Friday, 31st March 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Food Security and National Security

2   Daily Current Affairs


Assessment of India’s Heat Action Plan


Hybrid Gamosas


Scheme of Scholarship and Fellowship for Promotion of Art and Culture'


Japan’s Official Development Assistance


New India Literacy Programme


Upward Lightning


Saudi Arabia Joins SCO as a Dialogue Partner


Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes


Biofilm Buster


Autism Spectre Disorder


Use of IT in election management


Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs)

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Editorial of the day

Food Security and National Security

Exam view: Global Food Security Index; Steps taken by government to ensure food security; Productivity challenges in agriculture sector; How to resolve challenges to food security in India; Climate Smart Agriculture.

Context: According to the Global Food Security Index 2022, India has a prevalence of undernutrition of 16.3%.


  • India’s population has reached 1.408 billion and is expected to surpass China this year.
  • Food insecurity
    • As per International Food Security Assessment, 2022–32, GFA-33 USDA, Economic Research Service, India influences food insecurity trends distinctly because of its population size. By the next decade, the number of food-insecure people in India is projected to be 24.7 million or 1.7 percent.
    • According to the Global Food Security Index 2022, India has a prevalence of undernutrition of 16.3%. Further, 30.9% of children in India are stunted, 33.4% are underweight, and 3.8% are obese. India’s Human Development Index is 0.65.
  • National Food Security plays a vital role in
    • Economic development,
    • Poverty alleviation, and
    • Population’s security by supplying nutritional sustenance.
  • National security
    • The National Security Advisor of India stressed the importance of food security for national security. He urged more efforts to increase farm productivity, saying that addressing national security is crucial.
  • Agriculture
    • It is essential in ensuring that India achieves its national food security goal. With over 70% of the population engaged in agriculture-related activities, it is the backbone of India’s economy.
    • National Food Security can be ensured by strengthening the agricultural sector with improved farm practices, increased production yields, and better access to market opportunities.

Decoding the editorial: Steps taken by the government to ensure food security

  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013
    • This act ensures access to subsidised food grains for about 810 million people and provides meals for pregnant women, children below six years, and lactating mothers under National Nutrition Mission.
    • The Act has helped reduce hunger and malnutrition among vulnerable populations.
  • The National Food Security Mission
    • The mission was launched in 2007 as a Central Sector Scheme (CSS) to increase food production and productivity through area expansion and productivity enhancement interventions in rice, wheat, pulses, oilseeds, etc.
  • National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform
    • It was launched as an online marketplace for farmers to trade their products without geographical boundaries to ensure the proportional availability of food items in different states.
  • National Food Processing Mission
    • It was introduced to promote agro-based industries for efficient use of farm produce and reduce post-harvest losses.
  • Crop insurance
    • The Government has implemented various policies such as Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for Agricultural products, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to provide crop insurance against natural calamities, and National Horticulture Mission, to bring improved Agriculture Production and Distribution.

How can the challenges to National Food Security in India be resolved?

  • Investing adequately in agriculture production systems and research,
  • Improving storage facilities for perishable commodities,
  • Providing efficient transportation networks for distributing food products across the country,
  • Encouraging farmers to practise modern agriculture techniques,
  • Investing in modern irrigation systems,
  • Improved market infrastructure
  • Investments should also be made in awareness campaigns 

How are National food security and National security linked?

  • National Food Security helps build resilience against global shocks such as pandemics, wars, or natural disasters by ensuring an adequate food supply is available during crises.
  • National Food Security has the potential to contribute to India’s economic stability Increasing agricultural production and improving distribution networks would lead to increased employment opportunities and improved incomes for farmers, which would eventually result in higher GDP growth and better living standards for citizens.
  • National Food Security ensures overall inclusive development. It is crucial for National Security in India as it provides its people stability, growth, and assurance of food resources.
  • The link has been highlighted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when it awarded the World Food Program the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to combat hunger. The Committee explicitly noted the relationship between hunger, conflict, and peace, praising the WFP for its role in improving conditions for peace in areas affected by conflict and for its leadership in preventing hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

Beyond the editorial: Climate Smart Agriculture

  • In India, the countrywide decline in major crop yields due to climate change effects between 2010 and 2039 could be as high as Nine percent, worsening further with time.
  • Indian agriculture being a gamble of monsoons, crop yields continue to be climate sensitive and the fluctuations in temperature and rainfall pattern adversely affect crops productivity, thus threatening food security in India.This has heightened the need to embrace the notion of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).




