health records across multiple systems and stakeholders.
• Citizens will be able to give their doctors one-time access to this data during their visits to hospitals.

Agreement on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work in the Portuguese Republic
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of an agreement on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work in the Portuguese Republic between the Government of India and Portugal.
• The present agreement would set an institutional mechanism for partnership and cooperation between India and Portugal on sending and accepting Indian workers.
Implementation Strategy:
Under this agreement, a Joint Committee will be set up to follow up the implementation of the same.
• Signing this agreement with Portugal will add a new destination for Indian migrant workers in an EU member nation, especially in the context of many Indian workers who have returned to India following the Covid-19 pandemic.
• It will provide new opportunities for skilled Indian workers and professionals.
• With the conclusion of this agreement, Portugal and India will have a formal arrangement for recruitment of Indian workers.
• Indian workers would have enhanced job opportunities to work in Portugal.
• The Government-to-Government mechanism proposed in the agreement will ensure that the movement of workers happens smoothly with the maximum support from both sides.
Historical background of India-Portugal Relations:
India’s relations with Portugal remain close and friendly.
• Relations began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949.
• Bilateral relations, however, went into decline after 1950 over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India’s west coast.
• By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations which were followed by Indian military forces liberating Goa in 1961 through Operation Vijay, ending over 450 years of Portuguese rule in India.
• In 1974, India and Portugal signed a treaty recognising India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and related matters.
• With the signing of this treaty in New Delhi on December 31, 1974, diplomatic relations were re-established and an era of friendly bilateral relations began.
Relation After 1974:
Portugal and India cooperate actively in multilateral fora including support for each other’s candidatures.
• Portugal is supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
• In October 2005, Portugal extradited Abu Salem and Monica Bedi to India facing terror charges in India.
• On October 9, 2015, Portugal became the first European and western country, and only the fourth outside the East Asia Summit, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Nalanda University in India.

13th BRICS Summit
• News context: Chairmanship: India.
• BRICS: Group of 5: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.
o South Africa joined in 2011.
o Chairmanship rotates annually.
• 4 Priority areas: Multilateral System, Counter Terrorism. Using Digital and Technological Tools for achieving SDGs. Enhancing P2P exchange.
Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)
Recently, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, along with India’s Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) between the two countries.
 India has so far abstained from committing to a net zero goal but is on a climate pathway that is compatible with keeping global temperatures to below 2 degree Celsius by the end of the century.
Key Points
o It is one of the two tracks of the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021.
• Earlier, the revamped US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership SCEP (first track) was launched.
o It will provide both countries an opportunity to renew collaborations on climate change while addressing financing aspects and deliver climate finances primarily as grants and concessional finance as envisaged under the Paris Agreement.
o It will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.
 Pillars to the CAFM:
o Climate Action Pillar:
• It would have joint proposals looking at ways in which emissions could be reduced in the next decade.
o Finance Pillar:
• Through this the US will collaborate in attracting capital and enhancing the enabling environment to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy capacity in India and demonstrate and scale innovative clean energy technologies and promote bilateral clean energy investment and trade.
o Adaptation and Resilience:
• The two countries will collaborate in building capacities to “measure and manage climate risks”.
 Opportunities for India:
o There’s never been a better time to invest in the energy transition. Renewable energy is cheaper than ever.
o In fact, it is cheaper to build a solar farm in India than anywhere else on the planet.
o Investors are now moving to clean energy all around the world and the energy transition is already rebounding after the worst of the pandemic and is now on track to smash the pre-pandemic record of 8.4 billion USD invested in one year.
o The International Energy Agency forecasts that if India seizes the clean energy opportunity, it could become the world’s largest market for batteries and solar panels.

Currently India’s installed power capacity is projected to be 476 GW by 2021-22 and is expected to rise to at least 817 GW by 2030.

News context: US President hosted 1st in-person meeting of Quad countries.
About Quad grouping
• It includes Japan, India, USA, Australia.
• They share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
China’s views on the Quad • The strategic community in China had branded it an emerging “Asian NATO”.
Challenges • There have been calls for institutionalization i.e. a formal agreement to transform the group into a formidable anti-China bloc.

AUKUS Alliance
• Context: UK, USA, Australia announces a historic security pact in Asia-Pacific.
• These nations have agreed to:
o Enhance development of joint capabilities and technology sharing.
o Foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
• Under this, Australia would build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with help USA and UK.
o This is aimed at promoting stability in Indo-Pacific region.
Rationale behind formation of this Alliance:
• Three leaders referred repeatedly to regional security concerns which they said had “grown significantly”. In recent years, China has been accused of raising tensions in disputed territories such as South China Sea.

China’s Reaction:
• China has condemned agreement as “extremely irresponsible”.
China’s concerns:
• Alliance undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies arms race.
• It shall reinvent a “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice”

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), 2001
Context: 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Meeting was chaired by H.E. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan.
• It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
• It was created in Shanghai (China).
• It was signed during St. Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
• Official Languages: Russian and Chinese.
• Note: Uzbekistan joined it in 2001, following this Shanghai 5 was renamed as SCO.
• Note: India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
• Member Countries: Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Iran (Upcoming member)
Significance of SCO for India:
• Its significance for India lies in economics and geopolitics with the Eurasian states.
• It is a potential platform to advance India’s Connect Central Asia policy.
• It provides the only multilateral platform for India to deal in close proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

SCO Peaceful Mission 2021
News context: Indian Military Contingent recently participated in 6th Edition of SCO Peaceful Mission 2021 at Orenburg, Russia.
About SCO Peaceful Mission:
• A Multilateral Exercise
• Conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy.
•Among Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states.
• Aim:
o To foster close relations between SCO member states
o To enhance abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents.
o To enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations.

G-33 (or Friends of Special Products in agriculture)
It is a coalition of developing countries formed during Cancun ministerial conference of the WTO.
Aim: To protect interest of developing countries in agricultural trade negotiations
Members: 47 (India is a member).
• The group has “defensive” concerns regarding agriculture in relation to WTO negotiations. • It seeks to limit degree of market opening required of developing countries.
• It has advocated the creation of the following:
o Special products exemption: It would allow developing countries to exempt certain products from tariff reductions.
o Special safeguard mechanism: It would permit tariff increase in response to import surges.

UN Food Systems Summit
• News context: It is taking place in New York.
o It will seek to set stage for global food systems transformation. It is to achieve SDG by 2030.
Objectives and outcomes:
 Awareness of food systems.
 Focus on entire sustainable development agenda.
o Urgency of transforming food systems.
 Align stakeholders around a common understanding and narrative.
 Form foundation for concerted action.
 Making food and food systems a more widespread issue
 Advocacy and action to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
 Recognizing need for inclusivity and innovation in food systems governance and action.
 Motivate and empower stakeholders who support food systems transformation.
 Development of improved tools, measurement, and analysis.
 Catalyse, accelerate, and enlarge bold action for transformation of food systems by all communities.

G-secs through ICSDs.
News context: RBI planning to enable international settlement of transactions in G-secs through ICSDs.
About G-secs:
• It is tradable instrument issued by Centre or State.
• Such securities are:
o Short term: (usually called treasury bills).
o Maturity: less than 1 year- issued in 3 tenors (91,182 and 364 days).
o Long term: Government bonds or dated securities with maturity of 1 year or more.
• Centre issues both and States issue only bonds or dated securities called SDLs.
• It settles trades in international securities such as Eurobonds.
Many also settle trades in various domestic securities.

Core sector logs 9.4% growth
It comprises 40.27% of weight of items in IIP.
8 core sector industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.
Index of Industrial Production (IIP):
• It measures changes in volume of production of industrial products during given period.
• It is compiled and published monthly by NSO.
• It measures growth rate of industry groups classified under:
o Broad sectors: Mining, Manufacturing, Electricity.
o Use-based sectors: Basic Goods, Capital Goods, Intermediate Goods.

Account Aggregator (AA) network

Recently, eight major banks have joined the Account Aggregator (AA) network that will enable customers to easily access and share their financial data.

o An AA is a framework that simply facilitates sharing of financial information in a real-time and data-blind manner (Data flow through AA are encrypted) between regulated entities (Banks and NBFCs).
o The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) in 2016 approved AA as a new class of NBFC (Non Banking Financial Companies), whose primary responsibility is to facilitate the transfer of user’s financial data with their explicit consent.
o AAs enable flow of data between Financial Information Providers (FIPs) and Financial Information Users (FIUs).
o The architecture of AA is based on the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) framework.
o DEPA is an architecture that lets users securely access their data and share the same with third parties.
For Consumers:
The AA framework allows customers to avail various financial services from a host of providers on a single portal based on a consent method, under which the consumers can choose what financial data to share and with which entity.
It permits users to control who gets access to their data, track and log its movement and reduce the potential risk of leakage in transit.
For Banks:
As an addition to India’s digital infrastructure, it will allow banks to access consented data flows and verified data. This will help banks reduce transaction costs, which will enable them to offer lower ticket size loans and more tailored products and services to their customers.
Reduce Frauds:
AA reduces the fraud associated with physical data by introducing secure digital signatures and end-to-end encryption for data sharing.

PLI Scheme for Textiles
• It is to give incentives on incremental sales.
• It is to boost domestic manufacturing (Aatmanirbhar bharat).
• To cut down import bills.
• To encourage local companies to expand manufacturing units.
• To approved for automobiles, chemical cells, food processing etc.
• Eligible producers:
o Any person or company willing to invest minimum Rs 300 crore.
o Investors willing to spend minimum Rs 100 crore.

Privatisation of Railways
News context: Employees of the N-W Railway (NWR) protested against privatization of railways.
Aim of Rail Privatisation
• To bring modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance
. • To reduced transit time.
• To boost job creation.
• To provide enhanced safety.
• To provide world-class travel experience to passengers.
• To reduce demand-supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.
Recent decision of Railways Ministry: • It announced that 151 trains in 109 pairs of routes will be operated by private sectors. It comprises just 5% of Express and Mail services operated by Indian Railways. Private trains will start operating tentatively in 2023 and in 12 clusters.

T+1 settlement system
SEBI has offered T+1 settlement system for stock Market exchanges.
• If stock exchange agrees to proposal, investors will get money for shares they sold or bought in their accounts faster, and in a safer and risk-free environment.
About T+1, T+2, T+3 cycles:
• T+1, T+2, T+3 are abbreviations that refer to settlement date of security transactions.
• “T” stands for transaction date, which is the day, the transaction takes place.
• The numbers 1, 2, or 3 denote how many days after transaction date the settlement or transfer of money and security ownership takes place.
• Stocks and mutual funds are usually T+1.
o Bonds and money market funds vary among T+1, T+2, and T+3.

National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA)
It was constituted under section 132 (1) of Companies Act, 2013.
• Aims: To enforce auditing standards and ensuring quality of audits and enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.
• Chairperson (Appointed by Government).
• Members: Maximum 15.
Functions and Duties:
• Recommending accounting and auditing policies and standards to be adopted by companies for approval by Government.
• Monitor and enforce compliance with accounting standards and auditing standards
• It can probe:
o Listed companies
o Unlisted public companies (having paid-up capital of no less than Rs 500 crores or annual turnover of no less than Rs 1,000 cr)
• It can investigate professional misconduct committed by members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for prescribed class of body corporate or persons.

• It is a type of cryptocurrency that is typically pegged to an existing government-backed currency.
• Majority of stablecoins that currently exist use the dollar as their benchmark asset.
• But many are also pegged to other fiat currencies issued by governments like the euro and yen. Hence, the price of stablecoins fluctuates very little, unlike other cryptocurrencies.
• These are useful because they allow people to transact more seamlessly in cryptocurrencies that function as investments, such as Bitcoin.
• They form a bridge between old-world money and new-world crypto.
• Note: 1st Stablecoin, Tether was created in 2014.

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
It is simply digital form of a country’s fiat currency.
o CBDC is a digital form of Fiat Currency which can be transacted using wallets backed by blockchain and is regulated by the central bank. It is a legal tender issued by a central bank in a digital form.
• Fiat money is a government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity such as gold. Fiat money gives central banks greater control over the economy because they can control how much money is printed.
o Though the concept of CBDCs was directly inspired by bitcoin, it is different from decentralised virtual currencies and crypto assets, which are not issued by the state and lack the ‘legal tender’ status.
Addressing the Malpractices:
The need for a sovereign digital currency arises from the anarchic design of existing cryptocurrencies, wherein their creation, as well as maintenance, are in the hands of the public.
By regulating digital currency, the central bank can put a check on their malpractices.
Addressing Volatility:
As the cryptocurrencies are not pegged to any asset or currency, its value is solely determined by speculation (demand and supply).
Due to this, there has been huge volatility in the value of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Digital Currency Proxy War:
India runs the risk of being caught up in the whirlwind of a proxy digital currency war as the US and China battle it out to gain supremacy across other markets by introducing new-age financial products.
Today, a sovereign Digital Rupee isn’t just a matter of financial innovation but a need to push back against the inevitable proxy war which threatens our national and financial security.
Reducing Dependency on Dollar:
Digital Rupee provides an opportunity for India to establish the dominance of Digital Rupee as a superior currency for trade with its strategic partners, thereby reducing dependency on the dollar.
Advent of Private Currency:
If these private currencies gain recognition, national currencies with limited convertibility are likely to come under some kind of threat.

o It would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
o India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC to the extent large cash usage can be replaced by (CBDC), the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
o It will also minimize the damage to the public from the usage of private virtual currencies.
o It will enable the user to conduct both domestic and cross border transactions which do not require a third party or a bank.
o It has the potential to provide significant benefits, such as reduced dependency on cash, higher seigniorage due to lower transaction costs, and reduced settlement risk.
o It would also possibly lead to a more robust, efficient, trusted, regulated and legal tender-based payments option.

Way Forward
 The creation of a Digital Rupee will provide an opportunity for India to empower its citizens and enable them to use it freely in our ever-expanding digital economy and break free from an outdated banking system.
 Looking into its impact on macroeconomy and liquidity, banking systems and money markets, it is imperative of policymakers to thoroughly consider the prospects of Digital Rupee in India.

Assam wetland at risk
News context: Degradation of Assam’s Deepor Beel due to anthropogenic activities. Deepor Beel
• It is state’s only Ramsar site besides being Important Bird Area. It is part of Rani Reserve forest.
• It is one of largest and permanent freshwater lake.
• It is important place for migratory species.
• It is categorised as wetland type under Burma monsoon forest biogeographic region.
• Human activities causing huge destruction.
o Like dumping of garbage, construction of roads and railways, construction of warehouses, tourism activities. It led to death of elephants in railway accidents.Also causing reduction in number of fishes.

Winged visitors arrive in Pulicat
Increase in numbers of migratory birds in Pulicat Lake.
This positive development is due to increase in storage levels in the reservoir in adjoining areas (Nelapattu bird sanctuary).

About Pulicat Lake:
• It is 2nd largest brackish water lake.
• It is located on border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
• Birds like grey pelicans, painted storks, visit site annually.
• The barrier island of Sriharikota separates lake from the Bay of Bengal.
• 2 rivers which feed lagoon are: o Arani (southern tip) o Kalangi (northwest) o Buckingham Canal, a navigation channel (western side)
Nelapattu bird sanctuary:
• One of biggest habitats for pelicans and other birds.
Located near Pulicat Lake.
• Flamingo Festival is held every year to promote tourism in Pulicat and Nelapattu.

A number of animals and plants have been listed as ‘possibly extinct’ in the latest edition of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species.
• The term is taken as a marker to estimate after when the presence / population of the species has declined. o Species marked thus have been last assessed in the 1900s post which their presence and updates to their population has not been found.
• Those marked ‘Extinct Post-1500’ include- Green peafowl, Cheetah, Hairy-nosed Otter, Banteng, a bovid found today in southeast Asia, the Sumatran and Javan rhino and the Osteobrama belangeri, a fish species endemic to Manipur.
Indian Species that are possibly extinct:
o Tentacled butterfly ray; Dwarf sawfish; Fire coral; Coconut crab (the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world);
o Fishes: Bovany barb (native to the Cauvery river system) , Deolali minnow, the Deccan barb and the Nilgirimystus ( all 3 are found in the Deccan);
o Birds: Pink-headed duck, Siberian crane, Buffy fish-owl or Malay owl.

Other Key updates by IUCN:
• Over 900 species of animals have become extinct.
• IUCN also officially launched its “green status” — the first global standard for assessing species recovery and measuring conservation impacts.
• Species whose statuses changed:
o Komodo dragon (world’s largest living lizard, endemic to Indonesia) has been moved from vulnerable to endangered.
o Albacore Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna were moved from near threatened to least concern.
o Yeracud Day Gecko was moved from least concern to endangered.
o Satara Gecko was moved from vulnerable to critically endangered.
o Yellow Monitor was moved from least concern to endangered.

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government announced India’s first conservation reserve for Dugongs in Palk Bay.
They face threats of habitat loss, entanglement in fishing nets, hunting for meat and oil etc.


• Teeth of a species of hybodont shark of Jurassic age (approximately, between 160 and 168 million-yearsold) have been reported for the first time from Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer.
o Hybodont, an extinct group of sharks, was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic time.
• However, it started to decline in marine environments from the Middle Jurassic onwards and finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago.

Released by World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Key findings:
o There were more than 11,000 disasters attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards, accounting for two million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses. Thus, over the last 50 years, 50% of all recorded disasters, 45% of related deaths and 74% of related economic losses were due to weather, climate and water hazards.
o More than 91% of all deaths occurred in developing countries.
o The number of disasters had risen by a factor of five. But the number of deaths decreased.
There were gaps in weather observations. Only half of the 193 WMO members have Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWSs).
Note:The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030) recognizes the significant benefits of MHEWSs by incorporating them into one of its seven global targets (refer to the infographics). Sendai Framework provides Member States with concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster

Groundswell report
Recently, the World Bank’s updated Groundswell report was released.
It examined how the impacts of slow-onset climate change could lead to millions of what it describes as “climate migrants” by 2050.
Key findings of the report:
o Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of liveability in highly exposed locations.
o Hotspots of internal climate migration can emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.
o Hotspots of such migration would intensify in rural, urban and coastal systems. o Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest number of internal climate refugees by 2050.
o Immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions and support green, inclusive and resilient development could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80%.

• Launched in May 2019, it is a partnership project between Norway and International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
• Aim is to transform the shipping industry towards a lower carbon future. It is supporting developing countries in meeting their commitment towards relevant climate change and energy efficiency goals, for international shipping,
• India has been selected as the first country under this project for conduct of a pilot project related to Green Shipping.

Green Hydrogen
Context:Indian government has urged US companies to participate in bids for green hydrogen and electrolysers.
• Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen.
It has no carbon footprint.
• Significance:
 Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) targets.
 It will ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.
 It acts as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies in the future.

Shoonya Campaign
Shoonya Campaign was launched by: NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).
RMI is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1982.
Shoonya Campaign:
 It is an initiative to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and industry.
 It will promote adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in urban deliveries segment.
 It will also create consumer awareness about the health, environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles.

WHO Global Air Pollution Standards
WHO, in its first-ever update since 2005, has tightened global air pollution standards, recognizing the impact of air pollution on health is much more serious than earlier envisaged.
Latest Standards:
• Upper limit of annual PM2.5 as per the 2005 standards
revised to five microgram per cubic meter.
o 24-hour ceiling now dropped to 15.
• Upper limit of PM10
revised to 15 o 24-hour value has been revised from 50 to 45 microgram.

General Sherman tree
• This tree is threatened by California wildfires.
• The tree is the world’s largest in terms of volume and exists in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of national park.
• As per recent estimates, General Sherman is about 2,200 years old.

Science and Tech
Prophylactic Medicines
• It is a medication to prevent a disease from occurring. Eg: Prophylactic antibiotics may be used after a bout of rheumatic fever to prevent the subsequent development of Sydenham’s chorea.

Ayush Prophylactic Medicines:
• It is a kit of Ayurveda prophylactic medicines for Covid-19.
• It contains SanshamaniVati (Guduchi or GiloyGhanVati), Ashwagandha GhanVati.

It is SpaceX’s 1st all-civilian space mission.
• It involves circling the Earth for 3 days, then splashing in Atlantic Ocean.
• It will orbit Earth at 575km.
• Higher than International Space Station (408km) and Hubble space telescope (547km)

Findings of Chandrayaan-2 (Indian Express)
• Chandrayaan-2, India’s 2nd mission to Moon, had failed to make a soft-landing on the lunar surface.
Latest Information by Chandrayaan-2:
• Presence of water molecules on moon.
• Presence of Minor elements. It can help in understanding magmatic evolution on the Moon.
• Information about solar flares

Saline Gargle RT-PCR technology
NEERI has transferred know-how of indigenously developed Saline Gargle RTPCR technique to Ministry of MSME.
o National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) is an institute under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
About the Technology:
• It also provides instant test results and is well-suited for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements and cost-effectiveness.
• It uses a simple collection tube filled with saline solution.
• The patient has to gargle the solution and rinse it in the tube.
• An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated and then processed for RT-PCR.

CRISPR to control growth of mosquitoes
• News context: Researchers from California have developed CRISPR-based system to restrain mosquito vectors via sterilization.
Working of pgSIT or new precision-guided sterile insect technique
• pgSIT is a new scalable genetic control system that uses a CRISPR-based approach to engineer deployable mosquitoes that can suppress populations.
• It alters genes linked to male fertility, creating sterile offspring and female flight in Aedes aegypti.
 Aedes aegypti mosquito species is responsible for spreading wide-ranging diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika.
CRISPR technology (gene-editing technology)
• The technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
• The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or “edited”, is identified on the DNA strand. Then, using the Cas9 protein that location is cut off from the strand. Cas9 protein acts like a pair of scissors
• A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.

Isothermal Forging Technology
• News context: DRDO has developed Critical near Isothermal Forging Technology for aeroengines.
Isothermal Forging:
• It is a closed-die process in which the dies and the workpieces are heated to the same temperature so that forming can take place without loss of temperature in the workpiece.
• It is a preferred process for forming engineered parts, including jet-engine and other aerospace components in high-density lightweight alloys.
• Significance: It is a crucial technology for establishing self-reliance in aero-engine technology

Chang’e-5 Probe
Early-stage findings of Chang’e5 probe were recently presented by China.
Chinese spacecraft carrying rocks and soil from the moon had begun its journey back to Earth in December 2020, putting China on course to become the first country to successfully retrieve lunar samples since the 1970s.
The objective of the mission was to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.
Key Findings:
• 90% of materials collected by Chang’e-5 likely derive from landing site
• These termed as mare basalts.
• Volcanic rocks are visible to us as darker gray areas
. • 10 % of fragments have distinctly different.
• Exotic chemical compositions, and may preserve records of other parts of the lunar surface.
• Potential sources of beads of rapidly cooled glassy material. These glassy droplets now extinct volcanic vents known as ‘Rima Mairan’ and ‘Rima Sharp’.
o Located roughly 230 and 160 kilometers southeast and northeast of the Chang’e-5 landing site.
About Chang’e-5 probe:
It is an unmanned spacecraft by China. The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.
The rocket comprises four parts: an orbiter, a returner, an ascender and a lander.
The Chang’e-5 mission is expected to realize four “firsts” in China’s space history:
1. The first time for a probe to take off from the surface of the Moon.
2. The first time to automatically sample the lunar surface.
3. The first time to conduct unmanned rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit.
4. The first time to return to Earth with lunar soil samples in escape velocity.

VIPER Mission
• News context: NASA has chosen a landing site for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). It is on the western edge of Nobile crater, near the lunar south pole.
• NASA, in July 2021, announced about its launching (in 2023).
• It aims to understand possibility of human life by using locally available resources.
About the Mission:
• VIPER is a mobile robot.
• First resource mapping mission on any other celestial body.
• NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) will provide: launch vehicle, lander for this 100-day mission.
• To explore Moon’s South Pole region.
• Help in creating lunar resource maps.
• Evaluate the concentration of water.
• Potential resources on its surface.

African swine fever (ASF)
• News context: After Mizoram witnessed the ASF outbreak, cases have been reported in Tripura.
• It is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease.
• It infects domestic and wild pigs. o Typically results in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
• It was 1st detected in Africa (1920s).
• Mortality is close to 100%.
• There is no approved vaccine.
• Only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.

National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination (NAPRE)
• NAPRE by 2030 was unveiled on the occasion of World Rabies Day.
• Prepared by National Centre for Disease Control, NAPRE targets to end rabies by 2030 through One health Approach.
• Earlier, a National Rabies Control Program was launched during 12th Five-year Plan
About Rabies:
• It is a fatal but preventable viral disease.
• Spread: To people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.
• Mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, dogs. Most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.
• This virus infects the central nervous system.
• It affects only mammals.

The index was prepared by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to galvanize States to work towards ensuring safe food for citizens
The index measures the performance of States across five parameters of food safety:
o Human Resources like number of Food Safety Officers and Institutional Data (20% weightage);
o Compliance (30%);
o Food Testing- Infrastructure and Surveillance (20%);
o Training and Capacity Building of regulatory staff and laboratory personnel (10%);
o Consumer Empowerment (20%)
Initiatives of FSSAI to ensure safety of food:
o Clean street food hub programme. o Digital platform called Food Safety Compliance System (FOSCOS).
o FSS (Safe Food and Healthy Diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019 to ensure wholesome food to school children.
o Not allowing food items high in fat, salt and sugar to be sold and advertised within school premises.
o Limiting industrial TFA to not more than 3% in all fats and oils by January 2021 and not more than 2% by January 2022.
o Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, prescribing the labelling requirements of pre-packaged foods.
• Top states/UT on SFSI Index under its 3 Categories:
o Large States: Gujarat o Small States: Goa o Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir

• Report is a multi-organization compilation (World Meteorological Organization; United Nations Environment Programme etc.) of the latest climate science information and gives a unified assessment of the state of Earth system.
• Key highlights of the report:
o Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2 O) continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021.
o CO2 emissions have largely bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.
o An excess of 103 billion potential work hours were lost globally in 2019, compared to 2000 due to heat-related mortality and work impairment, caused by rising temperatures.
o Average global temperature for the past five years (2017–2021) was among the highest on record. o Global mean sea levels rose 20 cm from 1900 to 2018.

Other important news:
National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)
News Context: Education Ministry launched 6th edition of NIRF.
• It is 1st effort to rank higher education institutions (HEIs).
• It lists on 11 categories: National ranking, Universities.
• Medical, Management, Pharmacy, Law etc.
• It was made compulsory for all government-run institutions (2018).
• Assessment on 5 Parameters: o Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR) o Research and Professional Practice (RP) o Graduation Outcomes (GO) o Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) o Peer Perception.

Kushinagar Airport declared as Customs Notified Airport
• Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has declared Kushinagar Airport as a Customs notified airport.
• A customs airport is an airport notified by the appropriate customs authority of the country as an airport which shall be airports for the: o Unloading of imported goods. o Loading of export goods or any class of such goods.
• This would also facilitate international passenger movements including that of Buddhist pilgrims

27th Global Ozone Day
• News context: World Ozone Day is celebrated on 16th September each year to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol.
About Global Ozone Day:
• Montreal Protocol for phasing out of production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances came into force on this day in 1987.
• Theme of World Ozone Day 2021: “Montreal Protocol – Keeping us, our food and vaccines

Prof. S.K. Joshi Laboratory Excellence Award
• It was launched recently by the Quality Council of India.
• This is country’s first-of-its- kind Laboratory Excellence Award.
• This award will be open to all currently operational Laboratories.
• S.K. Joshi was a luminary in the field of Science and Academica.

World’s longest expressway between Delhi and Mumbai
• This 1380-km eight-lane expressway passes through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
o It will be open in 2023.
• The expressway is the first in Asia and only the second in the world to feature animal overpasses to facilitate unrestricted movement of wildlife.

Global Innovation Index – 2021
• India upgraded two spots.
• Ranked 46th.
• Released by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
• India at 81 in 2015 and 46 in 2021.

Thamirabarani (Porunai) civilization
• News context: A US-based lab has carbon-dated the remaining discovered from this ancient civilization in Tamil Nadu to at least 3,200 years.
Key Details:
• This may be oldest civilization, older than the Vaigai civilization which is believed to be 2,600 years old.
• Thamirabarani (Porunai) River: o Origination: Western Ghats (Agastyarkoodam peak of Pothigai hills).
o Falls into Gulf of Mannar.

• Having made little progress since its launch in 2017, NMCM has now been handed over to Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
o IGNCA will soon start cultural mapping in 75 villages.
• NMCM was set up to compile data of artists, art forms & geo location with inputs from Central Ministries, State Governments & art and culture bodies.
• Three important objectives of NMCM are: National Cultural Awareness Abhiyan, Nationwide Artist Talent Hunt/Scouting Programme, National Cultural Workplace.

• Judima, a home-made rice wine of Assam’s Dimasa tribe has become the first traditional brew in all of northeast to bag a geographical indication (GI) tag.
o A GI tag is awarded to products associated with a specific geographical origin.


October 2021 Current Affairs:
Loss of Citizenship in India
News context: Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has simplified the process for Indians who want torenounce their citizenship.
Key Points:
• Over 6.7 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship between 2015-19.
• Once a copy of the form had been received, the entire process for issuance of renunciation certificatewould take 60 days after verification of documents.
About ‘Loss of Citizenship’
The Citizenship Act (1955) prescribes three ways of losing citizenship whether acquired under the Act or prior to it under the Constitution.
By Renunciation:
Any citizen of India of full age and capacity can make a declaration renouncing his Indian citizenship. o Upon the registration of that declaration, that person ceases to be a citizen of India.
o However, if such a declaration is made during a war in which India is engaged, its registration shall be withheld by the Central Government.
Section 8(1): When a person renounces his Indian citizenship, every minor child of that person also loses Indian citizenship.
o However, when such a child attains the age of eighteen, he may resume Indian citizenship.
By Termination:
When an Indian citizen voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, his Indian citizenship automatically terminates.
This provision, however, does not apply during a war in which India is engaged
By Deprivation: It is a compulsory termination of Indian citizenship by the Central government, if:
o Citizen has obtained the citizenship by fraud.
o Citizen has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India.
o Citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war.
o Citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation, been imprisoned in any country for two years.
o Citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously

Pegasus panel
Recently, the Supreme Court appointed an expert technical committee overseen by former SC judge R.V. Raveendran to examine allegations that the Centre used Israeli software Pegasus to spy on citizens.
About ‘Pegasus’ controversy:
• Pegasus is a spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm. It helps spies hack into phones. o It can infect a device without the target’s engagement or knowledge.
• In July 2021, Amnesty International, along with 13 media outlets across the globe released a report on how the spyware was used to snoop hundreds of individuals, including Indians.

Right to Protest
News Context: The Supreme Court said farmers had the right to protest, but roads cannot be blocked indefinitely (impeding the right of citizens to commute without hindrance).
Background: The ruling came after a petition was filed in the SC highlighting problems caused by the protests which led to the roadblock and traffic problems.

FRs in this context:
The right to protest involves the exercise of two fundamental rights: freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution and the freedom to assemble peacefully under 19 (1) (b).
• Article 19(1)(a): The Right to free speech and expression transforms into the right to freely express an opinion on the conduct of the government.
• Article 19(1)(b): The Right to association is required to form associations for political purposes. These can be formed to collectively challenge government decisions.
Restriction on Right to Protest : Article 19(2) and 19 (3) imposes reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Right to Information
News Context: Over 2.2 lakh RTI appeals remain pending at the Central and State Information Commissions.
• More worrying is that 9 out of 29 information commissions (31%) are functioning without a chief information commissioner.
• The CIC has no chief, and only five commissioners.
• Under the law, every commission should have a chief and up to 10 commissioners.
Key Findings:
• Maharashtra had the highest number of pending appeals, with over 59,000 cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh (47,923) and the CIC (35,653).
• At the current rate of disposal, the Odisha Commission would take more than seven years to dispose of all pending complaints, while the CIC would take more than two years.
• Odisha is functioning with just four commissioners, while Rajasthan has only three.
• Jharkhand and Tripura have no commissioners at all.
The report found that the Government officials face hardly any punishment for violating the law.
• Penalties were imposed in only 2.2% of cases that were disposed of, despite previous analysis showing a rate of about 59% violations which should have triggered the process of penalty imposition.
Right to Information Act:
• RTI is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information. It replaced the former Freedom of Information Act, 2002.
• Under the provisions of RTI Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
• In case of matter involving a petitioner’s life and liberty, the information has to be provided within 48 hours.
Central Information Commission (CIC) State Information Commission(SIC)
• The CIC was established by the Central Government in 2005, under the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005). It is not a constitutional body.
• It consists of a Chief Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information Commissioners.
• They are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
• The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.
• The Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner shall hold office for such term as prescribed by the Central Government or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. • It is constituted by the State Government.
• It has one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC) to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee headed by the Chief Minister.

Personal Data Protection Bill
News Context: The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill of 2019 is likely to adopt a resolution on including non-personal data as well.
• The inclusion of provisions for non-personal data will mostly be done on the basis of the recommendations of the Ministry committee.
• Following the changes, the new Bill is likely to be called just the Data Protection Bill of 2021 instead of Personal Data Protection Bill.
The Bill governs the processing of personal data by:
1. Government
2. Companies incorporated in India
3. Foreign companies dealing with personal data of individuals in India
Personal Data:
• Personal data is data which pertains to characteristics, traits or attributes of identity, which can be used to identify an individual.
• This includes financial data, biometric data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the government, in consultation with the Authority and the concerned sectoral regulator.
Rights of the individual The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual, includes:
• Obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether their personal data has been processed.
• Seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data.
• Have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances.
• Restrict continuing disclosure of their personal data by a fiduciary, if it is no longer necessary or consent is withdrawn.

Data Protection Authority:
The Bill sets up a Data Protection Authority which may –
• Take steps to protect interests of individuals
• Prevent misuse of personal data
• Ensure compliance with the Bill

Sharing of non-personal data with government:
• The central government may direct data fiduciaries to provide it with any:
• Non-personal data
• Anonymised personal data (where it is not possible to identify data principal) for better targeting of services

Section 125 CrPC
News Context: In a matrimonial dispute, a father cannot be absolved of all the responsibilities to meet the education expenses of his son just because he may have attained the age of majority
Comments from Delhi High Court:
• The court cannot shut its eyes to the reality that simply attaining the age of a major (18+) does not translate into an understanding that the major son is earning sufficiently.
• It places the entire burden on the mother to bear the expenses of education without any contribution from the father.
• The purpose of Section 125 CrPC is to ensure that the wife and the children of the husband are not left in a state of destitution after the divorce.
• The husband must carry the financial burden of making certain that his children are capable of attaining a position in society wherein they can sufficiently maintain themselves.
• The mother cannot be burdened with the entire expenditure on the education of her son just because he has completed 18 years of age.
• The court further said that a father is bound to compensate the wife who, after spending on children, may “hardly be left with anything to maintain herself”.

India’s WTO proposal
News context: Recently, India submitted a proposal at WTO regarding fisheries subsidies.
About India’s proposal:
• A member country of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) can provide subsidies to its fishermen if it maintains stocks at a biologically sustainable level.
• A country engaged in distant water fishing (beyond 200nm from its sea shores) cannot provide fishery subsidies for 25 years from the date of entry into force of the fisheries subsidy’s agreement. o The suggestion is based on FAO’s code of conduct (1995) for responsible fisheries. o It has recognised the issues of overfishing and depletion of fish stocks.
• Countries engaged in fishing in the high seas will have to declare certain details within 90 days after the agreement comes into force.
• Aim: To discipline subsidies with the overall objective to have sustainable fishing and to eliminate IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing subsidies and prohibit subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing.

Issue with distant water fishing:
• Distant water fishing is a major problem when it comes to maintaining fish stocks at sustainable levels.
• Such activities lead to depletion of fish stocks in the oceans.
• This happens because of use of highly mechanised vessels or boats for industrial fishing
• Three areas of fishing:
o Territorial waters (12 nautical miles from the sea shore)
o EEZ (exclusive economic zones – 200 nautical miles)
o High seas.
There are certain developed countries which go into high seas for exploiting the fishing stock.

India’s Tea exports
News context: Recently, exports of tea from India registered a fall of about 14.4% in the first seven months of 2021 compared with the same period last year.
About Tea:
• It is the dried leaf of a bush.
• It contains caffeine, tannin and theine (stimulants).
• Tea is indigenous to China. Introduced by the British in India (1840).
1st commercial tea plantations were set up in Assam (upper Brahmaputra valley).
•Tea Plantation regions in India:
o Assam, West Bengal (Darjeeling), Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur
o Nilgiri, Cardamom, Palani and Anaimalai hills in TN, Kerala and Karnataka
o Dehra Dun, Almora and Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand and in Kangra Valley and Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.
Green tea is produced in Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh.
Conditions for Growth:
o Tropical and subtropical climates.
o Deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in
• Largest production in India: Assam (51%), West Bengal (23%)
Export-Import & Production
• Largest tea exporters: China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and India
• Major importers of Indian tea: Russia, U.K., the USA

Government Securities Acquisition Programme (G-SAP)
News context: Recently, RBI said that it was halting its bond buying under the G-Sec Acquisition Programme (GSAP) for now.
It stressed that the measure had succeeded in ensuring adequate liquidity and stabilising financial markets.
About G-SAP:
• G-SAP is in a way an OMO but there is an upfront commitment by the central bank to the markets that it will purchase bonds worth a specific amount.
o OMOs: The purchase and sale of government securities (G-Secs) by the RBI on behalf of the government.
• Aim: To enable a stable and orderly evolution of the yield curve amidst comfortable liquidity conditions.
• The idea is to give a comfort to the bond markets i.e., G-SAP is an OMO with a ‘distinct character’.
• Its working: Under this, the RBI can purchase bonds worth a specific amount, which reduce the uncertainty and allow investors to bid better in the scheduled auction with a pre-decided calendar set by the RBI

News context: Recently, the Telecom Ministry is engaged in discussions with regulator TRAI to work out ways for optimum utilisation of spectrum.
More about the news:
• Demand for satellite-based and terrestrial telecom services have put unprecedented demands on radio spectrum.
• In particular, the C band and the Ka band frequencies are needed for both space-based as well as terrestrial telecommunications services.
About spectrum:
• Devices such as cell phones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another.
o These are carried on airwaves. These must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.
Just like all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country, the Union government also owns airwaves.
• Central government through the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) auctions these airwaves from time to time to sell these assets to companies.
• These airwaves are called spectrum.
• It is a “finite resource” and needs optimum utilization.
• It is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies.
• All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time, after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.

About TRAI
It is a regulatory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the TRAI Act, 1997. It is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India.
It consists of:
1. Chairperson
2. Not more than two full-time members
3. Not more than two part-time members.
TRAI Act was amended in 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.

Global pact on minimum corporate tax
• News context: Recently, a global deal to ensure big companies pay a minimum tax rate and make it harder to avoid taxation has been agreed.
• OECD has been leading these talks.
About Global pact:
• Aim: To ensure big companies pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and not avoid taxation.
• It would even the playing field workers and taxpayers of the world.
• It will prevent large firms from booking profits in low-tax countries like Ireland regardless of where their clients are.
• It requires countries to remove all digital services tax and other similar measures and to commit not to introduce such measures in the future.
 India may have to withdraw equalisation levy if global minimum tax deal comes through.
Out of the 140 countries involved, 136 supported the deal.
o Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstaining for now.
o It would cover 90% of the global economy.
Out of the 140 countries involved, 136 supported the deal.
Concerns regarding the pact:
• Some developing countries seeking a higher minimum tax rate say their interests have been side-lined to accommodate the interests of richer countries.
• There was also dissatisfaction among some campaign groups such as Oxfam which said the deal would not end tax havens.

About Equalisation levy:
 India imposed an equalisation levy of 6% in 2016, on online advertisement services provided by non-residents
 This was applicable to Google and other foreign online advertising service providers.
 From April 1,2020, Government expanded its scope by imposing a 2% equalisation levy on digital transactions by foreign entities operating in India or having access to the local market.

India’s forex reserves
News Context: The country’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $1.492 billion to reach $641.008 billion.
• The high was mainly on account of increase in the foreign currency assets (FCAs).
• The value of the country’s gold reserves rose by $128 million to $37.558 billion.
• Expressed in dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.
• The special drawing rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $21 million to $19.247 billion.
• The country’s reserve position with the IMF rose by $6 million to $5.231 billion.

• India’s forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, SDRs and the country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
• In India, Foreign Exchange Reserves are the foreign assets held or controlled by the country central bank.
• The reserves are made of gold or a specific currency.
• They can also be special drawing rights and marketable securities denominated in foreign currencies like treasury bills, government bonds, corporate bonds and equities and foreign currency loans.

Significance of rising forex reserves:
• The rising forex reserves give comfort to the government and the RBI in managing India’s external and internal financial issues.
• It serves as a cushion in the event of a Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis on the economic front.
• The rising reserves have also helped the rupee to strengthen against the dollar.
• Reserves will provide a level of confidence to markets and investors that a country can meet its external obligations.

Private Equity Fund
News Context: India Media Entertainment Fund (IMEF) is raising money, which will provide both equity as well as instruments like non-convertible debentures (NCD) to companies in the content, distribution platform and services areas.
Private Equity Fund:
• A private equity fund is a collective investment scheme used for making investments in various equities and debt instruments.
• It is an alternative form of private financing, away from public markets, in which funds and investors directly invest in companies.
• These are easy access to alternate forms of capital for entrepreneurs and company founders and less stress of quarterly performance.
Types of Private Equity Funds:
1. Venture Capital: Venture capital funds are pools of capital that typically invest in small, and emerging businesses that are expected to have high growth potential but have limited access to other forms of capital.
2. Buyout or Leveraged Buyout (LBO): Leveraged buyout funds invest in more mature businesses, usually taking a controlling interest. LBO funds use extensive amounts of leverage to enhance the rate of return
Advantages of PE:
• It is favored by companies because it allows them access to liquidity as an alternative to conventional financial mechanisms (high interest bank loans).
 Certain forms of private equity, such as venture capital, also finance ideas and early-stage companies.
• In case of delisted companies, private equity financing can help them to growth strategies away from the glare of public markets.

Repo rate remains unchanged
News Context: The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee has kept the repo rate unchanged at 4%. Details
• Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as necessary to support growth.
• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate remain unchanged at 4.25% and the reverse repo rate also remains unchanged at 3.35%.
• RBI has retained real GDP growth projection at 9.5% in 2021- 22 consisting of 7.9% in Q2; 6.8% in Q3; and 6.1% in Q4 of 2021-22.
• Real GDP growth for Q1:2022-23 is projected at 17.2%.
• CPI inflation at 5.3% in August registered a moderation for the second consecutive month and a decline of one percentage point from its level in June 2021
The CPI inflation is projected at 5.3% for 2021-22: 5.1% in Q2, 4.5% in Q3; 5.8% in Q4 of 2021-22, with risks broadly balanced.

India’s Gold Exchange
News Context: India has a demand for 800-900 tonnes of gold annually. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has come out with a proposal for a gold exchange.
• India is a big importer, but has no large liquid spot market for price discovery.
How will gold be traded in the new framework?
• Investors can trade in electronic gold receipts (EGRs) on existing stock exchanges as well as the proposed gold exchange.
• EGRs will be issued against physical gold. An investor can deposit physical gold in vaults and get EGRs issued against it.
• The EGRs will be of denominations such as 1kg, 100gm, and 50gm.
How does the gold exchange function?
• The gold exchange would be a national platform for buying and selling EGRs with underlying standardized gold in India.
• It would also create a national pricing structure for gold.
Who will bear the charges for storing EGRs?
• The holders of EGRs will bear the storage charges. This can make the EGRs more expensive than keeping gold at home
One EGR can be interchanged for another.
How will EGRs be taxed?
• EGRs will be treated as security under the Securities Contract Act and will be subject to Securities Transaction Tax. Goods and services tax will only be levied on investors who wish to convert their EGRs into physical gold.
• This confers an advantage to EGRs over physical gold or even digital gold, which are subject to 3% GST.

Global Trade Forecast
News Context: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is predicting global merchandise trade volume growth of 10.8% in 2021—followed by a 4.7% rise in 2022.
• Due to a lower base, year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2021 was 22%, but the figure is projected to fall 6.6% in the fourth quarter, because of the rapid recovery in trade in the last two quarters of 2020.
• Reaching the forecast for 2021 only requires quarter-on-quarter growth to average 0.8% per quarter in the second half of this year, equivalent to an annualized rate of 3.1%
Important facts:
• WTO projects export volume growth in 2021 at 8.7% in North America, 7.2% in South America, 9.7% in Europe, 0.6% in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 7% in Africa, 5% in West Asia, and 14.4% in Asia.
• Imports in 2021 are set to grow by 12.6% in North America, 19.9% in South America, 9.1% in Europe, 13.1% in the CIS, 11.3% in Africa, 9.3% in West Asia, and 10.7% in Asia.
• Exports and imports of least developed countries (LDCs) will increase by an estimated 5.3% and 5.5%, respectively, in 2021.
• India’s merchandise exports during the first half of this fiscal year jumped 56.92% to a record $197 billion. The country has set a target of $400 billion for merchandise exports for FY22.
• As per the International trade body, risks to forecast remain on the downside, including spikes in inflation, longer port delays, higher shipping rates, and extended shortages of semiconductors, with supply side disruptions being exacerbated by the rapid and unexpectedly strong recovery of demand in advanced and many emerging economies.

100% FDI in telecom
News Context: The government allows 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in all kinds of telecom services and infrastructure providers through automatic route.
• Earlier, 100 per cent of FDI was allowed, of which 49 per cent of investment was permitted through automatic route.
• The amendment has been made in both old telecom licences in the UASL (Unified Access Services licences) category and new licences that were started in 2012- Unified Licence (UL) category.
FDI in automatic route Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)
can be made under two routes—Automatic Route and Government Route. Under the Automatic Route, the foreign investor or the Indian company does not require any approval from RBI or Government of India for the investment.

About Telecommunications :
• The telecommunications sector consists of companies that transmit data in words, voice, audio, or video across the globe.
• Telecom equipment, telecom services, and wireless communication are the three basic sub-sectors of telecommunications.
• It will promote ease of doing business in the industry.
• The move will provide relief for Vodafone Idea, to raise funds from overseas to support its business.
• The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) slashed performance and financial bank guarantee requirements of telecom operators by 80 per cent.

Geospatial Energy Map of India:
• It is launched by NITI Aayog. News context: NITI Aayog and ISRO develops a Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India.
• It provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of country.
• It visualises energy installations such as:
o Conventional power plants, Oil and gas wells.
o Petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks.
o District-wise data on renewable energy power plants. o Renewable energy resource potential etc.
• It will identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation networks. o It will provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in a country

PM Economic Advisory Council
News Context: Government of India reconstituted the seven-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to the prime minister.
• The new council has been reconstituted for a period of two years.
• Bibek Debroy will be the chairman of council.
About Economic Advisory Council:
• Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC) is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to give economic advice to the Government of India, specifically the Prime Minister.
• The council serves to highlight key economic issues facing the country to the government of India from a neutral viewpoint.
• It advises the Prime Minister on economic issues like inflation, microfinance, and industrial output.
Council’s responsibilities:
• The Council has to analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon.
• The Council must address issues of macroeconomic importance.
• Council may attend to any other task, as PM will assign from time to time.

Push for Financial Inclusion
News context: The Centre has asked public sector banks (PSBs) to target financial inclusion, expand pension and insurance coverage and, use financial technology to extend credit to borrowers through co-lending arrangements.
Banks have been given an outline by government, from financial inclusion to signing co-lending agreements with nonbanking financial companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs)
Key Points
• Open Jan Dhan Yojana Account who do not have a bank account and above the age of 21 years.
• State-owned lenders have to provide RuPay cards to 100 per cent account holders under the PMJDY in metro and urban areas, and 90 per cent account holders in semi-urban and rural areas.
• For operative PMJDY accounts, banks have been asked to cover every household under the PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), the PM Suraksha Bima Yojana, and the Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
• PSBs have been asked to identify beneficiary farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme and provide them Kisan Credit Cards.
Co-Lending Model
• The government has asked state-owned banks to enter into co-lending arrangements with NBFCs and MFIs.
• As NBFCs and MFIs have a far better reach in rural areas, such lenders will on-board borrowers, and finance loans.
• Then, banks will sign an agreement with NBFCs and reimburse NBFCs about 80 per cent of the loan amount.
• The remaining 20 per cent of the loan amount will be retained by such non-bank lenders in their books.

NBFC Microfinance Institutions
• Non-bank financial companies (NBFCs), are financial institutions that offer various banking services but do not have a banking license.
• Generally, these institutions are not allowed to take traditional demand deposits—readily available funds, such as those in checking or savings accounts—from the public.
• NBFCs are not subject to the banking regulations and oversight by federal and state authorities adhered to by traditional banks.
• Investment banks, mortgage lenders, money market funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, private equity funds, and P2P lenders are all examples of NBFCs. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are financial companies that provide small loans to people who do not have any access to banking facilities. The definition of “small loans” varies between countries. In India, all loans that are below Rs. 1 lakh can be considered as microloans.







Krishi Udan 2.0 scheme
News Context: The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched “Krishi Udan 2.0 scheme”.
• Under “Krishi Udan 2.0 scheme”, cargorelated infrastructure will be built in airports of hilly, tribal, and north-east regions.
• Such infrastructure will help in assisting farmers to transport agriculture products.
Aim • The scheme has been launched with the aim of channelising the immense potential of Indian agriculture with logistical help of civil aviation in a bid to achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income.
• It will also help in alleviating wastage of farm produce and increase its value.

Krishi UDAN and UDAN 2.0:
• Krishi UDAN was launched in August 2020, on international and national routes to assist farmers in transporting agricultural products so that it improves their value realisation.
• Krishi UDAN 2.0 will focus on transporting perishable food products from the hilly areas, north-eastern states and tribal areas.
Under the scheme, cargo terminals will be established at the airports in Agartala, Dibrugarh, Srinagar, Hubbali, Dimapur, Jorhat, Imphal, Silchar, Lilabari, Lucknow, Tirupati, Tezpur, Tirupati and Tuticorin by 2022.
• In between 2022-23, cargo terminals will be established at airports in Ahmedabad, Jharsuguda, Bhavnagar, Mysore, Kozhikode, Rajkot, Puducherry, and Vijayawada.

• The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) launched the first-of-its-kind and the largest ‘Impact Bond’ for skilling in India in partnership with global partners.
• The SIB is also the first impact bond involving public, private partners and a public private partnership organisation, NSDC.
o The alliance has brought together a US$ 14.4 million fund to benefit 50,000 young people in India over four years.
• Labour Bureau has released two surveys namely All India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) and All India Survey of Migrant Workers.
• It is part of evidence-based policymaking to map employment generation in the unorganized sector and establishments deploying less than 10 workers.
• About AQEES
o All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) is launched with the objective of collecting the employment data on quarterly basis form all the establishments.
o It is designed to be an Establishment based Employment Survey which would provide estimates for the demand side conditions of the labour market.
o The AQEES has two parts one is Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) and another is Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES).
 The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) under AQEES would provide the employment estimates for the establishments employing 10 or more workers.
 Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES) would provide the employment estimates for the establishments recruiting 9 or less workers.

• Ministry for Labour and Employment has launched DigiSaksham- a digital skills programme to enhance the employability of youth by imparting digital skills that are required in an increasingly technology driven era.
• This is a joint initiative with Microsoft India.
• Free of cost training in digital skills including basic skills as well as advance computing will be provided to more than three lakh youths in the first year.
 Jobseekers can access the training through National Career Service (NCS) Portal.
 It gives priority to job-seekers of semi-urban areas belonging to disadvantaged communities.

• It is a blockchain platform for gold bullion launched by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) with Chainflux in support with India Gold Policy Centre (IGPC) and the Indian Bullion and Jewellers’ Association (IBJA).
• First for India, the NSE-Shine platform will provide a data framework for bullion bar integrity for settlement of Gold derivatives contracts. It will also help in ensuring data security, data integrity, and data traceability for each bullion bar ID at any point of time.

Ministry of Rural Development launched 152 SAKSHAM centres under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). These centres were launched as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
About SAKSHAM Centres:
• Centre for Financial Literacy & Service Delivery (CFL&SD) would act as one stop solution/single window system for basic financial needs of Self-Help Group (SHG) households in rural areas.
• The main objective of the centre is to provide financial literacy & facilitate delivery of financial services (savings, credit, insurance, pensions etc.) to SHG members and rural poor.
• SHG network, largely at the level of the Cluster Level Federations (CLFs), with the help of trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs).
• A mobile & web-based application called “SAKSHAM Application” has also been developed.
Antyodaya Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Yojana:
• DDAY is a scheme for helping the poor by providing skill training. It replaces Aajeevika.
• The objective of the scheme is to train 0.5 million people in urban areas per annum.
• Its aim is to eliminate rural poverty through the promotion of multiple livelihoods and improved access to financial services for the rural poor households across the country

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project
News context: The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has granted consent for the establishment of Away from Reactor spent fuel storage for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s units 3 and 4. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (Tamil Nadu)
• The largest nuclear power plant in India.
• It was the outcome of a 1988 inter-governmental agreement between the erstwhile Soviet Union and India.
• It became operational in 2013.

Larger role of insulin
News context: Recently, researchers have uncovered how insulin amounts shape the flow of information through the signalling network.
About Role of Insulin
• Insulin is a hormone secreted by the b cells of the pancreas.
• It is commonly associated with an ability to regulate glucose metabolism.
• It plays a larger role and helps in growth and maintenance of tissues.
• Insulin signalling: It is an important mechanism in the cell.
 It is a series of biochemical reactions that convey information about availability of insulin and the necessity to regulate the glucose in the blood.
 There are two main pathways for insulin signalling, named AKT and ERK, which together balance metabolism and growth.
 These specifically control storage of glucose in the liver and also stimulate glucose transport in skeletal muscle and fat.
Hybrid immunity
News context: A study has shown that a combination of natural infection with a single dose of vaccine provides greater immunity than either natural infection without vaccination or full vaccination in infection-naïve individuals.

Indian Space Association (ISpA)
News context: Recently, Prime Minister of India launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA).
About Indian Space Association (ISpA)
• It is an industry body consisting of various stakeholders of the Indian space domain.
• Goal: To supplement the government’s efforts towards making India a global leader in commercial space-based excursions.
• The members of the organisation include government bodies such as ISRO and private telecom companies.
Significance of ISpA:
• Ever since the US-USSR space race began, governments across the world have poured millions of dollars to push the envelope in terms of exploring the edges of the space.
• With time, governments and its agencies collaborated to explore newer planets and galaxies in search of life forms that exist outside Earth.
• In the recent past, private sector companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX etc. have taken the lead in spaceflight.
• So far, state-run ISRO has been at the centre and front of India’s progress in space exploration.
• Several private sector companies, however, have shown an interest in India’s space domain, with space-based communication networks coming to the fore.

Second phase of SBM-U and AMRUT
News context: Recently, government has announced the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), with a fresh promise to make India’s cities clean.
SBM-U 2.0
• Focus on fool proof waste management.
• Focus on process to remove all legacy dump sites.
• Sanitation protocols:
 All statutory towns will become at least ODF+.
 All cities with less than 1 lakh population would be ODF++.
• Additionally, around 350,000 individual, community and public toilets will be constructed.
• SBM: To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on 2nd October 2014.

Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report)
 The report was released in conjunction with the World Food Prize Foundation’s annual conference.
According to a new report, Global agricultural productivity is not growing as fast as the demand for food, amid the impact of climate change.
Key findings:

 TFP Growth:
Total Factor Productivity (TFP) is growing at an annual rate of 1.36% (2020-2019).

