UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2023: Solved Paper GS-01

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Sunday conducted the Civil Services Prelims exam 2023. The exam was conducted in two sessions — forenoon from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and afternoon from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

If we talk about difficulty level, Overall GS Paper 1 was difficult than last year’s paper. So we can expect this year’s cut off to go down a little. As published by UPSC, last year’s cut off was 88.22 for UR. This year it is expected to be in the range of 81-86.

This Year UPSC has surprised by ensuring the oft cited ‘elimination method’ used by candidates to arrive at an answer.

Although the solution has been prepared with utmost care, it is subject to 6-8% of errors. This is an unofficial Answer key.

Solved Paper GS-01

Q.1 Consider the following statements with reference to India:

1. According to the ‘Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006’, the ‘medium enterprises’ are those with investments in plant and machinery between Rs. 15 crore and Rs. 25 crore.

2. All bank loans to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises qualify under the priority sector.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: B


Option 1 is incorrect: The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (M/o MSMEs) has issued a Gazette notification to facilitate the implementation of the revised definition and criteria for MSMEs in the country.

After a span of 14 years since the enactment of the MSME Development Act in 2006, a revision in the MSME definition was announced as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package on May 13, 2020. According to this announcement, the definition of Micro manufacturing and services units was revised to an investment of Rs. 1 Crore and a turnover of Rs. 5 Crore. The limit for small units was increased to an investment of Rs. 10 Crore and a turnover of Rs. 50 Crore. Similarly, the limit for medium units was raised to an investment of Rs. 20 Crore and a turnover of Rs. 100 Crore. Subsequently, on June 1, 2020, the Government of India decided to further revise the definition of MSMEs, setting the investment for medium Enterprises at Rs. 50 Crore and the turnover at Rs. 250 Crore.

Option 2 is correct: The government has taken various measures to facilitate credit accessibility for MSMEs. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), some of the steps taken by the RBI to enhance credit flow to the MSME sector include:

Priority Sector Lending Guidelines: In accordance with the “Priority Sector Lending (PSL) – Targets and Classification” Master Direction dated September 4, 2020, all bank loans provided to MSMEs that meet the prescribed conditions qualify for classification under priority sector lending.


Q.2 With reference to Central Bank digital currencies, consider the following statements:

1. It is possible to make payments in a digital currency without using US dollar or SWIFT system.

2. A digital currency can be distributed with a condition programmed into it such as a time-frame for spending it.

With of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Ans: C


Statement 1 is accurate: it is possible to make payments in a digital currency without using US dollar or SWIFT system. There are a number of digital currencies that are not pegged to the US dollar and do not use SWIFT for transactions. Some examples of these currencies include:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • Ripple
  • Stellar

These currencies can be used to make payments directly between two parties without the need for a third party, such as a bank or financial institution. Transactions can be processed quickly and cheaply, and there is no need to worry about government interference or censorship.

In addition to these cryptocurrencies, there are also a number of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that are being developed. CBDCs are digital versions of fiat currencies, such as the US dollar or the euro. They are issued and regulated by central banks, and they can be used to make payments just like traditional currencies.

The use of digital currencies is growing rapidly, and it is likely that they will become even more popular in the future. This is because digital currencies offer a number of advantages over traditional currencies, such as speed, cost, and security.

Statement 2 is accurate: a digital currency can be distributed with a condition programmed into it such as a time-frame for spending it. This is known as a “time-limited currency”. Time-limited currencies can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

To encourage saving: Time-limited currencies can be used to encourage people to save their money. For example, a government could issue a time-limited currency that can only be spent in the future. This would give people an incentive to save their money, rather than spend it immediately.

To target specific groups: Time-limited currencies can be targeted at specific groups of people. For example, a government could issue a time-limited currency to low-income families. This would help to ensure that these families have access to money, even if they are unable to save.

To control inflation: Time-limited currencies can be used to control inflation. For example, a government could issue a time-limited currency that loses its value over time. This would discourage people from holding onto their money, and it would help to keep prices stable.


Q.3 In the context of finance, the term ‘beta’ refers to

a) the process of simultaneous buying and selling of an asset from different platforms

b) an investment strategy of a portfolio manager to balance risk versus reward

c) a type of systemic risk that arises where perfect hedging is not possible

d) a numeric value that measures the fluctuations of a stock to changes in the overall stock market

Correct Option: (d)

Beta is a numeric value that measures the fluctuations of a stock to changes in the overall stock market. Beta measures the responsiveness of a stock’s price to changes in the overall stock market. On comparison of the benchmark index for e.g. NSE Nifty to a particular stock returns, a pattern develops that shows the stock’s openness to the market risk.This helps the investor to decide whether he wants to go for the riskier stock that is highly correlated with the market (beta above 1), or with a less volatile one (beta below 1).


Q.4 Consider the following statements:

1.  The Self-Help Group (SHG) programme was originally initiated by the State Bank of India by providing microcredit to the financially deprived.

2. In an SHG, all members of a group take responsibility for a loan that an individual member takes.

3. The Regional Rural Banks and Scheduled Commercial Banks support SHGs.

How many of the above statements are correct

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

Correct Option: (b)

Option 1 is incorrect: The Self-Help Group (SHG) programme was not originally initiated by the State Bank of India (SBI). It was actually initiated by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in 1992. In 1970, IlabenBhat, founder member of ‘SEWA’(Self Employed Women’s Association) in Ahmadabad, had developed a concept of ‘women and micro-finance’. The Annapurna MahilaMandal’ in Maharashtra and ‘Working Women’s Forum’ in Tamilnadu and many National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-sponsored groups have followed the path laid down by ‘SEWA’. The SHG-Bank Linkage Programme, as it is officially known, aims to provide financial services to poor rural households through Self-Help Groups (SHGs). SHGs are groups of 10-20 people who come together to save money and access credit. The programme has been very successful, and it has helped millions of poor people in India to improve their livelihoods. Option 2 is correct.

Option 3 is correct:The Indian micro finance sector has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. GOI has taken initiatives to widen the reach of RRBs all over India, especially in rural areas where commercial banks and other financial institution are beyond the reach of rural poor. Micro financing is one of the distinctive functional areas of RRBs.

The two important models of microfinance involving credit linkages with banks in India are

  • SHG – Bank Linkage Model: This model involves the SHGs financed directly by the banks viz., CBs (Public Sector and Private Sector), RRBs and Cooperative Banks.
  • MFI – Bank Linkage Model: This model covers financing of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) by banking agencies for on-lending to SHGs and other small borrowers.


Q.5 Consider the following statements:


India’s public sector health care system largely focuses on curative care with limited preventive, promotive and rehabilitative care.


Under India’s decentralized approach to health care delivery, the States are primarily responsible for organizing health services.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

Correct Option: (b)

Option 1 is correct: The main goal of India’s healthcare system is to enhance the overall health status of the population through coordinated policy measures across all sectors. It aims to expand preventive, promotive, curative, palliative, and rehabilitative services delivered by the public health sector, with a strong emphasis on ensuring quality healthcare.

Option 2 is correct: All Indian citizens have access to free outpatient and inpatient healthcare services at government facilities. The responsibility for organizing health services lies primarily with the states, following India’s decentralized approach to healthcare delivery. However, due to significant shortages of staff and supplies in government facilities, many households opt for care from private providers and pay for services out-of-pocket. To address this, the government recently launched the tax-funded National Health Protection Scheme (Ayushman Bharat-PradhanMantri Jan ArogyaYojana or PM-JAY). This scheme enables low-income individuals to receive cashless secondary and tertiary care at private healthcare facilities. Additionally, there are specific health insurance arrangements available for certain population groups, such as government employees and factory workers. While private voluntary insurance is also an option, its adoption remains limited.


Q.6 Consider the following statements:


According to the United Nations’ ‘World Water Development Report, 2022’, India extracts more than quarter of the world’s groundwater withdrawal each year.


India needs to extract more than a quarter of the World’s groundwater each year to satisfy the drinking water and sanitation needs of almost 18% of world’s population living in its territory.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

Correct Option: (c)

Option 1 is correct. According to the United Nations’ ‘World Water Development Report, 2022’, India extracts more than quarter of the world’s groundwater withdrawal each year. This is a major concern, as groundwater is a finite resource that is being depleted at an alarming rate. India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, and this reliance on groundwater is putting a strain on the country’s water resources.

Option 2 is incorrect. India does not need to extract so much groundwater. In fact, the over-extraction of groundwater is a major problem in India, and it is having a number of negative impacts on the country.


Q.7 Consider the following statements:

1. According to the Constitution of India, the Central Government has a duty to protect States from internal disturbances.

2. The Constitution of India exempts the States from providing legal counsel to a person being held for preventive detention.

3. According to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, confession of the accused before the police cannot be used as evidence.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

Correct Option: (a)

According to Article 355 of the Constitution of India, it is the duty of the Union to protect each State from external aggression and internal disturbances. Furthermore, the Union is also responsible for ensuring that the government of each State functions in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Constitution.

The Constitution of India does not exempt the States from providing legal counsel to an individual who is held under preventive detention.


Q.8 Which one of the following countries has been suffering from decades of civil strife and food shortages and was in news in the recent past for its very severe famine?

a] Angola

b] Costa Rice

c] Ecuador

d] Somalia

 Correct Option: (d)

East Africa is currently experiencing the most severe drought in many decades, resulting in the devastation of crops and the unaffordable prices of food for many people. In Somalia alone, out of a total population of 16 million, there is a potential risk of famine for 7 million individuals within the next two months if urgent action is not taken to increase aid and address the rapidly escalating requirements.


Q.9 Consider the following statements:

1. In India, the Biodiversity Management Committees are key to the realization of the objectives of the Nagoya Protocol.

2. The Biodiversity Management Committees have important functions in determining access and benefit sharing, including the power to levy collection fees on the access of biological resources within its jurisdiction.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Option: (c)

India’s Biological Diversity Act (BDA) 2002, is in close synergy with the Nagoya Protocol and aims to implement provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The Nagoya Protocol sought to ensure commercial and research utilisation of genetic resources led to sharing its benefits with the government and the community that conserved such resources.

The main function of the BMC is to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with local people. The Register shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other traditional knowledge associated with them.


Q.10 Consider the following statements in respect of election to the President of India:

1. The members nominated to either House of the Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States are also eligible to be included in the Electoral College.

2. Higher the number of elective Assembly seats, higher is the value of vote of each MLA of that State.

3. The value of vote of each MLA of Madhya Pradesh is greater than that of Kerala.

4. The value of vote of each MLA of Puducherry is higher than that of Arunachal Pradesh because the ratio of total population to total number of elective seats in Puducherry is greater as compared to Arunachal Pradesh.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) Only three

d) All four


Correct Option: (c)

As per Article 54 of the Constitution, the President of India is elected by the Members of an Electoral College consisting of (a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and (b) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States [including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry]. The Members nominated to either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States, including NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College.

The value of vote of one MLA is equal to that of the population of that state divided by the total number of assembly seats. Number of seats to Assembly are inversely proportional to the value of vote of 1 MLA

The value of vote of each MLA of Madhya Pradesh is 131 which is less than that of Kerala where it is 152.

Among smaller states, the vote value of each MLA of Sikkim is 7, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram (8 each), Nagaland (9), Meghalaya (17), Manipur (18) and Goa (20). The vote value of an MLA of the Union Territory of Puducherry is 16.


Q.11 Consider the following countries:

1. Bulgaria

2. Czech Republic

3. Hungary

4. Latvia

5. Lithuania

5. Romania

How many of the above-mentioned countries share a land border the Ukraine?

a]Only two

b] Only three

c] Only four

d] Only five

Correct Option: (a)


Q.12 With reference to the Earth’s atmosphere, which one of the following statements is correct?

a] The total amount of insolation received at the equator is roughly about 10 times of that received at the poles.

b] Infrared rays constitute roughly two-thirds of insolation.

c] Infrared waves are largely absorbed by water vapour that is concentrated in the lower atmosphere.

d] Infrared waves are a part of visible spectrum of electromagnetic waves of solar radiation.

Correct Option: (c)

Statement 1 is incorrect: The amount of insolation received at the equator is not roughly about 10 times of that received at the poles. In fact, the difference in insolation between the equator and the poles is not that great. The equator receives about 1400 watts per square meter of insolation, while the poles receive about 1200 watts per square meter. This is a difference of about 15%.

Statement 2 is incorrect: Approximately half of solar radiation occurs at the longer wavelengths of the near infrared.

Statement 3 is correct: Infrared waves are largely absorbed by water vapor that is concentrated in the lower atmosphere. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, which means that it absorbs infrared radiation and traps heat in the atmosphere. This is why the Earth’s atmosphere is warmer than it would be without water vapor. The absorption of infrared radiation by water vapor is one of the main factors that regulates the Earth’s climate. Without water vapor, the Earth would be much colder.

Statement 4 is incorrect: The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. It ranges from about 380 to 700 nanometers. Infrared waves have wavelengths that are longer than visible light, ranging from about 700 nanometers to 1 millimeter. Therefore, infrared waves are not a part of the visible spectrum.


Q.13 Consider the following statements:


The soil in tropical rain forests is rich in nutrients.


The high temperature and moisture of tropical rain forests cause dead organic matter in the soil to decompose quickly.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

Correct Option: (d)

Statement-I is incorrect: The soil in tropical rainforests is not rich in nutrients. In fact, it is often quite poor in nutrients. This is because the high rainfall and warm temperatures in tropical rainforests cause the soil to be leached of nutrients. The rain washes away the nutrients in the soil, and the warm temperatures speed up the decomposition of organic matter, which also releases nutrients into the soil. However, these nutrients are quickly washed away by the rain.

The high temperature and moisture of tropical rain forests cause dead organic matter in the soil to decompose quickly. This is because the heat speeds up the activity of the decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi, which break down the organic matter. The moisture helps to keep the decomposers moist and active.


Q.14 Consider the following statements:


The temperature contrast between continents and oceans is greater during summer than in winter.


The specific heat of water is more than that of land surface.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

Correct Option: (a)

During summer, land surfaces tend to heat up more quickly and to higher temperatures than ocean surfaces due to differences in heat absorption and heat capacity.

The temperature of land rises rapidly as compared to sea because of specific heat of land is five times less than that of sea water. Thus, the air above the land become hot and light so rises up so because of pressure drops over land.


Q.15 Consider the following statements:

1. In a seismograph, P waves are recorded earlier than S waves.

2. In P waves, the individual particles vibrate to and fro in the direction of wave propagation whereas in S waves, the particles vibrate up and down at right angles to the direction of wave propagation.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Option: (c)

P waves are recorded earlier than S waves in a seismograph. This is because P waves travel faster than S waves. P waves are compressional waves, which means that the particles in the medium move back and forth in the same direction as the wave is traveling. S waves are shear waves, which means that the particles in the medium move up and down or side to side perpendicular to the direction of the wave is traveling.

P waves, also known as primary waves, are compressional waves. The particles in the medium move back and forth in the same direction that the wave is traveling. S waves, also known as secondary waves, are shear waves. The particles in the medium move up and down or side to side, perpendicular to the direction that the wave is traveling.

P waves can travel through solids, liquids, and gases. S waves can only travel through solids. This is because S waves require a medium that can support shear stress. Fluids cannot support shear stress, so S waves cannot travel through them.


Q.16 With reference to coal-based thermal power plants in India, consider the following statements:

1. None of them uses seawater.

2. None of them is set up in water-stressed district.

3. None of them is privately owned.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

Correct Option: (d)

 Some coal plants in India use seawater. This is because seawater is more abundant than freshwater in India, and it is also less expensive to use. Seawater can be used to cool the boilers in coal plants, which helps to prevent them from overheating.

In 2015, the Indian government issued a notification that required all new coal plants to use seawater for cooling. This notification was issued in an effort to reduce the impact of coal plants on freshwater resources.

A large number of coal plants in India are located in water stressed districts. According to a study by the World Resources Institute, 40% of India’s thermal power plants are located in areas facing high water stress. This is a problem because coal plants use a lot of water for cooling. Scarce water is already hampering electricity generation in these regions, and the problem is only going to get worse as climate change and increased demands from other sectors put a strain on water resources.

Some of the water stressed districts in India that have a high concentration of coal plants include:

  • Nagpur and Chandrapur in Maharashtra
  • Raichur in Karnataka
  • Korba and Raigarh in Chhattisgarh
  • Barmer and Baran in Rajasthan
  • Khammam and Kothagudem in Telangana


Q.17 “Wolbachia method’ is sometimes talked about with reference to which one of the following?

a] Controlling the viral diseases spread by mosquitoes

b] Converting crop residues into packing materia

c] Producing biodegradable plastics

d] Producing biochar from thermo-chemical conversion of biomass

Correct Option: (a)


Wolbachia, which are highly prevalent bacteria, naturally occur in around 50 percent of insect species, including certain mosquitoes, fruit flies, moths, dragonflies, and butterflies. The innovative Wolbachia method developed by the World Mosquito Program is assisting communities worldwide in preventing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. This approach is effective in regions where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present, and it complements other techniques while demonstrating promising prospects for long-term success.

Q.18 Consider the following activities:

1. Spreading finely ground basalt rock on farmlands extensively

2. Increasing the alkalinity of oceans by adding lime

3. Capturing carbon dioxide released by various industries and pumping it into abandoned subterranean mines in the form of carbonated waters

How many of the above activities are often considered and discussed for carbon capture and sequestration?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)

All three of the activities mentioned are being considered and discussed for carbon capture and sequestration.

Spreading finely ground basalt rock on farmlands extensively is a natural way to capture carbon dioxide. Basalt rock contains a mineral called olivine, which reacts with carbon dioxide to form a new mineral called calcium carbonate. This reaction takes place over time, and the calcium carbonate can then be stored in the soil.

Increasing the alkalinity of oceans by adding lime is another natural way to capture carbon dioxide. When lime is added to the ocean, it reacts with carbon dioxide to form bicarbonate ions. These bicarbonate ions can then be absorbed by marine organisms, which helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Capturing carbon dioxide released by various industries and pumping it into abandoned subterranean mines in the form of carbonated waters is a more technical way to capture carbon dioxide. This process involves using special equipment to capture the carbon dioxide from industrial emissions. The carbon dioxide is then compressed and pumped into underground storage facilities.


Q.19. ‘Aerial metagenomics’ best refers to which one of the following situations?

a] Collecting DNA samples from air in a habitat at one go

b] Understanding the genetic makeup of avian species of a habitat

c] Using air-borne devices to collect blood samples from moving animals

d] Sending drones to inaccessible areas to collect plant and animal samples from land surfaces and water bodies

 Correct Option: (a)


Aerial metagenomics involves the collection and analysis of genetic material, particularly DNA, from the air in a specific habitat or environment. It aims to capture and study the genetic material present in airborne particles such as microorganisms, pollen, fungal spores, and other biological components.


Q. 20 ‘Microsatellite DNA’ is used in the case of which one of the following?

a] Studying the evolutionary relationships among various species of fauna

b] Stimulating ‘stem cells’ to transform into diverse functional tissues

c] Promoting clonal propagation of horticultural plants

d] Assessing the efficacy of drugs by conducting series of drug trials in a population

 Correct Option: (a)


Microsatellite DNA is used in the case of studying the evolutionary relationships among various species of fauna.

Microsatellites are short, repetitive sequences of DNA that are found throughout the genome. They are highly variable, and this makes them useful for studying evolutionary relationships. By comparing the microsatellites of different species, scientists can determine how closely related they are. This information can be used to create evolutionary trees, which show the relationships between different species.

Microsatellites are also used in other areas of research, such as population genetics and forensics. However, they are most commonly used for studying evolutionary relationships.

Q.21 With reference to the Indian History, Alexander Rea, A. H. Longhurst, Robert Sewell, James Burgess and Walter Elliot were associated with

a] archaeological excavations

b] establishment of English Press in Colonial India]

c] establishment of Churches in Princely States

d] construction of railways in Colonial India

 Correct Option: (a)


Names of archaeologist who worked mainly in South British India.


Q.22 consider the following pairs:

State                 Well known for

1. Besnagar : Shaivite cave shrine

2. Bhaja : Buddhist cave shrine

3. Sittanavasal : Jain cave shrine

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

Correct Option: (b)


Besnagar is a village in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is well known for the Besnagar Heliodorus pillar, a 12-meter-high sandstone pillar erected in the 2nd century BCE by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador from the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria to the Shunga emperor Bhagabhadra. The pillar is inscribed with a bilingual Greek-Prakrit inscription that records Heliodorus’s journey to India to worship the Hindu god Vishnu.

Bhaja is a village in Pune district of Maharashtra, India. It is well known for the Bhaja Caves, a group of 10 rock-cut caves dating from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The caves are notable for their intricate carvings of Hindu and Buddhist deities and figures.

Sittanavasal is a village in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is well known for the Sittanavasal Caves, a group of 10 rock-cut caves dating from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The caves are notable for their intricate carvings of Jain deities and figures.


Q.23 Consider the following statements:


7th August is declared as the National Handloom Day.


It was in 1905 that the Swadeshi Movement was launched on the same day.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (a)


In 2015, the Government of India decided to designate the 7th August every year, as the National Handloom Day.

August 7 was designated to celebrate National Handloom Day to memorialize the ‘Swadeshi’ Movement.

An official declaration began in Calcutta Town Hall to boycott foreign goods in favour of Indian-made items on August 7, 1905.


Q.24 Consider the following statements in respect of the National Flag of India according to the Flag Code of India, 2002:


One of the standard sizes of the National Flag of India is 600 mm * 400 mm.


The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (d)


The standard sizes of the National Flag shall be as follows:

  • Flag Size No 1 – Dimensions in mm = 6300 x 4200
  • Flag Size No 2 – Dimensions in mm = 3600 x 2400
  • Flag Size No 3 – Dimensions in mm = 2700 x 1800
  • Flag Size No 4 – Dimensions in mm = 1800 x 1200
  • Flag Size No 5 – Dimensions in mm = 1350 x 900
  • Flag Size No 6 – Dimensions in mm = 900 x 600
  • Flag Size No 7 – Dimensions in mm = 450 x 300
  •  Flag Size No 8 – Dimensions in mm = 225 x 150
  • Flag Size No 9 – Dimensions in mm = 150 x 100

The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three.


Q.25 Consider the following statements in respect of the Constitution Day:


The Constitution Day is celebrated on 26th November every year to promote constitutional values among citizens.


On 26th November, 1949, the constituent Assembly of India set up a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to prepare a Draft Constitution of India.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (d)


Constitution Day also known as ‘Samvidhan Divas’, is celebrated in our country on 26th November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.

On 26th November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, which came into effect from 26th January 1950.


Q.26 Consider the following statements:

Statement – I:

Switzerland is one of the leading exporters of gold in terms of value.

Statement – II:

Switzerland has the second largest gold reserves in the world.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (c)


In 2021, Switzerland emerged as the world’s largest exporter of gold, with total exports reaching $86.7 billion. Additionally, gold stood out as the most exported product from Switzerland during that year. The United States has maintained its leading position in terms of gold reserves for several years. Gold constitutes 79% of the USA’s foreign reserves, with only Venezuela (82.4%) and Portugal (80.1%) surpassing this percentage. The USA’s gold reserve nearly equals the combined stock of the top three countries following it. Germany and Italy follow the USA in terms of gold reserves.


Q. 27 Consider the following statements:


Recently, the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU) have launched the Trade and technology council.


The USA and the EU claim that through this they are trying to bring technological progress and physical productivity under their control.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (b)


the United States and the European Union launched the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on June 15, 2021. The TTC is a forum for the two sides to coordinate their approaches to key global trade, economic, and technology issues. It is composed of ten working groups, each focusing on a specific policy area. The working groups are:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Biotechnology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data governance
  • Export controls
  • Foreign investment screening
  • Global supply chains
  • Innovation
  • Privacy
  • Standards

The TTC is a significant development in the U.S.-EU relationship. It reflects the shared commitment of the two sides to working together to address the challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies. The TTC is also a sign of the growing importance of technology in the global economy.