Keywords: GS Paper-3: issues of buffer stocks and food security
Daily Current Affairs

Assessment of India’s Heat Action Plan

In News: The Centre for Policy Research (CPR) released a report analyzing all 37 heat action plans (HAPs) across 18 states to evaluate how policy action is keeping up with the warming weather in India.

About the Heat vulnerability of India:

  • According to IMD, India logged its hottest February in 2023 since 1901 and March 2022 was the warmest ever and the third driest in 121 years.
  • India is one of the most exposed and vulnerable countries to heat. Between 1951 and 2016, three-day concurrent hot day and hot night events have increased significantly.
  • By 2050, as many as 24 urban centres are projected to breach average summertime highs of 35 degrees Celsius, disproportionately impacting economically weaker sections.
  • The ILO estimates that working hours lost due to heat stress would increase to 5.8% of working hours by 2030, or an equivalent of 34 million jobs.
  • Human-induced actions made the chances of extreme heat events 30 times higher in the region.

What are Heat Action Plans?

Heat action plans (HAPs) are the primary policy response to economically damaging and life threatening heat waves. They are guidance documents prepared by state, district, and city governments to help prepare for, respond to, and recover and learn from heatwaves

  • They prescribe a number of activities, disaster responses, and post-heatwave response measures to reduce the impact of heat waves.
  • One of their most important functions is to direct scarce healthcare, financial, information, and infrastructural resources to those most vulnerable to extreme heat in that jurisdiction.
  • India has made considerable progress by creating several dozen heat action plans in the last decade. But several gaps exist which must be filled in future plans.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • Major Pain Points in HAPs of India:
    • Most HAPs are not built for local context and have an oversimplified view of the hazard. Only 10 out of 37 HAPs reviewed seem to establish locally-defined temperature thresholds. However, lack of clarity exists over inclusion of local risk multipliers such as humidity, hot nights etc. in declaring a heat wave.
    • Nearly all HAPs are poor at identifying and targeting vulnerable groups. Only two of 37 HAPs explicitly carry out and present vulnerability assessments. This leaves the implementer with little data on where to direct their scarce resources and could lead to poor targeting.
    • HAPs are underfunded. Only 11 of 37 HAPs discuss funding sources. Of these, eight asked implementing departments to self-allocate resources, indicating a serious funding constraint.
    • HAPs have weak legal foundations. None of the HAPs indicate the legal sources of their authority. It reduces bureaucratic incentives to comply with HAP instructions and accountability of implementing agencies.
    • HAPs are insufficiently transparent: There is no national repository of HAPs and very few HAPs are listed online. Further, it is unclear whether these HAPs are being updated periodically and whether this is based on evaluation data.
    • Capacity building is sectorally-targeted: HAPs place far less emphasis on the capacity of transformative, cross-cutting actors like government departments, civil society, and the local heat research ecosystem.

  • Recommendations of the report:
    • Creation of a centralised national repository of HAPs and their updates at the NDMA.
    • Setting up of an expert committee to assess notifying heatwaves as disasters.
    • Developing and institutionalising systems to monitor and evaluate effectiveness of HAP solutions.
    • Clarification over funding mechanisms through creation of a central fund or harnessing the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC), especially for long-run structural investments.
    • Clarification of legal foundations of all HAPs by linking individual actions to existing (or new) sectoral laws.
    • Creation of mechanisms for inter- and intra-state sharing of knowledge and best practices.



