September 2023 Current Affairs

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs


Pragyan rover confirms sulphur



2   Monthly Current Affairs


Political Issue of Delimitation


Immunity of legislators from bribery charges


Parliamentary Conduct


Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam 2023/ Women Reservation Bill


Parliamentary conduct


Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR)


Fraternity in India


Export Control of Dual-Use Items


Gramodyog Vikas Yojana


Significance and legacy of Parliament in India’s democracy


Issue About RTI


Special Session” of Parliament


One Nation, One Election


“RAISE” for Business


‘Self-respect’ marriages


Minority Scholarship Scheme Scam


Fali S Nariman on Basic Structure Doctrine




India’s First Solar Roof Cycling Track


9 years of PM Jhan Dhan Yojana


National e-Vidhan Application


Vishwakarma Scheme


Gita Mittal Committee


Foreign Contribution Regulations Act


Five Eyes Alliance


UNCITRAL South Asia Conference


India-Saudi Arabia Relationships


India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC)


African Union in G20


ASEAN summit


French laïcité


Artifacts to grace G-20 corridor


National Carbon Registry


Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC)


Operation Sajag


Three Years of Abraham Accords


India’s GDP measurement and its limitations


JP Morgan global bond index


India’s supply Chain Opportunities


2023 World Trade Report: Re-globalization


Vidya Samiksha Kendras


Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) for fintech entities


Hallmarking in India


World food price index


India Progress in Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) – World Bank


New UPI features


Financial inclusion to reduce inequality and fasten growth


UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability


Malaviya Mission – Teachers Training Programme


Vizag International Cruise Terminal


Multi-Purpose Seaweed Park (Tamil Nadu)


Omission of disability-related questions from NFHS-6


Third Rail of Kolkata Metro Railway


Agricultural Cess


Curbs on rice exports




PM-WANI (Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface)-India's Digital Landscape


Old Pension Scheme (OPS): Red Flag by RBI


SHREYAS scheme


Kisan Rin Portal


Data-driven innovations in agriculture


‘Bima Sugam’ online platform


Indian Standards on Biofuel to Aid GBA’s Clean Energy Goals


National Policy on Research & Development and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector


Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme


Social bonds




Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary




Kole wetlands


Climate Change and the Indian Dairy Sector


The State of the Rhino Report, 2023


Veerangana Durgavati Tiger Reserve


Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary


Mithun (‘Food Animal’)


World Ozone Day


Gender Impact of Climate Change


Deoxygenation in riverine ecosystems


Collaborative Partnership on Forests


Persuasion: Green Nudge


Segur elephant corridor


Anamudi Shola national park


Paris agenda for the people and the planet


Banning Glue pads for rodent control


Climate change causing deluge across the world


2nd Berlin Forum on Chemicals and Sustainability


United Nations Global Stocktake Report




White sambar deer


Management of e-waste in India


Siang River


‘Atlantification’ of the Arctic Ocean


India's Falling Cotton Production


Amended Forest (Conservation) Act imperils the Northeast


Forest Restoration


Missing green growth






Sand Mining: Irreversible damage to Ocean benthic life


Wastewater – Turning Problem into Solution


The impact of food on climate


Protect world heritage sites to conserve biodiversity: United Nation


BS 6 Stage II ‘Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle’


Kākāpō parrots


Red sand boa


New species of leaf insects


Man-made Natural Disaster


Emperor Penguin


Flora Fauna and ‘Funga’


IUCN's Tiger Programme


6th Census Report on Minor Irrigation (MI) Schemes


Fire Prevention Zone


Flood Plain Zoning


Salem sago


Global Biofuel Alliance


Araku Coffee


Reasons behind Morocco’s earthquake


Libya Flood Reason for High Death Toll




Critical Raw Materials Act


Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics




Narmada River


Formation of Pink Diamond


Vandanium Discovery in Gujarat


Kaobal Gali-Mushkoh Valley


Galactic tides


World Coffee Conference






‘Pralay’ ballistic missiles


Dhanush guns




Supra Thermal and Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS)




‘Anti-trust’ Law


Nipah Virus


Project SamudraYaan


Genetic engineering to control Mosquitoes


Human embryo


Gujarat Declaration


Cartesian coordinates


Largest indigenously developed Nitrogen plant


Global Fund to slash HIV treatment price.




Mysteries of the Y chromosome


Use of Technology in Agriculture


National Space Day


Somatic Genetic Variants


Medical Textiles


Natural Polyphenols to Combat Alzheimer’s Disease


Newspapers for handling food


Society & Social Justice


Suicide Clusters in India


Identity and Marginality in Northeast India


Measuring Hunger Across States


First UN guidance on Children’s Rights and Environment


Initiatives for promoting disability rights


Paryushan 2023




Items Representing Indian Cultural Traditions Gifted to G-20 Leaders




Maritime trade route between India and Europe


Tribes India pavilion (G20)


Shiva’s Nataraja form


Adopt a Heritage 2.0


London’s India Club


Old Parliament Building


Reconstructing an ancient ‘stitched ship’


Adi Shankaracharya


Mewar school of painting


India’s First Lighthouse Festival

3   Monthly Editorial Analysis


Make agriculture less damaging


India’s role in democratising space


The complex path of biofuel Sustainability




Women-led climate action


Climate Phenomenon and Food Security


The complex path of biofuel Sustainability


Striking a Green Balance


End of Old Multilateralism and Rise of New World Order


India-Middle East-Europe Corridor: Catalyst to new world order


G-20 diplomacy and shifting world order


Gap Between Law and Justice


Green path to G20 development goals




Ridding India of food insecurity


Propelling India’s development


Fortified rice: Solution to Hidden Hunger


Creative industries can boost economies


State of Working India (SWI 2023) report


One Health


Subverting the idea of India

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Daily Current Affairs

Pragyan rover confirms sulphur

In News: Recently, Chandrayaan-3’s Pragyan rover has confirmed the presence of sulphur on the moon’s surface, near its south pole. 


  • The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument onboard the Chandrayaan-3’s rover has made the first-ever in-situ measurements on the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the south pole.  
  • The analysis has also revealed the presence of elements like aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen on the lunar surface. 
  • The Pragyan rover is still actively searching for the presence of hydrogen. 

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)  

  • LIBS is a rapid chemical analysis technology that employs short laser pulses to create micro-plasma on a sample’s surface. 
    • The LIBS technique involves using intense laser pulses to analyse materials, creating hot and localized plasma whose emitted light is then studied to determine the material’s elemental composition. 
  • Advantages of LIBS: 
    • Requires no sample preparation. 
    • Offers rapid measurements, often within a few seconds. 
    • Covers a wide range of elements, including lighter ones. 
    • Supports versatile sampling protocols, including surface rastering and depth profiling. 

Keywords: Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs


In News: An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent is participating in Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23, a multilateral, tri-service exercise hosted biennially at Cairo (West) Air Base, Egypt. 


  • Exercise BRIGHT STAR is a biennial multilateral tri-service exercise. 
  • This multinational exercise was launched in 1980 as part of the US-brokered peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. 
  • This marks the first time that the IAF is participating in Ex BRIGHT STAR-23, joining contingents from the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Qatar. 
  • The Indian Air Force contingent will consist of five MiG-29, two IL-78, two C-130 and two C-17 aircraft.  
  • Personnel from the IAF's Garud Special Forces, as well as those from the Numbers 28, 77, 78 and 81 Squadrons, will be participating in the exercise. 
  • Objective:  
    • To practice planning and execution of joint operations 
    • Besides leading to the formation of bonding across borders, such interactions also provide a means to further strategic relations between participating nations. 

Other exercises between India and Egypt:  

  • Exercise Cyclone-I:  
    • It Is a bilateral exercise between the special forces of the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army.  
    • The first edition of the exercise was held in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan in January 2023. 

Also in the News:  

  • AUSINDEX-23 is a biennial maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy. 

Keywords: Science & Technology
Monthly Current Affairs

Political Issue of Delimitation

In News: Recently, the Women’s Reservation Bill, providing 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, was swiftly passed by both Houses of Parliament, but its fate hangs in balance because of its dependence on the delimitation exercise. 


  • Delimitation is a Constitutional mandate, to be carried out after every Census, to readjust the number of seats and their boundaries on the basis of latest population data. 
  • But the number of seats for the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies has remained frozen for the last 50 years, due of opposition from political parties from the South. This is because the population growth rate in the northern Indian states is more as compared to the southern states. 
  • And they have no desire to enable delimitation even today, partly because this would result in a substantial increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats in the states of northern India, where population growth has been more pronounced. 

Political connections between Women’s Reservation Bill and Delimitation: 

  • This bill provides 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies after delimitation. 
  • One of the reasons women’s reservation did not become a reality in the last 35 years was the fear among male politicians of having to let go of their seats. 
  • A 33 per cent reservation in the current 545-member Lok Sabha would mean 182 seats being kept for women. Only 363 seats would be available for men. The current Lok Sabha has 467 men. 
  • If, as a result of the delimitation exercise, the strength of the Lok Sabha increases to 770, as some calculations suggest, 257 seats would be reserved for women, and the remaining 513 could be available for men to contest. 
  • Linkage with delimitation could delay the implementation of women’s reservation even beyond 2029. 
  • Delimitation is a contentious issue. But now, a resistance to the delimitation exercise ahead of 2029 polls would give a handle to the BJP to accuse the Opposition of creating hurdles for the women’s reservation Bill 

Some major concerns with Delimitation: 

  • The main rationale of delimitation is to ensure that every state has equitable representation in the Lok Sabha on the basis of its population, with the same logic running down within the states for Assemblies. 
  • In the 1977 Lok Sabha, for example, every MP in India represented about 10.11 lakh people, on an average. While there are large variations, especially in small states, the attempt is to keep this number in as tight a range as possible. But there is no restriction on what this number should be. 
  • If we attempt to retain the same number as in 1977, the strength of the Lok Sabha would have to be expanded to nearly 1,400, due to the increase in population. But the new Lok Sabha has been built with the maximum capacity of 888 seats. That means the average population size of every constituency would have to go up. 
  • The number of Lok Sabha seats in states like Uttar Pradesh or Bihar are likely to jump much more than south Indian states. 
  • If the delimitation exercise had happened after every Census, as mandated in the Constitution, seats for the north Indian states would have gone up progressively and not all of a sudden. 
  • Delimitation continues to be a political hot potato. By linking it with women’s reservation, BJP has tried to press its advantage, but the Opposition has not yet opened its cards. 


Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Immunity of legislators from bribery charges

In News: Recently, the Supreme Court has forwarded the question of whether legislators' legal immunity provided by Article 105(2) and 194(2) of the Constitution protects them from criminal prosecution in cases involving the offering or acceptance of a bribe to a seven-judge bench for consideration. 


Article 105 of the Constitution: 

  • Article 105 deals with the "powers, privileges, etc. of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof." 

Article 105(2) of the Constitution: 

  • Article 105(2) states that no member of Parliament shall be subject to any legal proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote cast by them in Parliament or any of its committees. 
  • Additionally, no individual can be held liable for the publication, made under the authority of either House of Parliament, of any report, paper, votes, or proceedings. 

Extension of Immunity under Article 105: 

  • This legal immunity extends not only to members of Parliament but also to certain non-members who participate in parliamentary proceedings, such as the Attorney General of India or a Minister who may not be a member but delivers speeches in the House. 

Power of the Speaker: 

  • In cases where a member's speech or actions exceed the permissible boundaries of free speech, the Speaker of the House holds the authority to address such matters. 

Article 194(2) of the Constitution: 

  • Article 194(2) extends the same immunity provided by Article 105(2) to Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) in the states. This means that state legislators, like their counterparts in Parliament, are protected from legal proceedings in connection with their statements or votes within the state legislative bodies. 

Current Legal Issue: 

  • The central question in the present case before the court is whether the legal immunity granted to parliamentarians and state legislators under Article 105(2) and Article 194(2) extends to protect them from prosecution in cases involving the demand for or acceptance of a bribe. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Parliamentary Conduct

In News: On the occasion of inauguration of the new parliament, the question of declining parliamentary productivity and deteriorating parliamentary conduct needs a reflection.  

About Indian Parliamentary Democracy: 

The parliamentary democracy of India has been patterned on the lines of Britain’s Westminster model. Few instances of continuing British traditions are:  

  • Indian MPs still thump their desks in approbation, rather than applauding by clapping their hands. 
  • Bills are put to a vote, an affirmative call is still usually “aye”, rather than “yes” 
  • Continuation of various British Parliamentary traditions in India such as Question hour and role of speaker. 

Declining trend of Indian Parliamentary Conduct:  

  • Creating ruckus in assembly: Some of the State Assemblies have witnessed scenes of furniture overthrown, microphones ripped out and slippers flung by unruly legislators. 
  • Violation of Code of Conduct: The code of conduct applicable to all elected MPs such as including injunctions against speaking out of turn, shouting slogans, waving placards and marching into the well of the house etc. are routinely breached. 
  • Violent actions: Fisticuffs and torn garments have also been observed during scuffles among politicians in these assemblies. Pepper spray was once released in the well by a protesting MP, resulting in the hospitalisation of some MPs.  
  • Flouting of Parliamentary rules: MPs in the Upper and Lower Houses have been suspended from membership for such transgressions as charging up to the presiding officer’s desk, wrenching his microphone and tearing up his papers.  

Shrinking space for opposition 

  • Less space for opposition’s views: In a system where party-line voting is made obligatory by the anti-defection law, standards have been allowed to slide, with adjournments being preferred to expulsions. 
  • Democratic system under assault: Overweening government, media intimidation, the hollowing out of autonomous institutions and pressures by investigative agencies on political has made it difficult for opposition to present their views.  
  • Erosion of Parliamentary conventions: All major parliamentary committees dealing with sensitive issues are chaired by MPs of the ruling party or its allies, in disregard of conventional practice where opposition members headed the committee. Example External Affairs Committee was always chaired by an Opposition MP, to show that the nation was of one mind on foreign policy. 

Reforms in the Parliamentary Process:  

  • Opposition Day: Opposition sets the agenda of a day in week a day. It permits Opposition parties to select specific policy areas or issues they want to bring to the floor of the House for debate. These debates allow the Opposition to focus on matters of political significance. 
    • It provides Opposition parties with the opportunity to draw attention to issues they believe are important, criticise government policies, and propose alternatives. 
  • Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQs): It provides MPs an opportunity to question the Prime Minister about various issues and increases the accountability of the executive.  
  • Speaker’s Role: The Speaker should reconsider the frequent rejection of adjournment motions and the practice of grouping proposed amendments to bills for voice votes without discussion. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam 2023/ Women Reservation Bill

In News: Women Reservation bill aka Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam 2023 was passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with almost unanimous support (2 dissents in Lok Sabha). 

About Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam 2023 

  • The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill, was introduced in Lok Sabha and passed with more than two third majority. The Rajya Sabha witnessed unopposed passage of the bill.  
  • Now half of the state legislatures need to ratify the bill with a simple majority to enact the bill after the president's approval. 
  • Key Provisions of the bill are:  
    • Reservation Percentage and sub categorization: It provides reservations to one third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha, the state legislative assemblies and the Legislative Assembly of the NCT. The reservation will also extend to the seats reserved for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. 
    • Commencement of reservation: The reservation will be effective once the census conducted after the commencement of this Bill has been published. Based on the census, delimitation will be undertaken to reserve seats for women. 
    • Duration of reservation: Reservation provided for a period of 15 years. However, it shall continue till such date as determined by a law made by Parliament. 
    • Rotation of Seats: Seats reserved will be rotated after each delimitation, as determined by a law made by Parliament 
  • Amendments in the articles of Constitution 
    • Article 330A and 332A inserted for one third reservation in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies respectively.  
    • Article 330A inserts a clause for reserving one third of seats for women within SC and ST category seats of Lok Sabha.  
    • Article 239AA inserts a subsection reserving seats for women in the legislative assembly of NCT of Delhi. 

History of Women Reservation Bill:  

  • National Movement: The demand for political reservation of women was first raised during the freedom struggle, when three women bodies sent a letter to the British Prime Minister in 1931 seeking political reservation for women. 
  • Constituent Assembly Debates: The issue of women reservation also came up in Constituent Assembly debates. But it was rejected saying that democracy is expected to give representation to all groups. 
  • Committee of the Status of Women 1971: The committee recommended the reservation of women in local bodies. 
  • The National Perspective Plan for Women in 1988: This plan also recommended the reservation of women in local bodies. Consequently, 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments, mandated all State governments to reserve one-third of the seats for women in local bodies. 
  • Efforts by different political Parties: The Women Reservation Bill was first introduced in 1996 as 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill. However the bill got lapsed. Later it was reintroduced in 2003, 20004 and 2010 but could not be passed due to several objections.  

Arguments in the Favour of the enactment of Women Reservation Bill:  

  • Political empowerment of women: According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) report India ranks lower than 140 other nations in terms of women representatives in the national legislatures. Reservations would empower women and provide an increased voice of women in policy making. 
  • Significance of Women Leadership: Empirical evidence shows that women leaders focus on public goods related to women’s concerns. Women legislators have been associated with improved economic outcomes and infrastructure development. 
  • Decriminalization of politics as currently 159 MPs with charges of rape, murder, crime against women allegations in parliament. It can potentially reduce the presence of politicians with serious criminal charges. 
  • Breaking stereotypical role of women: With more representation of women the perceived role of women as homemakers would break and give them more respect and voice in the society.   
  • Breaking Patriarchy: Political representation would promote gender equality in political leadership and increase their self-worth. 

Arguments against the Women reservation Bill:  

  • Concern of no separate OBC reservation: Bill provides reservation to SC & ST women within the existing one third reservation of seats. However OBC women constituting 60% of women population have not been provided separate reservation within the 33% reserved seats.  
  • Reservation in Rajya Sabha and legislative Councils: Bill does not reserve seats in Rajya Sabha and Legislative councils which are being disputed.  
  • Delayed Enactment of the Bill: Reservation for women in Parliament depends on the census and delimitation process. This can make actual implementation of the act politically sensitive. 
  • Women as proxies: Similar to the trend of Pradhan Patis, Parishad patis, etc. it is feared that MP Pati and MLA pati system could emerge where women are just proxies of their male counterparts. 
  • Homogeneity of Women as a group: Women are not a homogenous community like caste groups, making comparisons with caste-based reservations inappropriate. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Parliamentary conduct

In News: The members of India's Parliament frequently cause disturbances, which is characterised by their propensity for disruption over discussion. This undermines the efficacy and credibility of the legislative body and raises questions about the democracy in India. 

Indian Parliament: 

  • The Parliament of India is the top legislative body of the Union government. 
  • Due to the adoption of the Parliamentary form of Government (often known as the "Westminster" model of government), it holds a dominant and important role in the Indian democratic political system. 
  • Part V of the Constitution deals with the organisation, membership, length, officials, processes, privileges, and powers of the Parliament in Articles 79 to 122. 
  • The Lower House (Lok Sabha), the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and the President are the organs of the Indian Parliament. 

Issues in the Indian Parliament: 

  • Frequent Disruptions: Instead of participating in productive debates, MPs engage in disruptive activity. 
  • Declining Standards: Legislators frequently violate the rule of conduct, and parliamentary misbehaviour has become worse over time. 
  • Impunity: There is a culture of impunity among legislators since their violations of the law frequently go unpunished. 
  • Credibility Concerns: Disruptive behaviour may have damaged Parliament's legitimacy in the eyes of the people. 
  • Inadequate Opposition Influence: Due to party-line voting and the anti-defection rule, opposition MPs have difficulty in influencing legislative decisions. While interruptions are accepted in order to give the opposition room, moral standards have been lowered. 
  • Role of Speaker: Opposition representation is hampered by the Speaker's denial of adjournment motions, amendments, and division votes. 
  • Potential Damage to Democracy: The legitimacy of India's democracy might be damaged by frequent disruptions and deteriorating quality. 

Probable Solutions for the issues: 

  • Through seminars and training, create a culture of productive discourse. 
  • Senior lawmakers should lead by example by maintaining the highest ethical standards during discussions and debates. 
  • Make sure that repercussions for wrongdoing are consistently applied, irrespective of party affiliation. 
  • Transparency, responsibility, and respect for legislative procedures will help to rebuild public trust. 
  • Establish consistent Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQs) to promote conversation and accountability. 
  • Granting the opposition access to establish the debate's agenda on a specific day each week. 
  • Enable spirited debates and guarantee the Speaker's judgments are unbiased. 
  • Put democratic principles and ideals first in order to win back the public's trust in the Parliament.,democracy%20%E2%80%94%20can%20still%20be%20saved. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR)

In News: IICA and UNICEF jointly organize a workshop on Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) 


  • In 2021, SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) introduced the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting framework.  
  • This framework requires the top 1000 publicly listed companies in India to disclose their performance across a range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dimensions.  
  • It draws its foundation from the nine principles outlined in the National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). 

What is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)? 

  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals are standards for ethical, sustainable business practices.  
  • They cover environmental stewardship, social responsibility towards employees and communities, and effective corporate governance, including leadership and shareholder rights. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Fraternity in India

In News: Fraternity does not mean anything if it glosses over social inequalities and then invokes social solidarity. 


About the origins of ‘fraternity’ 

  • In Plato’s Lysis, the philosopher invokes the word philia (love) for the strong desire to pursue wisdom. 
    • That is, love and friendship with others become more meaningful through the sharing of knowledge.  
    • The emphasis is on ‘share’ which gives us an early idea of the discourse of fraternity in ancient Greece.  
  • In Aristotle, we see the emergence of the polis, the logical location of a man who remains, first and foremost, a political being, and hence is part of the polis and not of the wild. 
    • Justice and friendship among citizens came to be the most enduring features of the polis. 
    • This here, is the birth of the idea of political fraternity. 
  • In the Middle Ages, fraternity flourished mostly through religion, within the churning of Christian society in Europe.  
  • The concept of fraternity then eventually found its entry into politics with the French Revolution of 1789 in the triptych of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’.  

Why did India adopt fraternity? 

  • India’s independence struggle and the subsequent emergence of constitutional democracy saw the necessity of liberty, equality, and fraternity. 
    • In this context, Ambedkar’s stress on the inseparability of the three ideas and the underlining of fraternity cannot be emphasized enough.  
  • It was also necessitated by a complex Indian society at the precipice of becoming an independent republic, divided on the basis of various hierarchical social inequalities. 

What is the status of fraternity in India today? 

  • Neglect of fraternity 
    • Fraternity happens to be the constitutional value that has received the maximum neglect both in the world of ideas and in the political field of action.  
    • The current nature of India’s fraternity is different from the political fraternity espoused in its Constitution. 
  • Lack of shared past  
    • In community ties, as M. C. Williams in The Idea of Fraternity in America (1973) explains, one sees an integral value system which is the foundation of the idea of fraternity.  
    • The privileging of the idea of community and the moral values associated with it, over the individual, gradually gave way to religious morality and its associated ‘way of life’.  
    • This elementary dimension of fraternity is missing when we assess fraternal ties in India.  
    • For, in order to have fraternal bonding between individuals, they must have an amicable shared past, not drawn from ideological differences rooted in the vast social inequalities among different communities.  
    • The shared history of India is marred by the caste system, and it militates against the principle of equality as well as the idea of liberty.  
    • But the Constitution privileges the individual, ensconced in the liberty, equality, and fraternity troika, leading to everyday conflict with the community.  
    • Therefore, the only conception of fraternity feasible for India must be rooted in politics. It is the only realm where caste privilege can be challenged.  
  • The ‘difference principle’ 
    • John Rawls in his Theory of Justice (1971), stressed his ‘difference principle’. It works towards maintaining certain equality in order to realize political fraternity.  
    • The idea was and still is to create a level playing field between varying social groups, locked in structural hierarchies, to begin to understand what it takes to really actualize fraternal relations. 
    • In the absence of this crucial understanding, what we have is caste consciousness of unity, which remains aloof to members of other caste groups, and is often hateful to members of so-called lower caste groups in particular.  
    • India essentially then has fraternity within its caste communities, where forging political unity remains a forlorn goal. 

What are the limits to fraternity? 

  • Glossing over social inequalities and then invoking social solidarity, turns fraternity futile. 
    • The call of such a fraternity is increasingly replaced with the rhetoric of belligerent nationalism which castigates a homegrown religious minority as its arch-enemy.  
  • Any sort of fundamentalism jettisons the possibility of fraternity. 
    • A fanatic can be anything but fraternal in the true sense. 

In India, caste and the idea of political fraternity, given its social milieu, cannot coexist. One has to give way for the other to emerge.  

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Export Control of Dual-Use Items

In News: Recently, the Director General of Foreign Trade emphasized the government’s commitment to enhanced export control of dual-use items to prevent them from falling into the hands of non-state actors and terrorists. 


  • These are items, technologies, materials, or equipment that serve both civilian and military or restricted purposes. While they are primarily designed for civilian use, they can also be employed for military or other prohibited uses. Some examples include precursor chemicals like sarin gas and components like centrifuges. 
  • Currently, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in India compiles a specialized list known as SCOMET (specialty chemicals, organisms, materials, equipment, and technologies) that encompasses these dual-use items. These items are subject to regulation in accordance with India's Foreign Trade Policy. 
  • The new foreign trade policy places a strong emphasis on streamlining the SCOMET licensing process. This is done to ensure that sensitive and dual-use goods are traded in full compliance with international agreements, including the Missile Technology Control Regime. 

Missile and Dual-Use Export Control Regimes 

  • These are cooperative agreements established by major supplier nations with the goal of averting the spread of specific military and dual-use technologies, especially those associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). 
  • These agreements operate separately from the United Nations and are exclusively binding on the nations that are part of them, without imposing any obligation on non-member countries to participate. 

India is a member of three out of the four MECRs, excluding the Nuclear Suppliers Group. 

 The four MECRs include: 

  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for nuclear technology control 
  • Australia Group (AG) for chemical and biological technology control 
  • Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for rockets and aerial vehicles related to WMD delivery, 
  • Wassenaar Arrangement for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Gramodyog Vikas Yojana

In News: Recently, The Chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), recently, distributed toolkits and machinery to artisans in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, as part of the Gramodyog Vikas Yojana. 


  • During this event, Electric Wheels were distributed to 100 potters, Footwear Toolkits were provided to 75 Leather Artisans and Paper Massey Machines were given to 60 artisans. 

Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (GVY) 

  • Gramodyog Vikas Yojana was launched in March 2020. 
  • It is one of the two components of Khadi Gramodyog Vikas Yojana, which aims to promote and develop the village industries through common facilities, technological modernization, training etc. 
    • The other component of Khadi Gramodyog Vikas Yojana is the Khadi Vikas Yojana (KVY) which includes two new components such as Rozgar Yukt Gaon, Design House (DH). 
  • Included Activities: 
    • Agro Based & Food Processing Industry (ABFPI) 
    • Mineral-Based Industry (MBI) 
    • Wellness & Cosmetics Industry (WCI) 
    • Handmade Paper, Leather & Plastic Industry (HPLPI) 
    • Rural Engineering & New Technology Industry (RENTI) 
    • Service Industry 
  • Components  
    • Research & Development and Product Innovation 
    • Capacity Building 
    • Marketing & Publicity 


  • It is a statutory body established under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, of 1956. 
  • The KVIC is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programmes for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary. 
  • Nodal Ministry:  Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Significance and legacy of Parliament in India’s democracy

In News: Recently, the Speaker said that Parliament has created an elegant symphony of democracy, that rises above the occasional. 


The Indian Parliament is the highest deliberative body and supreme representative institution of the largest working democracy in the world. It is in its Chambers that the destiny of a nation of a billion-plus people is shaped, and their expectations, concerns, problems, and dreams are fulfilled. It is in this temple of democracy that the members of the two Houses of Parliament keep the Executive accountable at all times and closely monitor the policies and programs for national welfare. 

