Monday, 5th June 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs


Sedition Law in India


Semiconductor manufacturing in India


A New Treaty of Outer Space


National Electricity Plan 2022-32


Access to assured irrigation


Times of India’s (TOI) ‘Saving Our Stripes’ initiative


Sal seeds


Li-ion battery recycling technology


Smart bandage


MH60R helicopter


Desiccation-tolerant vascular plant species



2   Daily Editorial Analysis


EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

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Daily Current Affairs

Sedition Law in India

In News: Recently, the Law Commission of India said that “repealing the legal provision can have serious adverse ramifications for the security and integrity of the country”.


  • The Law Commission of India has recommended the retention of the 153-year-old colonial law on sedition in India, emphasising that “repealing the legal provision can have serious adverse ramifications for the security and integrity of the country.”
  • Law Commission favoured amending Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (sedition law) to bring about more clarity in the interpretation, understanding, and usage of the provision.

  • Commission recommended Section 124A should be amended to align it with the Supreme Court’s 1962 verdict in the Kedar Nath Case, which underlined that the presence of a pernicious tendency to incite violence is a precondition to invoke the sedition clause and that the penal provision cannot be used to stifle free speech.
  • Law commission suggest that sedition law, which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or “three years”, should be amended to enhance the alternative punishment to “seven years”.

Issues related to Sedition Law

  • A law of Colonial Era: Under British rule, individuals who expressed criticism towards British policies faced imprisonment through the manipulation of sedition by colonial administrators. Prominent figures in the freedom movement, including Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru were prosecuted under sedition law.
  • Repressing Democratic Values: India is being described as an elected autocracy primarily because of the callous and calculated use of sedition law.
  • Supreme Court’s Judgement: In the case of Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar in 1962, the Supreme Court established a limitation on the application of sedition. The court ruled that sedition should only be applicable to "acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence."
  • View Constituent Assembly: The members of the Constituent Assembly held the belief that the sedition law had the potential to restrict freedom of speech and expression. They raised concerns that this law could be misused as a tool to suppress the legitimate and constitutionally guaranteed right of the people to engage in peaceful protests.

Significance of Sedition Law in India

  • Protecting National Security: The sedition law in India is seen as significant in safeguarding the integrity and sovereignty of the nation by discouraging actions or expressions that threaten the government's authority, promote violence, or incite rebellion.
  • Balancing Individual Freedom and State Interests: Supporters argue that sedition laws strike a balance between individual freedom of speech and the interests of the state, aiming to maintain national security and social order.
  • Maintaining Unity & Integrity: Sedition law helps the government in combating anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements.
  • Maintaining the Stability of State: The sedition law plays a crucial role in safeguarding the elected government from violent and illegal attempts to overthrow it. Preserving the continuity of a legally established government is vital for maintaining the stability of the State.


Keywords: GS -2 Polity and Constitution
Daily Current Affairs

Semiconductor manufacturing in India

In News: Ministry of Electronics and IT recently announced that it will reopen the window for applying to its Rs 76,000 crore semiconductor manufacturing plan after the first window failed to attract any major names.

About the Semiconductor Industry:

  • A semiconductor is a material that is used in electronic equipment and devices to manage and control the flow of electricity. Semiconductors are the "brains" of modern electronics.
  • They are made from elements like silicon or germanium, or compounds like gallium arsenide.
  • Semiconductors are the building blocks of today’s technology and find application in computers, mobiles, cars, planes, medical diagnostic tools, defence technology, aerospace etc.
  • They make the devices more compact, less expensive, and more powerful.

Current scenario of India’s semiconductor manufacturing landscape:

  • The Indian semiconductor market is expected to reach US$ 63 billion by 2026, with smartphones and wearable, automotive components etc. accounting for more than 60% of the market.
  • Currently, the Indian semiconductor industry accounts for roughly US$ 2.3 trillion of global GDP and represents 1% of the international semiconductor trade and 0.5% of global semiconductor sales.
  • However Indian semiconductor manufacturing industry is facing hurdles due to unavailability of technology and applicants running out of contention due to delayed mergers.
  • Three entities namely Vedanta-Foxconn JV, international consortium ISMC, & Singapore-based IGSS Ventures had applied to set up fabrication units in the country, but all are facing hurdles.

