May 31, 2022

Mains Article
31 May 2022

Needed, education data that engages the poor parent


  • The contradictory results on learning surveys of ASER and NAS in intriguing Rajasthan Case study has raised question on the reliability of dataset being gathered.
  • According to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019 data, Rajasthan was among the bottom five States in learning levels, while in National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2017, Rajasthan was among the top performers.

About ASER and NAS

  • Survey agency: ASER is led by the non­governmental organisation, NGO Pratham and NAS is led by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
  • Test administration: ASER is a household survey, NAS is a school based survey.
  • Coordination: ASER is conducted each year by surveyors from partner organizations in each district like District Institute of Education & Training (DIETs), teacher training colleges, universities, NGOs and others, while NAS is being coordinated by state agencies like SCERTs and State Institute Of Education (SIEs).
  • Evaluation: While ASER conducts its assessment one-on-one in oral format , NAS is a pen-paper test administered to a group of students in school.
  • Extent: ASER is aimed at a representative sample of all children (whether in school or out of school), NAS takes into account the children enrolled in government schools.
  • Skills: ASER focuses on foundational skills such as reading and math, while NAS looks at wider verity of skills.
  • Coverage: ASER aims to cover all rural districts each year and NAS aims to cover all 36 states and Union Territories.

Importance of education data

  • Given that educational planning has been recognized as an integral part of socio-economic planning, reliable and elaborate statistical base in education is necessary.
  • Educational statistics assume greater significance today in view of the structural and systematic changes that are rapidly taking place in the social and economic sectors in India
  • The availability of timely, relevant and reliable information on education at all levels (national, state, district, sub-district and school levels) makes a critical input for  effective educational planning, administration, monitoring and evaluation.

Limitations of the data collection

  • Limited resonance with parents: Despite wide consensus among policymakers recognizing that end-users (parents) are one of the key constituencies of school data, and intense efforts to disseminate data among them, it is rarely used by poor parents.
  • The end users of data are mostly school administrators, government agencies, researchers, and civil society activists.
  • No sub-categorization: A national level policy is just one form of an inspiring education vision. Presently, there is no vision of education below the national level, least of all at those which engage the marginalized like village, block level.
  • Varied objectives: For parents, schooling is about examination outcome, which is a proxy for learning English language skills and a chance for secondary and graduate level degrees.
  • Mere bureaucratic practice: The district and school development plans introduced in national level programmes such as the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have largely remained administrative practices.
  • Feedbacks: Data on school education is collected to measure and monitor, fix flaws and reward achievements at the State and the national levels. The data is descriptor of the way things are in a government school and there is no input methodology for feedbacks on data collected and actions taken henceforth.
  • Limited transformation: Gathering data on enrolments, retention, learning, infrastructure, and teacher training to understand the state of our public school system may not be enough to inspire transformative change.

Need for unified vision

  • Data linkages: To inspire transformation, data has to be linked with a vision of school education which addresses the anxieties and aspirations of parents. The poor will speak when the data speaks to them and they can speak to the authorities empowered to act.
  • Grievance redressal: The actions on data inputs need to be taken at the level of governance closest to the parents of government school children, i.e. the local administrative and political system.
  • Holistic policy: A national­level policy ideally should encompass the essence of the vision of the people which will manifest itself differently at the national, State, district and local levels and exist in both policy and non­policy forms, thus engaging the marginalized fully.
  • Demonstration: For example, in the workings of panchayat schools, focus needs to be on learning and personality development among migrant children, or non-governmental organisation programmes strengthening teacher capacity for multilingual classrooms.
  • Consensus: The district and school development plans need to represent the parent­school consensus on what schooling means rather than decided by school management committees.