Significance of Parliament in India’s democracy: 

  • Historical Legacy: Deeply rooted in India’s historical and cultural heritage, reflecting participative governance for millennia. For example, India is widely regarded as the “mother of democracy”. Ancient texts and local self-governance traditions—Sabhas, Samitis, Republic. 
  • Founding Fathers’ Vision: India’s founders had faith in people’s wisdom, leading to the adoption of an enlightened Constitution. For example, adoption of a democratic system post-independence. 
  • Accommodative Democracy: Effective management of conflicts, celebration of diversity, and promotion of unity for development and prosperity. For example, Unity in diversity is a fundamental national ethos. 
  • Watchdog of Public Exchequer: Oversight of public finances, budget approval, and accountability of the Executive. For example, Approval of budgets and financial allocations. 
  • Voice of the People: Platform for citizens to raise concerns, and promote socio-economic change through legislation and debates. For example, the issue of the Manipur crisis discussed in Parliament sessions. 
  • Living Institution: Vibrant representation of the will of over a billion Indians, dedicated to citizens’ welfare and unity. For Example, Consistent legislative work for national progress. 
  • Symphony of Democracy: Creation of an elegant symphony of democracy, upholding constitutional values and national interests. For example, successful parliamentary functioning despite disagreements. 
  • Evaluation by Parliamentary Committees: Detailed scrutiny of bills, budget proposals, and ministries, enhancing oversight and accountability. For example, Committees’ role in policy evaluation and formulation. 
  • Autonomy and Parliamentary Privileges: Protection of members’ autonomy and dignity through immunity and privileges for free expression. For example, Immunity from prosecution for parliamentary speech. 
  • Accountability: Parliament is entrusted with securing accountability of the Executive through various instruments such as the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, tradition and well-settled precedents. 
  • Empowering the Grassroots: India's democracy is not confined to the national level alone; it extends to the grassroots through a vibrant system of local self-governance. For example, Panchayati Raj institutions in decentralizing power and involving citizens in the decision-making process. 
  • Use of Technology: In the digital age, technology has transformed the way democracy’s function. Technology makes parliamentary proceedings more accessible to the public and bridge the gap between citizens and their elected representatives. 

Parliament shows the enduring elegance of Indian democracy, emphasizing unity in diversity, resilience, cooperation, accountability, and technological progress. India's democratic model continues to inspire and serves as a testament to the enduring strength of democratic principles. 


  • It is a statutory body established under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, of 1956. 
  • The KVIC is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programmes for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary. 
  • Nodal Ministry:  Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Issue About RTI

In News: Activists raises concerns about the dilution of the Right to Information (RTI) over the years 

About issues with RTI: 

  • The Right To Information (RTI) Act was enacted in 2005 to grant citizens the right to request access to government-held data, documents, and information. 
  • It empowers citizens to access information to identify delays in public works, shortcomings in welfare schemes, and provided insights into government decision-making. 
  • Previously, India's RTI Act has been hailed as one of the world's most comprehensive public records access legislations. 
  • Major issues: 
    • The RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 gave the Union Government unilateral power to decide the tenure and salaries of information commissioners who handle appeals against unsatisfactory RTI responses. 
    • The effectiveness of the RTI Act depends on subordinate Rules made by both the Union Government and State Governments, leading to inconsistencies in implementation. 
    • The choice of payment method for filing RTI requests varies by state, with some, like Tamil Nadu, not accepting convenient options like Indian Postal Orders. 
    • Delays in appointing information commissioners in Central and State Information Commissions have undermined confidence in the RTI framework, resulting in prolonged appeals. 
    • Amendments to RTI Act: 
      • The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, amended the RTI Act by introducing a blanket ban on disclosing personal data, raising concerns about transparency. 
      • The National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) highlighted that this amendment could hinder 'social audits' in ration distribution, preventing citizens from verifying beneficiaries. 
      • The amendment also raises concerns that powerful public officials could evade accountability by using the ban on disclosing personal information. 
    • While online RTI applications simplify the process, not all states have online portals, and some government bodies are not registered on these platforms. 
    • The Union Government's RTI portal, launched in 2013, has experienced technical issues, including the disappearance of past data and the removal of the account creation feature. 
    • There is a rising trend of first appeals being filed, indicating increasing dissatisfaction with the information provided by public officials. 
  • Weakening of the RTI Act is not solely due to changes in the law's text but also stems from institutional and implementation issues, hindering citizens' ability to conveniently access information. 
  • Concerns have also been raised about the RTI Act's limited applicability and broad exemptions for political parties, the judiciary, and intelligence agencies. 
  • Overall, there is need to increase the effectiveness of the RTI Act in holding public officials accountable and improving the transparency in functioning of Union and State Governments. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Special Session” of Parliament

In News: Union government announces a 'Special Session of Parliament' 

About Special session of Parliament: 

  • The term "special session" is not defined in the Constitution and is typically used for specific occasions like commemorating milestones. 
  • Previously, a committee in 1955 proposed a parliamentary session timetable, but it was never implemented. 
  • As India's Parliament does not have a fixed calendar of sittings, the union government decides when Parliament meets, and the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs makes these decisions. 
  • The President is informed about the committee's decision, and Members of Parliament are summoned accordingly. 
  • The Constitution mandates that no more than six months should elapse between two parliamentary sessions. 
  • This provision was borrowed from the Government of India Act of 1935, aiming to prevent excessive taxation and evade legislative scrutiny. 
  • Article 352 (Proclamation of Emergency) mentions a "special sitting of the House," added through the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978. 
  • It outlines procedures for convening a special meeting in the event of an Emergency if Parliament is not in session. 

Key features: 

  • A special session of Parliament is a unique and distinct session convened for specific purposes and occasions outside of the regular parliamentary calendar. 
    • These are often called to address pressing legislative matters that cannot wait until the next regular session such as emergency laws, financial bills, or critical policy decisions. 
    • It can also be convened to commemorate significant national milestones, anniversaries, or historical events of national values. 
    • In some cases, the Constitution or legal provisions may require a special session for specific purposes, such as the President's address at the beginning of a new parliamentary term. 
  • Special sessions follow the same parliamentary procedures as regular sessions including debates, voting, and discussions on bills and resolutions. 
  • The presiding officers of both Houses of Parliament—Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha—oversee the proceedings during special sessions. 
  • The duration of a special session can vary widely, depending on the agenda and the issues being addressed. 
  • Before independence, the central assembly met for around 60 days a year, which increased to 120 days annually in the early post-independence years. 
  • Previously, various bodies including the conference of presiding officers and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, have recommended increasing the number of sitting days. 
  • The US Congress and parliaments of countries like Canada, Germany, and the UK meet throughout the year with fixed sitting day calendars. 
  • Overall, these sessions help government in pushing legislative agenda however, as it is not explicitly defined in the Constitution there is need to bring more transparency and consensus in its implications. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

One Nation, One Election

In News: The Centre set up an eight-member committee to examine various legal and logistics aspects for implementing the “one nation, one election” idea.  

The Law Ministry has outlined seven terms of reference which include examining if a constitutional amendment to facilitate simultaneous polls would have to be ratified by the states. 

About Simultaneous Elections/ One Nation, One Election: 

  • Simultaneous Elections refer to restructuring the Indian election cycle in a manner such that elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are synchronized together. Elections to Local bodies, which is a state subject, are not included in it. 
  • The current electoral system holds separate polls for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies in a gap of five years, aligned to the respective conclusion of their five-year tenure. 
  • If India implements simultaneous elections, India would be the fourth country to do so after Belgium, Sweden, and South Africa 
  • Historically, Parliament and state elections were held simultaneously until 1967, but over the years as Assemblies and Lok Sabhas were dissolved before the end of their terms, the elections fell out of sync with each other.  

Need for simultaneous elections:  

  • Frequent elections: Elections are held in one or more states every year. Frequent elections divert precious time, energy, and resources of the nation and slow down developmental processes.  
  • Implementation of Model Code of Conduct: Elections in states lead to the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which puts on hold the entire development programme and activities. Simultaneous elections would ensure consistent governance.  
  • Affects social unity: Elections are also polarising events that perpetuate caste, religion, and communal issues because candidates are often forced to talk politically for the sake of electoral benefits. Simultaneous elections would prevent such incidents. 
  • Reduced manpower: Crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks. 
  • Reduced disruption of Public Life: Continuous election has an impact on the functioning of essential services. Simultaneous elections will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections such as rallies and traffic problems. 
  • Provision for alternate government: The Law Commission has recommended that a no-confidence motion against a government should be followed by a confidence motion so that if the Opposition doesn't have the numbers to form an alternative government, the regime in office cannot be removed. 

Challenges in implementing simultaneous polls: 

  • Logistics challenges: Currently there are only 13.06 lakh control units (CUs) and 17.77 lakh ballot units (BUs) of EVMs. Simultaneous elections would require 30 lakh EVMs and VVPAT machines 
  • Confusion for voters: Limited knowledge of voters about the process and lack of clarity about varying national and state issues might make the voters vote for the same parties at the Centre and State. This could result in marginalising regional parties. 
  • Lack of manpower: There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go. 
  • Complex Legislative Process: To implement the new election rules, five articles in the Constitution and Representation of the People Act (1951) would have to be amended. Every recognised state and national party would also have to agree to the change. 
  • Against federal spirits: Assembly elections deal with local issues and parties are judged in the context of their work done in the state. Clubbing them with the general election could lead to a situation where the national narrative submerges the regional developments.  
  • Against multi-party democracy: Simultaneous elections may favour national parties and specially the parties in power which have more resources, potentially marginalising regional parties and issues. 

Way Forward 

  • As per the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing committee, elections to some legislative assemblies whose term end within six months to one year before or after the election date could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha .For the rest of the states, elections could be held along with the general elections to Lok Sabha. 
  • Accomplishing one year, one election could be the first step towards one nation, one election. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

“RAISE” for Business

In News: Recently, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the B20 Summit India 2023 in New Delhi. 


  • The Business 20 (B20) is the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community.  
  • Established in 2010, B20 is among the most prominent Engagement Groups in G20, with companies and business organizations as participants.  
  • The B20 works to deliver concrete actionable policy recommendations to spur economic growth and development. 

B20 Summit India 2023: 

  • The B20 Summit India is a platform for policymakers, business leaders, and experts to discuss policy recommendations for G20.  
  • Its theme is R.A.I.S.E – Responsible, Accelerated, Innovative, Sustainable and Equitable Businesses. 
    • R- Emphasizes the need for businesses to act responsibly and consider their impact on society and the environment. 
    • A- Refers to the need for businesses to drive economic growth and development through rapid progress and innovation. 
    • I- Highlights the importance of innovation in business strategies to adapt to changing global dynamics. 
    • S- Advocates for businesses to adopt practices that ensure long-term sustainability for both the economy and the planet. 
    • E- Focuses on promoting fairness and inclusiveness in business practices, ensuring benefits are shared widely. 

Key Points: 

  • PM said it is about humanity, and about ‘One Earth, One Family and One Future’. 
  • The PM also proposed the idea of an “International Consumer Care Day” to strengthen trust between businesses and consumers. 
  • The Prime Minister emphasized India’s role in creating a trusted global supply chain and promoting sustainability.  
  • He called for businesses to go beyond profit and focus on supply chain resilience and sustainability. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

‘Self-respect’ marriages

In News: Overview of the Supreme Court's order on the validity of 'Self-Respect' Marriages 

About 'Self-Respect' Marriages: 

  • Supreme Court has recently clarified that there is no blanket ban on advocates solemnizing 'self-respect' marriages under Section 7(A) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. 
  • The aim was to simplify weddings, allowing declarations in the presence of friends or family, and eliminating traditional ceremonial requirements. 
  • Key features: 
    • 'Self-respect' marriages, also known as "suyamariyathai" or "seerthiruththa marriage," are solemnized between two Hindus. 
    • Amendment to Hindu Marriage Act in Tamil Nadu in 1968 introduced Section 7-A, recognizing "self-respect and secular marriages." 
    • Section 7-A allows marriages in the presence of relatives or friends, with a simple ceremony like exchanging garlands or rings. 
    • Under these marriages, the willing parties declare each other as husband and wife using a language understood by them. 
    • It legally acknowledges marriages between Hindus conducted without the need for priests, holy fire, or rituals and requires registration as per the law. 
  • Previously, in 2014 Madras High Court deemed such marriages invalid and stated that they couldn't be conducted in secrecy and declared such marriages conducted by advocates as invalid. 
  • Overall, the recent Supreme Court clarification affirms the legality of 'self-respect' marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act and upholds the principles of personal choice in marriage ceremonies. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Minority Scholarship Scheme Scam

In News: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Registers FIR: Minority Scholarship 'Scam' Causing Rs 144 Crore Loss 

About Minority scholarship scheme scam: 

  • The CBI on findings of National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has recently registered an FIR related to a minority scholarship 'scam’ involving 830 "fake" institutions. 
  • These institutions were benefiting from the Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme, resulting in a loss of over Rs 144 crore to the Ministry of Minority Affairs between 2017-18 and 2021-22. 
  • Key findings: 
    • The scholarship focuses on the Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme for minority students with annual family income below Rs 1 lakh. 
    • Scholarships are awarded in two tiers viz., Class 1 to 5 students receiving Rs 1,000 per year, while Class 6 to 10 students receiving Rs 10,700 (hostellers) or Rs 5,700 (day scholars). 
    • Investigation has exposed collusion involving brokers, bank correspondents, school staff, and state government employees. 
    • The losses have been calculated for the period with "clean digitized data on NSP," but applicants from these institutions may have availed scholarships in earlier years. 
  • The findings highlight the misuse of the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) and the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) leading to fraud and corruption in scholarship distribution. 
  • Common irregularities included non-operational institutions benefiting from the scheme, fake beneficiaries, and manipulation of UDISE details. 
  • In Bihar cybercafé owners listed as INOs have likely submitted fake applications for coaching center students. 
  • Some schools in Madhya Pradesh reported registrations for students beyond Class 7, even though they were not recognized after that grade. 
  • Overall, the scholarship scam serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and the need for safeguarding public resources beside continuous vigilance to prevent such incidents in the future. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Fali S Nariman on Basic Structure Doctrine

In News: It was only in Kesavananda Bharati case (April 1973), that by a narrow majority of 7:6, in a bench decision of 13 judges, the basic structure doctrine was propounded and since then the basic structure doctrine has not been debated. 

Basic Structure Doctrine: 

  • The doctrine of basic structure is a judicial innovation that puts a limitation on the amending powers of the Parliament. 
  • The doctrine was propounded by the Supreme Court in Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973) and its objective is to ensure that the basic features of the Constitution remain unaltered and to preserve the core identity of the Constitution. 
  • It was Influenced by German expert Dietrich Conrad’s 1965 speech, emphasizing that a constitution’s foundational pillars shouldn’t be modified by the governing entity. 

Evolution of Basic Structure Doctrine: 

Upholding the Basic Structure Doctrine over the time: 

  • 1973: Kesavananda Bharati case introduces basic structure doctrine in a bench decision of 13 judges. 
  • 1975: Union of India seeks reconsideration of the doctrine; a bench of 13 judges convened in November. The bench dissolved without decision, indicating continued adherence to the doctrine. 
  • 1975: Constitution 39th Amendment passed, including Article 329A (4) attempting to validate Indira Gandhi’s election. 
  • 1975: Supreme Court declares Article 329A (4) unconstitutional and void, reinforcing the doctrine’s principles. 
  • 1978: Constitution 44th Amendment Act abolishes remaining clauses of Article 329A, cementing the doctrine’s foundation. 
  • 1980: Minerva Mills vs. Union of India case reaffirms the basic structure doctrine in a Constitution Bench decision of five judges. 
  • 2007: IR Coelho vs. State of Tamil Nadu reaffirms the doctrine in a bench decision of nine judges. 

