August 2023 Current Affairs

Table of contents

1   Monthly Current Affairs

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Project ‘AMBER’

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Right To Repair - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Khanan Prahari to Combat Illegal Coal Mining

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Missing Public Information on RTI Online Portal

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National Judicial Data Grid - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Khelo India initiative - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Bharat New Car Assessment Programme

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Renouncing Indian citizenship - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023

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Ninth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

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PM-DevINE and NESIDS Schemes - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Representation of People Act: Section 8(4) and the Lily Thomas Case

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Piped Water Connection - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)

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Gaps in Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Amendment Act

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PM e-Bus Sewa scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Global Initiative on Digital Health

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SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes

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The CEC and Other ECs Bill - 2023

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Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme

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Representation of People Act: Section 8(4) & Lily Thomas

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Piped Water Connection - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)

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Gaps in Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Amendment Act

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PM e-Bus Sewa scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Global Initiative on Digital Health

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SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes

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The CEC and Other ECs Bill, 2023

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Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme

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Impact of the Data Protection Bill on the RTI Act

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NMC Med Practitioner Conduct Regs 2023

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Health Facilities for Tribal Women Report

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Reformed Indian Criminal Law - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Centre’s Bill on Election Commission Appointments

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CAG Report on National Social Assistance Programme

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Indian Web Browser Development Challenge

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Keralam - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Standing Committee Report on “Judicial Process and their Reforms”

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Digital Health Incentives Scheme

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Digital India RISC-V (DIR-V) Program

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WMO: 2022 State of the Climate in Asia Report

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Separation of Power and Jan Vishwas Act

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Water neutrality in Indian industries

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National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill

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Justice G. Rohini-led Commission

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Lowering the Minimum Age for Contesting Election

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PM-YASASVI SCHEME - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Money Bill and Finance Bill - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Sub-Categorisation of OBCs - Edukemy Current Affairs

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SAGE PORTAL - Edukemy Current Affairs

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The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2023

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Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

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India-Greece Bilateral Relationship

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India and the Northern Sea Route

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Trinidad and Tobago - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Admitting new members to BRICS

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Indonesia’s Aceh Province

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Arash-Dorra Gas Field - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) framework

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China-Bhutan Boundary Dispute - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Panama Canal - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Denmark - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Niger - Edukemy Current Affairs

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North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA)

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Sulina Channel (Danube River) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Hawaii, USA - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ghana - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kenya

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Mali - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Belem Declaration - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Coup in Niger - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kuril Islands - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Lao PDR (Laos) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Niger - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Rural India shift to sugars and processed foods

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Advisory Board on Banking and Financial Frauds

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Concerns Over Consuming Ultra-Processed Food

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Future of Work Report- AI at Work

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First ABDM Microsite - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Scientific Authenticity of Nano Liquid Urea

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India's Ageing Workforce - Edukemy Current Affairs

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20th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers’ Meeting

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Rail-Sea-Rail (RSR) Initiative

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Advisory board on bank frauds - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Market Coupling - Edukemy Current Affairs

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RBI’s Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit

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Reforms for Secure Digital Connectivity

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Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP)

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Infrastructure Debt Fund-NBFCs (IDF-NBFCs)

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Amitabh Kant Committee recommendation on stalled housing projects

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India has started manufacturing 38 APIs

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RBI’s State of the Economy report

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Indian Pharmacopoeia Recognition in Suriname

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Remittances to India - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA)

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New Soil Health Card Scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs

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IMF Quota Review - Edukemy Current Affairs

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RBI launches new features for UPI

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Deflation - Edukemy Current Affairs

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CAG Report on Railway Finance - Edukemy Current Affairs

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National Policy on Official Statistics

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Fertilizer Availability and Local Production

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Mission Indradhanush - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Tidal energy potential - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)

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Excess cane payments - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India's Strategic Petroleum Reserves

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BharatNet Project - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Revised Good Manufacturing Practices Standards

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Bhu-Vision - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Rajmargyatra - Edukemy Current Affairs

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G20 Principles for Financing Cities of Tomorrow

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Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF)

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Schemes for Farmers’ Welfare

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Gross Fixed Capital Formation - Edukemy Current Affairs

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MSME CARD - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Samagam and ULLAS Initiative

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Self-Reliant India Fund for MSMEs

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Barrier to Women's Labor Force Participation

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Corporate Debt Market Development Fund

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RBI’s Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI)

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Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition

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Vivad se Vishwas 2.0 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Maharatna and Navratna category

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Restrictions on the import of electronic devices

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GOBARdhan Initiative - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Odisha Millets Mission (OMM) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Mahila Samman Savings Certificate Scheme (MSSC)

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Urea Gold - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Devika: North India’s First River Rejuvenation Project

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COP28: Gabon wraps up $500 million debt-for-nature swap

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“State of India’s Birds, 2023″ report

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Solution to minimize heatwaves in Urban India

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Lead Poisoning in India - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cinnamon - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Bees can monitor pollution - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Dibang Multipurpose Project - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Global Biodiversity Framework Fund

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India's Interest Arctic Region and the Northern Sea Route

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Soil Micronutrient Shortage Affects Health of Women & Children

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Methane Eating Bacteria - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Indian Ocean Dipole - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Maharashtra’s 1st elephant reserve

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Environmental Challenges in Northeast India

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UK’s North Sea Drilling

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Debt-Fossil Fuel Trap Report - Edukemy Current Affairs

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‘Likaru-Mig La-Fukche’ road (Ladakh)

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Pacific islands face the risk of drowning

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Rising Methane Levels and the Threat to Climate Stability

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Sixth Anniversary of the Minamata Convention

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Environment Ministry Reverses Autonomous Bodies Merger

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Offshore wind power projects - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Wild Fires - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kalka-Shimla Railway (KSR) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kanniyakumari’s Matti Banana

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Third-longest monsoonal break in this century has ended

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Impact of Geopolitics on Clean Energy Targets

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Termination-level Transition - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Tourism’s Ecological Toll

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Drought Declaration Norms - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Increased rain and reduced snowfall in the Himalayan region

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Red Rice - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Asian Elephant - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Aromatic rice ‘Mushkbudji’

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Inclusive Conservation Initiative (ICI)

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China’s ‘Sponge Cities’ and Their Flood Challenges

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Vaquita Porpoise - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Project Devika - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Deepor Beel - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Carbon Capture and Storage - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve

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5% of birds in India are endemic

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Monsoon, El Nino, And Their Impact on Agriculture

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Red Sanders - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Towards Decarbonising Transport 2023

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Cryptobiosis - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Dongria Kondh Tribe - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Land-use changes in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri

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Seagrass Fal Estuary - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Sulfur Dioxide Emission Norms - Edukemy Current Affairs

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All India Tiger Estimation 2022

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Parkachik Glacier in Ladakh - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ancient pathogens - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Gulf Stream and AMOC - Edukemy Current Affairs

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The State of Climate in Asia 2022

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Green Alerts, SAMUDRA and IndoBIS

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Lithium Extraction - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Graphene-Aurora Program - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Somatic genetic variants - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Project Worldcoin - Edukemy Current Affairs

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ASTRA Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile

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C.R. Rao (1920-2023) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

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ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission

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Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator (SOrTeD)

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Namoh 108 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Acoustic Side Channel Attacks - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Definition of Green Hydrogen - Edukemy Current Affairs

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DRDO’s UAV Tapas

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Demon particle - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Gene-edited mustard - Edukemy Current Affairs

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‘Microplastics’ in the human Heart

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India’s first drone common testing centre

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STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) mission

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Aditya-L1 Mission - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Zayed Talwar - Edukemy Current Affairs

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First-ever 2D composite quantum material

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Neerakshi - Edukemy Current Affairs

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IMS-1 Satellite Bus Technology

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Genetic Diversity in the Indian Population

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Einstein cross - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Fediverse - Edukemy Current Affairs

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NIDHI program - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Finger Minutiae Record – Finger Image Record (FMR-FIR) modality

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Akira ransomware - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Room-temperature superconductor

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Cell-Free DNA - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Space Debris - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Worldcoin - Edukemy Current Affairs

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GEMINI Blood Test

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Scrub Typhus - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Hepatitis - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Post-quantum Cryptography - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ureilite - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Trachoma - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Nuclear Medicine - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Nikah Halala - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Casteism in Indian Society - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Nutrition's Role in Tuberculosis Prevention

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Teaching in the mother tongue - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Paharis and Paddaris - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Climate change contributes to violence against children

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Children and Domestic Labour - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Seethakali folk art (Kerala) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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FIDE Chess World Cup 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Vast megalithic site in Kerala

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Ancient Mailara cult in coastal Karnataka

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Karnail Singh Isru - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Matangini Hazra and Kanaklata Barua

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Kirti Chakras and Shaurya Chakras

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Tamil Palm manuscripts: Gnanamuyarchi

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Adichanallur archaeological site (Tamil Nadu)

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Rath Yatra ,Puri , Odisha

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Aadi Perukku 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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UNESCO heritage danger list - Edukemy Current Affairs

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GI Tags of Tamil Nadu - Edukemy Current Affairs

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SDCs to Promote Tribal Culture

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Hazrat Imam Hussain (626 to 680 AD)

2   Monthly Editorial Analysis

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Growth with Indian characteristics

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Can AI be ethical and moral? - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Caste has no Place in a Modern Democracy

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Nuh clashes - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India’s hunger challenge

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Big concerns over big cats - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Net zero lessons from Bhutan - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Climate change and women in agriculture

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Himalayan blunders - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Perils of Unplanned Urbanization

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Rural poverty declines, but lifestyle issues emerge

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Seeds for growth - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Geo-economics in a new age of geopolitics

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Consumption-based poverty estimates

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Minimum Support Price Hike

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Infrastructure investments slowing job creation

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South Asia, now open to business

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BRICS isn’t NAM

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India’s G-20 opportunity for an African Renaissance

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Manipur internet shutdowns - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Pathways for digital inclusion

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The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023

3   Monthly Mapping in News

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China-Bhutan Boundary Dispute - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Sulina Channel (Danube River) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA)

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Trinidad and Tobago - Edukemy Current Affairs

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‘Likaru-Mig La-Fukche’ road (Ladakh)

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Maharashtra’s 1st elephant reserve

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Panama Canal - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Dibang Multipurpose Project - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Denmark - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Katchatheevu Island (Tamil Nadu)

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Peru

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Hawaii - Deadliest wildfires in US History

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Reasons for Flood in Libya

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Iberian Penisula

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Lake Titicaca

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Gabon

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Ethiopia - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kigali (Rwanda) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Vizag International Cruise Terminal

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Siang River - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC)

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Harami Nala (Sir Creek, Gujarat)

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Narmada River - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kaobal Gali-Mushkoh Valley - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Micronesia and COFA - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Papua New Guinea - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Deepor Beel - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Arash-Dorra Gas Field - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Mali - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Indonesia’s Aceh Province

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Hawaii, USA - Edukemy Current Affairs

.... Show less Show more
Monthly Current Affairs

Project ‘AMBER’


In News: Recently, The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), in partnership with Generation India Foundation (GIF) and Amazon Web Services India Private Limited (AWS India), is implementing project AMBER to provide cloud skills training to 1,500 learners. 