This is below the Global Agricultural Productivity Index that has set an annual target of 1.73% growth to sustainably meet the needs of consumers for food and bioenergy in 2050.

 TFP:

o Total factor productivity captures the interaction between multiple agricultural inputs and outputs.
o TFP growth indicates that more farmers generate more crops, livestock, and aquaculture products with the same amount or less land, labor, fertilizer, feed, machinery, and livestock. As a result, TFP is a powerful metric for evaluating and monitoring the sustainability of agricultural systems.
o Its growth is influenced by:
o Climate change, weather events
o Changes in fiscal policy, market conditions
o Investments in infrastructure
o Agricultural research and development

 Factors Responsible for Low TFP Growth:

o TFP growth is influenced by climate change, weather events, changes in fiscal policy, market conditions, investments in infrastructure and agricultural research and development.
 Situation in Different Regions:

o Drier Regions (Africa and Latin America): Climate change has slowed productivity growth by as much as 34%.
o High-Income Countries (in North America and Europe): Modest TFP growth.
o Middle Income Countries (India, China, Brazil and erstwhile Soviet republics): Strong TFP growth rates.
o Low-Income Countries (Sub-Saharan Africa): TFP is contracting by an average of 0.31% per year.

Significance of Productivity Growth:
o Destruction of Forest Areas: 36% of the world’s land is used for agriculture. Forests and biodiverse areas will be destroyed for planting or pasture.
o Diet-Related Diseases: USD 2T in economic losses and 4 million deaths are attributed to diet-related diseases each year.
o Soil Degradation: 90% of the earth’s soils could be degraded by erosion by 2050.
o Methane Emissions: 37% of methane emissions from humans influenced activity come from cattle and other ruminants.
o Loss of Irrigation Water: 40% of irrigation water is lost due to inefficient irrigation.

 Water sources will be depleted, making prime agricultural land unusable.

Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI)
News context: Environmental think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water has carried a first-of its-kind district-level climate vulnerability assessment, or CVI.
• Under it, CEEW has analysed 640 districts in India to assess their vulnerability to extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods, heatwaves, droughts, etc.

About CVI:
• It measures the following:
o Exposure: Whether the district is prone to extreme weather events.
o Sensitivity: Likelihood of an impact on the district by the weather event
o Adaptive capacity: the response or coping mechanism of the district
• It helps map critical vulnerabilities and plan strategies to enhance resilience and adapt by climate-proofing communities, economies and infrastructure.
• It looks at the combined risk of hydro-met disasters, which is floods, cyclones and droughts, and their impact
• It does not take into consideration other natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Key findings:
• India is the 7th most vulnerable country with respect to climate extremes.
• Extreme weather events have been increasing
• Three out of four districts in India are extreme event hotspots.
• Most vulnerable states: Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar
• Least vulnerable states: Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal are the
• 27 Indian states and UTs are vulnerable to extreme climate events.
• 463 districts out of 640 are vulnerable to extreme weather events.
• More than 80% Indians live in districts vulnerable to climate risks
 17 of 20 people in India are vulnerable to climate risks.
North-eastern states are more vulnerable to floods
• South and central are most vulnerable to extreme droughts.
• 59% districts in the eastern and 41% in western states are highly vulnerable to extreme cyclones.

Recently, first part of 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held virtually in Kunming, China
The main objective of the COP 15 was to develop and adopt a post2020 “Global Biodiversity Framework” with a to replace and update the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (SPB) 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
• The framework will include a set of global goals, targets and indicators that will guide conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next 10 years.
o The first draft of the GBF was released in July 2021, containing 21 targets for 2030 and 4 Goals to achieve humanity “living in harmony with nature,” vision by 2050.
• Parties will reconvene in 2022 for further negotiations and to come to a final agreement on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
SPB 2011-2020
• It was adopted by the parties to the CBD, during the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, with the purpose of inspiring broad-based action in support of biodiversity over the next decade by all countries and stakeholders.
• It was comprised of a shared vision for 2050, a mission and 20 targets organized under 5 strategic goals, collectively known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs).
• Vision: Living in Harmony with Nature where by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.

• Adoption of Kunming Declaration: The declaration called for urgent and integrated action to reflect biodiversity considerations in all sectors of the global economy.
• More than 100 nations, including India, made commitments to- ✓ ensure the development, adoption and implementation of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework. ✓ reverse the current loss of biodiversity. ✓ ensure that biodiversity is put on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest.
• It also noted the efforts and commitment of many countries to protect 30 percent of their land and sea areas by 2030 (30 by 30 target), which is critical for reversing a major driver of nature’s decline.
• Kunming Biodiversity Fund: China established the Fund with approximately USD 230 million to support projects for protecting biodiversity in developing countries.
• Open letter to Private sector: The conference called for increased involvement of the private sector, including an open letter from business CEOs to world leaders, urging for bold action.
• Global Environment Facility, the UN Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme, committed to fast-tracking financial and technical support to developing countries for GBF implementation.

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued a letter and consultation paper that documented proposed changes to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (FCA).
Recently, the Union environment ministry has come out with a consultation paper on amending the Forest Conservation Act 1980. About proposed amendment
• It proposes to exempt certain categories of infrastructure project developers from approaching the Centre for permission to use forest land for non-forestry purposes.
o For instance, it has proposed absolving agencies involved in national security projects, border infrastructure projects, land owned by the Railways or the Road Transport Ministry that was acquired before 1980 or when the Act came into force.
• It proposed some provisions where the penalties of non-compliance could include jail terms, but the overall tenor of the proposal is to make it a little easier to use forest land for non-forestry purposes
About Forest Conservation Act, 1980:
• This act came into force to address deforestation.
• Indian Forest Act, 1927 allowed the colonial British administration to control the extraction of timber and not aimed at preserving forests or addressing deforestation.
• While States had already notified forest land, the FCA made it necessary:
o To get the Centre’s permission for using such forest land for “non-forestry purposes”
o To create an advisory committee to recommend such re-classification.
Definition of Forest: T N Godavarman case:
• Till 1996 concerned authorities used to apply the provisions of the Act only to the forests notified under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
• However, following a Supreme Court judgment in T N Godavarman case, the definition of “forest” was expanded to include:
o All areas recorded as “forest” in any government (Union and State) record, irrespective of ownership, recognition and classification.
o All areas that conformed to the “dictionary” meaning of “forest. o Areas which are identified as “forest” by an expert committee constituted by the Supreme Court following the 1996 order.
• Thus, forest lands in India include unclassified forests, undermarketed forests, existing or deemed forests, protected forests, reserved forests, sanctuaries and national parks etc.

Reasons behind the proposed amendments:
• State is committed to a principle of increasing forest cover, and this makes it harder to access land for infrastructure projects by States and private entities. o India’s target: At least 33% of India’s geographical area under forest and tree cover. Currently, forest cover is around 22%.
• Just because increasing core forest land is increasingly hard, the mode of expansion includes expanding the notion of what constitutes forest land.
• Thus, even degraded lands and even commercial plantations or regions with trees of a certain canopy cover and density count as “forest”.
• Through the years, this has given rise to multiple instances of litigation, as well questions on the legal definition of “forest”.

Podu’ land issue
• Telangana government has decided to move landless, non-tribal farmers engaged in shifting cultivation inside forests to peripheral areas as it looks to combat deforestation.
• Tribal farmers who have been traditionally cultivating for decades will not be affected by this drive against illegal encroachers. o Government has, in fact, given land ownership titles to tribals.
• Non-tribal farmers can apply to the state government to allocate them land outside the forests.

To enable collaborations for sustainable development through a circular economy and community participation, the government launched the Waste to Wealth portal on Gandhi Jayanti.
More on News
• One among nine missions under the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, the Waste to Wealth portal will bring together technology providers, government stakeholders and urban local bodies.
• Part of Swachh Bharat Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (SBUB), it will focus on scientific processing of waste to build a zero landfill and zero waste nation to achieve objectives of
 Identifying and supporting the development of new technologies for cleaner and greener environment,
 Boost and augment the Swachh Bharat Mission and Smart Cities Project,
 Create financially viable Circular Economy models for waste management, and o Streamline waste handling in India.

How ‘waste’ presents an economic opportunity for India:
• Generate Energy: Solid waste when taken through right processes can be relooked as potential fuel. Following techniques can be used to realize this
o Gasification of the waste: The generated waste can be converted into gas-based energy plants through technologies such as biogas plants.
o Palletisation: Pelletized sludge can act as efficient sources of energy production and when created in appropriate sizes, they can also be used as rich source of fertilizer for plants.
o Reprocessing as irrigation waste: Partially treating the wastewater is economically cost-efficient and can be safely used for non-consumption purposes like cooling or irrigation.
• Recycle materials: Recycling materials at the segregation stage itself could present a significant economic opportunity. For instance, some estimates suggest that a circular economy path adopted by India could bring in annual benefits of 40 lakh crores or approximately US$ 624 billion in 2050.
• Extract resources of value: Processing of waste especially E-waste could enable extraction of precious metals such as copper, gold, aluminium etc. in economically significant amounts. For example, in India, the e-waste industry is estimated to be worth about USD 3 billion annually. Creation of these economic activities and industries indirectly encourages entrepreneurship and job creation across the complete economic chain.

challenges in realizing these opportunities:
• Multiple Sources of Waste Generation: The solid waste is generated from items used daily, including appliances, product packaging, food scraps, newspapers etc. with widespread sources like residential areas, schools, hospitals, restaurants etc., making segregation and processing a challenge.
• Toxic Wastes: Most of these waste materials contain toxic substances which require proper handling and treatment to minimize the harmful impacts.
• Limited capabilities of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs): ULBs such as Municipalities lack monetary resources, manpower and expertise to handle even existing solid waste while tapping waste opportunities involve costly and complex operations.
• Private Participation: Due to limited business opportunities at waste treatment with lack of backward linkage with generation sources, the private sector participation has remained poor.
• Education and Behavioural Issues: The lack of awareness among people on waste categories and behavioural issues such as throwing of garbage in the open or burning instead of giving it to municipal bodies (also due to charges of it).

In this context, also read about the waste management in India and the 2016 rules from your preferred source.

Why in News? Recently, UNESCO, World Resources Institute (WRI) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released this report.
More in News
• Report provides the first global scientific assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration by forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites (WHS).
o UNESCO World Heritage forests (WHF), which cover 69 million hectares, hold 13 billion tonnes of carbon (Gt C) in vegetation and soils.
o Most of the World Heritage Forest carbon is stored in tropical sites.
• Report estimates that forests across WHS removed approximately 190 million tonnes of CO2 per year between 2001 and 2020 from the atmosphere.

Key Findings:
• Over the past 20 years, WHS lost 3.5 million hectares of forest and forests in 10 World Heritage sites emitted more carbon than they absorbed.
• Two most widespread threats (reported in about 60% sites) to UNESCO WHF are
1. Climate change with associated severe weather (e.g., fires, storms, floods, droughts, temperature extremes, and habitat shifting/alteration).
2. Land-use pressures associated with various human activities such as illegal logging, wood harvesting, and agricultural encroachment due to livestock farming/grazing and crops.
• India’s Sundarbans National Park is among five sites that have the highest blue carbon stocks globally.
Note:Blue carbon is the organic carbon (mainly obtained from decaying plant leaves, wood, roots and animals) stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Blue carbon ecosystems include seagrass meadows, tidal marshes and mangroves.

• Recently, India stated that it will strongly highlight the need for climate justice at COP26 in Glasgow.
• With uneven effect of climate change on different people and places, the Climate Justice represents a term and movement to
o Acknowledge differing social, economic, public health effect of climate change
o Recognize its adverse impacts on underprivileged populations exacerbating inequitable social conditions, and o Keeping climate change at the centre of climate action discussion

EMISSIONS GAP REPORT 2021 RELEASED BY UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP) • The report in an annual series that provides an overview of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change. •
Key highlights:
o New or updated NDCs and announced pledges for 2030 have only limited impact on global emissions and the emissions gap in 2030, reducing projected 2030 emissions by only 7.5 per cent.
o If continued throughout this century, they would result in warming of 2.7°C, slightly less than the 3°C UNEP forecast in its last report.
✓ A 30% cut is needed to limit warming to 2°C and a 55% cut is needed to limit to 1.5°C.
oThe current net-zero targets could limit global warming to around 2.2°C by century’s end.
oThe reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors could help close the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term.
oThe COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented 5.4 per cent drop in global fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020.
✓ A strong rebound in emissions is expected in 2021.

Key Highlights:
• Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the preindustrial level.
• Methane (CH4) is 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1750.
• From 1990 to 2020, radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 47%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of this increase.
• The numbers are based on monitoring by WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch network.

• Union Minister of Rural Development &Panchayati Raj jointly launched CRISP-M tool.
o It helps in integration of climate information in Geographic Information System (GIS)based watershed planning under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
• This tool will be used in seven states where in the Government of UK and India is jointly working towards climate resilience.
o The states are Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Rajasthan

• Draft notification is issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, for bringing out regulations for EPR under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
o EPR means the responsibility of a producer for environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.
• Key highlights
• Quantity of waste that will have to be managed by producers, importers and brand owners (PIBO) who generate plastic packaging waste is specified.
• EPR shall be applicable to both pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic packaging waste.
• EPR will cover following categories of plastic packaging:
✓ Category I: Rigid plastic packaging
✓ Category II: Flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer, plastic sheets and covers made from it, carry bags etc.
✓ Category III: Multi-layered plastic packaging
• Registration of PIBOs and Plastic Waste processors through centralized EPR portal developed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Provision for PIBO to trade in EPR certificates.
✓ They can use the surplus EPR certificates for offsetting previous year shortfall; carry forward for use in succeeding year and sell it to other producers and brands

• The publication titled, ‘From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution,’ provides a scientific basis for the need to urgently act to control plastic emissions into the environment.
• Key findings:
O The amount of marine litter and plastic pollution has been growing rapidly. Emissions of plastic waste into aquatic ecosystems are projected to nearly triple by 2040 without meaningful action.
o Marine litter and plastic pollution present serious threats to the livelihoods of coastal communities as well as to shipping and port operations.
O The main sources of marine litter and plastic pollution are land-based.
o Plastic recycling rates are less than 10% and plastics-related greenhouse gas emissions

• The “WasteAid” has chosen two winners (entrepreneurs from Shree Guru Plastic and Inside Out) from Guwahati for their work on promoting circular economy and reducing the usage of plastics
• Guwahati was among the three cities chosen by WasteAid, a United Kingdom-based non-profit, to launch a Zero Waste Cities Challenge. o Other two are Johannesburg and Ho Chi Minh City
• The aim was to find entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that can help reduce or recycle waste and create green employment opportunities.

• NITI Aayog in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India with the support of Energy Ministries of Government of India.
o GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.
o GIS technology is a crucial part of spatial data infrastructure.
• This GIS map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country:
 This is in line with the Draft National Geospatial Policy, 2021.
 It enables visualisation of energy installations such as conventional power plants, oil and gas wells, petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks, district-wise data on renewable energy power plants and renewable energy resource potential, etc. through 27 thematic layers.
• Significance of the map
o Identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks.
o Integrates energy data scattered across multiple organizations and presents it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner.
o Leverages latest advancements in web-GIS technology. o Aid in disaster management using available energy assets
Both annual and quarterly reports will be published in the public domain.
• The regulation was issued by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the provisions of Energy Conservation (EC) Act, 2001.
o Set up in 2002, BEE is a statutory body (HQ: Delhi) established under the EC Act, 2001.

• Recently, India’s First Banni Buffalo in vitro fertilization (IVF) Calf was born in Gujarat.
• Banni buffaloes are distributed in the Kachchh region of Gujarat
• Banni, which was evolved by the Maldhari community in this region, has good adaptability to harsh climatic conditions, drought resistance and survival on scanty fodder and shrubs.

• A plant discovered in Uttarakhand in 2019 has been confirmed as a new species of Allium, the genus that includes many staple foods such as onion and garlic.
• Although new to science, the species has long been known under domestic cultivation to local communities.
• With a narrow distribution, this newly described species is restricted to the region of western Himalayas and hasn’t yet been reported from anywhere else in the world.

India-Sri Lanka fisheries conflict
News context: Recently, NFF has urged the Centre to initiate dialogue between fisher representatives of India and Sri Lanka in the wake of recent rise in the incidents of incarceration of Indian fishermen by the neighbour’s navy

About National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF):
• It is registered under the Trade Union Act of India.
• It is the only national federation of state level small and traditional fish workers’ unions of India.
• It fights to protect the life and livelihood of the fishing communities and its basic source.
• As a major partner, it is associated with the international movement of the fishing communities led by World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP).
Fishermen from Indian side continue to sail towards Talaimannar and Katchatheevu coasts, a region famous for rich maritime resources in Sri Lanka.
Rich maritime resources in this oceanic region had triggered a proliferation of fishing trawlers in Tamil Nadu coast.
Katchatheevu island issue: In 1974, the island was ceded to Sri Lanka after an agreement was signed by Indira Gandhi between the two countries without consulting the Tamil Nadu government. o This allows Indian fishermen access to Katchatheevu for rest, for drying of nests and for the annual St Anthony’s festival but it did not ensure the traditional fishing rights.
• Proliferation of trawlers in Indian coast: Trawlers are mechanised boats with highly exploitative fishing nets unlike most of the poor fishermen in Sri Lankan coast who use traditional fishing methods.
National Fish workers’ Forum (NFF):
• It is registered under the Trade Union Act of India.
• It is the only national federation of state level small and traditional fish workers’ unions of India. It has affiliated organizations in all the coastal states and UTs of the Indian mainland.
• It fights to protect the life and livelihood of the fishing communities and its basic source.
As a major partner, it is associated with the international movement of the fishing communities led by World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP).

G20 meeting on Afghanistan
News context: Recently, Prime Minister of India has attended an extraordinary virtual meeting of G20 leaders on Afghanistan.
• Italy is the current chair of G20.
• Indonesia will host the G20 in 2022, followed by India in 2023. Group of Twenty – G20 • The premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda.
• It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.
• The G20 comprises: o Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK and USA. • G20 Countries together represent around: o 90% of global GDP. o 80% of global trade.
o Two thirds of the world’s population.
• It has met every year since 1999 and since 2008 has included a yearly Leaders’ Summit, with the participation of the respective Heads of State and Government.
• The preparatory process for the G20 Summit is conducted through the established Sherpa and Finance tracks that prepare and follow up on the issues and commitments adopted at the Summits.
India- Denmark summit
News context: Recently, India and Denmark signed two agreements on research in climate change at the India Denmark summit.
• This was the first summit-level visit to India since the COVID pandemic

IEA invites India to become full-time member
News context: Recently, International Energy Agency (IEA) has invited India to become its full-time member.
• India is the world’s third-largest energy consumer.
More on the news
• If this proposal is accepted, India will require to raise strategic oil reserves to 90 days requirement.
o India’s current strategic oil reserves equal 9.5 days of its requirement.
About IEA
• It is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization
It was established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
• It is made up of 30 member countries and 8 associate nations
. • Eligibility criteria for becoming a IEA member:
o A member country must maintain “crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports.
o Government must have immediate access to this reserve (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply.
o A member has to show “a demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%.”
• India became its associate member in 2017.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB)
News Context: Seychelles’ TIWB programme with India. About TIWB
• It is joint initiative of:
o Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
• Objective: To share tax audit knowledge and skills with tax administrations in developing countries. oTo promote audit and audit-related skills related to specific international tax matters.
oTo develop general audit skills within developing tax administrations.
• Benefits: o It will aid Seychelles in strengthening tax administration by transferring technical skills to its tax auditors

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
News Context: • AIIB is in the view of funding both societal and climate-resilient infrastructure in India in the coming years, and cautioned for the balance between both.
About AIIB:
• It is multilateral development bank with aim to improve social and economic growth of Asia and beyond.
• It has 57 founding members.
Headquartered in Beijing.
• The bank started functioning after 25 December 2015, (agreement come into force) after ratifications of 10 members states.
Membership: • There are more than 100 members now.
Voting Rights:
• China is the largest shareholder with 26.61 % voting shares in the bank followed by India (7.6%), Russia (6.01%) and Germany (4.2 %).
• The regional members hold 75% of the total voting power in the Bank.

Other Important News
Global hunger index 2021
• News context: India ranks 101 out of the 116 countries. o It is designed to measure and track hunger at global, regional, national levels.
• India score of 27.5, (Under serious hunger category). Concerns raised by Indian government: Ignored reality and published report solely based on basis of FAO estimate on proportion of undernourished population.

News Context: 8th EDITION of INDIA – SRI LANKA JOINT exercise held at AMPARA SRI LANKA.
• Focus: Counter-terrorism operations in a semi urban/rural environment under UN.

• Report examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health.
• Key Findings related to India
o 14% of 15 to 24-year-olds in India feel depressed or has little interest in doing things.
o At least 50 million children in India were affected with mental health issues before COVID; 80 – 90% have not sought support.
o India has spent only 0.05% of its health budget annually on mental health.
o Only 41% of young people (15 -24 years) were willing to get support for mental health problems.

• India is ranked at 71st position in the GFS Index 2021 of 113 countries with an overall score of 57.2 points. • Released by: London-based Economist Impact and is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.
• GFS Index measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of: o affordability, o availability, o quality and safety, o natural resources and resilience.
• It considers 58 unique food security indicators including income and economic inequality – calling attention to systemic gaps and actions needed to accelerate progress toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

• It was organised by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons (1st October).
• On the occasion following initiatives were launched:
o An Elderly Help Line 14567.
o SAGE (Senior-care Aging Growth Engine) portal to encourage entrepreneurs in the area of elderly care.
o SACRED (Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity) portal to connect the senior citizens with job providers in the private sector.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illness or serious health-related sufferings.
o For WHO, “palliative care is a human right and a moral imperative of all health systems.”
According to the WHO
o Only one in 10 people who need palliative care are receiving it.
o Global demand for care for people with life threatening illnesses, will continue to grow as populations age and the burden of noncommunicable diseases rises.

• WHO recommended widespread use of RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) or Mosquirix malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission.
More than 2,60,000 African children under the age of five die from malaria annually
According to World Malaria Report 2020 (by WHO),
India recorded largest reduction in cases in South-east Asia (SEA) from 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.
o India, however, still accounted for 88% of malaria cases and 86% of malaria deaths in SEA in 2019. o A WHO report also mentioned high Anti Malaria drug resistance in Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.
Initiatives taken in India
o Adopted ‘National Framework for Malaria Elimination in India 2016–2030’ outlining strategy for elimination of malaria by 2030.
o National Strategic Plan for malaria elimination 2017-22.
• It is a delivery model, launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to facilitate vaccine delivery to hard-to-reach terrains of India.
• i-Drone will overcome these challenges by deploying Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV) / drones to remote areas.
• The solar powered mission is NASA’s first mission to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids to gain new insights into the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.
o Trojans orbit the Sun in two loose groups, with one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its path, the other trailing behind.
• Asteroids can be divided into following categories
o Those found in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
o Trojans asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet. o Near-Earth Asteroids, which has orbits that pass close to the Earth.
• Awarded to: Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov.
• Contribution: For their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
o In 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism. Ressa has focussed on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial “war on drug” campaign that has claimed thousands of lives.
o Russian journalist Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov co-founded the newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Murato has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under “increasingly challenging conditions.”
• Awarded to: Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah
• Contribution: For work that explores uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugees in the gulf between cultures and continents.

November 2021 Current Affairs
25th year of enactment of PESA
Recently, a one-day National Conference was organized to commemorate the 25th year of enactment of PESA, as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
About Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act or PESA Act, 1996
• Article 243M of the Constitution exempts the Fifth Schedule areas from Part IX of the Constitution but the Parliament is empowered to extend its provisions to the Scheduled and Tribal Areas by law without it being considered as an amendment to the Constitution.
• Based on the recommendations of Dileep Singh Bhuria Committee, PESA Act was enacted in 1996 for tribal empowerment and to bring them into the mainstream
• PESA Act is called a ‘Constitution within the Constitution’ as it extends the Provision of Panchayati Raj (Part IX) of the Constitution to the Fifth Schedule areas of 10 States under clause (1) of the Article 244 with certain modifications and exception.
The 10 states: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Telangana.
• It recognizes the role of the Gram Sabha and the community in these areas and directs the state government to devolve power and authority directly to Gram Sabha and Panchayats.
• The Ministry of Panchayati Raj is the nodal Ministry for implementation of the provisions of PESA Act.
Important Provisions of the act:
Provisions of PESA Act Promoting institutions of Local Self Governance and participatory democracy, all the State Panchayati Raj Acts for Fifth Schedule areas have following salient features:
• All State Legislation on Panchayats shall be in conformity with the customary law, social and religious practices and traditional management practices of community resources;
• Every village to have a separate Gram Sabha consisting of persons whose names are included in the electoral rolls for the Panchayat at the village level;
• Every Gram Sabha to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution;
• Every panchayat to have reservation of seats in proportion to the community population (minimum of 50%) with Chairperson of Panchayats at all level to be reserved for STs;
• Roles and Responsibilities of Gram Sabhas: To approve all development works in the village, identify beneficiaries, issue certificates of utilization of funds.
Recently, in a workshop organised by Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Mysuru Declaration on Service Delivery by Panchayats was signed. More on news
• Mysuru Declaration was signed by participants from 16 States and resolved to roll out the Common Minimum Service delivery by Panchayats across the country from April 1, 2022.
• The declaration recognises Citizen Centric Services that could be provided by the Panchayats as the Heart of Governance.
o It aims to foster institution-building at the grassroots level that empowers and delivers services for citizens thereby improving quality of life specifically for the vulnerable and marginalized sections of society.

The PRIs by design has many positive features for the effective delivery of essential services. This includes:
• Participatory Governance: Gram Sabhas have been empowered to prepare and implement plans at the local level that can facilitate direct participation of people based on local socio traditional knowledge.
• Social Inclusion: Constitutionally mandated reservation for women (1/3rd seats) and other marginalised communities such as SCs and STs in Panchayats ensure their participation in the village level governance and inclusion of their developmental aspirations.
For instance, in the context of health and family welfare, women PRI members take an active role in polio eradication, health camps, mobilize women for services etc.
Accountability: Regular elections to Panchayats makes it easier for the electorates to hold elected bodies accountable for their performance. Moreover, Gram Sabha is empowered to undertake Social Audit under certain programs such as MGNREGA.
• Responsiveness: Due to its proximity to voters, locally elected representatives know their small constituency better and are in advantageous position to provide better services according to their electorate’s preferences
As per NITI Aayog, Localising of SDGs i.e. their implementation at the sub national or grassroot level is essential for achieving the SDG targets for provisioning of basic services.
Bottom-up approach: The Gram Panchayats are constitutionally mandated for preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) that are in convergence with schemes of all related Central Ministries / Line Departments related to 29 subjects. This convergence assumes greater significance for effective implementation of flagship schemes.
• Functional Transparency: Public disclosure to the Gram Panchayats (GP) regarding funds made available under various schemes of the line departments and activities to be taken up in each GP area is mandated under the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan.
• Elite Capture: Powers and resources devolved to local bodies are frequently captured by the powerful upper caste people, resulting in inequities in access to services.
• Lack of fiscal decentralisation: In most states, panchayats get wide responsibilities without fiscal and administrative resources. Over 90 per cent of the funds that PRIs handle are tied to some schemes (mostly central schemes). Absence of untied funds inhibits efforts and demotivates local bodies from engaging in meaningful planning processes. o Also, with little of own revenue funds, PRIs in many states have been reduced to simple agents of higher-level governments.
• Structural deficiencies: Absence of any secretarial support and lower levels of technical knowledge restricted the aggregation of bottom-up planning.
• Adhocism: Non-availability of information at the local level leads to adhocism in prioritisation of schemes/ programmes, poor decision-making, and narrow participation of people in the process.
• Proxy Representation: There is a presence of Panch-Pati and Proxy representation in case of women and SC/STs representatives respectively.
• Accountability arrangements remain weak due to manual auditing.
• Lack of clarity in devolved functions: and paucity of adequate qualified functionaries has allowed concentration of powers with the states and thereby restraining the elective representatives who are more aware and sensitive to the ground level.
Suggested Measures:
• Ensuring participatory local level planning by the PRIs to identify needs, levels of delivery and the enhancements desired by the people in each sector.
• Assigning clearly demarcated roles to the PRIs through activity mapping.
• Confining centrally sponsored and State schemes to a small number of important programmes to achieve declared national and State goals and also providing adequate space for the PRIs to participate in these schemes.
Undertaking a well-structured process of administrative and fiscal devolution that matches the resource availability at each level of the panchayats with functions assigned to it.
• Providing capacity to the PRIs in the widest sense of the term to perform their responsibilities efficiently;
• Leveraging technology: Digitalisation and Information and communication technology (ICT) intervention such as Geographical Information System (GIS) and satellite imagery to track project implementation has vast potential to ensure more accountable, responsive and citizen- friendly PRIs.

• President promulgated two ordinances that would allow Centre to extend the tenures of the directors of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED from two years to up to five years. o Government amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (For CBI Director) and Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (For ED director).
• Both have fixed two-year tenure, but ordinance allows for three annual extensions

• The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Repeal Bill, 2021, repeals the 2020 Act that paved the way for the ‘three capitals’ plan for the state.
• Now, the state will undertake further consultations with all the stakeholders once again and to present suitable legislation in the future addressing all the concerns of all the regions of the State favouring decentralization.
o The farmers of Amaravati region had been fighting the three capitals decision for more than 700 days now. o They fear that the government will not build all the infrastructure it promised them, undermining the value of their land.

Recently, India’s first ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index: Baseline Report and Dashboard’ was released by NITI Aayog in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
Multidimensional Poverty Index by NITI Aayog
• Part of Global Indices for Reforms and Growth (GIRG) initiative, the latest Index is based on the MPI from UNDP and OPHI with inclusion of two additional indicators, i.e., antenatal care and bank account under the dimensions of health and standard of living.
• This baseline report of India’s first ever national MPI measure is based on the reference period of 2015-16 of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
Key findings from National MPI :
With estimates of national MPI headcount ratio and intensity of India, States and UTs, as well as for all the districts, the major findings from it are:
• National MPI: At 0.118 with Rural MPI at 0.155 and Urban MPI at 0.04 (MPI ranges from 0 to 1 and higher values imply higher poverty).
• Highest Poverty States/UTs: Bihar with 51.91% of the population as poor, followed by Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
• Lowest Poverty States/UTs: Kerala with 0.71% of the population as poor, followed by Puducherry and Lakshadweep.
• Household level deprivations on Important Indicators
 Households deprived of healthy nutrition levels: 37.6%.
 Households deprived of six years of schooling: 13.9%.
 Households with unimproved or no sanitation facility: 52%.
Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework
The RBI has issued a revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for banks to enable supervisory intervention at “appropriate time” and also act as a tool for effective market discipline.
About the revised framework:
1. The revised PCA framework will be effective from January 1, 2022.
2. Capital, asset quality and leverage will be the key areas for monitoring.
3. Indicators to be tracked for capital, asset quality and leverage would be CRAR/Common Equity Tier I Ratio, Net NPA Ratio and Tier I Leverage Ratio, respectively.
About Prompt Corrective Action (PCA):
• PCA is a framework under which banks with weak financial metrics are put under watch by the RBI.
• The RBI introduced the PCA framework in 2002 as a structured early-intervention mechanism for banks that become undercapitalised due to poor asset quality, or vulnerable due to loss of profitability.
• It aims to check the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector.
• The framework was reviewed in 2017 based on the recommendations of the working group of the Financial Stability and Development Council on Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions in India and the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
• PCA Framework would apply to all banks operating in India including foreign banks operating through branches or subsidiaries based on breach of risk thresholds of identified indicators.
• However, payments banks and small finance banks (SFBs) have been removed from the list of lenders where prompt corrective action can be initiated.
• Parameters for PCA:
o Capital, Asset Quality and Leverage are 3 parameters which will be the key areas for monitoring in the revised framework and there are three risk threshold, from 1 to 3, in the increasing order of severity
When is Prompt corrective action framework invoked?
The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and the like.
What are the types of restrictions?
There are two types of restrictions, mandatory and discretionary. Restrictions on dividend, branch expansion, directors’ compensation, are mandatory while discretionary restrictions could include curbs on lending and deposit.

Recently, GN Bajpai committee report on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 was released. More on news
• The Working Group on Tracking Outcomes of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) was constituted in May, 2019 by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).

About IBC, 2016
• The IBC, 2016 provides for resolution of stress assets of a company, a limited liability partnership, a proprietorship, or partnership firm, or an individual (refer to the infographics).
• Implementation of code consists of 4 pillars:
o Adjudicating authorities (the National Company Law Tribunal or NCLT & the Debt Recovery Tribunal or DRT),
o IBBI to exercise regulatory oversight overs insolvency professional agencies,
o Insolvency Professionals (IPs) and o Information Utilities (IUs).

Key Highlights of the committee report:
• The Working Group has come out with a comprehensive framework for developing a metrics for measuring the outcomes of IBC to objectively evaluate the achievements under the IBC.
• Committee has identified goals for the IBC process :
o Resolution of the distressed asset
o Promotion of entrepreneurship o Availability of credit
o Balancing the interests of stakeholders.
• Key recommendations:
o Suggested a standardised framework to assess the success of the IBC and improve its implementation.
o Reliable real-time data is essential to assess the performance of the insolvency process.
o Measure and track both quantifiable and non-quantifiable outcomes of the Code.
o non-quantifiable outcomes such as behavioural changes in the debtors and creditors, ushered in by the Code need to be corroborated by research and quantifiable proxy indicators.

Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has released its Vision Document on “Increasing India’s Electronics Exports and Share in Global Value Chains (GVC)”.
More on news:
• The Vision document focuses on the opportunities and key inputs to increase India’s share in the GVC and build largescale manufacturing capabilities to achieve a substantial share in global electronics export.
• It is a part of MeiTY’s Vision 1000 Days that sets a target of achieving $1 Trillion Digital Economy for Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Overview of Electronics Industry

Potential of Electronics for India:
The electronics sector has the potential to become one of the top exports of India in the next 3–5 years.
 Raising share in terms of GDP: India is targeting a quantum jump of increasing the share of electronics sector from 2% to 10% in India’s GDP in near future.
 Rising Demand- As per MeitY, demand for electronics hardware in the country is projected to increase from USD 45 billion in 2009 to USD 400 billion by the year 2020.
 NPE 2019: The National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019 set the target of $400 billion turnover by 2025.
 Flagship Programs: Vision set by Government of India under Digital India and Make in India programs is boosting electronics sector.
• New emerging export destinations: India is considering new markets with huge potential like as North Africa, South America, etc.
• India a strong investment destination: Due to rapidly rising cost of manufacturing and labour in China.
• Focus on Infrastructure: 200 Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) are to be setup with world class logistics, Infrastructure.

 Scheme aims to ease retail investor access to the government bond market.
 It offers a portal to invest in Central Government securities, Treasury Bills, State Development Loans and Sovereign Gold Bonds
 Individual investors can access the online portal to open a securities account with RBI, bid in primary auctions and buy and sell securities in the market.
 No fee will be charged for any of the services provided under the scheme.
• It is RBI’s first global hackathon with the theme ‘Smarter Digital Payments’.
• Hackathon invites participants to develop solutions that have the potential to
o Make digital payments accessible to the underserved. o Enhance the ease of payments and user experience.
o Strengthen security of digital payments and promoting customer protection.

The rules have been amended.
The amendments to come into effect from 1st April, 2022.
• Key Highlights:
o Mandatory declaration of MRP in Indian currency inclusive of all taxes on pre packed products.
o Declaration of date of manufacture on the pre packed commodities is made mandatory for pre packed commodities.
o Unit Sale Price for all pre packed commodities meant for retail sale is introduced to allow easier comparison of the prices.
One Sun, One World, One Grid
This initiative was announced on the second day of COP26 by India and the United Kingdom to tap solar energy and have it travel seamlessly across borders.
About the initiative:
• The initiative brings together the International Solar Alliance and the UK’s green grid initiative and complements India’s focus on harnessing the sun’s energy.
• The grid will be set up over the next few years by the International Solar Alliance (ISA), another initiative authored by India initially, to transport solar power to different countries.
• The vision behind the OSOWOG is ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time.
• A Ministerial Steering Group will work towards accelerating the making of large solar power stations and wind farms in the best locations, linked together by continental-scale grids crossing national borders.
• The Ministerial Steering Group includes France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, and will also have representatives from Africa, the Gulf, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Significance of world grid:
With one worldwide grid, we can access clean energy at all places. The need to store energy would also lessen, and the viability of solar projects will increase.

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, hosted by the UK, recently took place.
According to the UNFCCC, COP26 will work towards four goals:
1. Net-Zero by 2050:
• To secure Global Net-Zero by Mid-Century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
• Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that include reaching net-zero by the middle of the century.
• To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:
0. Accelerate the phase-out of coal
1. Curtail deforestation
2. Speed up the switch to electric vehicles
3. Encourage investment in renewable sources of energy.
2. Adapt to Protect Communities and Natural Habitats:
Countries will work together to ‘protect and restore ecosystems and build defences, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.’
The Conference also included the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 16), and the third session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 3).
3. Mobilise Finance:
Developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilize at least USD100bn in climate finance per year.
International financial institutions must play their part and we need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
4. Work Together to Deliver:
Another important task at the COP26 is to ‘finalize the Paris Rulebook’.
Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris agreement.

The Glasgow climate pact as an outcome of CoP26:
The following were agreed upon in the Glasgow Climate Pact by the nations of the world:
Countries reaffirmed the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C.
Countries stressed the urgency of action when carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 45 percent to reach net-zero around mid-century. But with present climate plans and the Nationally determined Contributions are falling far short. Hence the Glasgow Climate Pact calls on all countries to present stronger national action plans next year, instead of in 2025, which was the original timeline.
The countries agreed to a provision calling for a phase-down of coal power and a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies – two key issues that had never been explicitly mentioned in decisions of UN climate talks before.
Developed countries came to Glasgow falling short on their promise to deliver US$100 billion a year for developing countries and expressed confidence that the target would be met in 2023.
The Glasgow Pact calls for a doubling of finance to support developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change and building resilience.
Countries reached an agreement on the remaining issues of the so-called Paris rulebook, the operational details for the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Acknowledging that climate change is having increasing impacts on people especially in the developing world, countries agreed to strengthen a network— known as the Santiago Network, that provides vulnerable countries with technical assistance, knowledge, and resources to address climate risks.
They also launched a new “Glasgow dialogue” to discuss arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimize and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
Key terms:
• Net-zero emissions pertain to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced, and GHG emissions removed from the atmosphere.
• A country can be said to be net-zero when it produces no emissions, either because it has actually phased out all emissions or because it is removing enough from the atmosphere to offset the emissions it releases.
• The latter can be achieved by restoring or increasing forest cover or through technologies such as carbon capture.

Carbon neutrality:
• Carbon neutrality is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is achieved when anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic CO2 removals over a specified period.
• There are several actions that an emitter can take to achieve this balance, such as reducing energy consumption and emissions-producing activities, improving energy efficiency processes, and consumption of renewable sources of energy.
• A nation or an organization can also achieve carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting, a process of compensating for CO2 emissions it generates by participating in, or funding efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
• Offsetting usually involves paying another party, somewhere else, to save emissions equivalent to those produced by the emitter.

Carbon footprint:
• A carbon footprint measures the amount of CO2 equivalent a country, an industry, an individual, or a product emits or is responsible for.
• The footprint is calculated in both direct emissions (from the burning of fossil fuels, heating, and transportation), and indirect emissions during the whole lifecycle of products.
• It also includes emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
• It is expressed as a measure of weight, as in tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalent per year.



Recently, a blueprint for the ‘National Coal Gasification Mission’ prepared by the Union Coal Ministry.
• The government aims to achieve gasification of 100 Million Tonnes (MT) of coal by 2030 and this is the first time that a mission document has been released.
• In order to take ahead the Vision of 100 MT coal Gasification by 2030, Ministry of Coal has chalked out implementation strategy which include:
 Mapping of gasification potential of coalfields especially in North east.
 Development of indigenous technology suitable for various feed stock (low ash coal, coal mixed with pet coke and high ash coal). o Development of suitable business model for setting up of various projects. o Marketing strategy for end products.
 Policy support with a view to encourage Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme.
 Coordination with various stake holding Ministries.
 Providing quantifiable targets to various companies and monitoring the implementation of activities.
Issues and Challenges:
Quality of Coal: The quality of coal available in India is mostly of low rank high ash coal. Technology for conversion of high ash coal to syn gas is one of the major challenges. There is a need to develop indigenous technology suited to Indian coal.
• Capital and time intensive: Setting up of coal gasification plant is a capital-intensive work and will require at least 48 months of time.
• Infrastructure requirement: Requirement of land, water, electricity will play an important role in establishing Syn Gas conversion (SCG) projects. Further, development of market for various products and transportation cost from point of production to consumption centre will also be important.

• Water-Intensive: Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production, and large areas of China, particularly in the western parts of the country that would host new gasification plants, already suffer from water shortages.
o There are concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of wastewater safely.
About Coal Gasification
• Coal gasification is the process of converting coal into synthesis gas (also called syngas), which is a mixture of hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
• The syngas technology allows conversion of non-mineable coal/lignite into combustible gases through in situ gasification of the material.
Syn-Gas produced from Coal gasification can be used in producing Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG), energy fuel (methanol & ethanol), ammonia for fertilizers and petro-chemicals.
• In the past, number of efforts has been made to gasify coal in India. These efforts started in year 1960s and are continuing even now with varying capacities/scales.







• Arunachal Pradesh Cabinet adopted the declaration on climate change-resilient and responsive Arunachal Pradesh envisages a low emission and climate-resilient development through five broad themes:
o Environment, forest and climate change; health and well-being of all; sustainable and adaptive living; livelihoods and opportunities and evidence generation and collaborative action.
• Cabinet also approved Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly with a view to boosting butterfly tourism and saving the species from extinction in the State.

• Recently, Minister for Jal Shakti launched RCA.
• RCA is a dedicated platform for river cities to ideate, discuss and exchange information for sustainable management of urban rivers.
o It will focus on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.
• RCA includes cities from both Ganga basin and non-Ganga basin states.
• RCA gives opportunities to these cities to strengthen governance aspects for river cities and improves their liveability to attract external economic investments.


• E-Amrit’, a web portal on electric vehicles (EVs) was launched by India at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, UK.
• It is a one-stop destination for all information on electric vehicles—busting myths around the adoption 74 of EVs and complement initiatives of government on raising awareness on EVs.
• The portal has been developed and hosted by NITI Aayog under a collaborative knowledge exchange programme with the UK government and as part of the UK–India Joint Roadmap 2030.

• Recently, DoT fixed 30 June 2022 as deadline for complete transition to IPv6 for government organisations and December 2022 for internet service providers
• IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP) to provide an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet known as IP address.
o IP is a set of requirements for addressing and routing data on the Internet.
o An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device or domain that connects to the Internet.
• As compared to IPv4, it is fast, more secure and offers 340 undecillion unique address spaces through its 128 bit address scheme.


New regulations are proposed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Food Safety and Standards Act (2006) and will apply to:
o Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) or Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing;
GMOs/GEOs/LMOs mean any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through use of modern biotechnology.
Food or Processed food containing Genetically Modified ingredients (GEI) produced from but not containing LMOs or GEOs or GMOs.
Key provisions of draft regulations o Prior Approval from FSSAI for manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import etc. of any food or food ingredient derived from GMOs.
o If GMOs or GEOs contain LMOs, it requires prior approval from Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee to get FSSAI approval and direct approval from FSSAI if no LMOs.
o Specifies the requirements for Food Laboratories to be designated for GM foods testing.
o Labelling Standards for GM foods if GEI is 1% or more.
Earlier FSSAI notified draft Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Food) Regulations 2021 which includes following key provisions:
o Define plant-based food products or what constitutes vegan food,
o Introduce new vegan food logo to identify such products,
o No animal testing of vegan food to ensure 100% animal-free and vegan-friendly products

• This is world’s first needle-free plasmid DNA vaccine, administer in first two layers of the skin using a needle free applicator. o This same technology is used in diabetic patent for insulin.
• It is a three-dose vaccine administered in the interval of 0-28-56 days.
• Plasmid DNA vaccine:
o A piece of DNA encoding the antigen (part of the disease-causing pathogen that induces an immunity response from our bodies) is inserted into a bacterial plasmid.
o This DNA plasmids carrying the antigen are injected into the muscle.
Once the DNA gets inside our cells, they start producing antigens, which triggers an immune response.
o DNA vaccines can be easily manufactured, are inexpensive and safer.

Palestine wants India’s support:

Indian and Palestinian Prime Ministers held meetings in Glasgow recently on the side lines of the COP26 summit.
Outcomes of the meet:
• Palestine asked India to play a stabilising role in West Asia by maintaining cooperation with “all related parties”.
• It said, India had a historic tradition of supporting the rights of the Palestinian people and its technical support should be “parallel to the political support”.
• India should support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.

Why is India’s support significant?
India is serving as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for 2021-22 and was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24.”
Also, in recent years, India has broken the tradition of supporting Palestine at the U.N.
1. In 2019, India voted in favour of Israel at the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) to deny observer status to a Palestinian organisation named Shahed.
2. In June, India abstained during the voting on a resolution calling for investigation into Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip at the Human Rights Council which drew strong protest from Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki who wrote a letter critical of India’s abstention.

India’s support for the Palestinian cause is an integral part of the nation’s foreign policy.
In 1974, India became the first Non-Arab State to recognize Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
• India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by independent views and interests, and not determined by any third country.
• United Nations peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said that UN peacekeeping missions are confronting greater threats today compared to two or three years ago.
• Challenges in solving conflicts for peacekeeping forces today include
o Conflicts are driven by multiple factors including ethnic tensions and the impact of organized crime to illegal exploitation of resources and terrorism.
o Conflicts are multi-layered i.e., not only local and national, but also regional and global. For ex, increasing terrorist activity in Africa’s impoverished Sahel region.
o Presence of conflict enhancers, including digital technologies, impact of fake news and misinformation and usage of increasingly sophisticated means. o Political and security environment deteriorated.
• Steps required to make UN peacekeeping more effective:
o Improved medical support and equipment to make peacekeepers more nimble, mobile and reactive, especially more helicopters.
o Increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations as more women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping.
o Digital transformation of peacekeeping which will enable better communication and help in countering misinformation, and the better collection and processing of information.
• About UN Peacekeeping
o Peacekeeping operations get their mandates from UN Security Council.
o Their troops and police are contributed by Members States o They are guided by three basic principles: Consent of the parties; Impartiality and Non-use of force except in selfdefense and defence of the mandate.
• CORPAT or Coordinated Patrol- 32nd military exercise between India and Thailand.
• Shakti 2021- 6th Edition of India-France military exercise.
• SITMEX: It is a Trilateral Maritime Exercise between India, Singapore and Thailand.
• Sagar shakti exercise: It is the ‘mega multi-agency military exercise’ conducted in Kutch to test India’s combat readiness.
• Exercise Dosti: 15th edition of the Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka biennial Trilateral Exercise.

Recently, the Union Minister for Labour and Employment flagged off the first ever AISDWs.
• The survey is aimed at estimating the number and proportion of DWs at the national and state level, percentage distribution of domestic workers for live-in/live-out, formal/informal employment, and other socio-economic characteristics. o It will plug-in the data gap and also aid evidence-based policy making processes.
• The AISDWs is part of the 5 All India Surveys being undertaken by the Labour Bureau. Other four are All-India Survey are on –
o Migrant Workers o Employment generated in Transport Sector o Employment Generated by Professionals and
o All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES).
About domestic workers
• Domestic worker is a person who is employed in any household on a temporary or permanent basis to do the household work.
• According to the estimates by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are at least four million domestic servants in India. Most of them are the migrants, women, many are minors, and belong to lowest end of Economic Spectrum.
o Most of these are from vulnerable communities – Adivasis, Dalits or landless OBCs. Nearly all of them are migrant workers. And an overwhelming number are women.
• Vast majority of the live-in domestic workers work a minimum of 15 hours a day, seven days a week. The Part-Time workers often work in 3-4 different houses for nearly 8-10 hours every day.
• India is a signatory to ILO’s 189th convention, known as Convention on the Domestic Workers; but has not ratified it yet.
o Convention mandates that the domestic workers be given daily and weekly rest hours, their payment must meet minimum wage requirement, and that they should be allowed to choose place where they live and spend their leave.
• Gender skewed: The ILO says about 1 in 25 women workers in the world are domestic workers.

• SS is an annual survey of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation in cities and towns across India under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U).
o It is conducted by MoHUA with Quality Council of India (QCI) as its implementation partner.
oThe objective of the survey is to encourage large scale citizen participation, ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free cities (GFC) and open defecation free cities (ODF) among others.
o First Survekshan was done in 2016 which included only 73 cities.
• With the participation of 4,320 cities, the 6th edition of SS has become the world’s largest urban cleanliness survey.
o Survey was divided into 3 major parts.

Key Findings:
o Indore won title of ‘Cleanest City’ for fifth consecutive time followed by Surat and Vijayawada in the ‘more than 1 lakh population’ category.
o Varanasi emerged as ‘Best Ganga Town’ while Ahmedabad Cantonment won title of ‘India’s Cleanest Cantonment’,
o Additionally, under PrerakDaaur Samman, a new performance category introduced under Swachh Survekshan 2021, five cities – Indore, Surat, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi Municipal Council and Tirupati were categorized as ‘Divya’ (Platinum)

• More than two decades after the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, India has registered the two logos of the iconic ‘Toy Train’ internationally as its intellectual property.
o The use of these logos anywhere in the world will now require written permission from India and the payment of a fee.
• This will put the Darjeeling Toy Train’s ‘Iron Sherpa’ blue steam locomotives of the Darjeeling heritage train on the same pedestal as the legendary transalpine Rhaetian Railway in Switzerland.

• BTV is a global initiative to highlight those villages where tourism preserves cultures and traditions, celebrates diversity, provides opportunities and safeguards biodiversity.
o It aims to support villages to enhance their rural tourism potential through training and access to opportunities for improvement.
• Pochampally Village (Telangana) was selected as one of the BTV by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
o Pochampally is often referred to as Silk City of India for the exquisite sarees woven through Ikat style.
✓ Pochampally Ikat received GI Status in 2004.
o Acharya Vinobha Bhave launched Bhoodan Movement from Pochampally in 1951.

• Srinagar is the homeland to various decorative and renowned arts and crafts like Paper making, Kashmiri Shawl, Kashmiri Silk, Art of Woodwork, Kashmiri Carpets, Silverware work etc
• Situated on the banks of river Jhelum.
• From India other cities in UCCN includes –
1. Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts).
2. Varanasi and Chennai (Music).
3. Mumbai (Film).
4. Hyderabad (Gastronomy).
• UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
• These cities work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

Several tribal outfits in Tripura have joined hands to push their demand for a separate state for indigenous communities in the region, arguing that their “survival and existence” was at stake.
• Among the political parties that have come together for the cause are TIPRA Motha (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) and IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura), which had so far been rivals in the electoral fray.
• The parties are demanding a separate state of ‘Greater Tipraland’ for the indigenous communities of the north-eastern state.
• They want the Centre to carve out the separate state under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
• Among the 19 notified Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, Tripuris (aka Tipra and Tiprasas) are the largest. According to the 2011 census, there are at least 5.92 lakh Tripuris in the state, followed by Reangs (1.88 lakh) and Jamatias (83,000).
Articles of the Constitution in this regard include:
 Article 2 of the Constitution deals with admission or establishment of new states. “Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions, as it thinks fit,” it states.
 Article 3 comes into play in the case of “formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States” by the Parliament.

Over the last few sessions, MPs mainly from the Opposition have often alleged their questions have been disallowed in Parliament of India.
How are questions admitted?
• In both Houses, elected members enjoy the right to seek information from various ministries and departments in the form of starred questions, unstarred questions, short notice questions and questions to private members.
• Usually, MPs’ questions form a long list, which then go through a rigorous process of clearance. The admissibility of questions in Rajya Sabha is governed by Rules 47-50 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States.

• Once a question that fulfils the conditions of admissibility is received, the Secretariat sends it to the ministry concerned.
• Once the facts are received from the ministry, the question is further examined for admissibility.
• A final list of questions is circulated to ministers, on the basis of which they frame their answers.

• The Summit for Democracy was a virtual summit hosted by the United States “to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad” on December 9–10, 2021.

• The three themes are defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and advancing respect for human rights.

• The summit was convened by Mr. Biden to strengthen democracies around the world.

• Biden 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.
• Parliament has passed the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
• The bill will replace the ordinance promulgated in this regard.
• The Bill seeks to amend the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
• The Act provides for the constitution of a Central Vigilance Commission to conduct inquiries into offenses alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
• Presently, the Director of Enforcement has a tenure of a minimum of two years.
• The Bill adds that the tenure of the Director may be extended by up to one year at a time, till the completion of five years from the initial appointment. Such extensions may be granted in the public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee.
• Under the 2003 Act, the Director of Enforcement is appointed by the central government, on the recommendation of a committee.
• This Committee is chaired by the Central Vigilance Commissioner and includes the Secretaries from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Personnel, and the Revenue department.

The Centre will table the much-awaited Mediation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

• The Bill provides for establishment of the Mediation Council of India and for community mediation. The Bill intends to institutionalise the process of mediation by strengthening the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.

• The Bill safeguards the interest of the litigants to approach the competent adjudicatory forums/ courts in case urgent relief is sought.

• The successful outcome of mediation in the form of a Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been made enforceable by law.

• Since the Mediation Settlement Agreement is out of the consensual agreement between the parties, the challenge to the same has been permitted on limited grounds.

• According to the Bill, the mediation process protects the confidentiality of the mediation undertaken and provides for immunity in certain cases against its disclosure.

• The registration of Mediation Settlement Agreement has also been provided for with State/ District/ Taluk Legal Authorities within 90 days to ensure maintenance of authenticated records of the settlement so arrived.

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar number has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha.
• The Bill allows electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant.

• It also seeks to allow the officers to ask for the number from “persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in electoral roll, and to identify registration of name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency”.

• People who cannot furnish their Aadhaar numbers will be allowed to present other documents to establish identity.

Important Info:
Various Sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951 will be amended.
• Section 23 of the RP Act, 1950 will be amended to allow linking of the roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem “to curb the menace of multiple enrolment of the same person in different places”.
• Amendment to Section 14 of the RP Act, 1950 will allow to have four “qualifying” dates for eligible people to register as voters. As of now, January 1 of every year is the sole qualifying date.
• Now, “the January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 in a calendar year” will be the qualifying dates in relation to the preparation or revision of electoral rolls.
• Amendment to Section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 and Section 60 of the RP Act, 1951 will allow the elections become gender-neutral for service voters. It will also help replace the word “wife” with the word “spouse” making the statutes “gender neutral”.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employees Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portal, which acts as a directory of skilled workforce.
• The objective is to provide a platform that matches supply of skilled workforce with the market demand, thereby facilitating better livelihood opportunities for youth and availability of ready skilled manpower to employers.

• ASEEM portal is being managed by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the aegis of Ministry.

• As on 16.07.2021, 1.3 crore candidates have been registered on ASEEM portal which includes directly registered candidates and the candidates registered on Skill India Portal (SIP).

ASEEM as such consists of three IT based AI (artificial intelligence) driven interfaces for stakeholder interactions:
• A job application for individuals with access to hyper local jobs using machine learning and automated match based on persona.