Challenges of Semiconductor industry:

  • No fruition of deals:
    • Vedanta-Foxconn struggles to find a tech partner that could licence them the technology to manufacture 28-nanometre chips.
    • ISMC has asked not to consider its proposal owing to a pending merger between Intel and Tower Semiconductor
    • Singapore-based IGSS Venture’s proposal was not found to be up to the mark by the government’s advisory committee.
  • It is a capital intensive industry as chip design and manufacturing requires a developed ecosystem for business to thrive. As per a government estimate, it would cost roughly $5-$7 billion to set up a chip fabrication unit in India.
  • Despite the huge talent pool of chip designers in India, it lacks skilled process engineers who can run a front-end chip factory.
  • Structural Flaws as FDI in electronics is less than 1% of the total FDI inflow due to lack of skilled labour, delays in land acquisition, and the uncertain tax regime.

Significance of Semiconductor industry for India:

  • Tackle supply shocks: The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns impacted the supply of chips to India. Automobile manufacturers were compelled to reduce their production due to the shortage.
  • Meet the rising demand: Experts estimate that around 50 crore people will join the internet in the next decade thereby demanding more phones and laptops.
  • Employment Creation: Indigenous manufacturing of chips will build its smartphone assembly industry and strengthen its electronics supply chain, creating numerous employment opportunities.
  • Geopolitical Benefits: Countries having a sufficient supply of chips would be in a better position to mold the future course of geopolitics, driven by data and the digital revolution.
  • Reduction of import dependence: Development of a domestic electronics supply chain will reduce its imports from foreign countries, especially China.
  • Replacing China: It is an opportune time for India to venture into semiconductor manufacturing, as more companies try to diversify their bases from China.

Government Initiative:

  • Production-Linked Incentive scheme with a budgeted incentive of Rs 76,000 crore over the next six years.
  • National Policy on Electronics 2019 which envisions positioning India as a global hub for the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector..
  • Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS)
  • Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme
  • 100% Foreign Direct Investment under the automatic route for ESDM sector.


Keywords: GS-3 Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Daily Current Affairs

A New Treaty of Outer Space

In News: UN recommends New Treaty for peace and security in Outer Space

About New Treaty on Outer Space:

  • The United Nations (UN) has recently recommended a new treaty to ensure peace and security in outer space.
  • The recommendations have been outlined in a UN policy brief called "For All Humanity - The Future of Outer Space Governance."
  • The treaty aims to prevent an arms race and establish international norms, rules, and principles for space systems.
  • It also proposes to have a mechanism in response to fundamental changes in outer space and the need for effective governance.
  • The treaty will address emerging risks to outer space security, safety, and sustainability through a combination of binding and non-binding norms to mitigate threats.
  • Member states will discuss and agree upon the treaty at the UN Summit of the Future in 2024 with deliberations on issues related to space resource exploration, exploitation, and utilization.
  • The objective is to prevent conflicts, environmental degradation, and cultural loss in the utilization of space resources.
  • The treaty will establish an effective framework for coordinating space traffic and reducing space debris.
  • The treaty will also aim to protect critical civilian infrastructure and maintain global communication and navigation capabilities.
  • Currently, there is no agreed international framework for space resource activities except treaties on peaceful uses of outer space and nuclear weapons testing.

Existing Treaties on Outer Space:

  • Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, 1959
    • It was created by United Nation to enable international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
    • Its primary goal is to promote the exploration and use of outer space for the benefit of all
  • Prohibition of nuclear weapon testing in outer space (1963):
    • This agreement, known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), aimed to prevent the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater.
    • In 1977, member states further committed to the "Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects" resolution.
    • This resolution was aimed to prevent the alteration of the space environment as a weapon and the placement of weapons in outer space.


Keywords: GS-3: Space
Daily Current Affairs

National Electricity Plan 2022-32

In News: The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has recently notified the National Electricity Plan (NEP) for the period of 2022-32.

About National Electricity Plan 2022-2032:

  • The National Electricity Plan is prepared by the CEA of Ministry of Power in accordance with the National Electricity Policy and the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • The plan has been notified for the period of 2022-32 and includes a review of the last five years (2017-22), detailed plan for the next five years (2022-27), and a prospective plan for the following five years (2027-32).

