Friday, 24th March 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Press Must Remain Free

2   Daily Current Affairs


No Slander to Freedom Fighters


Sandalwood Buddha Statue


Vienna Convention


Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP)


Padma Awards




Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)


Onions to be irradiated with gamma rays


Asia’s largest 4-metre International Liquid Mirror Telescope (LMT)


‘Ceramic Radome’ technology


CBAM or Carbon Tax

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Editorial of the day

Press Must Remain Free

Exam View: Significance of Media, Challenges faced by Media, Growth of media.

Context: Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, at the Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism, reiterated the significance of free and independent press which can ask difficult questions to the establishment, to ensure a functional and healthy democracy.


  • Despite being considered the fourth pillar of democracy, Indian press and media have been under attack from various factions trying to promote their narrow agendas.
  • Attacks on journalists and crusaders of free speech such as Gauri Lankesh, G Gopinath etc. have dented the foundation of the institution.
  • Decline in India’s press freedom ranking to 150 shows a grim situation for the Indian press and media.

Decoding the editorial:  The significance of Media

  • Media sparks debates and discussion, pulls the society out of collective inertia and plays an important role in shaping the course of current events. For example, the “Me too movement” fuelled by social media broke the inertia of abused women globally.
  • Pre Independence media acted as catalysts of social and political change by raising awareness and increasing outreach. For example, Dr. Ambedkar launched several newspapers such as Mooknayak, Bahishkrut Bharat, Janata, etc. to create awareness about the rights of the depressed class.
  • Repository of Historical knowledge: Pre Independence publications and newspapers are now a source of knowledge, a historical record of courageous acts of masses who fought against the colonial rulers.
  • Democratisation of media due to increased outreach and expansion of journalism through social media. Online platforms have provided an opportunity to individuals to launch their own online media channels
  • Local or community-based journalism has played an important role in encouraging social cohesion and political activism. It has educated citizens and raised debates on issues at policy level. It also acts as representative of local communities.
  • Community journalism enables members of marginalised communities to voice their concerns about their own issues. The emergence of social media enabled them to create their own space and come up with independent media platforms.
  • Electronic, print and social media facilitated the State to disseminate relevant information to the general public at large during the COVID-19 lockdown. Media also highlighted administrative loopholes and excesses.
  • Legal journalism sheds light on the complexities of the law and presents key highlights of judgement to masses in simpler terms.

Beyond the Editorial: Challenges faced by Journalism

  • Fake news poses a serious threat to the independence and impartiality of the press in the current society. A comprehensive fact-checking mechanism should be in place to verify all news items before reporting.
  • Legitimacy of news: A diverse and representative newsroom is essential for media institutions to provide well-researched and complex stories that explore a multiplicity of perspectives and voices.
  • Trial by Media: there have been instances when the media has carried narratives that make a person guilty in the eyes of the public, even before the court finds them guilty.
  • Decline in attention span of viewers due to social media which has made it necessary to present important issues in short clips replacing long-form or investigative pieces.
  • Ownership of media houses by corporations.
  • Difficult and Unfriendly conditions for journalists which also sometimes becomes a safety issue for them and their families.

Responsible journalism is the beacon of truth that can guide us to a better tomorrow. It is the engine that drives democracy forward, based on the quest for truth, justice, and equality


Keywords: GS-2 Role of civil society in governance, Fundamental Rights and constitution
Daily Current Affairs

No Slander to Freedom Fighters

In News: As part of its 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' program commemorating 75 years of independence, the central government aims to recognize and pay tribute to the lesser-known heroes, symbols, and occurrences that played a significant role in the fight for freedom but have not received widespread recognition.

Some lesser known events in the Indian Freedom Struggle.