• A demand and campaign management system for employers to forecast the current and future demand.

• A management dashboard for analytics and insights. This could also be used for future decision making.

India stands out as a “poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite”, where the top 10% holds 57% of the total national income, including 22% held by the top 1%, while the bottom 50% holds just 13% in 2021, according to the World Inequality Report 2022.

• The report has been authored by economist and co-director of the World Inequality Lab, Lucas Chancel, along with economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Key findings for India

• It says India’s middle class is relatively poor with an average wealth of Rs 7,23,930, or 29.5% of the total national income, compared with the top 10% and 1% who own 65% (Rs 63,54,070) and 33% (Rs 3,24,49,360), respectively.

• The average annual national income of the Indian adult population is Rs 2,04,200 in 2021. The bottom 50% earned Rs 53,610, while the top 10% earned over 20 times more (Rs 11,66,520), the report states. The average household wealth is Rs 9,83,010, of which the bottom 50% owns Rs 66,280, a mere 6%.

• The share of the top 10% and bottom 50% in pre-tax national income has remained broadly constant since 2014.


• At a time when fixed deposit rates are in low single digits, these NCD offerings look lucrative.

• Non-convertible debentures (NCDs) are a financial instrument that is used by companies to raise long-term capital. This is done through a public issue.

• NCDs are a debt instrument with a fixed tenure and people who invest in these receive regular interest at a certain rate.

• Some debentures can be converted into shares after a certain point in time. This is done at the discretion of the owner. However, this is not possible in the case of NCDs. That’s why they are known as non-convertible.

“Main Bhi Digital 3.0″ campaign launched which is aimed at digital onboarding of Street Vendors who are provided loans under PM SVANidhi Scheme.

• Digital onboarding and training of Street Vendors (SVs) is an integral part of PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme.

• Lending Institutions (LIs) have been instructed to issue a durable QR Code & UPI ID at the time of disbursement and train the beneficiaries in conduct of digital transactions.

• In order to give further impetus to the digital onboarding and training of beneficiaries, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) jointly launched ‘Main Bhi Digital 3.0’from September 9 to November 30, 2021, to complement the efforts of LIs in adoption of digital transactions by the PM SVANidhi beneficiaries.

• PM SVANidhi Scheme is available to all street vendors across the country, including those from Dahod tribal area, who are engaged in vending in urban areas on or before March 24, 2020.


North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi) announced a New Scheme Atmanirbhar Hastshilpkar Scheme for the grass root Artisans of the region under Ministry of Development of North-East Region (DONER).
• The scheme was officially launched on 9/12/2021.

• During the launching ceremony, a total of 17 artisans have been provided with credit assistance of Rs.1 lakh per artisan. The credit facility is collateral free and carries a subsidized interest rate of 6% p.a., which is repayable in 24 months.

• For regular repayment, an incentive of 1% on the interest rate is provided, which will be refunded to the artisans on successful repayment of loans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the farmers during the valedictory session of the National Summit on Agro and Food Processing on 16th December 2021 at 11 AM in Anand, Gujarat via video conferencing.

• The Government of Gujarat is organizing the National Summit on Agro and Food Processing, with focus on Natural Farming.

• The three-day Summit is being organized from 14th to 16th December, 2021.

• It is being attended by over 5000 farmers who will be present in the Summit, apart from farmers being connecting Live through Central Institutes of ICAR, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Agency) network in the States.

• The Summit brings in focus on natural farming.


NTPC Limited announced that India’s first Green Hydrogen Microgrid Projects will be set up at Simhadri near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

• The projects will be a precursor to large-scale hydrogen energy storage projects and would be useful for studying and deploying multiple microgrids in various off-grid and strategic locations of the country.

• The hydrogen produced during sunshine hours will be stored at high pressure and electrified using a 50 Kilo Watt Solid Oxide Fuel Cell.

• The system will work in standalone mode from 5 PM in the evening to 7 AM in the morning.

• This unique project for India, will open doors for decarbonising the far-off regions of the country like Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The Union Cabinet has approved an incentive scheme to promote RuPayDebit cards and low-value (upto Rs. 2,000) BHIM-UPI transactions (Person-to-Merchant (P2M)] in the country.

• Under the scheme, the acquiring banks will be incentivised by the Government, by way of paying percentage of value of transactions (P2M) done through RuPay Debit cards and low-value BHIM-UPI modes of payments, at an estimated financial outlay of Rs.1,300 crore for a period of one year w.e.f. April 01, 2021.

• This scheme will facilitate acquiring Banks in building robust digital payment ecosystem and promoting RuPay Debit card and BHIM-UPI digital transactions, across all sectors and segments of the population and further deepening of digital payments in the country.

• It will also help in making accessible digital modes of payments to unbanked and marginalized populations, who are outside of the formal banking and financial system.

• Background: The scheme has been formulated in compliance with the Budget announcements (FY 2021-22) by the Government to give further boost to digital transactions in the country.

India has registered the highest ever annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow of 81.97 billion dollar in 2020-21.

• Commerce and Industry Ministry said, FDI inflows in the last seven financial years is over 440 billion dollars, which is nearly 58 percent of the total FDI inflow in last 21 financial years.

• Top five countries from where FDI Equity Inflows were received during 2014 to 2021 are Singapore, Mauritius, USA, Netherlands and Japan.

• Computer Software and Hardware sector attracted the largest share of FDI inflows, followed by Service, Trading and Telecommunications.

Union Minister for Agriculture released the book ‘Spices Statistics at a Glance 2021’on 21st December, 2021.

• The book is published by the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development (DASD), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the nodal agency for collection and compilation of area and production estimates of spices at National level.

• The book highlights the growth achieved in spices sector during the last seven years from 2014-15 to 2020-21 in the country.

• Spices production in the Country grew from 67.64 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 to 106.79 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 with an annual growth rate 7.9%, following an increase in area from 32.24 lakh hectare to 45.28 lakh hectare.

• Among the major spices, Cumin (14.8%), Garlic (14.7%), Ginger (7.5%), Fennel (6.8%), Coriander (6.2%), fenugreek (5.8%), Red chilli (4.2%) and Turmeric (1.3 %), show significant growth rate in production.

• Spices export grew from 8.94 lakh tonnes worth Rs 14900 crores to 16 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 29535 crores (US$ 3.98 billion) during the above period, logging an annual growth rate of 9.8% in terms of volume and 10.5% in terms of value.

• The export of spices contributes 41% of the total export earnings from all horticulture crops in the country and it ranks fourth among agricultural commodities, falling behind only the marine products, non-basmati rice and basmati rice.

The Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) has developed a method to dry sheet rubber in 24 hours in place of the traditional method that takes four to five days.

• The conversion of raw latex into sheet rubber helps rubber farmers store the produce and sell according to the market situation as price fluctuation is a constant phenomenon.

• However, the traditional method of drying sheet rubber takes four to five days. The processing involves coagulation, sheeting and drying.

• The much quicker method of drying is done by replacing the conventional coagulant — diluted formic acid — with a mixture of the acid and alcohol and an improved sheeting process.

• In the new process, coagulation takes only about 30 minutes and the drying can be faster after loading the wet coagula in the smokehouse. Quick drying is achieved by increasing the effective surface area through additional rolling.

Note: Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under Rubber Board, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India is located at Kottayam, Kerala, India. It was established in 1955.

Chocolate-bordered Flitter, a new butterfly species has been discovered.

• The new species of butterfly, now named the Chocolate-bordered Flitter, also carries the scientific name Zographetus dzonguensis, after Dzongu in north Sikkim, the place where it was discovered.

• It is a golden yellow butterfly with brown borders and spots. The physical appearance of the species differs slightly and the internal structures of the males also differ slightly.

• Its closest relatives are Zographetus pangi in Guangdong, and Zographetus hainanensis in Hainan, both in southeastern China, close to Hong Kong

• It is mentioned on the ‘Butterflies of India’ website which is maintained by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru.

In a major discovery, the longest in-country migration route of lesser floricans, the endangered birds of the bustard group, has been tracked for the first time from Rajasthan to Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district.
• The mystery of the fast-disappearing birds may soon be resolved with the help of satellite transmitters fitted on them.
• The telemetry exercise was undertaken in the Shokaliya landscape of Ajmer district to trace the journey of lesser floricans from their breeding grounds to their places of origin, presumably in down South.
Lesser florican
• Lesser florican, taxonomically classified as Sypheotides indicus, is a small and slender bird species belonging to the bustard group, found in tall grasslands, for which Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has launched a recovery programme.
• The endangered bird is observed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and some other regions during the monsoon season, when it breeds and later disappears with its chicks to unknown places.
• The bird is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and its population has been identified as “decreasing”.

Between 2018 and 2020, about 2,054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India, Central Government statistics say.
• In the three years, about 3,836 accused were arrested for the crime.

• The number of cases registered in the year 2018 was 648 and 1,099 persons were arrested; followed by 805 cases and 1,506 arrests in 2019; and 601 cases and 1,231 arrests in 2020.

• The data was made available on the basis of cases registered by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and State Forest and Police Authorities in the past three years.

• The details were made public by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

• The reply on November 29 also pointed out that Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been created for control of wildlife crime at the Central Government level.

Operations by WCCB
• The WCCB had launched operation “Save Kurma” from to December 2016 to January 2017 to focus on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.

• Another operation “Operation Turtshield- I” from December 2019 to January 2020 and Operation Turtshield-II” (December 2020 to February 2021) was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles, resulting in the seizure of 4,601 live/dead turtles and arrest of 45 accused in the first operation.

• “Operation Softgold” was undertaken from October, 2018 to March, 2019 to tackle illegal trade in Shahtoosh shawls (made from Chiru wool). During the operation, 350 shawls were found.

An increase in the forest density and the big cat prey base, especially deer, had attracted a Royal Bengal tiger, a first such sighting in 23 years, to the Buxa Tiger reserve.
• They believed that a favourable habitat at the tiger reserve would invite more tigers, which had migrated to neighbouring Bhutan. The state shares a contiguous range of the protected area with Bhutan.

• The forest department shared a camera trap picture of the tiger spotted at the East Damanpur range of the tiger reserve.
About Buxa Tiger Reserve:
• Buxa Tiger Reserve lies in Alipurduar district of West Bengal.
• Its northern boundary runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of BTR.
• The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the eastern boundary touches that of the Assam state.
• Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for Asian elephant migration between India and Bhutan.
• National Highway No.31 C roughly runs along its southern boundary.
• It is the easternmost extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India and represents highly endemic Indo-Malayan region. The fragile “Terai Eco-System” constitutes a part of this reserve.

The GIS based ‘Automatic Water Supply System’ for citizens of Cantonment Boards, 1st of its kind in the country was recently launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the occasion of Defence Estates Day 2021.
• The module of GIS based Water Supply system for Cantonment Boards has been developed by Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo informatics under the guidance of Defence Secretary and Director General of Defence Estates, Delhi.
• It is completely automated which provides facility to its citizen to identify the location of water supply connection. It automatically determines nearest water pipeline.
• This GIS system is first of its kind in the country. It is based on ‘minimum government and maximum governance’ concept as there is no manual intervention for clearance or sanction of the water connection.


When Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace successfully test-fired Dhawan-1 last month, it became the country’s first privately developed, fully cryogenic rocket engine running on two high-performance rocket propellants — liquid natural gas (LNG) and liquid oxygen (LoX).
• The engine was developed using 3D printing with a superalloy.

• That has set the firm on a higher trajectory with an ambitious plan to launch the first private space launch vehicle using cryogenic engine Vikram-2 into orbit in two years.

• Before that, the two co-founders — C. Pawan Kumar (IIT-Kharagpur, 2012 batch) and Naga Bharath D. (IIT-Madras, 2012 batch) — plan to put their first launch vehicle, 20-metre Vikram-1, based on solid propulsion engine, in space.

• This was after successfully designing and developing the solid propulsion rocket engine, the first private firm in the country to do so.

• The firm has already won a national award for start-ups in space research and had an online interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Zealand said it will ban young people from buying cigarettes for life, one of the toughest approaches in the world to curbing smoking deaths as part of a wider plan that focuses on the disproportionate impact on its indigenous Maori population.

• New Zealand is already one of 17 countries where plain cigarette packaging is compulsory.

• New Zealand plans to make it illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone aged 14 and under from 2027. The ban will remain in place for the rest of the person’s life. That means a person aged 60 in 2073 will be banned from buying cigarettes, while a person aged 61 would be allowed to do so.

• It also bans sales to anyone under 18, but it says those measures are not enough to reach its goal of a national adult smoking rate of less than 5% by 2025.


• Bhutan banned cigarette sales outright in 2010 (although it lifted the ban temporarily in 2020 to stop black market imports from India during a COVID-19 border closure, Al-Jazeera reported).

NASA launched a new mission named Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer or IXPE.
• Onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, it was sent to its orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. IXPE observatory is a joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency.

• The mission will study “the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects.”

• The mission’s primary length is two years and the observatory will be at 600 kilometers altitude, orbiting around Earth’s equator.

• IXPE is expected to study about 40 celestial objects in its first year in space.

• This new mission will complement other X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton.

Under the Deep Ocean Mission launched by the Government of India, a manned scientific submersible has been proposed to be developed for deep ocean exploration. The project is named as Samudrayaan.

• National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), an autonomous Institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had developed and tested a ‘personnel sphere’ for a manned submersible system for 500 metre water depth rating.

• Personnel Sphere of 2.1m diameter to be used as a crew module up to 500 m water depth has been developed using mild steel and tested up to 600 m water depth in the Bay of Bengal using the research Vessel Sagar Nidhi during October, 2021.

• One Titanium alloy personnel sphere for manned submersible system for 6000 metre water depth rating, is under development in association with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO, Thiruvananthapuram.

World’s largest and most powerful space telescope has been launched successfully into orbit to make breakthrough discoveries on the origins of the Universe and Earth-like planets beyond our solar system.

• The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s premier space observatory of the next decade, was launched in an Ariane rocket from the European Space Agency’s base in French Guiana on Christmas Day.

• The Webb telescope will reach its destination in solar orbit some 1.5 million km from Earth – about four times farther away than the moon.

• And Webb’s special orbital path will keep it in constant alignment with the Earth as the planet and telescope circle the sun in tandem.

• It will see farther into our origins, from the formation of stars and planets, to the birth of the first galaxies in the early Universe. It intends to show humans what the Universe looked like even closer to its birth nearly 14 billion years ago.

• Webb, named after one of the architects of the Apollo Moon landings, is the successor to the Hubble telescope. Jointly built by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, the new observatory is, however, 100 times more powerful.

A Japanese professor has developed a prototype lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavours, another step towards creating a multi-sensory viewing experience.

• The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavour canisters that spray in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The flavour sample then rolls on hygienic film over a flat TV screen for the viewer to try.

• In the COVID-19 era, this kind of technology can enhance the way people connect and interact with the outside world, said Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita.

• The goal is to make it possible for people to have the experience of something like eating at a restaurant on the other side of the world, even while staying at home.

• Potential applications include distance learning for sommeliers and cooks, and tasting games and quizzes.



Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) NITI Aayog released the second edition of ‘Innovations for You’ and another compendium titled ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’.

• The second edition of ‘Innovations for You’ is a compendium of innovations focused on agriculture featuring 70 start-ups supported by Atal incubation Centres (AICs) of AIM.

• ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’ is a compendium on the innovations on technology featuring 41 innovations from Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) of India.

• ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’ is a compilation of the top innovations created by young student innovators who participated in the ATL Marathon – which invites school students to address a problem that they see or face on a day-to-day basis.

11th Edition of Exercise EKUVERIN between India & Maldives will be conducted at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives from 06 to 19 December 2021.
• The exercise will enhance synergy & inter-operability between Armed Forces of both the Nations in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land & at sea, conducting Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations and sharing best military practices and experiences.

• Besides rigorous training, the joint military excercise will also include cultural and sports activities to enhance defence cooperation and bilateral relations.

• The exercise will go a long way in strengthening India’s relations with Maldives amidst emerging security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region.


The tension on the Russia-Ukraine border represents a major security crisis for the region, with the potential to snowball into a broader conflict.


• Ukraine says that Russia has amassed around 90,000 troops at the border, and US intelligence reports say that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is possible as early as next month.

• Russia has shown, as recently as 2014, that it is not averse to taking military action in Ukraine. In that year, Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in what was the first time a European country annexed territory from another country since World War Two.

• Ukraine and Russia share hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic and familial links. As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second-most powerful Soviet republic after Russia, and was crucial strategically, economically and culturally.

• Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the West have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.

• For the United States and the European Union, Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West.

• Efforts to induct Ukraine into NATO have been ongoing for many years and seems to have picked up pace recently. Russia has declared such a move a “red line”, with Moscow worried about the consequences of the US-led military alliances expanding right up to its doorstep.

India has welcomed Egypt as the fourth new member of BRICS New Development Bank that was established by the BRICS countries six years ago.
• Bangladesh, UAE, and Uruguay joined in September 2021. Membership expansion enables New Development Bank to position itself as a premier development institution for emerging economies.

• The New Development Bank aims to mobilize resources for development projects in BRICS, emerging economies, and developing countries.

• The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) set up the bank with an aim to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies.

• The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The first regional office of the NDB is in Johannesburg, South Africa. The second regional office was established in 2019 in São Paulo, Brazil, followed by Moscow, Russia.

• The NDB said it has so far approved about 80 projects in all of its member countries, totalling a portfolio of USD 30 billion. Projects in areas such as transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure and urban development are within the scope of the bank.

‘Sandhayak’, the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) project being built for the Indian Navy, was launched in Kolkata on December 05, 2021.
• These Vessels have been designed and developed by Defence Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited, which is among the leading warship building companies in India.

• These survey ships are capable of full scale coastal & deep-water hydrographic survey of Ports & Harbour approaches and determination of navigational channels & routes.

• These ships are also capable of undertaking survey of maritime limits and collection of Oceanographic & Geographical data for Defence applications, thus boosting the maritime capabilities of the country.

• These ships are propelled by two Marine Diesel Engines combined with Fixed Pitch Propellers and fitted with Bow & Stern Thrusters for manoeuvring at low speeds during surveys.

At the centre of the violence which followed the killing of six civilians in Oting village of Mon district in Nagaland, and which led to the killing of eight more civilians, are the Konyaks – among the largest tribes in the state.
• With a population of roughly 3 lakhs, the area inhabited by the Konyaks extends into Arunachal Pradesh, with a sizeable population in Myanmar as well.

• Known to be one of the fiercest warrior tribes in Nagaland, the Konyaks were the last to give up the practice of head-hunting – severing heads of enemies after attacking rival tribes – as late as the 1980s.

• Mon is the only district in Nagaland where separatist group NSCN (IM) has not been able to set up base camps, largely due to resistance from the Konyaks.

• Due to their numbers and the tribe’s anti-NSCN (IM) position, the Konyaks forms the backbone of the NNPG – 7 Naga insurgent groups indigenous to Nagaland – unlike the IM, which is dominated by the Manipur-origin Tangkhul tribe.

• The Konyaks therefore, are imperative for a smooth resolution of the peace talks, as well as the post-talk peace process in the state.
Rescuers in Indonesia raced to find survivors in villages blanketed by molten ash after the eruption of Mount Semeru killed at least 14 persons and left dozens injured.
• Semeru, or Mount Semeru, is an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia.
• It is located in a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australia plate subducts under the Eurasia plate.
• It is the highest mountain on the island of Java.
• The name “Semeru” is derived from Meru, the central world mountain in Hinduism, or Sumeru, the abode of gods.

• This stratovolcano is also known as Mahameru, meaning “The Great Mountain” in Sanskrit.

To improve leadership skills of grassroot women political leaders, the National Commission for Women (NCW) launched a pan-India capacity building programme, ‘She is a Changemaker’.
• It has been launched for women representatives at all levels, gram panchayats to parliament members and political workers including office bearers of National/State political parties.

• The capacity building programme will be undertaken in association with region-wise training institutes with an objective to undertake capacity building of women political leaders and improve their decision making and communication skills including, oration, writing, etc.

• The official launch of training programmes under ‘She is a Changemaker’ series was held in collaboration with Rhambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, Thane, Maharashtra.

A Curtain Raiser Event for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise, PANEX-21, for the member nations of BIMSTEC countries, was held in New Delhi on 07 December 2021.
• The exercise is planned to be conducted from 20-22 December 2021 at Pune and will witness participation from subject matter experts and delegates from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

• The success of the last two BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercises (DMEx-2017 at Delhi and DMEx-2020 at Puri) speak of the close coordination mechanism that the BIMSTEC nations share.

Renowned Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo has been conferred with 57th Jnanpith Award for the year 2022. Noted Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan has bagged 56th Jnanpith award for the year 2021.

Damodar Mauzo
• Mauzo is second Konkani writer to receive the highest literary award, earlier being given to Writer Ravindra Kelekar in 2006.

• Mauzo is short story writer, novelist and screenplay writer. His several short stories are translated into other languages and have appeared in various magazines. Stories of Mauzo depict the struggle of poor people, their agonies and sorrows.

• His novel Karmelin had bagged Sahitya Akademi award in 1983.

Jnanpith Award
• Jnanpith Award is given by Bharatiya Jnanpith, a literary and research organization based in Delhi.

• It is given annually to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.

• It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.

• Instituted in:

• There are no posthumous conferral. Also only works published during the preceding twenty years is considered for the award.

• The award consists of cash prize is ₹11 lakh and a Bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.


The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended distribution of food aid in two northern Ethiopian towns after gunmen looted its warehouses.

• The United Nations said, looters from rebel Tigrayan forces held aid staff at gunpoint in the town of Kombolcha. They stole large quantities of essential food supplies, including some for malnourished children.

• Northern Ethiopia is facing mass starvation amid an ongoing civil war between Tigrayan and government forces. After more than a year of fighting, more than nine million people are in need of critical food supplies in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions, the UN says.

• The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. Founded in 1961, it is headquartered in Rome.

To ensure women safety in cyberspace, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has launched an online resource center to offer help for women in distress on issues pertaining to online safety under the ‘We Think Digital’ programme, run collaboratively by the Commission, Facebook and Cyber Peace Foundation.
• The Resource centre can be accessed at .

• The Resource Centre will act as a source of information and support for online presence.

• The centre will also help in fighting Cyber violence against women and will help prevent tech abuse against them.

• The centre will provide information on cyber security in the form of posters, awareness videos, quizzes and self-learning modules which will include lessons with tips for safe usage and reporting and redressal of cybercrimes.

• The project was launched as Digital Shakti in 2018 with an aim to help women across the nation to raise the awareness level on the digital front and to train them to fight cyber-crime in the most effective ways. The project has sensitized over 1,75,000 women.

Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, has been awarded the 2021 DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from developing countries for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
• Professor Gupta is the third woman to receive the Ramanujan Prize
• The Prize was first awarded in 2005 and is administered by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) jointly with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
• Ramanujan Prize is given annually to an eminent Mathematician who is less than 45 years of age on 31 December of the year of the award and has conducted outstanding research in developing countries.
• The DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize committee, composed of eminent mathematicians from around the world, commented that Gupta’s work “shows impressive algebraic skill and inventiveness”.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is scheduled to launch a National Helpline Against Atrocities (NHAA).

• Aim is to ensure proper implementation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities){PoA} Act, 1989 which was enacted with a view to, inter-alia, preventing atrocities on members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

• The NHAA will be available round the clock on toll-free number 14566 across the country.

• It can be accessed by making a voice call /VOIP either from a mobile or land line number of any Telecom Operator across the country. This service will be available in Hindi, English and regional language of the State/UTs. Its Mobile application will also be available.

• Available as a web-based self-service portal also, the NHAA will generate awareness about the Protection of Civil Right (PCR) Act, 1955 and its rules as well.

• A Docket number shall be given for each complaint received from Victim/Complainant/NGOs regarding non-compliance of the POA Act, 1989 and the PCR Act, 1955. The status of the grievance can be tracked by complainant/NGOs online.

• Any inquiry shall be replied by IVR or operators in Hindi, English and Regional languages.

The 16th Committee of UNESCO for safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in its meeting held in Paris has inscribed DURGA PUJA in KOLKATA on the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

• This is the 1st festival in Asia to achieve recognition as UNESCO ICH of Humanity.

• UNESCO’s list of intangible culture is an annual list which focuses on those forms of performing art which are of outstanding value but are vulnerable due to lack of support.

• Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003. India ratified it in 2007.

• In total, 14 Intangible Cultural Heritage elements from India have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List.

The Union Cabinet’s decision to raise the legal age of marriage for women in India is based on the recommendation of a panel led by Jaya Jaitly.

• In June 2020, the Ministry for Women and Child Development set up a task force to look into the correlation between the age of marriage with issues of women’s nutrition, prevalence of anemia, IMR, MMR and other social indices.

• The committee, headed by former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, also had on board NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul and secretaries of several ministries.

• The committee has recommended the age of marriage be increased to 21 years.

• The committee also asked the government to look into increasing access to schools and colleges for girls, including their transportation to these institutes from far-flung areas.

• Skill and business training has also been recommended, as has sex education in schools.

• The committee said these deliveries must come first, as, unless they are implemented and women are empowered, the law will not be as effective.

• The committee has further recommended that an awareness campaign be undertaken on a massive scale on the increase in age of marriage, and to encourage social acceptance of the new legislation, which they have said would be far more effective than coercive measures.

Important Info:
The Union Cabinet on December 15 took the decision to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. The legal age of marriage for men is 21 years.
With this decision, the government will be bringing the age of marriage for both men and women at par.
View of different religion
• Personal laws of various religions that deal with marriage have their own standards, often reflecting custom.

• For Hindus, The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid.

• The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men, respectively. For the new age of marriage to be implemented, these laws are expected to be amended.

India has successfully test-fired new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni P’, from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
• The missile has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

• Agni P is a two-stage canisterised solid-propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system.

• This second flight-test has proven the reliable performance of all the advanced technologies integrated into the system.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted maiden flight test of indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile ‘Pralay’, from Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on December 22, 2021.
• The Missile is powered with solid propellant rocket motor and many new technologies.
• The missile has a range of 150-500 kilometre and can be launched from a mobile launcher.
• The missile guidance system includes state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics.


DRDO has successfully conducted the flight test of Indigenously developed High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) ‘Abhyas’ from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

• The vehicle can be used as an aerial target for evaluation of various missile systems.

• This indigenous target aircraft, once developed, will meet the requirements of High-speed Expendable Aerial Targets (HEAT) for Indian Armed Forces.

• ABHYAS is designed & developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru. The air vehicle is launched using twin under-slung boosters which provide the initial acceleration to the vehicle.

• It is powered by a gas turbine engine to sustain a long endurance flight at subsonic speed.

• The target aircraft is equipped with MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) for navigation along with the Flight Control Computer (FCC) for guidance and control.

• The vehicle is programmed for fully autonomous flight. The check-out of air vehicle is done using laptop-based Ground Control Station (GCS).

Indian Army launched a contemporary messaging application named ASIGMA.

• ASIGMA stands for Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application.

• It is a new generation, state-of-the-art, web-based application developed entirely in-house by team of officers of the Corps of Signals of the Army.

• The application is being deployed on the Army’s internal network as a replacement of Army Wide Area Network messaging application which has been in service for past the 15 years.

• The application has been fielded on Army owned hardware. It meets all futuristic user requirements and provides enhanced user experience. It has a variety of contemporary features including multi-level security, message prioritisation and tracking.

• This future ready messaging application will meet real time data transfer and messaging requirements of the Army, especially in the backdrop of current geo political security environment.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India launched the ‘Azadi@75 Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free Cities- Toolkit 2022′, the most important governance tool of waste management – the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.
• On 1st October 2021, the Hon’ble Prime Minister launched Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0, with the overall vision of creating “Garbage Free Cities” (GFC).

• For achieving this vision, a key objective under SBM-U 2.0 is to make every urban local body at least 3-star Garbage Free as per the Star Rating protocol.

Key revisions in the protocol are:
• the earlier 25 components/ indicators have now been reduced to 24, of which only 16 indicators are mandatory for 1-star and 3-star levels. The remaining 8 indicators are aspirational in nature, and will be relevant for 5-star and 7-star aspirants;
• the multi-step calculation of the previous GFC protocol has now been changed to a single step marking, which will help ULB to easily self-assess themselves for applying;
• the revised protocol is aligned with SBM-U 2.0 priorities, with higher weightages (50%) allotted to Door-to-Door Collection, Source Segregation, Waste processing & Dumpsite remediation;


Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone for BRAHMOS Manufacturing Centre, established by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on December 26, 2021.

• The BRAHMOS Manufacturing Centre, announced by BrahMos Aerospace, is a modern, state-of-art facility in the Lucknow node of UP DIC.

• It will cover over 200 acres and produce the new BRAHMOS-NG (Next Generation) variant, which carries forward the lineage of the BRAHMOS weapons system.

• This new centre would be ready over the next two to three years and will commence production at a rate of 80-100 BRAHMOS-NG missiles per year.


The Centre has notified rules for Consumer Protection (Jurisdiction of the District Commission, the State Commission and the National Commission) Rules, 2021.
• The revised pecuniary jurisdiction for entertaining consumer complaints shall be upto 50 lakh rupees for District Commissions, more than 50 lakh to two crore rupees for State Commissions and more than two crore rupees for National Commission.

• With notification of the aforementioned rules, the new pecuniary jurisdiction, subject to other provisions of the Act, shall be as under:
o District Commissions shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where value of the goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed 50 lakh rupees.

o State Commissions shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where value of the goods or services paid as consideration exceeds 50 lakh rupees but does not exceed 2 crore rupees.

o National Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where value of the goods or services paid as consideration exceeds 2 crore rupees.

Context: Recently the bi has been passed in the Pariament
• National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 or NIPER bill seeks to accord institute of national importance status to six more institutions of pharmaceutical education and research, start new courses and also set up an advisory council for them.
• The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 aims to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998 which had established an institution of national importance i.e., a NIPER in Mohali, Punjab.
• The bill seeks to declare six more educational bodies as the Institutions of National Importance.
• It has proposal for introducing undergraduate and diploma courses.
• The Bill also proposes to bring down the membership of the board of governors from the current 23 to 12.

Major Provisions:

New institutions of national importance: The Bill declares six additional National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research as Institutions of National Importance.
• These institutes are located in Ahmedabad, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Raebareli.
• Establishment of the Council: A Council to coordinate the activities among the institutes to ensure development of pharmaceutical education and research and maintenance of standards.
• The Council will include the Minister in charge of pharmaceuticals (ex officio), as the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and other ex-officio members.
• The term of office of an ex officio member will continue till he holds the office by virtue of which he is a member.
• Other members of the Council will have a term of three years in office.
• Board of Governors: Constitution of a 12-member Board of Governors for control and management of the institute’s affairs.

 The Bombay High Court has previously restrained the Maharashtra government from giving permission for bullock cart races anywhere in the state.
 The Supreme Court judgement now allows Maharashtra to hold bullock cart races in the state till the pendency of the matter before the constitutional Bench of the apex court
Bullock cart races are a 400-year-old tradition prevalent in several parts of the Maharashtra.
It is widely celebrated especially in the regions of Pune and the western Maharashtra region
Major issues with bullock cart races:
• Bullock cart races are feared to be violative of some of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to animals Act,1960.
• Bulls are not anatomically designed to participate in races.
• It is feared to cause pain and suffering to the bullocks used as a performing animal.
• Allowing bulls to be used for sport is violative of internationally recognised freedoms for animals.
• Besides, Article 29 (1) guarantees any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own to have the right to conserve the same.

There has been a recent demand for inclusion of Ladakh in the sixth schedule.
• Background: This has to do with Article 35A, which gave the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir power to define permanent residents who can only buy land or take jobs in the state.  However, the abolition of Article 370 has taken away this protection from the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
• Heart of the demand: Article 35 A was good for the people of Ladakh as nobody from outside could buy land here.
 But after the abrogation of Article 35A the people as well as council can transfer lands to anyone.  But this can change if safeguards are granted under the Sixth Schedule. “Then, people here can’t transfer land to non-tribals. They can transfer their land to only tribals.
Need: To safeguard land, employment, and cultural identity of the local population. Ladakh has 95% tribal population with distinct ethnicity, culture, custom — these can be protected only if the state has constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule.
Government response:
 The Centre woke up to the anxieties of the region when, a year after the abrogation of Article 370, all political parties in Leh, announced a boycott of the LAHDCLeh elections. They called off the boycott after a meeting with the Home Minister in New Delhi, at which they were promised “Sixth Schedule-like” protections.
 In January, the MHA announced that a committee under then MoS Home G Kishan Reddy would be formed to address “the issues related to language of Ladakh, culture of Ladakh and conservation of land in Ladakh.
Read more about the 6th Schedule from any preferred source.
The year 2021 marked the century celebration of the Public Accounts Committee which was set up in 1921.
• It is a financial parliamentary committee.
• It is constituted every year under rule 308 of the Rules of the Procedure and Conduct of the Business in the Lok Sabha.
• It is the oldest Parliamentary Committee and is also called as the mother of all committees.
• Genesis – The Public Accounts Committee first came into being in 1921 after coming of the Government of India Act 1919, also called as Montford Reforms.
• Composition- At present, the committee consists of 22 members (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha) with a term for 1 year only.
 The members are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
 A minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee.
• Chairperson- The chairman is appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from amongst its members of the committee from the Lok Sabha. (Conventional).
Functions of the Public Accounts Committee:
• It scrutinizes the Appropriation Accounts of the Government of India and the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
• To make sure that the money granted by the Parliament has been spent by the Government within the scope of the demand for which money was granted.
• The committee also examines cases involving losses, useless expenditure and financial irregularities. In case any deviation is found, it calls upon the Ministry/ Department concerned and asks what action has been taken to stop the same.
• It also examines the accounts of autonomous and semiautonomous bodies, whose audit is conducted by the CAG.
• The Public Accounts Committee may appoint one more subcommittee and refer to them any matter for examining them.
• It is assisted by the CAG in performing such functions. In fact, CAG acts as a friend and a guide to the committee.

Recently, the Government of India has launched the ‘Azadi@75 Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free CitiesToolkit 2022′.
About: • Occasion: On the eve of “Good Governance Day”, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), has launched the most important governance tool of waste management – the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.
• To place India on a new trajectory of growth towards an ecosystem of holistic sanitation and waste management by creating Garbage Free Cities” (GFC).
• A key objective under SBM-U 2.0 is to make every urban local body at least 3-star Garbage Free as per the Star Rating protocol.
• Certification exercise: In the recently concluded certification exercise for GFC, nearly 50% of ULBs (i.e., 2,238 cities) participated in the certification exercise, of which a total of 299 cities have been certified – 9 cities rated as 5-star, 143 cities rated as 3-star and 147 cities as 1-star.
Conditional Funding: Release of Government of India funds has been made conditional, subject to a ULB achieving at least 1-star certification. Hence, there is a need to ensure that every ULB participates in and gets itself GFC certified, to avail of Central funds, and to achieve the intended objectives under SBM-U 2.0.
Major Highlights from the Revised Protocol:
• The earlier 25 components/ indicators have now been reduced to 24, of which only 16 indicators are mandatory for 1-star and 3-star levels. The remaining 8 indicators are aspirational and will be relevant for 5-star and 7-star aspirants.
• The multi-step calculation of the previous GFC protocol has now been changed to a single-step marking, which will help ULB to easily self-assess themselves for applying.
• The revised protocol is aligned with SBM-U 2.0 priorities, with higher weights (50%) allotted to Door-to-Door Collection, Source Segregation, Waste processing & Dumpsite remediation.
• The entire process of applying for certification and subsequent assessment has been simplified and made completely digital, paperless.
• New addition: New components about IEC, capacity building, revenue from the sale of waste by-products have been added to encourage cities to build an ecosystem to strengthen the waste management system.
• Assessment: continuous assessment throughout the year to help cities plan assessment.

KVIC have created a unique business model to empower women Agarbatti artisans in Assam and strengthen the local Agarbatti industry.
• KVIC has engaged 70 tribal women with the flagship Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) to set up their own Agarbatti manufacturing units at Birkuchi in Kamrup district of Assam.
Need of this business model:
• The model has been designed in wake of the two major decisions:
Import restriction on Raw Agarbatti.
Increase in import duty on Bamboo sticks taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance respectively to support the local agarbatti industry.
Significance of the model:
• Local raw material and women entrepreneurs: KVIC has also roped in a business partner, which is a successful local Agarbatti manufacturer of Assam that will provide raw material and take back all the Agarbatti produced by these 70 women entrepreneurs by paying labour charges.
• Multi-Disciplinary Training Centre (MDTC): KVIC also inaugurated a Multi-Disciplinary Training Centre (MDTC) at Rupnagar in Assam that will provide training to young entrepreneurs in various self-employment activities like beekeeping, pottery, leather craft, etc.
• No hassle of selling or marketing: Women entrepreneurs will be free from the hassle of selling or marketing their finished goods. On the other hand, the business partner will enhance his production of Agarbatti without incurring any capital cost on purchasing new machines.
• Technical support: It will also extend all technical support to these women entrepreneurs for manufacturing high quality Agarbatti.
• Increasing the reach: KVIC will also explore such business models in other parts of the country that will not empower small entrepreneurs but also increase domestic production substantially

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC):
• It is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament.
• It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
• Its head office is in Mumbai, whereas it’s six zonal offices in Delhi, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati.
• The KVIC is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programs for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.
• Objectives:
 The social objective of providing employment.
 The economic objective of producing saleable articles.
 The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit.

RBI has extended the deadline given to online merchants and financial payments companies for the tokenisation of card data used for online transactions.
• Token numbers: RBI proposed that online merchants use token numbers instead of card data to store customers’ cards on their platforms.
• Sensitive details: This way, the RBI will ensure that sensitive details such as card numbers are wiped off merchant sites and replaced by random numbers.
• Records: Once cards are tokenised, card data would remain only in the records of banks and card companies.
Issues / Challenges:
• Lack of infrastructure: Online merchants and financial payments companies have been lobbying the RBI to extend the deadline saying that they lack the infrastructure necessary to comply with the RBI’s Order.
• Frauds: It wanted to put an end to the practice of online merchants storing the card details of customers, which the Central bank believed could lead to misuse of cards by fraudsters.
• Online card transactions are already secure enough since customers need to authenticate transactions through CVV, OTP and other means.
• Less time given: Online merchants have also been complaining about the time given by the RBI to comply with its orders, which they believe is too little.
• More use of cash: Customers may also decide not to tokenise their cards and simply opt to switch to cash or other forms of online payment that involve less hassle.
The RBI may thus inadvertently push customers away from using cards as a mode of payment.
• Foreign card companies: Such as Visa and Mastercard have already complained that Indian authorities have been favouring domestic payment methods such as the UPI and RuPay cards through their policies.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Global EdTech Accelerator – UIncept have joined hands to organise the ‘All India EdTech Challenge and Master Class Series’ for early and advanced stage EdTech founders.
About: • Aim: This initiative aims to nurture EdTech companies and start-ups who are in pre and post minimum viable product (MVP) stages by identifying potential industry gaps, exploring mergers and acquisitions, talent sourcing and pooling, and decoding venture capital and investor mind-set while exploring industry, academia and government connections.
• The challenge will have two tracks:
Pre MVP/EdTech Idea-Factory challenge for existing and aspiring EdTech entrepreneurs.
Post MVP Scale Factory Challenge will be aimed to bring existing EdTech entrepreneurs closer to universities, schools, venture capital firms and policymakers, and enable funding opportunities.
This six-month long challenge and master class series will identify:
 EdTech industry gaps and clearly define clear problem statements in the last mile;
 Identify potential pre and post MVP start-ups to participate in the challenge;
 Conduct focussed sessions on product-market fit,
 Go-to-market strategy,  Legal, customer discovery, business fundamentals and more;
 Conduct business meetings, expert hours, pitch sessions, demo and pitch days.

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)
• It is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
• AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionize the innovation ecosystem – touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs like Atal Tinkering Labs, Atal Incubation Centres, Atal Community Innovation Centres, ARISE and Atal New India Challenge.
• The ‘All India EdTech Challenge & Master Class Series’ would be a step from AIM towards supporting the EdTech Ecosystem. UIncept Global EdTech Accelerator

It is a robust ecosystem of startup stakeholder: Startups, Expert Mentors, Investors, Corporates, School, Colleges, Government, Policy makers etc

SEBI has issued directions to stock exchanges in the commodity derivatives segment for immediately suspending trading in derivative contracts in key farm commodities.

• The farm commodities are namely paddy (non-basmati), wheat, chana, mustard seeds and its derivatives, soya bean and its derivatives, crude palm oil and moong for a year.

• Derivative contracts: These are between two or more parties where the derivative value is based upon an underlying asset, in this case agro commodities.

• Price fluctuations: The prices of the derivatives are established by the price fluctuations of the underlying assets.
• Traded: Derivatives can be traded on an exchange or over the counter (OTC)

Objectives of the move:
• It is to rein in rising prices of essential commodities, which are fuelling inflation.  India is the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oil and this measure will make it difficult for edible oil importers and traders to transact business since they use Indian exchanges to hedge their risk.
• It is believed that speculators have a role in jacking up prices and this needed to be discouraged to curb inflation and support growth as the economy is recovering from COVID-19 impact.
• The suspension of trading in these commodities follows a communication from the Department of Economic Affairs, which is closely monitoring price movements.

About Derivatives Trading:
• Speculate on the future price: A derivative trading takes place when traders speculate on the future price of an asset through buying or selling of derivative contracts to maximise profit, as compared to buying the underlying asset outright.
• Hedging: Traders also use derivatives for hedging to minimise risk against an existing position.
• Make profit from falling asset prices: With derivatives, traders can go short and make profit from falling asset prices.
They also use derivatives to hedge against any existing long positions.
• The ultimate objective is to profit: This is viewed as a deterrent to bring in price discipline in the market

RBI has recently allowed Payments Banks, SFBs to conduct Government agency business.
• These banks will be allowed to do businesses such as tax collection for government agencies.
• The central government has taken this decision in consultation with the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance (MoF).
• Eligibility criteria: Under this system, any payment bank or small finance bank that intends to undertake Government agency business may be appointed as an agent of RBI after an agreement with the central bank.
• These banks must comply with the regulatory framework which has been prescribed by the government agency as per norms.
• An embargo was put by Department of Financial Services (DFS) from September 2012 on further allocation of Government business to private sector banks.
• This embargo was lifted in February 2021 and thus private sector has been allowed to be involved in such operations.
Conditions required to be fulfilled for obtaining such licenses:
• Agency Banking Agreement: According to the RBI, scheduled private sector banks who want to handle Government agency business such as operations in tax collection must apply for ‘Agency Banking Agreement.’
• Banks not under PCA framework: The license will be a subject to the condition that the concerned bank is not under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework or moratorium when making the application or signing of the agreement with RBI.
• Selection as per choice of concerned agencies: The choice of accrediting an agency bank (including scheduled private sector agency bank) for any particular government agency business rests solely with the concerned Central Government Departments / State Governments.
• Further, Government Departments / State Governments can discontinue the arrangement after giving notice to the concerned agency banks, keeping RBI informed.

French luxury fashion brand Hermès is suing American digital artist Mason Rothschild who created the MetaBirkins series of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), a rapidly growing part of the cryptoworld.
• An NFT is a unique, irreplaceable token that can be used to prove ownership of digital assets such as music, artwork, even tweets and memes.

• The term ‘non-fungible’ simply means that each token is different as opposed to a fungible currency such as money (a ten-rupee note can be exchanged for another and so on).

• Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are also fungible, which means that one Bitcoin can be exchanged for another. But an NFT cannot be exchanged for another NFT because the two are different and therefore unique.
• Each token has a different value, depending on which asset it represents.

• NFT transactions are recorded on blockchains, which is a digital public ledger, with most NFTs being a part of the Ethereum blockchain. NFTs became popular in 2021, when they were beginning to be seen by artists as a convenient way to monetise their work.

India has emerged as the largest exporter of gherkins in the world.
• India has crossed the USD 200 million mark of export of agricultural processed product, – pickling cucumber, which is globally referred as gherkins or cornichons, in the last financial year.

• Gherkins are exported under two categories — cucumbers and gherkins, which are prepared and preserved by vinegar or acetic acid and cucumbers and gherkins, which are provisionally preserved.

• Gherkin cultivation, processing and exports started in India during the early 1990s with a modest beginning in Karnataka and later extended to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

• Nearly 15% production of the world’s gherkin requirement is grown in India.

• Gherkins is currently exported to more than 20 countries, with major destinations being North America, European countries and Oceanic countries such as USA, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Russia, China, Sri Lanka and Israel.

• Apart from its export potential, the gherkin industry plays a key role in the creation of rural employment. In India, cultivation of gherkins is carried out under contract farming by around 90,000 small and marginal farmers with an annual production area of 65,000 acres.

Despite the protests taking place across Kerala against SilverLine, the Kerala government remains firm on implementing the project.

• SilverLine is a semi high-speed railway project connecting the state’s northern and southern ends at a cost of over Rs 63,000 crore.

• The proposed 529.45-km line will link Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, covering 11 districts through 11 stations.

• When the project is completed, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours at 200 km/hr. On the existing Indian Railways network, it now takes 12 hours.

• The deadline for the project, being executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), is 2025.

• KRDCL, or K-Rail, is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways created to execute big railway projects.

The Kerala Bird Atlas (KBA), the first-of-its-kind State-level bird atlas in India, has created solid baseline data about the distribution and abundance of bird species across all major habitats, giving an impetus to futuristic studies.

• Conducted as a citizen science-driven exercise with the participation of over 1,000 volunteers of the birdwatching community, the KBA has been prepared based on systematic surveys held twice over 60 days a year during the wet (July to September) and dry (January to March) seasons between 2015 and 2020.

• The KBA accounts for nearly three lakh records of 361 species, including 94 very rare species, 103 rare species, 110 common species, 44 very common species, and 10 most abundant species.

• It is arguably Asia’s largest bird atlas in terms of geographical extent, sampling effort and species coverage derived from the aggregation of 25,000 checklists.

• It was found that the species count was higher during the dry season than in the wet season while species richness and evenness were higher in the northern and central districts than in the southern districts.

• Most of the endemics were concentrated in the Western Ghats while the threatened species were mostly along the coast.

• The survey ignored the short duration passage of migrant species.

Tiger census will commence at Bandipur and at Nagarahole as part of the All-India Tiger and Mega Herbivore Estimation

• This is part of the nation-wide enumeration that is held once in four years and is the fifth such exercise being taken up — the earlier ones being held in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018.

• In the 2018 census, there were 125 tigers in Nagarahole whereas there were 72 tigers in the 2014 exercise which was a big jump.

• Nagarahole Tiger Reserve is located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka.

• Bandipur National Park is located in Chamarajnagar district in It was established as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1973. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve since 1986.

A joint forum of apple dealers from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand chapters has written a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture to stop “the illegal sale of Iranian apples which is posing quarantine pest threat” to local apple producing regions of the country.

 According to apple dealers of these three regions, fresh fruit traders have started to import Iran’s fresh apples unlike last year and have started to dump them in the Indian market “at unexpected prices”.
 This, according to dealers, in spite of Iranian apples posing “a greater threat to our country’s apples after quarantine pest Aspidiotus nerii detected from kiwi consignments from Iran in December last year.”
 According to the letter, the experts at the Sher-i-Kashmir Agriculture University and Science Technology (SKUAST), Srinagar have made it clear that if such pests enter the territory of any apple producing State it would be a catastrophe.
 Aspidiotus nerii is a species of armoured scale insect with the common names Oleander scale and ivy scale. The species are pests of citrus, sago palm, oleander, English ivy, and palm, among others. Three to four generations are born inside each year.
The Karnataka government said it will oppose Tamil Nadu’s plan to take up the second phase of the Hogenakkal combined drinking water project.
• Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had said a detailed project report would be prepared for the second phase of the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water project at an estimated cost of ₹4,600 crore.

• It is aimed at supplying water to Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts in Tamil Nadu.

Opposition by Karnataka
• Karnataka government would legally oppose the proposed project by Tamil Nadu as it falls within the geographical jurisdictions of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
• The Survey of India has not finalised the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border at Hogenakkal.

• Any project that Tamil Nadu wants to implement in the Cauvery basin should be in line with the allocation of water made by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and Supreme Court orders.

• Tamil Nadu has not placed the proposed project before the Tribunal or the Supreme Court.

• As per Section 13 of the Cauvery Tribunal’s order, the Hogenakkal project should be taken up through the Central Water Commission.


The Supreme Court sought the government’s response on the creation of an independent Indian Environment Service in the “All India Service cadre”.

• A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul issued notice on a plea by advocate Samar Vijay Singh for a specialised environment service in the lines of one recommended by the T.S.R. Subramanian Committee report in 2014.

• The Committee, constituted by the Environment Ministry, in its report on November 18, 2014, had categorically recorded that the necessary institutional framework needs to be created, building on the existing systems, to meet future ecological demands, and ecological imbalance.


Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav delivers India’s statement at the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, an important event for reviewing progress towards the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and commitments to tiger conservation.
• The Government of Malaysia and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) organized the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation.
• India is one of the Founding members of the intergovernmental platform of Tiger Range Countries – Global Tiger Forum.

• He appreciated the efforts of the Government of Malaysia in creating a role model for mitigation measures with respect to linear infrastructure in tiger habitat, in the form of “Central Spine and landscape level planning.

• The Minister said that India will facilitate Tiger Range Countries towards finalisation of New Delhi declaration for the Global Tiger Summit to be held at Vladivostok, Russia later this year(2022).

• A “Pre-Tiger Summit” meeting was held at New Delhi in 2010, wherein the draft declaration on tiger conservation for Global Tiger Summit was finalised.

• India has achieved the remarkable feat of doubling the tiger population in 2018 itself, 4 years ahead of the targeted year 2022.

• He informed that the model of success of India’s tiger governance is now being replicated for other wildlife like the Lion, Dolphin, Leopard, Snow Leopard and other small wild cats, while the country is on the threshold of introducing Cheetah in its historical range.

• The budgetary allocation for tiger conservation has increased from Rs 185 crore in 2014 to Rs 300 crore in 2022 and informed that 14 Tiger Reserves in India have already been awarded with international CA|TS accreditation and efforts are on to bring in more Tiger Reserves under CA|TS accreditation.
A new genus of a parasitic flowering plant has recently been discovered from the Nicobar group of islands.

In addition to Septemeranthus, four other genera on non-parasitic plants, Nicobariodendron (Hippocrateaceae), Pseudodiplospora (Rubiaceae), Pubistylis (Rubiaceae), Sphyranthera, (Euphorbiaceae) have also been discovered earlier from Nicobar group of islands, highlighting the ecological significance of the region.

 About:
o The genus Septemeranthus grows on the plant species Horsfieldiaglabra (Blume) Warb.
o Septemeranthus partially depends on its host but also has leaves capable of photosynthesis.
o It is endemic only to the Nicobar group of islands.
o The name Septemeranthus derived from the Latin word ‘septem’ meaning ‘seven’, referring to the arrangement of flowers.
o The genus belongs to the family Loranthaceae, a hemi-parasite under the sandalwood order Santalales and is of widespread importance.
• Plants which are hemi-parasites are partially dependent on their host plants for nutrition.
o The leaves of the plant are heart-shaped with a very long tip and the ovary, fruit and seeds are ‘urceolate’ (earthen pot-shaped).
o It has a modified root structure spread on the stem of the tree and is anchored inside the bark of the host tree.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a report titled “BiodiverCities by 2030: Transforming cities’ relationship with nature”.
What is the “BiodiverCities by 2030: Transforming cities relationship with nature” Report?
The report is a key output of the BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative.
Note: BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative is led jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute and championed by the Government of Colombia. The initiative aims to support city governments, businesses and citizens, to make choices that enable cities to live in harmony with nature by 2030.

Key Findings of the report:
• Cities contribute nearly 80% to the global economy, but they also account for nearly three-fourths of greenhouse gas emissions.
• Impact of Nature Loss: Around 44% of global GDP in cities ($31 trillion) is estimated to be at risk of disruption from nature loss. More than 1.4 billion people living in the world’s largest urban centres are threatened by natural hazards.
• Solution to overcome from Nature Loss: Investing in ‘Nature-positive’ investments – such as Nature-based Solutions for infrastructure or returning land to nature can enhance nature. It can also secure significant economic benefits as cities become more resilient, liveable and competitive.

• Atlas is based on several extreme weather events (extreme rainfall, drought, cold wave, heatwave, thunderstorm, cyclones, lightning etc) and the risks they pose to the local population, livelihoods and economy of each district.
o The atlas provides a range of vulnerability with risks ranging from nil, low, moderate, high and very high categories for every Indian district.
• Significance
o Impact-based warnings can be issued for various regions. Atlas will help in understanding region specific impact of certain extreme weather events.
o Help disaster management sectors to identify the vulnerable districts for taking preventive and adaptive measures.
o Aid in disaster preparedness as extreme weather events rise in the wake of the climate crisis. o Planning climate-resilient infrastructure. o Changes in the hazard-prone areas in recent times have also been incorporated. o Supporting monitoring and forecasting, improving public health facilities i.e., emergency response capabilities, better early warning systems etc.
• Hazard: defined as physical phenomena that pose a threat to the people, structures or economic assets and which may cause a disaster.
Vulnerability: It is the extent to which a community, structure, service or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of a particular hazard.




Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally launched the revamped CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) website ( and mobile app, “MyCGHS”.
The various features of the upgraded CGHS website are as follows:
• The Website has been developed in accordance with GIGW (Guidelines for Indian Government Websites). These standards and guidelines make the website 3U compliant i.e., Usable, User-Centric and Universally Accessible.

• As mandated by the GIGW, the site has been made Bilingual (Hindi and English) with provision to make it multi-lingual in future.

• There is a direct link to the e-Sanjeevani Teleconsultation facility through the CGHS website.

• The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) is the nodal healthcare provider to Central Government employees, pensioners and certain other category of beneficiaries and their dependents enrolled under the scheme.

• It caters to the healthcare needs of eligible beneficiaries covering all four pillars of democratic set up in India namely Legislature, Judiciary, Executive and Press and is unique of its kind due to the large volume of its beneficiary base and pan India presence providing healthcare through allopathic as well as indigenous systems of medicine.

In order to share Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to the Coal Sector a portal “Koyla Darpan” has been launched by Dr. Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal.
• As an initial step, the portal has the following KPIs –
1. Coal/Lignite Production,
2. Coal/Lignite Offtake,
3. Exploration Data,
4. Central Sector Schemes,
5. Status of Coal Stock in Thermal Power Plants,
6. Infrastructure Projects, 7. Allocation of Blocks (CMSP/MMDR), 8. Monitoring of Major Coal Mines(CIL), 9. Coal Price.

• The portal is accessible through the website of Ministry of Coal ( for maximum public outreach.

• Recently, sun emitted a large solar flare that was observed by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
• Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots.
 Solar magnetic cycle Sun that works in deep interior of creates regions that rise to surface and appear like dark spots. These are sunspots.
 They appear dark because they are other parts of Sun’s surface.
• In a solar flare, energy stored in sun’s magnetic structures is converted into light and heat energy. This causes emission of high energy xray radiation and highly accelerated charged particles to leave the sun’s surface.
• Sometimes solar flares also cause hot plasma to be ejected from Sun causing a solar storm, called Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
• Energy, radiation and high energy particles emitted by solar flares can trigger intense lights in the sky, called Auroras.