Major highlights:

  • The plan projects the All-India peak electricity demand and electrical energy requirement to reach 2 GW and 1907.8 BU by 2026-27, and 366.4 GW and 2473.8 BU by 2031-32.
  • The share of non-fossil-based capacity is expected to increase to 57.4% by the end of 2026-27 and further to 68.4% by the end of 2031-32, compared to the current share of around 42.5%.
  • The plan estimates a total fund requirement of Rs. 33.60 lakh crore for power generation capacity addition from 2022-2032.
  • By 2026-27, the likely installed capacity is projected to be 609,591 MW, consisting of conventional capacity (273,038 MW) and renewable-based capacity (336,553 MW).
  • By 2031-32, the estimated installed capacity is 900,422 MW, including conventional capacity (304,147 MW) and renewable-based capacity (596,275 MW).
  • The average Plant Load Factor (PLF) for coal-based capacity is estimated to be about 58.4% in 2026-27 and 58.7% in 2031-32.
  • Energy storage capacity requirements are projected to be 13 GW/82.37 GWh by 2026-27 and 73.93 GW/411.4 GWh by 2031-32.
  • The plan considers the domestic coal requirement, which is estimated to be 4 million tonnes for 2026-27 and 1025.8 million tonnes for 2031-32, with an additional 28.9 million tonnes of coal imports.
  • The plan aims to reduce the average emission factor to 548 kg CO2/kWhnet by 2026-27 and 0.430 kg CO2/kWhnet by 2031-32.
  • Overall, the plan aims to align with India’s target of achieving a non-fossil based installed capacity of around 500 GW by 2029-30.


Keywords: GS-3: Infrastructure, Electricity
Daily Current Affairs

Access to assured irrigation

In News: NITI Aayog reports India having nearly 55% of farm land getting irrigation

About Access to Access to Assured Irrigation:

  • More than half of India's cultivated land now has access to assured irrigation, with nearly 55% of the gross sown area having irrigation access in 2022-23, compared to 47.8% in 2013-14.
  • The increase in irrigation cover is attributed to the expansion of land under agriculture, particularly in dryland farm zones such as Telangana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The expansion of irrigation is expected to help mitigate the impact of dry summers and patchy monsoons, which are partially linked to the climate crisis.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 80% of India's available water use of 700 billion cubic meters annually and contribute around 18% to the national economy beside being the largest employer.
  • India has installed micro irrigation facilities, including sprinklers and drip systems in 8 million hectares, constituting a significant portion of the total irrigated area.
  • Currently, 40% of the irrigated area in the country is watered through canal networks, while 60% relies on groundwater.
  • With groundwater levels in several states depleting significantly, India must create irrigation potential in about 60% of its arable land subject to hydrological and geographical limitations.

Major government schemes:

  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)
    • PMKSY was launched in 2015 to expand the cultivated area with assured irrigation, reduce water wastage, improve water use efficiency, and incentivize micro-irrigation through subsidies.
    • Since then, the cultivated area under irrigation has been increasing by 1% each year with States making more investments than the central government to make the scheme successful.
  • Micro-Irrigation Fund (MIF)
    • In 2018-19, a ₹500 billion micro-irrigation fund (MIF) was created to assist states in mobilizing resources related to micro irrigation facilities.
  • Other Programs and Projects
    • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)
    • Har Khet Ko Paani-Surface Minor Irrigation


Keywords: GS-3: Agriculture, Irrigation
Daily Current Affairs

Times of India’s (TOI) ‘Saving Our Stripes’ initiative

In News: Recently, Prime Minister praised the Times of India Saving Our Stripes' initiative on the importance of tiger conservation.


  • The Saving Our Stripes campaign was launched by TOI in 2023 to celebrate the success of Project Tiger, raise awareness, and mobilize action to safeguard endangered tiger populations.
  • The campaign garnered widespread support from the public, government, and private sectors.
  • By targeting children, the initiative encourages the younger generation to embrace the ethical values of environmental stewardship and conservation.
  • A special Tiger Anthem curated by celebrated artists including Nalla Muthu.


Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Sal seeds

Why in news? Recently, the government-owned Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation of Odisha Ltd (TDCCOL) decided to procure sal seeds (Shorea robusta) from nine Odisha districts.


Sal tree:

  • Shorea robusta, the sal tree, is a species of tree in the family Dipterocarpaceae.
  • The tree is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and across the Himalayan regions.
  • Shorea robusta can grow up to 40 metres tall with a trunk diameter of 2 metres.
  • The leaves are 10–25 cm long and 5–15 cm broad.
  • The sal tree is known also as sakhua in northern India, including Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • It is the state tree of two Indian states – Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
  • In India, it extends from Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand west to the Shivalik Hills in Haryana, east of the Yamuna.
  • The range also extends through the Eastern Ghats and to the eastern Vindhya and Satpura ranges of central India.
  • Odisha has a rich depository of sal seeds accounting for 25 per cent of the country’s production, which played a significant role in the economics of the tribal people in the state.
    • Around 40 per cent of the total tribal populations here are engaged in collecting and processing the seeds to eke out a living.
  • Other major sal seeds producing states include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs

Li-ion battery recycling technology

Why in news? Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India has transferred cost-effective lithium-ion battery recycling technology to nine recycling industries and start-ups as part of the Mission LiFE under the “Promote circularity campaign.”