About: 

  • PROJECT AMBER (Accelerated Mission for Better Employment and Retention) is a joint initiative of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Generation India Foundation (GIF) under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). 
  • This project is co-funded by MSDE (under the SANKALP programme) and private philanthropy and aims to train 30,000 youth, 50% of whom will be women trainees. 

Key Features  

    • As part of this collaboration, the learners take part in AWS (re/Start), a workforce development program for unemployed and underemployed individuals. 
    • It covers fundamental AWS cloud skills as well as practical career tips, including resume writing and interview preparation. 
    • Through real-world scenario-based exercises, labs, and coursework, learners are trained in multiple technologies, including Linux, Python, networking, security, and relational databases. 
    • The program also covers the cost for learners to take the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam, an industry-recognized credential that validates their cloud skills and knowledge and connects the participants with job interview opportunities in cloud or IT with local employers. 

SANKALP Programme 

  • The Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) programme was launched in 2018. 
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) 
  • It is a World Bank loan-assisted project and is aligned with the overall objectives of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM). 
  • The project focuses on transforming the overall skilling ecosystem of India, covering both central and state-level agencies for improved outcomes. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Right To Repair - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Apple’s surpise U-turn on its stand against the “righ to repair“ is significant as it was one of several tech giants that opposed the idea of allowing consumers to fix their own damaged devices. 

About: 

  • The Right to Repair refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, where otherwise the manufacturer of such devices requires the consumer to use only their offered services. 
  • The idea originally originated from the USA where the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act 2012, required the manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their vehicles. 
  • Previously, MeitY launched a pilot project on Electronics Repair Services Outsourcing (ERSO) to make India a Global Repair Capital. 
  • The sectors identified for the right to repair include: farming equipment, mobile phones/tablets, consumer durables, and automobiles/automobile equipment. 
  • The right to repair has been recognized in many countries across the globe, including the USA, UK, and European Union. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Khanan Prahari to Combat Illegal Coal Mining


In News: Union government releases Khanan Prahari App to curb illegal Coal Mining through public participation 

About Khanan Prahari to Combat Illegal Coal Mining 

  • The Ministry of Coal has recently introduced the Khanan Prahari app to foster public engagement to combat illegal coal mining. 
  • The mobile app will enable citizens to report illegal coal mining incidents using geo-tagged images and textual information. 
  • The corresponding web portal has been developed in collaboration with Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Application & Geoinformatics and CMPDI. 
  • Illegal coal mining threatens the environment, miners' safety, traditional subsistence, and national economy. 
  • It will help in promoting E-Governance via Space Tech with the government employing space technology for transparent anti-illegal mining efforts. 
  • Government will also launch Khanan Prahari app to empower citizens to contribute to the fight against illegal coal mining. 
    • The app aims to encourage public involvement by reporting illegal mining while ensuring confidentiality of user’s identity ensuring privacy and security. 
    • Through the app users will be able to report illegal mining via photos and comments, geotagged through GPS. 
    • Complainants will receive a unique complaint number, allowing them to monitor their reports' progress. 
  • Overall, the Coal Mine Surveillance and Management System (CMSMS) and Khanan Prahari app will help in recognizing the importance of involving citizens in combating illegal mining. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Missing Public Information on RTI Online Portal


In News: Recently, the Union government’s RTI Online portal has experienced data loss, including past applications and responses, highlighting challenges in maintaining accountability under the RTI Act. The portal is currently undergoing maintenance to restore the missing archival data. 

Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005: 

  • It is a legislative framework enacted in 2005 that empowers Indian citizens to access information held by public authorities. 
  • This act aims to promote transparency, accountability, and participation in government processes. 
  • The RTI Act is derived from the Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. In Raj Narain vs the State of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court ruled that Right to information will be treated as a fundamental right under article 19. 
  • In normal course, information to an applicant is to be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority. 
  • If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours. 
  • Section 8(1) lists exemptions, including matters of national security, but information can be disclosed if public interest outweighs harm. 
  • The Public Information Officer (PIO) acts as a liaison between citizens seeking information and government entities holding the information, central to the Act’s implementation. 
  • If a request is denied or unsatisfactory, citizens can appeal to the First Appellate Authority within the same authority. Further appeals can be made to Central or State Information Commissions. 

Concerns associated with RTI in India: 

  • Backlog and Delays: With over 3 lakh pending complaints or appeals in various information commissions, the system is grappling with a substantial backlog, delaying timely responses. 
  • Vacancies in Key Positions: A notable shortage of Information Commissioners (ICs) and State Information Commissioners (SICs) hampers the smooth functioning of the RTI mechanism. 
  • Misuse and Frivolous Requests: The Act is sometimes exploited for personal or vexatious motives, causing inefficiency, resource wastage, and undermining genuine public interest. 
  • Misapplication of Exemptions: While the Act provides exemptions to safeguard sensitive information, these exemptions have been misused to reject valid requests, potentially infringing on transparency. 
  • Conflict with Data Protection: Emerging data protection and privacy laws have created a complex interplay between RTI rights and individual privacy, raising concerns about hierarchy and conflicts. 

Way Forward: 

  • Open Data Ecosystem: Establish a comprehensive open data platform that provides government datasets in user-friendly formats, reducing the need for RTIs and enabling better analysis by citizens, researchers, and journalists. 
  • Blockchain Technology: Explore the use of blockchain for maintaining an unalterable and transparent record of government actions and RTI-related decisions, ensuring accountability and preventing data manipulation. 
  • Transparency Index: Develop a transparency rating system for public authorities based on their responsiveness to RTI requests, fostering competition and encouraging improved accountability standards. 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/missing-rti-info-to-be-restored-website-says-after-years-of-data-disappears/article67230977.ece#:~:text=Years%20of%20missing%20Right%20to,disappeared%20from%20many%20users'%20accounts.  

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

National Judicial Data Grid - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), implemented under eCourts project has gained significant attention for its role in revolutionizing the judicial proceedings in India. 

National Judicial Data Grid: 

  • National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) is a database of orders, judgments and case details of 18,735 District & Subordinate Courts and High Courts. It has been created as an online platform under the eCourts Project. 
  • Data is updated on a near real-time basis by the connected District and Taluka courts. It provides data relating to judicial proceedings/decisions of all computerized district and subordinate courts of the country. 
  • All High Courts have also joined the NJDG through web services, providing easy access facility to the litigant public. 

Important Features of NJDG: 

  • NJDG provides an Open Application Programming Interface (API) to Central & State Governments and is aligned with the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP). 
  • This API offers streamlined access to NJDG data using designated departmental IDs and access keys. 
  • This feature is intended for institutional litigants to evaluate and monitor cases, with plans to extend access to non-institutional litigants in the future. 

Significance: 

  • NJDG works as a monitoring tool to identify, manage & reduce pendency of cases. 
  • It helps to provide timely inputs for making policy decisions to reduce delays in disposing of cases and helps in reducing case pendency. 
  • It also facilitates better monitoring of court performance and systemic bottlenecks, and, thus, serves as an efficient resource management tool. 
  • To track cases related to land disputes, Land Records data of 26 States have been linked with NJDG. 

International Recognition: 

  • The World Bank has praised the National Judicial Data Grid in the Ease of Doing Business report for 2018. 
  • It has said that the grid has made it possible to generate case management reports, thereby making it easier to enforce contracts. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Khelo India initiative - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports inaugurated 33 Khelo India centres in the State of Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. 

About: 

  • Khelo India initiative/Scheme was introduced by the Indian government in 2017 to give a platform to grassroots athletes and build sports infrastructure across India, resulting in turning India into a sporting nation. 
  • The Khelo India Scheme is the flagship Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.  
  • It encompasses the: 
    • Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) (commenced 2018): Annual national competition for youngsters representing states. 
    • Khelo India University Games (KIUG) (commenced 2020): Showcases university students’ talent in sports. 
    • Khelo India Winter Games (Commenced 2020): Promotes winter sports in India. 
  • Part of the Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE) scheme: It aims to enhance sports infrastructure by supporting existing training facilities. It provides financial aid, staff, equipment, and resources at the grassroots level. 

More About the News: 

  • National Center of Excellence with a dedicated sports science centre will be set up in Rajasthan along with an additional 18 Khelo India centres, thus taking the total number of Khelo India centres in the State to 51. 
  • Future competitions will be organised between Khelo India Centers while the Coaching the Coaches programme will also be extended to the Khelo India Center Coaches as well and the KIC coaches will be trained by getting them attached to national & international coaches. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Bharat New Car Assessment Programme


In News: Recently, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, has introduced the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP). 

Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP): 

  • Vehicles, particularly passenger cars, will be subjected to rigorous crash testing procedures, and based on their performance, they will be assigned a safety rating ranging from one to five stars. 
  • The program aims to provide consumers with a tool for comparing the crash safety of different motor vehicles available in the market. 
  • Manufacturers can voluntarily submit their cars for testing according to Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197. 
  • Based on the test results, vehicles will be assigned star ratings for both Adult Occupants (AOP) and Child Occupants (COP) safety. 
  • The programme is applicable to passenger vehicles with not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat with gross vehicle weight not exceeding 3,500 kgs. 

Test Procedure and Parameters: 

  • The test procedure involves Frontal Offset Test, Side Impact Test and Pole-Side Impact Test. 
  • Bharat NCAP evaluates vehicles based on three crucial parameters: 
    • Adult Occupant Protection: This parameter assesses the level of protection a vehicle offers to adult passengers in the event of a crash. 
    • Child Occupant Protection: This parameter gauges a vehicle's effectiveness in safeguarding young passengers during collisions. 
    • Safety Assist Technologies: Modern vehicles are equipped with a range of safety assist technologies. This parameter examines the presence and effectiveness of these technologies in preventing accidents or minimizing their impact. 

Evolution of Bharat NCAP: 

  • The Bharat NCAP draws inspiration from the Global NCAP, a project initiated by the U.K.-based NGO Towards Zero Foundation. 
  • The Global NCAP acts as a collaborative platform for new car assessment programs worldwide including countries such as the U.S. which has the world’s oldest crash testing regime since 1978. 
  • Over the years, India's testing protocols have evolved, with more than 50 crash test results published for the Indian market. Tata achieved India's first 5-star car rating in 2018. 

Challenges to Bharat NCAP: 

  • Diverse Road Conditions: India's road infrastructure varies greatly, from congested urban roads to poorly maintained rural highways. Different road conditions can impact the way vehicles behave during crashes. 
  • Affordability and Market Dynamics: A substantial portion of the Indian population seeks budget-friendly vehicles, which might pose a challenge for manufacturers in implementing advanced safety features. 
  • Variety of Vehicles: Designing crash tests that effectively evaluate safety across this diversity, from compact cars to SUVs, requires thorough consideration of different vehicle dynamics. 

Way Forward: 

  • There is a need to establish safety research and development hubs for India specific conditions in collaboration with academic institutions and manufacturers. 
  • There is a need to collaborate with local artists to create safety-themed public art installations near accident-prone areas that can raise awareness about the importance of safe driving. 
  • Insurance companies can assign a safety score to each vehicle model based on its NCAP rating. This safety score can be displayed prominently on advertisements and dealerships, making safety a focal point of consumer decisions. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Renouncing Indian citizenship - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: A growing number of Indians are opting to surrender their passports, eventually renouncing their citizenship. Last month, the Central government told Parliament that more than 15 lakh Indians had relinquished their citizenship in the past decade, including around 87,000 this year, with most headed to the United States of America. 

Statistics of Renouncing Citizenship: 

  • Over 17.5 lakh Indians have given up their citizenship in the past decade, with many heading to the United States. 
  • High-net-worth individuals are also leaving India (through investment migration), with around 6,500 expected to move out this year, making it the second-highest net outflow globally after China. 
  • The USA remains the most preferred destination, followed by Canada, Australia, and the UK. 
  • The MEA estimated the number of Indian nationals living abroad to be around 1.2 crore in 2021. 
  • Currently, India has the largest emigrant population in the world. It is the top origin country with nearly 1.8 crore people living outside their homeland, according to the World Migration Report 2022. 

Reasons for renouncing citizenship: 

  • Better Economic Opportunities: Seeking improved job prospects and higher income abroad. 
  • Improved Social Security: Looking for better healthcare, education, and social welfare benefits in the new country. 
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Pursuing a better quality of life, safety, and overall living standards. 
  • Friendly Tax Legislation: Opting for countries with favourable tax laws and reduced financial burdens. 
  • Education Opportunities: Accessing higher education and specialized programs is not available in the home country. 
  • Ease of Mobility: Obtaining a passport that allows visa-free travel to more destinations globally. 
  • Political Stability: Escaping political instability, conflict, or governance issues in the home country. 
  • Investment and Business Opportunities: Exploring entrepreneurial ventures or investment opportunities abroad. 

Indian Citizenship: 

  • Citizenship is the legal and social relationship between an individual and a state, signifying full membership and allegiance to that state. 
  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory. 
  • Renouncing Indian Citizenship: 
    • Voluntary Renunciation: An Indian citizen of full age and capacity can relinquish citizenship through their will. When an individual gives up citizenship, minor children also lose Indian citizenship but can regain it at 18. 
    • By Termination: If a person becomes a citizen of another country, Indian citizenship automatically ends, except during war. 
    • Deprivation by Government: Government can terminate citizenship if a citizen: 
      • Disrespects the Constitution 
      • Acquired citizenship through fraud 
      • Illegally traded or communicated with the enemy during war 
      • Is sentenced to over 2 years in prison within 5 years of registration or naturalization 
      • Lives outside India for 7 consecutive years

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023


In News: Recently, the G20 Pandemic Fund has approved a $25 million proposal from India’s Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD). 

About: 

  • The proposal focuses on “Animal Health Security Strengthening in India for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.” 

G20 Pandemic Fund  

  • The G20 Pandemic Fund was established under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency. 
  • Purpose: To finance critical investments to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacities at national, regional, and global levels, focusing on low- and middle-income countries. 

The key components of the approved proposal include:  

  • strengthening disease surveillance and early warning systems,  
  • expanding the laboratory network,  
  • improving interoperable data systems,  
  • enhancing capacity for data analytics and risk communication,  
  • fortifying health security for transboundary animal diseases, and  
  • facilitating regional cooperation through cross-border collaboration. 

Significance: 

  • The Pandemic Fund will not only bring additional, dedicated resources for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. It will also incentivize increased investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for advocacy. 
  • The project’s impact aims to decrease the risk of pathogens crossing from animals (both domesticated and wildlife) to humans, thereby safeguarding the health, nutrition, and livelihoods of vulnerable populations. 

Implementing entity: 

  • The project will be implemented in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the lead implementing entity with the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Ninth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association


In News: Recently, the Ninth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region Conference took place in Udaipur, India, and was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker. 

About: 

Ninth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA): 

  • Theme: Strengthening Democracy and Good Governance in the Digital Age. 
  • The conference brought together Presiding Officers from 23 states and union territories, as well as Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan 
  • The discussions focused on various aspects of parliamentary democracy and the need for the effective functioning of legislatures in addressing societal challenges and fostering democratic values. 

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA): - 

  • Founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association (EPA) with administration by the UK Branch, the CPA adopted its current name in 1948 to reflect its evolving ties with the Commonwealth. 
  • It is an association to serve the Parliamentarians of the Commonwealth Countries. 
  • Objective: to promote closer understanding and cooperation for common purposes between those engaged in the Parliamentary form of Countries of the Commonwealth. 
  • Mission: to promote knowledge of the constitutional, legislative, economic, social, and cultural aspects of parliamentary democracy, with particular reference to the countries of the Commonwealth. 
  • It provides the machinery for regular consultation and exchange of ideas and information among members of Commonwealth Parliaments. 
  • HQ: London, UK. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

PM-DevINE and NESIDS Schemes - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Ministry of Development of North-East Region (MDoNER) issues revised guidelines to align PM-DevINE and NESIDS Schemes with intended directives to optimize its impact. 

About PM-DevINE and NESIDS Schemes: 

  • The Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North Eastern Region (PM-DevINE) is a fully funded government scheme to support development of North-east region. 
  • It was introduced in 2022-23 Union Budget to support infrastructure and social projects in the North-Eastern region of India. 
  • Key highlights: The scheme supports North-East infrastructure
    • aligned with PM GatiShakti, generating livelihoods and addressing sector gaps. 
    • It covers eight North Eastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. 
    • It is overseen by MDoNER for project selection, approval, and monitoring with State Governments, NEC, and Central Ministries/agencies. 
    • It has an Empowered Inter-Ministerial Committee (EIMC) chaired by Secretary of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region which meets at least once every three months. 
    • EMIC assesses initial project proposals, recommends project selection, evaluates final project proposals, monitors progress, proposes O&M mechanisms, and addresses implementation challenges. 
    • It also has a State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC) led by Chief Secretary, with Secretary of Planning as Convenor to review, prioritizes monitor implementation and proposes modifications. 
    • It has an approved outlay of 6600 crore for 2022-23 to 2025-26 with an initial allocation of Rs. 1,500 crores for FY 2022-23. 
  • North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS) 
    • It was launched in 2017 with an objective to develop infrastructure in North Eastern states. 
    • It focuses on physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, power projects and provides financial assistance for various infrastructure projects. 
    • It is implemented through NEC or Central Ministries/agencies while the projects are identified and prioritized by North Eastern states through Empowered Inter-Ministerial Committee (EIMC). 
  • Overall, these revised guidelines will go a long way to enhance development in North-East India and will align with overarching goals of the region's sustainable growth. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Representation of People Act: Section 8(4) and the Lily Thomas Case


In News: Rahul Gandhi was disqualified on being convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a 2019 defamation case. The disqualification was instant because of the Supreme Court of India’s judgment in Lily Thomas vs Union of India (2013). 

Provisions for disqualification of a Member of Parliament: 

  • Article 102: It specifies that a person shall be disqualified for contesting elections and being a Member of Parliament under certain conditions mentioned as following: 
    • Holding an office of profit 
    • Being of unsound mind or insolvent 
    • Not being a citizen of India 
    • It also authorizes Parliament to make law determining conditions of disqualifications. 
  • The Representation of the People Act, 1951: 
    • It provides that a person will be disqualified if convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. 
    • Section 8(1): It provides the offences punishable under the Representation of People Act, 1951. 
    • Section 8(2): It provides for the conviction of member in the offences related to hoarding or profiteering, adulteration of food or drugs, and any provision of the Dowry Prohibition Act. 
    • Section 8(3): It says that a person convicted of any offense other than those mentioned in the other two clauses, and sentenced to not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction, decided by the President under Article 103. However, it doesn’t directly say they’re disqualified instantly. 
    • Section 8(4): It has exempted sitting members from instant disqualification for three months to enable them to appeal against the conviction. This clause was struck down as ultra vires in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India, 2013. 