• Researchers have identified the first signature of a magnetic field surrounding an Exoplanet HAT-P-11b (123 light-years from Earth).
 An exoplanet is any planet beyond our solar system.
 Most orbit other stars, but free-floating exoplanets, called rogue planets, orbit galactic centre and are untethered to any star.
• Earth’s magnetic field acts as a shield against energetic particles from the sun known as the solar wind.
 Magnetic fields could play similar roles on other planets.

SSLV-D1 Micro SAT is scheduled for launch in April 2022 after the project was delayed in July 2019 owing to COVID 19 pandemic.
• About SSLV
o It has been designed to meet “Launch on Demand” requirements.
o It is a three stage all solid vehicle with capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km low earth orbit.
▪ Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle can launch satellites weighing above 1000 kg
 It is the smallest vehicle at 110-ton mass at ISRO.
 Reduced turnaround time (take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now).
 Cost effective (cost will be only around Rs 30 crore).
 Multiple satellite mounting options for nano, micro and small satellites. o Minimum infrastructure requirement
• It aims to cater to the market for the launch of small satellites into Earth’s low orbits that has emerged in recent years to cater to the need of developing countries, universities for small satellites, and private corporations.
NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a PSU, will be the sole nodal agency responsible for providing end-to-end SSLV Launch services for customer satellites from contractual, technical, programmatic, launch campaign, launch and post launch activities

India has joined the G20 Troika, which consists of Indonesia, Italy, and India – the current, previous and incoming G20 Presidencies, respectively
About G20 Troika
• It refers to the top grouping within the G20 that consists of the current, previous and the incoming presidencies — Indonesia, Italy and India.
• Troika means ‘a group of three people working together’. It is an English word. The Troika ensures continuity and provides presidency support.
• The following countries formed the Troika in G20
 2020: Japan, Italy and Indonesia
 2021: Italy, Indonesia and India
 2022: Indonesia, India and Brazil
Pakistan is set to host the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit to discuss the Afghanistan situation
• Pakistan also intends to discuss the ways to help the war-ravaged country garner humanitarian assistance as its economy remains in shambles after the pull out of the US troops and the subsequent takeover by the Taliban government.
• Invitations: In addition to the members of the OIC, delegations from the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, the European Union, the World Bank and humanitarian organisations have also been invited to the conference.
• Focus: Summit will have various sessions focused on Afghanistan.
 The leaders will discuss ways to mobilise support for providing adequate food, medicine, and shelter to millions of people in Afghanistan who are in dire need after the fall of Afghanistan.
• Pakistan is also aiming to soften the Taliban’s image globally and pave the way for the global acceptance of their government in Afghanistan.
About The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
• The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
• The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world.
• It endeavours to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
• The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
• The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
• The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.

155 Chileans have been elected to write a new constitution.
• The constitution is going to be written after months of protests over social and environmental grievances, which the Chilean Citizens have declared a “climate and ecological emergency’’.
• Chile is a country in the western part of South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
• Chile is the southernmost country in the world, the closest to Antarctica, and borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south.
• Chile is the world’s second-largest lithium producer after Australia.

In an important milestone in S&T Cooperation between India and France an MoU was signed between CSIR and Institut Pasteur with a scope for cooperation in health research.
• CSIR and Institute Pasteur would be jointly researching and focusing on emerging and remerging infectious diseases and inherited disorders and enable delivery of effective and affordable healthcare solutions not only for the people of India and France but for the global good.

• The MoU provides for developing potential scientific and technological cooperation and networking in advanced and emerging areas of Human Health between scientists and institutes/laboratories of CSIR and Institute Pasteur and its international network.

• The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was established by the Government of India in 1942 as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India.

The Serbia government has revoked the licenses for lithium mining to Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian multinational mining organisation, following protests for nearly two months.

• Serbians have been protesting against Rio Tinto’s plans to mine lithium in the Jadar valley near Lozinca town in the country.

• Rio Tinto had discovered lithium deposits in the country in 2006 and had bought land in the Lozinca area in Serbia.

• the mine would have produced enough lithium to operate one million electric vehicles along with boric acid and sodium sulphate.

• While Rio Tinto has said to be fulfilling all Serbia’s and European Union’s environmental standards, protestors have been pointing out that lithium mining in the $2.4-billion project would irrevocably pollute the drinking water.

• Serbian capital Belgrade is surrounded by lignite mines and coal power plants powered by these mines, which only make the pollution worse.

Sahitya Akademi has announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards in 20 languages.

• Seven books of poetry, two novels, five short stories, two plays, one biography, one autobiography, one critique and one Epic Poetry have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2021.

• Awards in Gujrati, Maithili, Manipuri and Urdu languages will be announced at a later date.

• Assamese writers Anuradha Sarma Pujari and Namita Gokhale have won the award in the novel category.

• Awardees for Poetry category include Mwdai Gahai in Bodo, Sanjiv Verenkar in Konkani, Hrushikesh Mallick in Odia and Vindeshwari Prasad in Telegu.

Chief of Indian Coast Guard
Director General VS Pathania, took over as the 24th Chief of Indian Coast Guard on 31 Dec 21. He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and National Defence College, New Delhi.
About Indian Coast Guard (ICG):
• It is an armed force that protects India’s maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.

• History: it was formally established in 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 as an independent Armed force of India.

• Parent ministry: It operates under the Ministry of Defence.

• Administration: The organization is headed by the Director General Indian Coast Guard (DGICG).

• HQ: Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ) is located at New Delhi.

Union Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched a 100 days reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’.
• Padhe Bharat campaign will focus on children studying in Balvatika to Grade 8.

• The reading campaign will be organised for 100 days (14 weeks) starting from 1st January 2022 to 10th April 2022.

• This Campaign is in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which emphasises on promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring availability of age-appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal Language.

• The 100 days reading campaign will also focus on Indian languages including mother tongue/local/regional languages. It is in this regard, 21st February which is celebrated as International Mother Tongue Day, has also been integrated with this campaign.

• This day will be celebrated with the activity of Kahani Padho Apni Bhasa Main (Reading story in own language) across the country by encouraging children to read in their mother tongue/local language. This will help in promoting local language and culture of our society.


29 Children have been conferred the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar this Year, selected from all regions of the country for their exceptional achievements in Innovation (7), Social Service (4), Scholastic (1), Sports (8), Art & Culture (6) and Bravery (3) categories.
• There are 15 Boys and 14 Girls among the awardees belonging to 21 States and UTs.

• The cash prize of Rs.1,00,000/- was given to the awardees of PMRBP 2022.

• The award is given by Ministry of Women and Child Development every year to recognize exceptional achievements of our children in various fields i.e., innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports and bravery.


Lahore High Court’s Justice Ayesha Malik was sworn in as the Supreme Court’s first female judge.
• The swearing in of the first female judge of Pakistan’s highest court – which was established in 1956 – is noteworthy.

• Compare this to India, where the Supreme Court (established in 1950) currently has four female judges out of a total of 34. Three of them were appointed in September 2021 and one of them, Justice BV Nagarathna could possibly become India’s first female Chief Justice in 2027.

• India’s first female judge Justice Fathima Beevi was appointed in 1989.

The Supreme Court ruled that the property of a man who had died without executing a will and is survived only by a daughter will devolve upon the daughter and not others such as his brother.
• The judgment, which came on an appeal against the Madras High Court verdict, dealt with the property rights of Hindu women and widows under the Hindu Succession Act. Daughters’ right to inheritance has always been disputed in this country despite law stipulating so.

• It said “right of a widow or daughter to inherit the self-acquired property or share received in partition of a coparcenary property of a Hindu male dying intestate is well recognised under the old customary Hindu Law.

• The court discussed Mitakshara law and looked into among others to ‘Vyavastha Chandrika’, a digest of Hindu Law by Shyama Charan Sarkar Vidya Bhushan which quoted ‘Vrihaspati’ as saying ‘the wife is pronounced successor to the wealth of her husband; in her default, the daughter. As a son, so does the daughter of a man proceed from his several limbs. How then, should any other person (b) take her father’s wealth?

• The SC also noted that the book quoted Manu as saying “the son of a man is even as himself, and the daughter is equal to the son. How then can any other inherit his property, notwithstanding the survival of her, who is, as it were, himself.”

Grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
In order to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and as part of the year-long celebrations, the government has decided to install a grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate.

• The statue, made of granite, shall be a fitting tribute to the immense contribution of Netaji in our freedom struggle, and would be a symbol of the country’s indebtedness to him.

• Till the work for the statue is completed, a hologram statue of Netaji will be present at the same place. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will unveil the hologram statue of Netaji at India Gate on 23rd January, 2022.

• The hologram statue will be powered by a 30,000 lumens 4K projector.

• An invisible, high gain, 90% transparent holographic screen has been erected in such a way so that it is not visible to visitors. The 3D image of Netaji will be projected on it to create the effect of a hologram. The size of the hologram statue is 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

India ranks 85th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
• The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
• The CPI uses a scale from 0 to 100 (100 is very clean and 0 is highly corrupt)
Key Highlights of the Index:
• This year, the global average remains unchanged for the tenth year in a row, at just 43 out of a possible 100 points.
• Despite multiple commitments, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption in the last decade.
• Two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating that they have serious corruption problems, while 27 countries are at their lowest score ever.
• Top performers: Denmark, Finland, New Zealand with score of 88 ranked first.
• Poor performers: Somalia-178th (score-13), Syria-178th (score-13), South Sudan-180th (score-11) ranked bottom at the table.
Indian Scenario:
• India was ranked 86th in 2020 with the same CPI score of 40.
• The report highlighted concerns over the risk to journalists and activists who have been “victims of attacks by the police, political militants, criminal gangs and corrupt local officials.”
o “Civil society organizations that speak up against the government have been targeted with security, defamation, sedition, hate speech and contempt-of-court charges, and with regulations on foreign funding.

Legal frameworks to fight corruption in India:

• Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988: Amendment of 2018 criminalized both bribe-taking by public servants as well as bribe giving by any person.
• The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 aims to prevent instances of money laundering and prohibits use of the ‘proceeds of crime’ in India.
• Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) has been set up under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which is responsible for dealing with white collar crimes and offences in companies. • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 sets out provisions which can be interpreted to cover bribery and fraud matters, including offences relating to criminal breach of trust and cheating.
• The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 provides for an establishment of an ombudsman for the central and state governments (Lokpal and Lokayuktas, respectively).
• The Central Vigilance Commission though created in 1964, became an independent statutory body only in 2003 by an Act of Parliament

Recently, the Supreme Court expanded the meaning of vulnerable witnesses.
• The Supreme Court has recently asked the High Court’s to give an estimate of manpower required to have VWDC in their respective states within a period of three months.
• It has also directed High Courts to set up Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre (VWDC) committees.
About Vulnerable witnesses:
• Previously legal meaning of vulnerable witnesses used to be a child below the age of 18, to include age and gender-neutral victims of sexual assault and witnesses suffering from mental illness among others.
• The Supreme Court has expanded the meaning of vulnerable witnesses to also include among others:
 Age and gender-neutral victims of sexual assault under section 377 IPC (unnatural offences)
 Witnesses suffering from mental illness as defined in Mental Healthcare Act,
 Witnesses with threat perception
 Any speech or hearing-impaired individual
 Person suffering from any other disability who is considered to be vulnerable by the court concerned.

Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre (VWDC) scheme

• Underlining the need for setting up special facilities to create a safe and barrier-free environment for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses, the Supreme court has directed that all HC’s must adopt and notify the VWDC scheme within a period of two months.
• Every HC should set up a permanent VWDC committee.
• High Court’s to give an estimate of manpower required to have VWDC in their respective states within a period of three months.
• Conduction of training programs to manage VWDC.
• Sensitisation of all stakeholders including members of the bar, bench and staff.
• Chairperson to have an initial tenure of 2 years.
• There should be one VWDC in each district.
• In states where Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Canters, the HC’s will be at liberty to ensure that a VWDC is made available within the premises of the ADR centre.
• Chairperson of the committee to engage with National and State Legal Services Authorities to provide an effective interface for schemes of training.
• Ministry of Women and Child Development to designate a nodal officer for coordinating the implementation of its directions and facilitating logistical support to the Chairperson.
• The court has urged former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir HC Justice Gita Mittal to act as Chairperson of a committee for designing and implementing an All-India VWDC training program


The decades old border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya is expected to be nearing a resolution.
o Assam and Meghalaya share a border of 885 km and at present there are 12 areas of dispute which have been existing for 50 years.
o The Assam-Meghalaya border disputes are the areas of Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli and Retacherra.
• In 1972, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam under Assam Reorganisation Act 1971.

• A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.
 Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but post-Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya. Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam.

• Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills – now Karbi Anglong region – being part of Assam.
Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts when it was notified in 1835.

• Meghalaya bases its case on survey maps of 1872 and 1929 and certain notifications of 1878 and 1951, while Assam wants to go by the rejected recommendations of the Churachand Committee.

Border Dispute Resolution:

• In the first phase, 6 of the 12 disputed areas are expected to be resolved on the ‘Give and Take’ formula.
• These areas are Tarabari, Gijang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata and Ratacherra.
• The two states have agreed to divide the 36.8 sq km of disputed land at 6 places almost equally.
• Under the agreement, Assam would get 18.51 sq km of the disputed area, while Meghalaya would get 18.29 sq km of the total 36.8 sq km disputed area.
• Rest of the six disputed areas are more contentious and will be taken up in further negotiations.

Assam and Border Issues:

• The North-east states were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states.
• Assam border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are pending in Supreme Court. Assam border dispute with Mizoram is currently under resolution.

A New Delhi-based foundation had approached the NHRC against racial profiling and relocation of the Chakma’s and Hajongs.
• Report submission: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Arunachal Pradesh government to submit an action taken report against the racial profiling and relocation of people belonging to the Chakma and Hajong communities.
• Direction: The Commission directed them to ensure the protection of the human rights of people belonging to the two communities.
• Complaint: Earlier, the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) had complained that the Arunachal government was planning to relocate the Chakma’s and Hajongs through an illegal census.
• Background: In 2015, the Supreme Court directed the State to grant them citizenship, but this had not yet been implemented. In a judgment in 1996, the Court had stated that the “life and personal liberty of every Chakma residing within the State shall be protected”.
• About the community: The Chakma’s and Hajongs trace their roots to Bangladesh. Displaced by a dam in the then East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh), the Buddhist Chakma’s and the Hindu Hajongs were resettled in Arunachal during 1964-69 by the central government.
Chakma’s and Hajongs were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan. They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
• Census: As per the 2011 census, there are 47,471 Chakma’s and Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh.
• Citizenship Status: Out of the 65,000 Chakmas and Hajongs, about 60,500 are citizens by birth under Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, after having been born before 1st July 1987, or as descendants of those who were born before this date. The applications of the remaining 4,500 surviving migrants following the 1996 Supreme Court order have not been processed to date.

SC, ST QUOTA IN PROMOTIONS: SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO LAY DOWN THE YARDSTICK The Supreme Court refused to lay down a yardstick for granting reservation in promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs.
• No Yardstick: The apex court said it cannot lay down any yardstick to determine the inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs and leave it for the states to do so.
• SC ruling: 2006 judgment in M Nagaraj vs Union of India, had “made it clear that the validity of law made by the State Governments providing reservation in promotions shall be decided on a case-to-case basis to establish whether the inadequacy of representation is supported by quantifiable data.
Therefore, no yardstick can be laid down by this Court for determining the adequacy of representation of SCs and STs in promotional posts to provide reservation”.
• Cadre for Collecting Data: The court said that “before providing for reservation in promotions to a cadre, the State is obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding the inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs” but the exercise of collection of information “cannot be concerning the entire service concerning’, but it should be relatable to the grade/category of the post to which promotion is sought”.
• Review Ordered: It said the “cadre which should be the unit for collection of quantifiable data to promotional posts would be meaningless if data about a representation of SCs and STs is concerning the entire service”.
• M Nagaraj Case 2006: five-judge Constitution bench had upheld the Constitutional amendments by which Articles 16 (4A) and 16 (4B) were inserted, saying they flow from Article 16 (4) and do not alter its structure.
• B.K. Pavithra Case (2019): With the recognition of ‘cadre’ as the unit for collection of quantifiable data, the court set aside its earlier judgment in the B.K. Pavithra case.
 SC held that the conclusion of this court approving the collection of data on the basis of groups and not cadres is contrary to the law laid down by the SC in Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh’s judgments. The court held that the Nagaraj judgment would have “prospective effect.

• Constitutional Provisions for Promotion in Reservation:
Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of laws to everyone.
 Similarly, Articles 16(1) and 16(2) assure citizens equality of opportunity in employment or appointment to any government office.
 Article 15(1) generally prohibits any discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, caste, sex, or place of birth.
 However, Articles 15(4) and 16(4) state that these equality provisions do not prevent the government from NEXT making special provisions in matters of admission to educational institutions or jobs in favour of backward classes, particularly the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 Article 16(4A) allows reservations to SCs and STs in promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.
The Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj released revised Rural Area Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (RADPFI) Guidelines.
• RADPFI guidelines is a continuation to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s efforts towards promotion of Spatial rural planning and would create pathways for rural transformation by developing a perspective for long term planning in villages.
• It will enable effective land use planning in rural areas and in improving the quality of life in rural areas.

Focus of the new guidelines:
• Typology of villages to prepare the spatial development plan (population, agro-climatic zones, Hill areas, disaster occurrence, urban-peri-urban areas and villages, near to NH/SH, and Resilience strategies as suggested by BIS). One shoe does not fit all.
• Dealing with different development Land Use standards for different areas, with varied characteristics. To facilitate the planned spatial development of rural areas.
• Village Town Planning Scheme (VPS) – through community based on Collaborative Planning.
• Planning for environmental benefit and disaster preparedness.
• Linking to 15th CFC and respective SFCs and Improving the E-Governance through Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).
• Integrating/Consolidation of GP Development with RURBAN CLUSTERS/Block/District Plan, as per the 73rd and 74th CAA and GPDP.




• SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Departments, State Revenue Departments and Survey of India.

Launched in April,2020.

India plans to prepare digital maps of all its 6,00,000 villages and pan-India 3D maps will be prepared for 100 cities, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh said at an event to mark a year of the updated geospatial policy guidelines
• The scheme will help in streamlining planning and revenue collection in rural areas and ensuring clarity on property rights.
• The scheme will enable creation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs), using the maps created under this program.
• Present Coverage Area: The program is currently being implemented in six states – Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
Vision for Rural Development:
• Vision for Social Upliftment of Villages through Gram/Block/& District Panchayat through Institutional Mechanism.
• Propose Master Plans for Gram Panchayats – Based upon SVAMITVA and other spatial digital tools.
• Amendment to bring in structural change in the 73rd CAA – to ensure spatial planning, norms and regulations for the future expansion of villages to sustain themselves with all the infrastructure at par with urban areas.
• Restructuring of unviable Gram Panchayats –especially those gram panchayats prone to disaster to be ensured adequate infrastructure and access.
• It is suggested that Village/cluster secretariat be formed for governance purposes.

• Incentivizing the Gram Panchayats on the basis of Planned development (spatial), higher literacy, higher women literacy, self-sufficiency – fund, energy, water and other resources, employment generation – through CFC & SFC, and digital governance.
• Capacity Building – Gram Panchayat, Block and District Panchayat level. This can be done through Digital Communication Modules.

• Mission’s Objectives: Bridging the rural-urban divide-viz: economic, technological and those related to facilities and services.
• Rurban Clusters: There are 2 categories of clusters: NonTribal and Tribal.
• Role of states: The State Government identifies the clusters in accordance with the Framework for Implementation prepared by the MoRD.
• The Mission has 2 fund streams: Convergence through various schemes (Central sector, centrally sponsored schemes, State sector/ sponsored schemes/ programmes, CSR funds etc.) and Critical Gap Funds (CGF).

Context: The Hijab ban.
• Public order is one of the three grounds on which the state can restrict freedom of religion. Public order’ is also one of the grounds to restrict free speech and other fundamental rights.
• Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees to all persons right to freedom and conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.
• Public order is normally equated with public peace and safety.
• According to List 2 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the power to legislate on aspects of public order rests with the states.
According to the government order issued on February 5 under the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, “public order” is one of the reasons for not allowing students to wear a headscarf in educational institutions along with “unity” and “integrity.”



UNION BUDGET 2022-2023
Major Highlights of the Budget
• India’s economic growth in the current year is estimated to be 9.2 per cent, highest among all large economies. The overall, sharp rebound and recovery of the economy from the adverse effects of the pandemic is reflective of our country’s strong resilience.

• Since 2014, the government’s focus has been on empowerment of citizens, especially the poor and the marginalized and measures have been taken to provided housing, electricity, cooking gas, and access to water.

• The government also have programmes for ensuring financial inclusion and direct benefit transfers and a commitment to strengthen the abilities of poor to tap all opportunities.

• Productivity Linked Incentive in 14 sectors for achieving the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat has received excellent response, with potential to create 60 lakh new jobs, and an additional production of Rs 30 lakh crore during next 5 years.

• Entering Amrit Kaal, the 25 year long lead up to India @100, the budget provides impetus for growth along four priorities:
1. PM GatiShakti
2. Inclusive Development
3. Productivity Enhancement & Investment, Sunrise opportunities, Energy Transition, and Climate Action.
4. Financing of investments

Detailed analysis has been provided in the tables below:
Direct Taxes – Income Tax

• A new provision is introduced to allow taxpayers to update the past return and include omitted income by additional tax payment. The updated return can be filed within two years from the end of the relevant assessment year.

• The tax incentive period is extended by one year for start-ups. Eligible start-ups incorporated under Section 80-IAC will now get tax benefits until March 31, 2023.
• Corporate surcharge to be reduced from 12% to 7%.
• Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) to be reduced to 15% for cooperative societies.

• Income from transfer of digital assets such as crypto to be taxed at 30%. No deductions will be allowed except the cost of acquisition of digital assets.
 Loss on sale of digital assets cannot be set off against any other income.
 TDS at 1% will be levied above the threshold.  Gifting of digital assets will also be taxable in the hands of the receiver

• To bring parity between Central and state government employees, the Finance Ministry proposed to increase the threshold of employer’s contribution to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) Tier-I account from 10% to 14%.

• The parent/guardian of the differently-abled can get a tax deduction on payment of the annuity or lump sum during the lifetime of parent or guardian, once the parent or guardian has attained 60 years.

• Any surcharge and cess levied on income are not allowed as business expenditure.

• Brought forward loss cannot be set off against undisclosed income detected during any survey or search. Indirect Taxes – GST & Customs

The record collection of Rs.1,40,986 crore gross GST revenues in 2022 was the highest since GST inception.

• Concessional customs duty on import of capital goods to be phased out, the initial rate of 7.5% to be imposed.

• More than 350 exemptions on importing some agri products, chemicals, drugs, etc., will be phased out.

• Duty concession on import of phone chargers, transformers, etc., enables domestic manufacturing.

• Customs duty on imitation jewellery was raised to discourage their imports.

• Duty on specified leather, packaging boxes reduced to incentivise exports.

• Customs duty on cut and polished diamonds, gems to be reduced to 5%.

• Customs duty exemption on steel scrap is being extended by a year to help MSMEs.

• Customs duty on methanol to be reduced.

• Levying additional excise duty at Rs.2 per litre on unblended fuel to encourage fuel blending.


• 2 lakh Anganwadis to be upgraded for improving child health.
• Two years of education regression for school going children means we need to double-up efforts and spending to bridge education gaps.
 NEP had advocated a 6% of GDP to be directed towards education.

While we remain far short, the announcement of tech-based platforms ‘One class, one TV channel’ program of PM e-VIDYA for school children and the establishment of a digital university were the need of the hour.
• Digital university to set up for online education focusing on ICT using a hub and spoke model.

• Select ITIs in all states that will offer skilling courses.

• One class, one TV channel’ programme of PM e-VIDYA will be expanded from 12 to 200 TV channels. This will enable all states to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1 to 12.

Startups will be promoted to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ and for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS).

• Government to promote funds for blended finance (government share limited to 20%) for sunrise opportunities such as climate action, Agri-tech, etc.
• Fund to be facilitated through NABARD to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain. Start-ups will support FPOs and provide tech to farmers.

• Use of Kisan Drones to be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients.

• Procurement of wheat in Rabi season 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in Kharif season 2021-22 will give cover 1208 lakh metric tonnes of wheat & paddy from 163 lakh farmers with Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be the direct payment of MSP value to their accounts.

• Delivery of hi-tech services for farmers to be launched.

• MSP for farmers to be transferred directly into bank accounts.
• Chemical-free natural farming to be promoted in India.

Investment, Sectoral allocation
• Regulatory framework for venture capital to be reviewed; an expert committee to be set up.
• PM development initiatives for the northeast will be implemented for the North Eastern Council.

This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women. This scheme is not a substitute for the existing Centre or State schemes.
Monetary Sector:

 100 per cent of 1.5 lakh post offices to come on the core banking system.

 Scheduled Commercial Banks to set up 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts.

Digital Rupee/ Virtual Currency:

• RBI to introduce the digital rupee using blockchain technology starting 2022-23.

Mobilising Resources:

 Data Centres and Energy Storage Systems to be given infrastructure status.

 Venture Capital and Private Equity invested more than Rs. 5.5 lakh crore last year facilitating one of the largest start-up and growth ecosystem. Measures to be taken to help scale up this investment.

 Blended funds to be promoted for sunrise sectors.

 Sovereign Green Bonds to be issued for mobilizing resources for green infrastructure.
• The next phase of ease of doing business and living will be launched.
• To support sectors disproportionately affected by the pandemic, FM announces extension of ECLGS till Mar-23.

Given that nearly 95% of ECLGS borrowers are MSMEs, this measure will ensure the continued handholding of MSMEs and the services sector.

 The services sector, which accounts for more than 60% of India’s GDP, remains an important engine of economic growth, job creation, income generation and livelihood support.
• The extension of ECLG will provide a boon to lending to the MSME sector.
• Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme has helped 130 lakh MSMEs mitigate the worst impact of the pandemic

Accelerated Corporate Exit
• Centre for Processing Accelerated Corporate Exit (C-PACE) to be established for speedy winding-up of companies.

AVGC Promotion Task Force
• An animation, visual effects, gaming, and comic (AVGC) promotion task force to be set-up to realize the potential of this sector.

Telecom Sector
• Scheme for design-led manufacturing to be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme.

Export Promotion
• Special Economic Zones Act to be replaced with a new legislation to enable States to become partners in ‘Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs’.

E-Vehicles and energy
• Energy efficiency and saving measures will be promoted. • A battery-swapping policy to be brought out with interoperability standards to boost the EV ecosystem
Internet connectivity
• 5G spectrum auction in 2022-23.
• Bharatnet project contracts for optical fibre networks will be handed out under the PPP model.
• All villages should have the same access to digital resources as urban areas.
• Issuance of e-passports with futuristic tech to be introduced in 2022-23.
 These e-passports will take a few seconds to read.
 The prototype was tested in a US government identified laboratory.  They are expected to have thicker front and back covers.
 The back cover is expected to have a small silicon chip.
 The chip will have 64 kilobytes of memory space.
 Holder’s photograph and fingerprints will be stored in the chip.
 Will have the capacity to store 30 visits.
• An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out.
It will consist of digital registries of health providers and facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities.

• Pandemic has brought to the fore the issue of mental health.

 ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ for quality mental health counselling and care services to be launched.

 A network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence will be set up, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre and International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing technology support.

Saksham Anganwadi
• Integrated benefits to women and children through Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0.

• Two lakh anganwadis to be upgraded to Saksham Anganwadis.

PM GatiShakti:
• PM GatiShakti approach is driven by seven engines namely Roads, railways, airports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infrastructure. The touch stone of master plan will be world class modern infrastructure.

• National highways network to be expanded by 25,000 kilometres in 2022-23.
• 100 GatiShakti cargo terminals will be developed in the next 3 years, as multi-modal connectivity will be facilitated on priority.
• 400 New Generation Vande Bharat trains will be developed and manufactured in the next three years. “One Station – One Product” concept will be popularized.

• PM GatiShakti National Master Plan will encompass seamless multi-modal connectivity and logistics efficiency.
• The data exchange among all mode operators will be brought on Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP).
• 2,000 Km of railway network will be brought under “kavach”, the indigenous world class technology for safety and capacity augmentation.
• As a preferred ecologically sustainable alternative to conventional roads and difficult hilly areas, “National Ropeways Development Programme” will be taken up on PPP mode.

Contracts for eight ropeway projects for a length of 60 kms will be awarded in 2022-23.
Inclusive Development
• Government plans to support “post-harvest value addition” for millet products, as 2023 will be the international year of millets.
• Draft DPRs for five river links, namely Damanganga – Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Kaveri have been finalised.

• Udyam, e-SHRAM, NCS and ASEEM portal (Directory of the skilled workforce) will be interlinked.

 They will now perform as portals with live organic databases providing G2C, B2C, B2B services.

• Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood – the DESH-Stack e-portal will be launched. This aims to empower citizens to skill, reskill or upskill through online training.

• The National Skill Qualification Framework will be aligned with dynamic industrial needs.

• Saksham Anganwadis are a new generation Anganwadis that have better infrastructure and audio-visual aids powered by clean energy and providing improved environment for early child development. 2, 00,000 such Anganwadis will be upgraded under the scheme.

• Under the Aspirational Districts Program, 95% of 112 districts have made significant progress surpassing even some of the State average values. Now the focus will be on lagging blocks.

Additional allocation of Rs. 19,500 crores for Production Linked Incentive for manufacture of high efficiency solar modules to meet the goal of 280 GW of installed solar power by 2030.

• Five to seven per cent biomass pellets to be co-fired in thermal power plants:
o CO2 savings of 38 MMT annually,

o Extra income to farmers and job opportunities to locals,

o Help avoid stubble burning in agriculture fields.

• Four pilot projects to be set up for coal gasification and conversion of coal into chemicals for the industry

• Financial support to farmers belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who want to take up Agro-forestry.

The Union Minister for Food Processing Industries launched six brands, developed as part of the ‘One District-One Product’ (ODOP) approach under a central scheme PMFMES.
• These six brands are out of 10 that the ministry has signed up with cooperative NAFED for branding and marketing of ODOPs under the Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro food processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFMES).
• The central scheme PMFMES: aims to provide financial, technical and business support for upgradation/ setting up of two lakh micro food processing units based on the ODOP approach in a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.  MFPs are encouraged to come forth and avail branding support under this initiative including use of marketing rights of these brands from NAFED.
• Districts: The six brands have been launched under selected districts in the states of, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and UTs of Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. • Products: The six brands launched are Amrit Phal, Cori Gold, Kashmiri Mantra, Madhu Mantra, Somdana, and Whole Wheat Cookies of Dilli Bakes
• Extensive knowledge and legacy: Each product has been developed based on the extensive knowledge and legacy of the marketing expertise of NAFED as well as its capabilities and experience in processing, packaging, supply and logistics.
• Availability: All the products will be available at NAFED Bazaars, e-commerce platforms and prominent retail stores across India.
• Investments and market: Each brand will be supported with increased investments in brand communication in relevant markets and a strong push on digitization across the value chain

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been appointed vice-president of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
• He will serve a three-year term as the chairman of the bank.
• He is currently the chairperson of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, a research centre affiliated to the finance ministry
India is a founding member of AIIB with the second highest voting share after China.
• AIIB is a multilateral development bank that aims: to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia.
• The bank currently has 104 members: including 17 prospective members from around the world.
• The AIIB, launched in Beijing in 2015: has approved more loans for India than any other member of the bank.
 Indonesia, Turkey, Bangladesh and China are the next four borrowers from the bank with over $7 billion investment.
• China is its biggest shareholder and India is the second largest. Except the US and Japan, most of the developed and developing countries have joined the bank.
• The AIIB has funded 28 projects in India: Amounting to $6.7 billion
• AIIB has recently emphasised green projects and supporting public health initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, besides infrastructure. Last year, AIIB also approved a $356.67 million loan to the Indian government to support the expansion of the Chennai metro rail system.
• AIIB has funded projects across sectors in India especially in transport and energy sectors.
• AIIB’s 2021 Asian Infrastructure Finance Report mentioned that GVC participation across India will largely rely on a combination of improving infrastructure, strengthening institutional quality and increasing port efficiency, capacity and connectivity with the hinterland.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, approved the scheme on Green Energy Corridor Phase-II for Intra-State Transmission System.
• The scheme has been approved for addition of approximately 10,750 circuit kilometres of transmission lines and approx. 27,500 Mega Volt-Amperes transformation capacity of substations.
• The scheme will facilitate grid integration and power evacuation of approximately 20 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) power projects in seven States namely, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. ` The project would involve laying 10,750 circuit kilometres of transmission lines by 2026.
• The transmission systems will be created over a period of five years from Financial Year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
• The Central Financial Assistance (CFA) will help in offsetting the Intra-State transmission charges and thus keep the power costs down.  Thus, the Government support will ultimately benefit the end users.
• This scheme is in addition to GEC-Phase-I, which is already under implementation in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu is expected to be completed by 2022.

• The Green Energy Corridor Project aims at synchronizing electricity produced from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with conventional power stations in the grid.
• It is being implemented by eight renewable-rich states of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
• The project is being implemented by respective State Transmission Utilities (STUs) allocating the work through a competitive bidding process.
• The funding mechanism consists of 40% Government of India Grant, 20% state equity and 40% loan from Germany.
• The Ministry monitors the project every month.
Significance of the project:
• The scheme will help in achieving the target of 450 GW installed RE capacity by 2030.
• The scheme will also contribute to long term energy security of the country: and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reducing carbon footprint.
• It will generate large direct & indirect employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled personnel in power and other related sectors.
• Upgrading transmission infrastructure is a key challenge for India to meet its renewable energy targets, as delays here can create logjams on fresh renewable capacity too.
• The green energy corridors, besides being powered by renewable energy, are also meant to focus on meeting agricultural demand, a hitherto subsidised segment in many states, making a case for lower subsidy burdens for the states thanks to the lower cost of renewable energy.

The Department of Fisheries, Government of India in association with Start-up India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry inaugurated the “Fisheries Start-up Grand Challenge”.
• The challenge has been launched with an objective to provide a platform to start-ups within the country to showcase their innovative solutions within the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector.
• A fishery is one of the fastest growing sectors amongst the primary producing sectors.
• Capitalize the young talent: It stressed upon ways to capitalize the young talent in the country for bringing in noble solutions in the fisheries sector.
• Maximizing the benefits: The unrealised potential of the fisheries sector offers varied opportunities for bringing in scalable business solutions and maximizing the benefits for the fishermen and fish farmers.
• Technological breakthroughs: In order to realize the true potential of the fisheries sector, technological breakthroughs are required for enhancing production, productivity and efficiency of the fisheries’ value chain.
• Sunrise sector: Fisheries sector plays a vital role in economic and overall development of the country.
 Referred to as the “sunrise sector”, fisheries sector is poised to bring in immense potential through equitable and inclusive growth.
• Develop infrastructure and post-harvest management solutions: that will enable fishers, fish farmers in creating value addition, value creation and value realization ensuring minimal wastage across the fisheries value chain.
• Develop business solutions and outreach activities: that will make fish and fish products easily accessible, acceptable and popular among the meat consuming population in the country.

KVIC launched the country’s first Mobile Honey Processing Van at Village Sirora in Ghaziabad, UP.
• The Mobile Van has been designed in-house by KVIC: at its Multi-Disciplinary Training Centre, Panjokehra.
• Capacity: This mobile honey processing unit can process up to 300 KG of honey in 8 hours. • The van is also equipped with a testing laboratory: that would instantly examine the quality of honey. Issues / Challenges
• Expensive affair: It is noteworthy that transportation of honey to processing plants is an expensive affair for small farmers and beekeepers.
• Very low price: To avoid high transportation and processing cost, a majority of beekeepers would sell their raw honey to the agents at their farms itself at a very low price.  As a result, these beekeepers were not able to fetch the actual monetary benefits of beekeeping

Only one in 10 World Economic Forum members surveyed expects the global recovery to accelerate over the next three years.
• The report is published each year: ahead of the annual WEF meeting in Davos.
• Factors: Climate change was seen as the number one danger by respondents in the WEF’s annual risks report,
 While erosion of social cohesion,
 Livelihood crises and
 Mental health deterioration was identified as risks which had increased the most since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach to tackle unrelenting global challenges and build resilience ahead of the next crisis.
• Extreme weather was considered the world’s biggest risk in the short term and a failure of climate action in the medium and long term.
• The report also highlights four areas of emerging risk cyber security, a disorderly climate transition, migration pressures and competition in space.
• The prospect of 70,000 satellite launches in coming decades in addition to space tourism, raises risks of collisions and increasing debris in space, amid a lack of regulation.
About Economic Recovery:
• Economic recovery is the process of reallocating resources and workers from failed businesses and investments to new jobs and uses after a recession.
• An economic recovery follows after the recession and leads into a new expansionary business cycle phase.
• Leading indicators such as the stock market, retail sales, and business start-ups often rise ahead of an economic recovery

• The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based international organization that works towards global cooperation on the major economic and social issues of the day.

• It is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which brings together business and political leaders and thinkers for discussion of global issues and solutions.
• The environment and related issues such as biodiversity destruction and human-made disasters dominate the WEF’s current list of most pressing global concerns.

• The WEF has no independent decision-making power but seeks to influence powerful people to make decisions that benefit the global community.
• The organization is funded through its own membership, which includes many prominent business and political figures.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Great Reset:
• The Great Reset includes a wide range of suggested reforms linked to economic, societal, geopolitical, environmental, and technological concerns.
• The reset calls for massive redistribution of wealth and the reduction of competition, creative destruction, and economic growth in favour of collective goals, government control, and social welfare.

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has commenced the work for creating various agricultural services built around a core layer of Farmers’ Database (Agristack) in India.
• In order to create Agristack, the department is in the process of finalising the “India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA)” which lays down a framework for building Agristacks.
• This Ecosystem shall help the Government in effective planning towards increasing the income of farmers in particular and improving the efficiency of the Agriculture sector, as a whole.
• As a first step, in this direction, the Government has already initiated building federated farmers’ database that would serve as the core of the envisaged Agristack.
• At present, proposed farmers’ database will include the farmers registered under the PM-Kisan Scheme.

NITI Aayog in association with PhonePe will be hosting the first-ever open-to-all Hackathon event for ideating and coming up with the most creative solutions for the FinTech space.
• The Hackathon will provide an opportunity for innovators, digital creators and developers from all over India to think, ideate and code

• Participants at the hackathon need to use any open-data APIs like PhonePe Pulse along with frameworks such as Account Aggregator as a foundation to power the following use cases:
o Alternate risk models for Lending, Insurance or Investments with focus on financial Inclusion

o Innovative Products that use the power data signals for various demographics and Geos for broader adoption of financial services

o Improved Visualisation and Derived intelligence based on the Digital payments data

• The final app that participants come up with must incorporate one of the above.

Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Shri Narayan Rane launched the Union MSME RuPay Credit Card of Union Bank of India in Sindhudurg at the two-day MSME Conclave being held in the district.
• The card is being offered by Union Bank of India in association with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It provides a simplified payment mechanism to MSMEs to meet their business-related operational expenses.

• The RuPay Card offers benefits like anytime digital payments, interest-free period and will carry interest rate similar to the rate charged for loans.

• MSME borrowers will be able to enjoy an interest-free credit period of up to 50 days on their business spends.

Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh launched Ombudsperson App for Mahatma Gandhi NREGA.
• Ministry of Rural Development has developed an Ombudsperson App for smooth reporting and categorization of grievances by Ombudsperson based on complaints he received from various sources viz. physical, digital and mass media, related to the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi NREG Scheme in the States/UTs.
• At present, the reporting of complaints, passing awards and disposal of complaints are in physical form. For the smooth reporting of complaints, passing awards and quick disposal of complaints Ombudsperson App is developed.
• This will strengthen Ombudsperson in the discharge of her/his duty in a hassle-free manner.
The Union Minister for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change recently launched the action plan for the Introduction of the Cheetah in India after 70 years.
• The Action Plan was launched at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). It is the world’s first inter-continental translocation project of a large carnivore like Cheetah.
• The cheetah is the only large carnivore to have gone extinct in India in the 1950s due to hunting and loss of habitat.
• The environment ministry with the help from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India, will be translocating around 8-12 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana – which have the world’s largest populations of the animal.
• The other new habitats of the Cheetah in India include the Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary-Bhainsrorgarh Wildlife Sanctuary complex, the Shahgarh bridge in Jaisalmer, and the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve.
 Among the 10 surveyed sites in five central Indian States, Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh was rated high on the priority list for the introduction of a cheetah because of its suitable habitat and adequate prey base.
• As per the plan, the central government, along with the ministry of environment and the Cheetah Task Force, will create a formal framework to collaborate with governments of Namibia and/or South Africa, through the Ministry of External Affairs.

Red Sanders (Red Sandalwood) has been re listed in the ‘endangered’ category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
Red sander: The species, Pterocarpus santalinus, is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats.
• Location: The species is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh. It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018 and has now joined the ‘endangered’ list once again in 2021.
• IUCN Assessment: The latest IUCN assessment stated: “Over the last three generations, the species has experienced a population decline of 50-80 percent. It is assessed as Endangered”.
• Status: The species is dwindling in its natural habitat due to over-exploitation. It has been assessed as endangered as per the IUCN criteria and also scheduled in appendix II of the CITES and Wildlife Protection Act.
• Reason: The over-harvest of the species has left the population structure skewed, with trees of a harvestable size and maturity being scarce and making up less than 5 percent of the trees remaining in the wild,” stated the summary.
• Threat: The slow growth of the species and continued harvesting leaves no time for the species to recover naturally. Cattle grazing and invasive species also threaten the species.
• Illegal export: Sanders smuggling continues despite the physical deterrents and patrols in place in Andhra Pradesh, as well as international, national, and state-level laws preventing the cutting and transport of species.
• Use: Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft, and musical instruments.
• Market value: Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that a tonne of Red Sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.

A team of Argentine scientists is using microorganisms native to Antarctica to explore the idea of cleaning up pollution from fuels and, potentially, plastics in the pristine expanses of the white continent.
• The tiny microbes munch through the waste, creating a naturally occurring cleaning system for pollution caused by diesel that is used as a source of electricity and heat for research bases in the frozen Antarctic.

• The continent is protected by a 1961 Madrid Protocol that stipulates it must be kept in a pristine state.

• The research on how the microbes could help with plastic waste could have potential for wider environmental issues. This work uses the potential of native microorganisms – bacteria and fungi that inhabit the Antarctic soil, even when it is contaminated.

On the eve of the World Wetlands Day, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands designated Khijadia Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh as wetlands of international importance.

• The Ramsar Convention, which came into existence in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
• Globally, wetlands cover 6.4 per cent of the geographical area of the world.

Indian scenario:
• In India, according to the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment compiled by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), wetlands are spread over 1,52,600 square kilometres (sq km) which is 4.63 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.
• Of the 1,52,600 sq km, inland-natural wetlands account for 43.4% and coastal-natural wetlands 24.3%. Rivers/streams occupy 52,600 sq km, reservoirs/barrages 24,800 sq km, inter-tidal mudflats 24,100 sq km, tanks/ponds 13,100 sq km and lake/ponds 7300 sq km.
• India has 19 types of wetlands. In state-wise distribution of wetlands, Gujarat is at the top with 34,700 sq km (17.56 percent of total geographical area of the state), or 22.7 percent of total wetlands areas of the country thanks to a long coastline.

• It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (14,500 sq km), Uttar Pradesh (12,400 sq km) and West Bengal (11,100 sq km).


The Government of India, the State Governments of Karnataka and Odisha and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement of $115 million for implementation of “Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development” (REWARD) Project.
• The Government of India has committed to restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 and doubling farmers’ income by 2023. Effective watershed management can help enhance livelihoods in rainfed areas, while building a more resilient food system.
• In this context, the new program will help the participating state governments in their efforts to transform watershed planning and execution and adopt science-based planning that could be replicated across the country. It will also help the participating and others states to adopt new approaches to watershed development.
• The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing will support Karnataka with $60 million (INR 453.5 crore), Odisha with $49 million (INR 370 crore), and the remaining $6 million (INR 45.5 crore) will be for the central government’s Department of Land Resources.
• The $115 million (INR 869 crore) loan has a maturity of 15 years, including a grace period of 4.5 years.

A team of herpetologists have recorded a new species of bent-toed gecko from a wooded part of the Umroi Military Station in Meghalaya.
• Its scientific name is Crytodactylus exercitus and English name is Indian Army’s bent-toed gecko.
• Exercitus in Latin means army.

• The name was given to honour the Army for its services to the country. The military station where the bent-toed gecko was discovered was also a factor behind its name.



Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will make its third venture to the Moon through the Chandrayaan-3 mission in August this year. This was stated by Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
• Chandrayaan-3 is a planned third lunar exploration mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

• Following Chandrayaan-2, where a last-minute glitch in the soft-landing guidance software led to the failure of the lander’s soft-landing attempt after a successful orbital insertion, another lunar mission for demonstrating soft landing was proposed.

• Chandrayaan-3 will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2 but will only include a lander and rover similar to that of Chandrayaan-2. It will not have an orbiter.

• The spacecraft is planned to be launched in August 2022.

This year is expected to be quite busy for ISRO as major projects such as Gaganyaan and Aditya solar mission are also in the pipeline. ISRO will conduct 19 missions till December this year.

The European Union (EU) unveiled a plan to quadruple the supply of semiconductors in Europe by 2030, hoping to limit the bloc’s dependence on Asia for a key component used in electric cars and smartphones.
• The production of chips has become a strategic priority in Europe as well as the United States, after the shock of the pandemic choked off supply, bringing factories to a standstill and emptying stores of products.
• The manufacturing of semiconductors overwhelmingly takes place in Taiwan, China and South Korea and the European Union wants factories and companies inside the bloc to take on a bigger role.
• The highly anticipated EU Chips Act will “mobilise more than €43 billion ($49.1 billion) of public and private investments” and “enable the EU to reach its ambition to double its current market share to 20% in 2030”.
• The proposal will need the approval of the EU member states and European Parliament, where opinions will vary between the ambitions of industrial heavyweights such as Germany, France and Italy and those of smaller states that are worried about closing off valuable supply chains with Asia.

The Government banned the import of drones with immediate effect, except for research and development, defence and security purposes.
• The move aims to promote made-in-India drones, a statement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.
• The Directorate General of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry notified the Indian Trade Classification (Harmonised System), 2022 effecting the prohibition of drones for import.
• The Ministry of Civil Aviation said that while exceptions were provided for R&D, defence and security, importing drones for these purposes will require “due clearances”. However, import of drone components will not need any approvals.

Previous Efforts:
• Last year, the Ministry notified liberalised drone rules with the aim to encourage R&D and to make India a drone hub.
• The government also approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and their components with an allocation of ₹120 crore for three financial years.

Scientists in the United Kingdom said they have achieved a new milestone in producing nuclear fusion energy, or imitating the way energy is produced in the sun.
• Energy by nuclear fusion is one of mankind’s long-standing quests as it promises to be low carbon, safer than how nuclear energy is now produced and, with an efficiency that can technically exceed a 100%.
• A team at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility near Oxford in central England generated 59 megajoules of sustained energy during an experiment in December, more than doubling a 1997 record, the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority said.
• A kilogram of fusion fuel contains about 10 million times as much energy as a kilogram of coal, oil or gas. The energy was produced in a machine called a tokamak, a doughnut-shaped apparatus. The JET site is the largest operational one of its kind in the world.
• Deuterium and tritium, which are isotopes of hydrogen, are heated to temperatures 10 times hotter than the centre of the sun to create plasma. This is held in place using superconductor electromagnets as it spins around, fuses and releases tremendous energy as heat.
• The record and scientific data from these crucial experiments are a major boost for the ITER, the larger and more advanced version of the JET.
• The ITER is a fusion research mega-project supported by seven members — China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. — and based in the south of France. It seeks to further demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.

Lactobacillus Plantarum JBC5
A team of scientists at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, have developed a next-generation probiotic that provides hope for longevity and healthy aging.
• A team of Indian Scientists has identified probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus Plantarum JBC5 from a dairy product that showed great promise in promoting healthy aging.
• The team has also developed a yogurt using this probiotic bacterium which can be consumed to derive all these health benefits.
Note: Probiotics are live microorganisms promoted with claims that they provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora.

• Doxxing is publishing and analysing others’ personal information on the internet with a malicious intent that can reveal the person’s real identity making them victims of harassments and cyber-attacks.
• Meta’s oversight board has suggested Facebook and Instagram to make strict doxxing rules. It urged Meta to consider doxxing as an offence which should prompt temporary account suspension.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has announced New Biotechnology Policy for the year 2022-27.
• Under this policy, the strategic projects and mega and large projects are eligible for special packages. This will attract new investment through anchor units and existing industries and create new employment opportunities in the state.

• According to this new policy, the MSMEs with a capital investment of less than 200 crore rupees will be given maximum assistance of 40 crore rupees.

• Similarly, the mega and large projects with a capital investment of more than 200 crore rupees and special projects like ecosystem empowerment, emerging technologies in challenging areas and strategic importance will be assisted up to 25 percent of the total capital expenditure up to a maximum limit of 200 crore rupees.

• This assistance will be provided in the form of 20 quarterly installments over five years. MSME units with a capital investment of less than 200 crore rupees will be assisted with a maximum of 5 crore rupees per annum.

• Mega and large projects with a capital investment of more than 200 crore rupees and special projects like ecosystem empowerment will be given an assistance of up to 15 percent of the total operating cost up to a maximum of 25 crore rupees per annum.

A 57-year-old patient in United States suffering from end-stage heart disease has received a genetically-altered pig heart.
• Xenotransplantation is any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of either live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source, or human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivo contact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues or organs.
• Pigs are increasingly becoming popular candidates for organ transplantation. This is because their organs are anatomically similar to those of humans.
Scientists are using grime-eating bacteria to restore classical art and preserve the same.
• Art restorers have usually employed chemical agents and, more recently laser techniques, to remove dirt, oil, glue, or pollutants from monuments, stone works, and paintings.
• Due to the restrictions imposed as an aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic, art restorers in Italy worked to rid a priceless Michelangelo of centuries of accumulated dirt and grime.
 They let loose the bacteria. The role of microorganisms has been recognized in protecting the artistic heritage of humanity since the 1980s when the bacteria Desulfovibrio Bulgaria was used.
• The researchers first used the bacteria Desulfovibrio Vulgaris to clean a marble monument at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, in the US.
• Desulfovibrio Vulgaris is a Gram-negative, anaerobic, non-spore-forming, curved rod-shaped bacteria, that can be found in soil, animal intestines and faeces, and fresh and saltwater.
Other Bacteria used:
• Pseudomonas stutzeri has been trusted to clean a range of monuments, as well as the stones of historic bridges and granite slabs of chapels in Spain.
• This strain of bacteria was used for the bio-restoration of frescoes in the 17th century Church of Santos Juanes in Valencia, Spain, and murals of the Camposanto Monumentale di Pisa in Italy.
• Recently P. Stutzeri was used to clean the 14th-century Triumph of Death fresco at the Campo Santo.

The cemetery was bombed during World War II. Pseudomonas stutzeri is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped, motile, single polarflagellated, soil bacterium that was first isolated from human spinal fluid and is widely distributed in the environment.
Significance for India
• Bio-restoration can save many of India’s monuments. In 2014, a paper published by researchers from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, and Curtin University in Perth, Australia, noted that calcifying bacteria could be used for remediation of stones and cultural heritage monuments, including the Taj Mahal.
The Bangladesh railways will procure 420 broad-gauge wagons from India.
• The agreement was signed in Dhaka between the project director of Bangladesh railways Mizanur Rahman and the Hindustan Engineering and Industries Limited.
• The agreement worth Tk. 231 crore will be implemented within 27 months of the signing of the contract.
• This project is being implemented with the joint funding of the Government of Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Rolling Stock Operation Improvement Project.
• These are high speed bogies with automatic air brake systems so that the general and specialised products like various food grains, fertilisers, stones, wood etc. can reach the destination safely at low cost and in less time. The wagons are equipped with a stainless-steel body.

The foundation stone for the third border haat at Kamalpur-Kumarghat on Tripura- Bangladesh border was laid jointly by the Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb and Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
• The border haat is spread over 75 square metres and can accommodate 100 vendors on each side of the border.

• Inaugurating the border haat, Chief Minister Biplab Deb said that apart from enhancing trade relations between the two countries, the border haat will also strengthen friendly relationship between the two countries.

• He said that eight border haats are proposed to be built on the border between Tripura and Bangladesh out of which two are already functional at Kamalasagar in Sepahijala district and Srinagar in South Tripura district.

• He expressed hope that the border haat will start functioning at Kamalpur from this year. The consent for the fourth border haat at Raghna in Dharmanagar has been received on which work is expected to start from this year, said the Chief Minister.

North Korea has conducted its biggest missile launch since 2017. North Korea has claimed the missile which it test fired recently is extremely powerful and can travel hundreds of miles, It also has the ability to strike the US Northern Pacific command Guam.

• The test was an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which would be the biggest missile tested since November 2017.
• The missile reached an altitude of 2,000km and flew for 30 minutes to a distance of 800km. Finally, it landed in the Sea of Japan.
• North Korea has conducted a record number of seven missile launches in the month of January 2022 alone – which was strongly condemned by the US, South Korea, Japan, and other nations.

• The UN prohibits North Korea from ballistic and nuclear weapons tests, and has imposed strict sanctions, but the East Asian state regularly defies the ban.

• Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean.
• In Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia.
• Guam’s capital is Hagåtña.
• People born on Guam are American citizens but have no vote in the United States presidential elections.
India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’, apparently modelled on the Aadhaar card.
• The Rajapaksa government will “prioritise” the implementation of the Framework as a national level programme, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet decided.
• Under the proposed Unitary Digital Identity Framework, it is expected to introduce a personal identity verification device based on biometric data, a digital tool that can represent the identities of individuals in cyberspace, and the identification of individual identities that can be accurately verified in digital and physical environments by combining the two devices.
• The initiative follows bilateral talks between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2019.
• It also comes amid substantive economic assistance from India — totalling $ 1.4 billion since the beginning of this year — to Sri Lanka, to help the island nation cope with its dollar crunch, and import food, medicines and fuel amid frequent shortages.
• While India has confirmed support for Sri Lanka’s effort to transition to a digital identity system, there is no official information yet on the value of the grant, and whether it would include technological support or training.

Russia rolled its tanks across Belarus for live-fire drills which drew an warning from NATO and added urgency to Western efforts to avert a feared invasion of Ukraine.
• The war games — set to run until February 20 — followed a gradual Russian military build-up around Ukraine that some U.S. estimates say has reached 1,30,000 soldiers grouped in dozens of combat brigades.

• Western leaders have been shuttling to Moscow in an effort to keep the lines of communication open, giving Russia a chance to air its grievances about NATO’s expansion into eastern Europe and ex-Soviet states.

• Russia has also sent six warship through the Bosphorus for naval drills on the Black Sea and the neighbouring Sea of Azov.

About Belarus:


• Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.

• It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

India signed an agreement with the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) for the distribution of 50,000 tonnes of wheat that it has committed to sending Afghanistan as part of humanitarian assistance.
• Diplomatic efforts are under way to begin sending truck convoys through Pakistan by road, and the transport is expected to begin after the Punjab election on February 20.
• According to the MoU, the wheat will be taken through Pakistan to the Afghan border crossing and handed over to WFP officials in Kandahar beginning February 22.
• The wheat will eventually be divided into five batches of 10,000 tonnes, to be distributed across the country on approximately 200 trucks that are run by the WFP.
• The WFP runs its own logistics network inside Afghanistan, partnering with civil society groups, and has launched a global campaign for enough food and aid for the population facing malnutrition — estimated to be half the population or 22 million Afghans.