  • Paika Rebellion: The 1857 rebellion is considered the First War of Independence. However recently Paika Rebellion of 1817 contested for this title. Furthermore, there were many other spirited revolts against the British Empire in South India prior to this, such as the Attingal revolt, the Poligar rebellion and the Vellore Mutiny.
  • March 23 is often remembered as Martyrs' Day, to commemorate the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. But March 23, 1919, is also important as the Non Cooperation Movement took shape on this day. Mahatma Gandhi was in Chennai on the invitation of Kasturi Ranga Iyengar and from here decided to counter the draconian Rowlatt Act through mass hartal.
  • Gandhiji supported the British in the Boer war row which he was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind medal, in 1915, by the British for his humanitarian work in South Africa, which he later returned in 1920
  • In 1942, Rajagopalachari stayed away from the Quit India Movement as he felt it would not serve India’s best interests.
  • Role of North East in India’s freedom struggle: There were many nationalist who fought against the British from the North East. Rani Gaidinliu, a Naga spiritual leader, raised the banner of revolt against foreign rule. Similarly, Kanaklata Baruah, Moje Riba, Shoorvir Pasaltha Khuangchera are among lesser known nationalists.

Indian Freedom Struggle: A crucible that coalesced people from conflicting backgrounds and ideologies.

  • Bhikaiji Cama, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Chempakaraman Pillai and Thillaiyadi Valliammai championed the cause of India’s liberty from abroad. 

  • Gopal Krishna Gokhale and B.R Ambedkar, who served in the British Viceroy’s executive council and were probably never imprisoned. But this never diluted their patriotism and contributions to India’s freedom.
  • Moderates and Extremists: Moderates trusted constitutional methods and extremists preferred boycott and revolution. They both had crucial roles in the freedom struggle. Lal-Pal-Bal and Aurobindo underwent rigorous imprisonment, while Bhagat Singh, Birsa Munda and Vanchinathan sacrificed their lives.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose valiantly raised an army overseas to free India, a venture where he worked with Japan, an Axis power.

Holistic View of History:

  • Role of women: Women freedom fighters like Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant, Rani Chaudhrani, Aruna Asaf Ali, Usha Mehta etc. were significant part of various movements of India like Non Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Quit India Movement etc.
  • Selfless freedom fighters did not participate in the freedom struggle for position or power but with the sole aim of liberating their motherland. Hence no freedom fighter should be impugned.
  • Congress party played a pre-eminent role in India’s freedom movement, but this struggle spanned over two centuries and involved several parties, ideologies and people.
  • Fundamental duties in our constitution calls “To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom”.
  • There should be unreserved gratitude to all, especially the unsung luminaries of our freedom struggle who were devoted to the national cause transcending any ideological inclination.



Keywords: General Studies - 1, Modern History, The Freedom Struggle, its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
Daily Current Affairs

Sandalwood Buddha Statue

In News: Indian Prime Minister has recently presented a sandalwood Buddha statue to the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in whose country Buddhism is one of the most dominant religions.


  • India has been building on Buddhist ties with several South Asian countries through spiritual tourism offerings and craft traditions,
  • Buddhism is a dominant religion in countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Cambodia, besides Japan and China.

Key Points:

  • The sandalwood Buddha statue is a posture of Buddha sitting in ‘dhyana mudra’ under the Bodhi tree.
  • The statue is made of pure sandalwood and has intricate carvings of traditional designs and natural scenes.
  • The statue has been hand-carved with traditional designs and the Kadamwood Jali Box encasing the statue is considered auspicious in Indian culture.

Sandalwood Carving:

  • Sandalwood carving is an ancient craft that has been practiced in Karnataka for centuries.
  • The art involves carving intricate designs into blocks of fragrant sandalwood to create sculptures, figurines, and decorative items.
  • Sandalwood is a valuable and prized wood in the world and an important part of Indian culture.
  • Karnataka is known as the ‘gandhada gudi’ or land of sandalwood and has a Sandalwood Development Board to manage resources sustainably.
  • The art has been passed down from generation to generation and continues to thrive in Karnataka.


Keywords: GS-II: International Relations, Diplomacy, Soft Power
Daily Current Affairs

Vienna Convention

In News: Vandalism by pro-Khalistan protestors at Indian High Commission in London


  • Indian government has recently summoned the UK diplomat and lodged a strong protest after Pro-Khalistan protestors removed the Indian flag from the High Commission in London.

What is the Vienna Convention?

  • Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) provides the framework for diplomatic relations between independent sovereign States.
  • It entered into force on April 24, 1964 and codifies the concept of diplomatic immunity and affirms the concept of inviolability of a diplomatic mission.

