Friday, 28th April 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


India‘s population: bane or boon?

2   Daily Current Affairs


India and EFTA


Digitization of Judicial Records


Promoting millets in Diet


National Medical Device Policy, 2023


Mass Nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles


North East Gas grid Project


United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)


Manamadurai pottery


Default Bail


Exercise Ajeya Warrior


Levies on Power Generation


Triple tests for surrogacy

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Editorial of the day

India‘s population: bane or boon?

Exam View: Discourse on population through history; consequences of the pattern of population growth on economic policy; Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman; Current condition of education.

Context: India celebrates the news that the country has now become the world’s most populous nation, overtaking China. This is in sharp contrast to a widely-shared view that a rapid population growth was India’s biggest problem. A nation that cannot offer proper education to all will forever find population growth a bane.

Decoding the editorial: Discourse on population through history

  • When China declared its One Child policy, many among the Indian elite campaigned in favour of such a policy at home.
    • While the government of the day rejected the “one-child” policy, it launched “Do Ya Teen Bas” followed by “Hum Do, Hamarey Do” campaigns.
  • Communal politics thrived on blaming the Muslim community for India’s population growth.
  • Mass poverty, it was declared, was a consequence of excessive breeding by the poor.
    • The latter view was pervasive till studies showed that families of the poor are larger because each child brings in additional income that may be marginally more than the food and other necessities consumed.
    • So larger families are a response to poverty, not the cause.
  • The change in the population discourse began when both fertility and birth rates began to fall in the socially-advanced states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
    • Research related the decline with literacy, education and health status of women, among other factors.
    • If the rest of India can mimic Kerala, it was argued, then India’s population problem will become manageable, which has begun to happen.
    • The fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) had shown that the total fertility rate (TFR) had declined to 2.0 in 2019-21.
    • This was marginally below what is called the “replacement level fertility rate” of 2.1.

The pattern of population growth has had many consequences for economic policy:

  • All challenges were addressed within the wider framework of population growth being a bane rather than a boon.
  • India’s multilateral, pluryilateral and bilateral trade agreements have been demanding access to overseas jobs, employment visas and so on, in the relentless pursuit of overseas employment opportunities.
  • India remains a strong advocate of out-migration, even as the present political dispensation opposes in-migration.
    • Without doubt, out-migrating Indians have become assets for many developed economies, from the US to Australia, from Portugal to Japan.

Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman: Invest in human capital

  • Nehru had invited Friedman to study the Indian approach to planning and offer his views.
  • Friedman was not in favour of public investment in manufacturing, but strongly advocated public investment in education.
  • According to him, the fundamental problems for India are
    • The improvement of the physical and technical quality of her people,
    • The awakening of a sense of hope,
    • The weakening of rigid social and economic arrangements,
    • The introduction of flexibility of institutions and mobility of people,
    • The opening tip of the social and economic ladder people of all kinds and classes.
  • What we call investment refers only to expenditures on physical capital; expenditures that improve the productive capacity of human beings are generally left entirely out of account. In the United States, for example, only about one-fifth of the total income is return to physical capital, four-fifths to human capital.”
  • An ill-educated, ill-equipped, socially and culturally backward people are an economic liability. Educated, healthy, productive and capable people are a national asset. Indeed, an asset to humanity.

Current condition of education:

  • Even today India does not have a socially and economically relevant education policy except in patches. Small number of good schools produces students ready for global market. Out-migration of students has risen sharply over the past decade.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, provincial and communal politicians are obsessed about history and language, not worried about basic learning skills and the creation of a knowledge-based economy and society.
  • Into the vacuum created by inadequate public investment in school education, the private sector is rushing in and now boldly demanding a change of policy that will allow for-profit educational institutions.

A nation that cannot offer proper education to all will forever find population a bane rather than a boon.

Keywords: GS-Paper 1: population and associated issues, GS-Paper 2: Human resources
Daily Current Affairs

India and EFTA

In News: Commerce and Industry minister, in a discussion of free trade agreement with the four EFTA countries, said that India has proposed to include issues related to gender equality and women in the agreement.

About European Free Trade Association (EFTA):

  • EFTA is an inter-governmental organisation for the promotion and intensification of free trade and was founded as an alternative for states that did not wish to join the European Community (EC).
  • Four countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are part of EFTA and not the European Union.
  • A joint study group was formally launched in 2006, on the proposed Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • The group was mandated to take a comprehensive view of bilateral economic linkages between India and EFTA and to examine the feasibility of the agreement.