Lily Thomas vs Union of India, 2013: 

  • The Supreme Court removed Section 8(4) because Parliament can’t treat lawmakers who are found guilty differently. This is because Article 102(1) says lawmakers and candidates should be treated the same way. 
  • However, when it comes to treating them differently, the Constitution actually allows it. Article 103 says that for current lawmakers, the President will decide if they should be disqualified under Article 102(1). 

Rahul Gandhi Case: 

  • The Supreme Court stayed the conviction: It did not express any opinion on the question of whether a stay of conviction is also necessary or on suspending the disqualification. 
  • The Court observed, if the period of imprisonment was less by one day the disqualification would not have occurred. 
  • Lok Sabha Secretariat cannot declare disqualified without referring the case to the President under Article 103 for a declaration. The power is vested in the President under Article 103. 

Way Forward: 

  • The issue of instant disqualification needs to be addressed urgently as it may affect the career of legislators. 
  • The judgment in Lily Thomas has not resulted in any perceptible qualitative change in the criminal proclivity of politicians. Politicians belonging to the powerful ruling dispensation at a particular time are be able to get a conviction stayed within a few hours, thus saving themselves from instant disqualification. 
  • Section 8(4) needs to be restored and protected constitutionally in order to protect the careers of India’s legislators from abrupt convulsions caused by court orders which are given, in the words of the Supreme Court, “without any application of mind”. 
  • The law on criminal defamation needs an urgent review. Countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have scrapped it. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Piped Water Connection - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Government releases key data and initiatives on piped water coverage in rural India 

About Piped Water Connection 

India has achieved a significant milestone in its efforts to provide clean water to rural households, with two out of every three rural households now having access to piped water connections. 

In this regard, Government of India has previously launched “Jal Jeevan Mission” to connect all 194.2 million rural households in India with tap water connections by the end of 2024. 

Key highlights: 

  • Nearly 128.5 million or 66.80% of the total rural households have functional water tap connections which was only 17% or 32.3 million at the launch of the mission in 2019. 
  • As per government records, nearly 55% of Scheduled Tribe rural households have been connected under the mission. 
  • The mission has created direct and indirect employment in rural areas and has potential of creating approximately 1,47,55,980 person-years of employment during the five-year implementation period. 
  • The mission intends to eliminate the burden of fetching water from distant sources for rural households. 
    • At present, women spend 40 minutes (one way) in Jharkhand, 33 min in Bihar, 24 min in rural Maharashtra, and 38 min in Uttar Pradesh for fetching water. 
  • The mission's future efforts will prioritize expediting the installation of water infrastructure in lagging states and aspirational districts. 
  • It will allocate 30% weightage for challenging terrains and 10% for populations in SC/ST dominated areas when distributing funds to ensure coverage. 
  • It will integrate international partnerships such as collaborations with United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Denmark government to support the Jal Jeevan Mission. 
  • While household connections are crucial, ensuring the long-term sustainability of water sources for consistent availability is a challenge. 
  • Overall, the Jal Jeevan Mission's progress in providing piped water connections is a significant step toward improving water accessibility and reducing the burden on rural communities.  

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)


In News: Recently, one of the MPs (Member of Parliament) of the Rajya Sabha has been suspended for “violating” the directives of the chair. 

Process of Suspension of MPs: 

  • The role and duty of the Presiding Officer — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha is to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly. 
  • To ensure that proceedings are conducted in the proper manner, the Speaker/ Chairman is empowered to force a member to withdraw from the House. 
  • Process and rules followed in Lok Sabha: 
    • Under Lok Sabha Rule 373, the Speaker has the authority to instruct a member to leave the House immediately. 
    • On the Non-compliance of the instruction, the chair names members causing disruptions under Rule 374. 
    • Government introduces suspension motion. The motion seeks approval of the House. If passed, the member is suspended. 
  • Process and rules followed in Rajya Sabha: 
    • Chair identifies disruptive members under Rule 256. 
    • A suspension motion was presented to the House. The motion requires House approval. On approval, the member is suspended. 
    • The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension. 

Implications of Suspending Members from India’s Parliament: 

  • Suspended members can’t participate, potentially hampering legislative activities. 
  • Suspended members cannot enter the chamber or attend the meetings of the committees. 
  • S/he will not be eligible to give notice for discussion or submission. 
  • S/he loses the right to get a reply to his questions. 

Way Forward: 

  • It is difficult to deal with planned parliamentary offenses and deliberate disturbances for publicity or political reasons. 
  • Opposition members should play a constructive role in Parliament and they should be allowed to put forward their views and express themselves in a dignified manner. 
  • There is a need to strike a balance between deliberate disruption and raising the important issue. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Gaps in Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Amendment Act


In News: Recently, the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 has been passed by Parliament and has got the assent of the President of India. 

Significant provisions of the Bill: 

  • The Bill makes it compulsory that the Registrar General of India maintains a national level database of births and deaths. 
  • The Chief Registrar of births and deaths in every State is required to maintain a State-level database of registered births and deaths ‘using the portal approved by the Registrar General of India’. 
  • These databases will provide information to update the National Population Register, the Aadhaar database, electoral rolls, ration card, passport, and other databases at the national level, as may be notified. 
  • The amendments mandate that for all deaths within medical institutions, a cause of death certificate must be forwarded to the Registrar of Births and Deaths. A copy should be provided to the closest relative. 
  • In cases of deaths that transpire outside of hospitals, the medical practitioner who attended to the deceased during their recent illness is responsible for issuing this certificate. 
  • In the case of birth, the amendments provide for collecting the Aadhaar number of the parents. Nothing is mentioned about the Aadhaar number of the deceased. 

Issues with the Bill: 

  • Missing Deceased: Nothing is mentioned about the Aadhaar number of the deceased. 
  • Amendments Required by the Notified Database Accessing Authorities: If they require access to information from this database, it requires amendment in the laws. 
  • Listing a few databases for consideration by Parliament and leaving future additions to the government is undermining the supremacy of Parliament. 

Issues with the provision related to medical practitioners issuing death certificates: 

  • The attending medical practitioner might not always have arrived at a definite diagnosis before the person’s passing. 
  • The forms used for mentioning the cause of death are in conformity with the World Health Organization recommendations while the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) systems of medicine are non-classifiable under the International Classification of Diseases. 
  • If a person undergoing treatment dies from an entirely different cause outside of a medical facility in the absence of the attending medical practitioner, then how can the practitioner be expected to issue a certificate of cause of death in such cases. 
  • Under natural calamities or accidents, the families of missing persons would have to wait for seven years to request for a certificate that says ‘presumed dead’.

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

PM e-Bus Sewa scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, The Indian Cabinet has approved the "PM-eBus Sewa" scheme, aiming to bolster city bus operations by introducing 10,000 Electric Buses through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. 

About: 

  • The scheme aims to introduce 10,000 electric buses (e-buses) in city bus services across India and enhance urban infrastructure for green mobility. 
  • The scheme will be implemented in two segments: 
    • Segment A: Augmenting City Bus Services (169 cities): 
      • In 169 cities (selected through challenge mode for cities with a population of 3-40 lakhs), 10,000 e-buses will be deployed through a public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
      • For cities with less than 5 lakh population: 50 e-buses 
      • For cities with 20-40 lakh population: 150 e-buses 
    • Segment B: Green Urban Mobility Initiatives (181 cities): 
      • In 181 cities, infrastructure will be upgraded to support green urban mobility initiatives. 
      • Behind-the-meter power infrastructure like substations will be created. 
  • The scheme will support bus operations for a duration of 10 years. 
  • Financial Allocation: Central government will provide ₹20,000 crore in subsidies. 
  • States or cities will be responsible for running the e-bus services and making payments to the bus operators. 
  • Significance: The scheme aims to generate 45,000 to 55,000 jobs and reduce noise, air pollution, and carbon emissions. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Global Initiative on Digital Health


In News: India and the World Health Organization (WHO) are set to launch the Global Initiative on Digital Health during the ongoing G-20 summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 

About: 

  • The initiative is aimed at data convergence, interface of health platforms and investments in the digital health space around the globe.  
  • The summit also focuses on establishing an interim Medical Countermeasure (MCM) network to respond effectively to health emergencies. 
  • Significance: 
    • It has been envisaged to have a convergent approach that breaks the silos and ensures that existing and ongoing digital health efforts can be made accessible under one umbrella. 
    • It will include an investment tracker, an ask tracker (to understand who needs what kind of products and services) and a library of existing digital health platforms. 
    • It will aid in universal health convergence and improve healthcare service delivery. The initiative has also found funding from global partners. 
  • More Information: The summit additionally seeks to launch a Climate and Health Initiative in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, along with a patient and healthcare workforce mobility portal. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes


In News: Supreme Court releases landmark guidelines for eliminating Gender Stereotypes in Legal language and Judgments 

About SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes 

  • Supreme Court of India has recently released a new SC Handbook in an attempt to remove Gender Stereotypes from the Law. 
  • It is aimed at combating gender stereotypes in legal language besides promoting just and equitable society. 
  • Gender-unjust terms are prevalent in Indian courts which puts negative impact on judicial assessments, especially in sexual violence cases. 
  • Over the years, false assumptions based on clothing and sexual history has led to development of gender stereotypical language in judgments, orders, and court pleadings. 
  • The handbook has identified problematic phrases such as career woman, fallen woman, faithful wife, eve-teasing, hermaphrodite. 
    • It has suggested correct terms: woman, woman, wife, street sexual harassment, intersex 
  • Predetermined stereotypes conflict with duty to decide cases impartially and affects unbiased judicial decision-making. 
  • Assumptions about women's character based on clothing and sexual history not only impacts on judicial assessment but also diminishes importance of consent in sexual relationships 
  • Language plays crucial role in conveying legal values and intentions as use of language reflects judge's interpretation of the law and societal perception 
    • It has power to recognize or diminish human dignity for example of Code of Civil Procedure amendment from "pauper" to "indigent". 
  • The handbook addresses stereotypes about women's emotional nature, decision-making and rejects notion that gender influences rational thought capacity 
  • Overall, The SC handbook seeks to eliminate gender stereotypes in legal languages besides aiming for language that aligns with constitutional ethos and promotes unbiased legal decision-making. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

The CEC and Other ECs Bill - 2023


In News: Recently, the Government has introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha aiming to alter the process of appointing the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). 