Balancing objectives

  • Comprehensive foresight: The vision of schooling needs to balance the immediate, tangible, popularly understandable objectives such as reading, writing as well as livelihood relevant skills and knowledge as well as include long term objectives such as peer connections, negotiating social diversity, and curiosity for new knowledge and experiences.
  • Steering agenda: This vision has to be led by the skill and dynamics of local politicians and politics, respectively to ensure its implementation through contestation.The central part of local politics involves both formal actors such as political party workers, and non­formal ones such as community leaders.
  • Beyond activism: It is only when data is connected with a locally developed and politically owned vision of school education that it will move beyond the administrator and the activist.
  • Local concord: A locally rooted education vision is one that emerges from social and political consensus on why a child needs a school education, for example, either to reach college, get a job after school, for personality development or to be an active citizen.

If the right systems of governance and authority are designed and tools to engage with them are made available, the poor will speak up. What we lack and need is data which can hold the local vision of education and local actors accountable as much as the one we have right now, which focuses on the national one.

Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
31 May 2022

PM Modi releases benefits for COVID-19 orphans under PM-CARES

In News:

  • The PM CARES schemes for Children have approved benefits for a total of 4,439 children.
  • The scheme is open to children who lost both parents or a primary caregiver between March 11, 2020 and February 28, 2022. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • PM CARES for Children Scheme
    • About
    • Nodal agencies
    • Objectives
    • Salient features

PM CARES for Children Scheme:

  • About:
    • It was launched on 29th May 2021, with the aim to support children who have lost both the parents or legal guardian or adoptive parents or surviving parent to COVID-19 pandemic during the period starting from 11th March 2020.
    • The scheme is accessible through an online portal (
      • The States/UTs have been asked to identify and register eligible children on the portal.
      • Any Citizen can also inform the administration regarding a child eligible for support under this scheme through the portal.
    • Nodal agencies:
      • The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, shall be the nodal ministry for execution of the scheme at the central level.
      • The Department of the State/UT government dealing with the Juvenile Justice set up in the State shall be the nodal agency at State level.
      • The District Magistrates shall be the nodal authority at District level for execution of the scheme.
    • The objectives of the Scheme:
      • To ensure comprehensive care and protection of Children in a sustained manner.
      • To enable their wellbeing through health insurance.
      • To empower them through education and equip them for self-sufficient existence with financial support on reaching 23 years of age.
    • Salient features:
      • The scheme offers a lump sum amount of ₹10 lakh when children turn 23 years old as well as a monthly stipend from 18 years to 23 years.
      • School-going children will also receive free education, textbooks and uniforms at the nearest government schools.
        • Those in private schools may avail fee reimbursement under norms for the Right to Education Act, 2005.
      • Older students can also avail free education at residential schools such as Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya.
      • Students between Class 1 and Class 12 will also receive a scholarship of ₹20,000 per month from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      • Students can also avail loans for professional courses and higher education.
      • Beneficiaries can also avail health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh at public and private hospitals under the Pradhan Mantri-Jan Aarogya Yojana or Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Social Issues

Mains Article
31 May 2022

Indus water talks between India, Pak begin in New Delhi

In News:

  • Recently, India and Pakistan began another round of the Permanent Indus Committee meeting.
  • The meeting is held annually under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) 1960.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Background (Need a treaty on Indus river system)
  • About IWT (Parties involved, Provisions, Dispute settlement mechanism, etc.) 


  • The Indus river basin has six rivers- Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej; originating from Tibet and flowing through the Himalayan ranges to enter Pakistan.
  • In 1947, the line of partition, aside from delineating geographical boundaries for India and Pakistan, also cut the Indus river system into two.
  • Both the sides were dependent on water from the Indus river basin to keep their irrigation infrastructure functional and therefore, equitable distribution was needed.
  • Initially, the Inter-dominion Accord of May, 1948 was adopted, where both countries, after meeting for a conference, decided that India would supply water to Pakistan in exchange for an annual payment made by the latter.
    • This agreement however, soon disintegrated as both the countries could not agree upon its common interpretations.
  • In 1951, in the backdrop of the water-sharing dispute, both the countries applied to the World Bank for funding of their respective irrigation projects on ​​Indus and its tributaries, which is when the World Bank offered to mediate the conflict.