Significance of Basic Structure Doctrine: 

  • The Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud called Basic Structure Doctrine a North Star. This is because it guides and gives directions to law-makers, implementers and interpreters. 
  • It prevents damage to the Constitution by ruling the majority’s brute majority. 
  • It limits constituent power to avoid totalitarian regimes. 
  • It maintains founders’ meticulously framed principles. 
  • It ensures independent Judiciary, and separation of powers. 
  • It allows adaptation over time, unlike rigid past judgments. 

Criticism of Basic Structure Doctrine: 

  • It is not found in the text of the original Constitution itself and therefore by inventing this test the judiciary is encroaching on the Parliament’s powers. 
  • The power of “unelected judges” to strike down amendments to the Constitution on the basis of this doctrine is “anti-democratic and counter-majoritarian. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs


In News: Recently, SVAMITVA Scheme of Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been conferred with the prestigious National Award for e-Governance 2023 (Gold) for its innovative use of emerging technologies to provide citizen-centric services. 


  • The award was presented at the 26th National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG), organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. 
  • SVAMITVA stands for Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas. 
  • The scheme employs advanced technologies such as drones and GIS (Geographic Information System) to conduct surveys and mapping of inhabited areas in villages. 
  • This allows property owners in rural regions to receive official ownership documents, known as Property Cards. 
  • The Scheme is implemented with the collaborative efforts of Survey of India being the technology implementation partner, State Revenue and Panchayati Raj Departments, and NIC–GIS. 


  • These cards have multiple benefits, including enabling property owners to access bank loans and other financial opportunities using their rural residential assets as collateral. 
  • The technology aids in resolving land-related disputes through the creation of highly accurate maps with 5cm precision.

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

India’s First Solar Roof Cycling Track

In News: Recently, Hyderabad is embracing a sustainable shift towards cycling, with the introduction of an innovative solar roof cycling track (23 KM long) near the city’s Outer Ring Road (ORR). 


  • Cycling in a big city can be a real challenge with the pollution, uncontrollable traffic, and the risk of being knocked down by passing cars. 
  • Now, Hyderabad is leading the way with a first-of-its-kind sustainable solar roof cycling track near the Outer Ring Road. 
  • The track encompasses three lanes and consists of two segments.  
  • Distinguished by its 16MW solar panels fixed on the roof, this project sets an impressive sustainability precedent. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

9 years of PM Jhan Dhan Yojana

In News: The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) – the National Mission for Financial Inclusion – has completed nine years of successful implementation. 

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJAY): 

  • It is a National Mission for Financial Inclusion. Financial Inclusion can be defined as the process or provision that ensures access to financial services and credit for vulnerable groups at an affordable cost. 
  • It was launched in 2014 to ensure universal access to financial services namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner through the use of technology. 
  • The scheme was launched based upon the following 6 pillars: 
    • Universal access to banking services 
    • Basic savings bank accounts with overdraft (OD) facility of Rs. 10,000/- to every household 
    • Financial Literacy Program– Promoting savings, use of ATMs, getting ready for credit, availing insurance and pensions, using basic mobile phones for banking. 
    • Creation of Credit Guarantee Fund – To provide banks some guarantee against defaults. 
    • Insurance – Accident cover up to Rs. 1,00,000 and life cover of Rs. 30,000 on account opened between 15 Aug 2014 to 31 January 2015 
    • Pension scheme for Unorganized sector. 

Impacts of PMJAY: 

  • PMJDY has been the foundation stone for people-centric economic initiatives. Whether it is direct benefit transfers, COVID-19 assistance, PM-KISAN, wages under MGNREGA, the first step of all these initiatives is to provide every adult with a bank account, which PMJDY has nearly completed. 

  • One in 2 accounts opened between March 2014 to March 2020 was a PMJDY account. 
  • Within 10 days of nationwide lockdown more than about 20 crore women PMJDY accounts were credited with financial assistance of Rs 500 per month for three months through DBT in each women PMJDY account. 

Achievements of PMJAY: 

  • Number of total PMJDY Accounts: 50.09 crore, of which 55.6% account holders are women and 66.7% accounts are in rural and semi-urban areas. 

  • Deposits: Deposits have increased about 13 times which is over Rs 2 lakh crore. Average deposit per account has increased over 3.8 times. Increase in average deposit is another indication of increased usage of accounts and inculcation of saving habits among account holders. 
  • DBT transactions: About 6.26 crore PMJDY account holders receive direct benefit transfer (DBT) from the Government under various schemes. Digital transactions in India have experienced remarkable growth due to various initiatives: 
    • The issuance of over 33.98 crore RuPay debit cards through the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). 
    • The installation of 79.61 lakh Point of Sale (PoS) and mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) machines. 
    • The introduction of mobile-based payment systems like UPI (Unified Payments Interface). 
    • Jan Dhan Darshak App (JDD App): JDD App is a mobile application which provides a citizen centric platform for locating banking touch points such as bank branches, ATMs, Banking Correspondents (BCs), Indian Post Payment Banks etc in the country. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

National e-Vidhan Application

In News: Recently, the President of India inaugurated the ‘National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) 


  • The National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) is a significant component of the "Digital India Programme" by the Government of India, encompassing 44 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs).  
  • Its primary objective is to facilitate the transition of all State Legislatures into a paperless environment, effectively converting them into 'Digital Houses.' 
  • NeVA is designed as a versatile and member-centric application, agnostic to the type of device used. Its purpose is to empower legislators by providing comprehensive information at their fingertips. 
  • This information includes member contact details, procedural rules, notices, bills, starred/unstarred questions and answers, committee reports, and more, all accessible via handheld devices or tablets. 
  • As of the present status, 21 State legislatures have entered into Memorandums of Understanding for the implementation of NeVA, with the project receiving approval from 17 of these legislatures. 
  • The Nodal Ministry overseeing the NeVA initiative is the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Vishwakarma Scheme

In News: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM Vishwakarma scheme in New Delhi on the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti, to give government support to workers engaged in traditional crafts and skills. 

About the Scheme: 

  • The scheme was earlier announced during the speech on Independence Day. 
  • The scheme focuses on uplifting and empowering people engaged in traditional crafts. 
  • It has dual purpose: 
    • Providing financial support to artisans and craftspeople 
    • Preserving and celebrating India's age-old traditions, culture, and diverse heritage through local products, art, and crafts. 
  • The scheme is fully funded by the Union Government with an allocation of Rs 13,000-15,000 crore. 
  • Families associated with 18 such different sectors like Carpenters, Boat Makers, Armourers, Blacksmiths, etc. will be helped. 
  • The scheme is to help enhance the skills of workers employed in these fields and help them avail loans easily to aid their earnings. 
  • The Vishwakarma workers will be registered for free through Common Services Centres using the biometric-based PM Vishwakarma portal. 
  • They will then be provided recognition through the PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, given skill upgradation involving basic and advanced training, a toolkit incentive of ₹15,000, collateral-free credit support up to ₹1 lakh (first tranche) and ₹2 lakh (second tranche) at a concessional interest rate of 5%, incentive for digital transactions and marketing support. 
  • A toolkit booklet has also been released in 12 Indian languages, with accompanying video elements, to aid the knowledge of workers on new technologies in their field. 
  • Five lakh families will be covered in the first year and 30 lakh families over five years. 
  • The scheme also aims to ensure that Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains. 

Significance of the Scheme: 

  • Preservation of traditional skills and practices: It strives to support and maintain a customary family-based practise of transferring knowledge from one generation to the next. This epitomises India's cultural tradition, in which skill and knowledge are passed down through families. 
  • Quality upgradation: By providing skill upgradation, training, and toolkit incentives, it focuses to enhance the quality of products and services offered by artisans. 
  • Integration into Value Chains: The scheme is designed to integrate artisans and craftspeople into both domestic and global value chains. By doing this artisans can sell their products to a broader customer base, potentially increasing their income and sustaining their livelihoods. 
  • Wider Market Access: The scheme focuses on marketing support and incentives for digital transactions helps artisans expand their market reach. It assists them in tapping into domestic and international markets, thereby creating more opportunities for growth and recognition. 

Challenges associated with the implementation of the scheme: 

  • Addressing the disparity: Artisans in rural areas may face different challenges compared to those in urban areas. Addressing these disparities and ensuring that all eligible artisans can participate in the scheme is essential. 
  • Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are critical to prevent misuse of funds and ensure that artisans are not excluded from the scheme. 
  • Digital Literacy: Providing training and resources for digital literacy is a challenge (particularly for those who may not be familiar with digital technologies) that needs to be addressed to maximize the scheme's impact. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Gita Mittal Committee

In News: Recently, The Supreme Court of India has informed petitioners involved in the Manipur ethnic violence case that it cannot oversee the administration of the state and encouraged petitioners to place their trust in the Justice Gita Mittal Committee to address the issues raised in the case. 


  • The Justice Mittal Committee was constituted by the Supreme Court to intervene and monitor relief and rehabilitation, restoration of homesteads, religious places of worship, etc, in Manipur. 
  • The committee will look into the issues include: 
    • The distribution of Aadhaar cards and disability certificates to the displaced people of the State, 
    • distribution of compensation to the families of the dead,  
    • reconstruction of religious buildings and homes damaged during the violence, 
    • handling of bodies, and  
    • the functioning of courts in the state. 

SC judgments regarding Manipur violence: 

  • The State shall appoint a nodal officer in Delhi to guide people who had fled Manipur during the violence by helping them file complaints and petitions with the appropriate authorities in the State. 
  • The video-conferencing facilities shall be installed in district courts of Manipur within a week, and violation of it may bring the case of “contempt of court” against the State. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Foreign Contribution Regulations Act

In News: Recently, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the rules related to the filing of annual returns by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). 


  • These changes involve the requirement for NGOs to provide details about both movable and immovable assets created using foreign funds. 
  • Significance: The amendment aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the utilization of foreign contributions received by NGOs. 

Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) 

  • FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations. 
  • The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations so that they functioned in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic. 
  • Criteria: 
    • The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be: 
      • registered under the Act 
      • to open a bank account for the receipt of foreign funds in the State Bank of India, Delhi 
      • to utilize those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act. 
    • FCRA registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programs. 

Keywords: Indian Polity & Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Five Eyes Alliance

In News: The recent India-Canada standoff regarding allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing of a separatist leader in Canada has brought attention to the role of the Five Eyes Alliance. 


  • “Five Eyes” refers to an intelligence-sharing alliance of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. 
  • It was founded in 1941. 
  • Origins of the Alliance 
    • The alliance traces its origins back to World War II when the UK and the US decided to share intelligence after successfully breaking German and Japanese codes. 
    • It began as the Britain-USA (BRUSA) agreement, later evolving into the UK-USA (UKUSA) agreement, with Canada joining in 1949 and New Zealand and Australia in 1956. 
  • Features: 
    • The Five Eyes agreement parties are “diverse societies, governed by rule of law and robust human rights and are bonded by a common language. 
    • These nations collaborate closely on intelligence matters, sharing information to protect their shared national interests. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

UNCITRAL South Asia Conference

In News: Recently, India hosted the inaugural United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) South Asia Conference. 

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL): 

  • It is the principal legal entity in the UN system that is dedicated to international trade law. 
  • It is a legal body with universal membership that specializes in commercial law reform worldwide. 
  • It is an international organization of lawyers that focuses on changing business law around the globe. 
  • For more than 50 years, it has worked to update and harmonise the laws governing transnational commerce. 
  • The main objective of UNCITRAL is to promote fairness, transparency, and efficiency in cross-border commercial transactions by developing legal frameworks and tools. 
  • India has been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception being one of the first 29 member states. 

UNCITRAL South Asia Conference: 

  • The conference aimed to strengthen India’s engagement with UNCITRAL and encourage interaction between UNCITRAL, the judiciary, bureaucracy, academia, and the legal fraternity. 
  • It was organized jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs, UNCITRAL, and the organization’s national coordination committee for India. 
  • The conference covered various topics, including the digital economy, MSMEs and access to credit, insolvency, investor-state dispute settlement reform, international commercial arbitration, and mediation. 
  • It also discussed on alternative dispute resolution developments and how to make India a hub for arbitration. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

India-Saudi Arabia Relationships

In News: The relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh has been improving steadily. During the recent visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, India is engaging with Saudi Arabia on a multitude of issues.  

Background of India –Saudi relationship: 

  • The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1947, and since then there have been cordial and friendly relations reflecting their historical socio-cultural and economic ties. 
  • The visit of King Abdullah to India in January 2006 saw the signing of the Delhi Declaration, which laid the framework for upgrading ties to the level of “strategic partnership” in 2010 by the Riyadh Declaration 
  • The visits of the Indian PM to Riyadh in 2016 and the conferment of Saudi’s highest civilian honor to the Indian PM indicated the mutual importance of India and Saudi Arabia for each other.  
  • The 2019 visit of the Crown Prince brought an investment of approximately $100 billion in India. An agreement was also signed to pave the way for Saudi Arabia to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) 
  • The Indian PM’s visit to Riyadh again in October 2019 led to the signing of the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) Agreement, which established a high-level council to steer the Indo-Saudi relationship. 

Highlights of the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince: 

  • The Crown Prince visited New Delhi for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, where he, along with the Indian PM and US President, announced the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. 
  • The Crown Prince and Indian PM co-chaired the first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council. 
  • Eight agreements were signed between the two sides, which include upgrading their hydrocarbon energy partnership to a comprehensive energy partnership for renewable, petroleum, and strategic reserves, and creating a joint task force for $100 billion in Saudi investment. 
  • Possibility of trading in local currencies, and expediting negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council was also discussed. 

Pillars of the India- Saudi Arabia relationship: 

1. Economic Ties 

  • Trade Ties: India is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trade partner; Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth-largest trade partner. Trade with Saudi Arabia accounted for 4.53% of India’s total trade in FY23 and bilateral trade was valued at $52.76 billion. 
  • Indian Companies in Saudi: Around 2,800 Indian companies are registered as joint ventures/ 100% owned entities with investments worth $2 billion in Saudi. Indian companies such as L&T, Tata, Wipro, TCS, Shapoorji Pallonji etc. have strong presence in Saudi. 
  • Investment in India: Saudi’s direct investments in India amounted to $3.15 billion (March 2022) with major investors being Aramco, SABIC, Zamil, e-holidays, Al Batterjee Group. 
  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has invested in several Indian startups such as Delhivery, FirstCry, Grofers, Ola, OYO, Paytm, and PolicyBazaar through SoftBank Vision Fund. 
  • Proposed Investments: A major proposed investment is the $44 billion West Coast Refinery & Petrochemicals Project in Maharashtra is being jointly built by Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and an Indian consortium (IOCL, HPCL, BPCL). 