Provisions for appointment of CEC and ECs: 

  • According to Article 324(2), the appointment of the CEC and other Election Commissioners shall be made by the President, subject to the provisions of any law made on that behalf by Parliament. 
  • Since no parliamentary law was enacted as prescribed by Article 324 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court (SC) in March 2023 ruled that CEC and ECs will be appointed by the President of India on the advice of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India until a law is enacted by Parliament on their appointments. 
  • Before the Supreme Court ruling of March 2023, the CEC and ECs were appointed by the President on the recommendation of the government. 

Key features of the Bill: 

  • The Selection Committee will consist of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as member. 
  • If the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha has not been recognised, the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will assume the role. 
  • It proposes the establishment of a Search Committee to prepare a panel of five persons for consideration for the positions of CEC and ECs. The Search Committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will also include two members not below the rank of Secretary who have knowledge and experience in matters related to elections. 
  • The proposed Bill repeals the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991. The business of the Election Commission will be governed by the new Act once it is passed. 
  • The 1991 Act provides that the salary of the ECs will be equal to that of a Supreme Court judge. The Bill provides that salary, allowance, and service conditions of the CEC and other ECs will be the same as that of the Cabinet Secretary. 
  • The Bill maintains the provision that the business of the Election Commission should be transacted unanimously whenever possible. In case of a difference of opinion, the majority's view will prevail. 

Major Issues with the Bill: 

  • The committee consists of the Prime Minister, the nominated Cabinet Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. This potentially gives the Executive dominance in appointments, undermining the independence of the Election Commission. 
  • The Bill replaces the Chief Justice of India with a nominated Cabinet Minister in the appointment process. This reduces judicial representation in the committee and might affect impartiality. 
  • The Bill allows the Selection Committee to choose anyone from outside the shortlisted candidates, undermining the purpose of the shortlisting process. 
  • The proposed changes may have implications for the autonomy and functioning of the ECI. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme


In News: Fourteen States and Union Territories, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, have not yet signed a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) as part of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme. 

About: 

  • RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) Scheme has been renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)” in June 2023 in light of National Education Policy. 
    • RUSA, as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in October 2013, aiming at providing strategic funding to higher education institutions throughout the country. 
  • Objective:  
    • Enhance quality in higher education institutions, ensure compliance with norms and accreditation standards, foster governance and academic reforms, and encourage research and innovation. 
  • It focuses on: 
    • Equity Access and inclusion in higher education 
    • Developing Quality Teaching & Learning processes, 
    • Accreditation of Non-Accredited Institutions and improving accreditation. 
    • ICT – based Digital Infrastructure. 
    • Enhancing Employability through Multidisciplinary. 
  • Key Features:        
    • MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research University) Transformation: Rs 100 crore support to each of 35 state universities for multi-disciplinary education and research. 
    • Model Degree Colleges establishment 
    • Grants for Strengthening Universities 
    • Targeting remote, LWE-affected, aspirational, and low Gross Enrolment Ration regions. 
    • Aid to state government for gender inclusion, equity, and ICT-based employability skills. 

More Information: 

  • PM-USHA scheme mandates that States implement the National Education Policy in order to avail funds worth almost ₹13,000 crore for the next three years. Also, 40% of the fund has to be arranged by States themselves. States argue they don’t have funds for bringing in NEP-related changes. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Representation of People Act: Section 8(4) & Lily Thomas


In News: Rahul Gandhi was disqualified on being convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a 2019 defamation case. The disqualification was instant because of the Supreme Court of India’s judgment in Lily Thomas vs Union of India (2013). 

Provisions for disqualification of a Member of Parliament: 

  • Article 102: It specifies that a person shall be disqualified for contesting elections and being a Member of Parliament under certain conditions mentioned as following: 
    • Holding an office of profit 
    • Being of unsound mind or insolvent 
    • Not being a citizen of India 
    • It also authorizes Parliament to make law determining conditions of disqualifications. 
  • The Representation of the People Act, 1951: 
    • It provides that a person will be disqualified if convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. 
    • Section 8(1): It provides the offences punishable under the Representation of People Act, 1951. 
    • Section 8(2): It provides for the conviction of member in the offences related to hoarding or profiteering, adulteration of food or drugs, and any provision of the Dowry Prohibition Act. 
    • Section 8(3): It says that a person convicted of any offense other than those mentioned in the other two clauses, and sentenced to not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction, decided by the President under Article 103. However, it doesn’t directly say they’re disqualified instantly. 
    • Section 8(4): It has exempted sitting members from instant disqualification for three months to enable them to appeal against the conviction. This clause was struck down as ultra vires in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India, 2013. 

Lily Thomas vs Union of India, 2013: 

  • The Supreme Court removed Section 8(4) because Parliament can’t treat lawmakers who are found guilty differently. This is because Article 102(1) says lawmakers and candidates should be treated the same way. 
  • However, when it comes to treating them differently, the Constitution actually allows it. Article 103 says that for current lawmakers, the President will decide if they should be disqualified under Article 102(1). 

Rahul Gandhi Case: 

  • The Supreme Court stayed the conviction: It did not express any opinion on the question of whether a stay of conviction is also necessary or on suspending the disqualification. 
  • The Court observed, if the period of imprisonment was less by one day the disqualification would not have occurred. 
  • Lok Sabha Secretariat cannot declare disqualified without referring the case to the President under Article 103 for a declaration. The power is vested in the President under Article 103. 

Way Forward: 

  • The issue of instant disqualification needs to be addressed urgently as it may affect the career of legislators. 
  • The judgment in Lily Thomas has not resulted in any perceptible qualitative change in the criminal proclivity of politicians. Politicians belonging to the powerful ruling dispensation at a particular time are be able to get a conviction stayed within a few hours, thus saving themselves from instant disqualification. 
  • Section 8(4) needs to be restored and protected constitutionally in order to protect the careers of India’s legislators from abrupt convulsions caused by court orders which are given, in the words of the Supreme Court, “without any application of mind”. 
  • The law on criminal defamation needs an urgent review. Countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have scrapped it. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Piped Water Connection - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Government releases key data and initiatives on piped water coverage in rural India 

About Piped Water Connection 

India has achieved a significant milestone in its efforts to provide clean water to rural households, with two out of every three rural households now having access to piped water connections. 

In this regard, Government of India has previously launched “Jal Jeevan Mission” to connect all 194.2 million rural households in India with tap water connections by the end of 2024. 

Key highlights: 

  • Nearly 128.5 million or 66.80% of the total rural households have functional water tap connections which was only 17% or 32.3 million at the launch of the mission in 2019. 
  • As per government records, nearly 55% of Scheduled Tribe rural households have been connected under the mission. 
  • The mission has created direct and indirect employment in rural areas and has potential of creating approximately 1,47,55,980 person-years of employment during the five-year implementation period. 
  • The mission intends to eliminate the burden of fetching water from distant sources for rural households. 
    • At present, women spend 40 minutes (one way) in Jharkhand, 33 min in Bihar, 24 min in rural Maharashtra, and 38 min in Uttar Pradesh for fetching water. 
  • The mission's future efforts will prioritize expediting the installation of water infrastructure in lagging states and aspirational districts. 
  • It will allocate 30% weightage for challenging terrains and 10% for populations in SC/ST dominated areas when distributing funds to ensure coverage. 
  • It will integrate international partnerships such as collaborations with United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Denmark government to support the Jal Jeevan Mission. 
  • While household connections are crucial, ensuring the long-term sustainability of water sources for consistent availability is a challenge. 
  • Overall, the Jal Jeevan Mission's progress in providing piped water connections is a significant step toward improving water accessibility and reducing the burden on rural communities.  

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)


In News: Recently, one of the MPs (Member of Parliament) of the Rajya Sabha has been suspended for “violating” the directives of the chair. 

Process of Suspension of MPs: 

  • The role and duty of the Presiding Officer — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha is to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly. 
  • To ensure that proceedings are conducted in the proper manner, the Speaker/ Chairman is empowered to force a member to withdraw from the House. 
  • Process and rules followed in Lok Sabha: 
    • Under Lok Sabha Rule 373, the Speaker has the authority to instruct a member to leave the House immediately. 
    • On the Non-compliance of the instruction, the chair names members causing disruptions under Rule 374. 
    • Government introduces suspension motion. The motion seeks approval of the House. If passed, the member is suspended. 
  • Process and rules followed in Rajya Sabha: 
    • Chair identifies disruptive members under Rule 256. 
    • A suspension motion was presented to the House. The motion requires House approval. On approval, the member is suspended. 
    • The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension. 

Implications of Suspending Members from India’s Parliament: 

  • Suspended members can’t participate, potentially hampering legislative activities. 
  • Suspended members cannot enter the chamber or attend the meetings of the committees. 
  • S/he will not be eligible to give notice for discussion or submission. 
  • S/he loses the right to get a reply to his questions. 

Way Forward: 

  • It is difficult to deal with planned parliamentary offenses and deliberate disturbances for publicity or political reasons. 
  • Opposition members should play a constructive role in Parliament and they should be allowed to put forward their views and express themselves in a dignified manner. 
  • There is a need to strike a balance between deliberate disruption and raising the important issue. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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Gaps in Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Amendment Act


In News: Recently, the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 has been passed by Parliament and has got the assent of the President of India. 