The TTC has already made some progress. In its first year, the TTC has worked on a number of issues, including:

  • Developing a common approach to artificial intelligence
  • Promoting cooperation on cybersecurity
  • Working to ensure that global supply chains are secure and resilient
  • Addressing the challenges posed by foreign investment screening

The TTC is a work in progress, but it has the potential to be a valuable tool for the U.S. and the EU to work together to shape the future of technology.


Q.28 Consider the following statement:

Statement – I:

India accounts for 3.2% of global export of goods.


Many local companies and some foreign companies operating in India have taken advantage of India’s ‘Production-linked Incentive’ scheme.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (d)


As per the WTO data released in 2022, India’s share in global exports for merchandise was 1.9 % and in global imports was 4.1 %. India’s share in global exports was 3.5 % and imports was 3.2 %.


Q. 29 Consider the following statements:

1. The ‘Stability and Growth Pact’ of the European Union is a treaty that Limits the levels of budgetary deficit of the countries of the European Union.

2. Makes the countries of the European Union to share their infrastructure facilities.

3. Enables the countries of the European Union to share their technologies.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (a)


Stability and Growth Pact

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is a set of rules designed to ensure that countries in the European Union pursue sound public finances and coordinate their fiscal policies.

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is a set of fiscal rules designed to prevent countries in the EU from spending beyond their means.


Q.30 Consider the following statements:

1. Recently, all the countries of the United Nations have adopted the first-ever compact for international migration, the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)’.

2. The objective and commitments stated in the GCM are binding on the UN member countries.

3. The GCM address internal migration or internally displaced people also in its objectives and commitments.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (a)


The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is a treaty that limits the levels of budgetary deficit of the countries of the European Union. It was established in 1997 to ensure that countries in the EU do not spend beyond their means. The SGP sets a limit of 3% of GDP for government deficits and 60% of GDP for national debt. Countries that exceed these limits can be subject to fines.

The SGP does not require countries to share their infrastructure facilities or technologies. These are matters that are decided by individual countries.

Some of the key provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact:

  • Member states must keep their budget deficits below 3% of GDP.
  •  Member states must keep their public debt below 60% of GDP.
  • Member states must avoid excessive government borrowing.
  • Member states must coordinate their fiscal policies.


Q.31 Considder the following statements in relation to Janani Suraksha Yojana:

1.It is a safe motherhood intervention of the State Health Departments.

2. Its objective is reduce maternal and neonatal mortality among poor pregnant women.

3. It aims to promote institutional delivery among poor pregnant women.

4. Its objective includes providing public health facilities to sick infants up one year of age.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is incorrect: The Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a safe motherhood intervention implemented under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Statement 2 is correct: The JSY aims to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by promoting institutional delivery among economically disadvantaged pregnant women.

Statement 3 is correct: The JSY is a demand promotion and conditional cash transfer scheme designed to encourage institutional delivery.

Statement 4 is incorrect: The Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) has been launched with the objective of eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for pregnant women and sick infants seeking treatment at public health institutions.

The entitlements provided by JSSK for pregnant women and sick infants up to one year of age are operational in all states, leading to a significant reduction in out-of-pocket expenditures.


Q.32 Consider the following statements in the context of intervention being undertaken under Anaemia Mukt Bharat Strategy:

1. It provides prophylactic calcium supplementation for pre-school children, adolescents and pregnant women.

2. It runs a campaign for delayed cord clamping at the time of child birth.

3. It provides for periodic deworming to children and adolescents.

4. It addresses non-nutritional causes of anemia in endemic pockets with special focus on malaria, hemoglobinopathies and fluorosis.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is incorrect:Prophylactic Iron Folic Acid Supplementation to all six beneficiaries age group – pre-school children, adolescents and pregnant women.

Statement 2 is correct:It runs a campaign for promotion and monitoring of delayed clamping of the umbilical cord for at least 3 minutes (or until cord pulsations cease) for newborns across all health facilities will be carried out for improving the infant’s iron reserves up to 6 months after birth. Simultaneously, all birth attendants should make an effort to ensure early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.

Statement 3 is correct:Bi-annual mass deworming for children in the age groups between 1-19 years is carried out on designated dates – 10th February and 10th August every year under National Deworming Day (NDD) programme.

Statement 4 is correct:It addressing non-nutritional causes of anemia in endemic pockets, with special focus on malaria, haemoglobinopathies and fluorosis.


Q.33 Consider the following statements:

1. Carbon fibres are used in the manufacture of components used in automobiles and aircrafts.

2. Carbon fibres once used cannot be recycled.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 Correct Option: (a)


Statement 1 is correct: Carbon fiber-reinforced composite materials are used to make aircraft and spacecraft parts, racing car bodies, golf club shafts, bicycle frames, fishing rods, automobile springs, sailboat masts, and many other components where light weight and high strength are needed.

Carbon Fiber Increases Fuel Efficiency: Using carbon fiber composites to build an airplane reduces its weight by up to 20%, versus the weight of a traditional aluminum plane.

Statement 2 is incorrect: Carbon fibre waste can be recycled using four types of technologies.


Q.34 Consider the following action:

1. Detection of car crash/collision which results in the deployment of airbags almost instantaneously.

2. Detection of accidental free fall of a laptop towards the ground which results in the immediate turning off the hard drive.

3. Detection of the tilt of the smart-phone which results in the rotation of display between portrait and landscape mode.

In how many of the above actions is the function of accelerometer required?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


The accelerometer sensor measures constant (gravity), time varying (vibrations) and quasi static (tilt) acceleration forces, which affect the device on the three axes (x, y and z) in meter per second squared (m/s2).

The accelerometer is a built-in component for measuring the acceleration of any mobile device. Motions like swinging, tilting, rotating, shaking is detected using accelerometer. The value of XYZ is used to calculate and detect the motions.


Q.35 Which reference to the role of biofilter in Recirculating Aquaculture System, consider the following statement

1. Biofilters provide waste treatment by removing uneaten fish feed.

2. Biofilters convert ammonia present in fish waste in nitrate.

3. Biofilters increase phosphorus as nutrient for fish in water.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct:The use of biofilters to removal of contaminants from wastewater and waste gases is being developed.

Statement 2 is correct:Ammonia is removed from an aquarium system through the use of a biofilter. The biofilter provides a substrate on which nitrifying bacteria grow. These nitrifying bacteria consume ammonia and produce nitrite, which is also toxic to fish.

Statement 3 is incorrect: biofilters do not increase phosphorus as a nutrient for fish in water. In fact, biofilters can help to remove phosphorus from water, which can help to reduce the potential for eutrophication.


Q. 36 Consider the following pairs:

Object in space           Description

1.  Cepheids                            Giant clouds of dust and gas in space

2. Nebulae Stars                  which brighten and dim periodically

3. Pulsars                                  Neutron stars that, are formed when massive stars run out of fuel and collaspe

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (a)


Pair 1 is incorrectly matched: Cepheids are stars that brighten and dim periodically.

Pair 2 is incorrectly matched: A nebula is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space.

Pair 3 is correctly matched: A neutron star forms when the core of a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses. This process triggers a shock wave that propels the remaining star material in a supernova explosion. Neutron stars typically have a mass greater than our Sun packed into a compact ball roughly the size of a city. However, if the mass exceeds a certain threshold, the star collapses into a black hole. Pulsars are rotating neutron stars that emit regular pulses of radiation at intervals ranging from milliseconds to seconds. They possess strong magnetic fields that direct particle jets along their two magnetic poles. These accelerated particles generate intense beams of light.


Q. 37 Which one of the following countries has its own Satellite Navigation System?

a] Australia

b] Canada

c] Israel

d] Japan

 Correct Option: (d)


Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)is a regional GNSS owned by the Government of Japan and operated by QZS System Service Inc. (QSS). QZSS complements GPS to improve coverage in East Asia and Oceania. Japan declared the official start of QZSS services in 2018 with 4 operational satellites, and plans to expand the constellation to 7 satellites by 2023 for autonomous capability.


Q. 38 Consider the following statements:

1. Ballistic missiles are jet-propelled at subsonic speeds throughout their flights, while cruise missiles are rocket-powred only in the initial phase of flight.

2. Agni-V is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile, while BrahmMos is a solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a] 1 only

b] 2 only

c] Both 1 and 2

d] Neither 1 nor 2

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect:Cruise missiles are jet-propelled at subsonic speeds throughout their flights, while ballistic missiles are rocket-powered only in the initialphase of flight.

Statement 2 is incorrect:Agni-V is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.


Q.39 Consider the following statements regarding mercury pollution:

1. Gold mining activity is a source of mercury pollution in the world.

2. Coal-based thermal power plants cause mercury pollution

3. There is no known safe level of exposure to mercury

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct: Gold mining is recognized as one of the most environmentally destructive industries worldwide. It has the potential to displace communities, contaminate drinking water sources, harm workers, and devastate pristine environments. Gold mining operations release mercury and cyanide into water and land, posing serious health risks to both humans and ecosystems.

Statement 2 is correct: Mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants can be deposited back to the earth’s surface through precipitation, such as rain, mist, or chemical reactions.

Statement 3 is correct: Mercury is an extremely toxic element, and there is no known safe level of exposure. Ideally, both children and adults should have no traces of mercury in their bodies as it provides no physiological benefits and only poses risks to health.


Q. 40 With reference to green hydrogen, consider the following statements:

1. It can be used directly as a fuel for internal combustion.

2. It can be blended with natural gas and used as fuel for heat or power generation.

3. It can be used in the hydrogen fuel cell to run vehicles.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct:Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines. However, unlike FCEVs, these produce tailpipe emissions and are less efficient.Hydrogen engines burn hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, in just the same way gasoline is used in an engine.

Statement 2 is correct:Hydrogen blends of up to 5 percent in the natural gas stream are generally safe.

Statement 3 is correct:Cars that run on this clean energy have a hydrogen tank that connects to the fuel cell, where the electricity that powers the engine is generated. Fuel cell electric vehicles(FCEVs) signify a revolution in the energy and transport sector towards using fuel with a carbon-neutral footprint.


Q. 41 With reference to Home Guards, consider the following statements:

1. Home Guards are raised under the Home Guards Act and Rules of the Central Government.

2. The role of the Home Guards is tow serve as an auxiliary force to the police in maintenance of the internal security

3. To present infiltration on the international border/coastal areas, the Border Wings Home Guards Battalions have been raised in some States.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is incorrect: The Delhi Home Guards were established under the Bombay Home Guards Act of 1947, which was later extended to the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi in 1959. The Delhi Home Guards Rules were formulated in the same year.

Statement 2 is correct: The Home Guards serve as a supplementary force to the police and play a crucial role in maintaining internal security. They assist the community during emergencies such as air raids, fires, cyclones, earthquakes, epidemics, and contribute to the upkeep of essential services. They also promote communal harmony, aid the administration in safeguarding vulnerable sections of society, participate in socio-economic and welfare activities, and perform Civil Defence duties.

Statement 3 is correct: Fifteen Border Wing Home Guards (BWHG) Battalions have been established in border states, namely Punjab (6 Bns.), Rajasthan (4 Bns.), Gujarat (2 Bns.), and one each for Meghalaya, Tripura, and West Bengal. These battalions serve as auxiliary units to the Border Security Force (BSF) and assist in preventing infiltration along the international border and coastal areas. They are responsible for safeguarding vital points, vulnerable areas, and communication lines during external aggression.


Q. 42 With reference to India, consider the following pairs:

Action                                                                          The Act under which it is covered

1. Unauthorized wearing of police or military uniforms-       The Official Secrets Act, 1923

2. Knowingly misleading or otherwise interfering with a police officer or military officer when engaged in their duties-                       The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

3. Celebratory gunfire which can endanger the personal safety of others-                                        The Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b) (doubtful)


In India, the unauthorized wearing of police or military uniforms is covered under Section 171 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This section deals with the offense of impersonation and states that anyone who fraudulently personates another person, including a public servant, can be punished with imprisonment or a fine, or both. Wearing police or military uniforms without proper authorization can be considered a form of impersonation and can be prosecuted under this provision of the Indian Penal Code.

Pair 2 is incorrectly matched:Under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, No person in the vicinity of any prohibited place shall obstruct, knowingly mislead or otherwise interfere with or impede, any police officer, or any member.

Pair 3 is correctly matched:It seeks to decrease the number of licensed firearms allowed per person and increase penalties for certain offences under the Act.


Q. 43 Consider the following pairs:

 Regions often mentioned in news             Reason for being in news

1. North Kivu and Ituri                             War between Armenia and Azerbaijan

2. Nagorno-Karabakh                         Insurgency in Mozambique

3. Kherson and aporizhzhia             Dispute between Israel and Lebanon

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect: North Kivu and Ituri are provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Statement 2 is incorrect: The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians, and seven surrounding districts, inhabited mostly by Azerbaijanis until their expulsion during the 1990s during a period of Armenian occupation.

Statement 3 is incorrect: Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russia unilaterally declared its annexation of areas in and around four Ukrainian oblasts – Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, andZaporizhzhia.


Q.44 Consider the following statements:


Israel has established diplomatic relations with some Arab States.


The ‘Arab Peach Initiative’ mediated by Saudi Arabia was signed by Israel and Arab League.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect.

d] Statement¬-I- is incorrect but Statement-II is correct.

 Correct Option: (b)


Both the statement is correct

Saudi Arabia, as the main broker of the peace plan, has an obvious stake in its success.

While they remain proponents of resolving the conflict with Israel through negotiations, they have also made it clear that such resolution will depend on Israel’s response to the peace plan.


Q.45 Consider the following pairs with regard to sports awards.

1. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award–  For the most spectacular and outstanding performance by a sportsperson over period of last four years

2. Arjuna Award–   For the lifetime achievement by a sportperson

3. Dronocharya Award-  To honour eminent coaches who have successfully trained sportsperson or teams

4. Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar-  To recognize the contribution made by sportspersons even after their retirement

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) Only three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (b)


Arjuna Award:

It was instituted in 1961 by the Government of India to recognise outstanding achievement in national sports events.

It is given for good performance over a period of previous four years and showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll of honour.

Dronacharya Award:

It was instituted in 1985 by the Government of India to recognise excellence in sports coaching.

It is given to coaches for doing outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis and enabling sportspersons to excel in international events.

It carries a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh, a bronze statue of Dronacharya and a scroll of honour.

Dhyan Chand Award:

It was instituted in the year 2002 and comprises a Dhyan Chand statuette, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a certificate and a ceremonial dress.

It is givento honour sportspersons who have contributed to sports by their performance and continue to contribute to promotion of sports events after their retirement.


Q. 46 Consider the following statements in respect of the 44th Chess Olympiad, 2022

1. It was the first time that Chess Olympaid was held in India.

2. The official mascot was named ‘Thambi’.

3. The trophy for the winning team in the open section is the Vera Menchik Cup.

4. The trophy for the winning team in the women’s section is the Hamilton-Russell Cup.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is correct: The 44th Chess Olympiad was an international team chess event organised by the FédérationInternationale des Échecs (FIDE) in Chennai, India from 28 July to 10 August 2022. This was the first Chess Olympiad to take place in India.

Statement 2 is correct: The Official Mascot of 44th Chess Olympiad is ‘Thambi’. The word ‘Thambi’ in Tamil language means – little or younger brother.

Statement 3 is incorrect: The trophy for the winning team in the Open section is the Hamilton-Russel Cup.

Statement 4 is incorrect: The trophy for the winning team in the women’s section is the Vera Menchik Cup.


Q. 47 Consider the following pairs:

 Area of conflict in news          Country where it is located

1. Donbas                                                Syria

2. Kachin                                                  Ethiopia

3. Tigray                                                  North Yemen

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect: The Donbas or Donbass is a historical, cultural, and economic region in eastern Ukraine. However, parts of the Donbas are currently occupied by Russia as a result of the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Statement 2 is incorrect: Kachin State is not the northernmost state. It is located in northern Myanmar. The state has been experiencing conflict with Kachin insurgents fighting against the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) since 1961, with only one major ceasefire that lasted from 1994 to 2011, totaling 17 years.

Statement 3 is incorrect: The Tigray Region is not the northernmost regional state. It is located in the northern part of Ethiopia. The armed conflict in the region occurred from November 3, 2020, to November 3, 2022, involving the Ethiopian federal government and Eritrea on one side, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on the other.


Q.48 In the recent years Chad, Guinea, Mali and Sudan caught the international attention for which one of the following reason common to all the them?

a] Discovery of rich deposits of rare earth elements

b] Establishment of Chinese military bases

c] Southward expansion of Sahara Desert

d] Successful coups

 Correct Option: (d)


The recent spate of coups in Chad, Guinea, Mali and Sudan has sparked a flurry of media attention and concern.

These four nations that have recently experienced military coups form a broken line that stretches across the wide bulge of Africa, from Guinea on the west coast to Sudan in the east.


Q. 49 Consider the following heavy industries:

1. Fertilizer plants

2. Oil refineries

3. Steel Plants

Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in decarbonizing how many of the above industries?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


All the above industries can be decarbonized with the help of Green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is expected to play a prominent role in decarbonisingheavy industries, including oil refineries, steel mills and fertiliser plants.

Green hydrogen is produced by breaking down water in an electrolyser using only renewable energy, resulting in no carbon emissions.

The hydrogen can then be combined with nitrogen to make green ammonia, avoiding hydrocarbons in the process. Green ammonia is used to store energy and make fertilisers. Green hydrogen could become an alternative to coal in steel mills and fossil fuels in long-haul transport like shipping and trucking.


Q. 50 Consider the following statements about G-20:

1. The G-20 group was originally established as platform for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss the international economic and financial issues.

2. Digital public infrastructure is one of India’s G-20 priorities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a] 1 only

b] 2 only

c] Both 1 and 2

d] Neither 1 nor 2

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct: The G20 forum was established in 1999 by the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. The forum initially dealt with matters related to macroeconomics, but over the years, its agenda has expanded to cover issues relating to trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture.

Statement 2 is correct: G20 India has put forth six agenda priorities for the G20 dialogue in 2023 which include –

  • Green Development, Climate Finance &LiFE
  • Accelerated, Inclusive & Resilient Growth
  • Accelerating progress on SDGs
  • Technological Transformation &Digital Public Infrastructure
  • Multilateral Institutions for the 21st century
  • Women-led development


Q. 51 Consider the following statements:

1. Jhelum River passes through Wular Lake.

2. Krishna River directly feeds Kolleru Lake.

3. Meandering of Gandak River formed Kanwar Lake.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is correct: The Jhelum River originates from a deep spring at Vernag, in the western Jammu and Kashmir union territory. It flows northwestward from the northern slope of the Pir Panjal Range through the Vale of Kashmir to Wular Lake at Srinagar, where its flow is controlled.

Statement 2 is incorrect: Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India, located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is situated between the Krishna and Godavari deltas. The lake receives water directly from the seasonal Budameru and Tammileru streams.

Statement 3 is correct: Kanwar Lake is located 22 km northwest of Begusarai town. It is a residual oxbow lake formed due to the meandering of the Gandak River, a tributary of the Ganga, in the geological past.


Q. 52 Consider the following pairs:

        Port                                  Well known as

1. Kamarajar Port : First major port in India registered as a company

2. Mundra Port : Largest privately owned port in India

3. Visakhapatnam Port : Largest container port in India

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one pair

b) Only two pair

c) All three pair

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is correct: Kamarajar Port, located on the Coromandel Coast about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai, it is the 12th major port of India, and the first port in India which is a public company.

Statement 2 is correct: Mundra Port is the India’s first private port and largest container port, located on the northern shores of the Gulf of Kutch near Mundra, Kutch district, Gujarat.

Statement 3 is incorrect: Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Known as NhavaSheva, JNPT is the largest container port in India (not Vishakhapatnam) and one of the most essential subcontinents harbours on the Western coast.


Q. 53 Consider the following trees:

1. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)

2. Mahua (Madhuca indica)

3. Teak (Tectona grandis)

How many of the above are deciduous trees?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is incorrect: Jackfruit are evergreen tree that are native to India and Malaysia, that have spread to Sri Lanka, China, South-east Asia and to tropical Africa. They are cultivated for the large fruits that can vary in shape and size, and for timber.

Statement 2 is correct: Mahua is a medium-sized deciduous tree, which grows to a height of 16-20 m.

Statement 3 is correct: teak, (genus Tectonagrandis), large deciduous tree of the family Verbenaceae, or its wood, one of the most valuable timbers. Teak has been widely used in India for more than 2,000 years.


Q. 54 Consider the following statements:

1. India has more arable area than China.

2. The proportion of irrigated area is more in India as compared to China.

3. The average productivity per – hectare in Indian agriculture is higher than that in China.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (a)


Only statement 2 is correct.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, India has 156 million hectares of arable land, while China has 120 million hectares. This means that India has more arable land than China.

However, the proportion of irrigated area is higher in China than in India. According to the World Bank, 48% of China’s arable land is irrigated, while only 41% of India’s arable land is irrigated. This means that China is able to produce more food from its arable land than India.

Finally, the average productivity per hectare in Indian agriculture is lower than that in China. According to the World Bank, the average yield of rice in India is 4.3 tons per hectare, while the average yield of rice in China is 6.5 tons per hectare. This means that Chinese farmers are able to produce more rice from each hectare of land than Indian farmers.


Q. 55 Which one of the following is the best example of repeated falls in sea level, giving rise to present-day extensive marshland?

a] Bhitarkanika Mangroves

b] Marakkanam Salt Pans

c] Naupada Swamp

d] Rann of Kutch

 Correct Option: (d)


The Rann of Kutch is a large salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in Gujarat, India. It is formed by the repeated falls in sea level, which has caused the area to become a vast expanse of salt flats and mudflats. The Rann of Kutch is home to a variety of wildlife, including flamingos, wild asses, and desert foxes. It is also a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful scenery and unique ecosystem.

The other options are not correct because they are not formed by repeated falls in sea level. The Bhitarkanika Mangroves are a coastal mangrove forest located in Odisha, India. The Marakkanam Salt Pans are a series of salt pans located in Tamil Nadu, India. The Naupada Swamp is a freshwater swamp located in Maharashtra, India.


Q. 56 Ilmenite and rutile, abundantly available in certain coastal tracts of India, are rich sources of which one of the following?

a] Aluminium

b] Copper

c] Iron

d] Titanium


Correct Option: (d)


Ilmenite (FeO. TiO2) and rutile (TiO2) are the two chief minerals of Titanium


Q. 57 About three-fourths world’s cobalt, a metal required for the manufacture of batteries for electric motor vehicles, is produced by:

a] Argentina

b] Botswana

c] the Democratic Republic of the Congo

d] Kazakhstan

 Correct Option: (c)


The Democratic Republic of Congo is the leader among the world’s top cobalt-producing countries, accounting for more than 70% of global output.


Q. 58 Which one of the following is a part of the Congo Basin?

a] Cameroon

b] Nigeria

c] South Sudan

d] Uganda

 Correct Option: (a)


The Congo Basin spans across six countries—Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.


Q. 59 Consider the following statements:

1. Amarkantak Hills are at the confluence of Vindhya and Sahyadri Ranges.

2. Biligirirangan Hills constitute the easternmost part of Satpura Range.

3. Seshachalam Hills constitute the southernmost part of Western Ghats.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect: The Amarkantak region is a unique natural heritage area and is the meeting point of the Vindhya and the Satpura Ranges.

Statement 2 is incorrect: The Biligirirangana Hills is a hill range situated in south-western Karnataka, at its border with Tamil Nadu (Erode District) in South India.The Satpura Range is a range of hills in central India which rises in eastern Gujarat running east through the border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and ends in Chhattisgarh.

Statement 3 is incorrect:Seshachalam Hills are part of the Eastern Ghats in southern Andhra Pradesh. These ranges are predominantly present in Tirupati district of the Rayalaseema region in Andhra Pradesh, India.


Q. 60 With reference to India’s projects on connectivity, consider the following statements:

1. East-West Corridor under Golden Quadrilateral Project connects Dibrugarh and Surat.

2. Trilateral Highway connects Moreh in Manipur and Chiang Mai in Thailand via Myanmar.

3. Bangladesh – China -India – Myanmar Economic Corridor connects Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh with Kunming in China.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect: The East-West Corridor runs through Porbandar-Rajkot-Samakhiali-Radhanpur (in Gujarat) to Bongaigaon-Nalbari-Bijni-Guwahati-Nagaon-Dabaka-Silchar in Assam.