Indus Water Treaty:

  • Finally in September 1960, an agreement was reached between the two countries, and the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan.

Key Provisions of the Treaty:

  • The treaty prescribed how water from the six rivers of the Indus River System would be shared between India and Pakistan.
  • It allocated the three western rivers—Indus, Chenab and Jhelum—to Pakistan for unrestricted use, barring certain non-consumptive, agricultural and domestic uses by India and the three Eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej—were allocated to India for unrestricted usage.
  • This means that 80% of the share of water or about 135 Million Acre Feet (MAF) went to Pakistan, while leaving the rest 33 MAF or 20% of water for use by India.
  • It also required both the countries to establish a Permanent Indus Commission constituted by permanent commissioners on both sides.
    • The functions of the commission include serving as a forum for exchange of information on the rivers, for continued cooperation and as a first stop for resolution of conflicts.

Hydropower Projects:

  • While Pakistan has rights over the waters of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus, Annexure D allows India to build ‘run of the river’ hydropower projects on these rivers, meaning projects not requiring live storage of water.
  • It also provides certain design specifications which India has to follow while developing such projects.
  • The treaty also allows Pakistan to raise objections over such projects being built by India, if it does not find them to be compliant with the specifications.
  • India has to share information on the project design or alterations made to it with Pakistan, which is required to respond with objections, if any, within three months of receipt.

Dispute Resolution Mechanism:

  • The IWT also provides a three step dispute resolution mechanism, under which “questions” on both sides can be resolved at the Permanent Commission, or can also be taken up at the inter-government level.
  • In case of unresolved questions or “differences” between the countries on water-sharing, either side can approach the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert (NE) to come to a decision.
  • And eventually, if either party is not satisfied with the NE’s decision or in case of “disputes” in the interpretation and extent of the treaty, matters can be referred to a Court of Arbitration.


Should the IWT be renegotiated?

  • Every now and then, there is a clamour in India for abrogating the IWT as a response to Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism and intransigence.
  • There have been several instances of terror attacks which could have prompted India, within the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to withdraw from the IWT.
  • With abrogation an option that India is hesitant to take, there is a growing debate to modify the existing IWT.
  • While the treaty may have served some purpose at the time it was signed, now with a new set of hydrological realities, advanced engineering methods in dam construction and de-siltation, there is an urgent need to look at it afresh.

Arguments in favour of renegotiation of IWT:

  • Poor water development projects have allowed 2-3 MAF of water to easily flow into Pakistan which needs to be urgently utilised.
  • Further, out of the total estimated capacity of 11,406 MW electricity that can be harnessed from the three western rivers in Kashmir, only 3034 MW has been tapped so far.
  • However, Article XII of the Treaty says that the agreement can be modified only by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two governments.
    • Pakistan will see no merit in any modification having already got a good deal in 1960.
  • India’s best option, therefore, would be to optimise the provisions of the treaty in its present form.
  • IWT does not have a unilateral exit provision, and is supposed to remain in force unless both the countries ratify another mutually agreed pact.



International Relations

Mains Article
31 May 2022

ED arrests Satyendar Jain in money laundering case

In News: The Delhi Health Minister was recently arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly misleading investigations and transferring proceeds of crime, which is a serious offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

What’s in today’s article:

  • The PMLA, 2002 (About, salient provisions)
  • Provisions regarding arrest of sitting MPs/MLAs/Ministers
  • News Summary

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002:

  • About:
    • It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering.
    • The Act and Rules notified (both came into force with effect from 2005) there under impose obligation on banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information in prescribed form to Financial Intelligence Unit - India (FIU-IND).
  • Salient provisions:
    • Key definitions:
      • Attachment: Prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an appropriate legal order.
      • Proceeds of crime: Any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence.
      • Money-laundering: Whoever, directly or indirectly, attempts to indulge or assist another person, or who is actually involved in any activity involving criminal proceeds and portraying it as untainted property.
      • Payment system: A system that enables payment to be effected between a payer and a beneficiary. It includes the systems enabling credit card, debit card, smart card, money transfer or similar operations.
    • Punishment for money-laundering:
      • The Act prescribes that any person found guilty of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 3-7 years.
      • Where the proceeds of crime involved relate to any offence under the Offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, the maximum punishment may extend to 10 years.
    • Adjudicating authority:
      • The Adjudicating Authority is the authority appointed by the central government through notification to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred under PMLA.
      • It decides whether any of the property attached or seized is involved in money laundering.
      • It shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure,1908, but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to the other provisions of PMLA.
    • Appellate tribunal:
      • It is the body appointed by the Government of India and given the power to hear appeals against the orders of the Adjudicating Authority and any other authority under the Act.
      • Orders of the tribunal can be appealed in the appropriate High Court (for that jurisdiction) and finally to the Supreme Court (SC) of India.
    • Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND):
      • It was set by the Government of India in 2004 as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
      • FIU-IND is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes.
      • FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister. 

Provisions regarding arrest of sitting MPs/MLAs/Ministers:

  • According to the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (Section 135A), the Union ministers and members of Parliament (MPs) enjoy immunity from arrest in the case of civil matters and cannot be arrested 40 days before, during, or 40 days after a Parliament session.
  • However, there is nothing in the rule book that prevents a minister's arrest in a criminal matter.
  • The presiding officer of the House (of which the arrested person is a member) must be informed upon his arrest. This information is then notified in the Parliament bulletin if the House is not in session, or informed to the House, if it is in session.
  • The only exception to the rule is when a member or minister has to be arrested from the premises of Parliament, the permission of the chair must be sought.
  • Under the Indian Constitution (Article 361), immunity from arrest in both civil and criminal matters extend only to the President and governors, who cannot be arrested even in criminal matters while they are in office.
    • Any action, even in criminal matters, may only be initiated after they demit office. 

News Summary:


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
31 May 2022

What is the West Nile Virus, how does it spread?

In News:

  • The Kerala health department is on alert after the death of a 47-year-old from Thrissur due to the West Nile Virus.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • West Nile Virus – About, transmission, incubation, symptoms, WNV in India, preventive measures, treatment

West Nile Virus (WNV)

  • The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne, single-stranded RNA virus.
    • RNA virus is the virus that has single-stranded as well as double-stranded RNA as its genetic material.
    • Noticeable disease caused by RNA virus is (severe acute respiratory syndrome) SARS, influenza, common cold, Hepatitis B and C.
  • It is a flavivirus related to the viruses that cause St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.
    • The Flaviviridae are a family of positive, single-stranded, enveloped RNA viruses. Members of this family belong to a single genus, Flavivirus.
    • They are found in arthropods, (primarily ticks and mosquitoes), and can occasionally infect humans.


  • Culex species of mosquitoes act as the principal vectors for transmission.
  • It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes between and among humans and animals, including birds, which are the reservoir host of the virus.
    • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which circulate the virus in their blood for a few days.
    • The virus eventually gets into the mosquito’s salivary glands.
    • When mosquitoes bite, the virus may be injected into humans and animals, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness.
  • It can also spread through blood transfusion, from an infected mother to her child, or through exposure to the virus in laboratories.
  • It is not known to spread by contact with infected humans or animals.


  • According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period for WNV disease is typically 2 to 6 days.
    • It can range from 2 to 14 days, and can be several weeks in immunocompromised people.
  • To date, no human-to-human transmission of WNV through casual contact has been documented.


  • The disease is asymptomatic in 80% of the infected people.
  • The rest develop what is called the West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease. For them, the symptoms include:
    • fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, rash, and swollen glands.
    • It usually turns fatal in persons with co-morbidities and immuno-compromised persons (such as transplant patients).
  • Severe infection can lead to neuroinvasive disease such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis or acute flaccid paralysis.
    • Neuroinvasive disease are capable of infecting the nervous system and especially the central nervous system.
  • WNV-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome and radiculopathy have also been reported.
    • Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which immune system of one’s body attacks its own nerves.
    • Radiculopathy is a mechanical compression of a nerve root usually at the exit foramen or lateral recess.