Significant provisions of the Bill: 

  • The Bill makes it compulsory that the Registrar General of India maintains a national level database of births and deaths. 
  • The Chief Registrar of births and deaths in every State is required to maintain a State-level database of registered births and deaths ‘using the portal approved by the Registrar General of India’. 
  • These databases will provide information to update the National Population Register, the Aadhaar database, electoral rolls, ration card, passport, and other databases at the national level, as may be notified. 
  • The amendments mandate that for all deaths within medical institutions, a cause of death certificate must be forwarded to the Registrar of Births and Deaths. A copy should be provided to the closest relative. 
  • In cases of deaths that transpire outside of hospitals, the medical practitioner who attended to the deceased during their recent illness is responsible for issuing this certificate. 
  • In the case of birth, the amendments provide for collecting the Aadhaar number of the parents. Nothing is mentioned about the Aadhaar number of the deceased. 

Issues with the Bill: 

  • Missing Deceased: Nothing is mentioned about the Aadhaar number of the deceased. 
  • Amendments Required by the Notified Database Accessing Authorities: If they require access to information from this database, it requires amendment in the laws. 
  • Listing a few databases for consideration by Parliament and leaving future additions to the government is undermining the supremacy of Parliament. 

Issues with the provision related to medical practitioners issuing death certificates: 

  • The attending medical practitioner might not always have arrived at a definite diagnosis before the person’s passing. 
  • The forms used for mentioning the cause of death are in conformity with the World Health Organization recommendations while the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) systems of medicine are non-classifiable under the International Classification of Diseases. 
  • If a person undergoing treatment dies from an entirely different cause outside of a medical facility in the absence of the attending medical practitioner, then how can the practitioner be expected to issue a certificate of cause of death in such cases. 
  • Under natural calamities or accidents, the families of missing persons would have to wait for seven years to request for a certificate that says ‘presumed dead’. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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PM e-Bus Sewa scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, The Indian Cabinet has approved the "PM-eBus Sewa" scheme, aiming to bolster city bus operations by introducing 10,000 Electric Buses through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. 

About: 

  • The scheme aims to introduce 10,000 electric buses (e-buses) in city bus services across India and enhance urban infrastructure for green mobility. 
  • The scheme will be implemented in two segments: 
    • Segment A: Augmenting City Bus Services (169 cities): 
      • In 169 cities (selected through challenge mode for cities with a population of 3-40 lakhs), 10,000 e-buses will be deployed through a public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
      • For cities with less than 5 lakh population: 50 e-buses 
      • For cities with 20-40 lakh population: 150 e-buses 
    • Segment B: Green Urban Mobility Initiatives (181 cities): 
      • In 181 cities, infrastructure will be upgraded to support green urban mobility initiatives. 
      • Behind-the-meter power infrastructure like substations will be created. 
  • The scheme will support bus operations for a duration of 10 years. 
  • Financial Allocation: Central government will provide ₹20,000 crore in subsidies. 
  • States or cities will be responsible for running the e-bus services and making payments to the bus operators. 
  • Significance: The scheme aims to generate 45,000 to 55,000 jobs and reduce noise, air pollution, and carbon emissions. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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Global Initiative on Digital Health


In News: India and the World Health Organization (WHO) are set to launch the Global Initiative on Digital Health during the ongoing G-20 summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 

About: 

  • The initiative is aimed at data convergence, interface of health platforms and investments in the digital health space around the globe.  
  • The summit also focuses on establishing an interim Medical Countermeasure (MCM) network to respond effectively to health emergencies. 
  • Significance: 
    • It has been envisaged to have a convergent approach that breaks the silos and ensures that existing and ongoing digital health efforts can be made accessible under one umbrella. 
    • It will include an investment tracker, an ask tracker (to understand who needs what kind of products and services) and a library of existing digital health platforms. 
    • It will aid in universal health convergence and improve healthcare service delivery. The initiative has also found funding from global partners. 
  • More Information: The summit additionally seeks to launch a Climate and Health Initiative in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, along with a patient and healthcare workforce mobility portal. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes


In News: Supreme Court releases landmark guidelines for eliminating Gender Stereotypes in Legal language and Judgments 

About SC guidelines for eliminating gender stereotypes 

  • Supreme Court of India has recently released a new SC Handbook in an attempt to remove Gender Stereotypes from the Law. 
  • It is aimed at combating gender stereotypes in legal language besides promoting just and equitable society. 
  • Gender-unjust terms are prevalent in Indian courts which puts negative impact on judicial assessments, especially in sexual violence cases. 
  • Over the years, false assumptions based on clothing and sexual history has led to development of gender stereotypical language in judgments, orders, and court pleadings. 
  • The handbook has identified problematic phrases such as career woman, fallen woman, faithful wife, eve-teasing, hermaphrodite. 
    • It has suggested correct terms: woman, woman, wife, street sexual harassment, intersex 
  • Predetermined stereotypes conflict with duty to decide cases impartially and affects unbiased judicial decision-making. 
  • Assumptions about women's character based on clothing and sexual history not only impacts on judicial assessment but also diminishes importance of consent in sexual relationships 
  • Language plays crucial role in conveying legal values and intentions as use of language reflects judge's interpretation of the law and societal perception 
    • It has power to recognize or diminish human dignity for example of Code of Civil Procedure amendment from "pauper" to "indigent". 
  • The handbook addresses stereotypes about women's emotional nature, decision-making and rejects notion that gender influences rational thought capacity 
  • Overall, The SC handbook seeks to eliminate gender stereotypes in legal languages besides aiming for language that aligns with constitutional ethos and promotes unbiased legal decision-making. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

The CEC and Other ECs Bill, 2023


In News: Recently, the Government has introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha aiming to alter the process of appointing the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). 

Provisions for appointment of CEC and ECs: 

  • According to Article 324(2), the appointment of the CEC and other Election Commissioners shall be made by the President, subject to the provisions of any law made on that behalf by Parliament. 
  • Since no parliamentary law was enacted as prescribed by Article 324 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court (SC) in March 2023 ruled that CEC and ECs will be appointed by the President of India on the advice of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India until a law is enacted by Parliament on their appointments. 
  • Before the Supreme Court ruling of March 2023, the CEC and ECs were appointed by the President on the recommendation of the government. 

Key features of the Bill: 

  • The Selection Committee will consist of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as member. 
  • If the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha has not been recognised, the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will assume the role. 
  • It proposes the establishment of a Search Committee to prepare a panel of five persons for consideration for the positions of CEC and ECs. The Search Committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will also include two members not below the rank of Secretary who have knowledge and experience in matters related to elections. 
  • The proposed Bill repeals the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991. The business of the Election Commission will be governed by the new Act once it is passed. 
  • The 1991 Act provides that the salary of the ECs will be equal to that of a Supreme Court judge. The Bill provides that salary, allowance, and service conditions of the CEC and other ECs will be the same as that of the Cabinet Secretary. 
  • The Bill maintains the provision that the business of the Election Commission should be transacted unanimously whenever possible. In case of a difference of opinion, the majority's view will prevail. 

Major Issues with the Bill: 

  • The committee consists of the Prime Minister, the nominated Cabinet Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. This potentially gives the Executive dominance in appointments, undermining the independence of the Election Commission. 
  • The Bill replaces the Chief Justice of India with a nominated Cabinet Minister in the appointment process. This reduces judicial representation in the committee and might affect impartiality. 
  • The Bill allows the Selection Committee to choose anyone from outside the shortlisted candidates, undermining the purpose of the shortlisting process. 
  • The proposed changes may have implications for the autonomy and functioning of the ECI. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme


In News: Fourteen States and Union Territories, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, have not yet signed a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) as part of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme. 

About: 

  • RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) Scheme has been renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)” in June 2023 in light of National Education Policy. 
    • RUSA, as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in October 2013, aiming at providing strategic funding to higher education institutions throughout the country. 
  • Objective:  
    • Enhance quality in higher education institutions, ensure compliance with norms and accreditation standards, foster governance and academic reforms, and encourage research and innovation. 
  • It focuses on: 
    • Equity Access and inclusion in higher education 
    • Developing Quality Teaching & Learning processes, 
    • Accreditation of Non-Accredited Institutions and improving accreditation. 
    • ICT – based Digital Infrastructure. 
    • Enhancing Employability through Multidisciplinary. 
  • Key Features:        
    • MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research University) Transformation: Rs 100 crore support to each of 35 state universities for multi-disciplinary education and research. 
    • Model Degree Colleges establishment 
    • Grants for Strengthening Universities 
    • Targeting remote, LWE-affected, aspirational, and low Gross Enrolment Ration regions. 
    • Aid to state government for gender inclusion, equity, and ICT-based employability skills. 

More Information: 

  • PM-USHA scheme mandates that States implement the National Education Policy in order to avail funds worth almost ₹13,000 crore for the next three years. Also, 40% of the fund has to be arranged by States themselves. States argue they don’t have funds for bringing in NEP-related changes. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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Impact of the Data Protection Bill on the RTI Act


In News: Recently passed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill in India has raised concerns among privacy experts due to its potential impact on the landmark right to information (RTI) law. 

Major Provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDP) 2022: 

  • It aims at regulating the collection, storage, and processing of personal data. 
  • The law has been framed based on the recommendation of the committee led by Justice B N Srikrishna. 
  • Personal data is any data by which or in relation to which an individual can be identified E.g., Name, address 
  • Individual consent is required for collection and Processing. Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent and demand the erasure of data. 
  • Major outlines of the bill: 
    • Usage of personal data must be lawful, fair, and transparent. 
    • Personal data should be used only for its intended purposes. 
    • Data minimization is emphasized. 
    • Data accuracy during collection is crucial. 
    • Personal data shouldn’t be stored indefinitely; limited storage duration is mandated. 
    • Safeguards must prevent unauthorized data collection or processing. 
    • Accountability lies with the entity determining data processing purpose and means. 
  • The bill permits cross-border data transfer to specified countries with strong data security measures, where the Indian government can access Indians’ data. This is a departure from the previous bill, which mandated local data storage requirements. 
  • Entities lacking “reasonable security safeguards” against data breaches face fines of up to Rs 250 crore. The proposed Data Protection Board could levy penalties of up to ₹500 crore for substantial non-compliance. 
  • The bill mandates providing non-personal data to the government when demanded. 