Statement 2 is incorrect: The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway (IMT Highway) is a highway under upgrade as part of India’s Look East policy. It will connect Moreh (Manipur), India, with Mae Sot, Thailand, via Myanmar.

Statement 3 is incorrect: The BCIM corridor proposes to link Kunming in China’s Yunnan province with Kolkata, passing through nodes such as Mandalay in Myanmar and Dhaka in Bangladesh before reaching Kolkata.


Q. 61 Consider the following statements:


Interest income from the deposits in Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) distributed to their investors is exempted from tax, but the dividend is taxable.


InvITs are recognized as borrowers under the “Secuntization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest-Act, 2002:

 Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (d)


Statement 1 is incorrect: Dividend and interest income from InvITs is taxable as per the slab rate of the investor.

Statement 2 is correct: In a statement issued on 11th February 2021, the Finance Ministry announced its intention to introduce amendments to several acts, including the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA) of 1956, the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act of 2002, and the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act of 1993. These amendments are aimed at facilitating greater funding for infrastructure and real estate sectors by allowing infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) to easily access debt financing from investors, including foreign portfolio investors (FPIs). The inclusion of InvITs and REITs as borrowers under the SARFAESI Act provides lenders with statutory enforcement options, which were previously limited, thus removing a constraint for bankers to lend directly at the trust level.


Q. 62 Consider the following statements


In the post-pandemic recent past, many Central Banks worldwide had carried out interest rate hikes.


Central Banks generally assume that they have the ability to counteract the rising consumer prices via monetary policy means.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct


Correct Option: (a)


Statement-I is correct because many central banks around the world have raised interest rates in an effort to combat inflation. The US Federal Reserve, for example, has raised interest rates by 75 basis points since March 2022. The Bank of England has raised interest rates by 0.25% four times since December 2021. And the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years in July 2022.

Statement-II is also correct because central banks have the ability to influence the cost of borrowing money. When interest rates are raised, it becomes more expensive for businesses and consumers to borrow money. This can lead to a slowdown in economic activity, which can help to bring down inflation.


Q. 63 Consider the following statements:


Carbon markets are likely to be one of the most widespread tools in the fight against climate change


Carbon markets transfer resources from the private sector to the State.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (c) (doubtful)


Option 1 is correct:Carbon markets are a very important tool to reach global climate goals, particularly in the short and medium term. They mobilize resources and reduce costs to give countries and company the space to smooth the low-carbon transition and be able to achieve the goal of net zero emissions in the most effective way possible. Carbon markets incentivize climate action by enabling parties to trade carbon credits generated by the reduction or removal of GHGs from the atmosphere, such as by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy or enhancing or conserving carbon stocks in ecosystems such as a forest.

Carbon markets are perhaps one of the most effective mechanisms available to encourage decarbonization of all kinds. Put simply, these markets put a price on carbon to incentivize businesses to reduce their carbon emissions where it is most financially feasible, and act now to manage the negative effects they can’t eliminate.

Option 2 is incorrect: Carbon markets transfer resources are mostly from the private sector to the private


Q. 64 Which one of the following activities of the Reserve Bank of India is considered to be part of ‘sterilization’?

a] Conducting ‘Open Market Operations’

b] Oversight of settlement and payment systems

c] Debt and cash management for the Central and State Governments

d] Regulating the functions of Non-banking Financial Institutions

 Correct Option: (a)


Operation a is correct: Sterilization typically takes the form of an open market operation, where a central bank sells or purchases government bonds in the open market equal to the amount of foreign currency it buys or sells on the foreign exchange market. This helps to keep the domestic currency supply unchanged. The purpose of the open market operation is to counterbalance or sterilize the impact of the intervention on the monetary base.

Sterilization is a monetary action undertaken by a central bank to mitigate the impact of capital inflows and outflows on the money supply. It often involves buying or selling financial assets as a means of offsetting the effects of foreign exchange interventions.


Q. 65 Consider the following markets:

1. Government Bond Market

2. Call Money Market

3. Treasury Bill Market

4. Stock Market

How many of the above are included in capital markets?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (b)


Only the government bond market and the stock market are included in capital markets. The call money market and the treasury bill market are money markets.

A capital market is a financial market in which long-term debt or equity-backed securities are bought and sold, in contrast to a money market where short-term debt is bought and sold. Capital markets channel the wealth of savers to those who can put it to long-term productive use, such as companies or governments making long-term investments.

The government bond market is a capital market because it is where government bonds are bought and sold. Government bonds are long-term debt instruments that are issued by governments to raise money. The stock market is a capital market because it is where stocks are bought and sold. Stocks are equity-backed securities that represent ownership in a company.

The call money market is a money market because it is where short-term loans are made and repaid. The treasury bill market is a money market because it is where treasury bills are bought and sold. Treasury bills are short-term debt instruments that are issued by the government.


Q. 66 Which one of the following best describes the concept of ‘Small Farmer Large Field’?

a] Resettlement of a large number of people, uprooted from their countries due to war, by giving them a large cultivable land which they cultivate collectively and share the produce

b] Many marginal farmers in an area organize themselves into groups and synchronize and harmonize selected agricultural operations

c] Many marginal farmers in_ an area together make a contract with a corporate body are surrender their land to the corporate body of a fixed term for which the 6.onDorate body makes a payment of agreed amount to the farmers

d] A company extends loans, technical knowledge and material inputs to a number of small farmers in an area so that they produce the agricultural commodity required by the company for its manufacturing process and commercial production

 Correct Option: (b)


“Small Farmers Large Field (SFLF)” is a collective action model to overcome the disadvantages faced by millions of small and marginal farmers due to diseconomies of scale and lack of bargaining power in the supply chain.

This model is participatory and flexible and allows small farmers to benefit from achieving economies of scale by organizing themselves into groups and synchronizing and harmonizing selected operations.


Q. 67 Consider the following statements:

1. The Government of India provides Minimum Support Price for niger (Guizotia abyssinica) seeds.

2. Niger is cultivated as a Kharif crop.

3. Some tribal people in India use niger seed oil for cooking.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct: Government announces minimum support prices (MSPs) for 22 mandated crops.

  • Cereals (7) – paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi
  • Pulses (5) – gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil
  • Oilseeds (8) – groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and niger seed
  • Raw cotton
  • Raw jute
  • Copra
  • De-husked coconut
  • Sugarcane (Fair and remunerative price)
  • Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco

Statement 2 is Correct: In India, niger is grown on an area of 2.61 lakh ha mainly during kharif. However, in Odisha it is a rabi crop.

Statement 3 is correct: The tribal population uses niger seed oil for cooking.


Q. 68 Consider the investments in the following assets:

1. Brand recognition

2. Inventory

3. Intellectual property

4. Mailing list of clients

How many of the above intangible investments?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) All four

Correct Option: (c)


Only 3 statements are correct

An intangible asset is an identifiable non-monetary asset, without physical substance, held for use in the production or supply of goods or services, for rental to others, or for administrative purposes.

(Some intangible assets may be contained in or on a physical substance such as a compact disk (in the case of computer software), legal documentation (in the case of a licence or patent) or film (in the case of motion pictures). The cost of the physical substance containing the intangible assets is usually not significant.)

Some examples of intangible assets include brand recognition, goodwill, and intellectual property (patents, domain names, confidential information, inventions, names, and the like).

A tangible asset is an asset that has physical substance. Examples include inventory, a building, rolling stock, manufacturing equipment or machinery, and office furniture. There are two types of tangible assets: inventory and fixed assets.


Q. 69 Consider the following:

1. Demographic performance

2. Forest and ecology

3. Governance reforms

4. Stable government

5. Tax and fiscal efforts

For the horizontal tax devolution, the Fifteenth Finance Commission used how many of the above as criteria other than population area and income distance?

a] Only two

b] Only three

c] Only four

d] All five

 Correct Option: (b)


The Fifteenth Finance Commission (XVFC)’s ToR was unique and wide ranging in many ways. The Commission was asked to recommend performance incentives for States in many areas like power sector, adoption of DBT, solid waste management etc.Another unique ToR was to recommend funding mechanism for defence and internal security.

Horizontal devolution:

Based on principles of need, equity and performance, overall devolution formula is as follows:

On horizontal devolution, while 15th FC agreed that the Census 2011 population data better represents the present need of States, to be fair to, as well as reward, the States which have done better on the demographic front, XVFC has assigned a 12.5 per cent weight to the demographic performance criterion.


Q. 70 Consider the following infrastructure sectors:

1. Affordable housing

2. Mass rapid transport

3. Health rare

4. Renewable energy

On how many of the above does UNOPS Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation (S3i) initiative focus for its investments?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (d)


The UNOPS Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation (S3i) initiative focuses on all four of the infrastructure sectors mentioned: affordable housing, mass rapid transport, health care, and renewable energy.

The S3i initiative was launched in 2018 with the goal of mobilizing private investment in sustainable infrastructure projects in developing countries. The initiative provides technical assistance to governments and private sector partners to develop and implement bankable projects. The S3i initiative has already supported a number of successful projects, including:

  • A project to develop a new mass rapid transit system in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • A project to build a new hospital in Malawi.
  • A project to install solar panels on schools in Kenya.

The S3i initiative is a valuable tool for mobilizing private investment in sustainable infrastructure projects. The initiative has the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of developing countries.

Additional details about the S3i initiative’s focus on each of the four infrastructure sectors:

Affordable housing: The S3i initiative supports projects that develop affordable housing for low-income households. These projects can include the construction of new housing units, the rehabilitation of existing housing units, or the provision of subsidies to help low-income households afford housing.

Mass rapid transport: The S3i initiative supports projects that develop mass rapid transit systems. These systems can include light rail, metro, or bus rapid transit. Mass rapid transit systems can help to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in cities.

Health care: The S3i initiative supports projects that build or rehabilitate hospitals and clinics. These projects can also provide training and equipment to health care workers.

Renewable energy: The S3i initiative supports projects that develop renewable energy projects, such as solar, wind, and hydro power. Renewable energy projects can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security.

The S3i initiative is a valuable tool for mobilizing private investment in sustainable infrastructure projects. The initiative has the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of developing countries.


Q. 71 Consider the following statements:


India, despite having uranium deposits, depends on coal for most of its electricity production.


Uranium, enriched to the extent of at least 60%, is required for the production of electricity.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct: Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country’s energy need. The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) has identified a total of 3,50,438 tonne (t) in situ U3O8 (2,97,170t U) uranium deposits in in forty four (44) uranium deposits in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Statement 2 is incorrect: Uranium enriched to at least 60% is not typically required for the production of electricity. The enrichment level necessary for electricity generation in nuclear power plants is much lower. Most commercial nuclear reactors use uranium fuel enriched to around 3% to 5% of the isotope uranium-235 (U-235), with the remaining uranium consisting mostly of the non-fissile isotope uranium-238 (U-238). This level of enrichment is sufficient for sustained nuclear fission reactions that release energy in the form of heat, which is then used to generate electricity.


Q. 72 Consider the following statements:


Marsupials are not naturally found in India.


Marsupials can thrive only in montane grasslands with no predators.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-H is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement 1 is correct: Marsupials are not naturally found in India. Marsupials are any members of the mammalian infraclass Marsupialia. All extant marsupials are endemic to Australasia, Wallacea and the Americas.

Statement 2 is incorrect: It is not accurate to say that Marsupials can only thrive in montane grasslands with no predators. Marsupials are a diverse group of mammals that occupy a range of habitats, including forests, woodlands, shrublands, and even deserts. Australia, which is home to the majority of marsupial species, has various ecosystems where marsupials thrive. For example, kangaroos and wallabies are well adapted to open grasslands and savannas, where they can graze on vegetation. However, other marsupials like koalas inhabit forested areas and feed on eucalyptus leaves. Some species, such as the sugar glider, are arboreal and live in trees.


Q. 73 Invasive Species Specialist Group’ (that develops Global Invasive Species Database) belongs to which one of the following organizations?

a] The International Union for Conservation of Nature

b] The United Nations Environment Programme

c] The United Nations World Commission for Environment and Development

d] The World Wide Fund for Nature

 Correct Option: (a)


Option a is correct: The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) is a global network of scientific and policy experts on invasive species, organized under the auspices of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  It was developed between 1998 and 2000 as part of the global initiative on invasive species led by the erstwhile Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP).


Q. 74 Consider the following fauna:

1. Lion-tailed Macaque

2. Malabar Civet

3. Sambar Deer

How many of the above are generally nocturnal or most active after sunset?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


Statement 1 is incorrect: Lion-tailed macaque is diurnal, meaning it is active exclusively in daylight hours. When they’re active, they will spend half the day foraging, and the other half will be spent resting or finding new areas to forage.[4] Unlike other macaques, it typically avoids humans when possible. In group behavior, the lion-tailed macaque is much like other macaques, living in hierarchical groups of usually 10 to 20 members, which usually consist of few males, typically 1-3, and many females.

Statement 2 is correct: The Malabar civet is considered nocturnal and so elusive that little is known about its biology and ecology apart from habitat use.The Malabar Civet is a critically endangered species found in the Western Ghats of India. It is a solitary and secretive animal that inhabits dense tropical forests and is known for its distinctive black or dark brown fur with large white spots. It has a long body, a pointed snout, and a long tail. Being primarily nocturnal, the Malabar Civet has adaptations such as excellent night vision and acute senses that allow it to navigate and hunt in low-light conditions. It feeds on a variety of small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and other vegetation.

Statement 3 is correct: Sambar are nocturnal or crepuscular. During the day, Sambar Deer typically seek shade and rest in dense vegetation or near water bodies to avoid the heat. As the evening approaches, they become more active and start foraging for food, such as grasses, leaves, shoots, fruits, and other plant materials. They may continue their activities into the night, making them partially nocturnal. The Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor) is a large deer species found in various parts of South and Southeast Asia, including India. While Sambar Deer are primarily crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk, their activity patterns can vary depending on factors such as habitat, climate, and predation risk.


Q. 75 Which of the following organisms perform waggle dance for others of their kin to indicate the direction and the distance to a source of their food?

a] Butterflies

b] Dragonflies

c] Honeybees

d] Wasps


Correct Option: (c)


Option a is correct: Waggle dance is a term used in beekeeping and ethology for a particular figure-eight dance of the honey bee. By performing this dance, successful foragers can share information about the direction and distance to patches of flowers yielding nectar and pollen, to water sources, or to new nest-site locations with other members of the colony.

The waggle dance and the round dance are two forms of dance behaviour that are part of a continuous transition. As the distance between the resource and the hive increases, the round dance transforms into variations of a transitional dance, which, when communicating resources at even greater distances, becomes the waggle dance.


Q. 76 Consider the following statements:

1. Some mushrooms have medicinal properties.

2. Some mushrooms have psycho-active properties.

3. Some mushrooms have insecticidal properties.

4. Some mushrooms have bioluminescent properties.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) Only three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (d)


All four statements are correct.

Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including cancer, arthritis, and depression. Some of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms include reishi, chaga, and lion’s mane.

Psychoactive mushrooms contain compounds that can alter consciousness and produce hallucinations. These mushrooms have been used for centuries in religious and spiritual ceremonies, and they are currently being investigated for their potential therapeutic benefits. Some of the most well-known psychoactive mushrooms include psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.

Insecticidal mushrooms produce compounds that can kill insects. These compounds are being investigated for their potential use as pesticides. Some of the most well-known insecticidal mushrooms include cordyceps and shiitake.

Bioluminescent mushrooms produce their own light. This light is produced by a chemical reaction that takes place in the mushroom’s cells. Bioluminescent mushrooms are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, oceans, and deserts.


Q. 77 Consider the following statements regarding the Indian squirrels:

1. They build nests by making burrows in the ground.

2. They store their food materials like nuts and seeds in the ground.

3. They are omnivorous.

 How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


The Indian palm squirrel or three-striped palm squirrel (Funambuluspalmarum) is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae (includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels (including chipmunks and prairie dogs, among others), and flying squirrels.)found naturally in India (south of the Vindhyas) and Sri Lanka.

Nesting mostly in self-dug burrows underground, but also make dens in rocky outcroppings and in cavities at the bottom of trees.Ground squirrels nest on the ground, digging burrows, a system of tunnels underground, to live in. They hibernate during the winter in these underground burrows.

Tree squirrels hide away in nests or dens in trees and food to keep warm during the winter.  Most tree squirrel nests are called dreys, which are made up of clumped-together collections of leaves, twigs, bark, moss, and other compressed materials.

They are usually very protective of their food sources, often guarding and defending them from birds and other squirrels. Unlike some other species of squirrel, Indian palm squirrel do not hibernate.

Indian palm squirrels are omnivores. They feed mainly on nuts and fruits but will also eat seeds, insects, small mammals and reptiles, eggs, and even sometimes chicks of birds.


Q. 78 Consider the following statements:

1. Some microorganisms can grow in environments with temperature above the boiling point of water.

2. Some microorganisms can grow in environments with temperature below the freezing point of water.

3. Some microorganisms can grow in highly acidic environments with a pH below 3.

 How many of the above statements are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (c)


Microbes isolated from the vents achieve optimal growth at temperatures higher than 100 °C. Noteworthy examples are Pyrobolus and Pyrodictium, archaea that grow at 105 °C and survive autoclaving. Both the thermophiles and the hyperthermophiles require specialized heat-stable enzymes that are resistant to denaturation and unfolding.Archaebacteria (Thermophiles) are ancient forms of bacteria found in hot water springs and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. They are able to survive in high temperatures (which far exceed 100°C) because their bodies have adapted to such environmental conditions.

Microbial growth or metabolic activity has been reported in permafrost bacteria at −10°C (11) and in the antarcticcryptoendolithic microbial community at temperatures between −5 and −10°C (7, 28), and the temperature limit of bacterial growth in frozen food is generally considered to be −8°C (9). In arctic and antarctic lichens, photosynthetic activity has been observed in a similar temperature range (12) and, more recently, at −17°C (23).

Microorganisms that grow optimally at pH less than 5.55 are called acidophiles. For example, the sulfur-oxidizing Sulfolobus spp. isolated from sulfur mud fields and hot springs in Yellowstone National Park are extreme acidophiles. These archaea survive at pH values of 2.5–3.5. Species of the archaean genus Ferroplasma live in acid mine drainage at pH values of 0–2.9.


Q. 79 Which one of the following makes a tool with a stick to scrape insects from a hole in a tree or a log of wood?

a] Fishing cat

b] Orangutan

c] OtterSloth bear

d] Sloth bear

 Correct Option: (b)


Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates. They have human-like long-term memory, routinely use a variety of sophisticated tools in the wild and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from foliage and branches


Q. 80 Consider the following:

1. Aerosols

2. Foam agents

3. Fire retardants

4. Lubricants

In the making of how many of the above are hydrofluorocarbons used?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) Only three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (d)


Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases (GHGs) that find widespread use in various applications, including refrigeration, air-conditioning (AC), building insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. HFCs are entirely synthetic and not naturally occurring. They are primarily manufactured for specific purposes such as refrigeration, air-conditioning, insulation foams, and aerosol propellants. While they are also used to a lesser extent as solvents and for fire protection, the majority of HFCs are contained within equipment. Emissions of HFCs occur as a result of factors like equipment wear, inadequate maintenance, or leakage at the end of a product’s lifespan.


Q. 81 In which one of the following regions was Dhanyakataka, which flourished as a prominent Buddhist centre under the Mahasanghikas, located?

a] Andhra

b] Gandhara

c] Kalinga

d] Magadha

 Correct Option: (a)


Dhanyakataka located near the present day Amaravati in Andhra was the capital of Satavahana kings (1st century BCE – 3rd AD).

Even though the traditional accounts of the Buddha’s visit to Andhra Pradesh are discounted, the literary evidence, as recorded by the Chinese travellerHiuen-Tsang, shows that Buddhism entered Andhradesa by circa 400 B.C. It was only during the reign of Asoka that the Buddhist establishment at Dhanyakataka (today’s Dharanikota) attained great recognition.

Dhanyakataka grew as the focal point of Buddhism in Andhradesa. Its importance grew further when it became the capital of the Satavahanas. The Satavahana expansion over coastal Andhra and the shift of the capital to Dhanyakataka


Q. 82 With reference to ancient India, consider the following statements:

1. The concept of Stupa is Buddhist in origin.

2. Stupa was generally a repository of relics.

3. Stupa was a votive and commemorative structure in Buddhist tradition.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (b)


The concept of stupas predates Buddhism, as suggested by archaeologists who have identified early forms of stupas, including megaliths, in prehistoric origins such as the Indus Valley. Stupas may have originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli, which served as burial mounds for sramanas who were buried in a seated position known as chaitya.

At its most basic form, a stupa is a burial mound made of earth and faced with stone. In Buddhism, early stupas contained fragments of the Buddha’s ashes, leading to their association with his physical remains. The addition of the Buddha’s ashes activated the stupa, imbuing it with the energy of the Buddha himself.

Before Buddhism, great teachers were buried in mounds, sometimes in a seated, meditative posture, while others were cremated. These mounds symbolized a person in meditation, much like the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment and gained knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. The dome shape of the stupa came to represent this seated meditation posture.

Stupas in Buddhism are commemorative monuments that typically enshrine sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other revered individuals. Originally, Buddhist stupas were constructed to house the earthly remains of the historical Buddha and his followers and are commonly found at sites considered sacred in Buddhism.

In recent archaeological findings, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed two miniature votive stupas carved from stone, dating back 1200 years. These stupas were discovered near the Sarai Tila mound within the grounds of the “Nalanda Mahavihara,” a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Nalanda district, Bihar state, India. The stone stupas depict Buddha figures.

Starting from the 7th century CE in India, small terracotta stupas gained popularity as votive offerings. Devout pilgrims visiting various sacred sites and temples across Asia would either purchase or create their own miniature votive stupas as offerings.


Q. 83 With reference to ancient South India, Korkai, Poompuhar and Muchiri were well known as

a] capital cities

b] ports

c] centres of iron-and-steel making

d] Shrines of Jain Tirthankaras

 Correct Option: (b)


Muziris (Muchiri) (chera) ,Korkai (pandaya) and the discoveries at Arikamedu, Poompuhar, (chola) Kodumanal, among other sites, provide evidence of the Tamils’ international trade activities. They all are important ports of sangam period.


Q. 84 Which one of the following explains the practice of ‘Vattakirutal’ as mentioned in Sangam poems?

a] Kings employing women bodyguards

b] Learned persons assembling in royal courts to discuss religious and philosophical matters

c] Young girls keeping watch over agricultural fields and driving away birds and animals

d] A king defeated in a battle committing ritual suicide by starving himself to death

 Correct Option: (d)


Sangam poems are pervaded with warrior ethics. One such is the practice of “Vattakirutal” where the defeated king committed ritual suicide by straving to death and in this he was accompanied by those who were close to him.


Q. 85 Consider the following dynasties:

1. Hoysala

2. Gahadavala

3. Kakatiya

4. Yadava

How many of the above dynasties established their kingdoms in early eighth century AD?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) All three

d) None

 Correct Option: (d)


The Hoysala Empire was a powerful Kannadiga dynasty that originated from the Indian subcontinent and ruled over most of present-day Karnataka between the 10th and 14th centuries.

The Gahadavala dynasty, also known as the Gahadavalas of Kannauj, was a Rajput dynasty that governed parts of present-day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India during the 11th and 12th centuries. Their capital was situated in Banaras (now Varanasi) in the Gangetic plains, and they briefly held control over Kannauj as well.

The Kakatiya dynasty was a Telugu dynasty that held sway over a significant portion of the eastern Deccan region in present-day India from the 12th to the 14th centuries. Their dominion encompassed much of present-day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, along with parts of eastern Karnataka, northern Tamil Nadu, and southern Odisha.

The Yadavas of Devagiri were a medieval Indian dynasty that, at its zenith, governed a kingdom spanning from the Narmada River in the north to the Tungabhadra River in the south, covering the western part of the Deccan region. Their realm included present-day Maharashtra, North Karnataka, and parts of Madhya Pradesh, with Devagiri serving as their capital.