2. Energy Cooperation 

  • Crude and Petroleum imports: Saudi Arabia was the third largest crude and petroleum products source for India in FY23. India sourced 16.7% of India’s total crude imports in FY23 from Saudi.  
  • India’s LPG imports from Saudi Arabia stood at 11.2% of its total petroleum product imports, in FY 23. 

3. Defence Partnership 

  • Defence Exercises: There is extensive naval cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia. There have already been 2 editions of the bilateral naval exercise, Al Mohed al Hindi. 
  • Defence Cooperation: There is an increasing defence cooperation, and both sides have agreed to continue working together to consider possibilities of joint development and production of defence equipment. 

4. Diaspora in Saudi 

  • Diaspora as a Living bridge: The Indian community in Saudi is more than 2.4 million strong, widely respected for its contribution to the development of Saudi Arabia. 
  • Support to Indian diaspora: Supporting the evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in Sudan through Jeddah under Operation Kaveri, and facilitating Indian Hajj & Umrah pilgrims. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC)

In News: Recently, on the side-lines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, an MoU was signed between India, the US, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the UAE, France, Germany, and Italy to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC). 

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC): 

  • It is an infrastructure development project that aims to create connectivity through rail and shipping networks, energy cables, and data links. 
  • It is part of the Partnership for Rail and Shipping Corridors Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) and focuses on enhancing global trade and cooperation through critical infrastructure development. 
  • PGII is a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations. It emphasizes loans over charity, benefiting both lending and receiving countries. 
  • It seeks to boost trade, clean energy, and economic growth while providing an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 
  • Components of the Corridor: 
    • It will comprise two separate corridors, the Eastern Corridor, and the Northern Corridor. The former will connect India to the Arabian Gulf and the latter will connect the Arabian Gulf to Europe. 
    • It will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable. 

Significance of IMEE-EC Project: 

  • This would speed up trade between India and Europe by up to 40%. 
  • The plan is expected to be a possible game changer for global trade, presenting an alternative to China's wide-ranging strategic infrastructure investments. 
  • Enhancing food security, regional supply chains, trade accessibility, environmental considerations, economic cohesion, job creation, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • It offers India a crucial role in global commerce, digital communication, and energy networks. 
  • It firmly positions India along the trade route spanning South East Asia to the Gulf, West Asia, and Europe. 

Other Initiatives announced under PGII: 

  • Trans-African Corridor: It will connect the port of Lobito in Angola with Katanga province in Congo and the copper belt in Zambia. 
  • Clean Energy Projects in Indonesia: The PGII announced clean energy projects in Indonesia to support sustainable energy sources and infrastructure development. 
  • Investments in India’s Health Infrastructure: The US government’s International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) pledged over $15 million to invest in India’s health infrastructure, including eye clinics and women’s hygiene products. 
  • EU’s Global Gateway Program: The European Union (EU) committed to activating 300 billion USD in investments for critical connectivity projects, with a focus on Africa and various regions around the world. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

African Union in G20

In News: Recently, the African Union (AU) became a new permanent member of the G20 during the 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in New Delhi. 

G20 Group: 

  • The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 sovereign countries, the European Union (EU), and the African Union (AU) (Added in 2023). 
  • It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development. 
  • It accounts for around 80% of gross world product (GWP), 75% of international trade, two-thirds of the global population, and 60% of the world's land area. 
  • There is no permanent Secretariat or Headquarters of G20. 19 Countries are divided into 5 groups and the presidency rotates annually between each group. 
  • Troika is a working association between the current presidency, past presidency and the future presidency. 

Key Highlights of G20 Summit 2023: 

  • The G20 leaders agreed to admit the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. It offers an opportunity to reshape global trade, finance, and investment and would provide a greater voice to the Global South within the G20. 
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Governments of India, the US, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the UAE, France, Germany and Italy to establish the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). 
  • The World Bank prepared the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion document in which the transformative impact of India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) over the past decade under the Central Government has been praised. It emphasized various initiatives like JAM Trinity, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), UPI Dominance, Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA), etc. 
  • G20 countries promised to work towards tripling the global renewable energy capacity by 2030. It aligns with global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
  • The agriculture working group during the G20 Presidency reached a historic consensus on two aspects: Deccan G20 High-level principles on Food Security and Nutrition and the Millet initiative called MAHARISHI. 
  • India's G-20 presidency has laid the foundation for a coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. 
  • Prime Minister of India handed over the customary gavel of the G20 chair to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will officially take over the presidency on December 1, 2023. 

African Union (AU): 

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of 55 member states in Africa. 
  • In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded to promote cooperation among African states. 
  • In 2002, the OAU was succeeded by the AU with a goal to accelerate economic integration of the continent. 
  • African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was established in 2018 which seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

ASEAN summit

In News: Recently, Prime Minister attended the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Jakarta. 


  • ASEAN was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. 
  • It initially consisted of five member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.  
  • Over the years, it expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam 
  • ASEAN’s core principles include regional cooperation in various fields, promotion of regional peace and stability, and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. 
  • The chairmanship of the ASEAN Summit and Ministerial Conferences has rotated annually in alphabetical order between member states. 
  • ASEAN Secretariat:  Indonesia, Jakarta. 

Highlights of 20th ASEAN-India summit: 

  • Theme: ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’ 
  • KeyPoints of PM’s address: 
    • ASEAN is the central pillar of India’s Act East Policy. 
    • India supports ASEAN’s outlook on ASEAN-India centrality and Indo-Pacific. 
    • The progress of a free and open Indo-Pacific and elevating the voice of the Global South is in the common interest of all. 

More Information: 

  • India is part of the ASEAN Plus Six grouping, which includes China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

French laïcité

In News: Recently, the French government announced that the practice of wearing an abaya would be banned in state-run schools 


Laïcité, the principle of secularism in France, represents the complete separation of religious values from the public sphere, with a strong emphasis on promoting secular values such as liberty, equality, and fraternity.  

Its primary objective is to encourage tolerance and assimilation while relegating religion to the private sphere. The French state plays a pivotal role in enforcing and upholding Laïcité principles. 

History of French laïcité 

  • Emergence Post-French Revolution: Laïcité began to take shape after the French Revolution in 1789 when the revolutionary government aimed to establish a clear separation between the Church and the state. During this period, there were efforts to diminish the influence of the Catholic Church in public affairs. 
  • The Law of 1905: Laïcité became more concrete and institutionalized with the passage of the Law of 1905 during the Third Republic. This law officially separated religious institutions from the state and established state-run secular schools. It also ensured that the state would not fund religious organizations. 
  • 20th Century: Laïcité was not a prominent issue for much of the 20th century when France was relatively homogeneous in terms of religious and cultural identity. During this time, the French state upheld secularism as a core value. 
  • Demographic Changes in the 1950s and 1960s: Demographic shifts resulting from decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s brought significant numbers of immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries to France. This led to tensions and debates about the application of Laïcité principles in a more diverse and multicultural society. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Artifacts to grace G-20 corridor

In News: Several objects of cultural significance will be displayed at the special Culture Corridor which will be set up at the venue of the G-20 summit in New Delhi. 


  • A copy of the Magna Carta, United Kingdom’s famous charter of rights, a 15th century bronze statue of Belvedere Apollo from Italy, and an 18th century Fahua-lidded jar from China would be Some of the physical items on display.  
  • India’s contribution would be Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, the ancient text. 
  • Notable digital contributions include France’s Mona Lisa, Germany’s Gutenberg’s Bible, and Mexico’s statue of the deity ‘Coatlicue’.  
  • The Culture Corridor-G-20 Digital Museum has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Culture to represent and celebrate the shared heritage of G-20 members and invitee countries and will create a “museum in the making”. 
  • The Culture Corridor-G-20 Digital Museum will be unveiled at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit venue, ‘Bharat Mandapam,’. 
  • This project is based on India’s G20 theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and the Culture Working Group’s (CWG) hallmark campaign ‘Culture Unites All”. 

More Information: 

  • Submissions were requested from G-20 countries and nine guest nations under five categories 
    • Object of Cultural Significance (as a physical display); Iconic Cultural Masterpiece (as a digital display); Intangible Cultural Heritage (digital display); Natural Heritage (digital display); and Artefact Related to Democratic Practices (physical or digital display).

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

National Carbon Registry

In news: UNDP deliberates on a transformative tool National Carbon Registry for climate action 

About National Carbon Registry 

  • The National Carbon Registry is an innovative digital platform developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to enhance global climate action efforts. 
  • It is the result of ongoing collaboration within the Digital4Climate (D4C) Working Group, comprising UNDP, the World Bank, UNFCCC, EBRD, and others. 
  • It has been accredited as a Digital Public Good (DPG) as an open-source software is designed to facilitate the management of carbon credits and revolutionizing the carbon credit ecosystem. 
  • Key Features: 
    • The National Carbon Registry utilizes open-source code, allowing countries to customize it to meet their specific needs and contexts. 
    • Its modular structure and technical documentation enable easy adaptation, potentially reducing production costs and implementation timelines for nations. 
    • It is aligned with the Global Goals for sustainable development, the registry promotes integration and collaboration across different sectors and stakeholders. 
    • The registry adheres to national and international best practices, incorporating inputs from various countries. 
    • It is designed as an interoperable digital system, it seamlessly integrates with national measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems. 
    • It also interfaces with international digital systems like UNDP's cooperation platform and the World Bank's Climate Action Data Trust (CAD Trust), expanding its capabilities. 


  • Digital market infrastructure is significant to amplify high-integrity and transparent carbon markets recognised by World Bank's Climate Warehouse program. 
  • By offering an open-source carbon registry platform, it enables countries to elevate their climate action and ambition levels. 
  • National Carbon Registry can address broader issues related to nature, climate, and energy especially for countries striving to meet their climate targets and contribute to a sustainable future. 
  • To achieve effective climate action, developing countries require over US$6 trillion by 2030 to fund their climate goals outlined in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 
  • Carbon finance is instrumental in NDC implementation, and the Paris Agreement's Article 6 provisions enable the use of market mechanisms. 
  • Overall, the National Carbon Registry can help fill critical gaps in climate financing and will help in accelerating global climate action and supporting the transition to a low-carbon world. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC)

In News: Recently, the Ministry of Ports extended an invitation for an Indo-Russian Workshop on Eastern Maritime Corridor in Chennai 


  • The Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC) is a proposed sea route that would connect the Indian port of Chennai with the Russian port of Vladivostok 
  • This corridor is expected to reduce the transportation time between Indian and Russian ports in the Far East Region by as much as 40 percent, bringing it down from the current 40 days to 24 days. 
  • Currently, the trade route between Mumbai, India, and St. Petersburg, Russia, covers a distance of 8,675 nautical miles.  
  • EMC is projected to cover a distance of approximately 5,600 nautical miles, which is significantly shorter than the existing route via the Suez Canal.  
  • Once completed, the EMC is expected to facilitate the transportation of goods from India to Far East Russia in just 24 days, which is a significant improvement over the current journey duration of over 40 days. 
  • For India, the EMC holds the potential to offer a more efficient and shorter route to access the markets of the Far East, including countries like China and Japan. This improved connectivity can have positive implications for trade and economic relations in the region. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Operation Sajag

In News: Recently, the coastal security drill ‘Operation Sajag’ conducted by the Indian Coast Guard along the west coast 


  • Operation Sajag was organized by the Indian Coast Guard along the western coastline and engaged all key participants within India's coastal security framework 
  • A total of 118 vessels, including those representing Customs, Marine Police, Ports, and the Indian Navy, actively participated in this exercise. 
  • The primary objective of this drill is to reaffirm and evaluate the effectiveness of the coastal security apparatus while concurrently raising awareness among fishermen operating at sea.  
  • Operation Sajag has formalized efforts related to island security and community interaction programs under the broader coastal security framework. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Three Years of Abraham Accords

In News: The Abraham Accord between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel has completed three years. 

Abraham Accords: 

  • The Abraham Accord (2020), brokered by the USA, is a normalisation pact to establish formal diplomatic ties between the UAE and Israel. 
  • The name "Abraham Accords" was chosen as a sign of unity and as a reference to the historical figure of Abraham, who is said to be the ancestor of both Jews and Arabs. 
  • Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco also joined the agreement, and in return Israel agreed to put a halt to its aspirations to annexe portions of the occupied West Bank. 
  • After Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (1994), the UAE is the third Arab country to recognise Israel as a result of this agreement. 

Significance of the Abraham Accords: 

  • The accord demonstrates how the Arab nations are rapidly disengaging from the Palestine issue. 
  • Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain will establish full diplomatic connections, which will benefit the whole region. 
  • The agreement restores the UAE's reputation in the US, where its participation in the Yemen conflict has damaged it. 
  • Pakistan will be forced to choose between following the UAE's lead (which would be perceived as giving up the Islamic cause of Palestine) and not doing so (because it is already at odds with the Saudis over its refusal to take up the Kashmir issue and cannot afford another unfriendly Islamic country). 
  • Trade between Israel and other West Asian countries increased by 74% between 2021 and 2022. 
  • Tourism, mostly non-existent in the past, has skyrocketed. In 2021, visits from Israel to the UAE increased by 172%. 
  • In a region where 65% of the population is under 30 years of age, providing the younger generation with opportunities is a key factor in preventing instability. 
  • The Prosperity Green & Blue agreement between Israel, the UAE, and Jordan determined that a solar field to supply 600 megawatts of electricity to Israel and a desalination plant in Israel would deliver 200 million cubic meters of water to Jordan. 
  • The Abraham Accord encourages collaboration and education. The UAE incorporated Holocaust education into its school curriculum as a mandatory subject, fostering coexistence and religious tolerance. 