  • It is the indigenously developed technology that could process assorted types of discarded Li-ion batteries.
  • It has the capacity of recovering more than 95 per cent Lithium (Li), Cobalt (Co), Manganese (Mn) and Nickel (Ni) contents in the form of their corresponding oxides/carbonates of about 98 per cent purity.
  • The recycling process involves leaching followed by hierarchical selective extraction of metal values through the solvent extraction process.
  • These secondary raw materials could be used for battery manufacturing or in other potential applications.
  • The technology was developed at the Centre of Excellence on E-waste Management, in collaboration with the Government of Telangana and industry partner.


  • It is a soft, silvery-white metal and it has the lowest density of all metals and the lightest of the solid elements.
  • It reacts vigorously with water.
  • It does not occur as a metal in nature but is found combined in small amounts in igneous rocks.
  • Major Reserves: Lithium reserves are concentrated in the lithium triangle in South America – Argentina, Bolivia & Chile, with 50% of the deposits concentrated in these regions.
  • India generates more than 50,000 tons of lithium-ion battery waste annually, growing in the range of 40-80%. India currently imports all of its Li from Australia and Argentina and 70% of its Li-ion cell requirement from China and Hong Kong.


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

Smart bandage

Why in news? Recently, A new ‘smart bandage’ raises the bar for treating chronic wounds.


  • The smart bandage is a soft stretchable polymer that helps the bandage maintain contact with and stick to the skin.
  • The bandage works by using biosensors to track the chemical composition of the wound exudates, which changes as the wound heals.
  • It also monitors pH and temperature to provide real-time information about infection and inflammation.
  • The bandage has a hydrogel layer with electrodes that control the release of drugs. It is wireless, eliminating the need for bulky equipment and wired connections.
  • Data collected by the bandage is passed to a flexible printed circuit board, which relays it wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet for review by a physician.
  • In tests, the bandage loaded with an antimicrobial substance proved effective against bacteria commonly associated with chronic wounds. It also enhanced tissue regeneration in skin cell investigations.
  • When applied to wounds in diabetic mice, the bandage accurately detected infection, inflammation, and metabolic statuses.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Health
Daily Current Affairs

MH60R helicopter

Why in news? Recently, Indian Navy achieved a unique feat after an MH-60 ‘Romeo’ multi-mission helicopter landed on the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.


  • MH-60 Romeo Helicopter is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
  • It is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics and sensors.
  • It is manufactured by US defence major Lockheed Martin.
  • This helicopter can detect and track submarines and surface ships and attack with torpedoes and missiles.
  • Main missions of the MH-60R Seahawk are Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW).
  • Secondary missions are search and rescue, combat search and rescue, vertical replenishment, medical evacuation and insertion and extraction of special forces.
  • It carries advanced airborne active sonar, multi-mode search radar and nose-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) turret.
  • This helicopter is operated by a crew of 4 in anti-submarine warfare role and crew of 5 in anti-surface warfare role. It can also accommodate additional passengers.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Security and Defence
Daily Current Affairs

Desiccation-tolerant vascular plant species

Why in news? Recently, A new study has discovered 62 desiccation-tolerant vascular plant species in the Western Ghats, with potential applications in agriculture and conservation.


  • Desiccation-tolerant vascular (DT) plants are able to withstand extreme dehydration, losing up to 95% of their water content, and they revive themselves once water is available again.
  • This unique ability allows them to survive in harsh, arid environments that would be uninhabitable for most other plants.
  • Desiccation-tolerant plants have special adaptations e.g., mechanisms to prevent cellular damage during dehydration; thick cuticle on leaves, which reduces water loss through evaporation etc.
  • Examples: Selaginella lepidophylla (Rose of Jericho); Xerophyta viscosa; Myrothamnus flabellifolius (Resurrection plant); Craterostigma plantagineum; Haberlea rhodopensis.
  • Moreover, out of the 62 species identified, 16 are endemic to India.
  • Additionally, 12 species are exclusively found in the Western Ghats, showcasing the region’s significance as a global hotspot for DT plants.