Keywords: GS-3: Climate Change; Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Disaster Management and mitigation
Daily Current Affairs

Hybrid Gamosas

In News: The Bangla Sahitya Sabha, Assam (BSSA) has recently felicitated guests at a function with "hybrid gamosas" made up of Assamese gamosas and Bengali gamchhas cut in half and sewn together.


  • The BSSA is a newly formed literary and cultural society aimed at being a meeting point for Bengalis in Assam.
  • Half of the scarf was a red-and-white phulam gamosa, a symbol of Assamese identity, while the other half was a red-and-white chequered pattern gamchha used by Bengalis.
  • The gamosa has become a symbol of Assamese pride and is used to honour guests at public events.


Keywords: GS-1 Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Scheme of Scholarship and Fellowship for Promotion of Art and Culture'

In News: The Ministry of Culture has recently implemented the 'Scheme of Scholarship and Fellowship for Promotion of Art and Culture' to protect all genres of artists, including folk song artists


  • Award of Scholarships to Young Artists in Different Cultural Fields (SYA)
    • A scholarship of Rs. 5,000/- per month is provided to selected beneficiaries in the age group of 18-25 years in four equal six-monthly installments for a period of 2 years.
    • The candidates should have undergone training under any Guru or Institution for a minimum period of five years.
    • The scholars will be selected on the basis of their performance in a personal interview/interaction before an Expert Committee for Scholarship constituted by the Ministry.
  • Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Persons in Different Cultural Fields
    • Senior Fellowship will be provided to selected Fellows in the age group of 40 years and above in four equal six-monthly installments @ Rs. 20,000/- p.m for 02 years for cultural research.
    • Junior Fellowship will be provided to selected Fellows in the age group of 25 to 40 years in four equal six-monthly installments @ Rs. 10,000/- p.m for 02 years.
    • The Fellows will be selected by an Expert Committee for Sr / Jr Fellowship constituted by the Ministry and will be up to 400 in one batch year.
  • Award of Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research (TNFCR)
    • In this scheme, the candidates will be selected under two categories, Tagore National Fellowship and Tagore Research Scholarship.
    • The selected fellows will work on cultural research by affiliation under different participating institutions in four different groups.
    • Selected Fellows will be paid financial assistance @Rs. 80,000/- p.m. + Contingency Allowance, and Scholars are paid @Rs. 50,000/- p.m. + Contingency Allowance for a maximum period of 2 Years.
  • Project Grants to Individuals for Research in the Performing Arts
    • Under the scheme, the Sangeet Natak Akademi will provide financial assistance to individuals on recommendation of the Advisory Committee.


Keywords: GS-1 Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Japan’s Official Development Assistance

In News: Ministry of Finance has recently revealed the details of three projects under the official development assistance to India by Japan.

  • Japan has been one of the major donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to India since the 1950s by supporting various sectors such as infrastructure, transportation, energy, and education.
  • The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the primary agency responsible for implementing Japan's ODA projects in India.
  • Previously, Japan has provided a range of assistances to support India's development goals, including the construction of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project.

Major Projects:

  • Patna Metro Rail Construction Project:
    • Amount: JPY 98.612 billion (Rs. 5,509 crore approx.)
    • Aim: To cope with the increase of traffic demand in Patna by constructing the new metro corridor 1 & 2
    • Objective: To contribute to improvement of the urban environment and development of the economy as well as mitigation of climate change
  • Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation for Climate Change Response in West Bengal:
    • Amount: JPY 9.308 billion (Rs. 520 crore approx.)
    • Aim: To mitigate and adapt to climate change, conserve and restore ecosystems by ecosystem-based climate change measures, biodiversity conservation and restoration, livelihood improvement activities and institutional strengthening
    • Objective: To contribute to sustainable socio-economic development in the state
  • Rajasthan Water Sector Livelihood Improvement Project:
    • Amount: JPY 18.894 billion (Rs. 1,055.53 crore approx.)
    • Aim: To improve livelihoods of farmers as well as promote gender mainstreaming in agriculture and irrigation sector in the State
    • Objective: To improve water use efficiency and agriculture productivity, through improvement of existing irrigation facilities and agriculture support services based on participation of both male and female farmers.