Q. 86 With reference to ancient Indian History, consider the following parts:

          Literary work                                       Author

1. Devichandragupta : Bilhana

2. Hammira-Mahakavya : Nayachandra Suri

3. Milinda-panha : Nagarjuna

4. Nitivakyamrita : Somadeva Suri

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

a) Only one

b) Only two

c) only three

d) All four

 Correct Option: (b)


Devi-Chandraguptam, also known as Devi-Chandragupta, is an Indian Sanskrit-language political drama attributed to Vishakhadeva, who is commonly identified with Vishakhadatta.

Hammira Mahakavya is a 15th-century Indian Sanskrit epic poem written by the Jain scholar Nayachandra Suri.

The Milindapañha is a Buddhist text that is believed to have been written between 100 BC and 200 AD. It claims to document a dialogue between the Indian Buddhist sage Nagasena and the Indo-Greek king Menander I of Bactria, who ruled in the 2nd century BC in present-day Sialkot.


Q. 87 “Souls are not only the property of animal and plant life, but also of rocks, running water and many other natural objects not looked on as living by other religious cects.”

The above statement reflects one of the core beliefs of which one of the following religious sects of ancients India?

a] Buddhism

b] Jainism

c] Shaivism

d] Vaishnavism


Correct Option: (b)


The above statement reflects one of the core beliefs of the Jain religious sect of ancient India.


Q. 88 Who among the following rulers of Vijayanagara Empire constructed a large dam across Tungabhadra River and a canal-cum-aqueduct several kilometres long from the river to the capital city?

a] Devaraya I

b] Mallikarjuna

c] Vira Vijaya

d] Virupaksha

 Correct Option: (a)


In 1410, he had a barrage built across the Tungabhadra River and commissioned a 24-kilometer-long aqueduct from the river to the capital.

Nuniz’s account details the projects undertaken by Deva Raya I that brought prosperity to the Kingdom.


Q. 89 Who among the following rulers of medieval Gujarat surrendered Diu to Portuguese?

a] Ahmad Shah

b] Mahmud Begarha

c] Bahadur Shah

d] Muhammad Shah

 Correct Option: (c)


In the early 16th century, the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, faced significant pressure when his kingdom was invaded by the second Mughal Emperor Humayun.

At that critical moment, he chose to maintain a conciliatory relationship with the Portuguese, who had arrived in India towards the end of the 15th century and were a vibrant and ambitious naval power at the time.

In 1534, the Shah signed the Treaty of Bassein with the Portuguese, relinquishing Diu to them, along with other territories of his empire such as Vasai and the islands that now comprise Mumbai. The Portuguese acquired Daman from the Shah in 1559.


Q. 90 By which one of the following Acts was the Governor General of bengal designated as the Governor General of India?

a] The Regulating Act

b] The Pitt’s India Act

c] The Charter Act of 1793

d] The Charter Act of 1833

 Correct Option: (d)


The correct answer is d. The Charter Act of 1833.

The Charter Act of 1833 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which renewed the charter of the British East India Company, and continued the company’s administration of India for another 20 years. The Act also made the Governor-General of Bengal the Governor-General of India, and vested in him all civil and military powers.

The other options are incorrect because:

The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which established the framework for the administration of the British East India Company’s territories in India. The Act did not designate the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India.

The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which established a Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the British East India Company. The Act did not designate the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India.

The Charter Act of 1793 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which renewed the charter of the British East India Company for another 20 years. The Act did not designate the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India.


Q. 91 In essence, what does ‘Due Process of Law’ means?

a] The principle of natural Justice

b] The procedure established by law

c] Fair application of law

d] Equality before law

 Correct Option: (c)


The correct answer is c. Fair application of law.

Due process of law is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. This includes the right to be treated fairly and the right to a fair trial. Due process is a fundamental principle of justice, and it is essential to the protection of individual rights.

The other options are incorrect because:

The principle of natural justice is a legal principle that requires that all parties to a dispute be given a fair hearing. This is not the same as due process, which is a broader concept that includes the right to a fair trial.

The procedure established by law is the process that must be followed in order to deprive a person of their life, liberty, or property. This is not the same as due process, which is a broader concept that includes the right to a fair trial.

Equality before law is the principle that all people are equal before the law, regardless of their race, religion, or social status. This is not the same as due process, which is a broader concept that includes the right to a fair trial.


Q. 92 Consider the following statements:


In India, prisons are managed by State Governments with their own rules and regulations for the day-to-day administration of prisons.


In India, prisons are governed by the Prisons Act, 1894 which expressly kept the subject of prisons in the control of Provincial Governments.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (a)


Prisons Act, 1894 makes it expressly clear that States would have general and specific control over prisons in India.

It is also important to note that the Subject of Prisons is mentioned as Entry 4 in List II in Seventh Schedule.


Q. 93 Which one of the following statements best reflects the Chief purpose of the ‘Constitution’ of a country?

a] It determines the objective for the making of necessary laws.

b] It enables the creation of political offices and a government.

c] It defines and limits the powers of government.

d] It secures social justice, social equality and social security.

 Correct Option: (c)


The chief objective of the Constitution is to establish a limited government i.e. a government which does not have the right to encroach in all spheres of a citizen’s life.


Q. 94 In India, which one of the following Constitutional Amendments was widely believed to be enacted to overcome the judicial interpretations of the Fundamental Rights?

a] 1st Amendment

b] 42nd Amendment

c] 44th Amendment

d] 86th Amendment

 Correct Option: (a) (doubtful)


The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of India was passed in 1951. It made a number of changes to the Fundamental Rights provisions of the Constitution, including:

  • Providing means to restrict freedom of speech and expression,
  • Validating zamindari abolition laws, and
  • Clarifying that the right to equality does not bar the enactment of laws which provide “special consideration” for weaker sections of society.

The 1st Amendment was passed in response to a number of judicial decisions that had interpreted the Fundamental Rights provisions in a way that was seen as being too restrictive. The amendment was an attempt by the government to assert its authority and to ensure that the Fundamental Rights provisions were not used to challenge the government’s policies.

The 1st Amendment was challenged in the Supreme Court, but the Court upheld the amendment in Shankari Prasad v. Union of India. The Court held that the amendment was valid because it did not alter the basic structure of the Constitution.

So, while the 1st Amendment was passed to overcome the judicial interpretations of the Fundamental Rights, it was not the only amendment that was passed for this purpose. The 42nd Amendment was also passed with the same goal in mind.


Q. 95 Consider the following organization/bodies in India:

1. The National Commission for Backward Classes

2. The National Human Rights Commission

3. The National Law Commission

5. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

How many of the above are constitutional bodies?

a] Only one

b] Only two

c] Only three

c] All four

 Correct Option: (a)


The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was initially constituted by the Central Government through the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 (27 of 1993) on April 2, 1993. Since then, the Commission has been reconstituted seven times until 2016.

Currently, the Commission has been granted Constitutional Status and established through “The Constitution (One Hundred and Second Amendment) Act, 2018” dated August 11, 2018. Article 338B has been inserted, creating a Commission for socially and educationally backward classes, known as the National Commission for Backward Classes.

The National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The National Law Commission is neither established by the Constitution nor by a statute. It is formed based on the directive of the Union Law Ministry.

The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has been established by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.


Q. 96 Consider the following statements:

1. If the election of the President of India is declared void by the Supreme Court of India, all acts done by him/her in the performance of duties of his/her office of President before the date of decision become invalid.

2. Election for the post of the President of India can be postponed on the ground that some legislative Assemblies have been dissolved and elections are yet to take place.

3. When a Bill is presented to the President of India, the Constitution prescribes time limits within which he/she has to declare his/her assent.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a] Only one

b] Only two

c] All three

d] None

 Correct Option: (d)


Article 71 of the Constitution states that Matters relating to, or connected with, the election of a president or Vice President

All doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a president or vice President shall be inquired into and decided by the Supreme court whose decision shall be final

If the election of a person as President or Vice President is declared void by the Supreme court, acts done by him in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the office of President or Vice President, as the case may be, on or before the date of the decision of the Supreme Court shall not be invalidated by reason of that declaration

Subject to the provisions of this constitution, Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice President

The election of a person as President or Vice President shall not be called in question on the ground of the existence of any vacancy for whatever reason among the members of the electoral college electing him.


Q.97 With reference to Finance Bill and Money Bill in the Indian Parliament, consider the following statements:

1. When the Lok Sabha transmits Finance Bill to the Rajya Sabha, it can amend or reject the Bill.

2. When the Lok Sabha transmits Money Bill to the Rajya Sabha, it cannot amend or reject the Bill, it can only make recommendations.

3. In the case of disagreement between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, there is not joint sitting for Money Bill, but a joint sitting becomes necessary for Finance Bill.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a] Only one

b] Only two

c] All three

d] None

 Correct Option: (c)


Only Statement 2 is correct.

A Money Bill is a type of legislative bill that deals with financial matters, such as taxation, borrowing, and expenditure. The Constitution of India defines a Money Bill in Article 110. A Money Bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament, but it must be passed by the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The Rajya Sabha (Council of States) can only make recommendations on a Money Bill, and the Lok Sabha is not bound by these recommendations.

A Finance Bill is a type of Money Bill that is introduced in the Lok Sabha every year as part of the Union Budget. The Finance Bill contains provisions for the imposition of taxes, the borrowing of money, and the expenditure of money by the Government of India. The Finance Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and is then sent to the Rajya Sabha for consideration. The Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations on the Finance Bill, and the Lok Sabha is not bound by these recommendations.

In the case of disagreement between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on a Money Bill, the Lok Sabha can call a joint sitting of Parliament. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting, and the Money Bill is passed if it is supported by a majority of the members present and voting in the joint sitting.

In the case of disagreement between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on a Finance Bill, there is no provision for a joint sitting of Parliament. The Finance Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha is bound by the decision of the Lok Sabha.


Q. 98 Consider the following statements:

Once the Central Government notifies an area as a ‘Community Reserve’

1. The Chief Wildlife Warden of the State becomes the governing authority of such forest.

2. Hunting is not allowed in such area.

3. People of such area are allowed to collect non-timber forest produce

4. People of such area are allowed traditional agricultural practices

How many of the above statements are correct?

a] Only one

b] Only two

c] Only three

d] All four

 Correct Option: (c)


Only 3 Statements are correct.

A community reserve is a type of protected area that is managed by a community of people. The community is responsible for the protection of the wildlife and the forest resources in the reserve. The Chief Wildlife Warden of the State is the overall governing authority of the reserve, but the community has a say in how the reserve is managed.

Hunting is not allowed in a community reserve. This is to protect the wildlife in the reserve. People of the community are allowed to collect non-timber forest produce, such as fruits, nuts, and honey. This is to help the community to earn a livelihood. People of the community are also allowed to practice traditional agricultural practices, such as shifting cultivation. This is to help the community to meet their food needs.

Statement 1 is correct because the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State is the governing authority of a community reserve. The community also has a say in how the reserve is managed.

Statement 4 is incorrect because traditional agricultural practices that harm the environment are not allowed in a community reserve. Such as slash and burn methods.


Q. 99 With reference to ‘Scheduled Areas’ in India, consider the following statements:

1. Within a State, the notification of an area as Scheduled Area takes place through an Order of the President.

2. The largest administrative unit forming the Scheduled Area is the District and the lowest is the cluster of villages in the Block.

3. The Chief Ministers of the concerned States are required to submit annual reports to the Union Home Ministry on the administration of Scheduled Areas in the States.

How many of the above statements are correct?

a] Only one

b] Only two

c] All three

d] None

 Correct Option: (b)


Within a State, the notification of an area as a Scheduled Area takes place through an Order of the President: This means that the President of India has the authority to declare certain areas within a state as Scheduled Areas. The notification is made through an official order issued by the President.

The largest administrative unit forming the Scheduled Area is the District, and the lowest is the cluster of villages in the Block: Scheduled Areas are administered at different levels of governance. The district is the largest administrative unit within a Scheduled Area, and it consists of several blocks or tehsils. The lowest administrative unit within the Scheduled Area is the cluster of villages, which is typically grouped together in a block.

The Chief Ministers of the concerned States are required to submit annual reports to the Union Home Ministry on the administration of Scheduled Areas in the States: This statement is incorrect. The responsibility for submitting annual reports on the administration of Scheduled Areas lies with the Governors of the respective states, not the Chief Ministers. The reports are submitted to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, not the Union Home Ministry. The purpose of these reports is to assess the progress and implementation of various developmental programs and initiatives in the Scheduled Areas.


Q. 100 Consider the following statements:


The Supreme Court of India has held in some judgements that the reservation policies made under Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India would be limited by Article 335 for maintenance of efficiency of administration.


Article 335 of the Constitution of India defines the term ‘efficiency of administration’.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

a] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I

b] Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I

c] Statement-I is correct but Statement-II is incorrect

d] Statement-I is incorrect but Statement-II is correct

 Correct Option: (c)


Statement-I states that the Supreme Court of India has held in some judgments that the reservation policies made under Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India would be limited by Article 335 for maintenance of efficiency of administration. This statement is correct, as the Supreme Court has indeed recognized that while providing reservations, the efficiency of administration should also be taken into consideration.

However, Statement-II claims that Article 335 of the Constitution of India defines the term ‘efficiency of administration.’ This statement is incorrect. Article 335 does not define the term ‘efficiency of administration.’ It only states that the claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be considered in the context of the maintenance of efficiency of administration.

Therefore, the correct answer is that Statement-I is correct, but Statement-II is incorrect.

Applications of AI in Defense: Revolutionizing Modern Warfare

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize modern warfare, making defense operations faster, more efficient, and more effective. In this article, we will explore the various applications of AI in defense, from autonomous drones to predictive maintenance, and discuss the ways in which these technologies are shaping the future of defense.

Autonomous Systems

AI-powered autonomous systems are one of the most promising applications of AI in defense. These systems can operate without human intervention, performing tasks such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting. Some examples include:

Autonomous Drones

  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with AI-powered sensors and algorithms can be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting.
  • These drones can operate in challenging environments, such as conflict zones or disaster areas, without putting human lives at risk.

Autonomous Ground Vehicles

  • AI-powered ground vehicles can be used for tasks such as logistics, transportation, and surveillance.
  • These vehicles can operate in challenging environments, such as rough terrain or hazardous areas, without putting human lives at risk.

Predictive Maintenance

AI-powered predictive maintenance is another promising application of AI in defense. This technology can help identify and prevent equipment failures before they occur, improving operational readiness and reducing downtime. Some examples include:

Condition-Based Maintenance

  • AI-powered sensors and algorithms can be used to monitor equipment in real-time, detecting anomalies and predicting potential failures.
  • This technology can help maintenance crews prioritize their work, reducing downtime and improving overall operational readiness.

Predictive Analytics

  • AI-powered predictive analytics can be used to forecast equipment failures based on historical data and machine learning algorithms.
  • This technology can help maintenance crews anticipate and prevent equipment failures before they occur, reducing downtime and improving overall operational readiness.


AI-powered cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important in defense operations, as cyberattacks become more sophisticated and frequent. AI-powered cybersecurity can help defend against these attacks, protecting critical systems and data. Some examples include:

Threat Detection and Prevention

  • AI-powered algorithms can be used to detect and prevent cyberattacks in real-time, by analyzing network traffic and identifying potential threats.
  • This technology can help defense organizations respond quickly to cyberattacks, minimizing the damage and protecting critical systems and data.

Incident Response

  • AI-powered incident response systems can be used to investigate and respond to cyberattacks, by analyzing data and identifying the source of the attack.
  • This technology can help defense organizations quickly identify and respond to cyberattacks, minimizing the damage and protecting critical systems and data.


AI is rapidly changing the face of defense operations, from autonomous systems to predictive maintenance and cybersecurity. These technologies are making defense operations faster, more efficient, and more effective, and are shaping the future of defense.


What are the advantages of autonomous systems in defense?

  • Autonomous systems can operate in challenging environments without putting human lives at risk, making defense operations safer and more efficient.

How can predictive maintenance improve defense operations?

  • Predictive maintenance can help identify and prevent equipment failures before they occur, improving operational readiness and reducing downtime.

Why is cybersecurity important in defense operations?

  • Cybersecurity is important in defense operations to protect critical systems and data from cyberattacks, which can have serious consequences for national security.

What are the ethical concerns raised by AI in defense?

  • AI in defense raises ethical concerns related to accountability, transparency, and the potential for unintended consequences.

What is the future of AI in defense?

  • The future of AI in defense is likely to involve continued innovation and expansion into new applications, as well as ongoing efforts to address ethical and social concerns

Safety of Indian Banks

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US raises questions on the safety of depositors’ wealth in India.

What is the background of the issue?

  • Safe haven –India remained a safe haven during the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.
  • Sound domestic banks –This is because of the domestic banks, backed by sound regulatory practices, showing strength and resilience.
  • Unaffected –Indian banks remained unaffected by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, despite the global interconnectedness in the financial sector.

What is the basis for the confidence in the resilience of Indian banks?

  • Balance sheet –A reason why an SVB-like failure is unlikely in India is that domestic banks have a different balance sheet structure.
  • No large withdrawals –In India we don’t have a system where deposits are withdrawn in such bulk quantities.
  • Household savings –It constitute a major part of bank deposits in India, this is different from the US, where a large portion of bank deposits are from corporates.
  • Public sector banks –A large chunk of Indian deposits is with public sector banks, and the rest is with very strong private sector lenders.
  • Importance to depositor’s money –In India, the approach of the regulator has generally been that depositors’ money should be protected at any cost.
  • The best example is the rescue of Yes Bank where a lot of liquidity support was provided.

Which banks are classified as D-SIBs?

  • D-SIBs –RBI has classified SBI, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).
  • It means that these banks have to earmark additional capital and provisions to safeguard their operations.
  • CET1 –The additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) requirement for D-SIBs was phased-in from 2016, and became fully effective from 2019.

The Basel III accord introduced a regulation that requires commercial banks to maintain a minimum capital ratio of 8%, 6% of which must be Common Equity Tier 1.

  • Capital conservation buffer –The additional CET1 requirement was in addition to the capital conservation buffer.

The Basel, Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board (FSB), an initiative of G20 nations, has identified, in consultation with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and Swiss national authorities, a list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).

  • G-SIBs –There are 30 G-SIBs currently, including JP Morgan, Citibank, HSBC, Bank of America, Bank of China, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs.
  • No Indian bank is on the list.

How does RBI select D-SIBs?

  • The RBI follows a 2 step process to assess the systemic importance of banks.

Sample set

  • Size of GDP –Banks are selected for computation of systemic importance based on an analysis of their size as a percentage of GDP.
  • Banks having a size beyond 2% of GDPwill be selected in the sample.
  • D-SIBs –Banks that have a systemic importance above a certain threshold are designated as D-SIBs.


  • Buckets –D-SIBs are segregated into buckets based on their systemic importance scores.
  • Capital Charge –A D-SIB in the lower bucket will attract a lower capital charge, and a D-SIB in the higher bucket will attract a higher capital charge.

A capital charge is levied on an agency and is designed to be a substitute for interest costs and a return on capital. At a minimum, the charge should cover the government’s cost of borrowing.

Why was it felt important to create SIBs?

  • SIFIs –FSB said all member countries should put in place a framework to reduce risks attributable to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs) in their jurisdictions.
  • TBTF –SIBs are perceived as banks that are ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’, due to which these banks enjoy certain advantages in the funding markets.
  • Basel III norms –While the Basel-III Norms prescribe a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 8%, the RBI has mandated a CAR of 9% for scheduled commercial banks and 12% for public sector banks.

Capital Adequacy Ratio is the bank’s ratio of capital to risk.

What is the need to take these precautions?

  • Damage domestic activity –The failure of a bank will cause greater damage to the domestic economy.
  • Domino effect –Failure of one bank could potentially increase the probability of failure of other banks.
  • Funding & asset side –This chain effect operates on both sides of the balance sheet, there may be interconnections on the funding side as well as the asset side.
  • Impact on customer –The costs for customers of a failed bank for the same service at another bank would be much higher.

Role of G20 in Promoting Blue Economy

India’s G20 presidency would play an important role in promoting individual and collective actions to facilitate the transition towards a sustainable blue economy

Blue economy

  • According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem
  • The term ‘blue economy’ includes not only ocean-dependent economic development but also inclusive social development and environmental and ecological security.

What is G20?

  • The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
  • G20 plays an important role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.
  • India holds the Presidency of the G20 from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.

The G20 countries together account for around 45% of the world’s coastlines and over 21% of the exclusive economic zones (EEZs)

Why the blue economy needs to be protected?

  • Intensifying extreme weather events
  • Ocean acidification and sea level rise
  • Growing marine pollution
  • Over-extraction of resources and unplanned urbanization.
  • Marine pollution may have ripple effects across the globe.

What initiatives were taken to promote blue economy?

  • Sagarmala initiative – Promotes port-led development
  • The Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy –Encourages domestic ship-building
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana – Promotes ‘blue revolution’ through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector
  • The Deep Ocean Mission – Explores deep-sea resources in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and continental shelf as well as development of technology for harnessing them
  • Coastal Regulation Zone notification -To classify and better manage coastal regions and conserve ecologically sensitive coastal and marine areas including ecosystems
  • Plastic Waste Management Rules (2022) – Banned select single-use plastic items and introduced policies for extended producer responsibility in waste management

What is the role of India’s G20 Presidency in promoting blue economy?

  • The aim is to promote adoption of high-level principles that guide sustainable and equitable economic development through the ocean and its resources
    • This approach is consistent with Mr. Modi’s call for the global adoption of ‘Lifestyle for the Environment’that promotes mindful utilization over mindless consumption patterns.
  • India’s G20 presidency would play an important role in promoting individual and collective actions to facilitate the transition towards a sustainable blue economy
  • The blue economy is articulated as a key priority area under the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group

What initiatives were taken by G20 towards blue economy?

  • Osaka Blue Ocean Vision -Aims to reduce the additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach
  • Coral Research and Development Accelerator Platform(CORDAP) – CORDAP was launched in 2020
  • It will bring together the best minds worldwide to accelerate the development of new technologies that support international coral conservation efforts
  • Ocean 20(O20) -The O20 will provide a platform for G20 countries political leaders, local and indigenous communities, civil society and private sector, to advance action for ocean solutions

The O20 is led by Indonesia through their 2022 presidency of G20 with the support of the World Economic Forum.

United Nations 2023 Water Conference

Over 700 commitments were made at the recently conducted United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City to make the world water-secure.

What is UN 2023 Water Conference about?

  • The UN 2023 Water Conference is formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028).
  • Aim – “Our watershed moment: uniting the world for water”, aims to support the achievement of internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • It took place at UN Headquarters in New York.
  • It was co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
  • It took 46 long years for the UN to organize this Water Conference in 2023, the first being held in 1977 in Mar de Plata, Argentina.

Water Water Day is 22 March 2023, and this year the theme is “Accelerating change”

What are the major initiatives taken?

  • Water Action Agenda – The 700 voluntary commitments will form the Water Action Agenda.
  • Climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure – USA announced a commitment of up to $49 billion in investments to support climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and services
  • Quality Infrastructure – Japan announced that it will contribute 500 billion yen to the solution of water-related social issues faced by the Asia-Pacific region by developing quality Infrastructure
  • River basins management and clean running water –Vietnam pledged to develop policies for major river basins management by 2025 and clean running water by 2030
  • Africa’s water investments gap – The African Union Commission and Continental Africa Investment Programme (AIP) aims to close Africa’s water investments gap by mobilizing at least $30 billion per year by 2030.
  • European Union (EU) – The EU aims to support 70 million individuals to an improved drinking water source and sanitation facility by 2030.
  • Water Convention and transboundary cooperation – Switzerland submitted 5 commitments in the areas of Water Convention and transboundary cooperation.

What are the challenges?

  • The commitments are non-binding in nature.
  • The water action agenda should include diverse experiences and did not include the necessary communities of water management.
  • The conference failed to address the violence and threats faced by communities trying to protect dwindling water sources.

IPCC meet in Switzerland

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN-backed scientific body whose periodic assessments of climate science form the basis of global climate action, is set to finalise what is known as the Synthesis Report.

The IPCC, a UN-backed scientific body whose periodic assessments of climate science form the basis of global climate action, is set to finalise what is known as the Synthesis Report, incorporating the findings of the five reports that it has released in the sixth assessment cycle since 2018.