India’s Interest: 

  • The Abraham Accords create the right conditions for India to forge closer connections with both Arab nations and Israel. 
  • As a result of the Abrahamic Accords, the formation of I2U2 was witnessed. Additionally, it was referred to informally as the "West Asian Quad" and the "Indo-Abrahamic construct." 
  • The coalition promotes collaboration in six sectors—food security, health, transportation, space, water, and energy. 
  • Collaboration between the three countries may result from Israel's inventive qualities, UAE financial support, and India's technological prowess. For example, Eccopia, an Israeli company with a manufacturing base in India, supported an Emirati project for a robotic solar panel. 
  • There are now convenient direct flights between Bahrain and Israel as well as the UAE, benefiting the expanding Indian diaspora in the Gulf. 
  • Indian students now have easier access to colleges, more opportunities to explore overseas education options, and greater travel convenience. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

India’s GDP measurement and its limitations

In News: Recently, a number of experts have drawn attention to a disparity in India's GDP numbers that masks underlying problems including growing inequality. 

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 

  • GDP is the gross valuation of all the goods and services generated within a country's borders for a specific period, generally one financial year. 
  • The GDP of a nation may be utilized to measure its growth and economic advancement. 
  • India’s GDP is calculated by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which is part of the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI). 

Types of GDP: 

  • Real GDP: 
    • Real GDP is an economic metric that is used to describe the economic output of a country within a specific year. It reflects the value of all goods and services produced while factoring inflation into its calculation. At present, the base year for calculating India's Real GDP is 2011-12. 
  • Nominal GDP: 
    • Nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is GDP given in current prices, without adjustment for inflation. 
    • Nominal GDP is seen by the government as a more realistic indication of economic growth. 

Calculation of GDP: 

  • Expenditure Method: 
    • This method considers the total expenditure on goods and services made by every individual inside a single economy. 
    • GDP = Consumption Expenditure (C) + Investment Expenditure (I) + Government Spending (G) + Net Export (Nx) 
  • Income Method: 
    • This method takes account of the gross revenue generated inside a nation's borders by different production factors, such as labor and capital. 
    • GDP calculated based on this approach is known as GDI or Gross Domestic Income. 
    • GDP = Wage + Rent + Interest + Profit 
  • Output Method: 
    • This approach is used to determine the market value of all the services and products produced within a country. 
    • This method aids in removing any discrepancy in GDP measurement brought on by fluctuations in pricing levels. 

Limitations Of GDP: 

  • GDP excludes non-market activities including domestic, volunteer, and other participations that have a beneficial effect on productivity. Additionally, goods produced for personal use are not included. 
  • GDP does not reflect the unequal distribution of income as seen in the case of India. 
  • The Standard of Living cannot be estimated by GDP, India has a high GDP but the living standards is relatively low in India. 
  • The Environmental Impact of growth and social well-being are not explained by GDP. 

Concerns with the current calculation of GDP: 

  • The country’s GDP is presently computed with the base year of 2011-12 which is now more than 10 years old. Under normal circumstances, the base should have been revised after five years in 2016-17, with the readiness for another revision for 2021-22. 
  • GDP estimates based on an outdated base would not adequately capture new activities being undertaken in the economy like large investments in infrastructure, large inflow of foreign investment, value addition due to diversification, adoption of efficient technologies, and increased capacity. 
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has not come out with the results of various surveys like the consumer expenditure survey and the annual survey on unincorporated enterprises which are crucial for the base revision exercise. 
  • There is a need for the introduction of Supply Use Tables (SUTs) which are critical for the validation of national accounts statistics. This would also take care of confusion faced by some of the followers of national account statistics in understanding the “discrepancies” brought out in the estimates as a balancing term on the expenditure side of GDP. 

Way Forward: 

  • MoSPI should initiate the process by constituting an advisory committee on National Accounts Statistics with professional experts from academia, industry and civil society and also set up working groups for the revision of the base year. 
  • A decision on the new base year should be taken at the highest level after due consideration of data availability and an assessment of whether the year has been normal or not. 
  • Steps should also be taken to change the base for all relevant price and production indices. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

JP Morgan global bond index

In News: Recently, JP Morgan Chase & Co. has announced the inclusion of Indian government bonds into its emerging markets bond index, effective from June 2024, which will likely to attract 25 billion dollars foreign investments. 


  • The GBI-EM (Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets) is a global bond index maintained by JP Morgan, and it plays a crucial role in shaping international capital flows. 
  • The JP Morgan GBI-EM is a widely followed and influential benchmark index that tracks the performance of local-currency-denominated Sovereign Bonds issued by emerging market countries. 
  • It is designed to provide investors with a representative measure of the fixed income market within emerging market economies. 
  • It Includes government bonds issued by various emerging market countries. 
  • These bonds are denominated in various currencies, including the US dollar and local currencies of the respective countries. 
  • Criteria for inclusion:  
    • Bonds included in the index must meet certain criteria set by JP Morgan, including minimum outstanding issue size, liquidity, and credit quality standards. 
    • The composition may change over time based on eligibility criteria. 

Significance of Inclusion: 

  • India will reach a maximum weight of 10 per cent in the GBI-EM Global Diversified Index (GBI-EM GD) as part of the inclusion. 
  • Analysts estimate that the inclusion could result in nearly $26 billion in passive inflows, with the potential for additional active flows of around $10 billion, bringing the total inflows to approximately $40 billion over the next one and a half years. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

India’s supply Chain Opportunities

In News: Amidst the efforts to cut dependence on China-centric global supply chains, the G20 announcement on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) has the potential to make India an Asian hub in global supply chains. 

About India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): 

  • The launch of IMEC was announced by the Indian PM at the G20 leader’s summit. The project includes India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, European Union, France, Italy, Germany and the US. 
  • The rail and shipping corridor is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII), a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations. PGII is considered to be the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 
  • The corridor will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable to enable greater trade among the involved countries. 

What are Supply Chains?  

  • Supply chains, also known as global production networks or global value chains, refer to the geographical location of various stages of production such as design, production, assembly, marketing, and service activities in a cost-effective manner. 
  • The shift in industrial production from local and regional supply to global supply took place gradually over the last 100 years. Global supply chains have been the leading model of industrial production since the 1980s 

Reasons for shifting of global supply chains moving away from China: 

  • Declining preference for China: Even before Covid-19 pandemic, Western firms had begun to reduce their reliance on China, and its popularity as a sourcing market was diminishing. 
  • Shift to cost-effective locations: Some production stages in Chinese supply chains, particularly the labor-intensive ones, are moving to lower-cost locations due to rising wages and supply chain bottlenecks within China, and investor concerns about tighter regulation of foreign firms. 
  • Risks of concentration of Supply chains in China: The global risks of supply chains concentrated in mainland China and Hong Kong together account for 20% of world exports of intermediate goods. 
  • Geopolitical relations of China: Internal risks and the country’s trade war with the US, are forcing multinational companies to rethink their global sourcing strategies. 
  • Considerations of profitability are influencing a trend of relocating production either to friendly countries or back to the US despite high costs of shifting a supply chain. 

India as an attractive supply chain hub: 

  • Emerging Manufacturing Hubs: India can become a complementary Asian manufacturing hub to China by reaping gains from foreign technology transfers and creating value-adding jobs. 
  • Mature sectors: Manufacturing sectors in India such as automotives, pharmaceuticals, and electronics assembly are already mature sectors, and likely to emerge as winners in this race. 
  • Geopolitical and economic factors: WTO lists India as the fifth largest importer of intermediate goods in 2022 Q4, suggesting that geopolitical and economic stability will attract foreign investors. 
  • New Trade Policy: Trade policy has placed renewed emphasis on preferential trade through a flurry of bilateral deals with trading partners. 
  • India’s Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with several countries such as UAE-India CEPA, early harvest for the Australia-India FTA. These new deals reflect plans for deep economic integration. 

Strategies to promote regional supply chains in South Asian 

  • Upscaling the Make in India Programme into a Make in South Asia Programme: India can provide fiscal incentives to Indian manufacturers to expand into Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which are in apparel supply chains.  
  • Conclusion of comprehensive bilateral FTA with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to support regional rules-based trade and investment. 

Way Forward:  

  • Promotion of export-oriented FDI: Maintaining an open-door policy toward FDI in manufacturing and facilitating investment at a high level, with competitive fiscal incentives and creation of modern SEZ as public-private partnerships. 
  • Local companies need smart business strategies to join global supply chains as compared to big companies who have advantages due to the larger scale of production and access to foreign technology, and ability to spend more on marketing. 
  • Cautious approach towards adopting China’s interventionist styles as there is a significant risk of government failure and cronyism 
  • Better targeting of multinationals in new industrial activities in which there may be a potential comparative advantage and better coordination between the central and state governments.  
  • Upstream investment in tertiary-level education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

2023 World Trade Report: Re-globalization

In News: Recently, the World Trade Organization (WTO) published its World Trade Report 2023 which emphasizes the role of International Trade in building a more secure, inclusive, and sustainable world. 

Key Highlights of the Report: 

  • The report promotes "re-globalization," which would include extending trade integration to additional economies, individuals, and problems. 
  • It places a focus on political objectives outside trade efficiency, such as world peace, security, alleviating poverty, and sustainability. 
  • The paper discusses the change in the globalization narrative. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of resilient supply chains. 
  • Global trade trends have been influenced by geopolitical tensions such as the crisis in Ukraine, and the emergence of China. 
  • Geopolitical boundaries are progressively being followed in trade. Trade flows are increasing more quickly inside fictitious geopolitical "blocs" than they are between them, pointing to a move towards friend-shoring. 
  • Despite challenges, bilateral trade between China and the United States reached record highs. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, international supply networks were crucial in addressing supply shortages. 
  • Millions of people have been rescued from poverty via trade integration. Trade may promote sustainability by making green technology more accessible. 


  • Re-globalization is a theory that promotes increasing and bolstering global economic and trade interconnectedness with an emphasis on making it more equitable, secure, and sustainable. 
  • It emphasises the requirement for more international collaboration and trade integration in order to handle today's global concerns, such as geopolitical conflicts, economic inequality, and climate change. 
  • Benefits: 
    • It may spur economic growth and lower the rate of poverty, as was the case in India from 1994 to 2005. 
    • It can help reduce poverty by enhancing economic possibilities and income distribution, as seen by the roughly 1.5-point drop in the headcount poverty rate. 
    • International cooperation on environmental issues can be facilitated by re-globalization. 
    • As seen in India between 1990 and 2010, resource reallocation from inefficient to efficient enterprises can result in a substantial reduction in emission intensity. 
  • Role of WTO in encouraging Re-Globalization: 
    • By enforcing trade regulations and agreements among member nations, WTO can support multilateral trading laws. 
    • Addressing Global Challenges by Promoting Policies to Reduce Poverty and Inequality Through Trade and Facilitating Discussions on Trade's Role in Peace and Security. 
    • Increasing Economic Security by Stressing the Value of Crisis-Resilient Supply Chains. 
    • Implementing agreements like the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement and the Trade Facilitation Agreement will facilitate trade. Reducing trade costs for middle and low-income nations is the key to addressing trade cost disparities. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Vidya Samiksha Kendras

In News: Under the National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR), the Ministry of Education is pushing States to open Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs). 


  • Vidya Samiksha Kendra (VSKs) is a significant initiative aimed at creating a comprehensive data repository that will encompass information from all schemes administered by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in India.  
  • These centers will serve as control rooms to collect and manage data, enabling the tracking of key performance indicators and the analysis of data through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. 

The repository will include regularly updated data from various educational programs and initiatives, including: 

  • PM-POSHAN Mid-day Meal Programs: Information related to the implementation and impact of the mid-day meal programs aimed at providing nutritious meals to schoolchildren. 
  • Teacher Training Data: Data regarding teacher training activities conducted through the National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancement portal. 
  • Textbook Content: Content related to textbooks and educational materials available through the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing. 
  • School Dropout and Attendance Data: Data on school attendance and dropout rates, managed under the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE+). 
  • Students Learning Outcomes: Information on students' learning outcomes, typically assessed through initiatives like the National Achievement Survey. 
  • Performance Grading Index: This index evaluates the performance of the school education system at the state and union territory (U.T.) level. 


  • The central government has allocated funds ranging from 2 to 5 crore rupees to each state for the adoption and establishment of Vidya Samiksha Kendras.  


  • Mapping School Locations with Population: VSKs will facilitate the mapping of school locations with population distribution, allowing for the assessment of the Gross Access Ratio. This can help identify areas with a shortage of educational facilities and guide the establishment of new schools where needed. 
  • Planning for Industry Clusters: By analyzing data from VSKs, policymakers can gain insights into the skill requirements of specific regions or industry clusters. This information can be instrumental in tailoring educational and skill development programs to meet local demands. 
  • Higher Education Planning: VSKs can aid in the planning of higher educational institutions based on current and future educational needs and scenarios. This can lead to more strategic and efficient resource allocation in the higher education sector. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) for fintech entities

In News: Recently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has asked fintech entities to form a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO). 


  • Fintech, short for “financial technology,” refers to the innovative use of technology to deliver a wide range of financial services and products. 
  • Fintech companies leverage cutting-edge technology, including software, applications, and digital platforms, to create more efficient, accessible, and user-friendly solutions in the financial industry. 
  • They often operate in areas such as digital payments, lending, investing, insurance, and wealth management.  
  • Some examples include mobile banking, peer-to-peer payment services (e.g., Gpay, PhonePe), automated portfolio managers (e.g., Fintoo, Motilal Oswal), or trading platforms (e.g., Zerodha, Groww). 

Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) 

  • Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) is a non-governmental organization that sets and enforces industry rules to protect customers, and promote ethics, equality, and professionalism.  
  • Framing of Rules: SROs typically collaborate with all stakeholders in framing rules and regulations. 
  • Their self-regulatory processes are administered through impartial mechanisms such that members operate in a disciplined environment and accept penal actions by the SRO. 
  • SRO regulations complement existing laws and regulations. 
  • Recognition: Reserve Bank of India will be authority of issuing letters of recognition. 

Functions of SROs: 

  • Establishing codes of conduct: To foster transparency, fair competition, and consumer protection. 
  • Communication Channel: Serve as a link between members and regulatory bodies like the RBI. 
  • Establishing Standards: Set industry benchmarks and encourage professional conduct. 
  • Training and Awareness: Provide member training and awareness programs. 
  • Grievance Redressal: Establish a uniform grievance resolution framework. 
  • Others: SRO is expected to address concerns such as to protect workers, customers or other participants in the ecosystem. 

Advantages of SROs 

  • SROs are experts in their industries, providing valuable knowledge and insights to their members. 
  • They enforce ethical standards among their members, fostering trust in the industry. 
  • SROs act as watchdogs, preventing unprofessional practices. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Hallmarking in India

In News: The third phase of the mandatory hallmarking vide Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery and Gold Artefacts (Third Amendment) Order, 2023 comes into force from September 8, 2023. 


  • It will include an additional 55 districts, making the total number of districts covered under mandatory hallmarking as 343. 