How DPDP Bill impacts the Right to Information (RTI) Act: 

  • The new data protection law changes a provision in the RTI Act to exempt “personal information” from being disclosed. This affects information sought under the RTI law. 
  • The new law introduces a blanket ban on personal information, making it difficult to access information even if it relates to public activities or larger public interest. 
  • Activists and experts are concerned that the change will reduce transparency and hinder the ability to access information. 
  • While the change doesn’t affect the provision allowing access if public interest outweighs the harm, it shifts the burden to individuals seeking information to prove its public interest. 
  • Officials are expected to deny more RTI requests using the personal information exemption, affecting the availability of crucial information. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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NMC Med Practitioner Conduct Regs 2023


In News: Doctors have been protesting against one of the provisions of the new guidelines on Professional Conduct, which were recently notified by the National Medical Commission (NMC). The provision requires the doctor to use generic names of medicines on the prescription instead of a particular brand name. 

About the NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 

  • The NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 will replace the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) Code of Medical Ethics 2002 and are enforceable from 2 August 2023. 
  • Other key provisions of the regulations are: 
    • Social Media Usage: Doctors can use social media for providing verifiable information or announcements. However they are prohibited from discussing patient’s treatment specifics and scans online to maintain patient privacy.  
    • Prescription practice: Every RMP should prescribe drugs using generic names written legibly. The provision could be relaxed only for medicines with narrow therapeutic index i.e. drugs where a small difference in dosage may lead to adverse outcomes,   biosimilars i.e. a different version of biologic products that are manufactured in living systems, and other exceptional cases. 
    • Refuse treatment: Doctors have the right to refuse treatment for abusive, unruly, or violent patients and relatives. But they must not refuse treatment in medical emergencies. 
    • Consultation fees should be made known to the patient before examination or treatment of the patient. A reasonable estimation of the cost of surgery or treatment should be provided to the patient to enable an informed decision.  

Concern of Doctors regarding the prescription of generic medicines: 

  • Quality of generic medicines: Doctors express concerns about the  uncertainty about the quality of generic medicines available. 
  • Ineffective treatment: The rule takes away the choice of doctors to prescribe medicines they consider best for their patient and might result in ineffective treatment. 
  • Absence of quality control regime for generic medicines: Lack of standardised quality control regime results in varying quality of generic medicines across companies, that could be detrimental to patient’s health.  
  • Poor treatment outcomes: Doctors fear that poor quality of unregulated generic medicines could lead to poor treatment outcomes in the patients. This could also hamper their reputation and also result in violence against doctors if they failed to treat their patients. 
  • High incidence of substandard drugs in Indian market: Data from the health ministry shows that around 3% of all medicines tested over the last three years, including generics, branded generics, and branded medicines,  were found to be not of standard quality. 
  • Questionable test standards: Until a few years ago, it was not mandatory for companies making generics to carry out bio-equivalence or stability studies, making the tests that a company needs to do to get approval questionable. 
  • Poor availability of generic medicines: Drug stores usually do not stock generic medicines because of very low profit margins.  

What are Generic medicines? 

  • Generic medicines can be defined as cheap and affordable versions of branded drugs which are brought into the market once the original drug manufacturer’s patent expires. 
  • These medicines have the same potency, quality, and implications and work in an identical manner as the branded drug. The generic medicines are marketed either by a salt or brand name. 
  • These medicines are 30% to 80% cheaper than the branded versions, and are hence likely to bring down healthcare costs.

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Health Facilities for Tribal Women Report


In news: Parliamentary Committee flags lack of disaggregated Data on Tribal Populations 

About Health Facilities for Tribal Women Report 

  • The Parliamentary Committee on the empowerment of women has recently presented a report addressing the absence of disaggregated data on the health conditions of tribal populations in India. 
  • The committee advocates for more empowerment of the Tribal Affairs Ministry and underscores the need for sectoral policies in health, education, nutrition, and more. 
  • Major findings: 
    • The report underscores the persistent health challenges faced by tribal women across the country with diseases like sickle cell anaemia and leprosy remain prevalent among tribal populations. 
    • High rates of anaemia, child marriage, early motherhood, and low body mass index contribute to elevated mortality rates among tribal women. 
    • Lack of disaggregated data on the health and absence of proper maternal mortality ratio data has impede the formulation of effective policies for maternal and infant health among tribals. 
    • Tribal populations are disproportionately affected by communicable diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, and cholera compared to other social groups. 
    • Over half of tribal women in the reproductive age group suffer from anaemia with sickle cell disease testing reveals a significant number of carriers and diagnosed cases among tribal populations. 
  • Major recommendations: 
    • The report calls for empowering the Tribal Affairs Ministry to enable better planning and resource allocation. 
    • It also recommends that the ministry should be granted authority for designing sector-specific policies related to health, education, nutrition, skill development, and livelihood. 
    • Extracting a sub-sample of tribal populations from the National Family Health Survey-5 to gather targeted data with regular examination of data collected through the center of excellence. 
    • Establishment of self-help kiosks at the block level to facilitate health data registration for tribes lacking access to technology. 
    • Empowerment of the Tribal Affairs Ministry to formulate area-specific, sector-specific, and group-specific schemes for tribal welfare. 
  • Overall, by addressing challenges, gathering data, and empowering the Tribal Affairs Ministry, steps can be taken to enhance the health and well-being of tribal communities in India. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
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Reformed Indian Criminal Law - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, have been brought by repealing the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Criminal Procedure Code, (1898), 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, 1872 respectively. 

About the 3 new Bills: 

  • Inclusive: 
    • Government has brought this law by taking a very principled decision to bring citizens at the centre, instead of governance. 
    • 18 States, 6 Union Territories, the Supreme Court, 16 High Courts, 5 Judicial Academies, 22 Law Universities, 142 Members of Parliament, around 270 MLAs and public have given their suggestions on these new laws. 
    • Intense discussions were held for 4 years. 
  • Broadens horizon: 
    • The law expands the definition of documents to include electronic or digital records, e-mails, server logs, computers, smart phones, laptops, SMS, etc. 
    • Provision to digitise the entire process from FIR to judgement. 
    • Videography has been made compulsory at the time of search and seizure which will be part of the case and will not implicate innocent citizens.  
      • Without such recording by the police, no charge sheet will be valid. 
    • A National Forensic Science University will be setup to promote forensic science in a bid to increase the conviction ratio. 
    • After three years, every year 33,000 forensic science experts and scientists will be available in the country. 
    • The visit of the forensic team is being made compulsory on the crime scene of crimes having provision for punishment of 7 years or more. 
    • The government is going to start Zero FIR for the first time.  
    • Provision of e-FIR is being added for the first time. 
  • Protecting the innocent: 
    • The statement of the victim has been made compulsory in the cases of sexual violence and the video recording of the statement has also been made compulsory in the cases of sexual harassment. 
    • It will be compulsory for the Police to give the status of the complaint in 90 days and thereafter every 15 days, to the complainant. 
    • No government will be able to withdraw a case of imprisonment of 7 years or more without listening to the victim. 
    • Scope of summary trial has been increased in petty cases, now crimes punishable up to 3 years will be included in summary trial. 
    • A time limit of 90 days is fixed for filing the charge sheet. The investigation will have to be completed within 180 days and trial should begin. 
    • Courts will now be bound to give notice of framing of charge to the accused person within 60 days, within 30 days after the completion of arguments, the Hon'ble Judge will have to give verdict.  
      • The order will have to be made available online, within 7 days 
    • Sex on the pretext of false promise of marriage, employment, promotion and false identity has been made a crime for the first time. 
    • For mob lynching, all three provisions of 7 years in jail, life imprisonment and capital punishment have been made. 
  • Other provisions: 
    • Government has to decide on permission within 120 days for trial against civil servant or police officer else it will be treated as deemed permission and trial will be started. 
    • A provision has been brought for attachment of property of declared offenders. 
    • Now the death penalty can only be changed to life imprisonment, life imprisonment to a minimum of 7 years and 7 years to a minimum of 3 years, no culprit will be freed. 
    • The government is going to repeal sedition law completely because India is a democracy and everyone has the right to speak. 
    • Earlier, there was no definition of terrorism, now crimes like armed insurgency, subversive activities, separatism, challenging the unity, sovereignty and integrity of India have been defined in this law for the first time. 
    • A historic decision regarding trial in absentia has been taken, a person declared fugitive by a Sessions Court judge will be tried and sentenced in his absence. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Centre’s Bill on Election Commission Appointments


In News: Recently, the Government has introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha which aims to change the process of appointing the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). 

Current Provisions for appointment of CEC and ECs: 

  • The Supreme Court (SC) in March 2023 ruled that CEC and ECs will be appointed by the President of India on the advice of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India until a law is enacted by Parliament on their appointments. 
  • Currently, there is no specific legislative process defined in the Constitution for the appointment of the CEC and ECs. 
  • Article 324 of the Constitution vests the "superintendence, direction, and control of elections" in an Election Commission consisting of the CEC and other ECs as determined by the President from time to time. 
  • Before the Supreme Court ruling of March 2023, the CEC and ECs were appointed by the President on the recommendation of the government. 

Key features of the Bill: 

  • The Selection Committee will consist of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha as member and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as member. 
  • If the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha has not been recognised, the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will assume the role. 
  • The Bill proposes the establishment of a Search Committee to prepare a panel of five persons for consideration for the positions of CEC and ECs. 
  • The Search Committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will also include two members not below the rank of Secretary who have knowledge and experience in matters related to elections. 
  • The proposed Bill repeals the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991. 
  • The 1991 Act provides that the salary of the ECs will be equal to that of a Supreme Court judge. The Bill provides that salary, allowance, and service conditions of the CEC and other ECs will be the same as that of the Cabinet Secretary. 