Obligations of a “receiving State”:

  • “Receiving State” refers to the host nation where a diplomatic mission is located and has basic obligations towards the diplomatic missions it hosts on its sovereign territory.
  • Under Article 22 of the convention, the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage.

Issue of Khalistan:

  • Khalistan is a term used to refer to the proposed independent state for the Sikhs in Punjab, India.
  • The demand for Khalistan started in the 1970s and reached its peak in the 1980s with violent clashes between the Sikh militants and the Indian government.
  • The movement lost momentum in the 1990s, and most of its leaders were either killed or arrested.
  • However, some Sikhs abroad still support the idea of an independent Khalistan and continue to stage protests and rallies.
  • The Indian government views the demand for Khalistan as a threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty.


Keywords: GS-II: IR
Daily Current Affairs

Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP)

In News: Government launches programme with the aim of becoming Global Hub for Green Ship Building by 2030


  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has recently launched the Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP) with an aim to become a global hub for green shipbuilding by 2030.
  • In this regard, the National Centre of Excellence in Green Port & Shipping (NCoEGPS) has been inaugurated in Gurugram, Haryana.
  • The Centre is a collaboration between the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which will work for the production of green hybrid tugs.

Key Points:

  • The Centre will focus on the following areas: energy management, emission management, sustainable maritime operations, and more
  • It will carry out valuable education, applied research, and technology transfer in maritime transportation at the local, regional, national and international levels
  • It aims to empower 'Make in India' in port, coastal and inland water transport, and engineering by developing state-of-the-art technologies and application products
  • The Centre aims to create a pool of competent manpower equipped with the theoretical and practical know-how.

Green Tug Transition Programme:

  • It has been launched with the creation of green hybrid tugs which will be powered by green hybrid propulsion systems.
  • The initial green tugs will begin operating in all major ports by 2025 and in the due course non-fossil fuel solutions like Methanol, Ammonia, and Hydrogen will also be adopted.
  • According to government estimates, nearly 50% of all tugs will be converted into green tugs by 2030.

Other Initiatives:

  • India has been selected as the first country under the IMO Green Voyage 2050 project to conduct a pilot project related to Green Shipping.
  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has identified Paradip Port, Deendayal Port, and V.O. Chidambaram Port to develop as Hydrogen Hubs by 2030.
  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways aims to reduce carbon emissions per ton of cargo handled by 30% by 2030 under Maritime Vision Document 2030.
  • Government also working towards achieving UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, conservation, and sustainable use of ocean-based resources


Keywords: GS-III: Economy: Infrastructure, Ports
Daily Current Affairs

Padma Awards

Context: The President had approved 106 Padma awards on the eve of Republic Day and over 54 people were given recently.

About Padma Awards

  • Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honors of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day after the Bharat Ratna.

  • Background:
    • The Government of India instituted two civilian awards-Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan in 1954.
    • The Padma Vibhushan had three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg. These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri in 1955.
  • Objective:
    • To recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
  • The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) should not be more than 120.
  • The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.
    • Categories: The Awards are given in three categories:
    • Padma Vibhushan is awarded for ‘exceptional and distinguished service;
    • Padma Bhushan is awarded for ‘distinguished service of a high order’; and
    • Padma Shri is awarded for ‘distinguished service’.
  • Nominations for the awards:
    • All nominations are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
    • The Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes Home Secretary, Secretary to the President and four to six eminent persons as members.
    • The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.
  • Eligibility:
    • All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards. However, Government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these Awards.
    • The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.
    • A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.



Keywords: GS – 1 Art and Culture, Awards
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Scientists have finally confirmed the existence of a "missing" continent known as Zealandia.


  • Zealandia, which is approximately 1.89 million square miles in size, was once part of an ancient supercontinent called Gondwana.
  • It also included Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia over 500 million years ago.
  • Zealandia started to separate from Gondwana about 105 million years ago and gradually sank beneath the waves, with over 94% of the landmass remaining underwater.
  • It is a long, narrow microcontinent that is mostly submerged in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • It is recognized as the world’s eighth continent.
  • The part of Zealandia which is above water forms the foundation of New Zealand’s north and south islands as well as the island of New Caledonia.
    • These two features are separated by the Alpine Fault and Kermadec Trench and by the wedge-shaped Hikurangi Plateau, and they are moving separately to each other.
  • The existence of Zealandia was first recorded in 1642 by Dutch businessman and sailor Abel Tasman, who was on a mission to find the “great Southern Continent,” or Terra Australis.