About WFP:
• The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
• It is headquartered in Rome.
• The WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly.

PM Modi met former Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga who was in India on a private visit.
• The two leaders share friendly personal relations going back decades. Mr Modi expressed his happiness at being able to meet Mr. Odinga after almost three and half years.

• He recollected his multiple interactions with Mr. Odinga since 2008 in both India and Kenya, as well as the latter’s support to the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2009 and 2012.



• Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa.

• Kenya’s capital and largest city is Nairobi, while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa.

• Kenya is bordered by South Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the southeast.
• Note: Kenya has a large minority of Indians and Persons of Indian Origin living there who are descendants of labourers who were brought in by the British to construct the Uganda Railway .

• Kenya and India are members of international fora like United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Commonwealth of Nations, G-77 and G-15 and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and often cooperate with each other on these fora.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held a series of one-to-one meetings with Ministers from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

• The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy that has been held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1963.
• Over the past four decades the Munich Security Conference has become the most important independent forum for the exchange of views by international security policy decision-makers.
• Each year it brings together about 350 senior figures from more than 70 countries around the world to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges
• The list of attendees includes heads of states, governments and international organizations, ministers, members of parliament, high-ranking representatives of armed forces, science, civil society, as well as business and media.
• The conference is held annually in February. The venue is the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) are scheduled to participate in a bilateral exercise named Eastern Bridge-VI from 21 to 25 February 2022 at Air Force Station Jodhpur.
• This would be the sixth edition of the exercise.

• It will provide an opportunity to enhance operational capability and interoperability between the Air Forces of India and Oman.

Russia used its veto powers to block a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine and demanding an immediate withdrawal of its troops.
• Eleven out of the 15 permanent and non-permanent members — including the US, UK and France — voted in favour of the resolution, while India, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) chose to abstain.
• Indian Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti, who abstained, said that “dialogue is the only path forward,” no matter how daunting it might seem, and urged the Council to restore the difficult path forward.
About Veto Power:
• The United Nations Security Council “veto power” is the power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to veto any “substantive” resolution.
• However, a permanent member’s abstention or absence does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted.
• This veto power does not apply to “procedural” votes, as determined by the permanent members themselves.


West Jaintia Hills witnessed the first-of-its-kind Fly-Off Event to demonstrate the use of novel and innovative Drone/UAV technology for payload delivery, that could serve as a model of solving the 1st mile connectivity issues for Lakadong Turmeric farmers from the hinterland.

• Lakadong Turmeric has been identified under The One District, One Product (ODOP) Initiative under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as a product with excellent potential for growth and export for West Jaintia Hills.

• ODOP partnered with AGNIi Mission, one of the nine technology missions under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council to identify Indian innovative technologies that can play a transformative role in the end-to-end processing of Lakadong Turmeric.

• It may be noted that the Lakadong Turmeric from West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, one of the world’s finest turmeric varieties with the highest curcumin content of 7-9% (in comparison to 3% or less in other varieties), is fast becoming a game changer in the economy of the district.

• The State of Meghalaya has applied for a Geographical Indication tag for Lakadong turmeric.

• India produces 78 per cent of the world’s turmeric, as per a reply given by the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar in the Rajya Sabha on March 12, 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Statue of Equality, a gigantic statue of Ramanujacharya, on February 5 on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
About Ramanujacharya:
• Born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, Ramanujacharya is revered as a Vedic philosopher and social reformer. He travelled across India, advocating equality and social justice.
• Ramanuja revived the Bhakti movement, and his preaching inspired other Bhakti schools of thought. He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakt Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.

• He went on to write nine scriptures known as the navaratnas, and composed numerous commentaries on Vedic scriptures.

Why is it called the Statue of Equality?
• Ramanuja was an advocate of social equality among all sections of people centuries ago, and encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them.
• He took education to those who were deprived of it. His greatest contribution is the propagation of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”.

For the first time, the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine – National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, NCISM-NEET, has conducted an entrance test to Bachelor of Sowa Rigpa Medicine and Surgery (BSRMS) (Menpa Kachupa).

• Including Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, CIBS, and National Research Institute For Sowa Rigpa, NRISR, in Leh, the entrance is conducted in Dharamshala, Varanasi, Gangtok and Darjeeling.
• Sowa-Rigpa, the Science of Healing, is one of the seven Ayush systems, received UGC recognition in October last year. Sowa Rigpa is one of the oldest and well documented systems of traditional medicine in the world, and is popular in Himalayan region.
• The results of the entrance test will be declared on 8th of this month and academic sessions for first batch BSRMS will begin from March 14th this year.

The government’s recent announcement that the maternity benefit programme which provides ₹5,000 for first child will be extended to cover the second child only if it is a girl has met with sharp criticism from activists who have demanded that it be universalised.
 The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), launched in 2017, provides ₹5,000 for the birth of the first child to partially compensate a woman for loss of wages.
 It also aims to improve the nutritional well-being of the mother and the child.
 The amount is given in three instalments upon meeting certain conditions.
 It is combined with another scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojana, under which nearly ₹1,000 is given for an institutional birth, so that a woman gets a total of ₹6,000.
 Under the revamped PMMVY under Mission Shakti, the maternity benefit amounting to ₹6000 is also to be provided for the second child, but only if the second is a girl child, to discourage pre-birth sex selection and promote the girl child, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani told the Lok Sabha.

The Railway Protection Force has launched a nationwide operation to curb human trafficking.

• As part of “Operation AAHT”, the infrastructure and intelligence network of the force could be utilised to collect, collate and analyse clues on victims, source, route, destination, popular trains used by suspects, identity of carriers/agents, kingpins etc and shared with other law-enforcing agencies.

• The RPF could act as a bridge cutting across States to assist the local police in the mission to curb the menace.

Also, Refer to the image for info.


The West Bengal government on February 7 launched ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ – an open-air classroom in the neighbourhood programme – for students from class 1 to 7.
• The aim of this initiative is to encourage students who dropped out of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic to continue their education.

• Initially, the initiative was meant for primary school students (1 to 5). However, students in classes 6 and 7 were also included as physical classes in schools did not reopen for them.

• Students are being called in batches. Arrangements for mid-day meals have also been made for the students taking neighbourhood classes.

• Schools which do not have open-air spaces conducted the classes in neighbourhood parks and grounds. Local councillors and MLAs helped set up infrastructure in such parks like putting up makeshift shades and chairs, besides making mid-day meal arrangements for the students. Schools which have open-air spaces held the classes there.

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, will launch the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) on 16th February, 2022 at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi for the welfare of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Communities.
• The Scheme will have four components with an approximate cost of Rs 200 crore to be spent over a period of 5 years starting Financial Year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
• The four components are:
o To provide coaching of good quality for DNT/NT/SNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations.
o To provide health insurance to DNT/NT/SNT Communities.
o To facilitate livelihoods initiative at community level to build and strengthen small clusters of DNT/NT/SNT Communities institutions.
o To provide financial assistance for construction of houses to members of the DNT/NT/SNT Communities.

• The Scheme will be implemented through a portal, developed by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.
• The funds will be transferred directly to the beneficiaries in their account.
• The other implementing agencies are Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Health Authority (NHA).

The Minister of State for Culture & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal launched the career counselling workshop ‘Pramarsh 2022’ for the students of the Bikaner District region.
• In this workshop one lakh students participated from more than thousands schools of Bikaner district mainly from rural area.
• Workshop was conducted with the support of The National Institute of Career Services (NICS) which comes under the Ministry of Labour & Employment and educational start-up Edumilestones.
• “Pramarsh2022” workshop was an extension of the efforts to bridge the industry academia gap and impart the knowledge about various choices available to the student.
• The ongoing workshop is not limited to training of teach-ers and career workshop for students, but it is also proposed that an offline and online career assessment and service of Edumilestones digital career library will be facilitated to all students.

March 2022 Current Affairs

Polity and Governance

The Centre has authorized the extension of seven current sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme “Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates” for another five years at a cost of Rs 1,452 crores.

  • The proposal for the continuation of the seven current sub-schemes under the Umbrella Scheme “Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates” for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, with a total budget of Rs. 1,452 crores, has been approved by the Central Government.
  • The permission would ensure that beneficiaries of the Umbrella Scheme receive help from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is helmed by Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah.

The ‘Modernisation Plan-IV for Central Armed Police Forces’ (CAPFs) scheme was authorized by the Centre.

  • In continuation of the program “Modernisation Plan-III for CAPFs,” the government has authorized the Modernisation Plan-IV for Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
  • It will run from February 1, 2022, through March 31, 2026.
  • Implementation of the scheme will equip CAPFs to improve the overall operational efficiency/preparedness which will positively impact the internal security scenario in the country.
  • Under the guidance of Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, the Ministry of Home Affairs will implement Modernisation Plan-IV for CAPFs, which will equip the CAPFs with modern state-of-the-art weapons and equipment as per their operational requirements, keeping in mind their deployment pattern in different theatres.



  • Centre has approved the proposal for continuation of the seven existing sub schemes under the Umbrella Scheme Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates.
  • The approval has been given for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with a total outlay of 1,452 crore rupees.
  • The umbrella scheme enables migrants and repatriates, who have suffered on account of displacement, to earn a reasonable income and facilitate their inclusion in mainstream economic activities.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the move will ensure that assistance continues to reach beneficiaries. The Central government at different points of time had started different such schemes. They include

the Relief and Rehabilitation of displaced families of Pakistan Occupied Areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Chhamb,


  • the relief assistance to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees
  • the relief assistance to Brus lodged in relief camps in Tripura and
  • the enhanced relief to 1984 Anti-Sikh Riot Victims.

The government is also providing grants-in-aid to West Bengal government for infrastructure development in 51 erstwhile Bangladeshi enclaves in India, situated in Cooch Behar District and for resettlement of 922 returnees from erstwhile Indian enclaves in Bangladesh.



The V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg has come out with their annual democracy report. The study is titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’.


  • The report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI): Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
  • It classifies India as an electoral autocracy ranking it 93rd on the LDI, out of 179 countries.
  • The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.
  • More than twice as many countries (32) are undergoing autocratisation as are witnessing democratization (15).
  • Noting that India is one of the top ten ‘autocracies’ in the world, the V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) report classifies India as an autocracy (‘electoral autocracy’) rather than a democracy, ranking it 93rd on the liberal democracy index, out of 179 countries.
  • One of the biggest drivers of autocratisation is “toxic polarisation”, a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarization in 2011.



During the 2022 Budget session of Parliament, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that while implementing Phase 2 of the e-Courts projects, under operation since 2015, a need was felt to adopt new, cutting-edge technologies of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase the efficiency of the justice delivery system.


  • To explore the use of AI in judicial domain, the Supreme Court of India has constituted the Artificial Intelligence Committee which has mainly identified application of AI technology in translation of judicial documents, legal research assistance and process automation.
  • Several law firms are now keen on trying out new technologies for a quick reference on judicial precedents and pronouncements on cases with similar legal issues at stake.


  • The Mumbai-based Riverus, a “legal tech” firm, has developed ML applications that peruse troves of cases, “understand” them, and parse cases that are similar in content — very much like a human expert would do — in a fraction of the time.


Present status in India:

  • Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of technology for e-filing, and virtual hearings has seen a dramatic rise.
  • From the beginning of the lockdown in 2020 until January 8 this year, the Supreme Court of India emerged as a global leader by conducting 1,81,909 virtual hearings.
  • But the use of ML in India’s legal sphere has so far been restricted to automating back-end work, and is still a very long way from being used as a decision-making tool for the judiciary.
  • SUVAS is a language-learning application being used to translate judgments, and SUPACE, which can draft a legal brief, comprise the initiatives being undertaken in the Indian judiciary as a part of incorporating ML-based applications.


Yupp TV

India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has signed a MOU with Yupp TV, an over-the-top (OTT) platform, in order to expand the reach of DD India channel, which puts forth the country’s perspective on various international developments on global platforms.


  • With this, DD India is now available on the OTT platform of Yupp TV in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, West Asia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Available in more than 190 countries, the channel offers international viewers India’s perspective on all domestic and global developments and also acts as a bridge between India and Indian diaspora across the world. It showcases India’s culture and values to the world.
  • The content hosting agreement was signed by Prasar Bharati’s chief executive officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati and Yupp TV founder and chief executive officer Uday Reddy.

About YuppTV:

  • YuppTV is an over-the-top (OTT) content provider for South Asian content including live television and films with recording and storage features.
  • Headquartered in Atlanta and Hyderabad, YuppTV offers 300+ TV channels in 15 languages: Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Gujarati, Sinhalese, Bangla, Nepali, Urdu and English.



The Union Labour and Employment Ministry launched the “donate a pension” scheme allowing any citizen to pay the premium amount on behalf of an unorganised worker under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Scheme.


  • The pension scheme, which was launched in 2019, allows unorganized sector workers between the age of 18 and 40, who earn up to ₹15,000 a month, to enroll by paying a premium amount between ₹55 and ₹200, depending on the age, that would be matched by the government.
  • On reaching the age of 60, the beneficiaries would get a ₹3,000 monthly pension. As of March 3, the scheme had 46.34 lakh enrolments.
  • “Donate a pension” scheme allows a citizen to “donate the premium contribution of their immediate support staff such as domestic workers, drivers, helpers, care givers, nurses, in their household or establishment.
  • The donor can pay the contribution for a minimum of one year, with the amount ranging from ₹660 to ₹2,400 a year, depending on the age of the beneficiary.
  • The premium amount can be paid through or by visiting a Common Service Centre anywhere in the country.


Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana laid the foundation stone for Arbitration centre in Hyderabad.


  • He said that the Hyderabad International Arbitration and Mediation Centre will emerge as one of the major arbitration centers in the world on a par with international ones in London, Dubai, and Singapore within a year.
  • It was proposed by the International Arbitration and Mediation Centre Trust.
  • The international arbitration centre is already functional in Hyderabad. The centre was inaugurated two months ago at a rented accommodation at Nanakramguda.


The Karnataka High Court upheld the ban on the wearing of hijab (head scarf) by students in schools and colleges in the State.


  • It held that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and is not, therefore, protected under by the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The court said it was a reasonable restriction that was constitutionally permissible.
  • The Bench also upheld the legality of the Karnataka government’s February 5, 2022, order prescribing guidelines for uniforms in schools and pre-university colleges under the provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, after a row over hijab in Udupi and other districts.
  • The Bench also spoke about the possibility of some “unseen hands” behind the hijab row to engineer social unrest and disharmony, and expressed dismay over the issue being blown out of proportion. The court said that school uniform will cease to be a uniform if hijab is also allowed.


While hearing a criminal appeal against the Bihar Government, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana admonished a counsel for submitting a ‘sealed cover report’ to the court. The CJI asked the counsel to not submit the report in a sealed cover


  • Sealed cover jurisprudence is a practice used by the Supreme Court and sometimes lower courts, of asking for or accepting information from government agencies in sealed envelopes that can only be accessed by judges.
  • While a specific law does not define the doctrine of sealed cover, the Supreme Court derives its power to use it from Rule 7 of order XIII of the Supreme Court Rules and Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.
  • It is stated under the said rule that if the Chief Justice or court directs certain information to be kept under sealed cover or considers it of confidential nature, no party would be allowed access to the contents of such information, except if the Chief Justice himself orders that the opposite party be allowed to access it.
  • It also mentions that information can be kept confidential if its publication is not considered to be in the interest of the public.



Kerala High Court asked organisations associated with the film industry to take steps to constitute a joint committee to deal with cases of sexual harassment of women, in line with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013.


The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013.

It defined sexual harassment, lay down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken. It broadened the Vishaka guidelines, laid down by the Supreme Court in a judgment in 1997.

The 2013 Act mandated that every employer must constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.

It lay down procedures and defined various aspects of sexual harassment, including the aggrieved victim, who could be a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”.

This meant that the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity, were protected under the Act.






India’s GDP growth is expected to be 8.9% in 2021-22, according to the NSO.

  • The second advance estimates of national accounts have been provided by the National Statistical Office (NSO). According to the NSO, GDP growth rates for 2021-22 (FY22) and 2020-21 (FY21) are 8.9% (formerly 9.2% in initial advance estimates) and -6.6 percent (previously -7.3%), respectively, for 2021-22 (FY22) and 2020-21 (FY21).
  • According to NSO data, the manufacturing sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) growth remained nearly steady at 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2021-22, compared to 8.4 percent a year ago.

In India, Google introduced the ‘Play Pass’ membership service.

 In India, Google has announced the introduction of its ‘Play Pass’ subscription service. It will give Android users access to over 1,000 apps and games that are free of advertisements, in-app purchases, and upfront fees.

 Play Pass, which is now available in 90 countries, will provide a high-quality and curated collection of 1000+ titles from 59 nations, including many from India, across 41 categories.

Under the automatic method, the Union Cabinet approved FDI of up to 20% in LIC.

  • Prior to the massive initial public offering (IPO) of the Life Insurance Corporation of India in mid-March 2022, the Union Cabinet authorised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 20% under the ‘automatic route in the LIC of India.
  • Its goal is to get long-term overseas investors to invest in the issuance.
  • An initial public offering (IPO) is the sale of securities (business shares) to the general public on the primary market (usually to institutional investors and retail investors).

Union Bank of India and Ambit Finvest have inked a co-lending arrangement for SMEs.

  • Ambit Finvest signed a co-lending agreement with Union Bank of India for lending to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) customers, allowing MSMEs in 11 states currently covered by Ambit Finvest to establish creditworthiness.
  • MSMEs that face higher interest rates or are barred from other banking services will benefit from lower interest rates as a result of this agreement, resulting in lower cost of funds, allowing MSMEs to boost capital deployment in their businesses.

Future Generali India Insurance introduced ‘Oh My Dog!’ and offered ‘FG Dog Health Cover’ insurance. Campaign

  • Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited has launched FG Dog Health Protection, complete health insurance for pet dogs that also includes an industry-first ‘Emergency Pet Minding’ cover if the owners are hospitalized.
  • The FGII also runs a digital campaign called ‘Oh My Canine!’ that aims to raise awareness about the importance of acquiring dog health insurance and targets social media sites like Instagram and Twitter.


 Axis Bank has inked a memorandum of understanding with IPE Global for a USD 150 million loans to the healthcare sector.

  • Axis Bank and IPE Global Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop India’s healthcare infrastructure by providing affordable financing of up to $150 million (about Rs 1,140 crore) through SAMRIDH.
  • ‘Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Healthcare Delivery’ is the acronym for SAMRIDH.


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of predatory pricing against e-commerce platform Shopee arguing that Shopee did not hold significant market power as it is a relatively new entrant in a market with well-established players.


  • Predatory pricing is the illegal act of setting prices low to attempt to eliminate the competition.
  • For a business to be engaging in predatory pricing requires that the enterprise be a dominant player in the relevant market, besides establishing that its goods or services are being marketed below cost and that sub-tactics are being used with the intention to eliminate competition.
  • Predatory pricing violates antitrust laws, as it makes markets more vulnerable to a monopoly.
  • However, allegations of this practice can be difficult to prosecute because defendants may argue successfully that lowering prices is part of normal competition, rather than a deliberate attempt to undermine the marketplace.
  • Under the Indian jurisprudence, Predatory pricing is described as ‘unfair or discriminatory’ pricing, and is forbidden by law under Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002, which refers to the “Abuse of a Dominant Position”.




National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) signed a MoU with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to develop a sustainable model for promoting entrepreneurship at the grass roots by initiating the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP).


  • SVEP is a sub-component of Deendayal Antyodaya YojanaNational Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) of the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • It aims to support entrepreneurs in rural areas to set-up enterprises at the village-level in non-agricultural sectors. The partnership will enable the rural community by helping them set up their trades and provide complete support till they are stabilized.
  • Under the partnership rural entrepreneurs will be able to access banking systems for receiving financial support for starting their enterprises, including support from MUDRA Integrated ICT techniques and tools will also be provided for training and capacity building along with enterprise advisory services to augment the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India’s villages.
  • The beneficiaries of the project are from the Self-Help Group (SHG) ecosystem of DAY-NRLM and the scheme not only supports existing enterprises but new enterprises as well.
  • National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).



The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Mines for amendment of Second Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 for specifying the rate of royalty in respect of Glauconite, Potash, Emerald, Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), Andalusite, Sillimanite and Molybdenum.


The approval would ensure auction of mineral blocks in respect of Glauconite, Potash, Emerald, Platinum Group of Metals, Andalusite and Molybdenum thereby reducing import of these minerals.

Rate of royalty for Andalusite, Sillimanite and Kyanite which are mineral polymorphs are kept at the same level.

The approval would ensure auction of mineral blocks in respect of Glauconite, Potash, Emerald, Platinum Group of metals, Andalusite and Molybdenum for the first time in the country.

Minerals like Glauconite and Potash are used as fertilizer in agriculture. Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) are high value metal used in various industries and new innovative applications. Minerals like Andalusite, molybdenum are vital minerals used in industrial applications.


On March 8, the Reserve Bank of India launched a new Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payments solution for feature phone users dubbed ‘UPI123Pay’.



  • The new UPI-based service is designed to bring the digital payments platform closer to a significant number of feature phone mobile subscribers in the country, which is estimated to be more than 40 crores.
  • The new UPI payments system offers users four options to make payments without internet connectivity:

Interactive Voice Response (IVR),


app-based functionality,


missed call facility and


proximity sound-based payments.


  • Using the IVR option, users would be required to initiate a secured call from their feature phones to a predetermined IVR number and complete UPI on-boarding formalities to be able to start making financial transactions like money transfer, mobile recharge, EMI repayment, balance check, among others.
  • The missed call facility will allow users to access their bank account and perform routine transactions such as receiving, transferring funds, regular purchases, bill payments, etc., by giving a missed call on the number displayed at the merchant outlet. The customer will receive an incoming call to authenticate the transaction by entering UPI PIN.
  • They could also install an app on their feature phone through which several UPI functions, available on smartphones, will be available on their feature phone, except scan and pay feature which is currently not available.
  • Finally, they could utilise the proximity sound-based payments option, which uses sound waves to enable contactless, offline, and proximity data communication on any device.



The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) conducted a $ 5 billion dollar-rupee swap auction as part of its liquidity management initiative, leading to infusion of dollars and sucking out of the rupee from the financial system.


  • The RBI sold $5.135 billion to banks on March 8 and simultaneously agreed to buy back the dollars at the end of the swap settlement period.

  • When the central bank sells dollars, it sucks out an equivalent amount in rupees, thus reducing the rupee liquidity in the system. Dollar inflow into the market will strengthen the rupee which has already hit the 77 level against the US dollar.

  • The swap auction can be done in the reverse way also when there is shortage of liquidity in the system. The RBI then buys dollars from the market and releases an equivalent amount in the rupees.


  • The central bank’s move will reduce the pressure on inflation and strengthen the rupee.

  • With the rupee under pressure and inflation posing a big risk to the economy, the central bank is expected to come out with more such measures to rein in inflation and prevent a big slide in the rupee.


Union Minister for MSME launched the MSME Innovative Scheme (Incubation, Design and IPR) along with the MSME IDEA HACKATHON 2022.


  • The MSME Innovation Scheme will act as a hub for innovation activities facilitating and guiding development of ideas into viable business proposition which benefits society directly.
  • MSME Innovative is a holistic approach to unify, synergize and converge 3 sub-components and interventions with a single purpose.

Details of the sub-schemes are as under:

  • Incubation: The primary objective of the scheme is to promote and support untapped creativity and to promote adoption of latest technologies in MSMEs that seek the validation of their ideas at the proof-of-concept level. Financial assistance up to Rs. 15 lakh per idea and up to Rs. 1.00 crore for relevant plant and machines will be provided.
  • Design: The objective of this component is to bring Indian manufacturing sector and Design expertise/ Design fraternity on to a common platform. Financial assistance up to Rs. 40 lakh for design project and up to Rs. 2.5 lakh for student project will be provided.
  • IPR (Intellectual Property Rights): The objective of the scheme is to improve the IP culture in India with a view to enhance the awareness of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) amongst the MSMEs and to encourage creative intellectual endeavor in Indian economy.


Context: The Kudankulam Village Panchayat adopts resolution against construction of the ‘Away from Reactor’ (AFR) facility at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) site for storing nuclear waste, citing a radioactive threat to the region.

  • Even though the highly radioactive spent fuel will be buried 15 meters below the ground level still there are high chances of spreading radioactivity that can spoil the groundwater.

Nuclear Power in India:

  • Genesis: India’s nuclear programme can trace its origins to 1944 and its efforts in 3 stage technology were established by Homi Jehangir Bhabha when he founded the nuclear research centre, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
  • Today, India has 23 nuclear reactors in operation in 7 nuclear power plants, with a total installed capacity of 7,480 MW.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Tamil Nadu


India’s Nuclear Share:

  • The present installed nuclear power capacity in the country is 6780 MW.
  • The share of nuclear power in the total electricity generation in the country is about 1% in the year 2020-21.
  • The present nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW is planned to be increased to 22480 MW by 2031 on progressive completion of projects.





World Wildlife Day is celebrated on March 3rd.

  • Every year on March 3rd, World Wildlife Day is commemorated to raise awareness about issues that affect wildlife.
    This year’s World Wildlife Day will honor forest-based livelihoods while also promoting forest and forest wildlife management concepts and practices that allow humans and animals to live in harmony.
    ‘Recovering essential species for ecosystem restoration is the theme for 2022.



World leaders at a United Nations conference in Kenya have agreed to work together in the biggest-ever push to stem the flood of plastic pollution.


  • The U.N. Environment Assembly has voted to adopt a resolution that paves the way for a legally binding agreement on plastic pollution by 2024.
  • The vote was unanimous, with nations agreeing to create an intergovernmental committee to negotiate the terms of the treaty.
  • Head of the U.N. Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, said that the plastics treaty would be the most significant environmental pact since the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • The details of the final treaty are yet to be negotiated, but could include a ban on producing new plastic, and will take into account all aspects of plastic pollution — including particles in the ocean, soil and food chain.
  • The resumed session of fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) was held from 28th February 2022 to 2nd March 2022 in Nairobi.



A team of scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new gin berry species from the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.


  • The species, Glycosmis albicarpa, with a distinct large white fruit, is endemic to the southern Western Ghats. The species belongs to the Orange family Rutaceae.
  • Many of the related plants of these taxonomic groups are being utilised for their medicinal values and food. Most commonly related species of these plants are collected from the wild, mainly for local use as food and medicine.
  • Berries of the Glycosmis species have the unique characteristic of ‘gin aroma’ and gained in popularity as an edible fruit. The species is also a larval host plant for butterflies like other species of Glycosmis.
  • The species, an evergreen small tree, was found as undergrowth in the Tirunelveli semi-evergreen forests at the Panagudi forest section of the wildlife sanctuary.



Recently, forest officials installed GPS transmitters on the northern river terrapin in the Indian Sundarbans. However, In just six weeks after the release, at least three of the 10 turtles of the critically endangered Batagur baska species have travelled hundreds of kilometres and are now in Bangladesh.


  • The northern river terrapin (Batagur baska) is a species of riverine turtle native to Southeast Asia.
  • It is one of Asia’s largest freshwater and brackwater turtles, reaching a carapace length of up to 60 cm and a maximum weight of 18 kg. Its carapace is moderately depressed.
  • The species is currently found in Bangladesh and India (in the Sunderbans), Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • It is strongly aquatic but uses terrestrial nesting sites, frequenting the tidal areas of estuaries, large rivers, and mangrove forests.
  • It is classified Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and considered extinct in much of its former range, principally due to exploitation as a food item (including egg harvesting).


Preliminary findings of a study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) suggest that the density of tigers in the Sunderbans may have reached the carrying capacity of the mangrove forests, leading to frequent dispersals and a surge in human-wildlife conflict.


  • Availability of food and space is the primary factor that determines how many tigers a forest can hold. And often, food is space for the tiger.
  • In the Terai and Shivalik hills habitat — think Corbett tiger reserve, for example — 10-16 tigers can survive in 100 sq km. This slides to 7-11 tigers per 100 sq km in the reserves of north-central Western Ghats such as Bandipur, and to 6-10 tigers per 100 sq km in the dry deciduous forests, such as Kanha, of central India.
  • The correlation between prey availability and tiger density is fairly established. There is even a simple linear regression explaining the relationship in the 2018 All-India Tiger report that put the carrying capacity in the Sunderbans “at around 4 tigers” per 100 sq km.
  • A joint Indo-Bangla study in 2015 pegged the tiger density at 2.85 per 100 sq km after surveying eight blocks spanning 2,913 sq km across the international borders in the Sunderbans.
  • The ongoing WII study indicates a density of 3-5 tigers in the Sunderbans. Given that 88 (86-90) tigers were estimated in 2,313 sq km of the Sundarbans in 2018, the population has been close to its so-called saturation point in the mangrove delta for some time.

Key facts related to tiger population:

  • As per the World-Wide Fund for Nature, the number of tigers dropped by 95 per cent over the past 150 years.
  • India is the land of royal tigers and current tiger population stands at 2967 which is 70 per cent of the global tiger population.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.

Protection Status:

  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Endangered.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I.



For the roughly 300 known octopus species dwelling in the world’s oceans, having eight arms is a defining characteristic. But that is not the way it started.


  • Scientists said a fossil unearthed in central Montana of a species named Syllipsimopodi bideni represents the oldest-known relative of today’s octopuses and boasts 10 arms, with two being twice as long as the other eight.
  • The fossil, so well preserved that it reveals two parallel rows of suckers up and down each arm, dates to about 328 million years ago.
  • Syllipsimopodi, about 4-3/4 inches (12 cm) long, had a torpedo-shaped body and squid-like appearance though it was not closely related to squids, which appeared much later.
  • It also is the oldest-known creature with suckers, which enable the arms to better grasp prey and other objects.
  • Syllipsimopodi pushes back by 82 million years the origins of a group called vampyropods that includes today’s octopuses.
  • Syllipsimopodi represents the only member of the octopus lineage with 10 arms, meaning two were lost in later evolution. There are numerous similar examples in the history of life on Earth – such as the reduction in the number of digits seen in meat-eating dinosaurs or horses.



The Odisha government has proposed to ban movement of mechanised fishing boats in the Mangalajodi area of the Chilika lake, an important haunt of migratory birds, to provide the winged guests an undisturbed ecosystem for six months every year.


  • Mangalajodi is an olden village under Tangi, Odisha block in Khordha district of Odisha at the northern edge of Chilika Lake.
  • Mangalajodi is recognised as globally important for the conservation of birds. Migratory birds arrive there for roosting.
  • However, no statutory rules and regulations are there for protecting the marshland with emergent vegetation.
  • Many occasions and festivals are celebrated in Mangalajodi. Danda Yatra is one of the oldest ritual occasions celebrated in the month of Chaitra. Paika Akhada is another dance performed by some villagers.


The Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP), which was recently released has laid down a 30-year road map for the city to tackle the challenges of climate change by adopting inclusive and robust mitigation and adaptation strategies.


  • The action plan has set short-, medium- and long-term climate goals aimed towards zero emission of greenhouse gas or a net-zero target for 2050.
  • It has been said that actions must be taken on priority across six strategic areas—sustainable waste management, urban greening and biodiversity, urban flooding and water resource management, energy and buildings, air quality and sustainable mobility.
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) prepared the plan with technical support from the World Resources Institute (WRI), India and the C40 Cities network.
  • The plan throws light on the current climate of the city called Baseline assessment—climate and air pollution risks, greenhouse gas inventory.


The Centre envisages a ₹19,000–crore project to rejuvenate 13 major rivers by planting trees, officials in the Environment and the Jal Shakti Ministries said.


  • These ‘forestry’ interventions are expected to increase the cumulative forest cover by 7,417.36 sq. km. in the vicinity of these 13 rivers and would prevent 50.21 million tonnes of CO2–equivalent in 10–year–old plantations and 74.76 million tonnes CO2–equivalent in 20–year–old plantations.
  • They would help recharge groundwater, reduce sedimentation, generate ₹449.01 crore from non-timber and other forest produce as well as provide employment of 344 million man–days.
  • The rivers are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Luni, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Cauvery funded by the National Afforestation & Eco-development Board, (MoEF&CC).
  • The two Ministries made public multiple voluminous Detailed Project Reports, for each of these rivers, prepared by the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehradun, (ICFRE).


A recent study by scientists has suggested a significant decline in the habitat of the golden langur (Trachypithecus geei), an endangered primate species distributed in the trans-boundary region of Bhutan and India.


  • A recent paper titled “Future simulated landscape predicts habitat loss for the golden langur: a range-level analysis for an endangered primate” throws light on whether the habitat of the endangered primate is protected or not. The paper has been published by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
  • Golden langurs are easily recognised by the colour of their fur, and are distributed in the forested habitats of Tsirang, Sarpang, Zhemgang and Trongsa districts of Bhutan.
  • In India, fragmented and isolated populations of the species are distributed in Chirang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts of Assam.
  • The results indicate that out of the total range extent (66,320 square km), only 12,265 square km (18.49%) is suitable for the species at present, which will further be reduced to 8,884 square km by the year 2031, indicating major range contraction.
  • Conservation Status: In 2003, they were considered endangered by the IUCN Red List, and listed as Appendix I on the CITES website.
  • Chakrashila is India’s first wildlife sanctuary with golden langur as the primary species. Chakrashila has about 600 golden langurs whose population is scattered across western Assam and the foothills of Bhutan.

Science and tech

Biodegradable nanoparticles were developed by IIT Kanpur to protect crops from illness.

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has created a novel nanoparticle-based biodegradable-carbenoid-metabolite (BioDCM) that can protect agricultural crops against fungal and bacterial illnesses.
  • Santosh K Misra and Piyush Kumar from the department of biological sciences and bioengineering led the research team, which included C Kannan and Divya Mishra from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Institute of Rice Research, as well as R Balamurugan and Mou Mandal from the University of Hyderabad’s School of Chemistry.

Under the Appscale Academy, Google and MeitY teamed to train 100 Indian startups to create high-quality worldwide apps and games.

  • As part of the Appscale Academy Program, MeitY Startup Hub, an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and Google have announced the formation of a cohort of 100 early to mid-stage Indian entrepreneurs to help them build high-quality global apps and games.
  • Appscale Academy seeks out and promotes promising Indian startups, assisting them in becoming worldwide success stories.

NOAA’s GOES-T satellite was launched by NASA to track dangerous weather.

  • NASA successfully launched the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), the third of four next-generation weather satellites, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
  • GOES-T is the name of the satellite. The satellite’s designation will be changed from GOES-T to GOES-18 once it is in its geostationary orbit.



Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was hit by Russian shelling, sparking a fire and raising fears of a disaster that could affect all of central Europe for decades, like the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.


  • Concerns faded after Ukrainian authorities announced that the fire had been extinguished, and while there was damage to the reactor compartment, the safety of the unit was not affected.
  • But even though the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is of a different design than Chernobyl and is protected from fire, nuclear safety experts and the International Atomic Energy Agency warn that waging war in and around such facilities presents extreme risks.
  • Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is located in Enerhodar, Ukraine, on the southern shore of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper river.
  • It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. The plant has 6 VVER-1000 pressurized light water nuclear reactors (PWR).



The National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has deployed “PARAM Ganga”, a supercomputer at IIT Roorkee, with a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 Petaflops.


  • The system is designed and commissioned by C-DAC under Phase 2 of the build approach of the NSM.
  • The National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) is being steered jointly by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeiTY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
  • The four major pillars of the NSM are, namely, Infrastructure, Applications, R&D, HRD.
  • C-DAC has been entrusted the responsibility to design, development, deployment and commissioning of the supercomputing systems under the build approach of Mission.
  • Till now C-DAC has deployed 11 systems at IISc, IITs, IISER Pune, JNCASR, NABI-Mohali and C-DAC under NSM Phase-1 and Phase-2 with a cumulative compute power of more than 20 Petaflops.



Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh launched SMS sending functionality to inform MPs and MLAs about the commencement of drone flying in their constituency under SVAMITVA Scheme.


  • The functionality will provide important nudge to Elected Representatives and will help in timely implementation of the Scheme.
  • SVAMITVA scheme uses the combination of Survey Grade Drones and CORS (Continuously Operated Reference Stations) network to accurately survey large areas in a very short span of time.
  • The maps generated through the drone survey are of very high accuracy i.e., up to 5 cm which the conventional methodology does not provide.



Aimed at providing accessible, standardised and affordable generic medicines, the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras have added nutraceuticals products, including protein powder and bar, malt-based food supplements and immunity bar for its customers.


  • Nutraceuticals are products, which other than nutrition are also used as medicine.
  • A nutraceutical product may be defined as a substance, which has physiological benefit or provides protection against chronic disease.

About PMBJP Kendras:

  • Currently, 8,675 PMBJP Kendras function in districts across the country with three IT-enabled warehouses in Gurugram, Chennai and Guwahati and another one ready to start operations in Surat.
  • Under the PMBJP being implemented by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, a medicine is priced on the principle of maximum of 50% of the average price of the top three brands of the said medicine. Thus, the prices of Jan Aushadhi medicines are cheaper at least by 50% and in some cases, by 80% to 90% of the market price of the branded medicines.
  • In India, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority under the Department of Pharmaceuticals regulates the prices of all drugs, whether branded or generic.
  • While it fixes the ceiling price of scheduled medicines specified in the first schedule of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, in case of non-scheduled medicines, the manufactures are free to fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of the drug.



National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. (NMDC), Country’s largest Iron Ore producer, a CPSE under Ministry of Steel signed a MoU with IIT Kharagpur for drone-based mineral exploration.


  • NMDC would be the first CPSE in India to conduct Drone-based Geophysical Surveys and Hyperspectral Studies for Mineral Exploration in the country.
  • NMDC is conducting exploration for various minerals in the State of Madhya Pradesh and also in the Beloda-Belmundi block in Chhattisgarh for Diamonds.
  • NMDC is also the first CPSE to use Space Geophysics in Central Indian Diamond Province and the first to use online monitoring of exploration of data on the BHUVAN platform.





Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed two loan agreements totaling USD 292 million for flood management.

  • Bangladesh’s government has signed two different loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) totaling USD 292 million.
  • Flood and riverbank erosion concerns along the Jamuna, Padma, and Ganges rivers are being addressed with a first loan totaling USD 157 million. It’s part of the Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program’s second tranche (FRERMIP).

Under the G2G Agreement, India and Nepal inked an MoU on the supply of urea and DAP.

  • Under a Government to Government (G2G) agreement, India and Nepal have signed an MoU for the long-term supply of urea and DAP (Di-ammonium Phosphate) fertilisers from India to Nepal.
  • This MoU will strengthen bilateral agricultural cooperation by assisting Nepal’s economy and food security.


 Swiss Airlines will be the first airline in the world to use solar aviation fuel.

  • Swiss International Air Lines AG (SWISS or Swiss Air Lines) and its parent company, the Lufthansa Group, have teamed with Synhelion SA (Synhelion), a Swiss solar fuels start-up, to use its solar aviation fuel.
  • Swiss International Airlines will be the first airline in the world to use solar aviation fuel (also known as “sun-to-liquid” fuel) to power its flights.


The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has unveiled a special logo commemorating 75 years of Indo-Dutch diplomatic relations.

  • This year marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands. To celebrate the event, Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, and Marten van den Berg, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to India, jointly released a logo on March 2, 2022.
  • To honor the 75th anniversary, a range of events and activities are planned throughout the year in a variety of cooperation sectors, including water, agriculture, innovation, energy, climate, and culture.


The United Arab Emirates has been added to the FATF’s grey list.

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, has kept Pakistan on the grey list and asked it to focus on money laundering investigations and prosecutions.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also been added to the FATF’s grey watchlist.



Human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Russia of using cluster bombs and vacuum bombs in the ongoing war.

Cluster munitions

  • According to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, a cluster munition means a “conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions”.
  • Essentially, cluster munitions are non-precision weapons that are designed to injure or kill human beings indiscriminately over a large area, and to destroy vehicles and infrastructure such as runways, railway or power transmission lines.
  • They can be dropped from an aircraft or launched in a projectile that spins in flight, scattering many bomblets as it travels.
  • Countries that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions are prohibited from using cluster bombs.

Thermobaric weapon

  • Thermobaric weapons — also known as aerosol bombs, fuel air explosives, or vaccum bombs — use oxygen from the air for a large, high-temperature blast. A thermobaric weapon causes significantly greater devastation than a conventional bomb of comparable size.
  • Vacuum bombs are not prohibited by any international law or agreement, but their use against civilian populations in built-up areas, schools or hospitals, could attract action under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.



Nepal’s House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact, a $500 million grant from the US to build power and road infrastructure projects.


  • The biggest American financial pledge to Nepal so far, it was signed in 2017 by MCC, but ratification was delayed by criticism that it undermined Nepal’s sovereignty.
  • The deal was approved with a note stating that it has no military or security component and nothing to do with the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific — and that Nepal would be free to pull out if the US violated this understanding.
  • MCC is an independent bilateral foreign aid agency established by the US Congress in 2004.


As western leaders came together to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Switzerland broke its 200-year long neutrality policy to sanction Moscow and its leaders.


  • Switzerland, the tiny Alpine nation has had a neutrality policy in place since 1815. Its official website attests to this, noting that “permanent neutrality is a principle of Swiss foreign policy.”
  • Though it serves as the headquarters of several diplomatic missions and as the venue for historic treaties like the Geneva Convention, Switzerland is not a part of the European Union or NATO.
  • In fact, it joined the United Nations as recently as 2002.
  • During the Second World War, Switzerland, which shares borders with Germany, France and Italy, used a combination of military deterrence, strategic planning and economic neutrality to hold its own in 1940s Europe.


India abstained on a vote at the UN Human Rights Council

India abstained on a vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as the Council decided to set up an international commission of enquiry into Russia’s actions in Ukraine.


  • The resolution “strongly condemned” aggression by Russia in Ukraine. Russian troops recently captured Zaporizhzhia Nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
  • India was among 13 countries of the 47-member council that abstained from the resolution. Thirty-two countries voted for the resolution that asked the HRC president to appoint three human rights experts for a year. Only Russia and Eritrea voted against the resolution.

About UNHRC:

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
  • Location: It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • Establishment: It was founded in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that had been strongly criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.
  • Membership: The Council is made of 47 Member States, which are elected by the UN General Assembly. The Council’s Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution.



Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH received the maiden voyage of food-grains from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh in Guwahati.


  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) welcomed the self-propelled vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying a total of 200 MT of foodgrains for Food Corporation of India (FCI) as it completed the maiden pilot run from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh.
  • IWAI is planning to run a fixed schedule sailing between Ganga (NW1) and Brahmaputra (NW2) heralding a new age of inland water transport for Assam & the Northeast India.
  • The vessel started its sail from Patna on National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) and passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar; Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and National Waterway-2 through Dhubri, and Jogighopa covering a distance of 2,350 km.


  • Another vessel MV Ram Prasad Bismil with two barges Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam started voyage from Haldia on 17th Feb 22 and is on the way to Pandu.


The United Nations considers humanitarian corridors to be one of several possible forms of a temporary pause of armed conflict.


  • They are demilitarized zones, in a specific area and for a specific time — and both sides of an armed conflict agree to them.
  • Via these corridors, either food and medical aid can be brought to areas of conflict, or civilians can be evacuated.
  • The corridors are necessary when cities are under siege and the population is cut off from basic food supplies, electricity and water.
  • In cases where a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds because the international law of war is being violated — for example through large-scale bombing of civilian targets — humanitarian corridors can provide crucial relief.


  • In most cases, humanitarian corridors are negotiated by the United Nations. Sometimes they’re also set up by local groups.
  • Since all sides need to agree to set up the corridors, there is a risk of military or political abuse. For example, the corridors can be used to smuggle weapons and fuel into besieged cities.
  • On the other hand, they can also be used by UN observers, NGOs and journalists to gain access to contested areas where war crimes are being committed.



The Philippines raised its age of sexual consent from 12 years to 16 years.


  • For years activists had called upon the government to raise the age of consent in the Philippines.
  • Until now, it had one of the lowest ages of consent in the world, with roughly one in five children experiencing sexual violence.

Age of consent in other countries:

  • In India, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, defines a “child” as anyone below 18 years of age, and hence, engaging in sexual activity with a ‘child’ is considered sexual assault.
  • With the Philippines’ new law, the age of consent remains lowest in Angola at 12 years.
  • According to data provided by the World Population Review, Japan has the age of consent at 13, and countries like China, Germany, Italy and Brazil have it as 14.
  • In the United States, the age of consent is decided by states individually and varies between 16 to 18. The United Kingdom, too, has 16 as its age of consent.



Ex DHARMA GUARDIAN-2022, an annual exercise between Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Force which commenced on 27 February 2022 at Foreign Training Node, Belgaum successfully culminated on 10 March 2022.


The conduct of this exercise, which covered a vast spectrum from cross training & combat conditioning in field conditions, to sports and cultural exchanges has been a grand success.

“Exercise Dharma Guardian” will enhance the level of defence cooperation between the Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces.


Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative former prosecutor, is all set to become South Korea’s next president after his win in the country’s presidential election, defeating his liberal rival.


  • Yoon Suk-yeol is a South Korean politician, former public prosecutor and lawyer who is the president-elect of South Korea.
  • Yoon served as Prosecutor General of South Korea between 2019 and 2021 under President Moon Jae-in.
  • A member of the conservative People Power Party, Yoon defeated Democratic Party’s nominee Lee Jae-myung in the 2022 South Korean presidential election, and is scheduled to assume office as president on May 10, 2022.

Other important news

The first-ever Ice Wall Climbing Competition was held in Ladakh LG. 2022

  • At Ganglas in Leh, Ladakh Lt Governor RK Mathur inaugurated the first-ever Ice Wall Climbing Competition-2022. It is organized by the Indo Tibetan Border Police’s Northwest Frontier (ITBP).
  • Apart from the ITBF, the Ladakh Police, the Ladakh Mountain Guide Association, students, and a Nubra squad are all competing in this two-day event. It will contribute to the development of a large pool of talent for international contests such as the Winter Olympics.

Vietnam will host the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

  • From May 12 to 23, 2022, Vietnam will host the 31st Southeast Asian Games. It is Southeast Asia’s largest sporting event, held every two years.
  • The event was originally set for November 2021 but owing to the Covid epidemic, it was postponed. Organizers said at a press conference today that the Games will feature 40 sports with 526 events, attracting roughly 10,000 participants.

In Chennai, India’s first ambulance for street animals was launched.

  • In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India’s first ambulance for street animals was inaugurated. It was founded by the Indian Blue Cross in partnership with the international animal protection organization “Four Paw.”
  • The ambulance was introduced by Madras High Court Justice Dr. Anitha Sumanth. The Stray Animal Care initiative will be a mobile “hospital” with an onboard veterinarian to treat injured and sick street animals on the spot.


 The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has started a skill development programme for pupils called “Naan Muthalvan- Ulagai Vellum Ilaiya Tamilagam.”

  • At the Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin launched a skill development scheme for students called “Naan Muthalvan- Ulagai Vellum Ilaiya Tamilagam,” which means “I am the first – the youngest Tamil Nadu to conquer the globe.”
  • The phrase “Chief Minister” is likewise derived from the word “Muthalvan.” Students will receive modern-day coding and robotics training as part of this programme, and professionals will advise them on physical health and behavioral issues.

The International Monsoons Project Office has been established at the IITM in Pune.

  • On the occasion of National Science Day, Union Minister Jitendra Singh established the International Monsoons Project Office (IMPO) at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune.
  • The International Monsoons Project Office (IMPO) will be based in the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, which is part of the Indian government’s Ministry of Earth Sciences, for the first five years.


Arunachal Pradesh will have a Greenfield Airport at Hollongi.

  • The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has taken on the task of building a Greenfield Airport in Hollongi, Arunachal Pradesh, 15 kilometers from Itanagar.
  • It is expected to cost 645 crores. This project covers development work such as airport pavement construction, airside work, terminal building construction, and city side work.


India was ranks 120th on the Sustainable Development Report 2021

  • At the Anil Agarwal Dialogue organized by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) at CSE’s state-of-the-art residential environmental training facility, the Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI), in Nimli, Alwar district, Rajasthan, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), released the 9th edition of Down To Earth’s annual ‘State of India’s Environment Report 20.
  • India is rated 120th in the Sustainable Development Report 2021 or Sustainable Development Index 2021, according to the report.


Barcelona hosts the Mobile World Congress in 2022.

  • The 2022 Mobile World Congress (MWC) was held in Barcelona, Spain, from February 28 to March 3, and was organized by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
  • This year’s MWC is centered on 5G and maximizing its potential to assist countries and economies, despite the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


SLINEX, the 9th iteration of the India-Sri Lanka naval exercise, was held in Visakhapatnam.

  • In Visakhapatnam, the 9th edition of the Sri Lanka-India Naval Exercise SLINEX got underway. The exercise split into two halves, with the harbor phase taking place in Visakhapatnam and the sea phase taking place in the Bay of Bengal.
  • SLINEX intends to increase interoperability, mutual understanding, and the exchange of best practices and procedures for a variety of maritime activities between the two fleets



Union Minister of Railways inspected the trial of ‘Kavach’ working system between Gullaguda-Chitgidda Railway stations on Lingampalli-Vikarabad section in Secunderabad Division of South-Central Railway.


  • The KAVACH is an indigenously developed ATP system by Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with Indian industry.
  • KAVACH is meant to provide protection by preventing trains to pass the signal at Danger (Red) and avoid collision.
  • It activates the train braking system automatically if the driver fails to control the train as per the speed restrictions. In addition, it prevents collision between two Locomotives equipped with functional KAVACH system.
  • It is a state of the art electronic system of Safety Integrity Level – 4 standards.
  • ‘Kavach’ is one of the cheapest, Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL-4) certified technologies with the probability of error is 1 in 10,000 years.



On the eve of International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, launched a landmark campaign Kanya Shikhsa Pravesh Utsav.


  • Its objective is to bring back out of school adolescent girls in India to the formal education and/or skilling system.
  • The campaign has been launched with the objective of enhancing enrolment and retention of girls between 11-14 years of age in school.
  • The initiative intends to build on the existing schemes and programmes like Schemes for Adolescent Girls (SAG),Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) and National Education Policy (NEP) to work on a comprehensive system for out of school girls.
  • The campaign will be rolled out under the umbrella of MoWCD’s BBBP initiative by targeting more than 400,000 out of school adolescent girls as primary beneficiaries.



Twenty-four eminent writers, playwrights and novelists have been conferred Sahitya Akademi Awards- 2021 in New Delhi. These awards have been provided for best writings in twenty-four Indian languages.


  • Sahitya Akademi president DR. Chandrashekhar Kambar gave away the awards to them and handed a cheque of one lakh rupees, a shawl and memento to each of them.
  • Those awarded with the Sahitya Akademi Awards are-
  • Eminent Assamese novelist Anuradha Sarma for her novel– Iyat Ekhan Aronya Asil,
  • Bengali writer Bratya Basu,
  • Bodo Poet Dr. Devakanta Ramchiary,
  • Dogri Fiction writer Raj Rahi,
  • English writer Namita Gokhale,
  • Gujrati Poet Yagnesh Dave,
  • Hindi playwright Daya Prakash Sinha and many more.


  • The Sahitya Akademi Award is a literary honors in India, which the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, annually confers on writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the 24 major Indian languages recognized by it.
  • It was established in 1954.



Over 3000 State Mission staff and Self-Help Group (SHG) members logged in from 34 states to attend the third edition of ‘Gender Samwaad’ organised by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development on the 11th of March 2022.


  • It is a national virtual initiative under the DAY-NRLM to generate greater awareness on the mission’s interventions across the country with a gender lens.
  • The theme for this edition was ‘Promotion of food and nutrition security through women’s collectives
  • .
  • The event enabled National and State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLM) to listen to voices from SHG women and for SRLMs to share and learn from best practices.



The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of India has declined by 10 points, says a special bulletin released by the Registrar-General of India.


  • It has declined from 113 in 2016-18 to 103 in 2017-19, an 8.8% decline.
  • The country has been witnessing a progressive reduction in the MMR from 130 in 2014-16, 122 in 2015-17 and 113 in 2016-18 to 103 in 2017-19, said the release issued on Monday.
  • With this persistent decline, India is on the verge of achieving the National Health Policy (NHP) target of 100 per lakh live births by 2020 and certainly on the track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 70 per lakh live births by 2030.
  • The number of States that have achieved the Sustainable Development Goal target has now risen from five to seven — Kerala (30), Maharashtra (38), Telangana (56), Tamil Nadu (58), Andhra Pradesh (58), Jharkhand (61), and Gujarat (70).
  • There are now nine States that have achieved the MMR target set by the National Health Policy, which includes the above seven States and Karnataka (83) and Haryana (96).
  • Uttarakhand (101), West Bengal (109), Punjab (114), Bihar (130), Odisha (136) and Rajasthan (141) have MMR between 100 and 150, while Chhattisgarh (160), Madhya Pradesh (163), Uttar Pradesh (167) and Assam (205) have the ratio above 150.
  • Encouraging achievement has been reported by Uttar Pradesh, which has shown the highest decline of 30 points, Rajasthan (23), Bihar (19), Punjab (15) and Odisha (14).




April 2022 Current Affairs


Polity and Governance:


Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur launched the Broadcast Seva Portal in New Delhi.


  • The portal will provide a single point facility to the stakeholders to request for required permission, registrations and licences.
  • The Broadcast Seva Portal will reduce the turnaround time of applications and at the same time help applicants track the progress. This portal will reduce the human interface and will be a major step towards Ease of Doing Business.
  • The 360-degree digital solution will facilitate the stakeholders in seeking permissions, applying for registration, tracking applications, calculating fees and executing payments.
  • This portal will provide its services under the wider umbrella efforts of Digital India to all stakeholders to private satellite TV channels, teleport operators, community and private radio channels.
  • The Broadcast Seva portal will be soon linked to National Single Window System.



Parliament passed a Bill to revamp the functioning of the institutes of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries.

Features of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959, and the Company Secretaries Act, 1980.
  • It changes the disciplinary mechanism under the three Acts and specifies timelines for disciplinary proceedings. It also provides more external representation on the Board of Discipline and Disciplinary Committee.
  • The Bill creates a Coordination Committee headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The Committee will have representation from the three Institutes formed under the Acts.
  • The Secretary to each Council will be designated as chief executive with the President as the head of the Council. The President will be responsible for ensuring implementation of decisions of the Council.


External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar introduced the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha.


  • It seeks to ban funding of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and empowers the Centre to freeze and seize financial assets of people involved in such activities.
  • It also fulfils India’s international obligations pertaining to weapons of mass destruction.
  • The earlier law of 2005 regarding WMDs and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) only banned their manufacture.
  • The United Nations Security Council’s targeted financial sanctions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force have mandated against financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
  • The Bill seeks to insert a new Section 12A in the existing law which states that “no person shall finance any activity which is prohibited under this Act, or under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1947 or any other relevant Act for the time being in force, or by an order issued under any such Act, in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems”.
  • The Bill would give the government powers to “freeze, seize or attach funds or other financial assets owned by such person; or held by or on behalf of, or at the direction of, such person; or derived or generated from the funds or other assets owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such person”.

Note: The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 has been unanimously passed in Lok Sabha.



  • The Geneva Protocol, 1925, that banned the use of chemical and biological weapons; and the Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on the biological and chemical weapons respectively.


  • India has signed and ratified both the 1972 and 1992 treaties.



Chief Justice of India N V Ramana has assured petitioners that the Supreme Court will take up for hearing a pending plea challenging the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018.