Issues with the Bill: 

  • The Bill potentially gives the Executive dominance in appointments, undermining the independence of the Election Commission. 
  • The Bill reduces judicial representation in the committee by replacing the Chief Justice of India with a nominated Cabinet Minister and might affect impartiality. 
  • The Bill allows the Selection Committee to choose anyone from outside the shortlisted candidates, undermining the purpose of the shortlisting process. 
  • The rank of Election Commissioner is being reduced in the warrant of precedence. This could impact their stature. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

CAG Report on National Social Assistance Programme


In News: According to the CAG report (2017-2021) government diverted funds from the National Social Assistance Programme for publicity of other schemes. 

About 

  • NSAP was introduced as a centrally sponsored scheme on August 15, 1995. The NSAP is an important step in achieving the Directive Principles outlined in Articles 41 and 42 of the Indian Constitution. 
  • NSAP aims to offer assistance to elderly people, widows, disabled people, and bereaved families from below-poverty-line households who have lost their primary earner.

Implementation:   

  • The Ministry of Rural Development works with the state/UT governments to implement NSAP. To transfer money to beneficiaries' bank accounts or postal accounts, NSAP uses the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode.  

Impact of NSAP 

  • The NSAP has aided in lowering poverty, raising living standards, and boosting the recipients' sense of dignity and empowerment.  
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to poverty eradication, social protection, and inclusion have all been advanced thanks in part to NSAP.  
  • Between 2017 and 2021 approximately 4.65 crore beneficiaries relied on old age, widow, disability, and family benefits each year. 

Key Findings from the Report 

Misuse of Pension Funds for Publicity: 

  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) redirected funds designated for the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) – aimed at providing pensions – to finance publicity campaigns for different ministry initiatives. 
  • Allocated funds for NSAP were meant for pension disbursement and administrative costs, including 3% for administration. 
  • Instances of fund diversion were identified both at the ministry level and within state/union territory administrations. 
  • In 2017, MoRD initiated a publicity campaign using billboards to promote various ministry programs. 
  • Approximately Rs 39.15 lakh was sanctioned for billboards, and around Rs 2.44 crore was approved for campaigns in multiple states. 
  • The campaign funds were originally intended to be sourced from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme but were instead drawn from NSAP resources. 

Discrepancies in Advertisements: 

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) discovered that advertisement work orders excluded NSAP schemes from mention but emphasized schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY). 

States Involved in Fund Diversion: 

  • Six states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha, Goa, and Bihar – were identified as diverting funds that were originally intended for pension schemes. 

Impact on Implications and Beneficiaries: 

  • Planned Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) endeavors under NSAP suffered due to the diversion of funds. 
  • Funds totaling Rs 2.83 crore, initially allocated for NSAP IEC activities, were repurposed to promote other initiatives of the ministry. 

Athidhi Portal 

In News: Kerala government is set to launch the ‘Athidhi Portal’, which aims to expedite the registration process for migrant workers in the state. 

About: 

  • It is a user-friendly web portal to expedite the registration for migrant workers in Kerala. 
  • The goal is to ensure comprehensive registration and provide social security for all migrant workers. 

Key Features:  

  • Contractors, who bring migrant workers to the state and employers can register the workers in the portal. It also allows workers to register themselves individually as well. 
  • The enrolling officer will examine the details entered in the portal and issue a unique ID to each worker. 
  • The portal will also ensure that they have social security. 

Need of the portal: 

  • In light of recent incidents involving sexual crimes against children allegedly carried out by migrant workers, the government is taking measures to enhance the registration of “guest workers.” 
  • The exploitation of unregistered migrants by contractors and the lack of social security.

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Indian Web Browser Development Challenge


In News: The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), launched the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC) in association with Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Bangalore.  

About the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC): 

  • The IWBDC is an Open Challenge Competition to inspire and empower technology enthusiasts, innovators, and developers from all corners of the country to create an indigenous web browser. 
  • Proposed browser would also focus on accessibility and user friendliness, ensuring built-in support for individuals with diverse abilities.  
  • Moreover, the browser envisions the ability to digitally sign documents using a crypto token, bolstering secure transactions and digital interactions. 

Significance of IWBDC 

  • Stride towards Atmanirbhar Bharat: This challenge marks a significant stride towards an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, designed to strengthen India’s digital sovereignty through the development of the Indian Web Browser 
  • Enhanced security and data protection: The web browser brings in cutting edge functionalities, enhanced security & data privacy protection features through inbuilt trust store. 
  • Reduces dependence on SSL certificates issued by Roots of  Foreign entities: India has been dependent on SSL certificates issued by Roots of Foreign entities. Initialising to develop its Own Browser with inbuilt India Root Certificate would help overcoming this challenge. 
  • Step towards Internet Resilience: India has moved a step ahead for making the country Internet Resilient which refers to a country’s ability to withstand and recover from various disruptions and threats that may impact its internet infrastructure and connectivity. 

About Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates: 

  • An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website's identity and enables an encrypted connection. 
  • It is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. 
  • SSL certificates are essential for a website as it secures online transactions and protects customer's information privacy. 
  • While India has a legally valid root certifying authority called the Root Certifying Authority of India, established in 2000 under the CCA, the certificates issued by it are not widely recognised by popular web browsers. 
  • This has led to Indian government and private websites obtaining SSL certificates from foreign certifying authorities. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Keralam - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, State Legislative Assembly of Kerala passed a resolution urging the Central government to officially change the name of the state from 'Kerala' to 'Keralam'. 

Significance of the new name: 

  • The resolution aims to align the English and Malayalam names. The term ‘Kerala’ has its origins in ancient texts, and ‘Keralam’ is considered a closer reflection of the original Malayalam pronunciation. While the English version ‘Kerala’ was adopted for ease of pronunciation and writing. 
  • Scholars believe that the term ‘Keralam’ might have originated from the word ‘Cheram’ referring to the region between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari. 

Constitutional Provisions: 

  • Article 3 of the Constitution deals with the Parliament's power to create new states or reorganize existing ones. 
  • This provision allows for the adaptation of state names to better represent the identity and heritage of the people residing within those states. 

Procedure to be followed: 

  • The state government drafts a resolution expressing the desire to change the name of the state. 
  • Since changing the name of a state involves altering the Constitution, approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required. 
  • The MHA seeks No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from various central government agencies such as the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, etc. 
  • If the MHA finds the proposal acceptable and all the necessary NOCs are obtained, a Constitutional amendment is initiated. 
  • The Bill goes through the usual legislative process in both the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The Bill requires a simple majority to be passed. 
  • Once the President gives his assent, the Bill becomes law and the name change becomes official and is implemented. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Standing Committee Report on “Judicial Process and their Reforms”


In News: Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice released its 133rd report on Judicial Process and their Reforms. 

Parliamentary Standing Committee: 

  • A Standing Committee is a permanent and regular committee that is formed according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business from time to time. 
  • There are 24 department-related standing committees (DRSCs). The 24 standing committees have jurisdiction over all of the Central Government's ministries and departments. 
  • Each standing committee is made up of 31 people (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). 
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha nominates members from among the Lok Sabha's members, just as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha nominates members from among the Rajya Sabha's members. 

Key issues highlighted by the report: 

  • Lack of Transparency in the Judiciary 
  • Huge pendency of cases 
  • Currently, only a few HCs release their annual report. 
  • Long Court Vacations 
  • Lack of Social Diversity in Judicial Appointments. Currently, only 15% of registered advocates are women. 

Recommendations proposed by the Committee to fix these issues: 

  • Enact a law requiring judges of the Supreme Court and high courts to declare assets annually. 
  • Establish 4-5 regional benches of SC, wherein the regional benches may decide appellate matters. 
  • SC should direct HCs to publish Annual Reports in a unified format. 
  • Suggest doing away with long court vacations to address the perception of inconvenience to litigants. Vacations contribute to the pendency issue. 
  • Stress on appointing an adequate number of women and candidates from marginalized sections to high courts and the Supreme Court, promoting diversity and trust in the judiciary. 
  • Amend the Constitution to increase the retirement age of high court and Supreme Court judges and Reassess judges’ performance based on health, judgment quality, and quantity delivered. This can contribute to impartiality and quality in post-retirement assignments. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Current Affairs - August 2023
Monthly Current Affairs

Digital Health Incentives Scheme


In News: Recently, National Health Authority (NHA) has announced an extension of its Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS) under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). 

Digital Health Incentives Scheme: 

  • The Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS) offers financial incentives to hospitals, diagnostic labs, and digital health solution providers for adopting and enabling digital health technologies and practices. 
  • They can earn financial incentives of up to Rs 4 crores based on the number of digital health records created and linked to ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers of patients. 
  • As of June 2023, a total of 1205 health facilities have registered under the DHIS, including 567 public and 638 private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic labs. 
  • Among the 25 registered digital solution companies, 22 are from the private sector, demonstrating diverse participation. 

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM): 

  • ABDM was launched in September, 2021. It is a national initiative for the development of digital health infrastructure in the country. 
  • Ayushman Bharat is a flagship scheme of India which was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 
  • It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required. 

Issues with Digital Healthcare in India: 

  • Despite advancements, a significant portion of India still lacks reliable internet connectivity and necessary digital infrastructure. 
  • Many people, especially in rural areas and older populations, may not be familiar with technology or lack the necessary digital literacy skills to effectively use digital healthcare platforms and services. 
  • Maintaining patient data privacy and security is a significant concern in digital healthcare. 
  • While telemedicine has gained popularity, regulatory clarity regarding the practice, prescription of medications, and teleconsultation across state lines has been a challenge. 

Way Forward: 

  • Implement blockchain technology to securely store and manage electronic health records. 
  • Leverage big data analytics to predict disease outbreaks, plan resource allocation, and devise targeted interventions to manage public health challenges more effectively. 
  • Offer online courses for medical professionals to upskill in areas like telemedicine, data analytics, and AI applications in healthcare. 
  • Establish comprehensive regulations and guidelines for digital health technologies, ensuring patient privacy, data security, and ethical use of digital services and other technologies. 

Keywords: Polity Monthly Curren