WMV in India

  • In India, antibodies against WNV were first detected in humans in Mumbai in 1952 and virus activity has since been reported in southern, central, and western India.
  • WNV has been isolated in India:
    • from Culex vishnui mosquitoes in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,
    • from Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes in Maharashtra, and
    • from humans in Karnataka.

Preventive measures

  • Since WNV outbreaks in animals precede human cases, the establishment of an active animal health surveillance system is helpful in providing early warning.
  • The peak for WNV infections generally coincides with the period when mosquito vectors are most active and the ambient temperature is sufficiently high for virus multiplication.
  • Hence, health authorities globally advice for personal protective measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites such as
    • using mosquito repellents, and
    • for public health departments to ensure larval source reduction especially at breeding and resting sites for the mosquito vectors.


  • No WNV-specific prophylaxis, treatment or vaccine is available.
  • So, only supportive treatments are given to neuroinvasive WNV patients.


Science & Tech

May 30, 2022

Mains Article
30 May 2022

Eight years of Modi Govt


  • Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance governed, led by BJP, has completed eight years in power (2014- 2022).
  • Different aspects and performance on varied fronts of the BJP regime hence, has been discussed as below.

Economy: Hope and challenge

Positive outcomes

  • India has emerged as one of the most favoured FDI destinations (Top 10) due to the opening up of many sectors such as retail, civil aviation, defence, insurance, construction, etc.
  • India’s ease of doing business (EODB) ranking globally has jumped 69 places from 132 in 2011 to 63 on account of structural reforms such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) and the Goods & Services Tax.
  • India’s forex reserves have also nearly doubled from $300 billion from 2011 to close to $600 billion currently (2022).
  • Start-up India has further fostered over 100 unicorns.
  • The 5G telecom push likely later this year (2022) could be key to the next wave of digitisation.
  • India has also pivoted away from its otherwise insular trade stance, with pacts signed with UAE, and Australia, and negotiations initiated with EU and UK etc for free trade agreements.


  • In 2014, there were expectations of a double-digit growth, but in 2022, the growth is expected to be around 7%.
  • The stock markets have fallen by close to 6% year-to-date (YTD), while the rupee has depreciated by around 4% this year.
  • The Centre’s attempts at replacing 29 sets of labour laws by four broad labour codes, but implementation is behind schedule.
  • A manufacturing-led push relies primarily on production linked incentives, but beyond telecom hardware, the output is underwhelming and private investment also continues to underperform.
  • The absence of a data protection framework is a hurdle in leveraging the numerous digital projects underway.

Education: National Policy, new entrance

Positive outcomes

  • The implementation of new National Education Policy in 2020 has been a feat amid long pending need for reforms.
  • Students can study a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate programme with multiple exit options, or even two degree programmes simultaneously. The UGC now also permits students to pursue up to 40% of a programme online.


  • Few announcements by government have been more cosmetic, for example, the mid-day meal scheme has been repackaged and renamed PM POSHAN without any additional allocation.
  • Appointment of teachers remains tardy and public spending on education is nowhere near the 6% of GDP promised in 2014 and has in fact been decreasing (less than 2% in 2022).
  • The National Research Foundation announced in 2019 to provide a reliable base of merit-based but equitable peer-reviewed research funding and building quality research in India hasn’t been set up yet.
  • Apart from IIMs, none of the other centrally-run institutions have been granted total autonomy.
  • Less than 20 of the 50 Institutions of Eminence (to secure top global rankings and become world-class institutions) promised by the centre has been set up.

Health: Vaccines for all, but work to do

Positive outcomes

  • With regard to Covid-19 vaccines availability to everyone, India has done better than most other countries. Over 88 per cent of India's adult population has been fully vaccinated against Covid. The total Covid-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 193.26 crore.
  • Over 50 crore people have been covered to get free treatment under Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY insurance scheme).
  • The government also unveiled its plan to create an elaborate network of health and wellness centres (HWCs) for delivery of primary healthcare. About 1.5 lakh HWCs are proposed to be set up.
  • An initiative to provide a unique health ID to every citizen and create a registry of healthcare professionals and health facilities has also been launched.