Keywords: GS-3 Economy, Bilateral Relations
Daily Current Affairs

New India Literacy Programme

In News: Recently, Ministry of Education has recently launched a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme called “New India Literacy Programme” (NILP) for implementation during five years from FYs 2022-23 to 2026-27.


  • Target: The scheme aims to cover a target of 5.00 crore non-literates in the age group of 15 years and above.
  • Components: The Scheme has five components: Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Critical Life Skills, Vocational Skills Development, Basic Education and Continuing Education.
  • Beneficiaries: The beneficiaries including non-literates under the scheme will be identified through door-to-door survey on Mobile App by the surveyors in the States/UTs.
  • Volunteerism: The scheme is mainly based on volunteerism for teaching and learning. Volunteers can also register through mobile app for this purpose.
  • Implementation: The scheme is based on technology and implemented predominantly through online mode.
  • Supporting Platforms: The teaching learning material and resources will made available on DIKSHA platform of NCERT, mobile-apps and other modes like TV, Radio, Samajik Chetna Kendra etc. for dissemination of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.


Keywords: GS-3 Economy, Education
Daily Current Affairs

Upward Lightning

In News: Brazilian researchers recently succeeded in taking pictures of positive upward discharges of electricity from lightning conductor rods.


  • Upward lightning is a phenomenon whereby a self-initiated lightning streak develops from a tall object that travels upward toward an overlaying electrified storm cloud.
  • For upward lightning, storm electrification and the resulting presence of a cloud charge region are enabling factors.
  • The vertical elevation of a tall object accentuates the electric field locally on the ground, resulting in conditions favourable for the initiation of an upward streak (called a leader) from a tall object.
  • It can also develop in response to an electric field change created by a nearby preceding lightning flash.

Process: Stepped ladder trigger

  • Upward Lightning process is triggered by the development of the stepped leader (essentially a channel of negative charge that travels downward in a zigzag pattern from a cloud, nearly invisible to the human eye) travelling to the ground in a millisecond, leading to an intensification of the positive charge on the ground.
  • As the streaks of the stepped leader keep streaking towards the ground, the electrical charges between the leader tips and the tops of tall objects on the ground keep on increasing.
  • In due course, these forces cause the air above these tall buildings or towers to ionise and thereby turn more conductive.
  • With the negative charge repeatedly moving toward the ground, the channel of air just above the tall objects turns positively charged, which starts streaking upwards and is called an upward streamer.
  • In due course, the negatively-charged, downward-moving stepped leader makes contact with one of the developing positively-charged upwards streamers.




Keywords: GS-3 Ecology and Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Saudi Arabia Joins SCO as a Dialogue Partner

Why in news? Saudi Arabia has agreed to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a “dialogue partner.


  • It will be increasing the number of dialogue partners to 7.


  • It was founded as a permanent intergovernmental organisation in 2001 in Shanghai.
  • Focuses on regional security issues, fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism.
  • It covers 40% of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP, and 22% of the world’s landmass.
  • The SCO currently comprises of eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
  • SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent are its two permanent bodies.
  • India and Pakistan became full members in 2017.
  • The Chairmanship of SCO is held by rotation for a year among member states. India is the current chair of SCO.


Keywords: General Studies – 2 International relations
Daily Current Affairs

Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes

Why in news? The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 crore on the Kerala government for failing to protect the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes (Ramsar list of wetlands).


Vembanad lake:

  • It is the largest lake in Kerala and the longest Lake in India.
  • It is bound by Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam.
  • It has its source in four rivers: Meenachil, Achankovil, Pampa and Manimala.
  • It is separated from the Arabian Sea by a narrow barrier island and is a popular backwater stretch in Kerala.
  • Vallam Kali (i.e Nehru Trophy Boat Race): a Snake Boat Race held every year in the month of August in Vembanad Lake.
  • It was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention in 2002.
  • It is the second largest Ramsar site in India only after the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
  • The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake.