Keywords: General Studies –1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

Why in news? An Inter-Ministerial delegation from India led by the Department of Commerce participated in the second Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) negotiating round in Bali, Indonesia.


  • In 2022, the United States launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam (together these countries represent 40% of world GDP).
  • It aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • It has four pillars:
    • Fair and resilient trade
    • Supply chain resilience
    • Infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonization
    • Tax and anti-corruption


Keywords: General Studies –2 International Relations
Daily Current Affairs

Onions to be irradiated with gamma rays

Why in news? The Centre is planning to irradiate onions with Gamma rays before sending them into cold storage on a pilot basis.


Food Irradiation

  • Food irradiation (the application of ionizing radiation to food) is a technology that improves the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects.
  • Food irradiation involves ionizing radiation and uses X-rays, gamma rays or high-energy electron beams.

Gamma Irradiation

  • Gamma Irradiation is the process of exposing various products to ionizing gamma rays (similar to UV and X-rays) in a highly controlled manner for a specific goal, such as elimination of the virus, bacteria, pathogens, insects and other undesirable organisms etc.
  • The isotope Cobalt-60 is the most common source of gamma rays for irradiation processing for a variety of applications, including sterilization, decontamination and materials modification.

Other Information:

  • Kharif and late kharif onion or red onion: It is highly perishable and cannot be stored for over a month. So not suitable for irradiation.
  • Rabi variety of onion: It accounts for 65% of the onion harvest and has a longer shelf life of about 5-7 months, would be considered for irradiation.
  • The irradiation process has been approved by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.


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

Asia’s largest 4-metre International Liquid Mirror Telescope (LMT)

Why in news? Asia’s largest 4-metre liquid mirror telescope inaugurated in Uttarakhand.


  • The telescope is located at an altitude of 2,450 metre on the Devasthal Observatory campus of Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (AREES), in Nainital district.

Liquid Mirror Telescope (LMT)

  • LMTs are stationary telescopes that image a strip of sky.
  • It can capture all possible celestial objects from stars, galaxies, supernovae explosions, and asteroids to space debris.
  • ILMT employs a 4-metre-diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin layer of liquid mercury to collect and focus light.
  • However, other liquids like low-melting alloys of gallium, are also used.
  • The telescope is designed to survey the strip of the skypassing overhead each night.
  • The data collected will be analyzed using AI/Machine learning to discover and discern variable and transient stellar sources.


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

‘Ceramic Radome’ technology

Why in news? Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), has signed an Agreement with DRDO for manufacturing ceramic radomes used in aerospace and missile systems.


  • The ceramic radome is regarded as an essential, state-of-the-art technology for ballistic and tactical missiles and high-performance aircraft.
  • To mitigate the thermal heating, Ceramic is considered a radome material.
  • Ceramic Radome fabrication is a two-stage process, gel-casting followed by sintering.
  • ceramic
    • A ceramic is a non-metallic, inorganic solid material that is typically produced by heating natural clay or other minerals at high temperatures. E.g., Pottery, Tiles
  • In general, they are hard, corrosion-resistant and brittle.
  • Radome
    • Radomes are structures or enclosures designed to protect antenna and associated electronics from the surrounding environment and elements such as rain, snow, UV light, and strong wind.
    • The name "radome" is derived from the words radar and dome.


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

CBAM or Carbon Tax

Why in news? European Union is willing to collaborate with India in easing the administrative burden for businesses while enforcing its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).


  • The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), also known as the carbon border tax, adds a pollution price on certain imports to the EU.
  • This measure makes it necessary for carbon-intensive industries to comply with stricter emission standards.
  • It is a tax that imposes importers and non-EU manufacturers to pay for the carbon emission linked to the goods they sell within EU limits.
  • Under the political agreement, the CBAM will enter into force in its transitional phase as of 1 October 2023.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environmental Pollution & Degradation
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