  • Hallmarking is like a quality stamp for jewellery and precious metal items 
  • Hallmarks are thus official marks used in many countries as a guarantee of the purity or fineness of precious metal articles. 
  • The principle objectives of the Hallmarking Scheme: 
    • to protect the public against adulteration 
    • to obligate manufacturers to maintain legal standards of fineness. 

Hallmarking in India: 

  • At present two precious metals namely gold and silver have been brought under the purview of Hallmarking. 
  • Mandatory hallmarking order is applicable on 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery/artefacts only. 
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) assigns a unique HUID (Hallmarking Unique ID) number to all hallmarked items. 
    • HUID is a six-digit alphanumeric code. 
    • It is given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and is unique for each piece. 
    • The Government has made it mandatory the introduction of a HUID number in every piece of jewellery. 
  • Consumers can verify the authenticity of hallmarked items using the ‘verify HUID’ feature in the BIS Care app. 
  • Applicable since: It is applicable for gold since 2000 and for silver since 2005. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

World food price index

In News: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the world food price index fell to a new two-year low recently. 


  • The FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.  
  • It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices – cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, weighted by the average export shares of each of the groups over 2014-2016. 
  • Recent decline reversed a previous month’s rebound, with most food commodities experiencing decreases, although rice and sugar prices. 

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 

  • It is a specialized agency established by the United Nations in 1945 that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. 
  • It is headquartered in Rome, Italy. 
  • It strives to provide information and support sustainable agriculture through legislation and national strategies, with a goal of alleviating hunger. 
  • It works to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

India Progress in Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) – World Bank

In News: Recently, the World Bank has lauded the transformative impact of DPIs in India over the past decade. 


Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) encompasses fundamental building blocks and platforms, such as digital identification, payment infrastructure, and data exchange solutions. These elements play a pivotal role in facilitating a country's ability to provide essential services to its citizens, ultimately fostering empowerment and an enhanced quality of life through digital inclusion. 

DPIs serve as the conduits for the seamless movement of three critical components:  

  • First, they enable the smooth flow of individuals through a robust digital identification system.  
  • Second, they facilitate the swift transfer of financial resources via a real-time, high-speed payment system.  
  • Third, they govern the secure and consent-driven exchange of personal information, thereby unlocking the full potential of DPIs and granting citizens genuine control over their data. 

Steps taken by the government in shaping the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) landscape: 

  • Financial Inclusion: The World Bank document notes that India has achieved in just 6 years what would have taken about five decades. 
    • JAM Trinity has propelled the financial inclusion rate from 25% in 2008 to over 80% of adults in the last 6 years, a journey shortened by up to 47 years thanks to DPIs. 
    • Since its launch, the number of PMJDY accounts opened tripled from 147.2 million in March 2015 to 462 million by June 2022; women own 56 percent of these accounts, more than 260 million. 
    • The Jan Dhan Plus program encourages low-income women to save, resulting in over 12 million women customers (as of April 2023) and a 50% increase in average balances in just five months, as against the entire portfolio in the same time period.  
  • Government to Person (G2P) Payments (World’s largest digital G2P): 
    • This approach has supported transfers amounting to about $361 billion directly to beneficiaries from 53 central government ministries through 312 key schemes. 
    • As of March 2022, this had resulted in a total savings of $33 billion, equivalent to nearly 1.14 percent of GDP. 
  • UPI: 
    • More than 9.41 billion transactions valuing about Rs 14.89 trillion were transacted in May 2023 alone. For the fiscal year 2022–23, the total value of UPI transactions was nearly 50 percent of India’s nominal GDP. 
  • DPIs’ Potential Added Value for the Private Sector: 
    • The DPI in India has also enhanced efficiency for private organizations through reductions in the complexity, cost, and time taken for business operations in India. 
    • NBFCs have been enabled 8% higher conversion rate in SME lending, a 65% savings in depreciation costs and 66% reduction in costs related to fraud detection. 
    • According to industry estimates, banks’ costs of onboarding customers in India decreased from $23 to $0.1 with the use of DPI. 
  • Lower Cost of Compliance for Banks for KYC 
    • India Stack has digitized and simplified KYC procedures, lowering costs; banks that use e-KYC lowered their cost of compliance from $0.12 to $0.06. The decrease in costs made lower-income clients more attractive to service and generated profits to develop new products. 
  • Cross-Border Payments: 
    • The UPI-PayNow interlinking between India and Singapore operationalized in February 2023, aligns with G20's financial inclusion priorities and facilitates faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments. 
  • Account Aggregator (AA) Framework: 
    • India’s Account Aggregator (AA) Framework aims to strengthen India’s data infrastructure, enabling consumers and enterprises to share their data only with their consent through an electronic consent framework. The framework is regulated by RBI. 
    • Total of 1.13 billion cumulative accounts are enabled for data sharing, with a 13.46 million cumulative number of consents raised in June 2023. 
  • Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA): 
    • India's DEPA grants individuals control over their data, enabling them to share it across providers. This promotes tailored product and service access without requiring new entrants to invest heavily in pre-existing client relationships, fostering innovation and competition. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

New UPI features

In News: Recently, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has introduced new features for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the goal of achieving 100 billion monthly transactions. 


  • UPI is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. 
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched UPI with 21 member banks in 2016. 

New UPI features: 

  • The latest offerings by NPCI encompass a credit line on UPI, a conversational payment mode known as ‘Hello UPI,’ BillPay Connect, UPI Tap & Pay, and UPI Lite X. 
  • The credit line on UPI allows users to make purchases by scanning a QR code with their UPI-linked app, choosing their bank, entering the transaction amount, and opting for the credit line as the payment option. 
  • Hello UPI’ is a conversational payment mode that can understand spoken language and silence, convert text to numerical values, and offer text-to-speech capabilities. 
  • UPI Tap & Pay involves small cards with NFC chips linked to a user’s QR code and UPI ID 
    • Users can obtain these cards from partner banks, personalize them, and attach them to their mobile phones for convenient tap-based payments. 
  • UPI Lite X enables peer-to-peer transactions without an internet connection, using near-field communication (NFC) functionality on compatible phones. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Financial inclusion to reduce inequality and fasten growth

In News: Recently, G20 deliberations identified three policy pillars with priority themes aimed at achieving inclusion 


Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. 

  • Financial inclusion has been identified as an enabler for 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.   
  • The G20 committed to advancing financial inclusion worldwide and reaffirmed its commitment to implement the G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion.  
  • The World Bank Group considers financial inclusion a key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. 
  • Financial Inclusion helps strengthen the livelihoods of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid and also contributes to global economic growth. 

Challenges in Promoting Financial Inclusion  

  • Limited Financial Access: Approximately 24% of adults worldwide do not have access to formal financial accounts, which impedes their participation in the financial system. 
  • Low Savings and Borrowing Rates: Globally, only 29% of adults deposit their savings in financial institutions, and a mere 28% borrow from formal financial institutions. 
  • Disparities in MSME Financing: Micro-enterprises in developing countries often encounter obstacles, such as loan rejections or unfavourable loan terms, affecting 21% of them. Small and medium-sized enterprises face even greater barriers, with 30% experiencing difficulties accessing financing. 
  • Gender Disparities: Women face unique challenges in financial inclusion due to restrictive social norms, limited mobility, and lower financial literacy. This gender gap is particularly pronounced in low-income and developing countries, leading to disparities in bank account ownership. 
  • Limited Adoption of Digital Payments: In developing nations, men with bank accounts are more likely to utilize digital payment methods, creating a 6-percentage-point gap compared to women. This further excludes women from accessing digital financial services. 
  • Limited Access to Emergency Funds: Women in developing countries encounter more significant difficulties in accessing emergency funds, with only 50% reporting consistent access, compared to 59% of men. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability

In News: Recently, RBI launched the UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability 


  • The interoperability of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the digital rupee means that all UPI Quick Response (QR) codes are now compatible with Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) apps.  
  • During the pilot phase of the retail digital rupee, users of the e₹-R (retail digital rupee) had to scan a specific QR code to perform transactions related to the digital rupee.  

However, with the introduction of interoperability between UPI and the digital rupee, payments can now be made using a single QR code. 

How does this interoperability work? 

  1. Digital Rupee Wallet: The e₹ is stored in a digital wallet, which is linked to a customer's existing savings bank account. This digital wallet holds the digital rupee, allowing users to make transactions and payments seamlessly. 
  2. UPI Integration: UPI is a widely used payment system in India, directly linked to a customer's bank account. With the interoperability of UPI and the digital rupee, users can now use their existing UPI-enabled apps to make payments related to the digital rupee. 
  3. Single QR Code: Instead of needing a separate QR code for digital rupee transactions, users can now use a single QR code. This QR code can be scanned using CBDC apps or UPI-enabled apps, making the process more user-friendly and efficient. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Malaviya Mission – Teachers Training Programme

In News: Recently, the Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship launched the Malaviya Mission - Teachers Training Programme by the University Grants Commission. 


The Malaviya Mission is an initiative aimed at enhancing the quality of education in India, particularly focusing on the training and development of teachers in higher educational institutions (HEIs).  

About Malaviya Mission: 

  • Teacher Training Programs: The mission is designed to provide customized training programs for teachers, with a specific focus on capacity building within higher educational institutions. 
  • Capacity Building: Its primary objective is to enhance the professional development of faculty members in HEIs. This initiative seeks to empower and build the capacities of approximately 15 lakh (1.5 million) teachers in higher education across India. 
  • Nationwide Presence: The Malaviya Mission is planned to operate through 111 centers across the country, ensuring broad coverage and a time-bound approach to teacher capacity building. 
  • Alignment with NEP: The mission aligns with the goals of the National Education Policy (NEP) and aims to improve the quality of teacher training, foster leadership skills among educators, and contribute to the realization of NEP objectives. 
  • Career Progression: It intends to map capacity-building activities under the Mission to a credit framework, enabling career progression pathways for educators, thereby recognizing and rewarding their professional development efforts. 
  • Incorporation of Indian Knowledge System: The program modules include aspects of the Indian Knowledge System, emphasizing the importance of indigenous knowledge in education. 

About Madan Mohan Malaviya 

He was a prominent Indian educationist, freedom fighter, and moderate political leader. Some key facts about him include: 

  • Presidency of Indian National Congress: He was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress four times during his political career. 
  • Round Table Conference: Malaviya attended the Round Table Conference in 1931, representing India's interests and discussing constitutional reforms. 
  • Founding Hindu Mahasabha: He played a significant role in founding the Hindu Mahasabha in 1906, a socio-political organization. 
  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU): Malaviya is most renowned for founding Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi in 1916. BHU was established under the B.H.U. Act, 1915, and it has since become a prominent educational institution in India. 
  • Vice Chancellor of BHU: He served as the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University from 1919 to 1938, contributing significantly to its development and growth. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Vizag International Cruise Terminal

In News: The Vizag International Cruise Terminal (VICT) in Visakhapatnam will be inaugurated by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. 


The enhancements at the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) include the Vizag International Cruise Terminal, which is designed to accommodate passenger vessels with a capacity of 2,000 passengers per vessel and a draft of 8.1 meters. 

Key statistics and facts about India's port sector: 

  • India enjoys a strategic geographical advantage with a coastline spanning 7,517 kilometers. 
  • Maritime transport plays a pivotal role in handling 70% of India's trade. 
  • India commands a significant share, accounting for 30% of the global ship-breaking market. 
  • The Sagar Mala Program is a prominent initiative that prioritizes port-led development and involves a substantial investment of $123 billion. 
  • India permits 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the port sector through both government approval and automatic routes. 
  • India's port infrastructure includes 12 major ports and approximately 200 non-major or intermediate ports. 
  • Among major ports, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust stands out as the largest, while Mudra Port holds the distinction of being the largest private port in the country. 
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Port is notably India's first 100% Landlord Major Port. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Multi-Purpose Seaweed Park (Tamil Nadu)

In News: Recently, On the third day of Sagar Parikrama Phase VIII, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying laid the Foundation Stone for a Multi-Purpose Seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu. 


  • In the Union Budget 2021, the finance minister announced the proposal to set up ‘Multipurpose Seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu’. 
  • Seaweeds are a type of marine algae, often found in coastal waters 
  • It can vary in size and color and is used in various industries, including food, cosmetics, and agriculture.  
  • Seaweed is rich in nutrients and has diverse applications worldwide. 
  • The park aims to promote seaweed cultivation for employment, value-added products, and conservation.  

Key Features: 

  • The seaweed park includes the promotion of seaweed cultivation in 136 coastal fishing villages in 6 coastal districts of Tamil Nadu namely Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi.  
  • The Multipurpose Seaweed Park is a significant investment to promote seaweed cultivation and research, benefiting scientists, researchers, and local communities. 
  • The seaweed park will also provide a single window support for the entrepreneurs, processors etc. to access information on schemes, licenses/approvals required, while also providing space to set up processing centers. 

Sagar Parikrama Yatra 

  • Main core objectives of the “Sagar Parikrama Yatra” are; 
    • to create awareness among fishers, fish farmers and other stakeholders on the sustainable use of marine fishery resources and protection of marine ecosystems.  
    • to disseminate information of various fisheries related schemes and programs being implemented by the government.  
    • to demonstrate solidarity with all fishers, fish farmers and stakeholders as a spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. 
    • to protect the marine life and sea from pollution. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Third Rail of Kolkata Metro Railway

In News: Recently, Indian Railways’ Kolkata Metro has decided to replace its steel third rail with a composite aluminum third rail. 


  • The third rail system is a means of providing electric power to a train through a conductor placed alongside the rails. 
  • Kolkata Metro Railway has been using steel Third Rail for the last 40 years. 
  • Kolkata Metro Railway has now decided to use composite Aluminium Third Rail in all the upcoming corridors being undertaken for construction along with retrofitment in existing corridors with steel Third Rail. 
  • This move aligns Kolkata Metro with prestigious international metro systems like those in London, Moscow, Berlin, Munich, and Istanbul, which have also made the shift from steel to aluminium third rails. 

The advantages of aluminium composite third Rail over steel third Rail include: 

  • Reduction in resistive current loss and improved Traction voltage level. 
  • Reduced maintenance and life cycle cost. 
  • Improved acceleration with the same rolling stock. 
  • Enhanced efficiency of train operations. 
  • Significant improvements in energy efficiency and a reduction in carbon footprint. 
  • Improved train headway, leading to better train scheduling and operations. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Agricultural Cess

In News: The government has recently exempted imports of LPG (liquid petroleum Gas), liquified propane, and liquified butane from the 15% Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess (AIDC) with effect from September 1. 