The Synthesis Report is supposed to be a relatively non-technical summary of the previous reports, aimed largely at policymakers around the world. It is meant to address a wide range of policy-relevant scientific questions related to climate change, but, like all IPCC reports, in a non-prescriptive manner.

This will bring an end to the Sixth Assessment Report, a collective work of thousands of scientists over a period of eight years, starting in February 2015.

The Synthesis Report is unlikely to reveal anything new. Climate science is fairly well established, and its impacts already visible. As part of the sixth assessment cycle, the IPCC published three comprehensive reports — one on scientific evidence for climate change, the other on impacts and vulnerabilities, and the third exploring mitigation options available. Besides these, special reports on the feasibility of keeping global temperature rise within the 1.5 degree Celsius limit, and the connections between land, ocean and cryosphere, were also released.

Together, these form the most comprehensive understanding of the earth’s climate system, the changes it is undergoing, the repercussions of these changes, and the actions that should to be taken to avoid the worst impacts.

Whatever was needed to be said about the threat being posed to the planet by climate change has already been said in these reports. And yet, finalisation of the Synthesis Report is unlikely to be a straightforward exercise. Apart from the complexity of condensing the voluminous information contained in the earlier reports, authors have to accommodate the concerns of governments and civil society groups. There is likely to be a lot of wrangling over language and the emphasis put on certain phrases, much like the negotiations at the annual climate change conferences every year.

The first report of this cycle, the one on 1.5 degree temperature limit, had come out in 2018. In the five years since then, a lot more evidence on the pressing need to stick to the 1.5 degree Celsius target has presented itself. In fact, as measurements by the World Meteorological Organisation show, average annual temperatures have already gone above 1.2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times, and a breach of the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, even if temporary, is a real possibility in just the next five years. The Synthesis Report, therefore, is expected to emphasise on meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold as the main global goal, unlike the Paris Agreement, that seeks to restrict temperature rise to below 2 degree Celsius.

However, it is in terms of climate action that countries have been found wanting despite repeated predictions of an impending catastrophe. The current level of actions is not even commensurate to the effort required to meet the 2 degree Celsius target. There is disagreement even on something as basic as a commitment to phase out fossil fuels, one of the main contributors to global warming. Recent media reports have suggested that Europe might be getting ready to change that, and push for a global commitment to phase out the use of “unabated” fossil fuels by 2050. But this can very well end up remaining one of the contested discussions at the climate meetings.

Gender Gap in STEM

Women’s lack of access to technology and digital tools makes them less likely to be a part of the wider domains of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

What is STEM?

The acronym was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

The NSF has predicted that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills.

STEM is a curriculum based idea of educating students in 4 specific disciplines, in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

India is one of the countries that produce the highest number of scientists and engineers.

Under Article 51A of the Constitution of India, it is the duty of every Indian citizen to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.

Why does women’s underrepresentation in STEM fields matter?

Across the world, there has been a marked absence of women in the professional realm of STEM subjects, including the IT sector, environment and climate, medical sciences, etc.

Lucrative for workers – A typical STEM worker earns two-thirds more than those employed in other fields, according to Pew Research Centre.

Pay gap – Therefore, the underrepresentation of women in STEM impacts the overall gender pay gap as well.

Women are typically overrepresented in lower-paying jobs and underrepresented in higher-paying jobs such as in STEM fields.

What is the gender gap in STEM?

Gender divide – Globally, 18% of girls in higher-level education are pursuing STEM studies, compared with 35% of boys.

Within the STEM fields, there lies a gender divide, with similar numbers of boys and girls pursuing natural sciences while far more boys looked to engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Low enrolment – In India, the enrolment of girls in engineering programmes is significantly lower when compared to their male counterparts.

However, out of students enrolled in science courses at UG, PG, MPhil and PhD levels, women at 53% of enrolment outnumbered men.

These gains, though, don’t necessarily mean there will also be an increase in employment, because of multiple factors.

Why does the gap exist?

Societal attitude – The general societal attitude on women’s education does not encourage families to invest in it as much as they do for boys.

Bias in curriculum – UNICEF points to gender bias in curricula.

What is the status of gender gap in STEM in various countries?

India – In India, more than 50% of illustrations in math and science textbooks in primary show boys and only 6% show illustrations of girls.

The US – 26% of tech start-ups have at least one female founder.

Europe – Only 21% of tech founders are female.

The UK – Over a quarter of girls say they have been put off a career in tech as it is too male-dominated and only 22% can name a famous female working in the field.

Special Rupee Vostro Accounts

Recently, government officials informed that 20 Russian banks Rosbank, Tinkoff Bank, Centro Credit Bank and Credit Bank of Moscow have opened Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) with partner banks in India.

SRVA arrangement

Vostro account– A Vostro account (Vostro means ‘yours’ in Latin) is an account that a domestic bank holds for a foreign bank in the domestic bank’s currency.

In this case between India and Russia, Indian banks hold an account for Russian banks in rupee (INR).

Special Vostro Accounts– Normal Vostro accounts acts only as transit accounts whereas in Special Vostro Accounts INR (Indian Rupee) balances can be held.

Components of the framework

The framework entails three important components – invoicing, exchange rate and settlement.

  1. Invoicingentails that all exports and imports must be denominated and invoiced in INR.
  2. Theexchange rate between the currencies of the trading partner countries would be market-determined.
  3. The final settlementalso takes place in Indian National Rupee (INR).

Eligibility criteria of banks

Banks from partner countries are required to approach an authorised domestic dealer bank for opening the SRVA.

Role of Domestic banks– The domestic bank would then seek approval from the apex banking regulator providing details of the arrangement.

Domestic banks need to ensure that the correspondent bank is not from a country mentioned in the updated Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Public Statement on High Risk & Non-Co-operative jurisdictions.

Domestic banks must also put forth for perusal, financial parameters pertaining to the corresponding bank.

Other Features –Authorised banks can open multiple SRV accounts for different banks from the same country.

All reporting of cross-border transactions are to be done in accordance with the extant guidelines under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.


International banking services– Domestic banks use it to provide international banking services to their clients without having to be physically present abroad.

Expansion of market base– It helps domestic banks gain wider access to foreign financial markets.

Payments in rupee– It also enables payments in rupee for the export and import of goods in the case of trade with Russia.

Balances in the account can be repatriated in freely convertible currency and/or currency of the beneficiary partner country.

Reduction in forex –The Economic Survey (2022-23) had argued that the framework could largely reduce the net demand for foreign exchange.

Protection from external shocks– It added that the framework would also reduce the need for holding foreign exchange reserves and dependence on foreign currencies, making the country less vulnerable to external shocks.

INR as an international currency– In the long-term, it promotes INR as an international currency.

As per the Bureau for International (BIS) Settlements’ Triennial Central Bank Survey 2022, the U.S. dollar was the most dominant vehicle currency accounting for 88% of all trades. The INR accounted for 1.6%.

‘Millet International Initiative for Research and Awareness’-MIIRA

MIIRA will aim to connect millet research organisations across the world. It is in line with the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the proposal for which was moved by India and supported by 72 countries.

India has introduced a draft to launch a global initiative to encourage the consumption and production of millet. The draft of the proposed initiative — MIIRA — was placed during the first Agriculture Deputies Meeting under the Agriculture Working Group (AWG), G20 at Indore, Madhya Pradesh on February 13-15, 2023. During the meeting, Shubha Takur, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, introduced the MIIRA.

‘Millet International Initiative for Research and Awareness’

According to Agriculture Ministry sources, the MIIRA will be aimed at coordinating millet research programmes at the international level. It is in line with the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the proposal for which was moved by India and supported by 72 countries.

The International Year will see several events and activities such as conferences, issuing of stamps and coins etc. to raise awareness about millets, improve their production and quality, and attract investments. The Centre also plans to make India a global hub for millets.

Aim of MIIRA

According to the sources, MIIRA will aim to connect millet research organisations across the world while also supporting research on these crops. This is significant as issues like food security and nutrition are among the key priority areas in the agriculture sector during India’s G20 Presidency. India assumed the G20 Presidency on December 1, 2022.

Besides setting up a web platform to connect researchers and holding international research conferences, the plan is also to raise awareness for promoting the consumption of millet.

Who will fund the MIIRA initiative?

For MIIRA to take off, India will contribute the “seed money”, while each G20 member will later have to contribute to its budget in the form of a membership fee. The MIIRA secretariat will be in Delhi, the sources said, adding that with India being a major producer of millets, this will ensure a flow of investment from the country’s industry and research bodies.

Which foodgrains are called millets?

Millets are small-grained cereals such as sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale). These crops require much less water than rice and wheat, and are mainly grown in rainfed areas.

Now grown in more than 130 countries, millets are the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa. Gobally, jowar is the most widely grown millet crop; its major producers are the US, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan.

Bajra, another major millet crop, is mainly grown in some African countries and India, where millets are mainly a kharif crop. During 2018-19, Agriculture Ministry data show, bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) accounted for about seven per cent of the gross cropped area in the country.

Why are millets termed ‘Nutri Cereals’?

On April 10, 2018, the Agriculture Ministry declared millets such as jowar, bajra, ragi/ mandua, some minor millets such as kangani/ kakun, cheena, etc, and the two pseudo millets — buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai) — as ‘Nutri Cereals’ for their “high nutritive value”.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has described millets as “Shree Anna”. In her Budget speech, while describing various types of millets as ‘Shree Anna’,


Source: IE

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Indo-Pacific Strategy of Canada

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for the India-Canada Strategic Dialogue in Delhi.

Significance of the visit

The two Ministers expressed interest in deepening collaboration across domains and look forward to the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA).

India welcomed Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy, given the shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

India’s growing strategic, economic, and demographic importance makes it a critical partner for Canada in the Indo-Pacific.

In return, Canada can be a reliable supplier of critical minerals, a strong partner in the green transition and a major investor.

Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy

Canada is the last G7 nation to embrace the concept of the Indo-Pacific and 20% of its population originates in the Indo-Pacific region.

Fund– The strategy contains a funding commitment of US $1.7 billion over 5 years.

Area– It is spread over infrastructure projects through the US-led G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

It allocates 403 million dollar for an enhanced military presence in the Indian Ocean, and expanded participation in regional military exercises.


  • Promote peace, resilience and security
  • Expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience Invest in and connect people
  • Build a sustainable and green future
  • Be an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific

Canada-India relations

The immigrants from India account for at least 1.4% of the population of Canada.

Common Values– Shared values of democracy, pluralism, expanding economic engagement, regular high level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties.

Development Cooperation– As of 2021, Canada invested nearly $24 million in 2018-2019 to support 75 projects in India via Grand Challenges Canada.

Nuclear Agreements– The Appropriate Arrangement (AA) for the NCA was signed in 2013, under which a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was constituted.

Security and Defence– India and Canada collaborate closely in international for the UN, Commonwealth and G-20.

Science and Tech – ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have signed MOUs in the field of exploration and utilisation of outer space.

ANTRIXhas launched several nanosatellites from Canada.

Challenges in the bilateral relation

The big issue for India is the safe haven that Canada has been for separatist Khalistani groups.

In 2022, New Delhi objected to Canada permitting a Khalistani secessionist referendum in the Sikh diaspora, and hit back with an advisory against travel in Canada that warned against hate crimes.

Draft Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics Bill

The Ministry of Mines has come up with the draft Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill.

Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics

Coming under the Ministry of Mines, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was established in 1851 to investigate and assess coal and other mineral resources of the country through regional-level exploration.

Geo-relic– Any relic or material of a geological significance or interest like sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorite or fossils.

Geoheritage sites– The draft bill defines Geoheritage sites as sites containing

  1. Geo-relics and phenomena
  2. Stratigraphic type sections
  3. Geological structures
  4. Geomorphic landforms including caves, natural rock-sculptures of national and international interest

In India, there are 32 geo-heritage sitesspread across 13 states.

    • Examples – Akal Fossil Wood Park in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
    • Volcanogenic bedded Barytes of Mangampeta, Andhra Pradesh

Role of GSI– The Geological Survey of India (GSI) will have the power to acquire geo-relics for its preservation and maintenance.

The GSI declares geo-heritage sites/ national geological monuments for protection and maintenance.

The GSI or the respective state governments take necessary measures to protect these sites.

Provision of the Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics Bill

Aim – Declaration, preservation, protection and maintenance of geo-heritage sites and geo-relics of national importance, for geological studies, education, research and awareness purposes.

Role of central government– The Bill’s provisions give the Director General of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), a subordinate body of the Ministry of Mines, the power to:

    • declare sites as having ‘geo-heritage’ value
    • take possession of relics (fossils, rocks) that rest in private hands
    • prohibit construction 100 metres around such a site

Compensation– Compensation would be provided to the occupier of land who incurs loss or damage due to the exercise of any power under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act).

Preservation – The Bill imposes a prohibition on construction, reconstruction, repair or renovation of any building within the geoheritage site area with certain exceptions.

Penalties – Penalties have been mentioned for destruction, removal, defacement or contravention of any direction issued by the Director General, GSI in the geo-heritage site.

The imprisonment may extend to 6 months or fine which may extend to Rs.5 lakh, or both and additional fine will be imposed for continuous contravention.


Absolute vesting of powers– There are concerns over the distribution of power as mentioned in the Bill.

There is a fear that the absolute vesting of powers in the GSI alone may affect palaeontological research.

Experts demand a more inclusive body, on the lines of a National Geoheritage Authority, that can, more democratically, decide on declaring sites as being of ‘geohistorical’ importance.

Land acquisition issues – The issue of land acquisition for the purpose of safeguarding these sites could also lead to issues with local communities.

Emergency Powers under the IT Rules

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) directed YouTube and Twitter to take down links sharing the BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ under the emergency provisions of the IT Rules, 2021.

What is the case about?

  • BBC documentary case – A BBC documentary on the Gujarat riots of 2002 questions the actions taken by the then Gujarat government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The MIB directed YouTube and Twitter to take down links sharing the documentary under Rule 16(3) of the IT Rules and Section 69(A) of the IT Act, 2000 that allow for “emergency blocking”.
  • Notably, there has been no official press release for the online blocking of the BBC documentary.
  • Reasons – For allegedly defaming the credibility of Supreme Court, sowing divisions among the communities, making unsubstantiated claims regarding actions of foreign governments in India.

What are the emergency provisions?

  • IT Rules – Under the IT Rules, 2021, notices for content takedown can be issued to social media intermediaries in emergency situations upon the satisfaction of the Secretary, MIB.
  • Reasons – These emergency notices can be issued if the MIB believes that the content can impact the
    • Sovereignty
    • Integrity
    • Defence, or security of India
    • Friendly relations with foreign states or public order
    • To prevent incitement to any cognisable offence
  • Since 2021, the MIB has used the emergency provisions at least seven times, most prominently for YouTube.

What can users whose content has been impacted do?

  • If a platform has on its own taken down some content, the user can approach the grievance officer of the platform to raise a dispute, which they are to redress within 15 days.
  • If a platform has taken down content on the basis of the emergency provisions in the Rules, the legislation does not offer any direct recourse.
  • The only option users have in this case is to approach courts.
  • However, the blocking orders are confidential and the users will not know the provisions under which their content was flagged.

What are the concerns regarding online content regulation?

  • Natural justice – In Cricket Association of Bengal case, the Supreme Court recognised that the right to receive and impart information is implicit in free speech.
  • In the case of Shreya Singhal vs Union of India, the Court upheld that blocking powers under Section 69A subject to reasons have to be recorded in writing.
  • However, blocking orders are marked as “confidential” and transmitted to service providers, making it difficult for the authors an opportunity of defence and the general public to challenge them.
  • Press releases that are selectively issued instead of disclosing the text of orders becomes a form of opacity.
  • Perpetual emergency – In 2021, the Bombay High Court suspended Rules 9(1) and 9(3) that establish a code of ethics for online news platforms and a three-tier grievance redress mechanism headed by the central government.
  • In its interim order it held that it is healthy to invite criticism for the nation to have structured growth.
  • There is a rise in use of emergency powers despite the top court staying the existing proceedings in 2022.
  • The BBC documentary that has been described by public authorities as “propaganda” reflecting “a colonial mindset” cannot be understood how it qualifies as an emergency.
  • Centralisation of executive power – In 2021, the rules were amended to increase government control over online platforms and news publishers.
  • It also required news publishers to follow a vague moral code of self-censorship that permitted grievances to be escalated to the government, leading to stay orders by High Courts.
  • In 2022, it created a government censorship body sitting in appeal of all content moderated by social media companies.
  • In 2023, MeitY wanted to create a self-regulatory system for online gaming and gambling companies, which is against federalism, given that legislation on it is a State subject.
  • The unlimited censorship powers is also seen as a direct violation of fundamental rights.

Joshimath Crisis

Almost two week after cracks appeared in many roads and hundreds of houses of Joshimath, Uttarakhand, authorities declared it a landslide and subsidence-hit zone.

Land subsidence

  • According to the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), land subsidence is the sinking of the groundbecause of underground material movement.
  • This phenomenon can happen over very large areas like whole states or provinces, or very small areas like the corner of house yard.
  • Reasons– This phenomenon can happen for a host of reasons, man-made or natural, such as the removal of water, oil, or natural resources, along with mining activities.
  • Earthquakes, soil erosion, and soil compaction are also some of the well-known causes of subsidence.

Reasons behind Joshimath’s subsidence

  • The exact reason behind Joshimath land subsidence is still unknown.
  • But experts suggest that the incident might have occurred due to a massive infrastructural project called the Char Dham road projectthat is being implemented in the Uttarakhand Himalaya.
  • The residents have also blamed NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Projectfor the incident.
  • They allege that the tunnel had water seepage “from a punctured aquifer, leading to the drying of water sources in Joshimath.”
  • But NTPC denied the allegations saying that the tunnel built by NTPC does not pass under Joshimath town.
  • Other reasons may be
    1. Unplanned construction,
    2. Over-population, and
    3. Obstruction of the natural flow of water and hydel power activities.
  • Not only this, the area is a seismic zone, which makes it prone to frequent earthquakes.
  • The possibility of a land subsidence incident happening in the region was first highlighted around 50 years by the MC Mishra committee report was published.
  • This report also cautioned against “unplanned development in this area, and identified the natural vulnerabilities.”
  • Lack of a proper drainage system– result of unplanned construction – might have also contributed to the sinking of the area.
  • Reports have pointed out that subsidence in Joshimath might have been triggered by the reactivation of a geographic faultwhere the Indian Plate has pushed under the Eurasian Plate along the Himalayas.

A geographic fault is defined as a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock.

Why Joshimath city is extremely vulnerable?

  • Joshimath city has been built on an ancient landslide material – meaning it rests on a deposit of sand and stone, not rock, which doesn’t have high load-bearing capacity.
  • This makes the area extremely vulnerable to ever-burgeoning infrastructure and population.

Future plans of the government

  • In the next decade, the Government proposes to build 66 tunnels in the Uttarakhand Himalaya and 18 tunnels are already in operation.
  • Building these subsurface structures could result in gross damage to the environment, including
    1. concentration of pollutants from traffic exhaust compounded by a microenvironment with no sunlight and
    2. limited dispersion in such long-distance tunnels.
  • The constant vibrations during the train movements will keep the mountain slope eternally unstable and thus, make it vulnerable to slide at the slightest trigger.

The construction of highways and railway tracks has become a prime cause for landslides and its occurrences have doubled over the years.

What could be done?

  • A development strategy for the Himalayas should be primarily based on the region’s natural resources such as biodiversity, ecotourism, etc
  • Rather than building massive dams, focus should be on small projects that would be helpful in providing local energy supply.
  • Most of the farmers have now abandoned their traditional practices and only less than 20% of the agricultural land in the Himalayan districts of Uttarakhand is now being farmed and the rest has become fallow land.
  • An appropriate strategy for human well-being should use traditional knowledge, agricultural practices, construction practices and local cultural aspects.
  • Going by the past experiences of forming expert committees and having their recommendations ignored, it is not clear what benefit would accrue by creating another one by the government.

The Joshimath episode is a warning that the Himalayan environment may not be able to withstand another push generated by intrusive anthropogenic activities.

National Geospatial Policy 2022

The National Geospatial Policy 2022 was notified by the Ministry of Science and Technology recently.

  • The National Geospatial Policy, 2022 is a citizen-centric policythat seeks to strengthen the Geospatial sector to support national development, economic prosperity and a thriving information economy.
  • The Policy builds on conducive environment created by the “Guidelines for acquiring & producing Geospatial Data and Geospatial Data Services including Maps” issued by Department of Science & Technology in 2021.

While the Guidelines deregulated the Geospatial sector by liberalizing Geospatial data acquisition/ production/ access, the Policy lays down a framework for holistic development of the Geospatial ecosystem.

  • The Policy seeks to
    • Develop Geospatial infrastructures,
    • Develop Geospatial skill and knowledge,
    • Develop Geospatial standards and businesses,
    • Promote innovation and
    • Strengthen the national and sub-national arrangements for generation and management of Geospatial information.
  • The Geospatial data acquisition/production/access will continue to be governed by the Guidelines in its present form or as stipulated by DST from time to time with an aim to promote private sector participation.

Objective of the policy

  • The National Geospatial Policy 2022 is aimed at setting up high resolution topographical survey and mapping, with a high-accuracy Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the country by 2030.
  • This is a vibrant initiative to promote the Start-Up & reduce the last mile dependencies on the foreign soil.


  • To make India a World Leader in Global Geospatial space with the best in the class ecosystem for innovation.
  • To develop a coherent national framework in the country and leverage it to move towards digital economy and improve services to citizens.
  • To enable easy availability of valuable Geospatial data collected utilizing public funds, to businesses and general public.
  • To have a thriving Geospatial industry in the country involving private enterprise.

Certain issues that need immediate attention

  • Geospatial data can be described as complex data objects with complex relationships among them.
  • Securing this type of data poses major challenges and bottlenecks that are yet to be fully understood and addressed.
  • The issues may be related to
    • Access control and securities,
    • Privacy such as the unit of protection,
    • Developing secure and interoperable GIS applications in the areas of Defence (Tri-Services).

Geospatial data play a vital role in a wide spectrum of frequencies for critical data management applications, such as military operations, disaster and emergency management, environmental monitoring, land and city planning.

  • All these require coordination among diverse organizations, their data repositories, and users with different responsibilities need to be clearly identified.
  • Although a variety of models and techniques are available to manage access and share geospatial data, very little attention has been paid to addressing the National security concerns, such as
  • In his view “if the entire body of geospatial data would be made available by simply integrating the data from different repositories, there is severe chances of potential data misuse and privacy violations.
  • Also sensitive information such as building ownerships might be revealed or information about critical infrastructure could become publicly accessible and it is a major concern in context to the applications in Defence (Military Assets).”
  • Given the number of people and organizations involved in a disaster preparation scenario, security measures must be taken to provide users and applications only with data on a need-to-know basis.

The security concern

  • Security issues for geospatial data are different and in many ways more complex than security issues for relational data.
  • These differences concern both the data organization and structures, and in particular the ways the data are manipulated & used.
  • In a GIS, data is typically organized in different thematic layers; these layers, which can be large in number, represent different aspects of an application domains and areas.
  • Also the same spatial region can be represented by either field-based data, i.e., satellite imagery or map data, or by vector-based data, i.e., a collection of possibly complex geographic features.
  • Because of the organization in layers, the same geo-references feature, e.g., a building or road can be represented in different layers and ways as it is very common practice.
  • In terms of data usage and its further applications, many applications generating and using geospatial data are dynamic as the set of subjects and geographic features may dynamically and rapidly change, as in the case of dynamic GIS coalitions for emergency response.
  • Moreover, in such a context, one may need to combine data from several sources that are independently administered and therefore depicted by heterogeneous security policies.
  • Such usage requires different approaches to architecting the data, security solutions.
  • Solution – A clear roadmap should be drawn.
  • An SOP should be developed in National Geospatial Policy 2022 for the National Securities Issues for the country where in it is the three services, Para military or Critical Infrastructure Sectors.

Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee

  • The Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (GDPDC) shall be constituted by the Government at the national level.
  • It shall be the apex body for formulating and implementing appropriate guidelines, strategies and programs for promotion of activities related to Geospatial sector.
  • GDPDC shall drive the overall development of the Geospatial ecosystem.
  • GDPDC would replace and subsume the functions and powers of
    • National Spatial Data Committee (NSDC) constituted through GoI Resolution in 2006 and
    • Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee constituted vide DST Office Memorandum in 2021.
  • The Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (GDPDC) will have representatives from various Departments and Ministries, including a Department of Defence Representative.
  • The Survey of India (SoI) would become an entirely civilian agency.

Department of Science & Technology shall continue to be the nodal Department of the Government.

GDPDC shall make suitable recommendations to DST in the discharge of its functions relating to the Geospatial regime.

UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15)

The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) has concluded in Montreal, Canada, promising to take urgent action to protect and restore the world’s biodiversity that inhabit this planet.


Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • CBD The CBD that came into force in 1993, was an outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
  • All the three agreements hold their separate COPs.
  • Objectives of CBD
    • Conservation of biological diversity
    • Sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
    • Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources
  • In total, 196 countries, including India, have ratified the CBD and are, parties to the COP.
  • The US is a notable outlier as the only UN member state not to have ratified the treaty although it still has a presence at biodiversity COPs.
  • The CBD has given rise to two supplementary agreements
    • The Cartagena Protocol of 2003
    • The Nagoya Protocol of 2014

Montreal Conference  

  • The conference was the biodiversity equivalent of the high-profile climate meetings that are held every year.
  • Signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), meet every two years to work on a plan to stop biodiversity loss and restore natural ecosystems.
  • The meeting in Montreal was the second part of COP15, the first part having been held in Kunming in China in 2021 and adopted the Kunming Declaration.
  • The Montreal Conference has delivered a new agreement called the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) that need to be achieved by 2030.

Kunming Declaration

  • In 2021, the Kunming Declaration was signed by more than 100 countries to ensure the development, adoption, and implementation of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • The theme of the declaration was Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.
  • China invested about 230 million dollars to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support biodiversity protection in the developing countries.
  • The declaration referred to the ’30 by 30′ target, that would afford 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans protected status by 2030.


Need for a biodiversity framework

  • At COP10 (2010), almost every country in the world agreed to 20 Aichi biodiversity targets in order to achieve a goal of “living in harmony with nature” by 2050.
  • At the global level, none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed by Parties to the CBD in 2010 have been fully achieved.
  • Estimates based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species tell us that 1 million species are currently threatened with extinction.
  • Healthy ecosystems support 55% of global GDP, and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity underpins sustainable development.
  • Healthy ecosystems protect communities from climate change impacts and nature-based solutions could provide up to 37% of our climate change mitigation needs as per the Paris Agreement.
  • An ambitious new framework is therefore needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.

Key takeaways from the COP15 biodiversity summit

  • 30×30 target – Delegates committed to protect 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030.
  • Indigenous and traditional territories will also count toward this goal, as many countries and campaigners pushed for during the talks.
  • The deal also aspires to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters throughout the decade, up from an earlier aim of 20%.
  • Money for nature – Signatories aim to ensure 200 billion per year is channelled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
  • Wealthier countries should contribute at least 20 billion dollars of this every year by 2025, and at least 30 billion dollars a year by 2030.
  • Reporting the impacts on biodiversity – Companies should analyse and report how their operations affect and are affected by biodiversity issues.
  • Harmful subsidies – Countries committed to identify subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them.
  • They agreed to slash those incentives by at least 500 billion dollars a year by 2030.
  • Pollution and pesticides – It aims to reduce the risks associated with pesticides by at least half, and focus on other forms of pest management.
  • Monitoring and reporting progress – National action plans will be set and reviewed, following a similar format used for greenhouse gas emissions under U.N.-led efforts to curb climate change.


  • Implementation – A major issue is realization of targets contained within the framework because lack of implementation was the major factors behind the failure of the Aichi targets.
  • Finance – Democratic Republic of Congo staunchly opposed the package, regarding the issues over financing.
  • New fund – Demands from the global South for a new fund were only partially fulfilled, as it proposed to create the fund within the Global Environment Facility, the UN’s existing biodiversity financing fund.
  • Eliminating harmful subsidies – India’s demand against a numerical target to eliminate harmful subsidies has been partially addressed.
  • Cutting pollution – India was against a numerical goal of cutting pollution to zero.

India’s role in the summit

  • The most significant contribution of the Indian interventions was that all the targets are kept as global in nature and countries will be free to adopt them as per their circumstances, priorities and capabilities.
  • The concept of Life style for environment was recognised for achieving the goals of biodiversity conservation.

India was of the view that GBF should focus on an ecosystem-based approach rather than nature-based solutions.

Global TB Report 2022

India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (incidence was 256 per lakh population in India) and there has been an 18% decline which is 7 percentage points better than the global average of 11%, said the Health Ministry, while reacting to the World Health Organizataion (WHO) Global TB Report 2022

About the Global TB Report 2022

According to the WHO reportan estimated 6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, an increase of 4.5% from 2020, and 1.6 million people died from TB (including 187 000 among HIV positive people).

The organisation’s 2022 Global TB report added that the burden ofdrug-resistant TB (DR-TB) also increased by 3% between 2020 and 2021, with 450 000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in 2021.

The WHO report also noted thecrucial role of nutrition and under-nutrition as a contributory factor to the development of active TB disease.

This is the first time in many years an increase has been reported in the number of people falling ill with TB and drug resistant TB.

Ongoing conflicts across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have further exacerbated the situation for vulnerable populations

India and TB

While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TB Programmes across the world, India was able to successfully offset the disruptions caused, through the introduction of critical interventions in 2020 and 2021 – this led to the National TB Elimination Programme notifying over 21.4 lakh TB cases – 18% higher than 2020

Measures included mandatory notification policyto ensure all cases were reported to the government

Intensified door-to-door Active Case Finding drivesto screen patients and ensure no household is missed and in 2021, over 22 crore people were screened for TB.

Theaim has been to find and detect more cases to arrest onward transmission of the disease in the community which has contributed to the decline in incidence.

Government Measures

National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) aims at eliminating TB by 2025in India. It is crafted in line with other health sector strategies and global efforts, such as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) End TB Strategy.

Nikshay Portal:Nikshay is a unified ICT system for TB patient management and care in India and allows both public and private sector health care providers to manage their patients.

Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY):Under the Nikshay Poshan Yojana government provide financial help to TB Patients for their treatment. The government provides Rs 500/- per month financial incentive to TB patients for their treatment and food. Nikshay Poshan Yojana Money will be transferred directly to the patient’s bank account.

Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyanwas launched in India to provide additional nutritional support to those on TB treatment, through contributions from community including individuals and organisations.

India conducted its own National Prevalence Survey to assess the true TB burden in the country – the world’s largest such survey ever conducted.

BCG was first introduced in a limited scale in 1948 and became a part of the National TB Control Programme in 1962.

Tuberculosis TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is an ancient disease and has been documented to have existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC.

TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs(extra-pulmonary TB).

TB spreads through the airwhen a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Common symptoms of TB are: Cough for three weeks or more, sometimes with blood-streaked sputum; Fever, especially at night; Weight loss and Loss of appetite.

Pakistan out of FATF ‘grey list’

Four years after it was placed on the “grey list” and penalised with severe financial strictures by the Financial Action Task Force, Pakistan won a major reprieve, as the international watchdog on terror financing and money laundering agreed to remove Pakistan’s name from the list of countries under “increased monitoring”. 

In all, the FATF said Pakistan had completed two action plans comprising a 34-point tasklist in the period since 2018, and in a statement said that it “welcomes Pakistan’s significant progress” in its AML/CFT mechanisms.

India has protested Pakistan’s lack of action against cross-border terror groups responsible for attacks on India, but sources said went along with the final decision, as there was consensus in the room, and Pakistan had submitted “documentary evidence” of its actions against designated terrorists.

India’s other neighbour on the list, Myanmar was moved from the grey list to the “black list” due to actions by the military leadership after the 2021 coup, and will face even more severe financial sanctions and an inability to procure IMF, World Bank and ADB loans.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

It is an intergovernmental organization that designs and promotes policies and standards to combat financial crime.

Recommendations of the FATF target

    • Money laundering
    • Terrorist financing
    • Other threats to the global financial system

The FATF was created in 1989 by the G7 countries, and is headquartered in Paris.

There are 37 members, including India and two regional organisations – European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Grey list FATF

Member countries that have deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regimes but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes.

Currently, there are more than 20 countries on the grey list, including Pakistan.

Black list FATF

Member countries that have deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regimes and do not end up doing enough.

As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea.

While greylist includes countries which are considered as safe havens for supporting terror funding and money laundering, blacklisting will mean severe strictures on the countries banks and credit rating, as well as access to loans and foreign investments.

Pakistan has been under the FATF’s scanner since 2018, when it was put on the greylist for terror financing and money laundering risks.

GEAC’s Approval for GM-Mustard

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has again cleared the proposal for commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard.

A crop which has a gene artificially inserted into it from another species to give some desired properties (pest resistant, herbicide tolerant, etc.) is known as GM crop.

The GEAC had earlier cleared the proposal in 2017 but the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had vetoed it.

The Ministry suggested GEAC to hold more studies on the GM crop.

The Supreme Court also stayed the clearance saying public opinion should be sought on the issue.

Recently, GEAC recommended the environmental release of transgenic hybrid mustard DMH-11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11) for seed production and conduct of field demonstration studies with respect to its effects.

This is the first GM food crop that India has permitted for commercial release.

After 2006 when the Centre permitted the commercial release of Bollgard II cotton (Bt-Cotton), this is the first crop that has overcome regulatory and political hurdles to be allowed for release.

Though attempts were made to introduce field trials of GM brinjal, it met with stiff resistance.

Need for GM mustard

Hybridisation involves crossing two genetically dissimilar plant varieties that can even be from the same species. The first-generation (F1) offspring from such crosses tend to have higher yields than the parents.

Difficulty in hybridisation – The process of hybridisation is difficult in mustard, as the plants are largely self-pollinating.

The limitation in the scope for developing hybrids in turn affects the production of superior offsprings.

Rising edible oil import bill – The country produces only 8.5-9 million tonnes of edible oil annually, while importing 14-14.5 million tonnes during the fiscal year 2022.

How is GM mustard produced?

India is the 4th largest contributor of oilseeds in the world and rapeseed and mustard contributes about 28.6% of total oilseeds production.

GM mustard is developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) in Delhi University.

The scientists have deployed the barnase-barstar GM technology to develop DMH-11, containing two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.

The barnase gene codes for a protein that impairs pollen production and renders the plant into which it is incorporated male-sterile.

This plant is then crossed with a fertile parental line containing the barstar gene that blocks the action of the barnase gene.

The resultant F1 progeny is both high-yielding and also capable of producing seed/ grain.

DMH-11 was developed by crossing the Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).

Pros and cons of DMH-11

Pros of DMH-11

Yield – DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna in contained field trials carried out by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

New traits – New traits relating to resistance against disease, etc. can be incorporated.

Indigenous – Since the seeds are indigenously developed, the patent remains with government unlike cotton where it is with corporates.

Import bill – Mustard oil production from this variety of crop will save a lot on foreign exchange exchequer.

Transfer to humans– So far, there is no evidence suggesting that the transgenes could be transferred to humans or animals through consumption of GE food.

Cons of DMH-11

Free pricing of technology -The Centre fixing a cap on the royalty to be paid for the technology discourages companies involved in developing the new technologies from sharing them with Indian firms.

Effect on honey bees – There is a concern over GM mustard threatening or undermining the population of honey bees.

Use of chemicals – It increases the use of toxic herbicides.

Corporates – It is a Trojan horse to clear the doorway for powerful companies like Monsanto.

Entering the wild population – Concerns include the capability of the GE Plant to escape and potentially introduce the engineered genes into wild populations.

What does the GEAC decision mean?

GM mustard clearance – By permitting environmental release, the GEAC has allowed the commercial release of GM mustard.

The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crops, University of Delhi has to grant permission for the commercial release.

State governments will have a role in the commercial release of GM variety.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will be the authorised agency to accord necessary permissions for the development of any other mustard hybrids.

All hybrids released using this technology shall also be regulated under Seed Act 1966.

GEAC nod is not the final approval for commercial release but a step forward.

The approval is valid for the next 4 years.

Other clearances – The GEAC asked Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) to permit to permit field trials of genetically-engineered potato, banana and rubber.

Genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC)

It is established under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

It is the apex body for approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recom­binants.

It is responsible for ap­proval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products including experimental field trials.

Global Lighthouse Network

The World Economic Forum announced the addition of 11 factories and industrial sites, including three from India, to its Global Lighthouse Network.

Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and big data analytics.

The Global Lighthouse Network (GLN) was pioneered by the World Economic Forumin 2018.

The need for the Global Lighthouse Network was identified under the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains.

The GLN is a community of manufacturersthat are applying Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to increase efficiency and productivity, along with environmental stewardship.

The GLN is a platform to develop, replicate and scale innovations, creating opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration.

It sets new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community.

Under this network, so far, 103 manufacturing Lighthouses have been identified from different industry sectors, including 6 Sustainability Lighthouses.

Lighthouses– They are industries which use Industry 4.0 or 4IR technologies to transform factories, value chains and business models, for compelling financial and operational returns.

The 3 recently added Lighthouses from India are

    1. Cipla – Indore facility,
    2. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories – Hyderabad facility and
    3. The Mondelez – Sri City facility.

Sustainability Lighthouse– This is an additional designation given to the lighthouse members who have an outstanding environmental footprint reductions.

Unilever’s Dapada facility in India is a ‘Sustainabilty Lighthouse’.

Light combat helicopter (LCH) PRACHAND

The light combat helicopter (LCH) was designed and built indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). 

It is a two-seaterattack helicopter derived from the existing Dhruv helicopter.

The twin-engine LCHis a 5-8 tonne class dedicated combat helicopter. It was conceptualised after the 1999 Kargil conflict when the need for such a dedicated platform capable of operating in high altitudes was felt.

It is the only attack helicopter in the world which can land and take-off at an altitude of 5,000 m (16,400 ftwith considerable load of weaponsand fuel significantly augmenting the firepower of the IAF and the Army in high altitude areas.

The LCH can be deployed in various roles, including tracking slow-moving aerial targets, insurgency, destroying enemy defences, search and rescue, anti-tank and scouting.

The LCH is effective as both an anti-infantry and anti-armour helicopter.

It is thelightest attack helicopter in the world to meet the specific and unique requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.

According to HAL, the LCH is a potent weapon platform with state of the art systems and highly accurate weapons capable of hitting any type of target by day or night.

Other features of the LCH include its ability to operate in the complete ‘Area of Responsibility’ (AOR) and altitudes and has the ability to carry adequate weapon load at high altitudes under varied conditions.

The LCH is armed with a 20 mm nose gun, 70 mm rockets, anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ and air-to-air missile ‘Mistral-2’ of MBDAwhich has a maximum interception range of 6.5 km.


History of Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize was set up when businessman Alfred Nobel died and left the majority of his fortune to establish prizes in

  1. Physics,
  2. Chemistry,
  3. Physiology/Medicine,
  4. Literature and
  5. Peace

Nobel’s will stated that the prizes should be awarded to those who shall have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.

The first set of awards were handed out in 1901, five years after Nobel’s death.

Since the 1st Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, they have been awarded annually.

It was not awarded mostly during World War I and II. A Nobel Prize cannot be awarded posthumously.

Fund – When Alfred Nobel died leaving the majority of his fortune to the establishment of the Nobel Prize, he stated that the money should be converted into a fund and invested in “safe securities.”

Today the interest earned on that money is used to fund the Nobel Prizes. As per Alfred Nobel’s wishes, the Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Norway while the other awards are handed out in Sweden.

Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their work in quantum entanglement.

Quantum mechanics is the physics of the sub atomic particles.

Quantum entanglementis a counterintuitive phenomenon that explains how two subatomic particles can be intimately linked to each other even if separated by billions of light years of space.

Despite their vast separation, a change induced in one will affect the other, if both are quantum entangled.

Einstein called entanglement “spooky action at a distance”.

The idea of quantum entanglement dates back to the very foundations of quantum mechanics, which began with Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr and Erwin Schrodinger.

Bell’s theorem– In the 1960s, John Stewart Bell developed the Bell’s theorem of mathematical inequality.

Bell theorem states if there are hidden variables, the correlation between the results of a large number of measurements won’t exceed a certain value.

However, quantum mechanics predicts that a certain type of experiment will violate Bell’s inequality.

This has resulted in a stronger correlation than would otherwise be possible.

John Clauserdeveloped a practical experiment (based on Bell’s ideas) that supported quantum mechanics by clearly violating a Bell inequality.

This means that quantum mechanics cannot be replaced by a theory that uses hidden variables.

Alain Aspectdeveloped the setup that was able to switch the measurement settings after an entangled pair had left its source, so the setting that existed when they were emitted could not affect the result.

Among other things, Anton Zeilingerhas demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which is a way of conveying information from one place to another without the actual transport of material.

Applications– The work of the three laureates can help in developing quantum technologies of the future, for example, quantum cryptography, and precise timekeeping as is done in atomic clocks.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 was awarded to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, K. Barry Sharpless for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.

The three scientists have made a strong case for adopting an alternative approach to producing new complex molecules in the laboratory or industry, which minimises waste and increases overall efficiency.

Click chemistry– Around the year 2000, Karl Barry Sharpless coined the concept of ‘click chemistry’.

The click chemistry is a functional form of chemistry, where reactions occur quickly and the unwanted by-products are avoided.

In click chemistry, molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently.

Independently, Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal presented the crown jewel of click chemistry – the copper catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition.

Sharpless discovered that the use of copper as a catalyst eliminated the by-products altogether and only the desired chemical was produced.

Among many other uses, this efficient chemical reaction is utilised in the development of pharmaceuticals, for mapping DNA and creating materials that are more fit for purpose.

Karl Barry Sharpless has now won the Nobel Prize for the second time, making him only the fifth scientist to achieve this distinction.

His previous Nobel Prize had come in 2001 in recognition of a different kind of work.

Meldal came up with the useful chemical structure called triazoles, which are stable and are found in pharmaceuticals, dyes and agricultural chemicals, says the Nobel website.

He also found that the reaction he used could bind together numerous different molecules.

Bioorthogonal Chemistry– Carolyn Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms.

She developed click reactions that work inside living organisms, in order to map an elusive biomolecule on the surface of cells – glycans (carbohydrate-based polymers made by all living organisms.)

Her bioorthogonal reactionstake place without disrupting the normal chemistry of the cell.

Applications– These reactions are now used globally to explore cells and track biological processes.

Using bioorthogonal reactions, researchers have improved the targeting of cancer pharmaceuticals, which are now being tested in clinical trials.

Nobel Prize in Medicine 2022

The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2022 has been awarded to Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo for his research in the field of genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.

Svante Pääbo through his ground-breaking research, established an entirely new scientific discipline called, Paleogenomics.

Palaeogenomics – It is the study of ancient hominins by extracting their DNA.

It is the science of reconstructing and analyzing the genomes of organisms that are not alive in the present day.

Svante Pääbo pioneered the use of DNA to examine questions about relatedness of ancient human species.

He proved that Neanderthals, a cousin of the human species that evolved 1,00,000 years before humans, interbred with people.

Comparative analyses with the human genome demonstrated that the most recent common ancestor of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens lived around 8,00,000 years ago.

Nobel Prize in Literature 2022

The Nobel Prize for Literature 2022 has gone to French author Annie Ernaux for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.

  • Ernaux, née Duchesne, was born in Lillebonne Normandy in 1940.
  • She was often described as the “truth-teller” of France.
  • Ernaux’s popularity has increased sharply in the English-speaking world since 2019, after her work ‘The Years’ was shortlisted for the Man Booker international prize.
  • Some of her famous works:
    1. Cleaned Out (1974)
    2. Shame (1997)
    3. Happening (2001)
    4. Getting Lost (2001)
    5. The Years (2008)
    6. A Girl’s Story (2016)

Nobel Peace Prize 2022

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 has been awarded to one individual and two organisations.

  • Nobel Peace Prize 2022 is awarded to
    1. Human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus,
    2. The Russian human rights organisation Memorial and
    3. The Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize 2022 was awarded to honour three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Ales Bialiatski was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s.

He devoted his life to promote democracy and peaceful development in his home country, Belarus.

He founded the organisation Viasna (Spring) in 1996 in response to the controversial constitutional amendments that gave the president dictatorial powers and that triggered widespread demonstrations.

Memorial – The memorial organisation was established in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that the victims of the communist regime’s oppression would never be forgotten.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina were among the founders.

Memorial is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation in Russia.

The Center for Civil Liberties – It was founded in Kyiv in 2007 for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine.

The center has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy.

To develop Ukraine into a state governed by rule of law, Center for Civil Liberties has actively advocated that Ukraine become affiliated with the International Criminal Court.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Center for Civil Liberties has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population.

In collaboration with international partners, the center is playing a pioneering role with a view to holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes.

Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences 2022

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2022 to three people for their research on banks and financial crises.

  • The Nobel Prize in economics 2022 has been given to US economists Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas Diamond, Philip H. Dybvig.
  • The trio’s research reduces the risk of financial crises developing into long-term depressions with severe consequences for society.
  • Bernanke’s work – Former US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke analysed the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • Among other things, he showed how bank runs were a decisive factor in the crisis becoming so deep and prolonged.
  • Using historical sources and statistical methods, his analysis showed which factors were important in the drop in gross domestic product.
  • He found factors that were directly linked to failing banks accounted for the lion’s share of the downturn.
  • Diamond and Dybvig’s work – Diamond and Dybvig developed theoretical models that explain
    1. Why banks exist,
    2. How their role in society makes them vulnerable to rumours about their impending collapse,
    3. How society can lessen this vulnerability.
  • They showed a solution to bank vulnerability, in the form of deposit insurance from the government.
  • When depositors know that the state has guaranteed their money, they no longer need to rush to the bank as soon as rumours start about a bank run.
  • Diamond also showed how banks perform a societally important function.
  • As intermediaries between savers and borrowers, banks are better suited to assessing borrowers’ creditworthiness and ensuring that loans are used for good investments.

Other Nobel Prize Related Facts

As of 2022, 61 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 60 women.

Youngest Nobel Laureate – Malala Yousafzai (at the age of 17 years).

Oldest Nobel Laureate – John B Goodenough (at the age of 97 years).

Two Nobels – Marie Curie, John Bardeen, Linus Pauling, Frederick Sanger, and Karl Barry Sharpless have won the Nobel Prize twice.

Three Nobels – Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross is the only three-time recipient of the Nobel Prize (Peace Prize in 1917, 1944, and 1963)

Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen, and Kailash Satyarthi were three of the laureates who were citizens of the Republic of India.

Ronald Ross and Rudyard Kipling are the two of the Nobel laureates who were of foreign origin, but were born in India.

Hargobind Khorana, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Venkatraman, and Abhijit Banerjee were four of the laureates, who were Indian by birth but subsequently non-citizens of India.

Vande Bharat Express 2.0

Prime Minister flagged off the new and upgraded version of the Vande Bharat Express

TheVande Bharat train(Train 18) is an indigenously designed and manufactured semi high speed, self-propelled train 

The Vande Bharat coaches incorporate passenger amenities including on-board WiFi entertainment, GPS-based passenger information system, CCTVs, automatic doors in all coaches, rotating chairs.

It has aircraft-like bio-vacuum toilets for efficient flushing. Touch-free sensor-based fittings have been used for optimal consumption of water.

It also has provision of Divyang-friendly facilities(differently-abled friendly facilities).

It can achieve a maximum speed of 160 kmph due to faster acceleration and deceleration.

It also has an intelligent braking systemwith power regeneration for better energy efficiency thereby making it cost, energy and environment efficient.

New Features

An addition to the new Vande Bharat is that of amade-in-India ‘photo-catalytic ultraviolet air purification system’ that will filter and clean the air, deactivating 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.

The trains will be pre-fitted with the Kavach (theindigenously-developed train collision avoidance system)

Seats in all the travelling classes will have a side recliner facility.