Developments in the recent meetings:

  • India dispelled the apprehensions of a section, which considered India reluctant in discussing gender equality and women issues in FTA.
  • It is a significant move provided that earlier India had asserted not to include these subjects in a trade pact as there are other platforms to discuss these issues.
  • Focus has been shifted to digitize the entire Intellectual Property (IP) regime and around 1,000 new posts have been created in IP office to speed up the process of clearing patent applications.
  • 19 new IPR chairs have been set up in different universities and 22 new Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) centres have been announced.
  • To facilitate the filing of IP applications, the number of IP facilitators has been increased to 2,000 from 465 earlier.
  • Around 82,000 patent applications have been filed in the last fiscal, out of which 58% are by Indian firms.



Keywords: GS-2 International Treaties & Agreements
Daily Current Affairs

Digitization of Judicial Records

In News: The Supreme Court ordered that all records of criminal trials and civil suits at district courts be digitized, while it set aside the conviction of a person in a corruption case due to absence of original trial court records.

Highlights of the SC order:

  • The SC ordered digitization aiming to bolster technology adaptation in the judiciary to enhance efficiency, equity and underscored the increased role of technology in creating a more accessible, inexpensive, dependable, and transparent judicial system.
  • The court ordered the registrar general of high courts to ensure that in all cases of criminal trial and civil suits, the digitization of records must be undertaken promptly at all district courts, preferably within the time limit.
  • The concerned district judge should ensure that the digitized records are verified as expeditiously as possible.
  • A continually updated record of digitized register of records shall be maintained with periodic reports being sent to the concerned high courts for suitable directions.
  • The court noted that the SOP issued by E-committee requires all high courts to establish a digitisation cell, judicial digital repositories, and a standardised system for conversion of records.

E-Courts Project:

  • The E-courts project, which aims at improving access to justice using technology, is a part of the National e-Governance Plan. It is under implementation since 2007 for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development of the Indian Judiciary.
  • Phases I and II of the e-courts project, dealt with the basic process to facilitate digitisation of the judiciary, incorporating hardware installation, software upgradation and initiate e-filing, tracking cases online and uploading judgments online.
  • Phase-III of the project, proposes an “ecosystem approach” to justice delivery with a digital case registry, a database of case laws, intelligent scheduling, a digital case management framework, e-filing, and open digital proceedings, among other ambitious initiatives.



Keywords: GS-2 Judiciary, E-governance
Daily Current Affairs

Promoting millets in Diet

In News: NITI Aayog released a report titled Promoting Millets in Diets: Best Practices across States, UTs of India highlighting the decline in area under cultivation of various millets in India.

Significance of Millets:

  • Millets are the most climate resilient crops for small farmers as they are adaptable in both hot and drought environments.
  • Millets are nutritionally superior to other food grains owing to their higher protein levels and a more balanced amino acid profile.
  • Millets also contain various phytochemicals which exert therapeutic properties owing to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
  • India produces all the nine commonly known traditional millets Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, Brown top Millet and Kodo Millet.

Reasons for Decline in millet production: Millets which were once an integral part of the Indian diet have been almost forgotten due to various demand and supply challenges.

  • Promotion of rice and wheat vis-a-vis millet production and lack of suitable initiatives towards millets
  • The low margins associated with millet production, vis-a-vis other crops, have created disincentives for millet farmers.
  • Relatively shorter shelf life of the crops creates storage-related concerns and gives rise to risks of spoilage.
  • Changes in lifestyle and consumer tastes, coupled with the unavailability of ready-to-eat millets have contributed to lower demand.

Initiatives to promote Millets:

  • Central government declared millets as Nutri-Cereals in 2018 and celebrated the National Year of Millets in 2018.
  • India spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets, is to elevate awareness of millets for food security and nutrition, enhance investment in R&D and extension
  • India held its first mega-global event Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference in Delhi to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM).



Keywords: GS-3 Food Security and Agricultural Resources
Daily Current Affairs

National Medical Device Policy, 2023

In News: Union Cabinet approves National Medical Devices Policy

About National Medical Devices Policy:

  • The National Medical Devices Policy, 2023 has been drafted by Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers to facilitate the growth of the medical device sector.
  • The policy is expected to help the medical devices sector grow from the present $11 billion to $50 billion in the next five years.