  • This exemption reverses the previous imposition of the agriculture cess (also called Agriculture infrastructure and development cess (AIDC)) on these goods in July. 
  • It is also imposed on Crude Palm Oil. 


  • Cess is a kind of special-purpose tax which is levied over and above basic tax rates. 
  • It is levied by the government for a specific purpose. 
  • For example, a cess for financing primary education – the education cess (which is imposed on all central government taxes) is to be spent only for financing primary education (SSA) and not for any other purposes. 

Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess (AIDC)  

  • The AIDC was introduced in the Budget 2021. 
  • It is a type of special-purpose tax that aims to raise funds specifically for financing the development of agriculture infrastructure in India 
  • The purpose of the AIDC is to raise funds to finance spending on developing agriculture infrastructure. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Curbs on rice exports

In News: Recently, government has levied certain restrictions on rice export to check the domestic rise in prices and to ensure domestic food security. 

Rice Production in India and Export: 

  • India is the second-largest producer of rice in the world, after China. As per Second Advance Estimates, the estimated production of Rice for 2022-23 is 1308.37 Lakh Tonnes. 
  • West Bengal is the largest rice producer in India. In certain states like Tamil Nadu, some farmers anticipate delayed planting due to insufficient rainfall from the southwest monsoon. 
  • India is the world’s largest exporter of rice, with a 45% share. 
  • Shipments of non-Basmati rice recorded a growth of 7.5% in May despite the imposition of a 20% export duty on white rice and the prohibition of broken rice exports by the government in September last year. 
  • The export of non-Basmati rice has demonstrated a consistent upward trend over the past three years. 
  • According to government-provided statistics, up until August 17 of this year, total rice exports have surged by 15%. It reached 7.3 million tonnes in contrast to the 6.3 million tonnes during the same period last year. 

Restrictions on Rice Export: 

  • In May 2022, the government banned wheat exports. 
  • In June 2023, restrictions on stock holdings were imposed. 
  • In September 2022, the export of broken rice was prohibited, and a 20% tariff was imposed on non-parboiled white grain shipments. 
  • In July 2023, non-basmati white rice exports were entirely prohibited, with only parboiled non-basmati and basmati rice allowed. 
  • Recently, a 20% duty was introduced on all parboiled non-basmati rice exports. 

Benefits for the farmers: 

  • Increase in MSP- The government has increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rice. 
  • Increase in price- Paddy procurement by rice millers are at a price higher than the MSP. 
  • Check in price rise- The prices will not decline for farmers, restrictions on exports will ensure that there is no steep climb in rice prices in the market. 

Challenges of the restriction: 

  • Export limitations can be bypassed through inaccurate classification. White non-basmati rice has been exported using codes intended for parboiled and basmati rice. 
  • The $1,200 Minimum Export Price is considered too high. Only specific rice varieties achieve these prices, accounting for just around 15% of basmati exports. 
  • The earnings of the farmers are impacted due to the restrictions. 

Way Forward: 

  • Proper classification of rice should be done as common and speciality rice, rather than just as Basmati and non-Basmati. 
  • Protect varieties of rice with Geographical Indication (GI) recognition from general market interventions. 
  • For Basmati rice, permit exports to continue or set a minimum export value, such as $900 per tonne, as new crop arrivals are expected to meet demand due to good quality and consistent supply. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs


In News: Recently, the President of India virtually launched the Ayushman Bhav Campaign. 


Ayushman Bhava is an umbrella campaignthat will ensure the optimum delivery of health schemes to every intended beneficiary, including those in the last mile. 

Component of Ayushman Bhava Campaign 

  • Ayushman Apke Dwar 3.0:  It aimed at the creation and distribution of Ayushman cards to all remaining eligible beneficiaries; 
  • Ayushman Mela:  Weekly health melas will be held at the level of AB-HWCs and Community Health Centres (CHCs) and 
  • Ayushman Sabha: A village/ward level sabha to be held to enhance awareness about various health care schemes and services. 
  • Ayushman Gram Panchayat’: The campaign will eventually ensure gram/nagar panchayat to attain the status of ‘Ayushman Gram Panchayat’ or ‘Ayushman Ward’ with saturation of selected health indicators. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

PM-WANI (Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface)-India's Digital Landscape

In News: The (PM-WANI) scheme is set to revolutionize public Wi-Fi in India. PM-WANI can be a potential game-changer for India’s digital public infrastructure. 

About Digital Public Infrastructure 

  • DPI is a digital network that enables countries to safely and efficiently deliver economic opportunities and social services to all residents.  
  • DPI allows people to open bank accounts and receive wages faster and more easily. It allows governments to support citizens more quickly and efficiently, especially during emergencies. And it enables entrepreneurs to reach customers far and wide.   
  • DPI can be compared to roads, which form a physical network that connects people and provides access to a huge range of goods and services.   

About PM-WANI 

  • PM-WANI, initiated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) in December 2020, is a significant program aimed at enhancing the accessibility of public WiFi hotspots to establish a robust digital communication network across the country, especially in rural areas. 
  • This framework enables various entities, such as shopkeepers, tea stall owners, or Kirana store owners, to establish public Wi-Fi hotspots and offer internet services to customers. 
  • PM-WANI aligns with the objectives outlined in the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 (NDCP), which focuses on building a strong digital communications infrastructure. 


  • To promote ease of doing business and encourage local businesses to provide Wi-Fi, it has been decided that last-mile Public Wi-Fi providers do not need licenses, registrations, or fees to the DoT. 

PM-WANI Ecosystem: 


  • As of November 2022, the PM-WANI central registry recorded 188 PDO aggregators, 109 app providers, and 11,50,394 public WiFi hotspots. 

Benefits of PM-WANI: 

  • Expanding internet access in rural and remote areas. 
  • Offering an affordable and convenient alternative to internet access compared to expensive options like 5G. 
  • Encouraging innovation and competition in the internet market. 

Sachet Internet: 

  • The introduction of sachet-sized internet packages priced at Rs 5 to 10 has been a game-changer in promoting internet usage among the masses. 
  • For students, in particular, these affordable plans have become a preferable alternative to purchasing other consumables like chips or soft drinks from their pocket money. 
  • The availability of sachet internet plans has democratized access to information and educational resources, making it easier for individuals from all walks of life to harness the power of the internet for learning and personal growth. 

Challenges of PM-WANI: 

  • Ensuring Wi-Fi quality and user experience, involving bandwidth, user management, device compatibility, and data security. 
  • Addressing security concerns like data breaches, hacking, and malware. 
  • Potential challenges for mobile telecom companies regarding market share and revenue due to PM-WANI's affordability. 
  • Expanding and maintaining PM-WANI in areas with low internet demand and high operational costs. 

PM-WANI as a Game-Changer for India’s Digital Public Infrastructure: 

  • PM-WANI is a vital component of India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), making internet access more inclusive and bridging the digital divide. 
  • Leveraging existing physical and social infrastructure like shops, post offices, and schools to create a widespread network of Wi-Fi hotspots. 
  • Utilizing existing digital infrastructure, such as Aadhaar and UPI, for secure authentication and payment of Wi-Fi services. 
  • Empowering citizens and communities by granting access to information, knowledge, opportunities, and services, fostering participation in the digital economy and society. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Old Pension Scheme (OPS): Red Flag by RBI

In News: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that reverting to the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) from the New Pension Scheme (NPS) can be a “major step backwards” in fiscal management. 

Key Points of the Observations by RBI: 

  • Reverting to the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) might briefly reduce state expenses, but it will surpass the New Pension Scheme (NPS) contributions by the 2030s. 
  • This shift could inflate the pension burden by around 4.5 times compared to NPS. 
  • By 2060, this additional OPS burden could reach about 1% of GDP annually for states. 
  • This action is seen as fiscally unsustainable and goes against the prevalent pattern of adopting defined contribution plans. 

New Pension Scheme (NPS): 

  • Proposed by the Project OASIS report became the basis for pension reforms and what was originally conceived for unorganised sector workers, was adopted by the government for its own employees. 
  • The NPS was for prospective employees; it was made mandatory for all new recruits joining government service from January 1, 2004. 
  • The defined contribution comprised 10 percent of the basic salary and dearness allowance by the employee. 
  • In 2019, the government increased its contribution to 14 percent of the basic salary and dearness allowance. 
  • Schemes under the NPS are offered by nine pension fund managers. It is sponsored by SBI, LIC, UTI, HDFC, ICICI, Kotak Mahindra, Aditya Birla, Tata, and Max. 

Advantages of New Pension Scheme: 

  • NPS subscribers have complete freedom to allocate their savings to equities, corporate bonds or government securities, or any combination of the three. 
  • Risk-averse investors can simply allocate all their money to bonds or gilts in NPS, altogether skipping stocks. 
  • A review of Nifty50 over the past 20 years reveals that while it commonly provided losses during one-year intervals, extending one's holding time to 10 years lowered the loss probability to zero while earning an 11–12% return. 
  • Over the past ten years, NPS managers have achieved a 13–14% return on stocks and a 5–9% return on bonds and government securities, compared to the EPFO's struggle to report an 8–8.5% return on its "safe" debt portfolio. 
  • With NPS, an employee has greater control over his pension as he can save more or allocate more to equities. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

SHREYAS scheme

In News: According to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment the “SHREYAS” has played a significant role in empowering students from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in India since 2014-15. 


The umbrella scheme of "SHREYAS" comprises 4 central sector sub-schemes namely "Top Class Education for SCs", "Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs", "National Overseas Scheme for SCs" and "National Fellowship for SCs".  

About the Subscheme of SHREYAS 

  • Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs: The objective of the Scheme is to provide coaching of good quality for economically disadvantaged Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) candidates to enable them to appear in competitive and entrance examinations 
  • Top-Class Education for SCs: The Scheme aims at recognizing and promoting quality education amongst students belonging to SCs, by providing full financial support. The Scheme will cover SC students pursuing studies beyond the 12th class.  
  • National Overseas Scheme for SCs: Under this scheme financial assistance is provided to the selected students from SCs (115 slots); De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (6 slots); landless agricultural laborers and traditional artisan categories (4 slots), for pursuing masters and Ph.D. level courses abroad.  
  • National Fellowship for SC Students: Under the scheme, fellowship is provided to Scheduled Castes students for pursuing higher education leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. degrees in Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences in Indian Universities/Institutions/ Colleges recognized by University Grants Commission (UGC). 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Kisan Rin Portal

In News: Recently, the government launched the Weather Information Network Data Systems (WINDS) portal and the “Kisan Rin Portal”.  

About Kisan Rin Portal: 

  • The Kisan Rin digital platform aims to provide a holistic perspective on farmer-related information, encompassing details about scheme utilization progress, loan disbursement specifics, and claims for interest subvention. 
  • Kisan Rin Portal was launched as part of the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme to revolutionize the agriculture sector. 
  • This initiative seeks to foster improved collaboration with financial institutions, streamlining the process of granting agricultural credit for enhanced efficiency. 

Weather Information Network Data Systems (WINDS) portal: 

  • WINDS harnesses sophisticated weather data analytics to furnish stakeholders with actionable insights for making informed decisions pertaining to agriculture and weather-related matters.  
  • The portal also comprises a comprehensive manual designed to assist stakeholders in comprehending its functionalities, interpreting data, and maximizing its effective utilization. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Data-driven innovations in agriculture

In News: Recently, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-create data-driven innovations in agriculture and food systems to support smallholder farmers. 


  • The partnership’s focus is on improving climate resilience in agriculture, and it involves the dissemination of collaborative digital public goods such as DiCRA (Data in Climate Resilient Agriculture). 
    • DiCRA provides open access to key geospatial datasets relevant to climate-resilient agriculture and is curated by UNDP and partner organizations. 
  • This collaboration aims to enhance the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by sharing open-source data for product development, technology transfer, and policy framing. 
  • This is seen as a significant opportunity to leverage data and present it as a digital public infrastructure for India’s rural farming community.  
  • Open data innovations like this can promote best practices, optimize agricultural investments, and enhance the resilience of smallholders, especially women, against various risks. 

Keywords: Indian Economy
Monthly Current Affairs

‘Bima Sugam’ online platform

In News: Recently, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a steering committee to act as the apex decision-making body for the creation of its ambitious ‘Bima Sugam’ online platform. 


Bima Sugam platform: 

  • Bima Sugam will be a ‘one-stop destination’ for people's insurance-related needs. These include services such as policies, portability facilities, change of agents, settling of claims, and more. 
  • Buyers can directly purchase life, motor, or health policies through web aggregators, brokers, banks, and insurance agents.  
  • Insurance companies will be major shareholders in the platform, which will offer services via an ‘e-insurance account’ (E-IA). 
  • Ownership: 
    • Life insurance and general insurance companies will own a 47.5 per cent stake each, while brokers and agent bodies will own 2.5 per cent each. 
  • Benefits of the portal: 
    • Act as a centralised database;  
    • Assist the insured/buyers in porting their respective policies based on coverage and pricing;  
    • Give people a wide choice to pick and choose policies and view all their policies;  
    • Reduce commission paid to intermediaries; and,  
    • Pave the way for a speedy acceptance of new/sandbox products. 


  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) (founded 1999; HQ: Hyderabad) is a statutory body (under the IRDA Act 1999). 
  • It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance and is tasked with regulating and licensing the insurance and re-insurance industries in India. 

Unified Registration Portal for GOBARdhan 

In News:  Recently, The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti has introduced a Unified Registration Portal for GOBARdhan to streamline the registration of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) and biogas plants nationwide. 


  • Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBARdhan) is an umbrella initiative of the Government of India 
  • It aims to transform organic waste, including cattle dung, agricultural residues, and biomass, into valuable resources like biogas, CBG, and organic manure. 
  • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti is the coordinating department for GOBARdhan. 
  • This initiative supports high-value Biogas/CBG production and promotes the use of bio-slurry to improve soil health, carbon content, and water retention. 

Unified Registration Portal for GOBARdhan: 

  • Anyone who operates or intends to set up a biogas/ CBG/ Bio CNG plant in India can obtain a registration number by registering in this unified registration portal 
  • The registration number is required to avail benefits/ support from other Ministries/ Departments. 

More information about the news: 

  • Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (Nodal Department for GOBARdhan) announced that over 1163 biogas plants and 426 CBG plants have successfully registered on the portal to date.  
  • These registered CBG/Biogas plants are eligible for assistance under the Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme of the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers. 

Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme:  

  • The Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme, launched by the Department of Fertilizers aims to promote the production and adoption of organic fertilizers generated from GOBARdhan plants.