This train reaches a top speed of 160 km per hour in 129 seconds, around 16 seconds faster than its predecessor

It also has a better riding index(lower the better) of 3.26 at 180 km per hour, from the earlier 3.87.

Riding indexis a global benwhat chmark for rolling stock calculated during trials by measuring vertical/lateral acceleration. In layman’s terms, how comfortable and steady the passenger is while the train is in motion is roughly the idea behind a riding index.

Coaches have disaster lights and their battery backupis for three hours

High Speed Rail

High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic.

While there is no single standard that applies worldwide, new lines in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph) and existing lines in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph) are widely considered to be high-speed

Bio-Vacuum Toilet

Scientifically, in thebio-vacuum toilet, human waste is discharged into a biodegradable tank system and converted into organic matter through composting, which reduces the bad odour as well as the consumption of water.

Swachh Survekshan 2022

Indore has been adjudged the cleanest city of India for the sixth year in a row, while Madhya Pradesh is the cleanest state in the country.

The awards were given away by President Draupadi Murmu as part of the [email protected] Swachh Survekshan 2022, hosted as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Surat is the second cleanest city and Navi Mumbai comes a close third in the category of cities with a population more than a lakh.

In the population category of less than one lakh, Panchgani and Karad from Maharashtra bagged the first and third positions respectively, while Patan from Chhattisgarh bagged the second 

Tirupati received the best city award in Safai Mitra Suraksha category, while Haridwar in Uttarakhand received the award for the best Ganga town in more than one lakh population cities. Shivamogga in Karnataka received the fast mover city award.

The State awards saw Madhya Pradesh emerge as the Cleanest State in the category of “more than 100 Urban Local Bodies”, relegating Chhattisgarh, the cleanest State of the previous three years, to second place. Maharashtra emerged as third cleanest State.

Similarly, Tripura got the cleanest State award in the “less than 100 urban local bodies category”, dislodging Jharkhand, which had won in the past two consecutive years. Jharkhand and Uttarakhand received the second and third spots respectively.

Swachh Survekshan Gramin, 2022

The Swachh Survekshan Gramin-2022 award ranks States and districts on the basis of their performance attained on key quantitative and qualitative Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) parameters and engagement of the rural community in the improvement of their sanitation status.

Telangana won the first prize under the Large States category under SSG 2022, Haryana was adjudged the second and Tamil Nadu the third.

Among the smaller States and Union territories, Andaman and Nicobar secured the first position followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Sikkim.

The President noted that since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in 2014, more than 11 crore toilets have been constructed and about 60 crore people have given up the practice of open defecation.

Murmu also informed that the Government of India was implementing the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, which was launched in 2020 and aimed to make all six lakh villages in the country `Open Defecation Free Plus’. 

Since the beginning of the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, more than 1.16 lakh villages have declared themselves as `ODF Plus’ and the work of solid and liquid waste management has also started in about three lakh villages.

The Draft Telecommunication Bill 2022

In a bid to do away with British-era laws governing the telecom sector, the Department of Telecommunications issued the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022.

Need for a new telecom bill

The new telecom Bill will provide a clear roadmap for industry restructuring and promote innovation.

The bill provides scope to government to completely revamp the entire digital regulatory framework.

It aims to balance the societal objectives, duties and rights of individuals and technology agnostic framework.

Key amendments to existing telecom laws

Consolidation of acts– The draft Bill consolidates three separate acts that govern the telecommunications sector

  1. Indian Telegraph Act 1885
  2. Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933
  3. The Telegraph Wires, (Unlawful Protection) Act 1950

Inclusion of OTT– The new-age over-the-top communication services like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram has been included in the definition of telecommunication services.

Inclusion of service providers– The providers of telecommunication services will be covered under the licensing regime and will be subjected to similar rules as telecom operators.

TRAI Act amendments– The Centre is also looking to amend the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act (TRAI Act) to dilute its function of being a recommendatory body.

The proposed Bill does away with the provision that mandates the telecom department to seek the TRAI’s views before issuing a new licence to a service provider.

It has also removed the provision that empowered TRAI to request the government to furnish information or documents necessary to make this recommendation.

It proposes to remove the provision where if the DoT cannot accept TRAI’s recommendations or needs modification, it had to refer back the recommendation for reconsideration by TRAI.

Spectrum owned by a defaulting operator– If a telecom entity in possession of spectrum goes through bankruptcy or insolvency, the assigned spectrum will revert to the control of the Centre.

Powers to Centre– The draft Bill gives the Centre powers to defer, convert into equity, write off or grant relief to any licensee under extraordinary circumstances.

Fund- It proposes to replace the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) with Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF).

USOF is the pool of funds generated by the 5% Universal Service Levy that is charged upon all telecom fund operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue.

Significance of the Bill

Insolvency cases have not had much success because there was no clarity on the ownership of spectrum.

The new Bill removes all ambiguity under the existing rules under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

DoT is aiming to simplify the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) procedure in this sector paving way for easier restructuring and mergers.

TRAI is being structured to work independently and responsible only to the parliament to prevent conflict of interest between the regulator and the licensor.

The telecom service providers now seek a level-playing field with OTT apps over communication services such as voice calls, messages, etc.

The TDF aims to boost connectivity in underserved urban areas, R&D, skill development, etc. whereas USOF has largely been used to aid rural connectivity.

DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test)

DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test)spacecraft collided with the space rock Dimorphos.

NASA has confirmed that the collision of the 600 kilogram weighing DART, on the Dimorphos(Didymos B), about five billion kilogram in mass (orbiting around the 780 metres wide primary asteroid Didymos), has deflected the trajectory of the pair of space rocks.

This kinetic impact technique is also known as the ‘kick’ method.

Working principle

The plan is forDART to fly directly into Dimorphos at 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kph), bumping it hard enough to shift its orbital track closer to its larger companion asteroid.

Cameras on the impactor and on a briefcase-sized mini-spacecraft released from DART days in advance are designed to record the collision and send images back to Earth.

DART’s own camera is expected to return pictures at the rate of one image per second during its final approach, with those images streaming live on NASA TV starting an hour before impact.

The DART team said it expects to shorten the orbital track of Dimorphos,proving the exercise as a viable technique to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth . A small nudge to an asteroid millions of miles away could be sufficient to safely reroute it away from the planet.

The DART craft carried a high-resolution DRACO(Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation) camera to observe the collision and its consequences.


It could one day save humanity from a potential cataclysmic collision by safely deflecting a killer asteroid on its course towards earth. Dimorphos and Didymos are both tiny compared with the cataclysmic Chicxulub asteroid that struck Earth some 66 million years ago, wiping out about three-quarters of the world’s plant and animal species including the dinosaurs.

It could also fuel space mining technologies and unleash the space economy in decades to come. For developing green energy technologies — electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage devices – and ushering in the low carbon economy of the future, rare earth elements such as yttrium, niobium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and scandium are critical. They are short in supply, and asteroid mining, it is believed, could solve the rare earth supply problem.


Leftover materials from the formation of the sun, earth and planets, through the accretion and agglomeration of giant gas and rocks, are scattered as comets, asteroids and meteoroids in the solar system. Most rocks are so small that they burn up completely in the atmosphere due to frictional heating. If they are large enough, the charred piece falls through as a meteorite.

China is set to deflect a 40m diameter earth-crossing asteroid called2020 PN1 sometime in 2026.

Other Asteroid related missions

NASA launched a probe on a voyage to theTrojan asteroid clusters orbiting near Jupiter, while the grab-and-go spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is on its way back to Earth with a sample collected in October 2020 from the asteroid Bennu.

TheEuropean Space Agency is set to launch the Hera mission in 2024, arriving at Didymos in early 2027 to take a close look at the remaining impact effects.

Additional Information

Meteoroid -A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body in outer space.

Asteroid -Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets

Comet – A comet is an icy, small Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, warms and begins to release gases, a process called outgassing. When a comet comes close to the Sun, the ices sublimate (go directly from the solid to the gas phase) and form, along with entrained dust particles, a bright outflowing atmosphere around the comet nucleus known as a coma.

Meteorite– A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originates in outer space and survives its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon

First Dugong Conservation Reserve

Tamil Nadu government has notified the country’s first ‘Dugong Conservation Reserve’ in Palk Bay covering the coastal waters of Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts with an area of 448 square kilometers.

With a long coastline of 1076 km and 14 coastal districts,Tamil Nadu is blessed to have rich marine biodiversity and is home to several rare and endangered fishes and turtle species and is well poised to lead in marine species conservation.

Seagrass beds are also thebreeding and feeding grounds for many commercially valuable fishes and marine fauna. Hence, thousands of fisher families directly depend on dugong habitats for their income.

Conserving dugongs will help to protect andimprove seagrass beds and sequestering more atmospheric carbon.



The dugongs (Dugong dugon), also called the sea cow, are the largest herbivorous marine mammal in the world thriving primarily on seagrass beds, a major carbon sink of the oceans.

They can grow upto 3 meters long, weigh about 300 kilograms, and live for about 65 to 70 years, grazing on seagrass and coming to the surface to breathe.

They are found in over 30 countriesand in India dugongs are seen in the Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kutch, Palk Bay, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

As of now, there are only about 240 individuals estimated to be present in the country and the majority is found in Tamil Nadu coast (Palk Bay).

Dugong is thestate animal of Andaman and Nicobar Island.

The loss of seagrass habitats, water pollution and degradation of the coastal ecosystemdue to developmental activities have made life tough for these slow-moving animals. Dugongs are also victims of accidental entanglement in fishing nets and collision with boats, trawlers.

Protection status:IUCN Red list: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I; WPA(1972): Schedule I.

US ratifies Kigali Amendment

In a major action to address climate change, the US Senate ratified an international agreement that compels the United States and other countries to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning that are far more powerful than carbon dioxide.


Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a group of industrial chemicalsprimarily used for cooling and refrigeration. 

HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and a substantial number are short-lived climate pollutants with a lifetime of between 15 and 29 years in the atmosphere.

HFCs are widespread in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols, foams and other products.

HFCs were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternativesto support the timely phase out of CFCs and HCFCs under Montreal Protocol. 

While these chemicals do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, HFCs were found to be extremely potent in causing global warming. Some of them have high Global Warming Potentials (GWPs)ranging from 12 to 14,000. 

So, the HFCs solved one problem, but were contributing in a major way to another. But these could not be eliminated under the original provisions of Montreal Protocol which was meant to phase-out ozone-destroying chemicals only. The Kigali Amendment enabled the Montreal Protocol to mandate the elimination of HFCs as well.

Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layeris an international environmental treaty that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS) including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans and the environmentfrom harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The widespread use of ODS had caused a hole in the Ozone layer of the atmosphere, which allowed some harmful radiation to reach the earth. These radiations were considered potential health hazards.

Adopted in 1987, the Montreal Protocol is the only UN treaty that has been ratified by every country.

Under this treaty, all parties have specific responsibilities related to the phase out of the different groups of ODS, control of ODS trade, annual reporting of data, national licensing systems to control ODS imports and exports, and other matters.

Developing and developed countries have equal but differentiated responsibilitiesalong with binding, time-targeted and measurable commitments.

The Montreal Protocol has been a far more effective and successful agreement than the climate change instruments. It has already resulted in the phase-out of 98.6% of ozone-depleting substances. The remaining 1.4% are the HCFCs that are in the process of being transitioned.


Kigali Agreement

The Parties to the Montreal Protocol reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties on 15 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda. The Agreement particularly aims at phasing out the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons which were first introduced as a substitute to ODSs namely CFCs and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons HCFCs.

Before the middle of this century, current HFC use has to be curtailed by at least 85 per cent. Countries have different timelines to do this. India has to achieve this target by 2047 while the developed countries have to do it by 2036. China and some other countries have a target of 2045.

While the reductions for the rich countries have to begin immediately, India, and some other countries, have to begin cutting their HFC use only from 2031.

The agreement came into force on 1st January 2019and as of 2022 138 countries have ratified the Kigali amendment so far.

The phasing down of HFCs is expected to prevent the emission to the tune of 105 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which would potentially help avoid a rise in global temperature up to 5 degreesCelsius by the year 2100.

Kigali Agreement legally binds the signatory countries with non-compliance measures.

India has already ratified the Kigali amendmentand it will complete its phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047.

NASA’s Perseverance rover

NASA’s Perseverance rover is close to completing its first set of objectives on MARS.

The NASA robot has collected a diverse set of rock samples that it will soon deposit on the surface, awaiting carriage to Earth by later missions. The goal is to have the samples back on Earth in 2033.

About the Perseverance rover

NASA launched its Mars Perseverance Rover on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. The rover landed at Jezero Crater in February 2021.

The Mars 2020 mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The Perseverance rover is the centrepiece of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The Mars 2020 rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.

Two other NASA landers are also operating on Mars — 2018’s InSight and 2012’s Curiosity 

Perseverance is the biggest, most sophisticated Mars rover ever built — a car-size vehicle bristling with cameras, microphones, drills and lasers.

The rover will hunt for signs of habitable environments on Mars while searching for signs of past microbial life.

The plutonium-powered, six-wheeled rover will drill down and collect tiny geologicalspecimens that will be brought back to the earth in about 2031 by a series of missions.

The analysis of Martian rocks on Earth will likely provide a reliable indication of whether life on Mars is feasible in the past or at present.

Perseverance will explore theJezero Crater, which is an ancient lakebed where microbial life could have developed.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration, carried by the Perseverance rover. A technology demonstration is a project that seeks to test a new capability for the first time, with limited scope.

Ingenuity helicopter has made the first powered flight on another planet.

It is significant given that Mars’ thin atmosphere (which is 99% less dense than Earth’s) makes it difficult to achieve enough lift.

The Eastern Economic Forum and India

Russia hosted the seventh Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) Vladivostok from September 5 to 8. The four-day forum is a platform for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses into Russia’s Far East (RFE).

Eastern Economic Forum

The EEF was established in 2015 to encourage foreign investments in the RFE. The EEF displays the economic potential, suitable business conditions and investment opportunities in the region.

As of 2022, almost 2,729 investment projects are being planned in the region. The agreements focus on infrastructure, transportation, mineral excavations, construction, industry and agriculture.

The primary objective of the EEF is to increase the Foreign Direct Investments in the RFE. The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich with natural resources such as fish, oil, natural gas, wood, diamonds and other minerals. 

The sparse population living in the region is another factor for encouraging people to move and work in the Far East. But despite the abundance and availability of materials, procuring and supplying them is an issue due to the unavailability of personnel.

The RFE is geographically placed at a strategic location; acting as a gateway into Asia. The Russian government has strategically developed the region with the aim of connecting Russia to the Asian trading routes.

Major actors in the Forum

This year, the Forum aimed at connecting the Far East with the Asia Pacific region. 

China is the biggest investor in the region as it sees potential in promoting the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the Polar Sea Route in the RFE.

China’s investments in the region account for 90% of the total investments. Russia has been welcoming Chinese investments since 2015; more now than ever due to the economic pressures caused by the invasion in Ukraine.

The Trans-Siberian Railway has further helped Russia and China in advancing trade ties. The countries share a 4000-kilometer-long border, which enables them to tap into each other’s resources with some infrastructural assistance.

Besides China, South Korea has also been gradually increasing its investments in the region. South Korea has invested in shipbuilding projects, manufacturing of electrical equipment, gas-liquefying plants, agricultural production and fisheries.

Japan is another key trading partner in the Far East. Japan seeks to depend on Russian oil and gas resources after the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima which led the government to pull out of nuclear energy.

India’s Vision

India seeks to expand its influence in the RFE. During the forum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the country’s readiness in expanding trade, connectivity and investments in Russia.

India is keen to deepen its cooperation in energy, pharmaceuticals, maritime connectivity, healthcare, tourism, the diamond industry and the Arctic. 

In 2019, India also offered a $1 billion line of credit to develop infrastructure in the region. Through the EEF, India aims to establish a strong inter-state interaction with Russia.

Balance between the EEF and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

The U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and the EEF are incomparable based on its geographic coverage and the partnership with the host-countries.

India has vested interests in both the forums and has worked towards balancing its involvement. India has not shied away from investing in the Russia-initiated EEF despite the current international conditions.

At the same time, India has given its confirmation and acceptance to three of the four pillars in the IPEF. The country understands the benefits of being involved in the development in the RFE but it also perceives the IPEF as a vital platform to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Delisting of registered unrecognized parties

The Election Commission has ordered the delisting of 86 registered unrecognised political parties it found to be “non-existent” and declared 253 others “inactive”.

Unrecognized political parties

Either newly registered parties (under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951) or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered registered unrecognised political parties. Such parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.

Provisions for recognized party status

A recognised political party shall either be a National party or a State party if it meets certain laid down conditions.

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, lays down the criteria for declaring any registered political party as a national party or a state party.

National Party

As per the Election symbols order, a registered political party needs to fulfil at least one of the following three conditions to be recognised as a national party:

It needs to win a minimumtwo percent of seats in the Lok Sabha (11 seats) from at least three different states.

It needs to get at least six percent of votes in four statesin Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, in addition to winning four Lok Sabha seats.

It needs to get recognised as a state party in four or more states.

State Party

In order to be recognised as a state party, a political party needs to fulfil at least one of the four criteria laid down by the Election Commission of India.

A political party will be recognised as a state party:

    • If it wins three percent of the total seatsin the Legislative Assembly of the state (subject to a minimum of three seats).
    • If it wins one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the state.
    • If it gets at least six percent of votesin a state during a Lok Sabha or Assembly election. In addition, it also needs to win at least one Lok Sabha or two Legislative Assembly seats.
    • If it winsat least eight percent votes in a state during the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly elections.

Benefits of being a recognised state party or national party

If a party is recognised as a ‘State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State of States in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India. 

The registered unrecognised political parties do not have the privilege of contesting elections on affixed symbol of their own. They have to choose from a list of ‘free symbols’issued by the Commission.

However, the candidates set up by a political party registered with the Election Commission of India will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.

Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.

Triple dip’ La Nina

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the occurrence of the ‘Triple dip’ La Niña phenomenon.

The La Niña weather pattern is one of the three phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

La Niña is caused by large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

La Niña is also the opposite of the widely-known El Niño, which only occurs when the Pacific Ocean water is higher than normal.

‘Triple dip’ La Niña phenomenon means that the La Niña phenomenon has occurred for the third consecutive year in the Pacific Ocean.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) had stated that it is exceptional to have three consecutive years with a la Niña event.

Its cooling influence is temporarily slowing the rise in global temperatures – but it will not halt or reverse the long-term warming trend.

The WMO has stated that this phenomenon would last until at least the end of the year, and for the first time this century, span 3 consecutive northern hemisphere winters to become a ‘triple dip’ La Nina.

Reasons for ‘Triple dip’ La Nina – The continuing La Nina may be good for India but not for some other countries.

Under climate change conditions, one must expect more such instances.

El Niño has been associated with rising heatwaves and extreme temperatures, such as in parts of the US, Europe and China recently.

India’s Northeast monsoon rainfall remained subdued during past La Niña events, but the 2021 monsoon is an exception in recent years.

In 2021, the southern Indian peninsula experienced its wettest recorded winter monsoon since 1901, receiving a whopping 171% surplus of rainfall between October and December.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

Recently, the second Anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) was celebrated.

PMMSY envisages generation of 68 lakh Employment by the end of 2024-25.

PMMSY was introduced by the Government of India, as part of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ package with the investment of Rs. 20,050 crores, the highest ever investment in the Fishery sector.

Fishermen are provided with insurance cover, financial assistance and a facility of Kisan Credit Card as well.

Aim and Objectives:

PMMSY aims towards the purpose of rural development by utilizing rural resources and boosting rural economy in a rapid way.

The main motto of PMMSY is ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’ in the fisheries sector.

The reforms and initiatives in PMMSY scheme have been inculcated in Core & trunk infrastructure development

Modernization of Indian fisheries by undertaking the efforts such as:

  • Push for new fishing harbours/landing centres
  • Modernisation and mechanization of traditional fishermen crafts-trawlers-deep sea going vessels
  • Provision of post-harvest facilities to reduce post-harvest loss
  • Cold chains facilities
  • Two wheelers with ice boxes


It is implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

Central Sector Scheme: The project cost will be borne by the Central government.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme: All the sub-components/activities will be implemented by the States/UTs and the cost will be shared between the Centre and State.

Human Development Index 2021

Recently, the Human Development Index 2021 was released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

In 1990, Pakistani economist Mahbub -ul-Haq developed the Human Development Index (HDI).

The HDI released by the UNDP in its Human Development Report.

It measures average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development,

    • A long and healthy life,
    • Access to education and
    • A decent standard of living.

It is calculated using the following four indicators

    • Life expectancy at birth,
    • Mean years of schooling,
    • Expected years of schooling, and
    • Per capita Gross National Income.

Findings– Switzerland, Norway and Iceland topped the HDI 2021.

India ranked 132ndamong 191 countries and territories on the HDI 2021-2022. Last year, the country ranked 131.

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

President Droupadi Murmu has appointed Justice D.Y. Chandrachud as the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

The NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.

While the CJI is the Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court of India is the executive chairperson of the Authority.


The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

It came into force in 1995.

It was enacted by the Parliament to give effect to Article 39 A of the Constitution of India which guarantees free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that they are not denied access to justice by reason of economic or other disability.

The NALSA is headed by the Chief Justice of India as its Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court is the Executive Chairman.

Regional Bodies

In every State, the State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.

The State Legal Services Authority is headed by the Chief Justice of the respective High Courtwho is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.

In every District, the District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.

Night Sky Sanctuary (Dark Sky Reserve)

In a unique and first-of-its-kind initiative, the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt of India, has undertaken to set up India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary”.

A part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary at Hanle, Ladakhis all set to become India’s first Dark Sky Reserve.

An Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.

The need for one

It will boost Astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes.

Help in boosting local tourism and economy through interventions of Science and Technology.


Why Ladakh?

The locations is away from any form of human disturbance

Clear sky conditions and dry weather conditions exist throughout the year

At a height of 4,500 metres, Hanle is already home to an optical, a gamma ray and an infrared telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory complex operated by the IIA. These telescopes have been used to study stars, galaxies, exoplanets and the evolution of our Universe

INS Vikrant

Prime Minister commissioned India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant into the Indian Navy.

INS Vikrant / Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1) is the first indigenously built aircraft carrier,constructed by Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

It uses a Short Take Off- Barrier-Assisted Recovery system (STOBAR) to launch and recover aircraft.

The aircraft carrier will be able to accommodate up to 30 fighters and helicopters, including Mig-29K fighters jets and Ka-31 helicopters.

INS Vikrant– The first indigenous aircraft carrier-Motto of the IAC is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah. It is taken from Rigveda 1.8.3.

Aircraft Carriers

A vessel that acts as a seagoing airbase with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft is known as an aircraft carrier.

IAC-1 has a STOBAR (short take off but arrested recovery) system of aircraft launch and recovery on the flight deck.

    • STOBAR (“Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery”) is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier, combining elements of “short take-off and vertical landing” (STOVL) with “catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery” (CATOBAR).
  • INS Vishal– proposed to be India’s 2nd indigenous aircraft carrier

Need for aircraft carriers

By its diplomatic and tactical power,its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets.

One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third-party countries, reduces the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increases the time of availability on the combat zone.

Maritime Capability Perspective Planof the Navy envisages a force level of three aircraft carriers, to ensure development of a capability to operate two Carrier Battle Groups (CBGs) at any given time.

The combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier would add formidable capabilities in the defence of the country and help secure India’s interests in the maritime domain

Its induction will give a fillip to the sea control capabilities of the Navy in the Indian Ocean Region. ·

These measures would help enhance the Navy’s operational reach and prowess to protect India’s maritime interests.

There is an aggressive effort by China to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean Region.

While the Indian Navy currently operates aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and now INS Vikrant, it is keen to add a third one(INS Vishal) to its fleet in line with its prospective plan to simultaneously operate three carrier battle groups (CBG) so that two of them remain serviceable on either flank at any given time.

Aircraft Carriers of India

First Aircraft Carrier in India – INS Vikrant (1957)- Bought from the UK- decommissioned in 1997.