About Ashtamudi Lake:

  • It is a freshwater lake located in the Kollam district of Kerala, a state in southern India.
  • It is an extensive estuarine system, the second largest in Kerala State.
  • Ashtamudi means ‘eight braids’ in the local Malayalam language.

The Ramsar Convention:

  • It is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and India is a signatory to this treaty.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology, General Studies –1 Physical Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Biofilm Buster

Why in news? A newly developed nanocomposite coating can inhibit biofilm formation and kill attached bacteria, thereby helping tackle growing post-operative infections, a common occurrence these days due to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.


  • Biofilm formation is a complex process by which groups of microorganisms, such as bacteria, adhere to surfaces and form a slimy layer of cells.
  • Biofilm formation is a natural process that occurs in many different environments, including aquatic systems, soil, and the human body.
  • Biofilm formation occurs in several stages.
  • Biofilm matrix is composed of polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, and provides structural support and protection for the microorganisms.
  • The microorganisms within the biofilm can communicate with each other through a process known as quorum sensing, which allows them to coordinate their behaviour and adapt to changing environmental conditions.
  • Biofilms can have both positive (bioremediation, wastewater treatment, and nutrient cycling) and negative impacts (formation of biofouling on surfaces such as ship hulls and pipes, the development of antibiotic resistance) on human health and the environment.
  • The detection and characterization of biofilms can be challenging due to their complex structure and composition.
  • Techniques such as confocal microscopy, DNA sequencing, and proteomics can be used to study the composition and behaviour of biofilms.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Science & Technology, Health
Daily Current Affairs

Autism Spectre Disorder

Why in news? According to the World Health Organisation, ‘Autism Spectre Disorder’ (ASD) affects one in 100 children.


  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the term for a group of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • It is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the presence of repetitive behaviours and restricted interests.
  • Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear as early as 18 months.
  • There is no cure for autism. There are many forms of therapy, such as speech and occupational therapy that may help autistic people.
  • In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day.

Keywords: General Studies –3 Health
Daily Current Affairs

Use of IT in election management

Why in news? Election Commission of India announced several IT measures for election to Legislative Assembly of Karnataka.


  • IT measures for election to Legislative Assembly of Karnataka including:
    • cVIGIL Application: application for filing Model Code of Conduct Violation cases by citizen.
    • Suvidha Portal: Provides different facility to candidates/political parties for online nomination, Permission etc.
    • GARUDA (Geographical Asset Reconnaissance Unified Digital App) application for facilitating Booth Level officers (BLOs) by integrating all the functions of the BLOs at one place/app.


Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions, Polity
Daily Current Affairs

Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs)

Why in news? NPCI has permitted the PPI wallets to be part of interoperable UPI ecosystem and levied 1.1 per cent charge on unified payment interface (UPI) transactions above ₹2,000 while using PPI.


  • It will eliminate the need for customers to carry multiple cards, thereby reducing fraud and theft due to the exposure of card numbers.
  • Further, it will eliminate the need for specific integrations with a particular wallet to accept payments on a website since customers can also pay via UPI or card infrastructure. This will increase the payment alternatives for customers.


  • PPIs help facilitate the purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittances and fund transfers to family and friends against the value stored on such instruments.
  • The value stored in the instrument is represented by the value that has already been paid for by the holder or the instrument by any method such as, by cash, by debit from a bank account, credit card or even from other PPIs.
  • PPIs can be in the form of smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, internet accounts, internet wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets, paper vouchers, and other instruments used to access the prepaid amount.

More Information:

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said there is no charge for the bank account to bank account-based UPI payments or normal UPI payments.
  • However, interchange charges are only applicable for the prepaid payment instruments (PPI) merchant transactions.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy
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