  • Electoral bonds are an instrument through which anyone can donate money to political parties.
  • Such bonds, which are sold in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore, can be bought from authorised branches of the State Bank of India.
  • As such, a donor is required to pay the amount — say Rs 10 lakh — via a cheque or a digital mechanism (cash is not allowed) to the authorised SBI branch.
  • The donor can then give this bond (just one, if the denomination chosen is Rs 10 lakh, or 10, if the denomination is Rs 1 lakh) to the party or parties of their choice.
  • The political parties can choose to encash such bonds within 15 days of receiving them and fund their electoral expenses. On the face of it, the process ensures that the name of the donor remains anonymous.



  • Critics argue that the anonymity of electoral bonds is only for the broader public and opposition parties.
  • The fact that such bonds are sold via a government-owned bank (SBI) leaves the door open for the government to know exactly who is funding its opponents.


  • This, in turn, allows the possibility for the government of the day to either extort money, especially from the big companies, or victimise them for not funding the ruling party — either way providing an unfair advantage to the party in power.



The Union government plans to partner with the private sector and volunteer groups for its scheme for protection of vulnerable children such as those abandoned or missing.


  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development sent its draft guidelines for Mission Vatsalya Scheme to States and Union Territories and sought suggestions by April 18, 2022.
  • Mission Vatsalya is essentially renaming of a pre-existing scheme called Child Protection Services, and also includes child welfare services.
  • To encourage public participation and utilise the resources available for success of the mission, the civil society, people’s groups and various volunteering organisations can be encouraged to participate under Mission Vatsalyain a systematic and planned manner.
  • These could include organisations under government initiatives such as Bharat Scout and Guide, NSS Volunteers, and Nehru Yuva Kendras. More NGOs and Self-Help Groups could be identified.
  • The Ministry has also proposed a Vatsalya portal that will allow volunteers to register so that State and District Authorities can engage them for executing various schemes.
  • Child protection programme components include institutional services through child care institutions (CCI) and family-based non-institutional care through sponsorship, foster care and adoption.
  • It also supports after-care programme for children at CCIs once they turn 18, and emergency outreach service through Childline or the national helpline 1098 for children.



Judges are duty-bound to give reasons for granting or denying bail, especially in cases involving serious offences and hardened criminals, the Supreme Court has held.


  • Cryptic bail orders without giving any reasons have no place in the judicial system, it said.
  • There is a recent trend of passing such orders granting or refusing to grant bail, where the courts make a general observation that ‘the facts and the circumstances’ have been considered.
  • No specific reasons are indicated which precipitated the passing of the order by the court.



Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, during a recent visit to South Africa and Mauritius, urged Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to register as overseas electors and told them that a proposal on postal ballots for NRIs was being contemplated, the Election Commission of India said.


  • He shared with the members of the Indian community that extension of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) facility to overseas voters is being contemplated.
  • In meetings with NRI groups, Mr. Chandra spoke of the experience of conducting elections in India, which has 950 million voters in over 1 million polling stations.
  • The ECI had written to the Law Ministry in 2020 proposing that NRIs be allowed to vote through postal ballots, following which the matter has been under consideration by the government.
  • While the ECI at present allows NRIs to register as overseas electors as long as they have not acquired the citizenship of another country, they have to reach their respective polling booths to cast their votes in person on voting day.
  • According to an ECI official, as of now there are only 1.12 lakh registered overseas electors.




The Punjab Mandi Board has decided to send a ‘digital form J’ on the WhatsApp number of farmers from this Rabi procurement season.


  • The move, aimed at bringing transparency as well as empowering farmers, will make Punjab the first state in the country to provide digitised form J in real time.
  • J form’ is the sale receipt of a farmer’s agricultural produce in mandis (grain market).
  • These forms were earlier issued manually by arthiyas (commission agents) because in Punjab, a majority of farmers sell their crops through such agents only. Also, this form is an income proof for a farmer who sells his crop.
  • By getting digitised J form, farmers will now have a clear record of the crop sold and income received in lieu of that and it will save their time as well, ensuring that they do not need to run to arhtiyas to get copies of their sale.



Seventy-Five Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in different districts of the country will be set up so as to ensure that the benefits of digital banking are provided in the country in a consumer-friendly manner (this has been proposed in this year’s budget).


  • This was stated by the Union Minister of State for Finance Dr. Bhagwat Karad, in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
  • He said that no funds have been allocated by RBI for setting up of DBUs and the DBUs are expected to be operationalized by the end of the current calendar year.
  • He said that as apprised by Reserve Bank of India(RBI), a Committee has been set up to prepare a roadmap for successful implementation of the said programme.
  • Criteria, such as relatively higher percentage of women population, youth, MSMEs, exports, geographically and strategically important locations, North-East area, SHG penetration, moderate level of digital adoption etc., will be taken in to consideration while finalizing the list of 75 districts for setting up of DBUs.



To encourage the talent of women, artisans and craftsmen and provide them with the right opportunities, Airport Authority of India (AAI) has taken an initiative to allocate space to Self Help Groups (SHGs) at its airports for selling/showcasing the self-made products of their region.


  • Under “AVSAR” (Airport as Venue for Skilled Artisans Of The Region), which is an initiative of AAI, an opportunity to help the indigent to mobilize their households into functionally effective self-earned groups for self-reliance and self-dependence, has been provided.
  • Under this scheme, an area of 100-200 square feet has been earmarked at each AAI operated airport.
  • The space is being allotted to the self- help groups, turn on turn basis, for a duration of 15 days.
  • Few outlets have already been commissioned at Chennai, Agartala, Dehradun, Kushinagar, Udaipur & Amritsar Airport wherein SHGs operated by local women, are showcasing and marketing their homemade local products like Puffed Rice, Packaged Papad, Pickles, traditional craft with contemporary design to the air travelers.



The Supreme Court upheld amendments introducing restrictions in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) while holding that no one has a fundamental or absolute right to receive foreign contributions.


  • In a judgment that may hit non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working at the grass-root level with no direct link to foreign donors, the court reasoned that unbridled inflow of foreign funds may destabilise the sovereignty of the nation.
  • The restrictions involve a bar on using operational FCRA accounts to get foreign contributions and mandatory production of the Aadhaar card for registration under the FCRA.
  • They require NGOs and recipients to open a new FCRA account at a specified branch of the State Bank of India in New Delhi as a “one-point entry” for foreign donations.
  • Free and uncontrolled inflow of foreign funds has the potential to impact the socio-economic structure and polity of the country.
  • The court said charity could be found at home. NGOs could look within the country for donors.


  • Unregulated inflow of foreign donations would only indicate that the government was incapable of looking after its own affairs and needs of its citizens.
  • The amendments do not prohibit inflow of foreign contributions, but are a regulatory measure to permit acceptance by registered persons or persons having prior permission to do so with condition that they must themselves utilise the entire contribution.
  • However, the court read down one of the provisions — Section 12 (A) — of the 2020 Amendment Act, which mandated the production of Aadhaar card for registration.



While announcing the monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said RBI has proposed to make card-less cash withdrawal facility available across all banks and ATM networks using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).


  • RBI Governor said the absence of need for a card to initiate cash withdrawal transactions would help in containing frauds like card skimming, card cloning, etc.
  • However, Governor Shaktikanta Das clarified credit & debit cards will be continued.
  • Under the cardless cash withdrawal facility, individuals can withdraw cash without using any debit card at Automated teller machines (ATMs).
  • The cardless withdrawal request can be initiated for a minimum of ₹100 per transaction and up to a maximum of ₹10,000 per day or ₹25,000 per month for a beneficiary while the limits are subject to change as per regulatory guidelines.




  • Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has approved a Scheme – “Providing air connectivity and Aviation infrastructure in North Eastern Region (NER)” to promote air connectivity in the States of NER and, if required, to develop infrastructure for air connectivity.
  • As a part of this scheme, two important developments will take place on 12th April 2022 –First flight of Made in India HAL Dornier Do-228 from Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Alliance Air will be India’s first commercial airline to fly Indian made aircraft for civil operations.
  • There will also be inauguration of First FTO (Flying Training Organization) for North Eastern Region at Lilabari, Assam.
  • Connectivity in NER is very essential and Under “Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)”, the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has identified NER as a priority area.

e-BCAS project

The Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Civil Aviation Ministry discussed ‘e-BCAS project’.


  • Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, BCAS establishes, develops, implements maintains, and reviews the National Aviation Security Programme.
  • It also safeguards civil aviation operations against acts of unlawful interference and threat, taking into account the safety, regularity, and efficiency of flights.
  • It has now undertaken e-BCAS, an initiative under e-Governance for automation of internal processes. This will be an online platform for facilitation of stakeholders.
  • It will leverage strength of existing processes and organizational structure, with the objective to make entire activities transparent, user-friendly, and efficient.
  • It will digitize the office processes, facilitate fast approvals, and ensure ease of doing business, by technological integration across various divisions and processes.
  • Under e-Sahaj module, issuance of security clearance will be provided.
  • Under the e-training module, 16 training courses are being run for aviation security training and certifications. The Module involves online testing and effective supervision of the quality of training being imparted.



Meta’s instant messaging app WhatsApp has received clearance from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to add 60 million users to its UPI-based payments service WhatsApp Pay.


  • This will take the total permissible number of users on the platform to 100 million.
  • As a result of this clearance from NPCI, WhatsApp will be able to add 60 million users to its UPI service and take on heavyweight rivals such as Walmart-backed PhonePe and Google Pay, which command a majority of the transactions that happen on UPI.

About the move:

  • The NPCI has mandated that no platform should handle more than 30 per cent of total transaction volumes of UPI on a three-month rolling period basis.
  • However, for bigger players like PhonePe, which commanded a 49 per cent market share in terms of value of transactions in March and Google Pay, which had a 35 per cent market share, it has allowed them time until the end of 2022 to comply with the directive.
  • So, even as these players could continue commanding a significant market share till the end of this year, the increasing clearance to WhatsApp and the mandate for the others to restrict their share could result in a less skewed market.



According to policy research working paper of World Bank, Poverty in India is 12.3 percentage points lower in 2019 as compared to 2011.


  • The poverty headcount rate has declined from 22.5 percent in 2011 to 10.2 percent in 2019.
  • Poverty reduction was higher in rural areas as compared to urban India.
  • Rural poverty dropped by 14.7 percent while urban poverty declined by 7.9 percentage points during 2011 to 2019.
  • Farmers with small landholding sizes have experienced higher income growth.
  • Real incomes for farmers with the smallest landholdings have grown by 10 percent in annualized terms between the two survey rounds in 2013 and 2019 compared to a 2 percent growth for farmers with the largest landholding.



Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao staged a dharna at Telangana House, demanding a uniform paddy procurement policy. The protest came after the Centre said it was stopping the purchase of excess parboiled rice, of which Telangana is a major producer.


  • parboiled rice refers to rice that has been partially boiled at the paddy stage, before milling.
  • Parboiling of rice is not a new practice, and has been followed in India since ancient times.
  • there are several processes for parboiling rice. The Paddy Processing Research Centre (PPRC), Thanjavur follows a method known as the chromate soaking process.
  • All processes generally involve three stages—soaking, steaming and drying. After passing through these stages, the paddy goes for milling.



Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched two online portals.


  • These are Comprehensive Registration of Pesticides (CROP) and Plant Quarantine Management System (PQMS) of the Plant Protection Division at a function in New Delhi.
  • The portals will provide hassle-free service to the traders besides helping them in export and imports.



Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft battery swapping policy.


  • Under this, it has proposed offering incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.
  • The draft policy has suggested that the GST Council consider reducing the differential across the tax rates on Lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicle supply equipment. Currently, the tax rate on the former is 18 per cent, and 5 per cent on the latter.


  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced during this year’s Union Budget that the government was set to roll out a battery swapping policy, in a bid to reduce upfront costs of purchasing EVs and drive adoption among buyers.
  • The policy is targeted at supporting the adoption of battery-swapping, primarily for battery swapping systems used in electric scooters and three-wheeler electric rickshaws.
  • Niti Aayog said battery swapping will fall under the battery-as-a-service (BaaS) business model, and such models would have to ensure interoperability between EVs and batteries for a successful mainstreaming of battery swapping as an alternative.


India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), a 100% government owned entity under Department of Posts (DoP) announced the launch of Fincluvation– a joint initiative to collaborate with Fintech Startup community to co-create and innovate solutions for financial inclusion.


  • Fincluvation is an Industry first initiative to create a powerful platform to mobilize the start-up community towards building meaningful financial products aimed at financial inclusion.
  • Fincluvation will be a permanent platform of IPPB to co-create inclusive financial solutions with participating start-ups.

About India Post Payments Bank:

  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been established under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication with 100% equity owned by Government of India.
  • IPPB was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on September 1, 2018.


The All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey, usually conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years, is set to resume this year after a prolonged break.


  • Typically, the Survey is conducted between July and June and this year’s exercise is expected to be completed by June 2023.
  • Estimates of household monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and persons over different MPCE classes, based on the Survey, may only become available about a year after the field work is completed.


  • The results will include separate data sets for rural and urban parts, and also splice spending patterns for each State and Union Territory, as well as different socio-economic groups.


  • Fresh one-off surveys on consumer expenditure and employment and unemployment were commissioned over 2011-12 after the usually scheduled Surveys conducted in 2009-10 had coincided with a worldwide slowdown following the 2008 global financial crisis and a drought year in India.
  • India has not had any official estimates on per capita household spending, used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), since 2011-12.
  • The government had junked the findings of the last Survey, conducted in 2017-18, citing “data quality” issues.
  • The Survey could not be launched in the past two years due to the pandemic.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the investment of Rs.4526.12 crore for 540 Megawatt (MW) Kwar Hydro Electric Project located on river Chenab, in Kishtwar district of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.


  • The project would be implemented by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd., a joint venture between the NHPC and the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation, with equity contribution of 51% and 49%.
  • The project, to be commissioned within 54 months, is expected to generate 1975.54 million units in a 90% dependable year.
  • This is part of the Indus basin and would be one of the at least four projects coming up in the district, including the 1,000 MWs Pakal Dul hydroelectric project and 624 MWs run-of-the-river Kiru hydroelectric project.


Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that India’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) has fallen to just 40% from an already low 47% in 2016.


  • This suggests not only that more than half of India’s population in the working-age group (15 years and older) is deciding to sit out of the job market, but also that this proportion of people is increasing.

  • According to the CMIE, the labour force consists of persons who are of age 15 years or older, and belong to either of the following two categories:
    • are employed

    • are unemployed and are willing to work and are actively looking for a job

  • There is a crucial commonality between the two categories — they both have people “demanding” jobs. This demand is what LFPR refers to. While those in category 1 succeed in getting a job, those in category 2 fail to do so.

  • Thus, the LFPR essentially is the percentage of the working-age (15 years or older) population that is asking for a job; it represents the “demand” for jobs in an economy. It includes those who are employed and those who are unemployed.

  • The Unemployment Rate (UER), which is routinely quoted in the news, is nothing but the number of unemployed (category 2) as a proportion of the labour force. 




The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered a dire assessment and warning in its latest report released on April 4.


  • The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Its main activity is to prepare Assessment Reports, special reports, and methodology reports assessing the state of knowledge of climate change.
  • The IPCC’s Assessment Reports (ARs), which are produced every few years, are the most comprehensive and widely accepted scientific evaluations of the state of the Earth’s climate.
  • Six Assessment Reports have been published so far, the sixth report (AR6) coming in three parts — the first in August 2021, the second in February 2022, and the third on April 4, 2022.



The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) endorses India’s position on the need for scale, scope and speed in climate finance, Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav said.


  • The IPCC report focused on mitigation, or what could be done to reduce emissions to keep the globe on track to ensure that temperature did not exceed over two degrees Celsius — and strive to keep it below 1.5 degrees Celsius — by the end of the century.


  • Close to 80% of the total carbon budget for ensuring temperature did not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius and 66% of the carbon budget for preventing an overshoot over 2 degrees Celsius had been used up. Half the global population, the vast majority of the developing world, was responsible for only 14% of global emissions



  • The Indian tent turtle (Pangshura tentoria) is a species of turtle in the family Geoemydidae. The species is endemic to India and Bangladesh.
  • The preferred habitats of P. tentoria are freshwater rivers and swamps.
  • Indian tent turtle is listed in Schedule –I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and is thereby provided the highest degree of protection.
  • There are no reports to indicate that the Indian tent turtle is on the verge of extinction due to illegal mining in Narmada River.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern.
  • CITES Status: Appendix II.



The Ministry of Earth Sciences informed the Lok Sabha that of the 6,907.18-km-long coastline of the Indian mainland, about 34% is under varying degrees of erosion, while 26% is of an accretional nature and the remaining 40% is in a stable state.


  • The National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai, an attached office of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), is monitoring shoreline erosion since 1990 using remote sensing data and GIS mapping techniques.
  • About 6,907.18 km long Indian coastline of mainland has been analysed from 1990 to 2018.
  • In terms of percentage, West Bengal, located on the eastern coast of the country, with a 534.35-km-long coastline, suffered erosion along about 60.5% of the coast (323.07 km) over the period from 1990 to 2018.
  • This is followed by Kerala on the west coast, which has 592.96 km of coastline and 46.4% of it (275.33 km) faced erosion.
  • Tamil Nadu, with a long coastline of 991.47 km, recorded erosion along 42.7% of it (422.94 km).
  • Gujarat, with the longest coastline of 1,945.6 km, recorded erosion along 27.06% (537.5 km) of it.
  • In the Union Territory of Puducherry, with a 41.66-km-long coastline, about 56.2% of its coast (23.42 km) recorded erosion.



Gujarat has topped the list for larger States in the NITI Aayog’s State Energy and Climate Index–Round 1 that has ranked States and Union Territories (UTs) on six parameters including discoms’ performance, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.



  • The States have been categorised based on size and geographical differences as larger and smaller States and UTs. The index is based on 2019-20 data.
  • Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab have been ranked as the top three performers in the category of larger States, while Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were the bottom three States.
  • Goa emerged as the top performer in the smaller States category followed by Tripura and Manipur.
  • Among UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi and Daman & Diu/Dadra & Nagar Haveli are the top performers.
  • Punjab was the best performer in discom performance, while Kerala topped in access, affordability and reliability category.
  • Haryana was the best performer in clean energy initiative among larger States and Tamil Nadu in the energy efficiency category.
  • The State Energy and Climate Index (SECI) is the first index that aims to track the efforts made by States and UTs in the climate and energy sector.


India’s first pure green hydrogen plant commissioned in Jorhat.


  • Oil India Limited (OIL) has taken the first significant step towards Green Hydrogen Economy in India with the commissioning of India’s First 99.999% pure Green Hydrogen pilot plant, with an installed capacity of 10 kg per day at its Jorhat Pump Station in Assam today.
  • The plant produces Green Hydrogen from the electricity generated by the existing 500kW Solar plant using a 100 kW Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) Electrolyser array.
  • The use of AEM technology is being used for the first time in India.
  • This plant is expected to increase its production of green hydrogen from 10 kg per day to 30 kg per day in future.
  • The company has initiated a detailed study in collaboration with IIT Guwahati on blending of Green Hydrogen with Natural Gas and its effect on the existing infrastructure of OIL.



Citing the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), social media giant Twitter has announced that it will prohibit misleading advertisements on climate change.


  • Twitter’s announcement on Earth Day is part of an attempt to curb climate change disinformation campaigns on its network.
  • Twitter has said that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetised on the platform and that “misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis”.
  • In 2019, Twitter shared plans to achieve 100 percent carbon-neutral power sourcing in their data centres by the end of 2022.


Google’s announcement of similar policy

  • In October 2021, tech giant Google had done something similar when it announced a new monetisation policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators.
  • Google’s policy prohibits ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”.


Science and Tech:


Union Minister of Science & Technology said that EOS-02 satellite will be launched in second quarter of 2022.


EOS-02 is Technology demonstration satellite for various new technologies with applications that include agriculture, forestry, geology, hydrology, miniaturized power electronics, reaction wheels etc. and forming the payload for SSLV-1.

More about this:

  • EOS-01: Earth Observation satellite meant for Agriculture, Forestry & disaster management support
  • EOS-02: Technology demonstration satellite for various new technologies with applications that include agriculture, forestry, geology, hydrology etc. and forming the payload for SSLV-1.
  • EOS-03: First Agile Earth Observation satellite in Geostationary orbit and applications which include near real time imaging, quick monitoring of natural disasters, spectral signatures for agriculture, forestry etc.
  • EOS-04: Radar Imaging satellite meant to provide high quality images under all weather conditions for applications such as Agriculture, Forestry & Plantations, Soil Moisture & Hydrology and Flood Mapping.
  • EOS-05: Earth Observation Satellite in the Geostationary Orbit.
  • EOS-06: Earth Observation satellite meant for applications, which include ocean related services and advisories towards potential fishing zone forecast , ocean state forecast




Recent research aims at moving microbots into the bloodstream to deliver drugs.


  • It is possible to use light as a fuel to move microbots in real-body conditions with intelligent drug-delivery that is selectively sensitive to cancer cells.
  • The research is led by MPI-IS and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (MPI-FKF), Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Made from the two-dimensional compound poly (heptazine imide) carbon nitride (aka PHI carbon nitride), these microbots are nothing like the miniaturised humans.
  • They range from 1-10 micrometre (a micrometre is one-millionth of a metre) in size, and can self-propel when energised by shining light.



A SpaceX capsule carrying three paying customers and a former NASA astronaut arrived at the International Space Station, finishing the first leg of this first-of-its-kind mission that will last about 10 days.


  • The Ax-1 mission, which was organized by Houston company Axiom Space, is flying on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour.
  • Axiom Mission 1 (or Ax-1) is a private crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS), operated by Axiom Space out of Axiom Space’s Mission Control Center (or MCC-A) in Houston, TX. The flight launched on 8 April 2022, from Kennedy Space Center.
  • Axiom Space was founded in 2016 with the goal of creating the world’s first commercial space station.


A training institute for drone pilots will be set up in Haryana to support capacity development.


  • The institute, to be set up under the aegis of the Drone Imaging and Information Service of Haryana Limited (DRIISHYA) is expected to cater to training needs of personnel of DRIISHYA and other organizations.
  • The Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was informed that Haryana is the first state to create a separate corporation to hasten unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-driven governance application.
  • With the help of drones, illegal encroachments can also be controlled along with detecting of expansion of areas as earlier manual surveys were conducted at regular intervals which were time-consuming, costly and required more manpower.
  • Besides the revenue department, the use of drones should also be ensured in urban local bodies, power, disaster management, mining, forest, traffic, town and country planning, agriculture, etc, as it would help in mapping, land records, disaster management and emergency services, development planning departments in the urban areas.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first ever Semicon India-2022 Conference on 29th of April in Bengaluru.


  • Semicon India-2022 Conference will be organised by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology from 29th of April to 1st of May around theme of – Design and Manufacture in India, for the World: Making India a Semiconductor Nation.
  • Semicon India – 2022 aims to make India a significant player in Global Semiconductor value chain.
  • Semicon India-2022 conference will attract best minds from across the world from semiconductor industry, research and academia and will act as a big step in fulfilling PM’s vision on making India a global hub for electronics manufacturing and Semiconductor industry.

Gaia 20eae


  • Scientists have spotted a new member belonging to the extremely rare group of young stars that exhibit episodic accretion.
  • Such rare stars have gained significant interest in the star-formation community lately and this study could help probe into this group of stars and their formation mechanism in greater detail.
  • Episodically accreting young stars are young, low-mass stars that have not initiated hydrogen fusion in their core and are fuelled by gravitational contraction and deuterium fusion (pre-main-sequence phase of the star).
  • These pre-main-sequence stars are surrounded by a disc from which it steadily feeds on the matter from the disc-shaped region of gas and dust surrounding the star to gain mass.
  • This process is known as mass accretion from the circumstellar disc of the star.
  • On occasions their feeding rate increases. This is known as the periods of enhanced mass accretion from their circumstellar disc.
  • So far 25 such rare groups of stars have been discovered.




Nearly 40 years after India first signed the Antarctic Treaty, the government has brought in a draft Indian Antarctic Bill, 2020. Earth Sciences Minister Dr Jitender Singh tabled the draft Bill in Lok Sabha.



  • The draft bill is the first domestic legislation with regard to Antarctica in India.
  • The Bill puts into place a comprehensive list of regulations related to Antarctica, for such scientific expeditions, as well as for individuals, companies and tourists.
  • A domestic legislation will further provide more validity to the Antarctic Treaty, and subsequent protocols, of which India is a signatory.
  • It extends the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica, for crimes on the continent by Indian citizens, or foreign citizens who are a part of Indian expeditions.
  • The Bill introduces an elaborate permit system for any expedition or individual who wishes to visit the continent.
  • The Bill further enlists elaborate standards for environmental protection as well as waste management.
  • The Bill prohibits drilling, dredging, excavation or collection of mineral resources or even doing anything to identify where such mineral deposits occur — the only exception is for scientific research with a granted permit.



Sri Lanka announced a pre-emptive default on all its foreign debt totalling $51 billion as a “last resort”, while the island nation struggles to cope with a grave economic crisis.


  • The government is taking the “emergency measures”, pending full discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from which it has sought help, only to prevent a further deterioration of the country’s financial position, the Finance Ministry said.
  • A comprehensive debt restructuring programme is now “inescapable”, it noted in a statement.
  • The decision comes on the heels of two other key policy changes. Sri Lanka floated the rupee early March, allowing for a stark depreciation of its value, it was nearly 320 against a U.S. dollar.
  • More recently, the Central Bank increased interest rates by 7 percentage points in a bid to tighten monetary policy, apparently in preparation of an IMF package that the government wants to “expedite”.
  • Despite economic strains in the past, Sri Lanka had maintained an unblemished record of debt servicing that made the country a favorable partner for creditors.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid tributes to the great leader, former Tanzania President and friend of India, Mwalimu Nyerere on his 100th Birth Anniversary.


  • Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician, and political theorist.
  • He governed Tanganyika as prime minister from 1961 to 1962 and then as president from 1963 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania, as president from 1964 to 1985.
  • Ideologically, he promoted a political philosophy known as Ujamaa.



The United Kingdom has signed a deal with Rwanda to send some asylum seekers to the East African nation — a move that Prime Minister Boris Johnson said will “save countless lives” from human trafficking. The main target of the pilot scheme will be single men arriving on boats or lorries.


  • Under this new plan, people who arrive in Britain as stowaways in trucks or boats will be flown 6,400 kilometers to Rwanda, potentially for good.
  • Once there, they will be assessed for eventual resettlement in the African nation.
  • The UK has paid the Rwandan government £120 million for housing and integrating the migrants as part of the pilot scheme, which will initially last for five years.
  • But the UK-Rwanda deal has not been popular among human rights and refugee organisations, who see it as an inhumane and expensive exercise. The United Nations has said that it raises “a number of human rights concerns.”



China said it had signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, a first-of-its-kind arrangement that could pave the way for further Chinese security deals overseas.



  • The two sides signed an inter-governmental framework agreement on security cooperation.
  • Under the agreement, the two sides “will conduct cooperation in such areas as maintenance of social order, protection of the safety of people’s lives and property, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster response, in an effort to help Solomon Islands strengthen capacity building in safeguarding its own security.”
  • Amid concern from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., the Solomon Islands said there was no agreement for a Chinese military base.


  • Solomon Islands is a sovereign country consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu.
  • Its capital, Honiara, is located on the largest island, Guadalcanal.


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded approval to the opening of a new Indian Mission in Lithuania in 2022.


  • Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.
  • It is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea.
  • Lithuania shares land borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest. It has a maritime border with Sweden to the west on the Baltic Sea.
  • Its capital and largest city is


India-Lithuania relations:

Opening of Indian Mission in Lithuania will help expand India’s diplomatic footprint and deepen political relations and strategic cooperation. It will also provide market access for Indian companies and bolster Indian exports of goods and services.

India recognized Lithuania (along with the other Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia) on 7th September 1991 after acceptance of their independence by the erstwhile USSR.

Diplomatic relations were established with Lithuania on 25th February 1992.

Lithuanian language, which is the oldest living Indo- European language, has a lot of similarities with Sanskrit hence signifying possible close ancient links.




Other Important News:


German police said they have taken down Russian-language illegal darknet marketplace Hydra, the largest such network in the world, and seized bitcoins worth €23 million ($25 million).


  • Founded in 2015, Hydra sold illegal drugs, stolen credit card data, counterfeit currency and fake identity documents, masking the identities of those involved using the Tor encryption network.
  • The marketplace had around 17 million customer accounts and over 19,000 vendor accounts, according to the BKA federal police.
  • The Hydra market was probably the illegal marketplace with the highest turnover worldwide, with sales amounting to at least €1.23 billion in 2020 alone.


A dark net or darknet is an overlay network within the Internet that can only be accessed with specific software, configurations, or authorization, and often uses a unique customized communication protocol.


On March 31, the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court which quashed the 10.5% special reservation provided to Vanniyars, a Most Backward Community (MBC) in Tamil Nadu, within the Reservation for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities Act, 2021.


  • The Madras High Court’s recent verdict of quashing the 10.5% special reservation for Vanniyakula Kshatriyas within the overall 20% quota for Most Backward Classes (MBC) and Denotified Communities (DNC) has again highlighted the importance of quantifiable data as a prerequisite for reservation in education and employment.
  • It is a fact that no exhaustive study has been done to collect quantifiable data on the representation of different communities in education and employment since the second BC Commission, popularly known after its chairman, J.A. Ambasankar, carried out one during its existence (1982-1985).
  • Even the State BC Commission, in its report of July 2011 to the State government in justification of 69% reservation for BC, MBC/DNCs and Scheduled Castes (SC)/Scheduled Tribes (ST) under the 1994 Act, did not give any community-wise break up of representation in government services.
  • It furnished only the numbers of candidates belonging to the BCs and MBC/DNCs, who were chosen for the State Services and Subordinate Services during 2005-09, quoting the data furnished by the Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission, apart from those from SC/ST and Other Backward Classes selected by the Railway Recruitment Board, Chennai.

Amar Mitra’s short story titled Gaonburo, written way back in 1977, has fetched him the 1919-founded O. Henry Award, whose past winners include William Faulkner, Saul Bellow and Raymond Carver.


  • The O. Henry Award is an annual American award given to short stories of exceptional merit. The award is named after the American short-story writer O. Henry.
  • The award was first presented in 1919 and funded by the Society of Arts and Sciences.
  • The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories is an annual collection of the year’s twenty best stories published in U.S. and Canadian magazines.



All India Radio News has launched a new weekly interactive programme, Abhyaas for Competitive Examinations.


  • It is aimed at reaching out to students and job-seekers preparing for competitive examinations.
  • The programme is in Hindi and is broadcasted every Saturday between 9.30-10pm.
  • Every week a subject is chosen. Students can ask questions through WhatsApp or email and a guest speaker or expert responds to their queries. Questions on each subject are selected on the basis of crowd sourcing from students across the country.
  • The program also includes segments like Explainer, Factfile, Examination Calendar and Question of the Week.


e-DAR portal

A web portal designed by the government in consultation with insurance companies will provide instant information on road accidents with a few clicks and help accelerate accident compensation claims, bringing relief to victims’ families.


  • The Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has developed the portal named ‘e-DAR’ (e-Detailed Accident Report).
  • Digitalised Detailed Accident Reports (DAR) will be uploaded on the portal for easy access.
  • The web portal will be linked to the Integrated Road Accident Database (iRAD). F
  • rom iRAD, applications to more than 90% of the datasets would be pushed directly to the e-DAR.
  • Stakeholders like the police, road authorities, hospitals, etc., are required to enter very minimal information for the e-DAR forms. Thus, e-DAR would be an extension and e-version of iRAD.



NITI Aayog and UNICEF India signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on children.


  • The SoI seeks to formalize a framework of cooperation to launch the first report on the ‘State of India’s Children: Status and Trends in Multidimensional Child Development’, with a focus on the multidimensional aspects of child development like health, education, nutrition, protection, and other relevant areas.
  • The collaboration between NITI Aayog and UNICEF India will draw up the methods, technical analysis, reporting, and action planning for the first report on the ‘Status of India’s Children’



Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0, under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has launched the ‘National Behaviour Change Communication Framework for Garbage Free Cities’ to strengthen the ongoing janandolan for ‘Garbage Free Cities’.


Now, under SBM-U 2.0, the newly launched ‘National Behaviour Change Communication Framework for Garbage Free Cities’ shall serve as a guiding document and blueprint for States and Cities to undertake large scale multimedia campaigns along with intensive and focused inter-personal communication campaigns.


The framework focuses on intensifying messaging around the key focus areas of source segregation, collection, transportation, and processing of waste, plastic waste management, and remediation of legacy dumpsites to truly transform the urban landscape of India.

May 2022


National Open Access Registry

National Open Access Registry(NOAR) has successfully gone live from 1st May 2022.

About :

  • What is it? ➔ It is a centralized online platform through which short-term open access to the interstate transmission system is being managed in India.
  • Launched by ➔ Ministry of Power. • Nodal Agency ➔ National Load Despatch Centre(NLDC) operated by Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO).
  • Features ➔ o The platform is accessible to all stakeholders including open access participants, traders, power exchanges, and national/regional/state load despatch centres. o The platform also has a payment gateway integrated for making payments related to interstate short-term open access transactions.
  • Benefits of the Platform ➔

 o NOAR would be key to facilitate faster electricity markets and enable the integration of Renewable Energy (RE) resources into the grid.

o It will also enable seamless market participation by the open-access consumer with easier and faster access to the short-term electricity market comprising about 10% of all India demand.


PM MITRA Parks Scheme

A National Conference on PM MITRA Parks Scheme was organized by Ministry of Textiles.


  • The PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel Park (PM MITRA) Parks Scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Textiles.
  • Aim ➔ The PM MITRA Parks are aimed at helping India to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.
  • The PM MITRA scheme is inspired by the 5F vision of Prime Minister – Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.
  • A park will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle which will be owned by the Central and State Government and in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode.
  • Features ➔

o These Parks will have world-class industrial infrastructure which would attract cutting age technology and boost FDI and local investment in the textiles sector.

o PM MITRA Parks will offer an opportunity to create an integrated textiles value chain right from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing and printing to garment manufacturing at 1 location.

o Each Park will have an incubation centre, common processing house and a common effluent treatment plant and other textile related facilities such as design centres and testing centres.

o The Master Developer will not only develop the Industrial Park but also maintain it during the concession period.

o Sites for PM MITRA Parks will be selected by a Challenge Method based on objective criteria.

  • It is intended to generate 1 lakh direct employment and 2 lakh indirect employments per park.


Repo Rate

Recently, Reserve Bank of India has announced that the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had held an ‘off-cycle’ meeting at which it had decided unanimously to raise the policy repo rate by 40 basis points to 4.40% with immediate effect.


➔ Repo rate (Repurchase rate) is the fixed interest rate at which it provides overnight liquidity to banks against the collateral of government and other approved securities under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF).

  • In other words, when banks have short-term requirements for funds, they can place government securities that they hold with the central bank and borrow money against these securities at the repo rate.
  • The Repo Rate is one of several direct and indirect instruments that are used by the RBI for implementing monetary policy.

This increases the money supply (MS) available to the general economy.


NavIC Grand Challenge

Minister of Commerce and Industry launched the NavIC Grand Challenge at National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) meeting.


  • NavIC Grand Challenge is aimed at promoting adoption of NavIC as geo-positioning solution, a key proponent for digital Atma Nirbharta.
  • The applications for the grand challenge are open on Start-up India’s website ( and it aims to identify and handhold solutions of start-ups which are engaged in developing NavIC enabled drones.


Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022

‘Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022’ report by World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for urgent action by both private and public sectors to ensure a resilient energy transition.

 About :

  • It is an annual country benchmarking report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The report builds on the trends from the Energy Transition Index to provide recommendations on how to navigate the transition through a turbulent macroeconomic and geopolitical environment. 👉 Key Finding
  • The report found that energy transition is not matching with the growing urgency for change.
  • Energy affordability, energy security, and sustainability are becoming more important than ever

. • Energy unaffordability is threatening the goal of fair and just transition.

  • There is a lack of energy diversity.


State of Inequality in India Report

Recently, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) has released the State of Inequality in India Report.

About the report:

  • Released by: Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) and written by the Institute for Competitiveness.
  • Purpose ➔ The report presents a holistic analysis of the depth and nature of inequality in India. It compiles information on inequities across sectors of health, education, household characteristics and the labour market.
  • Focus Areas ➔ The report looks at five key areas that influence the nature and experience of inequality. These are 1) income distribution, 2) labour market dynamics, 3) health, 4) education and 5) household characteristics.
  • Source of Data ➔ The report is based on the data derived from various rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) and UDISE+.

  Key findings

  • Wealth Concentration ➔ Urban areas have a 44.4% wealth concentration in the highest quintile (20%) compared to a meagre 7.1% concentration in rural areas.
  • Unemployment Rate ➔ India’s unemployment rate is 4.8% (2019-20), and the worker population ratio is 46.8%
  • The trend in poverty issues ➔ World Bank says India has made progress in reducing poverty since the 2000s. The poverty headcount ratio as a percentage of the population has declined from 37.2% in 2004 to 13.6% in 2015. However, 176 million Indians were still below the poverty line.



India has reached a landmark figure of 100 unicorn start-ups with a valuation of more than $300 billion.

 About • The term “Unicorn” was coined by American venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013.

  • The Unicorns are privately held, venture-capital backed start-ups that have reached a value of $1 billion.
  • The valuation of unicorns is not expressly linked to their current financial performance. • But the valuation is largely based on their growth potential as perceived by investors and venture capitalists who have taken part in various funding rounds.
  • It was used to emphasise the rarity of the emergence of such startups

The state of Start-ups and Unicorns in India:

  • India has become the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world after the US and China.
  • 44 Indian start-ups have achieved unicorn status in 2021, most of which are in the services sector. • Currently, 1 out of every 10 unicorns globally has been born in India.



Punjab will be the first state in the country to provide “digitized form J” in real-time to farmers from this Rabi procurement season.

About :

  • ‘J form’ is the sale receipt of a farmer’s agricultural produce in mandis (grain market)which acts as an income proof for a farmer who sells his crop.
  • These forms were earlier issued manually by arthiyas (commission agents).

It can be used for raising finance, IT waivers, subsidy claims, farmers’ insurance etc.

  • It will act as a record of land under cultivation for both the wheat and paddy crops in state.
  • J Forms can also be stored in DigiLocker.



ONGC is on its way to commercialize Vindhyan Basin, a Proterozoic intercontinental basin in the central part of Indian shield.


  • Vindhyan Basin is bounded by Son-Narmada Geo-fracture in the south, Great Boundary Fault in the west, Monghyr-Saharsa Ridge in the east, and Bundelkhand Massif and Indo-Gangetic Plains in the north.
  • It would be the ninth producing Basin of India and the eighth by ONGC.
  • Earlier, in 2020, Bengal basin became India’s eighth producing basin, joining the ranks of Krishna-Godavari (KG), Mumbai Offshore, Assam Shelf, Rajasthan, Cauvery, Assam-Arakan Fold Belt and Cambay.
  • Hydrocarbons commonly occur in sedimentary basins and are absent from intervening areas of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
  • Sedimentary basins are the low areas in the Earth’s crust and are of tectonic origin.
  • They are formed over hundreds of millions of years by the combined action of deposition of eroded material and precipitation of chemicals and organic debris within water environment.
  • India has 26 sedimentary basins, covering a total area of 3.4 million square kilometres with 49% of it located on land, 12% in shallow water and 39% in the Deepwater area.



Eravikulam National Park

The survival rate of newly born Nilgiri tahrs (up to one year) is found to be the highest at Rajamala in the Eravikulam National Park (ENP) than in other isolated natural habitats such as Silent Valley, Pothady, Munnar, etc.


  • Rajamala is among the finest Hill Stations in Idukki, Kerala.
  • Rajamala hills houses the Eravikulam National Park.
  • The Eravikulam National Park is situated in the Kannan Devan Hills of the southern Western Ghats with an area of 97 sq. km.
  • The Eravikulam National Park has the highest density and largest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr, the endangered mountain goat.
  • The park is built mainly with the aim of conserving Nilgiri tahr.
  • Every twelve years, this place will be carpeted with blue due to the mass flowering of Neelakurinji flowers.


A recent audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out illegal construction and violations of environmental norms in two Ramsar sites in West Bengal, the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) and the Sunderbans.


  • It is a vast contiguous mangrove forest ecosystem in the coastal region of Bay of Bengal spread over India and Bangladesh on the delta (world’s largest) of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers.
  • It contains the world’s largest mangrove forests.
  • Much of the area has long had the status of a forest reserve, but conservation efforts in India were stepped up with the creation of the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in 1973.
  • Sundarbans National Park, established in 1984, constitutes a core region within the tiger reserve; it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
  • Sunderbans was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2001.
  • Sundarban Wetland, India was recognised as the ‘Wetland of International Importance’ under the Ramsar Convention in January 2019.
  • Sunderban National Park is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species and is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the Estuarine Crocodile, Royal Bengal Tiger, Water Monitor Lizard, Gangetic Dolphin and Olive Ridley Turtles.
  • The Sunderbans Delta is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers.
  • For its preservation, Discovery India and World Wide Fund (WWF) India partnered with the Government of West Bengal and local communities in the Sundarbans in 2019.




State of World’s Birds report

The State of the World’s Birds, an annual review of environmental resources was published on May 5, 2022.


  • It is a peer-reviewed journal.
    • It is BirdLife International’s flagship science publication, using birds to assess the condition of our ecosystems as a whole.
    • State of the World’s Birds is an annual review of environmental resources.

Highlights of the 2022 report :

  • Around 48% of bird species worldwide are known or suspected to be undergoing population declines.
  • In India, nearly 80% species are declining in numbers, and almost 50% plummeting strongly.


UNCCD Conference of the Parties

Union Minister for Environment, Bhupender Yadav delivered National Statementat the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Cote d’Ivoire.

About UNCCD Conference of the Parties:

  • What is it? ➔ It is made up of governments and organizations such as the European Union and is responsible for guiding the Convention so that it can respond to global challenges and national needs.
  • Established by the Convention as its main decision-making body.
  • The COP has been meeting biennially since 2001 and has held 14 sessions.
  • Note: India had hosted the 14th session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in 2019 in New Delhi.

COP 15:

  • Held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 9 to 20 May 2022.
  • Focus Areas ➔ Drought, land restoration, and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are among the top items on the Conference agenda.
  • Theme ➔ ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity’.



United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

• Established in 1994.

• It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.

 • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the dryland, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

• The Convention’s 197 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.

• The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.














Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update Report

The global annual to decadal climate update report was recently released.


  • Released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
  • The annual update harnesses the expertise of internationally acclaimed climate scientists and the best prediction systems from leading climate centres around the world to produce actionable information for decision-makers.

India Specific Findings:

  • India could be among the few regions globally where below normal temperatures have been predicted for the year 2022 and the next four years.
  • This may be because of the possible increase in rainfall activity in this decade. Many parts of India will receive above normal rainfall. This will keep temperatures low.

Note: World Meteorological Day is observed on March 23rd every year. It is observed to mark the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The theme for 2022 is ‘Early warning and early action’.




BHARAT TAP initiative

The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the BHARAT TAP initiative and Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition. This exhibition is aimed at products and services related to the plumbing, water and sanitation industry.


  • It is a concept to use low flow tap and fixtures.
  • It will provide low-flow, sanitary-ware at scale, and thereby reduce water consumption at the source considerably.
  • Benefits ➔ It is estimated to save approximately 40% of water. This will in turn result in water saving and energy saving due to less water and energy will be required for pumping, transporting, and purification.
  • Significance ➔ This initiative will also be accepted quickly in the country and will lead to a renewed focus on water conservation efforts.

  Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative:

  • It is an initiative of NAREDCO-MAHI.
  • Aim ➔ To map groundwater as it is very important to save underground water.
  • Target ➔ The initiative will work to save around 500 crore litres of water per year.


  • National Real Estate Development Council(NAREDCO) was established as an autonomous self-regulatory body in 1998 under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Purpose ➔ It is an apex body at the national level representing all spheres of stakeholders engaged in various aspects of real estate development.


  • NAREDCO has established NAREDCO-MAHI Women’s Wing in 2021 for empowering women entrepreneurs and encouraging participation of women in the real estate sector and allied fields.

Madtsoiidae Snake:

Scientists have discovered a 35 million years old Madtsoiidae snake fossil from the molasse deposits of Ladakh. This reveals their prevalence in the subcontinent for much longer time than previously thought.


  • Madtsoiidae is an extinct group of medium-sized to gigantic snakes.
  • They first appeared during the late Cretaceous and mostly distributed in the Gondwanan landmasses.
  • Their Cenozoic record is extremely scarce.
  • From the fossil record we infer that the whole group disappeared in the mid-Paleogene across most Gondwanan continents.
  • However, in Australia the species survived with its last known taxon Wonambi till late Pleistocene.

Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary:     

Recently, Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as a tiger reserve after a nod by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC).


  • Location ➔ Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary is located mostly in Bundi district and in part in Bhilwara and Kota districts in Rajasthan.
  • The Government of Rajasthan declared it a sanctuary in 1982 under Section 5 of the Rajasthan Wildlife and Bird Protection Act, 1951.
  • Wildlife ➔ The sanctuary is home to the Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, chinkara, antelope and foxes among other animals.
  • Significance ➔ Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary acts as a buffer for Ranthambore National Park, which is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in India.
  • Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary will be India’s 52nd tiger reserve and Rajasthan’s fourth after Ranthambore, Sariska and Mukundra.
  • According to “Status of Tigers in India” report released in 2019, there are 2,967 tigers in 20 states across the country.


Maya’s Pit viper:

Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper, a new species of snake has been discovered at Umroi Military Station in the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. Locally it is known as U Thlen, it is believed to be a malevolent and evil spirit that takes the form of a huge, man-eating snake.


  • It looked very similar to Pope’s Pit Viper but the colour of the eyes was different.

. • The snake measures about 750 mm in length.

  • According to a herpetologist, this new species was relatively common in Meghalaya, Mizoram and even in Guwahati.

People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)

Kolkata became the first major metropolitan city in India to prepare a detailed register of biodiversity (People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)).

Prepared by: Kolkata’s Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC).


  • The People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) entails complete documentation of biodiversity such as flora, fauna medicinal sources, land use and human activities etc. within a particular place such as a city.
  • The Biological Diversity Act (BDA) has made it mandatory for every local self-governing institution in rural and urban areas to constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) within their area of jurisdiction.
  • Once constituted, the BMC must prepare a Peoples’ Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with local people.
  • A PBR comprehensively documents traditional knowledge of local biological resources. The BMC is the custodian of these resources, and any industry that extracts biological resources from these areas has to share part of its revenue with the local community.


Community Forest Resource:

The Chhattisgarh government has become only the second state in the country to recognise Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights of a village inside a national park.


  • It is the common forest land that has been traditionally protected and conserved for sustainable use by a particular community.
  • The community uses it to access resources available within the traditional and customary boundary of the village; and for seasonal use of landscape in case of pastoralist communities.

Community Forest Resource(CFR) rights:

  • These rights are recognised under Section 3(1)(i) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (commonly referred to as the Forest Rights Act or the FRA).
  • They provide for recognition of the right to “protect, regenerate or conserve or manage” the community forest resource.
  • These rights allow the community to formulate rules for forest use by itself and others and thereby discharge its responsibilities under Section 5 of the FRA.


Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has recovered 14.63 MT of Red Sanders worth Rs. 11.70 crore under Operation Rakth Chandan.

About Red Sanders:

  • The species, Pterocarpus santalinus, is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The species is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate.
  • Protection Status ➔

 o IUCN Red List: Endangered.

o CITES: Appendix II

 o Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule II.

  • Its rich hue and therapeutic properties are responsible for its high demand across Asia, particularly China, for use in cosmetics, medicinal products and high-end furniture/woodcraft.
  • The export of Red Sanders from India is prohibited as per the Foreign Trade Policy.



Magnetically Impelled Arc Butt Welding Equipment

Researchers have developed a smart Internet of Things (IoT) integrated machine called “Magnetically Impelled Arc Butt Welding Equipment”.

About :

  It is an Internet of Things(IoT) integrated machine developed for welding ferrous tubes faster than conventional fusion welding or solid-state processes.

  • This machine has several benefits such as a) minimal energy consumption, b) automating the welding process to avoid human-induced errors and c) manufacturing products swiftly in an eco-friendly manner.
  • How does this machine work? ➔ o Magnetically Impelled Arc Butt(MIAB) welding involves striking of an arc between two coaxially placed tubes, followed by interaction of the axial component of arc current and the radial component of a magnetic field that causes a force called Lorentz force.

o This force acts on the arc and impels it around the joint line with an approximate linear speed of 200 m/s that uniformly heats the tube surfaces up to the highest temperature at which it is solid (solidus temperature).

 o The softened tube edges (butt-ends) are then forced into penetration by forging to form a weld.


Anabolic steroids

From two Tokyo Olympians being banned to Noida Police seizing fake drugs and supplements worth Rs. 2 crore, anabolic steroids have often been in news, although not for the right reasons.


  • Anabolic steroids are essentially lab-made versions of the male hormone testosterone and have a similar effect of increasing muscle mass as the natural hormone does.
  • It also increases male characteristics in a person, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.
  • Different from Corticosteroids

 o Anabolic steroids, however, very different from the steroids that are prescribed by doctors for inflammations, several autoimmune diseases, or to suppress the body’s immune system during a Covid-19 infection.

 o These medicines/steroids are called corticosteroids and are lab-made molecules that mimic the action of the hormone called cortisol that controls the body’s stress response, metabolism, and inflammation. o Unlike corticosteroids, anabolic steroids have limited medical use.



Researchers at IIT Mandi have identified a drug molecule that can be used to treat diabetes.


The molecule, called PK2, is able to trigger the release of insulin by the pancreas, and can potentially be used as an orally administered medicine for diabetes.

  • The findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • The researchers found that PK2 was rapidly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, which means that it can be used as an oral medication rather than an injection.
  • After two hours of administration, PK2 was found distributed in the liver, kidney, and pancreas of the mice, but there were no traces of it in the heart, lungs, and spleen.
  • There was a small amount present in the brain, which shows that the molecule may be able to cross the blood brain barrier. It was cleared from circulation in about 10 hours.
  • Beyond increasing insulin release, PK2 was also able to prevent and even reverse beta cell loss, a cell essential for insulin production, making it effective for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.



Health authorities in the United Kingdom have confirmed a case of monkeypox, a rare viral infection similar to smallpox, in an individual who recently travelled to that country from Nigeria.


  • The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
  • History

 ➔ First discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.

  • Symptoms ➔ Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. o It causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
  • Transmission ➔ Monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission also occurs.
  • Human to Human Transmission ➔ The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. o Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding

. • Incubation Period ➔ The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.

  • Treatment ➔ The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980.

o Vaccinia vaccine used during the smallpox eradication programme was also protective against monkeypox.

o A new third generation vaccinia vaccine has now been approved for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. Antiviral agents are also being developed.



AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers in Innovation, Market Readiness, and Entrepreneurship) Playbook was launched by NITI Aayog.


  • Aim ➔ AIM-PRIME Playbook aims to be a comprehensive resource for academic researchers, entrepreneurs and incubators involved in building science-based enterprises from lab to–market.


  • Launched in ➔ April 2021 by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Aim ➔ To promote science-based, deep technology ideas to market, through training and guidance over a period of 12 months.
  • Focus Area ➔ Science-based, knowledge-intensive, deep technology entrepreneurship.
  • Implemented by ➔ Venture Center. The Venture Center is India’s leading science-based business and inventive enterprises’ incubator. It is located in Pune.


Sagittarius A*(SgrA*)

Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) facility revealed the first image of the black hole named Sagittarius A* at the centre of our galaxy – the Milky Way.


Sagittarius A* is a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy i.e. the Milky Way. It is located near the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius.

  • SgrA* possesses 4 million times the mass of our sun and is located about 26,000 light-years and 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km)—from Earth.
  • The diameter of Sagittarius A* is about 17 times that of the sun, meaning it would sit within the innermost planet Mercury’s solar orbit.
  • Is this the first-ever image of a black hole? ➔ No. In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope released the first-ever image of a black hole M87* – the black hole at the centre of another galaxy Messier 87 which is a supergiant elliptic galaxy.
  • How is Sagittarius A* different from M87*? ➔ Imaging Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) was much more difficult than imaging M87* for the following reasons:

1) SgrA* is only one-thousandth the size of M87*,

 2) the line of sight of SgrA* is obscured by a lot of matter and

3) variability of SgrA* makes it difficult to image.

Event Horizon:There is a region of space beyond the black hole called the event horizon. This is a “point of no return”, beyond which it is impossible to escape the gravitational effects of the black hole.


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags


  • Radio Frequency Identification is a wireless tracking system that consists of tags and readers.
  • Radio waves are used to communicate information/identity of objects or people.
  • The tags can carry encrypted information, serial numbers and short descriptions.
  • Types – passive and active RFID tags ➔ o Active RFIDs use their own power source, mostly batteries. o Passive RFIDs are activated through the reader using the electromagnetic energy it transmits.

Working mechanism:

o RFID tags use an integrated circuit and an antenna to communicate with a reader using radio waves at several different frequencies – low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF).

o The message sent back by the tag in form or radio waves is translated into data and analysed by the host computer system. o Unlike Barcodes, RFIDs do not require direct line of sight to identify objects.

 PARAM PORUL Supercomputing Facility

PARAM PORUL, a state-of-the art Supercomputer at NIT Tiruchirappalli under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) was inaugurated.


  • PARAM PORUL supercomputing facility is established under Phase 2 of the NSM with 838 TeraFlops Supercomputing Facility.
  • The majority of the components used to build this system have been manufactured and assembled within the country, along with an indigenous software stack developed by C-DAC, in line with the Make in India initiative.
  • PARAM PORUL system is based on Direct Contact Liquid Cooling technology to obtain a high power usage effectiveness and thereby reducing the operational cost.
  • Applications installed: Multiple applications from various scientific domains such as Weather and Climate, Bioinformatics, Computational Chemistry, Molecular Dynamics, Material Sciences, etc. have been installed.

Significance ➔

 o NIT is carrying out research in the areas of societal interest such as Health, Agriculture, Weather, and Financial Services. The facility installed under NSM will strengthen this research.

 o The computer will provide a major boost to the research and development initiatives in Indian academia and industries.



After sending missions to the Moon and Mars, the ISRO is now readying a spacecraft to orbit Venus to study what lies below the surface of the solar system’s hottest planet, and also unravel the mysteries under the Sulfuric Acid clouds enveloping it.

About Venus;

-It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is the second planet from the Sun and sixth in the solar system in size and mass.

• It is the hottest planet in the solar system because of the high concentration of carbon dioxide which works to produce an intense greenhouse effect.

• It is the second brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, probably that is the reason why it was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC.

• A day on Venus is longer than a year. It takes Venus longer to rotate once on its axis than to complete one orbit of the Sun.


Missions to Venus:

  • US ➔ Mariner series 1962-1974, Pioneer Venus 1 and Pioneer Venus 2 in 1978, Magellan in 1989. o NASA’s two new missions to Venus: The Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) mission; Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy).
  • Russia ➔ Venera series of space crafts 1967-1983, Vegas 1 and 2 in 1985.
  • Japan ➔ Akatsuki in 2015.
  • Europe ➔ Venus Express in 2005.
  • Indian Initiative ➔ India plans to launch a new orbiter named Shukrayaan to Venus in 2024.



PARAM ANANTA, a state-of-the art Supercomputer has been commissioned at IIT Gandhinagar.