Vascular plants

  • Vascular plants, also known as tracheophytes, are a group of plants that have specialized tissues for conducting water, nutrients, and sugars throughout their structures.
  • These tissues are called vascular tissues and include the xylem and phloem.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? After a 27-year absence, the United States has reopened its Embassy in Seychelles, signalling a renewed focus on countering China’s influence in the Indian Ocean region.


  • Seychelles is an archipelago country located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa.
  • It consists of 115 islands, with its capital city being Victoria, situated on the main island of Mahé.
  • Situated between latitudes 4° and 11° S and longitudes 46° and 56° E.
  • It’s home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises.
  • Fruit bats (Pteropus seychellensis) and Seychelles sheath-tailed bats (Coleura seychellensis) are endemic to the islands.



Keywords: General Studies –1 Geography
Daily Editorial Analysis

EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

Exam View: Emissions Trading System (ETS) of EU; Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) of EU; WTO consistency.

Context: The European Union’s (EU) new climate law, the ‘Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)’ for environmental protection, could become a smokescreen for trade protectionism.


  • While India’s exports may be limited to aluminium, iron, and steel, and affect only 1.8% of its total exports to the EU, India has reportedly decried CBAM as being protectionist and discriminatory.
  • There is also talk of challenging the CBAM at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s dispute settlement body.

Decoding the editorial: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

Emissions Trading System (ETS):

  • In 2005, the EU adopted this important climate change policy.
  • It is a market-based mechanism that aims at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by allowing bodies emitting GHG to buy and sell these emissions amongst themselves.
  • The ETS is now in its fourth stage.
  • Competitive disadvantage:
    • The EU’s concern is that while it has a mechanism for its domestic industries, emissions embedded in products imported from other countries may not be priced in a similar way due to a lack of stringent policies or due to less stringent policies in those countries.
  • Carbon leakage:
    • Due to the application of ETS, European firms operating in carbon-intensive sectors might possibly shift to those countries that have less stringent GHG emission norms.
  • To tackle this, the impacted industries in the EU had so far been receiving free allowances or permits under the ETS.


  • It is aimed at addressing this quagmire of ETS, and levelling the playing field for the EU industries.
  • Under the CBAM, imports of certain carbon-intensive products, namely cement, iron and steel, electricity, fertilisers, aluminium, and hydrogen, will have to bear the same economic costs borne by EU producers under the ETS.

WTO consistency:

  • As per WTO’s framework of non-discrimination, countries are required to accord equal treatment to ‘like’ products irrespective of their country of origin (most-favoured nation treatment) and to treat foreign-made ‘like’ products as they treat domestic ones (national treatment principle).
  • Discrimination between countries due to CBAM:
    • While the CBAM’s design is origin-neutral in appearance, it may, in its application, discriminate between goods from different countries on account of an inadequate carbon pricing policy, or due to onerous reporting requirements that importers would be subject to.
  • Discrimination between ‘like’ products due to CBAM:
    • While steel products may appear similar, the process by which electric arc furnaces produce steel is less carbon-intensive than the steel produced in blast furnaces, for instance.
    • In WTO jurisprudence processes and production methods are not relevant for comparing products. But, the CBAM violates WTO law for discriminating between EU and foreign products covered by CBAM based on the embedded emissions.
  • The General Exceptions clause in Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT):
    • Measures taken by countries that otherwise violate GATT obligations are permitted if,
      • They fall under one of the listed policy grounds. One of the listed policy grounds in Article XX is ‘conservation of exhaustible natural resources’. CBAM would fall under this category.
      • They satisfy the requirements of the introductory clause of Article XX, known as the chapeau. It is doubtful if CBAM would satisfy the chapeau, which inter alia requires that countries do not apply measures in a manner that results in arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the same conditions prevail. CBAM only considers ‘explicit’ carbon prices, not ‘implicit’ costs (non-price-based costs) borne by-products originating in certain countries. Accordingly, it arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminates between countries where the same environmental conditions exist.

India should work with the EU to secure gains on CBAM and ensure smooth onboarding for Indian exporters to maximize the benefits of a bilateral deal, even as the possibility of a WTO challenge remains open.


Keywords: GS Paper-3: Conservation, GS Paper-2: Government Policies and Interventions; Bilateral Groupings & Agreements.
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