Important features:

The medical devices sector will be facilitated and guided through a set of strategies that will cover six broad areas of policy interventions:

  • Regulatory Streamlining
    • Measures such as creating a "Single Window Clearance System" for licensing of medical devices, enhancing the role of Indian standards like BIS.
    • Designing of coherent pricing regulations will be followed to enhance ease of doing research and business and further balance patient safety with product innovation.
  • Enabling Infrastructure
    • The establishment and strengthening of large medical device parks and clusters equipped with world-class common infrastructure facilities in proximity to economic zones.
    • Medical parks to be connected with requisite logistics for better convergence and backward integration with the medical device industry.
  • Facilitating R&D and Innovation
    • The policy aims to promote Research & Development in India and establish centers of excellence in academic and research institutions, innovation hubs, and incubation centers.
  • Promoting Clinical Trials
    • Establishment of a robust regulatory framework for clinical trials to balances the patient safety concerns to make India a preferred destination for clinical trials.
  • Skilling and Human Resource Development
    • The policy aims to promote higher education to foster talent and skilled resources in line with industry requirements and provide support in training and capacity-building programs.
  • Promoting Domestic Manufacturing
    • The policy aims to encourage domestic investments and production of medical devices that complement the government's "Atmanirbhar Bharat" and "Make in India" programs.


Keywords: GS-III: Government Schemes
Daily Current Affairs

Mass Nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles

In News: Millions of Olive Ridley turtles crawl towards sea along Odisha coast

About Olive Ridley Nesting:

  • Every year millions of babies of Olive Ridley Sea turtles emerges from eggshells along Odisha’s Rushikulya beach in Ganjam district.
  • In 2023, Rushikulya beach has hosted 6.37 lakh turtles, the highest ever congregation due to favourable weather conditions during the nine days of mass nesting period.

Mass Nesting process:

  • Mass nesting is a phenomenon where a large number of sea turtles come to the beach at the same time to lay their eggs.
  • Olive Ridley turtles are known for their mass nesting behavior and can lay anywhere between 100-150 eggs in a single clutch.
  • The nesting season usually occurs between December and March, with peak nesting taking place in February and March.
  • The location of the nesting site is crucial for the survival of the species, and factors such as beach topography, sand temperature, and lighting can impact the nesting behavior.
  • After the eggs are laid, the mother turtle returns to the sea, leaving the eggs to incubate for about 45-50 days.
  • Once hatched, baby turtles emerge from the sand and make their way to the sea, using the natural light and direction of the waves to guide them.


Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

North East Gas grid Project

In News: Prime Minister's Office hails major milestone in Northeast Gas Grid project with construction of 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline under Brahmaputra River

About Northeast Gas Grid project:

  • The North-East Gas Grid project is an ambitious initiative started in 2016 to connect all eight northeastern states and cover a distance of 1656 kilometers with a natural gas grid.
  • The project aims to double the production of oil and natural gas by 2030, provide access to clean fuel (LPG or piped natural gas) to 100% households in the region.
  • It will also promote manufacturing industry related to oil and gas in the region, and develop a natural gas grid, including CNG highways and city gas distribution networks.
  • The project is being executed by Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited (IGGL) and a joint venture between five PSUs: ONGC, Oil India Ltd (OIL), GAIL, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL).
  • For the project, the Union Government is providing Rs 5559 crore (60% of the total project cost) as viability gap funding, which will not be linked to any escalation in project cost.
  • The project will take clean energy to fuel industries, vehicles, and households across the country and is a critical part of the mega Hydrocarbon Vision 2030.
  • The North-East Gas Grid project is expected to significantly reduce pollution caused by using coal and firewood for cooking, especially in rural and remote areas of the Northeast.


Keywords: GS-III: Infrastructure
Daily Current Affairs

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

Why in news? Recently, UNPFII called for inclusion of indigenous people in socio-economic development, and conservation of the environment.


  • UNPFII is a high-level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council.
  • Forum was established in 2000 with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.
  • The Forum usually meets for 10 days each year, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
  • It is one of three UN bodies to deal specifically with indigenous peoples’
    • Others are Expert Mechanism on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Special Rapporteur Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The 22nd Session of UNPFII will convene in New York.
  • It has the theme “Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health and climate change: a rights-based Approach”.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Manamadurai pottery

Why in news? Recently, Manamadurai pottery of Sivagangai district, Tamil Nadu got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.  