  • PARAM ANANTA is a supercomputer capable of offering peak performance of 838 teraflops.
  • It has been developed jointly by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.
  • Established under ➔ Phase 2 of the National Supercomputing Mission(NSM).
  • The technology used ➔ It is based on Direct Contact Liquid Cooling technology to obtain a high power usage effectiveness and thereby reduce the operational cost.
  • Applications ➔ Multiple applications from various scientific domains such as Weather and Climate, Bioinformatics, Computational Chemistry, Molecular Dynamics, Material Sciences, and Computational Fluid Dynamics have been installed on the system for the benefit of researchers.
  • Significance ➔ With Param Ananta, India now has 15 supercomputers with a combined performance capability of 24 petaflops.



Principal scientific advisor

Prof Ajay K Sood from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been appointed as the new Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the government of India.


  • Established in 1999.
  • Aims to provide advice to the Prime Minister and cabinet on matters related to science, technology and innovation.
  • It is currently a Secretary level.


Chief Election Commissioner

The President of India has appointed Rajiv Kumar as the Chief Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India.


  • The power to appoint the CEC and the ECs lies with the President of India under Article 324(2) of the Constitution, which states that “the President shall fix the number of ECs in a manner he sees fit, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament”.
  • Thus, Article 324(2) left it open for the Parliament to legislate on the issue.
  • Procedure ➔ But, in the absence of any Parliamentary law governing the appointment issue, the ECs are appointed by the government of the day, without pursuing any consultation process. There is no concept of collegium and no involvement of the opposition.

National Data & Analytics Platform

NITI Aayog has launched the National Data & Analytics Platform (NDAP) for open public use.


  • Initiative of ➔ NITI Aayog.
  • Aim :To democratize access to public government data by making data accessible, interoperable, interactive and available on a user-friendly platform.

Key Features of NDAP:

  • Accessibility → The platform makes data more accessible by hosting data in clean, machine-readable formats, ensuring datasets are interoperable, and providing detailed documentation on the contents of each dataset.
  • Use case-based Approach →It follows a use-case based approach to ensure that the datasets hosted on the platform are tailored to the needs of data users from government, academia, journalism, civil society and the private sector.


Pardoning Powers of Governor and President

The Supreme Court has disagreed with the Central government’s suggestion that the court should wait till the President took a call on Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case convict mercy plea referred to him by the Tamil Nadu Governor for a decision.

About the issue:

  • The Supreme Court said that the pertinent question was whether the Governor had in the first place the authority to refer the mercy plea to the President.
  • This is because, under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Governor was bound by the aid and advice given by the Council of Ministers.
  • This means that the Governor prima facie had no authority to transfer the mercy plea to the President.
  • In case, the governor disagrees with the state cabinet’s decision to release him, he can at most send it back to the cabinet but cannot forward it to the President.

The President and Governor exercised two distinct powers of mercy under Articles 72 and 161, respectively.

o The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161.

o The power differs in the following two ways:

  • The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.
  • The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is the sentence of death, but the pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.


Other Important News

World Food Prize

Cynthia Rosenzweig, a Nasa climate research scientist who has spent much of her career explaining how global food production must adapt to a changing climate was awarded the World Food prize. About:

  • It is the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. • Fields Covered ➔ It is an annual award that recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply including plant, animal and soil science; food science and technology; nutrition, rural development, etc.
  • Eligibility ➔ It is open for any individual without regard to race, religion, nationality or political beliefs.
  • Cash Prize ➔ In addition to the cash award of $2,50,000, the laureate receives a sculpture designed by the noted artist and designer, Saul Bass.

National Achievement Survey

The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education released the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 report.


  • It assesses the health of school education system in the country by conducting comprehensive evaluation survey of children’s learning competencies at classes III, V, VIII and X with a cycle period of three years.
  • The report also evaluated competencies of students in subjectsmsuch as mathematics, languages, and environmental studies (EVS) for Classes 3 and 5; language, mathematics, science and social science for Class 8; and language, mathematics, science, social science and English for Class 10.
  • Who designed the framework for the survey? ➔ National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
  • Who conducted the survey? ➔ Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)


  • Nearly 80% students found learning at home during the pandemic “burdensome” and felt that they learnt better in school with help from peers.
  • As many as 24% students said they had no digital device at home. Though 45% students found the experience “joyful”, 38% also said that they had difficulties in learning.
  • Out of a score of 500, students across various classes performed better in languages, but lagged behind in subjects like mathematics and science.


Operation Satark

RPF launches Focused effort under “Operation Satark” from 5th April to 30th April, 2022.


  • Railway Protection Force has recently started “Operation Satark” with an objective of taking action against illicit liquor/FICN/illegal tobacco products/unaccounted gold and any other items being transported through railway network for the purpose of tax evasion and smuggling.

Railway Protection Force:

  • Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force under the ownership of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Government of India.
  • It was formed in 1872 under the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957.
  • It is the lead security agency in the field of railway security having a pan India reach. It is entrusted with the security of railway property, passenger area and passengers.

Exercise ‘Bongosagar’

Recently, The third edition of Indian Navy (IN) – Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ commenced at Port Mongla, Bangladesh. About

  • Aim : To develop a high degree of interoperability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations between the two navies.
  • Edition : Its first edition was held in 2019. The present one is the third edition of Bonosagar.
  • Type : maritime exercise.

The harbour phase of the exercise includes professional and social interactions, and friendly sporting fixtures, in addition to the tactical level planning discussions on the conduct of the exercises at sea.

  • The sea phase of the exercise would facilitate ships from both the navies to participate in intensive surface warfare drills, weapon firing drills, seamanship evolutions and coordinated air operations in a tactical scenario.


India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage

On the occasion of Buddha Jayanti on May 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba laid the foundation stone for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini, Nepal.


  • The Lord Buddha was said to be born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal.
  • It is described in Buddhist literature as a Pradimoksha-vana (sin-free forest).
  • It was built by Anjana, king of the Koliya clan, for his queen Rupadevi or Rummindei.
  • The Indian emperor Ashoka had erected one of his commemorative pillars there.
  • The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.
  • According to Buddhist literature, Lumbini was located on an ancient trade route passing through Kapilavastu (present location uncertain), Kushinagar (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh), and Vaishali, Pataliputra, Nalanda, and Rajgriha (all in today’s Bihar).


Sahariya Tribe

The rising food inflation is hurting the weakest the most in India, including the Sahariya Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh.


  • The Sahariya Adivasis are classified as a ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group’ by the government. • They live in around eight districts of Madhya Pradesh (MP).
  • They may also be located in the hills of the Ganjam district of southern Orissa, as well as in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the Plains division of Assam.
  • They speak a Munda language of the Austro-Asiatic language family.
  • The Saharia farmers use the “slash and burn” method of cultivation along the hill slopes.

Beliefs – The Saharia practice their traditional ethnic religions. But, they are aware of Hindu values and use them in defining their own identity.




Bhil Pradesh

The demands for a “Bhil Pradesh”, a separate state for tribal people in western India, have of late begun to be raised again.

About :

  • It is a demand for a separate state for tribal people in western India.
  • The demand is to carve out a separate state from 39 districts spread over four states: 16 in Gujarat, 10 in Rajasthan, seven in Madhya Pradesh, and six in Maharashtra.
  • Bhil social reformer and spiritual leader Govind Guru first raised the demand for a separate state for tribals back in 1913 after the Mangarh massacre. 👉The Mangarh massacre.
  • The massacre, which took place six years before Jallianwalla Bagh and is sometimes referred to as the “Adivasi Jallianwala”, saw hundreds of Bhil tribals being killed by British forces on November 17, 1913 in the hills of Mangarh on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat.


Koilastila Gas field

Bangladesh has discovered a new gas field with the capacity to produce 20 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD) at the Koilastila Gas field.

 About :

  • Koilastila Gas Field is one of the five gas fields purchased from the Shell Oil company by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
  • So far 7 wells have been drilled in the Koilastila gas field of Sylhet Gas Fields Limited (SGFL).
  • The first gas field in Bangladesh was made in Sylhet in 1955. Bangladesh currently produces 2370 MMCFD from its 26 commercial gas fields out of which 85 percent comes from the top 4 gas fields. Bibiyana Gas Field and Titas Gas field are its major locations for production of gas. It is estimated that Bangladesh has a remaining gas reserve of 11 trillion cubic feet.


World Press Freedom Index 2022

About • Published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

  • Aim ➔ To assess the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.
  • Indicators ➔ The index ranks countries based on five indicators: the political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and security.
  • The index has defined press freedom as the effective possibility for journalists as individuals and as groups to select, produce and disseminate news and information.

Key findings:

  • Top Positions ➔ Norway (1st), Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd), Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th) grabbed the top positions in the index while North Korea remained at the bottom of the list.
  • India Position ➔ India has fallen eight places from 142nd to 150th in the 2022 among the 180 countries.


System for Pension Administration (Raksha)

Recently, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) introduced a portal, System for Pension Administration (Raksha) (SPARSH), to directly transfer pension to the pensioners.


  • SPARSH is implemented for meeting the pension sanction and disbursement requirements for Armed Forces viz. Army, Navy, Air Force and Defence Civilians.
  • This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into bank accounts of defence pensioners without relying on any external intermediary.
  • The receipt of pension to the pensioners is usually done by all banks acting as Pension Disbursing Agencies.
  • The system would cater to all activities of the pension cycle namely, Initiation and Sanction; Disbursement; Revision; and Service and Grievance Request Management.


Pulitzer Prize


It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer.

  • Arguably the most coveted award for journalists from across the world, the Pulitzer is announced by America’s Columbia University and bestowed on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. • The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States.
  • Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories.
  • Indians who have previously won the Pulitzer ➔ A member of the Ghadar Party in America, Indian-American journalist Gobind Behari Lal, was the first from India to win the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1937. He won the award for reporting with four others, for their coverage of science at the tercentenary of Harvard University.


Luna cryptocurrency


  • Luna is the sister cryptocurrency of algorithmic stablecoin Terra.
  • Stablecoins are tokens pegged to the value of a government-backed currency such as the US dollar or commodities like gold or silver.
  • Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are the two leading stablecoins.


Global Report on Assistive Technology(GReAT)

The first Global Report on Assistive Technology(GReAT) is released recently.

 Assistive technology(AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.  These include a very wide range of technologies and devices such as prosthetics, braces, walkers, special switches, special-purpose computers, screen readers and specialized curricular software.

  • Released by -World Health Organization(WHO) and UNICEF.
  • The report is the culmination of the 71st World Health Assembly resolution in 2018 to prepare a global report on effective access to assistive technology.

Key findings:

  • More than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition.
  • A billion of them are denied access, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where access can be as low as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.



In keeping with the spirit of “One Nation, One Portal”, Union Minister of Science and Technology launched Single National Portal for Biotech researchers and Start-ups.

About :

  • The Portal “BioRRAP” will cater to all those seeking regulatory approval for biological research & development activity in the country.
  • Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP) will also allow stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID.



  • India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology globally and 3rd largest biotechnology destination in the Asia Pacific region.
  • By 2025, the contribution of the Indian biotechnology industry in the global biotechnology market is expected to grow to 19% from a mere 3% in 2017. The Bio Economy’s contribution to the national GDP has also grown steadily in the past years to 2.7% in 2020 from 1.7% in 2017.


Olympic Values Education Programme

India’s first ‘Olympic Values Education Programme’ (OVEP) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was launched in Odisha by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in collaboration with the Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust (ABFT).


  • OVEP will be integrated into the school education system of Odisha.
  • It will be a values-based curriculum, to be implemented initially in 90 schools of Rourkela and Bhubaneswar, catering to about 32,000 children.
  • The OVEP is a practical set of resources designed by the IOC to introduce young people to the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship.
  • The OVEP was developed in 2006 to adddress the challenges of sedentary lifestyles, lack of concentration and adolescents dropping out of school.


International Booker Prize

“Tomb of Sand’, has become the first book written in an Indian language to be awarded the International Booker Prize.


  • The International Booker Prize began life in 2005 as the Man Booker International Prize.
  • The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Aim ➔ This prize aims to encourage more reading of quality fiction from all over the world and has already had an impact on those statistics in the UK.




First Biotech Park

Union Minister, Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated North India’s First Biotech Park at Ghatti, Kathua district, J&K.

About :

  • This biotech park will carry out research on biodiversity, medicinal and aromatic plants of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and it will also promote green category businesses.
  • The biotechnology park at Kathua has a potential to produce 25 startups in a year which will be among its great contributions to this region.
  • The work on the two Industrial Biotech Parks, one at Ghatti, Kathua, Jammu and other in Handwara, Kashmir jointly funded by department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, Ministry of Science & Technology and Jammu & Kashmir Science, Technology & Innovation Council was started in February 2019.
  • CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, (CSIR-IIIM) Jammu has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of this project.



 June-2022 CA


Technology Development Fund(TDF) Scheme

The Defence Minister has approved the enhancement of funding under the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme to Rs. 50 crore per project from Rs. 10 crore.


  • Aim: Creating an ecosystem for promoting self-reliance by building indigenous state-of-the-art systems for defence application. The scheme will provide a major fillip to the defence manufacturing sector by promoting selfreliance under the Make in India initiative.
  • Nodal Ministry ➔ Ministry of Defence
  • Executing Agency ➔ Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


  o Under the Scheme, DRDO extends financial support and expertise to upgrade existing products/ systems, processes, and applications. It helps firms in reducing production costs, improving functionality and quality.

o The participation of public/private industries especially MSMEs and Startups is encouraged. o It facilitates up to 90% of the total project cost. Earlier, it was subject to the upper limit of Rs 10 crores, which is increased to Rs 50 crores now.

 o An entity with more than 49% foreign investment will not be eligible.


Project NIPUN

Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs launched a project named National Initiative for Promoting Upskilling of Nirman workers (NIPUN) for the promotion of Upskilling of 1 lakh Nirman Workers.


  • The basic motive of the project is to train over 1 lakh construction workers, through fresh skilling and upskilling programmes.
  • The project NIPUN is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • This project is running under the flagship programme of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM)
  • The transformational impact of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) has reduced the vulnerability of urban poor households by providing upskilling and employment opportunities to urban dwellers, especially the youth.
  • Implementing Agency ➔ National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

o NSDC is the nodal agency and workers under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

o NSDC will be responsible for the overall execution of training, monitoring and candidate tracking.

  • Implementation ➔ The implementation is divided into three parts:
  1. Training through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at construction sites
  2. Training through Fresh Skilling by Plumbing and Infrastructure Sector Skill Council (SSC).
  3. International Placement through industries/ builders/ contractors.


Critical Information Infrastructure

The Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has declared the IT resources of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and UPI managing entity NPCI as ‘Critical Information Infrastructure’.


  • The Information Technology Act of 2000 defines “Critical Information Infrastructure” as a computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which shall have a debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety.
  • Under the Act, the government has the power to declare any data, database, IT network or communications infrastructure as CII to protect that digital asset.
  • Penalty ➔ Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to a protected system in violation of the law can be punished with a jail term of up to 10 years.

How are CIIs protected in India?

 ➔  National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) was created in 2014. It is the nodal agency for taking all measures to protect the nation’s Critical Information Infrastructure(CII).


Payments Vision 2025

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India unveiled Payments Vision 2025 with intent to increase e-payments.


  • Payments Vision 2025 builds on the initiatives of Payments Vision 2019-21.
  • Theme ➔ E-Payments for Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime (4Es).
  • Objective: to provide every user with safe, secure, fast, convenient, accessible and affordable e-payment options.

The activities to be taken up during the period up to 2025 as part of Vision 2025 ➔ Integrity, Inclusion, Innovation, Institutionalisation and Internationalisation.

  • Document ‘Payments Vision 2025’ ➔ As part of its Vision 2025, the RBI will attempt
  • regulation of big tech and fintech in the payments space
  • explore guidelines on payments that involve BNPL(buy now pay later) services
  • work towards the introduction of CBDC (central bank digital currency)
  • seek inclusion of rupee in continuous linked settlement (CLS) (CLS provides protection for cross- currency settlement in 18 currencies)


Indian Railway Innovation Policy

Minister of Railways launched Indian Railway Innovation Policy – “StartUps for Railways”. Through this platform start-ups will get a good opportunity to connect with Railways.


Salient details:

  • Grant up to Rs. 1.5 Crore to innovator on equal sharing basis with provision of milestone-wise payment.
  • Complete process from floating of problem statement to development of prototype is online with defined time line to make it transparent and objective.
  • Trials of prototypes will be done in Railways. Enhanced funding will be provided to scale up deployment on successful performance of prototypes.
  • Developed Intellectual property rights (IPR) will remain with innovator only. • Assured developmental order to innovator.
  • De-centralization of complete product development process at divisional level to avoid delays.

The World Competitiveness Index 2022 has been released.

About :

  • Published by : Institute for Management Development (IMD) since 1989.
  • Purpose : To rank 63 economies and assess the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people by measuring economic well-being via hard data and survey responses from executives.
  • Parameters ➔ The index measures the prosperity and competitiveness of countries by examining four factors: 1) Economic performance, 2) Government efficiency, 3) Business efficiency and 4) Infrastructure.

 Key findings:

  • Globally ➔ Denmark has topped the index followed by Switzerland and Singapore.
  • Findings related to India ➔ India has been ranked 37th in the index. India has witnessed the sharpest rise among the Asian economies with a six-position jump from 43rd to 37th rank.



Platygomphus benritarum

A new species of dragonfly ‘Platygomphus benritarum’ discovered in Assam has been named after two women for their pioneering work in the northeast.


  • Named after ➔ It has been named after Monisha Behal, a founder member of Northeast Network (NEN) and Rita Banerji, founder of Green Hub.
  • Background ➔ The species, a single male, was found by two researchers in June 2020 near the banks of the Brahmaputra in Assam.
  • The male observed appeared to have freshly emerged judging by its shiny wings and abdomen.
  • It has turquoise blue eyes and dark brown face covered with hair on the sides, was found resting on a large tree around 5-6 metres from the banks of Brahmaputra

. • The habitat along the banks is dominated by grasses, sparse trees, paddy fields and marshlands, along with some forest patches and tree plantations.

  • Dragonflies and damselflies belong to the order Odonata of insects.


Saras crane

Gujarat villagers (of Ganasar village) turn farm into artificial wetland to save Saras crane eggs.


  • The Sarus crane (Antigone antigone) is a large non-migratory crane.
  • Habitat ➔ It is found in open wetlands in South Asia, seasonally flooded Dipterocarpus forests in Southeast Asia, and Eucalyptus-dominated woodlands and grasslands in Australia.
  • The Sarus crane is the tallest flying bird in the world standing 152-156 cm tall with a wingspan of 240cm.
  • Distinguished features ➔ The Sarus crane is easily distinguished from other cranes in the region by its overall grey colour and the contrasting red head and upper neck.

Conservation status:

o Listed in Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 of India.

o Vulnerable on IUCN Red List.


Puneet Sagar Abhiyan

The National Cadet Corps(NCC) has launched the ‘Puneet Sagar Abhiyan’.


  • Launched by ➔ National Cadet Corps(NCC).
  • Objective ➔ To clean Sea Shores/Beaches and other water bodies including rivers & lakes of plastic & other waste and increase awareness amongst the local population about the importance of keeping the beaches and river fronts clean.
  • Significance ➔ The campaign will help in educating locals and sensitize them about ‘Swachh Bharat’


Ribbon weed

About :

  • Scientific Name ➔ Posidonia australis.
  • It is the world’s largest plant. It is a seagrass 180 km in length.
  • The plant is 4,500 years old and has double the number of chromosomes than other similar plants. • It can usually grow to around 35cm per year.
  • It covers an area of 20,000 hectares.


Lifestyle for the Environment – LiFE Movement

Recently, The Prime Minister has launched a global initiative ‘Lifestyle for the Environment – LiFE Movement’.


  • Background ➔ The idea of LiFE was introduced by the Prime Minister during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021.
  • Aim ➔ To promote an environment-conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilization’ instead of ‘mindless and destructive consumption’.
  • Vision ➔ To live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it and those who live such a lifestyle are called Pro-Planet People.
  • LiFE Global Call for Papers ➔ As part of the launch of LiFE movement, ‘LiFE Global Call for Papers has been released. This paper invites ideas and suggestions from academics, universities & research institutions etc to influence and persuade individuals, communities and organizations across the world to adopt an environment-conscious lifestyle.

State of Environment Report 2022

The State of Environment Report 2022 has been released.


  • Released by: Center for Science and Environment (CSE), environmental NGO.
  • Purpose :The report is an annual compendium of environment-development data and is derived from public sources.

 Key findings :

  • India dumps 72% of its sewage without treatment. Ten States do not treat their sewage at all, as per the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • Over a third of India’s coastline that is spread across 6,907 km saw some degree of erosion between 1990 and 2018. West Bengal is the worst hit with over 60% of its shoreline under erosion.
  • The reasons for coastal erosion include increase in frequency of cyclones and sea level rise and activities such as construction of harbours, beach mining and building of dams.
  • While the global average of the Ocean Health Index, a measure that looks at how sustainably humans are exploiting ocean resources, has improved between 2012 and 2021, India’s score in the index has declined over the same period.


The Environment Performance Index(EPI) 2022

The Environment Performance Index(EPI) 2022 has been released.


  • EPI is a biennial index.
  • Started in ➔ 2002 as an Environmental Sustainability Index by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Centre for International Earth Science Information Network.
  • The 2022 EPI is a joint project of the Yale Centre and Columbia’s Earth Institute.
  • Parameters ➔ Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
  • These indicators provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy targets. Overall, EPI rankings indicate which countries are best addressing environmental challenges.

Key findings of the Index :

  • Topped by ➔ Denmark
  • India ➔ India has been ranked 180th in the index. This is the last among 180 countries that have been ranked. In 2020, India was ranked 168th.
  • The index has said that India has prioritized economic growth over environmental sustainability.




Air Quality Life Index

The Air Quality Life Index has been released.


  • It is produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC).
  • Purpose ➔ The index converts air pollution concentrations into their impact on life expectancy. From this, the public and policymakers alike can determine the benefits of air pollution policies in perhaps the most important measure that exists: longer lives.

Key findings:

  • Globally, air pollution reduces 2.2 years of life expectancy. This impact on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, more than three times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times that of HIV/AIDS and 89 times that of conflict and terrorism.

 India Specific Findings:

  • Of all the countries in the world, India faces the highest health burden of air pollution.
  • The average Indian resident is set to lose five years of life expectancy if the WHO guidelines are not followed.
  • Delhi, the most polluted megacity in the world stands to lose 10 years of life expectancy if the current air pollution level persists.


 Glischropus meghalayanus

Scientists have discovered a new species of bamboo-dwelling bat named Glischropus meghalayanus in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya.


  • Bamboo-dwelling bats are a particular kind of bats living in the internodes of bamboos with specialized morphological characteristics that help them to adapt to the life inside a bamboo.

Glischropus Meghalayanus ;

  • It is a bamboo-dwelling thick-thumbed bat species found near the forested patch of Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • This discovery is the first report of a thick-thumbed bat not only from India but also from South Asia.

Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Situated in the Ri-Bhoi district near Lailad village and spread over an area of 29 sq. kms, Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the famous attractions of Meghalaya.
  • The Sanctuary falls in the Eastern Himalayan Global biodiversity hotspot.
  • The sanctuary supports different species of fauna such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Indian Bison, and Himalayan Black Bear etc.
  • Among the birds, the rare species which can be spotted here are Manipur Bush Quail, Rufous Necked Hornbill and Brown Hornbill.

Menar Wetland

Recognised as the “bird village” following community-driven conservation efforts, Menar in Udaipur district is set to be notified as Rajasthan’s new wetland.


  • The two lakes in the Menar village – the Brahma and Dhandh play host to a large number of migratory birds every year.
  • The Forest Department has initiated the process for notification of Menar as a wetland, which will recognise its role in the storage of sediment and nutrients and enable the local authorities to maintain the respective lakes.
  • With the status of wetlands, the two lakes will be strengthened for increasing the vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.
  • Observed Species ➔ More than 150 species of local and migratory birds inhabit the two lakes in the winter season.

 o They include Greater Flamingo, White-tailed Lapwing, Pelican, Marsh Harrier, Bar-headed Goose, Common Teal, Greenshank, Pintail, Wagtail, Green Sandpiper and Red-wattled Lapwing.

o Bird lovers and tourists flock to the village after the arrival of migratory birds from as far as Central Asia, Europe and Mongolia.

  • At present, Rajasthan has two wetlands recognised as Ramsar sites – Keoladeo Ghana in Bharatpur district and  Sambhar Salt Lake in Jaipur district.




  • Energy Compact Action Network (ECAN) was also launched to match governments seeking support for their clean energy goals with governments and businesses that have already pledged over $600 billion in assistance.

 SDG 7 aims to, by 2030:

  • Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services,
  • Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

UN Energy:

  • UN-Energy is the United Nations’ mechanism for inter-agency collaboration in the field of energy established by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).
  • UN-Energy reports to the CEB through the High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP).
  • It brings together 30 organizations that are global leaders in their respective fields, covering together all aspects of energy and sustainable development

. • It aims to promote coherence in the UN system´s multidisciplinary response to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change

  • It enhances coordination and collaborative actions within the UN with regards to policy development and implementation as well as knowledge sharing in area of energy




The Prime Minister inaugurated the headquarters of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre(INSPACe) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.


  • IN-SPACe is an independent nodal agency under the Department of Space.
  • Mandate ➔ To encourage, promote and handhold the private sector for their participation in the Space Sector.
  • Headquarter ➔ Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
  • Members ➔ IN-SPACe will have a Chairman, technical experts for space activities, Safety experts, experts from Academia and Industries, Legal and Strategic experts from other departments, members from PMO and MEA of Government of India.
  • Function ➔ It assesses the needs and demands of private players, including educational and research institutions, and, explore ways to accommodate these requirements in consultation with ISRO. IN-SPACe has been established as a single window nodal agency, with its own cadre, which permits and oversees the following activities:

   o Space activities including building of launch vehicles and satellites and providing space based services as per the definition of space activities.

o Sharing of space infrastructure and premises under the control of ISRO with due considerations to on-going activities.

 o Establishment of temporary facilities within premises under ISRO control based on safety norms and feasibility assessment.



Recently, 12 patients in the United States were completely cured of rectal cancer without requiring any surgery or chemotherapy. The trial used a monoclonal antibody called dostarlimab every three weeks for six months for the treatment.

  • What is it?

  Dostarlimab is a type of monoclonal antibody.

  • It blocks proteins called checkpoints which are made up of immune system cells such as T cells, and some cancer cells.
  • These checkpoints help keep immune responses from acting too strong and may prevent T cells from killing cancer cells. When these checkpoints are blocked, T cells are free to kill cancer cells more efficiently.
  • Examples of checkpoint proteins found on T cells or cancer cells include PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4, and B7-1.
  • Can Dostarlimab work against all cancers? ➔ According to experts, drugs like dostarlimab can be used only in patients with the genetic property of mismatch repair(MMR) deficiency.
  • Mismatch Repair Deficiency ➔ ‘Mismatch repair deficient’ cancer is most common among colorectal, gastrointestinal, and endometrial cancers. Patients suffering from this condition lack the genes to correct typos in the DNA that occur naturally while cells make copies.


Lumpy Skin Disease

Around 1,229 cattle across five districts of Gujarat have been infected with Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD).


  • Caused by infection of cattle or water buffalo with the poxvirus Lumpy Skin Disease Virus (LSDV).
  • Lumpy skin disease was firstseen as an epidemic in Zambia in 1929. Initially, it was thought to be the result of either poisoning or hypersensitivity to insect bites.
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The mortality rate is less than 10%.
  • Transmission ➔ Lumpy skin disease is primarily spread between animals by biting insects (vectors), such as mosquitoes and biting flies.
  • Symptoms ;

o It primarily consists of fever, fluid excretion from eyes and nose, dribbling of saliva from the mouth and blisters on the body.

 o The animal stops eating and faces problems while chewing or eating, resulting in reduced milk production

Prevention and Treatment ➔

o Vaccination against these diseases is covered under the Livestock Health and Disease Control Programme of India.

 o There are no specific antiviral drugs available for the treatment of lumpy skin disease. The only treatment available is supportive care of cattle. This can include treatment of skin lesions using wound care sprays and the use of antibiotics to prevent secondary skin infections and pneumonia.

 o Anti-inflammatory painkillers can be used to keep up the appetite of affected animals



Hermit is the latest sophisticated spyware in the news, and it is believed to have targeted iPhones and Android devices in Italy and Kazakhstan.


  • Hermit is a spyware developed by the Italian commercial spyware vendor RCS Lab.
  • The spyware is distributed by text message which looks like coming from a legitimate source. The malware can impersonate other apps that are developed by telecom companies and manufacturers which trick the victim to download the malware.

 Firefly-like Robots

Inspired by fireflies, researchers from MIT have created insect-scale robots that show electroluminescence.



  • These firefly-like robots weigh barely more than a paper clip, and they can be tracked using the light they emit and three smartphone cameras.
  • The robots’ wings are controlled by soft actuators or artificial muscles, which are fabricated from electroluminescent elastomer actuators.
  • Using zinc sulphate particles, these actuators emit colored light during the flight.

As the zinc particles only light up in the presence of a very strong and high-frequency electric field, a strong electric field is created in the soft actuator using high voltage. • Then, the robot is driven at a high frequency, which excites the electrons in the zinc particles. Now, they emit photons – subatomic light particles.

  • Communication ➔ Like the fireflies, these robots are said to communicate with each other through the lightemitting feature (electroluminescence).
  • Tracking ➔ These robots can be flown in outdoor environments where we don’t have a well-tuned, state-of-the-art motion tracking system.

Ultrathin Heteroprotein Film

Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films that can revolutionize the food packaging and biomedical industries.


  • A Thin Film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometre(monolayer) to several micrometres in thickness.
  • Thin film deposition is the process of creating and depositing thin film coatings onto a substrate material. These coatings can be made of many different materials, from metals to oxides to compounds.
  • Thin-film deposition is an important manufacturing step in the production of many opto-electronic, medical devices and products including consumer electronics, semiconductor lasers, LED displays, semiconductors, precision optics and medical implants.
  • Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films with excellent thermal, mechanical and pH stability. This can pave the way for expanding applications of thin films in the biomedical and food packaging industries.
  • These films are much thinner as compared to the other protein or plastic films. They are soft and thin and have the advantage of being more flexible than the other films.


Avishkar Hyperloop

Indian railways is collaborating with IIT Madras for the development of ‘indigenous’ Hyperloop system.

About :

  • Team named ‘Avishkar Hyperloop’, formed by IIT Madras has been applying scalability as well as frugal engineering concepts for the development of Hyperloop-based system for transportation.
  • IIT Madras sought support from Indian Railways for manufacturing assistance, safety regulations’ formulation, access to its electrical testing facilities and funding support.
  • IIT Madras has also proposed to set up a ‘Centre of Excellence for Hyperloop Technologies’.
  • The developed prototype would offer the largest Hyperloop Vacuum Tube in the world that can be utilized as Test Bed for further research on Hyperloop by the national transporter.
  • Also, tube will be at par with USA’s Virgin Hyperloop facility in terms of functionality but will outperform it in terms of cost significantly.
  • Project will reduce requirement of energy and make India carbon neutral and makes hyperloop an attractive proposition for the national transporter.

About hyperloop system :

• The Hyperloop is a fifth mode of transportation other than road, rail, water and air.

• It works on a technology that utilizes magnetic levitation in low pressure tubes to transport both, goods and people at airplane-like speed up to 750 miles per hour.

• The working principle of hyperloop technology is built on the idea of the vacuum train to create a much more advanced and feasible model.

• It consists enclosed chambers called pods for carrying travellers or freight through tubes or tunnels from which most of the air has been removed, but not complete vacuum to reduce friction.




Scientists have for the first time successfully grown plants in the Moon’s soil.


  • This lunar soil, also called regolith, was brought to Earth from the Moon by the Apollo-era astronauts.
  • Researchers have grown the hardy and well-studied Arabidopsis thaliana in the nutrient-poor lunar regolith.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana, native to Eurasia and Africa, is a relative of mustard greens and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  • The breakthrough will open the doors to harvest crops on the Moon in the future which will help in extended stay of humans on the moon.






Contempt of Court

The Supreme Court has threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the chief secretary of Telangana if the state government failed to deposit a cost of ₹2.5 lakh within two weeks.


  • Contempt of court is the power of the court to protect its own majesty and respect. The power is regulated but not restricted in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
  • As per the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, contempt refers to the offense of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of a court.

o The expression ‘contempt of court’ has not been defined by the Constitution.

 o However, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.

o Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 defines both civil and criminal contempt.

 o Civil contempt refers to wilful disobedience to any judgment of the court. o Criminal contempt can be invoked if an act:

▪ Tends to scandalise or lower the authority of the court.

▪ Tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding.

▪ Obstruct the administration of justice.

  • Prior Consent of AG ➔ According to Contempt of Court Act, 1971, prior consent in writing of the Attorney General(AG) is required for the Supreme Court to initiate criminal contempt action in a case.
  • Punishment ➔ A contempt of court may be punished with:

o Simple imprisonment which may extend to six months or a fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both.

o However, the accused may also be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.


National eVidhan Application


  • National eVidhan Application(NeVA) is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) included in the Digital India Programme.
  • Nodal Ministry ➔ Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs(MoPA)
  • Aim ➔ To make the functioning of all Legislative Houses in the country paperless on the theme of ‘One Nation – One Application’.
  • To transform all State Legislatures into ‘DIGITAL HOUSES’ so as to enable them to transact entire Government Business on digital platforms including information exchange with the State Government Departments in digital mode.
  • Note ➔ The application has also enabled provisions for onboarding the two Houses of Parliament. • Funding ➔ The funding for e-Vidhan is provided by the MoPA. It is on the pattern of Central Sponsored Scheme, i.e. 60:40 for States; 90:10 for North East & hilly States and 100% for UTs.
  • Nagaland became the first state to successfully implement NeVA in March,2022.

o Note: Lok Sabha Speaker has said that the proceedings of all legislatures — both Houses of Parliament and state Assemblies and Legislative Councils — will be available on one platform by 2023.


NITI Aayog

Parameswaran Iyer, a senior official who helmed the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, will be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NITI Aayog.

Composition ➔

 o Chairperson: Prime minister

o Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by Prime-Minister

 o Governing Council: Chief Ministers of all states and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.

o Regional Council: To address specific regional issues, Comprising Chief Minister and Lt. Governors Chaired by the Prime Minister or his nominee.

o Ad-hoc Membership: Two members in ex-officio capacity from leading Research institutions on a rotational. o Ex-Officio membership: Maximum four from the Union council of ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

o Chief Executive Officer: Appointed by the Prime-minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

o Special Invitees: Experts, Specialists with domain knowledge nominated by the Prime Minister.


Thiruvananthapuram Declaration

The first National Women Legislators’ Conference in Kerala concluded with the adoption of Thiruvananthapuram Declaration.


  • The Thiruvananthapuram Declaration laments the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill (since 1996) for 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures.
  • Lack of political empowerment is the main reason for India’s poor performance on Global Gender Gap published by World Economic Forum.
  • India was ranked at 140 out of 156 countries in 2021.


Other Important News:

Partners in the Blue Pacific

Recently, The US and its allies — Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom — have launched the ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ Initiative.

About • Launched by ➔ US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom.

  • Purpose ➔ It is an “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, and economic ties in the pacific region.
  • Objectives ➔

1) To deliver results for the Pacific more effectively and efficiently.

 2) To expand cooperation between the Pacific and the rest of the world and

3) To focus on bolstering “Pacific regionalism”.

  • Priority Areas ➔ The areas where PBP aims to enhance cooperation with the pacific islands include climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education.


World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2022

The forum was held recently at Geneva, Switzerland.

About :

  • It represents the United Nations’s first and largest annual gathering of the Communication Technologies (CT) for development community.
  • Co-organized by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line facilitators.
  • Theme for 2022 ➔ “ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs”.
  • Objective ➔ It is a unique two-phase United Nations (UN) summit that was initiated in order to create an evolving multi- stakeholder platform aimed at addressing the issues raised by information and communication technologies (ICTs) through a structured and inclusive approach at the national, regional and international levels.


India stays out of global declaration on future on internet

Aiming to keep the Internet open, free, and neutral, it is a political commitment among the partners to advance a positive vision for the Internet and digital technologies.


  • Around 60 countries have signed the declaration include the US, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and France.
  • India, China and Russia are among the large nations that are not part of this declaration. Key principles of Declaration
  • Commitments to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people ,Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information, advancing “inclusive and affordable” connectivity, Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy,
  • Protecting and strengthening the multi-stakeholder approach to governance.

Earlier, a report titled, “The return of digital authoritarianism: internet shutdowns” highlighted that • Number of countries that shut down the internet in 2021 has increased to 34 from 29 in 2020.

• India is the top country to impose internet shutdowns in 2021 for the fourth consecutive year.

 • India also did not sign the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, 2001.

• The data sharing provisions of Budapest Convention infringes on national sovereignty.

 • Presently, it is the only legally binding multilateral convention on cybercrime and electronic evidence.



Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the scheme SHRESHTA. About:

  • Full-Form ➔ Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA).
  • Objective ➔ To provide high-quality education for meritorious but poor Scheduled Castes(SC) students in CBSE affiliated reputed residential schools across the country.
  • Eligibility ➔ The students belonging to Scheduled Castes studying in class 8th and 10th in the current academic year are eligible for availing of the benefits of the scheme. o However, students belonging to marginalized income groups within the SC community are eligible only if their parental annual income is up to Rs.2.5 Lakh.
  • Selection Process ➔ Students are selected through a transparent mechanism through a National Entrance Test for SHRESHTA (NETS). The test is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission in classes 9th and 11th.
  • Successful candidates, after following the e-counselling process, are given admission to the school of their choice anywhere in the country for their academic persuasion.
  • Significance of the Scheme ➔ The Scheme will be beneficial for SC students who could not reach for higher quality education. It will also bring a drastic change for the betterment of their life.


State Food Safety Index

On World Food Safety Day (June 7), the Union Health Minister released the FSSAI’s 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) for the year 2021-22.


  • Prepared by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • It measures the quantitative and qualitative performance of States/ UTs on the basis of 5 parameters of food safety set by the Health Ministry.


  • Overall ➔ Tamil Nadu topped the State Food Safety Index followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. • Among Smaller States ➔ Goa stood first, followed by Manipur and Sikkim.
  • Among UTs ➔ Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured first, second and third ranks respectively.


Agnipath Scheme

The Union Cabinet approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. The scheme is called AGNIPATH and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.


  • It is a pan-India short-term service youth recruitment scheme for the armed forces.
  • Aim ➔ The scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces.
  • Key Features of the Scheme :

Under the Scheme, around 45,000 to 50,000 Agniveers will be recruited annually under respective Service Acts for a period of four years. They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks.

 o Upon the completion of four years of service, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces.

o These applications will be considered based on objective criteria including performance during their fouryear engagement period and up to 25% of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadres of the Armed Forces.

  • Eligibility ➔ Under the scheme, aspirants between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years will be eligible to apply. The recruitment will be done twice a year through rallies.
  • Recruitment will be undertaken through an online centralized system for all three services with specialized rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework among others.
  • Salary of Agniveers ➔ Agniveers will get a starting salary of Rs 30,000, along with additional benefits which will go up to Rs 40,000 by the end of the four-year service.

o During the four-year period, 30% of their salary will be set aside under a Seva Nidhi programme, and the government will contribute an equal amount every month and this amount will also accrue interest.

 o At the end of the four-year period, each soldier will get Rs 11.71 lakh as a lump sum amount, which will be tax-free.

o They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years. In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.

  • Benefits of the scheme to armed forces and recruits ➔

 o A transformative reform of the recruitment policy of the Armed Forces.

 o A unique opportunity for the youth to serve the country and contribute to Nation Building. o Attractive financial package for the Agniveers.



Recently, The United States has announced that it is sending its High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems known as HIMARS to Ukraine.


  • The US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems are known as HIMARS.
  • It is a multiple launch rocket system or MLRS – a mobile unit that can simultaneously launch multiple precisionguided missiles.
  • It is considered a modernized, lighter and more agile version of the M270 MLRS developed in the 1970s for US and allied forces.

Artillery rocket:

  • An artillery rocket is a weapon that is typically propelled by a solid-fuel motor and can carry a variety of warheads.
  • During the Cold War, most artillery rockets were unguided and imprecise when fired at greater distances.


Maasai Tribes

There was tension in Tanzania, when police personnel arrived to reportedly evict Maasai tribes in the area in order to make way for Loliondo Game Reserve for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) royal family.


  • The Maasai tribes are an indigenous ethnic group in East Africa.
  • They are semi-nomadic pastoralists settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania.
  • The Maasais are among the foremost African ethnic groups, due to their distinct traditions, customs and dress and their residence near the many national game parks of East Africa

. • Language ➔ Maa, a language derived from Nilo-Saharan. They also speak the official languages of Tanzania and Kenya – Swahili, English.

  • Diet ➔ Traditional diet of the Maasai people is derived mostly from their cattle. o Though they don’t often eat beef; they eat milk and blood which is harvested by puncturing the loose flesh on the cow’s neck with an arrow.


YUVA Tourism Clubs

CBSE along with Ministry of Tourism has asked its affiliated schools to form YUVA Tourism Clubs. About:

  • Objective is to develop young ambassadors for Indian tourism, make them aware of tourism possibilities in India and appreciate our rich cultural heritage.
  • Initiative will also lead to development of soft skills like teamwork, management, leadership and encourage adoption of ecological tourism.

Jan Samarth Portal

The Prime Minister has launched Jan Samarth Portal and also released a new series of coins.


  • Jan Samarth is a unique digital portal linking thirteen credit-linked Government Schemes on a single platform.
  • The portal will be an ‘end-to-end delivery platform’ and more people will come forward to avail of loans because of the ease of compliance.
  • Significance: The portal will help reduce turnaround time and facilitate faster sanction of loans to beneficiaries.

 New series of coins launched by the PM:

  • The Prime Minister has released a special series of Rs 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 coins.
  • These coins will have the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ design.

They will not be commemorative coins and will be part of the circulation.

  • Significance: These coins will remind people of the goal of ‘amrit kal’ and motivate people to work towards the development of the country.


Sustainable Development Report 2022

The Sustainable Development Report, 2022 has been released.


  • Released by ➔ Group of independent experts at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • Purpose ➔ It is a global assessment of countries’ progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a complement to the official SDG indicators and the voluntary national reviews.

  Key findings:

  • India’s Rank ➔ India’s rank in the report has slipped for the third consecutive year. It has been ranked 121 out of the 163 countries in 2022. India ranked 117 in 2020 and 120 in 2021.
  • Observations on India’s progress on SDGs ➔ India is not placed well to achieve the SDG goals and its preparedness has worsened over the years in comparison with other countries.



Biotech Startup Expo – 2022

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Biotech Startup Expo – 2022 at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. He also launched Biotech products e portal.


  • The expo is being organised by the Department of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to mark the completion of ten years of BIRAC.
  • Theme: ‘Biotech Startup Innovations: Towards AatmaNirbhar Bharat’.
  • The Biotech Startup Expo 2022 will provide a common platform to connect investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, industry leaders, manufacturers, bio-incubators, regulators and government officials.
  • It will showcase applications of biotechnology in various fields including healthcare, agriculture, genomics, clean energy, biopharma, industrial biotechnology and waste-to-value.


Thailand  Decriminalizes  Marijuana

Thailand has become the first country in Asia to decriminalize Marijuana which is also known as Cannabis.


  • Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical, recreational & religious purposes

. • Cannabis can be used for smoking, vaporization, within food, or as an extract.

  • It creates mental and physical effects, such as a “high” or “stoned” feeling, a general change in perception, and an increase in appetite.
  • Short term side effects may include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, red eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.
  • Long term side effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability and behavioural problems in children whose mothers’ used cannabis during pregnancy.



Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman dedicated to the nation, Dharohar – the National Museum of Customs and GST in Panaji Goa.


  • Dharohar is the National Museum of Customs and GST.
  • The museum is housed at Goa’s famous Blue Building on the banks of the Mandovi River.
  • It is a two-storey building which was earlier known as Alfandega during Portuguese rule.
  • Dharohar is one of its kind museums in the country that showcases not only the artifacts seized by Indian Customs but also depicts various aspects of work performed by the Customs Department.
  • ‘Dharohar’ has eight galleries. GST Gallery is a brand-new addition to the Dharohar Museum
  • A first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, this GST Gallery takes one through the long and arduous journey of GST spanning two decades.



The Centre of Excellence for Khadi (COEK) has designed a range of ‘Wellness wear’ ‘Svadha’ to showcase the versatility of khadi on International Yoga Day.


  • In Atharva veda, ‘Svadha’ means ease, comfort or pleasure.
  • This ‘Wellness wear’ was designed by COEK keeping in view the core ideology of Yoga.
  • The ‘Svadha’ range emphasizes the values of mindfulness and perseverance and is aimed to attract all age groups.
  • The wellness wear has used hand-spun khadi in natural hues. • The thread of khadi binds the people globally in true sense towards ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’- the world is one family.


 Renewable 2022 Global status report

Global status report published by REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century). About REN21:

  • Origin ➔ It was created in 2004 as an outcome of the Bonn2004 International Conference on Renewable Energy.
  • REN21 is the only global renewable energy community of actors from science, governments, NGOs and industry that keep track of global development in renewable sector.
  • Goal ➔ enable decision-makers to make the shift to renewable energy happen – now.


  • India Specific:

 o India installed 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects in 2021

o India ranked fourth in total solar installations (60.4 GW) for the year – overtaking Germany (59.2 GW) for the first time.

  • World : Overall countries added around 3,146 GW of total installed renewable power capacity in 2021 – a rise of 11% from the previous year.


Dak Karmyogi

Recently, the Ministry of Communications has launched ‘Dak Karmayogi, an e-learning portal of the Department of Posts.


  • Dak Karmayogi is an e-learning portal of the Department of Posts.
  • Aim ➔ To enhance the competencies of Gramin Dak Sevaks ((Rural Postal Service) and departmental employees by training them on a number of Government to Citizen(G2C) services for enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Features ➔

o The trainees can access the uniform standardized training content online or in blended campus mode to enable them to effectively deliver a number of G2C services for enhanced customer satisfaction.

 o The training videos and quizzes on the portal are also available in 12 Indian languages to help postal trainees to access training content in vernacular languages.

  • Significance ➔ This portal has been developed under the vision of ‘Mission Karmayogi’, which was conceptualized by the Prime Minister with a view to bring efficiency in the actions of all the employees of the Government of India and transform the efficiency of bureaucracy with ‘Minimum Government’ and ‘Maximum Governance’.


Global Liveability Index

The Global Liveability Index 2022 has been released.


  • Released by ➔ Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) annually.
  • Aim ➔ To quantify the challenges presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 173 cities.
  • Categories ➔ The index ranked the cities based on these categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Key findings:

  • Topped by ➔ Austrian capital Vienna has once again topped the list of most liveable cities in the world.
  • The living conditions remained worst in the Syrian capital Damascus.
  • India ➔ The cities in India have fared poorly in the list of the world’s most liveable cities. India’s national capital New Delhi has been ranked 112th on the list while Mumbai is ranked at 117th position.


National Logistics Excellence Awards

The Government of India has hosted its first-ever National Logistics Excellence Awards.


  • Launched by ➔ Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Aim ➔ To acknowledge the many logistics service providers in the country that have been able to display innovation, diversity and efficiency.
  • Categories ➔ The awards were given in 12 categories under two major segments: 1) logistics service providers and 2) various user industries.
  • Significance ➔ In addition to the Logistics Ease Across Different States(LEADS) report, the Logistics Excellence Awards will continue to be an annual exercise recognizing excellence in logistics within the private sector in India.



ONGC has become the first Exploration and Production (E&P) company in India to trade domestic gas on IGX.


  • IGX, a subsidiary of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), is a trading platform for natural gas.
  • It allows buyers and sellers of natural gas to trade both in spot market and in forward market for imported natural gas.
  • Trading is allowed across three hubs —Dahej and Hazira in Gujarat, and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. • It operates under the regulatory framework of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).



JULY 2022 CA


Financial Stability Report

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its bi-annual Financial Stability Report (FSR).


  • The Financial Stability Report (FSR) is published twice each year by the RBI.
  • It presents an assessment of the health of the financial system.
  • The RBI also conducts a Systemic Risk Survey (SRS), wherein it asks experts and market participants to assess the financial system on five different types of risks o Global, Financial, Macroeconomic, Institutional, General.

According to the report:

  • NPA ➔ The asset quality of the banking system has improved with the gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio declining from 7.4 per cent in March 2021 to a six-year low of 5.9 per cent in March 2022.
  • Provisioning coverage ratio (PCR) ➔ It improved to70. 9 per cent in March 2022 from 67.6 per cent a year ago.


Financial Services Institutions Bureau

The Government of India has approved a government resolution for establishing the Financial Services Institutions Bureau(FSIB) in place of the Banks Board Bureau(BBB).

About :

  • Set up in 2016.
  • As a body of eminent professionals and officials to make recommendations for the appointment of whole-time directors as well as non-executive chairpersons of public sector banks(PSBs) and state-owned financial institutions.

Why is BBB being replaced by the Financial Services Institutions Bureau(FSIB)?

  • The government was forced to replace the BBB with FSIB after the Delhi High Court in 2021 had ruled that the BBB couldn’t select the general managers and directors of state-run general insurers as it was not a competent body.
  • Subsequently, at least half-a-dozen newly-appointed directors of non-life insurers had to vacate their positions.



FSIB will do the same job but with a much larger, legally tenable mandate.

  • It will be a single entity for making recommendations for the appointments of whole-time directors, non-executive chairman in Public Sector Banks(PSBs), state-run non-life insurance companies and other financial institutions.


Udyami Bharat programme

PM participated in the ‘Udyami Bharat’ programme and launched several key initiatives for MSMEs. About:

  • Aim ➔ To encourage MSMEs to offer products and services of international standards for the global market.
  • This will enhance the participation of Indian MSMEs in the global value chain and help them realize their export potential.

 Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance(RAMP) scheme:

  • Type ➔ Central Sector Scheme.
  • Funding ➔ It is a World Bank assisted programme.
  • Aim ➔ To provide support to the MSMEs by improving access to market and credit, strengthening institutions and governance at the Centre and State, improving Centre-State linkages and partnerships, addressing issues of delayed payments and greening MSMEs.


Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP :

  • Under PMEGP, employment opportunities are provided to unemployed youth by assisting in setting up Microenterprise in the non-farm sector. KVIC is the nodal body.
  • Now, applicants can apply from Aspirational districts and can be trans genders as well. Also, the maximum project cost has been increased from 25 lakhs to 50 lakhs (for manufacturing) and from 10 lakh to 20 lakh (for the service sector).

Windfall tax


  • A windfall tax is a higher tax rate on sudden big profits levied on a particular company or industry. • When a company benefits from something that they are not responsible for, the financial gain that ensues is called windfall profits.
  • Governments, typically, levy a one-time tax over and above the normal rates of tax on such profits and that is called windfall tax.
  • Domestic producers sell crude oil to domestic refineries at international parity prices, thus making windfall gains.
  • E.g. ONGC reported bumper profits in the March quarter (when international prices soared to a near 14-year high of $139 per barrel).

State Startup Ranking

The 3rd edition of the State Startup Ranking was released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


  • Conducted by ➔ Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) since 2018.
  • Aim ➔ To support states and union territories in developing their start-up ecosystem and learn from the best practices in each state and union territory.

Key findings:

  • Best Performers ➔ Gujarat and Karnataka appeared as the Best Performers in the States category. Meghalaya topped among UTs and North-eastern States category.
  • Top Performers ➔ Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Telangana won the Top Performers award among states category. Jammu and Kashmir appeared as the Top Performer among UTs and NE states category.


Platform of Platforms(POP)

Recently, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched the Platform of Platforms (PoP) under the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) on the side-lines of the State Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers’ Conference in Bengaluru, Karnataka.


  • It has been launched under the National Agriculture Market(e-NAM).
  • Aim ➔ The platform intends to promote trade & marketing of agricultural produce wherein farmers will be facilitated to sell the produce outside their state borders.
  • Features ➔ e-NAM integrates the platform of Service Providers as “Platform of Platforms” which includes Logistics Service Provider, Quality Assurance Service Provider, Warehousing Facility Service Provider and other services such as e-commerce, international agri-business platforms, barter, private market platforms among others
  • Benefits ➔ The inclusion of various service providers gives the users of the platform options to avail services from different service providers.


Committee on MSP, Natural Farming and Crop diversification

The Government of India has constituted a committee to look into the issues of minimum support price(MSP), Natural Farming and Crop diversification.


  • Headed by ➔ Former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal.
  • Objectives of the committee ➔
  • On agricultural marketing system → It will work for Agri marketing as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic output and export.
  • On natural farming → It will suggest programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation and research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System.
  • On crop diversification → It will look into the mapping of existing cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones of producer and consumer States.
  • Review and suggestion on micro irrigation scheme.


Masala Bonds

Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board’s ‘masala bonds’ won’t be impacted due to the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar this year, as the ‘masala bonds’ are rupee-denominated bonds.


  • Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued outside India by Indian entities or companies.
  • In India, the masala bonds were first introduced by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, in 2014 in order to fund infrastructure projects.
  • In 2015, the RBI put in place a framework for issuance of Rupee denominated bonds overseas within the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) policy, to facilitate Rupee denominated borrowing from overseas.
  • Masala Bonds, like any other off-shore bonds, are debt instruments that help to raise money in local currency from foreign investors.
  • Both the government and private entities can issue these bonds.
  • Investors outside India who would like to invest in assets in India can subscribe to these bonds.
  • Criteria ➔ Masala bonds can be subscribed by any resident of that country, which is member of the Financial Action Task Force.

o The investors who subscribe should be whose securities market regulator is a member of the International Organisation of Securities Commission.

  • Maturity Period ➔ According to RBI, the maturity period is three years for the bonds raised to the rupee equivalent of 50 million dollars in a financial year.

  o The maturity period is five years for the bonds raised above the rupee equivalent of 50 million   dollars in a financial year. o The conversion of these bonds happens at market rate on the date of settlement of transactions undertaken for issue and servicing of interest of the bonds.

  • Impacts ➔As the ‘masala bonds’ are rupee-denominated bonds, the foreign exchange fluctuations would not affect these bonds.

 o Thus, if the rupee rate falls, the investor will bear the loss.



The Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has launched NDDB MRIDA Limited. About:

  • NDDB MRIDA Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary company of the National Dairy Development Board.
  • It was established as an Unlisted Public Limited Company under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Purpose ➔ It is a first-of-its-kind company focussing on the efficient utilization of dung by creating a manure management value chain.
  • Activities to be undertaken by the company ➔ It will undertake research and development on cost-effective technologies for efficient dung management.

o The company will also provide marketing and sales support to agencies manufacturing gobar-gas slurrybased fertilizers and establish mechanisms to accrue carbon revenue from the projects to generate additional revenue streams for dairy farmers.

  • Note: NDDB has registered a trademark named “SuDhan” to provide a common identity to dung-based organic fertilizers.



11th Agriculture Census

The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched the Eleventh Agricultural Census (2021-22) in the country.


  • For the first time, in the 11th Agricultural Census, the data will be collected through smart phones and tablets.
  • The fieldwork of the Eleventh Agricultural Census (2021-22) will start in August 2022.
  • The agricultural census is the main source of information on a variety of parameters, such as the number and area of operational holdings, their size, class-wise distribution, land use, tenancy and cropping pattern, etc.
  • The basic unit of data collection in Agriculture Census is the operational holding.
  • The Agriculture Census is conducted every 5 years by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • The first edition of the census was conducted in 1970-71.
  • The tenth edition of the census was conducted with the reference year 2015-16.