    • It served as the main blockade for the country against the Pakistan Naval Force in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

INS Viraat–Bought from the UK- officially decommissioned in 2017. INS Viraat holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest serving warship of the world. Viraat played a major role in Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation. It also saw action during Op Parakram in 2001-2002, post the terrorist attack on Parliament.

INS Vikramaditya – bought from Russia. It operates on the STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system of launch and recovery of the aircraft.

INS Vikrant– The first indigenous aircraft carrier– to be commissioned in 2022

INS Vishal– proposed to be India’s 2nd indigenous aircraft carrier

Appointment of Chief Justice of India

Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has been appointed as the 49th Chief Justice of India. He will only be the second CJI to have been appointed directly from the Supreme Court Bar Association, without serving as a judge of a high court.

India’s highest judicial post is the Chief Justice of India.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President under Article 124 (2) of the Indian Constitution.

Article 124 also says that appointment by the President is to be done “after consultation” with judges of the Supreme Court, as the President may “deem necessary”.

Article 217, which deals with the appointment of High Court judges, says the President should consult the CJI, Governor, and Chief Justice of the High Court concerned.

Qualifications– Apart from being an Indian citizen, the person to be appointed as the Chief Justice of India must

    1. Have been for at least 5 years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession or
    2. Have been for at least 10 years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession, or
    3. Be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

Collegium System – The more than two decades-old collegium system is followed in the appointment of judges, consisting of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

The government gets a background inquiry done by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) at times from the names first suggested for appointment by the collegium.

While the government can also raise objections, usually the collegium’s will prevails.

The term “collegium” is not mentioned in the constitution, which only speaks of consultation by the President.

Given the ambiguity of the word “consult”, this method of appointment has often been challenged in the courts.

Seniority– Usually, the seniormost judge of the court after the chief justice (in terms of the years served) is recommended as the successor.

This convention was discarded by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who appointed Justice AN Ray as CJI in 1973 over his seniors.

According to the government’s Memorandum of procedure for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges, seniority is to be the norm.

The Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs seeks the recommendation of the outgoing CJI for appointing the next CJI.

After the collegium’s recommendations are finalised and received from the CJI, the Law Minister will put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister who will advise the President on the matter of appointment.

Challenging the Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.

The writ petition has said that the provisions of Special Marriage Act contravene Article 14as well as Article 15 as these requirements are absent in personal laws such as Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and customary laws in Islam.

The writ petition has called it as violative of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21of the Constitution as they require a notice of 30 days before the date of marriage inviting objections from the public.

The petition sought to commiserate the marriage laws to one that is more in tune with just decisional autonomy of two individuals and less to do with social sanction of their marriage.

According to the petitioner, there is no legitimate state interest that is being protected by the publication of personal and intimate details of parties who are getting married.

Why has the court dismissed the petition?

The bench rejected the writ petition on the grounds that the petitioner was no longer an aggrieved party as she had already solemnised her marriage under SMA.

The court further observed that if a personal cause is raised then it ceases to be a PIL.

Another writ petition in Nandini Praveen vs Union of India & Othersfiled on similar grounds was admitted by the Supreme Court in 2020 and the government’s reply to is awaited.

What provisions have been challenged?

Section 5 of the SMA– It requires couples getting married under it to give a notice to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the date of marriage.

Section 6– It requires such a notice to be then entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer.

These notices have to be affixed at a conspicuous place in the office of the Marriage Officer so that anyone can raise an objection to the marriage.

Section 7-It provides the process for making an objection.

Section 8– It specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.

How do these provisions make couples vulnerable?

The public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.

For persons who often marry without their parent’s consent this can be life-threatening.

There have been instances, where marriage officers have gone over and beyond the law and sent such notices to the parents of the couple.

In certain States, couples have to seek a no-objection certificate from their parents.

The Maharashtra and Kerala government publicly shares the details of couples marrying under SMA on its website.

The Haryana government has laid down 16 pre-requisites which ask couples to issue a notice in a newspaper and that such notices be sent to their parents.

The behaviour of the staff at the SDM’s office is often complained for deletion or delay and dissuasion of couples from marrying under SMA.

With as many as 11 States passing anti-conversion (or so called love-jihad) laws, parents and the State are now armed to punish and harass such couples.

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India has signed a $96.3-million loan agreement to provide safe drinking water and improve water supply and sanitation services in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

The project is aligned with the objectives of the Government of India’s Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024 and it will upgrade water supply infrastructure and strengthen institutional capacity to ensure safe, sustainable, and inclusive rural water supply and sanitation services.

About ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was founded in 1966 with the primary mission of fostering growth and cooperation among countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.

At present, ADB comprises 68 members (including India)- of which 49 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.

The two largest shareholders of the ADB are the US and Japan.

ADB is an official United Nations Observer.


ADB envisions a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in the region. Despite the region’s many successes, it remains home to a large share of the world’s poor: 263 million living on less than $1.90 a day and 1.1 billion on less than $3.20 a day.

ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

Agasthiyamalai Elephant Reserve

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, announced the notification of Agasthiyamalai Elephant Reserve in Tamil Nadu.

The new reserve will be spread over an area of 1,197 sq.kms in Agasthiyamalai.

This will be the 31stElephant Reserve in the country.

In the last 3 years, Dandeli Elephant Reserve in Karnataka, Singphan Elephant Reserve in Nagaland and Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh has been notified.

Indian Elephant

It is found in the central and southern Western Ghats, North East India, eastern India and northern India and in some parts of southern peninsular India.

It is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).

The Indian elephant is found in 16 states in the country and is showing an increasing trend across its distributional range.

The population of the animals had become critically low in 1992.

That is when Project Elephant was launched to ensure the protection of the pachyderms and their environment.

According to the 2017 elephant census, Karnataka had the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).

Project Elephant

It was launched by the Government of India in the year 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with following objectives:

  1. To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors
  2. To address issues of man-animal conflict
  3. Welfare of captive elephants

The Project is being mainly implemented in 16 States / UTs , viz. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.

World Elephant Day

It is an international annual event, celebrated on 12thof August every year.

The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.

Fiscal Deficit

The central government’s fiscal deficit stood at Rs 3.52 lakh crore in April-June, accounting for 21.2 percent of the full-year target.

The Centre is targeting a fiscal deficit of Rs 16.61 lakh crore for FY23, or 6.4 percent of GDP.


The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted in It is concerned with the maintenance of a balance between government revenue and government spending.

The Act set targets for the government to reduce fiscal deficits. It was mandated that both states and the centre would cut the fiscal deficit to 3% by 2008-09. The targets were put off several times.

    • Fiscal deficit is the difference between total expenditure and total receipts except borrowing and other liabilities.

The Act also mandated that along with the budget, the Central Government should place the following three policy statements before houses of Parliament.

    • Medium-term Fiscal Policy Statement: It sets a three-year rolling target for specific fiscal indicators and examines whether revenue expenditure can be financed through revenue receipts on a sustainable basis and how productively capital receipts including market borrowings are being utilised.
    • Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement:It sets the priorities of the government in the fiscal area, examining current policies and justifying any deviation in important fiscal measures.
    • Macroeconomic Framework Statement: It assesses the prospects of the economy with respect to the GDP growth rate, fiscal balance of the central government and external balance.

In 2016, the government set up a committee under NK Singh to review the FRBM Act. The government believed the targets were too rigid.

Recommendations of NK Singh Committee

The committee recommended that the central government should bring down the fiscal deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2020, cut it to 2.8% in 2020-21 and 2.5% by 2023.

The committee also recommended that states should keep their fiscal deficit under 3% of their respective gross state domestic product (GSDP).

It also suggested that India should adopt a debt-to-GDP ratio as a new anchor of fiscal policy along with the fiscal deficit and gradually bring it down to 60 per cent — comprising 40 per cent for the Centre and 20 per cent for the states. 

Current Status

However, Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown led to a sharp rise in deficit level as government spending jumped to support the economy.

At present, the Centre is targeting a fiscal deficit of 4 percent of GDP for the Financial Year 2022-23. The government aims to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.5 per cent by 2024-25.

Foreigners’ Tribunals

The Gauhati High Court has asked the Centre and the Assam government to decide collectively whether the ministerial staff for 200 additional Foreigners’ Tribunals would be appointed.

Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.

It is unique to Assam (due to Assam’s National Register of Citizens).

Establishment – In the beginning, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the 1964 Order to empower district magistrates in all States and UTs to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

Powers of Tribunal – According to the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 the Foreigners’ Tribunal,

    1. Shall have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
    2. Can summon and ask for the attendance of any person and examine him/her on oath.
    3. Can ask anyone to produce the required documents,
    4. Can commission examining any witness, as and when required.

Working – Under the provisions of Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964, only Foreigner Tribunals have the right to declare a person as a foreigner.

The FT is for those who have been left out in the final NRC list or have been marked as ‘D’ (‘doubtful’). The ones falling under this category have the right to appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal.

Res judicata

In law, there is a principle known as res judicata, which (barring exceptional circumstances) prevents anyone from reopening an issue that has been decided by a court.

The purpose behind res judicata is to prevent the continuous harassment of ordinary people by powerful authorities, such as the State.

This principle protects individuals against State impunity.

However, the Gauhati high court (HC) in 2018 held that foreigners’ tribunals were not bound by the principle of res judicata.

Bodily Autonomy – MTP Act

The Supreme Court of India has allowed an abortion at 24 weeks for an unmarried woman under the 51-year-old Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 and its Rules of 2003 prohibit unmarried women who are between 20 and 24 weeks pregnant to abort with the help of registered medical practitioners.

The Supreme Court, while loosening this provision, said that the prohibition of abortion was manifestly arbitrary and violative of women’s right to bodily autonomy and dignity.

Intention of the law– The rules permit termination of pregnancies up to 24 weeks in 7 specific categories, including survivors of rape or sexual assault, minors, in case of physical disabilities and fetal malformation.

The intention of the law is not to allow abortion freely to all, not to liberalize.

However, an unmarried woman whose pregnancy is over 20 weeks may have also conceived in a similarly vulnerable situation.

Significance– This SC judgment would put these unmarried women on a par with women with less than 20-week-old pregnancies who run the danger of suffering a mental breakdown as they had conceived.

This judgment also puts these unmarried women on a par with the married woman.

The MTP Act has not just used the word ‘husband’. It has also used the word ‘partner’. So, the legislature is not just concerned about women who undergo pregnancy within marriage, but outside marriage too.

Rules– The implementation of abortion in the case is subject to the decision of a medical board constituted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi (AIIMS).

This medical board will determine if terminating this pregnancy at this stage is medically safe for the woman.

Minerals Security Partnership

Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is a new US-led partnership initiative of 11 nations that aims to bolster critical mineral supply chains.

Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is an ambitious new alliance formed by the US to secure supply chains of critical minerals.

The US and 10 partners – Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission – have come together to form the MSP.

This partnership was formed due to the massive supply-chain disruptions caused by the global ‘China-plus-one’ strategy adopted post the Covid-19 pandemic.

MSP was formed in order to break the dominance and reduce dependence on China in mining and processing rare earth minerals.

The goal of the alliance is to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in a manner that supports the ability of countries to realise the full economic development benefit of their geological endowments.

The focus would be on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithiumand also the 17 rare earth minerals.

MSP is aimed at catalysing investmentfrom governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards.

India is not part of the MSP, but New Delhi is working through diplomatic channels to fetch an entry.

Importance of the minerals – Minerals like Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium are required for batteries used in electric vehicles.

REEs are an essential – although often tiny – component of more than 200 consumer products, including mobile phones, hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, flatscreen monitors, high-end electronics, etc.

According to a report released by the International Energy Agency in 2021 and subsequently updated in March 2022, the major producers of critical minerals globally are Chile, Indonesia, Congo, China, Australia and South Africa.

Rare Earth Elements

    • The Rare earth elements (REE) include 17 elements. They are,
      1. The 15 Lanthanides (atomic numbers 57 – which is Lanthanum – to 71 in the periodic table)
      2. Scandium (atomic number 21) and
      3. Yttrium (atomic number 39).
    • REEs are classified as
      1. Light RE elements (LREE) and
      2. Heavy RE elements (HREE).
    • Some REEs are available in India — such as Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and Samarium, etc.
    • Others such as Dysprosium, Terbium, and Europium, which are classified as HREEs, are not available in Indian deposits in extractable quantities.
  • Hence, there is a dependence on countries such as China for HREEs, which is one of the leading producers of REEs, with an estimated 70% share of the global production.

Seekho aur Kamao Scheme

The ‘Seekho Aur Kamao’ scheme has met its target of earmarking 33% of the total trained beneficiaries for female beneficiaries.

The overall percentage of females trained under the scheme since its inception is 56.59%. This means that the scheme has surpassed the prescribed norm of 33% reservation for female beneficiaries.

The Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn) Scheme is a 100% Central Sector Scheme for “Skill Development of Minorities“, which is implemented from 12th Five Year Plan.

The aim of this scheme is to upgrade the skills of minority youth (age group of 14-35 years) and ensure 75% placements, out of which 50% should be in the organized sector.

The minimum qualification of trainee should be at least Class V.

Post placement support of Rs. 2000/- per month is provided to placed trainees for two months as placement assistance.

Objectives of the Scheme

To conserve and update modern and traditional skills of minorities and establish their linkages with JOB market.

To improve employability of existing workers, school dropouts etc, and to generate means of better livelihood for marginalized minorities.

The scheme will aim at upgrading the skills of the minority youths in various modern/traditional vocations depending upon the

  • Educational qualification of the minority youths,
  • Present economic trends and
  • The market potential, which can earn them a suitable employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self employment.


This scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) through selected Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs).

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has been assigned for the implementation of Seekho aur Kamao scheme for union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The pattern of funding and course will be as per the common norms issued by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.


The scheme will be implemented for the benefit of the 6 notified minority communities under National Commission for Minorities Act 1992.

The six minority communities are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains.

However, in the States/UTs where some other minority communities notified by respective State/UT Governments exist, they may also be considered but they will not occupy more than 5% of the total seats.

The scheme can be taken up anywhere in the country but preference will be given to organizations that impart training and propose the program for identified minority concentration districts/ towns/ blocks.


Recently, The US House of Representatives passed a legislative amendment that exempts India from economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) , for purchasing the S-400 missile defence system from Russia in 2018.


CAATSA is a law that came into effect in the US in 2017, and was meant to punish countries having deep engagements with Russia, North Korea, and Iran using economic sanctions. It said countries having a “significant transaction” with Russian intelligence and military agents will be subject to at least five kinds of sanctions.

Ordinary transactions will not invite sanctions, and the decision of who has sanctions imposed on them comes down to the interpretation of “significant transaction”. This is one of the various waivers or exemptions mentioned, such as the transaction not affecting US strategic interests, not endangering the alliances it is a part of, etc.

India has purchased the S-400 Triumf missile system, which has advanced capabilities to judge the distance from a target and launch a surface-to-air missile attack. Five such systems were bought by India in 2018 for US$ 5.5 billion and in November last year, their delivery began. They were deployed in Punjab.

However, the application of CAATSA is not limited to the S-400, and may include other joint ventures for manufacturing or developing weapons in the future, or any other kinds of major deals with Russia.

In 2020, Turkey was sanctioned for its purchase of the S-400 system.

Why was CAATSA not imposed on India till now?

The US had never categorically stated whether CAATSA would apply to India. In March 2022, it was reported that President Biden was yet to decide on the matter, possibly due to India’s importance as a strategic ally in the region for the US.

With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the US hardening its stance against Russia, India has continued its neutrality and not joined any of the sanctions against Russia imposed by Western countries. India has mentioned the need for the S-400 missiles for its border defence several times in the past.

The External Affairs Ministry had stated  that “India has always pursued an independent foreign policy. This also applies to our defence acquisitions and supplies which are guided by our national security interests.”

US-China’s tussle on Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of U.S House Representatives and veteran Democrat politician recently visited Taiwan. Her visit, ignoring China’s threats and warnings, has risked triggering a dangerous escalation amid already worsening ties. Beijing has responded by announcing military drills near Taiwan and more countermeasures could follow.

History of China-Taiwan relation

Taiwan is located in the East China Sea, to the northeast of Hong Kong, north of the Philippines and south of South Korea, and southwest of Japan.

At present, it is a democracy with a separate government and a military.

Taiwan, earlier known as Formosa and formally as the Republic of China (ROC), was administered by the imperial Qing dynasty.

Its control passed to the Japanese in 1895 by the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the island passed back into Chinese hands.

After the communists led by Mao Zedong won the civil war in mainland China, Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the nationalist Kuomintang party, fled to Taiwan in 1949.

Chiang Kai-shek set up the government of the Republic of China on the island, and remained President until 1975.

In 1971, the UNGA recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the only legitimate representative of China to the global body and does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country.

In fact, only 13 countries around the world, mainly in South America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and the Vatican, recognizes Taiwan.

In recent years, Taiwan’s government has said only the Island’s 23 million people have the right to decide their future and that it will defend itself when attacked.

Since 2016, Taiwan has elected a party that leans towards independence.

US stand over Taiwan

Strategic ambiguity– The US has maintained a “One China Policy” since the 1970s, under which it recognizes Taiwan as a part of China.

US has unofficial ties with Taiwan as well and this strategy is known as strategic or deliberate ambiguity.

In May, 2022, President Biden said that the US would defend Taiwan if it was invaded, but it was soon clarified that America does not support Taiwan’s independence.

While the US has no formal ties with Taipei, it remains Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier.

China’s Opposition to the visit

Beijing has never recognised the existence of Taiwan as an independent political entity, arguing that it was always a Chinese province.

The Chinese government also passed a law in 2005, giving Beijing the legal basis for military action if it judges Taiwan to have seceded or to be about to.

For China, the presence of a senior American figure in Taiwan would indicate some kind of US support for Taiwan’s independence.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang has said that the visit would severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It will gravely impact the foundation of China-US relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces.

Santhal Tribe

Indian President Draupadi Murmu belongs to the Santhal tribe of Odisha which is spread over several states in eastern India.


Santhals are one of the largest tribal communities. (The largest tribe in India is the Bhil, followed by the Gonds and the Santhals).

Before establishing themselves on the Chotanagpur plateau, the Santhals were a nomadic people.

They had gathered in the Jharkhand Santhal Parganas (earlier Bihar) by the end of the 18th century (earlier Bihar). They moved to West Bengal and Odisha from there.

They lived in Bihar’s Rajmahal Hills and were primarily into agriculture. These regions were governed by the Bengal Presidency, whose authority the British took over in 1757 following the Battle of Plassey.

The British sought Santhals to increase their agricultural earnings and Santhals consented to clear forests so they might engage in established agriculture. Many Santhals came to settle in this area as a result of promises of land and economic benefits. Many territories were designated as Damin-i-Koh or Santal Pargana in 1832.

However, British exploitation gradually increased to the point where it gave birth to the Santhal Rebellion.

    • Lord Cornwallis established the Permanent Settlement in several regions in the country, including Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, in 1793. As long as landowners paid a set revenue to the British government, they were granted perpetual and hereditary rights to the land under the permanent revenue system. In the event that the peasants were unable to pay their rent, the British sold various tribal holdings by auctioning off sizable swaths of land belonging to the Santhals to anybody willing to give them a certain amount of money.

The Santhal lost authority over the land during this period, and their long-standing governmental and tribal systems also came to an end.

The assault of the Zamindari system that they imposed upset Santhal existence. They were reduced to becoming enslaved, landless workers in their own houses. The Santhal lands were taken and abused by the local landowners.

The fact that the Santhals used a barter system and had difficulty paying the zamindars in cash was another justification for the revolt. As a result, they were forced to borrow money from moneylenders at excessive interest rates, which finally put them in a vicious cycle

Two years before to the Revolt of 1857, on June 30, 1855, two Santhal brothers named Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu organised 10,000 Santhals and declared a revolt against the British. Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand, and Bhairav – the four Murmu Brothers, led the uprising. Phulo and Jhano– sisters of the Murmu brothers also actively participated in the uprising.

The Santhals took part in guerilla conflict. Therail and postal networks were destroyed by the Santhal army.

Additional Information

The yearly celebration ofHul Divas is held on June 30 in honour of the tribal leaders- Sidho and Kanhu Murmu of the Santhal Hul (rebellion) on June 30, 1855, in Bhognadih in the Sahebganj district

The Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, which the British passed in 1876 and which provided some protection for the indigenous people against exploitation

The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution recognises Santhali as one of the scheduled languages. Santhali is written in the OI-Chiki script.

Ramsar sites

As per Environment ministry statistics, India has added five more Ramsar sites, or wetlands that are of international importance, bringing the number of such sites to 54 from 49.

The newly added sites are 

  1. Karikili Bird Sanctuary, 
  2. Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest
  3. Pichavaram Mangrove in Tamil Nadu, 
  4. The Sakhya Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and 
  5. Pala Wetland in Mizoram.

The National Wetland Inventory and Assessment compiled by the Indian Space Research Organization estimates India’s wetlands to span around 1,52,600 square kilometres which is 4.63% of the total geographical area of the country.

No other South Asian country has as many sites.Until 1981, India had 41 Ramsar sites though the last decade has seen the sharpest rise of 13 in designating new sites.

A little over two-fifths are inland natural wetlands and about a quarter are coastal wetlands.

India has 19 types of wetlands whereas Gujarat has the maximum area followed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The United Kingdom (175) and Mexico (142), smaller countries than India have the maximum Ramsar sites whereas Bolivia spans the largest area with 148,000 sq km under the Convention protection.

Wetlands in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat serve as important spaces for migratory birds.

Wetlands are also known to have among the highest soil-carbon densitiesand therefore play a major role in buffering carbon dioxide emissions.

Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance signed in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem (wetlands).

At present, 172 nations are signatories (including India) to the Ramsar Convention. A contracting party agrees to nominate at least one wetland in its territory to the List of Wetlands of International Importance based on enumerated criteria.

In addition, contracting parties agree to manage all their wetlands based on the concept of “wise use.” Wise use means the maintenance of the ecological character of the wetland and allowance of sustainable use for the benefit of people and the environment.

Montreux record

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

Currently, Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur) are being kept under the record for taking appropriate steps for ecological restoration. Chilika lake (Odisha) was placed in the record but was later removed from it.

Acquiring this label also helps with a locale’s tourism potential and its international visibility. 



A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem

The Ramsar Convention defines wetlands as “areas of marsh, fen, peatlands or water,whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres“.

Five major wetland types are generally recognized: 

  • marine (coastal wetlands including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs);
  • estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps);
  • lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes);
  • riverine (wetlands along rivers and streams); and
  • palustrine (meaning “marshy” – marshes, swamps and bogs).

The definition of wetlands is very broad and includes ponds, water storage areas, low-tide coastal zones and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

India Innovation Index-2022

NITI Aayog has released the India Innovation Index-2022. The idea of the index is to showcase the government’s initiative to create an innovation-driven economy.

About the Index

Prepared by NITI Aayog and the Institute for Competitiveness, the India Innovation Index is a comprehensive tool for the evaluation and development of the country’s innovation ecosystem. 

It ranks the states and the union territories on their innovation performance to build healthy competition amongst them.

The third edition highlights the scope of innovation analysis in the country by drawing on the framework of the Global Innovation Index.

The number of indicators has increased from 36 (in the India Innovation Index 2020) to 66 (in the India Innovation Index 2021). The indicators are now distributed across 16 sub-pillars,which, in turn, form seven key pillars.

Highlights of the Index

Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level. The State has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.

Manipur secured the lead in the Northeast and Hill States category, while Chandigarh was the top performer in the Union Territories and City States category.

Karnataka was followed by Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat were at the bottom of the index.

Pointing out that India’s average innovation score is arguably insufficient, given the country’s ambitious targets to be named among the top 25 nations in the Global Innovation Index, the report by the government think tank has recommended measures, such as increasing Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD), promoting private sector participation in R&D and closing the gap between industry demand and what the country produces through its education systems.

The report went on to state that countries that spend less on GDERD fail to retain their human capital in the long run and the ability to innovate is dependent on the quality of human capital; India’s GDERD as a percentage of GDP stood at about 0.7%.

The report recommends GDERD for improvement and should touch at least 2%, which would play an instrumental role in India achieving the goal of a 5 trillion economy and further influence its innovative footprint across the globe.