  • Vaigai River which runs through the Manamadurai village enriches the clay used for the pottery.
  • A unique type of clay is sourced from water bodies like Nedunkulam, Nathapurakki, Sundaranadappu, Seikalathur to make these pots.
  • Main raw materials for making these pots are soil and water.
  • The sand, collected from different places of the district, is used for making pottery and dried for two days. The particles of the mud get separated by sieving.
  • The slurry is mixed with the sand and lead and graphite are added to the mixture to improve the quality. This mixture is now rich in calcium lime, ash, red lead, sodium silicate, manganese, iron, and plasticizing.
  • The pot is also painted in different colours.


Keywords: General Studies –1 Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Default Bail

Why in news? Recently, Supreme Court held that fundamental right (under Article 21) of an accused to get default bail cannot be scuttled by filing supplementary charge sheets in cases where a probe is yet to be completed.


  • Default or statutory bail is a right to bail that accrues when police fail to complete investigation within a specified period in respect of a person in judicial custody.
  • It is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
  • Under Section 167(2) of the Code, a Magistrate can order an accused person to be detained in the custody of the police for 15 days. Beyond the police custody period of 15 days, the Magistrate can authorize the detention of the accused person in judicial custody i.e., jail if necessary. However, the accused cannot be detained for more than:
    • ninety days, when an authority is investigating an offense punishable with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for at least ten years; or
    • sixty days, when the authority is investigating any other offense.
    • In some other special laws like Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, this period may vary. For eg: In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the period is 180 days.
  • At the end of this period, if the investigation is not complete, the court shall release the person “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail”. This is known as default bail.


Keywords: General Studies –2 Polity and Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Exercise Ajeya Warrior

Why in news? Recently, Indian Army contingent will participate in the 7th edition of the bilateral training exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior 2023’.


  • Exercise Ajeya Warrior 2023 is a bilateral training exercise between the armies of India and the UK.
  • This is the 7th edition of the exercise.
  • It aims to improve interoperability between the two forces while carrying out operations in accordance with UN mandates.
  • It is a combined military drill, designed to provide company-level joint training focused on counter-terrorism operations in urban and semi-urban settings.
  • An infantry company from India and a unit of equal strength from the British Army will participate in the exercise.
  • The soldiers of both countries will practice using each other’s weapons, war tactics, equipment, war strategies, and procedures for conducting combined military operations in difficult situations.
  • Expert academic discussions on a range of topics of common interest, such as the combined arms concept, operation logistics, sharing of joint force experience, etc., will also take place.

More Information:

  • The 6th edition of the India-UK Joint Company Level Military Training Ajeya Warrior exercise took place in Chaubatia, Uttarakhand in 2021.
  • In 2013, the first military training took place.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Security
Daily Current Affairs

Levies on Power Generation

Why in news? Recently, Ministry of Power has asked states not to levy or impose any tax or duty on generation of electricity especially from hydro projects.


  • Ministry of Power stated that:
    • Any such tax /duty on generation of electricity, which encompasses all types of generation viz. thermal, hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, etc. is illegal and unconstitutional.
    • As electricity generated within the territory of one State may be consumed in other States.
  • Entry-53 of List-II (State List) empowered states to only levy taxes on consumption or sale of electricity in their jurisdiction and not on the generation of electricity.
  • Article 286 of the constitution explicitly prohibits states from imposing any taxes or duties on supply of goods or services or on both, where the supply takes place outside the state.
  • Articles 287 and 288 prohibit the imposition of taxes on consumption or sale of electricity consumed by the central government or sold to the central government for consumption by the government or its agencies.
  • As per Entry-56 of the Union List of the Constitution, regulations of issues related to Inter-State Rivers come under the purview of the Centre.


Keywords: General Studies –2 Polity and Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Triple tests for surrogacy

Why in news? Recently, The High Court of Karnataka has evolved “triple tests” for considering the plea of a couple to have a child through altruistic surrogacy under provisions of Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021.


  • Act allows only altruistic surrogacy and penalises commercial surrogacy.
  • The triple tests Includes:
    • Genetic test for husband to ensure child is not born with any disorder.
    • Physical test for couple to ascertain their capacity to manage the child.
    • Economy test for couple to ensure that they can protect the future of the child.


Keywords: General Studies –2 Issues Related to Women, Government Policies & Interventions, social empowerment
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