Hybrid Securities

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a 20-member committee under K V Kamath on Hybrid Securities.


  • It will make recommendations on issues related to development and regulation of primary and secondary markets of hybrid securities.
  • Purpose: Boost the growth of hybrid securities, ease of issuance and attracting domestic and global capital.
  • Hybrid Securities are investment instruments that combine two or more different financial instruments, commonly the equities and bonds (debt) characteristics.
  • For example, Infrastructure investment Trusts (InvITs), Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Preferred Stocks etc.





India Forum for Nature-Based Solutions

National Institute of Urban Affairs’ (NIUA) Climate Centre for Cities (NIUA C-Cube), World Resources Institute India(WRI

India) and their partners has launched India Forum for Nature-Based Solutions.


  • What is it? ➔ It is India’s first national coalition platform for urban nature-based solutions(NbS).
  • Aim ➔ To create a collective of NbS entrepreneurs, government entities and like-minded organizations to help scale urban nature-based solutions by:

o Defining a shared language and by communicating benefits that inform actions at the local level including scaling up of existing NbS interventions.

o Driving investment and strengthening delivery mechanisms through multi-stakeholder coordination.

o Mainstreaming urban ecosystem-based services and nature-based solutions in India through informing policy, plans and project interventions.

  • Led by ➔ National Institute of Urban Affairs’ Climate Centre for Cities(NIUA C-Cube) and anchored by World Resources Institute India (WRI Indija) under the Cities4Forests initiative.
  • Supported by ➔ Caterpillar Foundation, Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Govt. of the United Kingdom and Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).

Cities4Forests Initiative:

  • Cities4Forests is a voluntary coalition of more than 60 cities from around the world involving mayors’ offices and other city agencies such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability.
  • Aim ➔ To support cities around the world to recognize their interdependence with the world’s forests, and use their own political, economic, and cultural power to ensure forest health and vitality.


Yasuni National Park

Decades of oil drilling in the Yasuni national park is deteriorating the area.


  • The Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve is a Humid Tropical Rain Forest located in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
  • Established in 1979, the Yasuní National Park is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.
  • Yasuni National Park is home to 40% of Ecuador’s crude oil reserves – in the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields.
  • Exploring the region’s oil reserves has threatened many native species and habitats, as well as the lifestyle of the indigenous Waorani people.
  • In 2007, Ecuador initiated a unique plan to preserve a portion of the forest within its borders, which lies in Yasuní National Park.
  • Ecuador agreed to forgo development of heavy oil deposits beneath the Yasuní rainforest if other countries and private donors contributed half of the deposits’ value to a UN-administered trust fund for Ecuador.
  • In 2013, however, Ecuador abandoned the plan.

Amendments in Environment Protection Act


  • The Environment Protection Act(EPA) came into force in 1986.
  • It was enacted under Article 253 of the Indian Constitution which provides for the enactment of legislation for giving effect to international agreements.
  • Purpose ➔ The Act establishes the framework for studying, planning, and implementing long-term requirements of environmental safety and laying down a system of speedy and adequate response to situations threatening the environment.
  • Penal Provisions ➔ In case of any non-compliance or contravention of the current provisions of the EPA, or of the rules under this Act, the violator can be punished with imprisonment up to five years or with a fine up to Rs 1,00,000, or with both.

 o In case of continuation of such violation, an additional fine of up to Rs 5,000 for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such contravention can be levied.

 o Further, if the violation continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

Changes proposed by the Government under EPA, 1986:

  • The government has proposed to replace imprisonment with a monetary penalty for the “less severe” contraventions under the EPA.
  • However, serious violations of EPA which lead to grievous injury or loss of life shall be covered under the provision of the Indian Penal Code.
  • It has also proposed the creation of an “Environmental Protection Fund’’ in which the amount of penalty will be remitted.


Great Indian Bustard

Only four Female Great Indian Bustards (GIB) are left in Gujarat. According to a 2018 count, India has fewer than 150 GIBs, of which 122 are in Rajasthan.


  • Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Conservation Initiatives for GIBs:

  • Species Recovery Programme ➔ It is kept under the species recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Conservation Breeding Facility ➔
  • MoEF&CC, Rajasthan government and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also established a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.
  • The objective of the programme is to build up a captive population of Great Indian Bustards and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population.
  • Project Great Indian Bustard ➔ It has been launched by the Rajasthan government with an aim of constructing breeding enclosures for the species and developing infrastructure to reduce human pressure on its habitats.


Five new Ramsar Sites

India has added five more Ramsar Sites or Wetlands of International Importance. With this, the number of Ramsar Sites in India has increased from 49 to 54.


  • Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest ➔ It is a freshwater marsh located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is the only surviving wetland ecosystem of the city and among the few and last remaining natural wetlands of South India.
  • Karikili Bird Sanctuary ➔ It is located in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary is about 75 km from Chennai, south of Chengalpattu.
  • Pichavaram Mangrove ➔ It is located in a village near Chidambaram in the Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in India with littoral and swamp forest habitats, located between the estuaries of the Vellar and Kollidam rivers. Trees here are permanently rooted under a few feets of water.
  • Pala wetland ➔ It is the largest natural wetland in Mizoram. The low-lying marshy areas within the wetland provide excellent habitat for the sambar deer, wild boars and barking deer. It’s also a habitat for the endangered Hoolock gibbon and Phayre’s leaf monkey. The wetland is also revered by the local Mara people.
  • Sakhya Sagar Lake ➔ It is an integral part of the beautiful ecology of the Madhav National Park in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. It was created from the Manier river in 1918.



The 5-day UN Ocean Conference took off with the Governments of Kenya and Portugal being the co-host.

About :

  • Leaders from over 130 countries from across the world will deliberate for five days to find an international agreement on protecting the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources.
  • Conference comes at a crucial juncture as the world is seeking to address many of the challenges requiring structural transformations and Innovative and Green solutions to achieve the SDG Goal 14.




NASA has launched CAPSTONE, a microwave oven-sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds(25 kg). About :

  • CAPSTONE is a microwave oven-sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds(25 kg).
  • Full Form ➔ Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment(CAPSTONE).
  • Aim : To help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and by verifying the dynamics of the halo-shaped orbit.

ISRO’s POEM Platform

Besides placing three Singaporean satellites in precise orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also successfully launched the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) of the PSLV-C53 Mission.

The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module is a platform that will help perform in-orbit experiments using the final and otherwise discarded stage of ISRO’s workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

  • The PSLV is a four-stage rocket where the first three spent stages fall back into the ocean, and the final stage (PS4) — after launching the satellite into orbit — ends up as space junk.
  • However, in the PSLV-C53 mission, the spent final stage was utilized as a “stabilized platform” to perform experiments.
  • Note: This is the first time that the PS4 stage would orbit the earth as a stabilized platform.


TiHAN Testbed for Autonomous Navigation

TiHAN Testbed for Autonomous Navigation was inaugurated in the IIT Hyderabad campus to develop unmanned ground and aerial vehicles.


  • TiHAN – Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation (TiHAN) is a multidisciplinary initiative of the IITHyderabad.
  • It aims to make India a global player in the futuristic “Smart Mobility technology”.
  • TiHAN is developing and deploying a real-time Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) utilising autonomous UAVs and ground/surface vehicles for many application sectors of the national importance of this decade.
  • TiHAN is recognised as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • TiHAN testbed ➔ TiHAN testbed on Autonomous Navigations is a first of its kind futuristic autonomous navigation facility to develop unmanned terrestrial & aerial vehicles.
  • This testbed will provide a unique platform for high quality research between academia, industry and R&D labs both at the national and international level.


Multiple sclerosis

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Monday launched a National registry of multiple sclerosis(MS) and the Indian Multiple Sclerosis and Allied Demyelinating Disorders Registry and Research Network(IMSRN).


  • Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
  • It occurs when the immune system attacks the nerve fibres and myelin sheathing (a fatty substance which surrounds/insulates healthy nerve fibres) in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Symptoms ➔ MS causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity and duration can vary from person to person.
  • Vulnerable Group ➔ It affects young individuals between the ages of 20 to 40 years but may also occur in children and adolescents. Females are affected more by this disease than males.
  • Treatment ➔ There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.


James Webb Space Telescope


  • NASA released a deep field photo of a distant galaxy cluster, SMACS 0723, revealing the most detailed glimpse of the early universe recorded to date.
  • The collection also included fresh images of another galaxy cluster known as Stephan’s Quintet, first discovered in 1877.

 James Webb Space Telescope:

  • JWST is a joint NASA–ESA–CSA space telescope that is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as NASA’s flagship astrophysics mission.
  • It is the most powerful space telescope ever built.
  • It will enable a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology, including observing some of the most distant events and objects in the universe,
  • It would help understand events such as the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.
  • Its significance ➔ • Some have called JSWT the “telescope that ate astronomy.” • It is said to look back in time to the Dark Ages of the universe.


N-Treat technology

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) has planned in-situ treatment of sewage from the drains to prevent sludge and sewage from water drains flowing into the sea.


  • N-Treat is a seven-stage process for waste treatment that uses screens, gates, silt traps, curtains of coconut fibres for filtration, and disinfection using sodium hypochlorite.
  • Seven stages in the process:

o First stage → It involvesscreening to prevent the entry of floating objects such as plastic cups, paper dishes, polythene bags, sanitary napkins, or wood.

 o Second stage → It has proposed the construction of a silt trap which creates an inclination and ‘parking spot’ on the bed for sedimentation.

o Next three stages → These are the installation of ‘bio zones’ in the form of coconut fibre curtains that will act as filters and promote the growth of biofilm to help in the decomposition of organic matter.

 o Sixth stage → It proposes a floating wetland with aquatic vegetation planted on floating mats. In the floating wetlands, plants acquire nutrition directly from the water column for their growth and development, thus reducing the organic as well as inorganic pollutants.

 o Final stage → It will include disinfection using sodium hypochlorite to kill the bacteria in the water.

  • Significance ➔ It is a natural and environmentally friendly way for sewage treatment.


MIST Submarine Cable System

The Expert Appraisal Committee under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recommended Coastal Regulatory Zone(CRZ) clearance for the Myanmar/ Malaysia- India- Singapore Transit (MIST) Submarine Cable System.

 About :

 MIST is an 8,100 Km long international submarine cable communication network.

  • It will traverse undersea to connect India with countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • It will provide secure, reliable, robust and affordable telecom facilities in Asia with the main trunk route being from Tuas in Singapore to Mumbai in India.




Information Technology Act’s Section 69A

Recently, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) issued orders under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 to take down certain posts from Twitter (Microblogging Site).


  • It confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions “to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”.
  • The grounds on which these powers may be exercised are ➔

o In the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state.

o Friendly relations with foreign states.

o Public order, or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to these.

 o For investigating any offence.


Draft ‘Drug, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill-2022’

The Union Health Ministry has released the new draft ‘Drug, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill-2022’.


  • Separate Definition of Medical Devices: The Bill has a separate definition for medical devices that bring under its ambit diagnostic equipment, its software, implants, devices for assistance with disabilities, life support, instruments used for disinfection, and any reagents or kits. The previous 1940 Act regulated medical devices as one of the four categories of “drugs”.
  • Medical Technical advisory board: The Bill proposes a medical technical advisory board along the lines of the existing drugs technical advisory board. This board will not only include medical professionals, but also people with technical knowledge of the devices.
  • Medical Devices Testing Centre: The Bill proposes medical device testing centres on the lines of drug laboratories in states and at the central level.
  • Clinical Trials: The Bill proposes compulsory permission of the central licensing authority for clinical trials or clinical investigation of drugs and medical devices. Although companies at present also have to seek permission from the apex drug regulator to conduct trials, it was never mentioned in the previous law.
  • The Bill also says that medical management and compensation have to be provided to persons who are injured while participating in clinical trials. And, in case of death, the legal heir of the participant should be awarded compensation.
  • Regulation of e-pharmacies: The Bill specifically states that the Central government must come up with rules to regulate the online sale of drugs and for online pharmacies to operate “in accordance with a licence or permission issued”.


Committee on the Right to Repair

The Government of India has set up a committee to develop a “comprehensive framework” on the Right to Repair.


  • The Department of Consumer Affairs has set up a committee chaired by Nidhi Khare, an additional secretary to develop a framework for ‘Right to Repair’.
  • This committee held their first meeting recently.

About the Right to Repair:

  • It is a right to give users and third-party companies the required tools, parts and manuals related to a product. This would enable them to repair a product on their own instead of depending on the manufacturers. The right to repair movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.
  • The rationale behind the movement is that the individual who purchases a product must own it completely. This implies that apart from being able to use the product, consumers must be able to repair and modify the product the way they want to.
  • However, in spite of the movement, repairing is becoming unreasonably expensive or pretty much impossible because of the technology becoming obsolete. Further, companies avoid the publication of manuals that can help users make repairs easily, manufacturers have proprietary control over spare parts and most firms refuse to make their products compatible with those of other firms.
  • Note: The right to repair has been recognised in many countries across the globe, including the US, UK and European Union.

Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022


The Lok Sabha has passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to amend the Family Courts Act, 1984.


  • Establishment of Family Courts ; The Family Courts Act, 1984 was enacted for the establishment of Family Courts with a view to promote conciliation, and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and for related matters.
  • Appointment of Judges: The State Government may, with the concurrence of the High Court, appoint one or more persons to be the Judge or Judges of a Family Court.
  • Association of Social Welfare Agencies: The State Government may provide with a Family Court of: o Institutions or organisations engaged in social welfare. o Persons professionally engaged in promoting the welfare of the family.

 o Persons working in the field of social welfare.

 o Any other person whose association with a Family Court would enable it to exercise its jurisdiction more effectively in accordance with the purposes of this Act.


Other Important news:

I2U2 Summit

Recently, first I2U2 (India, Israel, United States and the United Arab Emirates) leaders’ Summit was held virtually.


  • I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US, and was also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
  • I2U2 was initially formed in October, 2021 following the Abraham Accords, to deal with issues concerning maritime security, infrastructure and transport.
  • The Abraham Accord is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years mediated by the USA.
  • Objectives ➔

 o Its stated aim is to discuss “common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond”.

o Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually, and the aim is to encourage joint investments in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.


World Population Prospects(WPP) Report

The 2022 edition of the United Nations’ World Population Prospects (WPP) was released recently. About:

  • Published by : Population Division of the UN has been publishing the WPP in a biennial cycle since 1951.
  • Purpose : To provide an overview of global population trends focusing on the period from 1950 to 2050 and present a summary of key demographic prospects during the second half of the present century.

 Findings related to India:

  • India’s Population: India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
  • Currently, India’s population stands at 1.412 billion in 2022 compared to China’s 1.426 billion.
  • India which will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2023 is projected to have a population of 1.688 billion in 2050 which will be way ahead of China’s 1.317 billion people by the middle of the century.


Global Gender Gap Index


  • Released by ➔ World Economic Forum(WEF).
  • Purpose :

 To benchmark the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions: 1) Economic Participation and Opportunity, 2) Educational Attainment, 3) Health and Survival and 4) Political Empowerment

. • Methodology : On each of the above four dimensions as well as overall, the index provides scores between 0 and 1 where 1 shows full gender parity and 0 is complete imparity.

  • It is the longest-standing index, which tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.

Key findings:

  • Global findings ➔

Iceland has retained its place as the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

  • India’s Rank ➔India has been ranked at 135 out of 146 countries. In 2021, India was ranked 140 out of 156 countries.

 o India has approximately 662 million (or 66.2 crores) women. In 2022, India’s overall score has improved from 0.625 (in 2021) to 0.629.


National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has launched a “CiSS application” under Baal Swaraj portal to help in rehabilitation process of Children in street.


 Baal Swaraj:

  • Baal Swaraj is a portal launched by NCPCR for online tracking and digital real-time monitoring mechanism of children in need of care and protection.

o The portal has two functions- COVID care and CiSS.

  • The initiative is taken under direction of Supreme Court.
  • CiSS application is used for receiving data of children in street situations from all states and union territories, tracking their rescue and rehabilitation process.



The Home Minister inaugurated the NTRI in New Delhi.

About :

  • It will work as a premier national level institute and nerve-centre of tribal concerns, issues and matters in academic, executive and legislative fields.
  • It will provide policy inputs to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and State Welfare Departments with studies and programs to showcase tribal cultural heritage under one umbrella.
  • It will collaborate and network with other institutions and monitor projects of Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs), Centres of Excellence (CoEs), etc.


Y- 3023 Dunagiri

Recently, the Defence Minister of India launched Y- 3023 Dunagiri, a Project 17A frigate built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders Limited (GRSE) in Kolkata.


  • Y- 3023 Dunagiri is the fourth warship of Project 17A.
  • Named After ➔ It is named after a mountain range in the state of Uttarakhand.
  • ‘Dunagiri’ is the reincarnation of the erstwhile ‘Dunagiri’, the Leander Class ASW Frigate, which in her 33 years of service had witnessed various challenging operations and multinational exercises.
  • Built by ➔ Garden Reach Shipbuilders Limited (GRSE) for Indian Navy.



China unveiled its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the new-generation Fujian (Type 003).


  • Named after ➔ The Fujian has been named after China’s eastern coastal province which lies across from Taiwan.
  • The Fujian joins two other carriers currently operated by China — Shandong (Type 001), commissioned in 2019, and the Liaoning (Type 002), bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998.


Kai Chutney

The Kai Chutney made from Red Ants by the tribals of Mayurbhanj district in Odisha are seeking a Geographical Indications (GI) tag.


  • The Kai Chutney is prepared from the Weaver ants and are popular in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district among the people, mostly tribal.
  • When required, leafy nests of ants are plucked from their host trees and collected in a bucket of water before sorting and separation from leaves and debris.
  • Benefits ➔

 o It helps in getting rid of flu, common cold, whooping cough, to increase appetite, enhance vision and eyesight naturally.

o The tribal healers also prepare medicinal oil, which is used as baby oil and externally used to cure rheumatism, gout, ringworm and other skin diseases.

o So, it is the only panacea for the tribes


Toys in India

As per government data, toy import in the country has come down by 70%. The toy industry is primarily an unorganized industry in India.


  • PM’s call on “Rebranding the Indian Toy Story”
  • Toycathon 2021 was organised by the Ministry of Education to conceptualise toys/games based on Indian Civilisation.
  • National Action Plan for Indian Toy Story to boost local manufacturing
  • Under National Education Policy 2020 toy-making will be introduced to students from the sixth standard onwards

Traditional Indian Toys of Different States:

  • Kerala ➔ Kathakali dance dolls, animal-shaped toys, and Woodcraft Toys
  • Tamil Nadu ➔ Thanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommai , Choppu saman Toys
  • Punjab ➔ Folk toys, Handwai, Chankana, Lattu, Ghuggu
  • Telangana ➔ Nirmal Toys
  • Madhya Pradesh ➔ Adivasi Gudia Hastashilpa (Dolls), Betel Nut’s Toys, and Tin Toys.
  • Uttar Pradesh ➔ lacquered toys and miniature utensils Toys.
  • Jammu & Kashmir ➔ Walnut wood carving toys
  • Chhattisgarh ➔ Clay & Terracotta, Dhokra Metal Casting, Wood Carving, Metal Craft toys.
  • Daman & Diu ➔ Tortoise Shell toys and crafts,
  • Andaman & Nicobar Island ➔ Timber Toys, Coconut shell toys.


National Monuments Authority

The National Monuments Authority(NMA) has recommended two sites associated with Dr. Ambedkar be declared Monuments of National importance.


  • National Monuments Authority (NMA) has been set up under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
  • It has been set up as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.
  • Functions ➔ To protect and preserve monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments.
  • One of the important responsibilities of NMA is also to consider grant of permissions to applicants for construction related activity in the prohibited and regulated area.


The Sites;

  • Sankalp Bhumi Banyan tree campus in Vadodara ➔ This is a place where Dr. Ambedkar had taken a resolve to eradicate untouchability on 23rd September 1917. This place is more than a hundred years old and a witness to the beginning of the social respect revolution heralded by Dr. Ambedkar. • Pratap Rao Bhosale High School in Satara (Maharashtra) ➔ This is a place where Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar received his primary education. The school register still shows with pride a child student, Bhim Rao’s signatures in Marathi. The school now under Zila Parishad is in very bad condition.


GOAL Programme

The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs has informed the Lok Sabha about the GOAL Programme.


  • Bodies involved ➔ GOAL (Going Online as Leaders) is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Meta (formerly Facebook).
  • Aim: To digitally empower tribal youth and women through the concept of mentor and mentee.
  • Funded by ➔ The programme is fully funded by Meta (Facebook India).


Bhil Tribe

Recently, Bhils in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh set an example through ‘Jeevan Shala’ which is established and has been running a number of schools in central India’s tribal areas for 30 years, despite government opposition.


  • The word Bhil is derived from “Veel”, which means “bow” in the Dravidian language.
  • The Bhil tribe is called “Dhanush Purush of India” because they are highly adept at learning Dhanush.
  • Bhils are a group of tribal Indians scattered throughout India from Gujarat in the west to Tripura in the Far East.
  • As of 2013, they were the largest tribal group in India with the majority living in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
  • Bhils have a rich and unique culture. The Bhilala subdivision is known for its Pithora painting.
  • Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of the Bhil tribe.



Johar Greeting

The 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu, assumed office with a ‘Johar’ greeting to the country. About:

  • ‘Johar’ or ‘Juhar’ essentially means ‘salutation and welcome’ or ‘paying respect’.
  • Johar is the tribal equivalent of namaste. It is used within the tribal communities of Jharkhand, and in parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Johar is predominantly used by Santhali, Munda and Ho communities.
  • ‘Johar’ is also one of the rituals of Nuakhai, an agricultural festival celebrated to welcome the new crop.
  • Doboh Johar ➔ It is a type of Johar where the person with a tumbler full of water bows in front of the person of higher standing.
  • The person who bows will touch the earth and in return the other person will wash their hand (using water in the tumbler) and let the water drop on the earth.



Maharashtra government renamed Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar.


  • Aurangabad was founded in 1610 by Malik Ambar, the Siddi general of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar.
  • Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the son and successor of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was tortured and killed in brutal fashion on Aurangzeb’s orders in 1689.

State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World(SOFI) Report


The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World(SOFI) 2022 Report has been released.

About :

  • Published by ➔ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Key Findings:

  • Global Level ➔

o Hunger → As many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 – 46 million people more from a year earlier and 150 million more from 2019.

o In terms of percentage, the proportion of people affected by hunger jumped in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021, to 9.8% of the world population. This compares with 8% in 2019 and 9.3% in 2020.

  • India ➔ India has high undernourishment (about 16% of the population), wasting (about 17%), stunting (about 31%) and low exclusive breastfeeding practice (only 58%).



Recently, The Department of Consumer Affairs(DoCA) has launched “Jagriti”.


  • Jagriti is a mascot for empowering consumers and generating awareness of their rights.
  • It will be projected as an empowered consumer who is spreading awareness about consumer rights & addressing solutions to the problems faced by the consumers.
  • Aim ➔ To strengthen its consumer awareness campaign presence in digital and multimedia and reinforce a young empowered and informed consumer as a top-of-mind consumer rights awareness recall brand.
  • Themes ➔ The Jagriti mascot will be used to generate consumer awareness about various themes of the Department like provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Hallmarking, National Consumer Helpline toll-free number 1915, and provisions of the weights & measures Act among others.
  • Tagline ➔ Jagriti mascot shall be shown along with tagline “Jago Grahak Jago in all its media campaigns.


India Innovation Index 2021

NITI Aayog has released its 3rd edition of India Innovation Index.

About :

  • Prepared by ➔ NITI Aayog and the Institute for Competitiveness.
  • It is a comprehensive tool for the evaluation and development of the country’s innovation ecosystem.

 Key Findings:

  • Major States Category ➔ This category includes 17 states. Karnataka has topped again this year followed by Telangana and Haryana.
  • Northeast and Hill States category ➔ Manipur is the leading state followed by Uttarkhand and Meghalaya. This category includes 10 states.
  • Union Territories and City States ➔ Among the 9 UTs and city states Chandigarh is the top performer followed by Delhi and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


August 2022 CA



Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan introduced the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to convert the National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI), a deemed-to-be university, into the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya, an autonomous Central university.


  • The Bill seeks to expand the scope of the university from beyond just the Railways to cover the entire transport sector and support growth and modernisation in the field.
  • The new university, once the Bill clears both Houses of Parliament, will be funded and administered by the Ministry of Railways.
  • The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, inter alia, to provide for the establishment of Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya as a body corporate under the said Act.
  • The establishment of the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya would address the need for talent in the strategically important and expanding transportation sector and meet the demand for trained talent to fuel the growth and expansion of the sector.


With inflation remaining at ‘elevated levels’, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India unanimously decided to raise the policy repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) to 5.4%.


  • The MPC also said it would remain focused on “withdrawal of accommodation” to ensure that inflation remains within the target, while supporting growth.
  • The RBI retained its inflation and GDP growth projections for the current fiscal year ending in March 2023 at 6.7% and 7.2%, respectively.
  • Consequently, the standing deposit facility (SDF) rate stands adjusted to 5.15%; and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65%.
  • The policy response to the unfolding economic situation would be ‘calibrated, measured and nimble’.
  • On the external sector, Mr. Das said the Current Account Deficit (CAD) would remain within manageable limits and the RBI had the ability to finance the CAD.


The innovative Market Linkage scheme- PARVAZ possesses tremendous potential for uplifting the economic conditions of the farmers across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.


  • The scheme was launched by the Government with an aim to create market linkage support for the shipment of Agriculture and Horticulture perishables being harvested in Jammu and Kashmir through Air Cargo.
  • Under the scheme, 25 per cent subsidy on freight charges is given for carrying perishable fruits harvested in Jammu and Kashmir for shipment through Air Cargo. The subsidy is provided to farmers through DBT mode.
  • Jammu & Kashmir Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (JKHPMC), the implementing agency of the scheme is regularly creating awareness among the farmers about the significance of this scheme so that ample number of them can take benefit from it.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 2nd Generation (2G) Ethanol Plant at Panipat in Haryana through video conferencing.


  • It is part of a long series of steps taken by the government over the years to boost production and usage of biofuels in the country.
  • It is in line with the Prime Minister’s constant endeavour to transform the energy sector into being more affordable, accessible, efficient and sustainable.
  • The 2G Ethanol Plant has been built at an estimated cost of over nine hundred crore rupees by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The project will turn a new chapter in India’s waste-to-wealth endeavours by utilising about two lakh tonnes of rice straw (parali) annually to generate around three crore litres of Ethanol per annum.
  • The project will also contribute to a reduction of Greenhouse Gases equivalent to about three lakh tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent emissions per annum.




Financial Inclusion Index

The Reserve Bank of India has released the Composite Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) for the year ended 31st March 2022.

About: • Released by ➔ Reserve Bank of India.

  • It is a comprehensive index incorporating details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators.
  • It was developed by the RBI in 2021, without any ‘base year’, and is published in July every year.
  • Aim ➔ o To capture the extent of Financial Inclusion across the country. o The FI-Index is responsive to ease of access, availability and usage of services and quality of services, consisting of 97 indicators.
  • It captures information on various aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 and 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
  • It comprises three broad parameters (weights indicated in brackets) viz., Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%) with each of these consisting of various dimensions, which are computed based on a number of indicators.


  • India’s Financial Inclusion Index has improved to 56.4 from 53.9 in the previous year 2021.
  • The improvement has been seen across all its sub-indices (Access, Usage and Equality).


Jal Jeevan Mission-Har Ghar Jal

Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (D&NH and D&D) became the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ certified State and UT in the country respectively.

About :

  • Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Government of India launched in 2019.
  • Aim ➔ To make provision of potable tap water supply in adequate quantity, of prescribed quality and on regular & long-term basis to every rural household of the country by 2024.
  • The program is implemented by the Government of India in partnership with States/UTs.


The process of certification has been detailed in the Margdarshika of Jal Jeevan Mission:

  • First, the field engineer submits a completion certificate regarding the water supply scheme to the Panchayat during the Gram Sabha meeting.
  • The villages confirm through a resolution of the Gram Sabha, that every household is getting a regular supply of water of prescribed quality and not a single household is left out.


Swiggy has launched a Moonlighting Policy allowing its employees to work on their passion projects outside of their work (calling it a step towards a “remote-first organization”).


  • Moonlighting is the act of working at an extra job beyond regular working hours, usually without the knowledge of the employer.
  • Since the side job was mostly at night time or on weekends, it was referred to as moonlighting.

One District One Product (ODOP) Initiative

The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry has called for the integration of One District One Product (ODOP) initiative with Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).


  • ODOP is an approach adopted under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme.
  • It will provide for the framework for value chain development and alignment of support infrastructure of the PMFME scheme. There may be more than one cluster of ODOP products in one district.

  o There may be a cluster of ODOP products consisting of more than one adjacent district in a State. • The States would identify food products for districts keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.

  • The ODOP could be a perishable produce based or cereal based or a food item widely produced in an area. E.g., mango, potato, pickle, millet-based products, fisheries, poultry, etc.
  • Certain other traditional and innovative products including waste to wealth products could be supported under the Scheme. For example, honey, minor forest products in tribal areas, traditional Indian herbal edible items like turmeric, amla, haldi, etc.

About ONDC:

ONDC : ONDC will provide a common digital space for buyers and sellers with the goal of democratising e-commerce by transforming it from a platform-centric paradigm to an open network for buying and selling goods and services, ONDC can certainly transform India’s E-commerce sector.




The Lok Sabha passed the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021.



  • The Bill amends the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.  The Act regulates the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.
  • The Bill seeks to increase the species protected under the law, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 
  • Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one). The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four.
  • The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species. 


India ratified pledges made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Glasgow in November 2021 to accelerate the country’s reliance on renewable energy to power the economy and be effectively free from use of fossil fuels by 2070. However, the approved pledges were fewer than those Mr. Modi committed to.


  • The Union Cabinet approved an update to India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
  • Modi had laid out five commitments, or Panchamrit, as the government references it, namely:
  • India will increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW (gigawatt) by 2030;
  • will meet 50% of its energy requirements from “renewable energy” by 2030;
  • will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030;
  • will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by more than 45%; and
  • will achieve the target of “net zero” by the year 2070, when there will be no net carbon dioxide emitted from energy sources.


The Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) which is a type of garden lizard has a strong presence in southern India.


  • Habitat loss and other such features of urbanisation have affected the presence of the animal in urban centres.
  • A study carried out by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, undertook to characterise urbanisation in the region and also to understand where the rock agama reside in and around Bengaluru specifically.
  • The study, published in Frontiers in Conservation Science, examined several environmental factors that could affect the presence of the lizard and revealed that they are found mainly in rocky places and warm spots. Thus, the inference is that conservation efforts must point towards retaining rocky patches even while reviving landscapes by planting trees.

Right to a Clean and Healthy environment

UN declares access to clean, healthy environment as universal human right.


  • Right to live in a clean and healthy environment was not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • Now, United Nations (UN) in a historic resolution has declared that every person on the planet has the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.
  • The declaration has been adopted by over 160 UN member nations, including India.
  • This will encourage countries to incorporate the right to a healthy environment in national constitutions and regional treaties.
  • However the declaration is not legally binding.
  • The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples.
  • It also recognises that Climate change and environmental degradation are the most critical threats awaiting humanity in the future.
  • This refers to the three main interlinked environmental threats that humanity currently faces: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
  • A similar resolution was adopted last year by the Human Rights Council.
  • It calls upon States, international organisations, and business enterprises to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka has been declared a Ramsar site underlining its status as a wetland of international importance.


  • Also known as the Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is situated in Srirangapatna of Mandya district, Karnataka.
  • It is located on the islands of river Cauvery. It is an example of riverine ecosystem.
  • It is an Important Bird Area (IBA) that is identified by Birdlife International and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
  • It is declared a sanctuary in 1940 at the behest of the famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali

Agasthiyarmalai Elephant Reserve

On World Elephant Day(August 12), the Union Environment Ministry has declared a new elephant reserve called Agasthiyarmalai Elephant Reserve.


  • Located in ➔ Tamil Nadu. • This will be the 5th elephant reserve in Tamil Nadu and the 32nd elephant reserve in India.

 Elephant Reserves in India:

  • Till now, India has 31 elephant reserves. In the last three years, Dandeli Elephant Reserve has been notified by Karnataka, Singphan Elephant Reserve by Nagaland and Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh.
  • These efforts brought a total of 76,508 sq km across 14 states in the country under elephant reserves.
  • With the announcement of the Agasthiyamalai Tiger Reserve, India is adding yet another 1197 sq km of Protected Area dedicated for the protection and conservation of elephants in India.

11 New Ramsar Sites

India has added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make a total 75 Ramsar sites.


  • Tampara Lake in Odisha ➔ It is among the most prominent freshwater lakes in Odisha. The lake was called “Tamp” by the British and subsequently termed “Tampra” by the locals. The lake is an important habitat for vulnerable species such as Cyprinus carpio, common pochard (Aythya ferina) and river tern (Sterna aurantia).
  • Hirakud Reservoir in Odisha ➔ It is the largest earthen dam in Odisha started operating in 1957. The reservoir provides important hydrological services by moderating floods in the Mahanadi delta. • Ansupa Lake in Odisha ➔ It is the largest freshwater lake in Odisha. It is an oxbow lake formed by River Mahanadi. It provides a safe habitat to at least three threatened bird species- Rynchops albicollis (EN), Sterna acuticauda (EN) and Sterna aurantia (VU) and three threatened fish species- Clarias magur (Clariidae) (EN), Cyprinus carpio (Cyprinidae) (VU) and Wallago attu (VU).
  • Yashwant Sagar in Madhya Pradesh ➔ It is one of the two Important Bird Areas(IBA) in the Indore region. Presently, it is mainly used for water supply to the city of Indore. It is considered to be a stronghold of the vulnerable Sarus Crane in central India.
  • Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu ➔ It is locally known as “Chitrangudi Kanmoli”. It has been a protected area since 1989 and has been an ideal habitat for winter migratory birds.
  • Suchindrum Theroor Wetland complex in Tamil Nadu ➔ It is a part of Suchindrum-Theroor Manakudi Conservation Reserve. It is declared an Important Bird Area and lies at the southern tip of the Central Asian flyway of migratory birds.
  • Vaduvur bird sanctuary in Tamil Nadu ➔ It is a large human-made irrigation tank and shelter for migratory birds as it provides a suitable environment for food, shelter, and breeding ground.
  • Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu ➔ It is notable as a nesting site for several migratory heron species that roost in the prominent growth of babul trees there.
  • Thane Creek ➔ It is located in Maharashtra. There are several sources of fresh water in the creek of which Ulhas River is the largest. It has been declared as Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary. It is fringed by mangroves on both banks & comprises around 20% of the total Indian mangrove species. • Hygam Wetland in Jammu and Kashmir ➔ It falls within the River Jhelum basin and plays a significant role as a flood absorption basin, biodiversity conservation site, eco-tourism site and livelihood security for the local communities. It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
  • Shallabug Wetland Conservation Reserve in Jammu and Kashmir ➔ Large areas of the wetland dry up between September and March. The area has extensive reedbeds of Phragmites communis and Typha angustata and rich growth of Nymphaea candida and N. stellata on open water.

Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022

Recently, the government notified Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 to ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries.


  • Aim ➔ To ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries.
  • These rules will replace the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.
  • Batteries covered ➔ The rules cover all types of batteries, viz. Electric Vehicle batteries, portable batteries, automotive batteries and industrial batteries.

Key provisions of the rules:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility(EPR) ➔ Producers (including importers) of batteries are responsible for the collection and recycling /refurbishment of waste batteries and the use of recovered materials from waste into new batteries. o The rules enable the setting up of a mechanism and centralized online portal for the exchange of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates.
  • Polluter Pay Principle ➔ Environmental compensation will be imposed for non-fulfilment of EPR targets. o The funds collected under environmental compensation shall be utilized in the collection and refurbishing or recycling of uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.
  • Industries for waste Batteries ➔ Promote setting up of new industries and entrepreneurship in collection and recycling /refurbishment of waste batteries.
  • Use of recycled materials for new batteries ➔ The rules prescribe the use of a certain amount of recycled materials in the making of new batteries.
  • Monitoring the implementation of rules ➔Online registration & reporting, auditing, and committee for monitoring the implementation of rules and taking measures required for removal of difficulties.



With the lumpy skin disease spreading fast among bovines in western and northern Rajasthan, cattle-rearers in the State are suffering heavy losses. The infection has spread to about 25,000 cattle in the last couple of months and resulted in the death of more than 1,200 animals.


  • Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae, also known as Neethling virus.
  • The disease is characterized by fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules (measuring 2–5 centimetres (1–2 in) in diameter) on the skin and mucous membranes (including those of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts).
  • Infected cattle also may develop edematous swelling in their limbs and exhibit lameness.
  • The virus has important economic implications since affected animals tend to have permanent damage to their skin, lowering the commercial value of their hide.
  • Additionally, the disease often results in chronic debility, reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility, abortion, and sometimes death. 



The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has inaugurated the Foodborne Pathogen Survey Network (ICMR-FoodNet) in Northeast India.


  • It is the beginning of a unique public health initiative in the region, the Council said.
  • The integrated task force coordinates project-based activity campaigns, monitors food-borne enteric disease outbreaks, and conducts intensified systematic laboratory-based surveillance in four north-eastern States, in collaboration with research and medical institutions and food sectors. 



Actor Ashton Kutcher had a “weird, super rare form of vasculitis” two years ago that “knocked out” his vision, hearing, and “equilibrium”. He mentioned about it in a recent tweet.


  • Vasculitis is a general term for several conditions that cause inflammation of blood vessels.
  • It is also called angiitis (“inflammation within blood vessels”) or arteritis (“inflammation in arteries”).
  • It is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system turns on healthy blood vessels, causing them to swell up, narrow down, stretched, or weak. The blood vessels might close entirely.
  • The trigger for vasculitis may be an infection or a drug or blood cancers or immune system diseases, although the precise reason is often uncertain or unknown.
  • Vasculitis can be only a minor problem affecting the skin, or it can be a serious condition that impacts the heart, kidneys or other vital organs.
  • Types of Vasculitis ➔ There are around 20 different disorders that are classified as vasculitis.
  • Treatment ➔ Different types of inflammation cause different diseases, which have their own symptoms and treatment protocols.
  • Steroids are frequently prescribed, as are some other medicines that reduce the activity of the immune system.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS).
  • It is a serious and debilitating disease that affects the nervous system, the immune system and the body’s production of energy.
  • Causes ➔ Its causes are still unknown. However, the potential triggers would include viral or bacterial infection, hormonal imbalances and genetic predispositions. There is no specific test for the disease and doctors have to rely on medical examinations, and blood and urine tests.
  • Vulnerable Group ➔ME/CFS can affect anyone from children to adults of all ages. But it is more common in women and people between 40 and 60 years old.
  • Symptoms ➔ The biggest symptom is significantly lowered ability to do activities that were performed before the illness. This is accompanied by at least 6 months (or longer) of debilitating fatigue that is more severe than everyday feelings of tiredness. This fatigue is not relieved by sleep or rest and exercising usually makes the symptoms worse.
  • Treatment ➔ As of yet, there is no specific cure or approved treatment. Instead, doctors recommend ways to deal with the symptoms of the disease such as ‘pacing’ in which patients learn to balance rest and activity to prevent crashes caused by exertion.

Tomato Flu

Lancet has sounded an alarm over the emergence of a new non-life-threatening virus called tomato flu among children below five years of age.


  • What is it? ➔ Tomato Flu is a viral disease. It is caused by Coxsackie virus A 16. It belongs to Enterovirus family.
  • Note ➔ Hand-foot-and-mouth-disease(HFMD) is a frequent febrile rash illness of childhood caused by enteroviruses(EV).
  • Named After ➔ The flu was named on the basis of the eruption of red blisters giving a resemblance to a tomato.
  • Symptoms ➔ The primary symptoms observed in children with tomato flu are similar to those of chikungunya, which include high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints

. • Transmission ➔ Tomato flu is very contagious and children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu as viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact.

  • Treatment ➔ Tomato flu is similar to chikungunya and dengue as well as hand, foot, and mouth disease. Hence, the treatment is also similar — isolation, rest, plenty of fluids, and a hot water sponge for the relief of irritation and rashes.


India’s first observatory

India’s first situational awareness observatory to monitor space activity is going to be set up in Uttarakhand by Digantara.


  • The space situational awareness (SSA) observatory will assist in tracking any activity in space including that of space debris and military satellites hovering over the region.
  • It aims to track objects as small as 10 cm in size orbiting the earth.
  • Significance ➔ It will fill the crucial gap in SSA observations in the region as there is a lack of such facilities between Australia and southern Africa”. o The observatory will help to monitor events occurring in deep space, especially in the geostationary, medium-Earth, and high-Earth orbits. o The observatory will give India indigenous capabilities to monitor space activity over the subcontinent providing a strategic advantage

Dunaliella tertiolecta

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has developed an edible material, using marine microalga Dunaliella tertiolecta, that can be coated on vegetables and fruits to extend their shelf life.


  • Dunaliella tertiolecta is a marine microalga or the phytoplankton known for its antioxidant properties and has various bioactive compounds such as carotenoids and proteins.
  • Dunaliella is also used to produce algal oil, which is a non-animal source of omega-3 fatty acid, and is a good source of biofuel.
  • After the oil is extracted, the residue is usually discarded.
  • However, the researchers have now used these extracts from the residue in formulating their edible film, in combination with chitosan
  • Edible Film ➔ It has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Benefits ➔ The new coatings can be mass-produced.



The Rajya Sabha passed the Indian Antarctic Bill.


  • The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 seeks to allow the application of Indian laws to the country’s research stations in Antarctica.
  • It also aims to provide national measures to protect the Antarctic environment and associated ecosystems.
  • The Bill will also give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.


The Supreme Court said Parliament may not be able to effectively debate the issue of doing away with “irrational freebies” offered to voters during elections, saying the “reality” is that not a single political party wants to take away freebies.


  • The court suggested setting up a specialised body composed of persons who can “dispassionately” examine the problem.
  • The observations from a Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana came even as the Centre said these freebies were paving the way for an “economic disaster” besides “distorting the informed decision of voters”.
  • The Centre, represented by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, said it “substantially and in principle” supported doing away with the practice of promising freebies to voters.
  • The court directed the parties to make “suggestions for the composition of a body”.
  • It proposed that this body could examine ways to resolve the issue of freebies and file a report before the Centre or the Election Commission of India (ECI). The court said once the parties come up with suggestions on the composition of such a body in a week, it would pass orders. 


Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was appointed the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI) after President Droupadi Murmu signed his warrant of appointment.


  • Justice Lalit will assume charge on August 27, a day after Justice N.V. Ramana demits office as the CJI. Justice Lalit will have a brief tenure as he will demit office on November 8 after holding the charge as the CJI for a little under three months.
  • Justice Lalit will be the second CJI who was directly elevated to the apex court Bench from the Bar. Justice S.M. Sikri was the first lawyer to be elevated directly to the top court Bench in March 1964 and went on to become the 13th CJI in January 1971.
  • While Supreme Court judges retire on attaining the age of 65, judges of the 25 High Courts superannuate at the age of 62.
  • Justice Lalit has been part of several landmark judgments, including the one which held the practice of divorce through instant triple talaq among Muslims illegal and unconstitutional.
  • Before his elevation as a judge, he was appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to conduct trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case.


The Election Commission of India hosted a virtual meet of the ‘Asian Regional Forum’ on the theme “Making our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative” at Nirvachan Sadan on August 11, 2022.


  • This Regional Forum meet is precursor to the “Global Summit for Democracy” to be hosted by the National Electoral Institute of Mexico in the coming month.
  • As part of this ‘Global Summit for Democracy’, five Regional Forums namely Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and countries of the Arab States have been created. India is hosting the Asian Regional Forum meet of the EMBs.
  • The meet had participations from Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of Mexico, Mauritius, Philippines, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Maldives and Representatives from International IDEA, Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).


Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy

The Government of India has established the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as a subordinate office under the Ministry of Ayush.


  • PCIM&H is an autonomous body under the aegis of Ministry of Ayush, established since 2010.
  • Pharmacopoeia is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder.
  • Functions ➔

 o The Commission is engaged in development of Pharmacopoial Standards for Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathic drugs. o PCIM&H is also acting as Central Drug Testing cum Appellate Laboratory for Indian systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 has come into force after being passed by the Parliament in April 2022. It replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.


  • It provides Legal sanction to the police to take physical and biological samples of convicts as well as those accused of crimes.
  • The police as per section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, can collect Data.

 o Data that can be collected: Finger-impressions, Palm-Print impressions, Footprint impressions, Photographs, Iris and Retina scan, Physical, Biological samples and their analysis, Behavioural Attributes including signatures, Handwriting or any other examination

o CrPC is the primary legislation regarding the procedural aspects of criminal law.

  • Any person convicted, arrested or detained under any preventive detention law will be required to provide “measurements” to a police officer or a prison official.
  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will store, preserve, share with any law enforcement agency and destroy the record of measurements at national level. The records can be stored up to a period of 75 years.
  • It aims to ensure the unique identification of those involved with crime and to help investigating agencies solve cases.

Legal Aid Defence Counsel(LADC) system

NALSA Executive Chairman has launched the Legal Aid Defence Counsel (LADC) system in 365 districts in 22 states across India.


  • Launched by ➔ National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
  • Purpose ➔ To provide free legal aid to poor people facing criminal cases to defend themselves during trial.
  • Significance ➔

o In India, where 70% of the population is below the poverty line, the number of cases with NALSA, especially on the criminal side, is only about 10-12%.

 o The rest of the marginalized population was engaging private counsels even at the cost of losing their assets – selling their jewellery and mortgaging their houses.

o Hence, to extend legal aid to these marginalized populations, the LADC system has been launched.

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA):

  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.


A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Department of Justice and National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on Integrated Delivery of Legal Services.


  • As per the agreement, NALSA will provide services of 700 lawyers, in each district exclusively for Tele-Law program.
  • These empanelled lawyers would also act as referral lawyers and assist in strengthening the mechanism for dispute avoidance and dispute resolution at the pre-litigation stage.


  • Launched in 2017 by the Department of Justice (Ministry of Law & Justice), Tele-Law initiative is a reliable and efficient e-interface and pre-litigation tool.
  • Tele–Law mainstreams legal aid to the marginalized seeking legal help by connecting them with the Panel Lawyers through the tele/video-conferencing infrastructure available at Common Service Centres (CSCs) across 1 lakh Gram Panchayats.

Other Important News:

Ex VINBAX 2022

The 3rd Edition of Vietnam-India Bilateral Army Exercise “Ex VINBAX 2022” began at Chandimandir. It will continue till 20th August.


  • The exercise is a sequel to a previously conducted bilateral exercise in Vietnam in 2019 and a major milestone in strengthening the bilateral relations between India and Vietnam.
  • India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
  • The theme of Ex VINBAX – 2022 is the employment and deployment of an Engineer Company and a Medical Team as part of the United Nations Contingent for Peace Keeping Operations.




India and Oman will carry out a 13-day military exercise with a focus on counter-terror cooperation.


  • The fourth edition of India-Oman joint military exercise ‘AL NAJAH-IV’ between contingents of Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman is scheduled to take place at the Foreign Training Node of Mahajan Field Firing Ranges from August 1 to 13.
  • A 60-member team from the Royal Army of Oman has arrived at the site. The Indian Army will be represented by troops from the 18 Mechanised Infantry Battalion.
  • The previous edition of the exercise was organised in Muscat in March 2019. 


Senior politicians and teachers’ bodies in Haryana have raised questions on the government’s Cheerag scheme, which was recently launched to offer “free education” to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students of government schools in “budget” private schools.


  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s government recently launched the “Chief Minister Equal Education Relief, Assistance and Grant (Cheerag)” scheme.
  • It was introduced in place of a similar scheme launched by Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s government in 2007 under Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
  • Under the Cheerag scheme, government school students whose parents have an annual verified income of less than Rs 1.8 lakh can enroll in private schools from Class II to XII.
  • The government will reimburse Rs 700 per student from Classes II to V, Rs 900 per student from Classes VI to VIII, and Rs 1,100 per student from Classes IX to XII. 


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its smallest commercial rocket to unfurl Tricolour in space.


  • The launch will take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • ISRO chairman S Somanath has called the new satellite a “game changer” that will drive India’s dreams of breaking into the lucrative and booming small satellite launch market.
  • On August 15, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement that the Tricolour will be unfurled in space during India’s 75th year of Independence.
  • To mark country’s celebrations of ‘Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the SSLV will have a co-passenger satellite called ‘AzaadiSAT’ comprising 75 payloads built by 750 young girl students from 75 rural government schools across India.
  • This project was specially conceptualised for the 75th Independence Day year celebrations to encourage scientific temper and create opportunities for young girls to choose space research as their career.



On the occasion of the ‘National Handloom Day’ (August 7) Prime Minister Narenda Modi urged all youngsters associated with the world of startups to take part in my handloom my pride challenge.


  • Mr Modi said it is an excellent opportunity to ideate and innovate for weavers.
  • On the occasion, an insurance scheme for weavers has come into force in Telangana. About 80 thousand weavers in the state will be benefited by the Insurance scheme. 



The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, laid the foundation stone of the Indo-Israel Center of Excellence for Vegetables in Chandauli (Uttar Pradesh) through video conferencing.


The establishment of the Indo-Israel Center of Excellence for Vegetables will play an important role in the development of Chandauli district as well as Purvanchal region.


“Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022: Investing in transforming futures for young people”.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released a report titled “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022: Investing in transforming futures for young people”.


The youth employment participation rate declined by 0.9 % over the first nine months of 2021 relative to its value in 2020, while it increased by 2 % for adults over the same time period.

  • The situation is particularly severe for very young people aged 15-20 years.
  • Indian young women experienced larger relative employment losses than young men in 2021 and 2022.

Experiential Learning for the 21st Century Programme

The National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in collaboration with TATA Trusts and others have launched “Experiential Learning for 21st Century Programme”.


  • Experiential Learning for the 21st Century Programme has been launched for the Eklavya Model Residential School(EMRS) Principals and Teachers.
  • Purpose ➔ It is conceptualized as an online programme for educators i.e teachers and principals to help them adapt classroom learning to real-life experiences.
  • The program was offered free of cost to all the selected teachers and principals. The selected teachers were trained as “Teacher Leaders” who shall be espousing the Experiential Learning Pedagogy to all EMRS teaching fraternity in a phased manner.

Eklavya Model Residential Schools:

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs in the year 1997-98 launched the scheme.
  • Aim ➔ To impart quality education to ST children in remote areas. It will also enable them to avail opportunities in high and professional educational courses. And further get employment in various sectors.
  • Grants ➔ The government of India provides grants for the construction of schools and recurring expenses to the State Governments under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution.
  • Target ➔ Every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.

Paalan 1000 Campaign

The Union Minister of State for Health has virtually launched the Paalan 1000 National Campaign and Parenting App to reduce child mortality.


  • Focus ➔ Paalan 1000 campaign focuses on the cognitive development of children in the first two years of their life.
  • Features ➔ The app will provide practical advice to caregivers on what they can do in their everyday routine and will help clear doubts.
  • The app combines coaching for parents, families and other caregivers with services designed to meet the family’s basic needs.
  • Significance ➔ The campaign is aligned with the mission of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram(RBSK) which emphasizes responsive care and focused interventions during the first 1,000 days of a child.

World Dairy Summit 2022

India is hosting the World Dairy Summit 2022 in New Delhi.


  • Background ➔ The last World Dairy Summit was organized in 1974 in New Delhi. After 48 years, India is organizing the summit again.
  • Organized by ➔ International Dairy Federation(IDF).
  • Hosted by ➔ India.
  • Aim ➔ To provide a forum for the industry experts to share knowledge and ideas on how the sector can contribute to nourishing the world with safe and sustainable dairying.
  • Theme ➔ Livelihood and Nutrition.


Khayyam Satellite

Russia will launch an Iranian remote sensing satellite ‘Khayyam’ into orbit by using its Soyuz 2.1B satellite carrier.

About :

  • The satellite is named after 11th-12th century Persian polymath Omar Khayyam.
  • This satellite is a remote sensing satellite designed and manufactured at enterprises that are part of the Russian Space Corporation Roscosmos.

India ki Udaan Project

Google has launched the “India ki Udaan” Project to mark 75 years of Independence.


  • It is being implemented by Google Arts and Culture, in association with the Ministry of Culture.
  • It celebrates the achievements of India and is based on the theme ‘Unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years’.
  • The centrepiece of its celebrations is a new online collection titled “India Ki Udaan”. It features India’s rich cultural diversities, including iconic moments from the last 75 years.
  • Significance of the project: This project offers a unique view of India’s remarkable moments and lets people discover some of the most memorable moments in India’s modern history. These include iconic personalities, and the proudest scientific and sporting achievements and show how women in India continue to inspire the world.

Operation Yatri Suraksha

Railway Protection Force(RPF) has launched a Pan-India Operation under the code name “Operation Yatri Suraksha”. About • Launched by ➔ Railway Protection Force(RPF

  • Aim ➔ To improve the security of passengers travelling by Indian Railways. • Feature ➔ Under the operation, the RPF will take various steps including increasing CCTV surveillance, escorting trains, surveilling active criminals and increasing police presence at stations.


The Union Minister has launched India’s first saline water lantern named ‘Roshni’.

About :

  • Roshni is India’s first saline water lantern which uses seawater as the electrolyte between specially designed electrodes to power the LED lamps.
  • Developed by ➔ National Institute of Ocean Technology(NIOT).
  • Significance ➔ This is expected to bring ‘ease of living’ to the poor and needy, particularly the fishing community living along the 7500 Kilometres long coastal line of India.
  • Moreover, this lantern can also be used in hinterlands, where seawater is not available, as any saline water or normal water mixed with the common salt can be used to power the lantern, which is not only cost-effective but very easy to operate.

Kerala Savari

Kerala has soft launched ‘Kerala Savari’, the country’s first online taxi service owned by a State government.


  • It the country’s first online taxi service owned by a State government.
  • It is operated by the Motor Workers Welfare Board under the aegis of the Labour Department.
  • It aims to ensure fair, safer and decent service to passengers along with fair remuneration to auto-taxi workers.
  • The fares are approved by government without any ‘surge pricing’.
  • Security related features ➔ It is claimed as a reliable online service for women, children, and senior citizens. This consideration has been given importance in app designing and driver registration.


Coradia iLint

Germany has launched the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains Coradia iLint. About:

  • Coradia iLint trains have a range of up to 1,000 kilometres and a maximum speed of 140 kmph (87 mph).
  • By using hydrogen produced with renewable energy the trains will save 1.6 million liters (more than 422,000 gallons) of diesel fuel a year.
  • Hydrogen is currently produced as a by-product of chemical processes, but German specialty gas company Linde plans to manufacture it locally using only renewable energy within three years.


Vishnugad Project

An independent panel of the World Bank is considering a plea by residents of villages in Uttarakhand to investigate environmental damage from the under-construction Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project(VPHEP).


  • Vishnugad Project is a run-of-river hydroelectric project being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.
  • Built by ➔ Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation (THDC), a partially State-owned enterprise.
  • Funded by ➔ The project is primarily funded by the World Bank and was sanctioned in 2011.
  • Expected completion year ➔ The project is proposed to be completed in June 2023.
  • Complaints ➔ Residents of a village (Haat village, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand )have alleged that the muck threatens a historic temple and construction has affected their livelihood and access to water.