  • Barely 5% of India’s population has health insurance right now, which underlines the rupture of  Jan Arogya Yojana a very important initiative.
  • Upgrading of infrastructure, reforms in medical education, expansion of nursing and para-medical education, and regulation of costs of healthcare are some of the big projects the government is yet to attend to.

Social sector

Positive outcomes

  • Government leveraged the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) platform to expand coverage of the flagship PM-Kisan scheme from 1 crore beneficiaries in 2019 to over 10 crore in 2022.
  • New initiatives like Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) to provide 5 kg free foodgrain to nearly 80 crore people every month has been extended to alleviate concern of poor.
  • PM Ujjwala Yojana has given 9 crore LPG connections to below poverty line women by 2022.
  • The Centre has also been able to roll out the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) project to enable (National Food Security Act), NFSA beneficiaries to avail of their entitlement anywhere in India.
  • The flagship Jal Jeevan Mission announced in 2019 to provide tap water connections has already covered 50% rural households till now according to Jal Shakti Ministry.


  • The withdrawal, in November 2021, and eventual repeal by Parliament of the three farm laws announced in June 2020 are both a setback and an unfinished agenda point for the government according to the experts.

Diplomacy and strategy: Tightrope and partnerships

Positive outcomes

  • India’s diplomatic outreach succeeded in blunting international criticism of the constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir amid repeal of Article 370.
  • India’s balancing act amid Russia-Ukraine war and strengthening of the Quad has been successful so far, but remains a delicate work in progress, as do engagements with China and the neighbourhood.


  • The strategic establishment has been occupied with diplomacy with Beijing, as the two-year border stand-off poses the most serious threat of recent times.
  • The war in Ukraine has made it difficult for New Delhi to continue deep engagement with defence partner Russia.
  • Taliban-ruled Afghanistan also presents a huge strategic challenge and economic and political crises in Sri Lanka and Pakistan demands caution while engaging.

Security and defence: LWE in decline, reforms pending

Positive outcomes

  • According to Ministry of Home Affairs, Left Wing Extremism-related violence has declined by 77% between 2009 and 2021, and resultant deaths by 85% between 2010 and 2021. The geographical influence of Maoists has been reduced to just 41 districts from 96 in 2010.
  • Gains have also been made in the Northeast. Assam and Meghalaya Pact to resolve boundary dispute has also been a feat.


  • Theaterisation in the armed forces isn’t working at the desired pace.
  • Despite the government’s claims of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation Article 370, a rise in civilian killings has posed questions.
  • Also, as many as 25 modules of Khalistan militancy were identified and neutralised by security forces in 2021, compared to 15 in 2020 and just seven in 2019.


While a broadening & deepening of the welfare state is a big positive of the current regime, the economic track record could have been much better. A deep slowdown in the west, the travails of China and India’s relative insularity to the global shocks can let India consolidate its recently regained faster-growing-economy status.

Polity & Governance

Mains Article
30 May 2022

Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala shot dead

In News:

  • A renowned Punjabi singer was recently shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district, a day after the State police withdrew his security cover.
  • Opposition parties launched a major offensive against the ruling government, blaming it for the total breakdown of law and order in the State. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • VIP security
    • Eligibility
    • Process
    • Types
    • Forces involved

VIP security:

  • Eligibility:
    • Protection is usually provided to those with high-ranking positions in government or civil society, hence the term "VIP security."
    • Because of their official jobs, certain individuals (the Prime Minister and his immediate family, the Home Minister, the National Security Advisor, etc) are automatically eligible for security coverage.
    • However, the Centre is rarely interested in protecting individuals (except above), state police forces protect a large number of "important people" whose lives are believed to be in danger based on state government assessments.
    • There are no legal restrictions on the government providing security to a criminal whose life is believed to be in danger.
    • In reality, it is the responsibility of the state to protect the lives of inmates and convicts.
  • The process of security cover:
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) determines the level of security at the national level, while the state government determines the level of security at the state level.
    • The evaluation is based on intelligence agency information, including the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) at the national level, and the state intelligence department at the state level.
    • The state bears the cost of everyone to whom the government provides security. However, free cover is not a right.
      • Even after conducting a threat assessment, the government may choose to charge a private individual for security.
      • For example, industrialist Mukesh Ambani was asked to pay the CRPF Rs 15 lakh per month for the Z category cover provided in 2013.
  • Different degrees of security:
    • Security cover is divided into six categories:
      • X - One gunman;
      • Y - One gunman for mobile security and one (plus four on rotation) for static security;
      • Y plus - Two policemen (plus four on rotation) for mobile security and one (plus four on rotation) for home protection;
      • Z - Six mobile security officers and two (plus eight) resident security officers;
      • Z plus - Ten mobile security officers and two (plus eight) home security officers;
      • SPG (Special Protection Group)
    • Even within these categories, there are different levels of coverage. These include home security, mobile security, office security and inter-state security.
    • While the SPG is reserved for the Prime Minister and his immediate family, other protection categories can be extended to anyone with information about a threat from the Centre or state governments.
  • Forces involved:
    • At national level, the National Security Guard (NSG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been designated by the government to provide security cover for VIPs other than the Prime Minister.
      • The Centre has relieved the NSG of the burden of VIP protection. As a result, the security of the Home Minister and the National Security Advisor have been assigned to the CRPF and the CISF, respectively.
    • If a state agrees to provide security, the state police will offer security.


Defence & Security

Mains Article
30 May 2022

Railways to police: Capacity panel plans to boost citizen-state interface

In News:

  • As Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the NDA government into its ninth year, a silent reform of capacity building mechanism within the government is likely showing results in the Indian Railways.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About Mission Karmayogi (Objective, Need, Features, Pillars, Institutional Structure, etc.)
  • News Summary

About Mission Karmayogi:

  • Referred to as the biggest bureaucratic reform initiative of independent India, the Union government launched Mission Karmayogi in September,
  • Objective: To transform capacity-building in the bureaucracy through institutional and process reforms.
  • Mission Karmayogi is a scheme that exhorts the civil servant to maintain a very high standard of conduct and behaviour so that he earns the trust of the people and is emulated by his peers and subordinates.

Need for the reform:

  • Civil Servants play a vital role in formulating policy and executing delivery at the cutting edge.
  • However, the current civil services capacity building landscape was marred with the following challenges:
    • Existing training policy interventions were sporadic and largely confined to individual and intermittent innovations;
    • Stereotyped working in silos or compartments, rather than an overall unifying vision and understanding of national priorities;
    • Lack of a lifelong and continuous learning environment for all civil servants;
    • Barriers to exchange of knowledge preventing collaborative working.
  • Moving from a RULES-BASED to a ROLES-BASED HR management system.

Prime Minister’s vision of Civil Servant-Karmayogi for the nation:

Pillars of the Mission:

Salient Features of the Scheme:

  • The transition from Rules Based to Roles Based Human Resource (HR) Management - The focus is to allocate jobs to the civil servants based on their competencies.
  • On-Site Learning to complement Off-Site Learning - It is a training given to the civil servants on-site.
  • An ecosystem of shared training infrastructure - Civil servants to adapt to an ecosystem of shared learning materials, institutions and personnel.
  • Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach - All civil services positions to be calibrated under this approach. Also based on this approach, all learning content will be created and delivered to every single government entity.
  • Behavioural, Functional and Domain Competencies - Civil Servants to build their competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.
  • Co-creation of the common ecosystem by all the Central Ministries, Departments and their organizations - This is a way to create an ecosystem of learning through an annual financial subscription for every employee.
  • Partnership with learning content creators - Public training institutions, universities and individual experts will be enabled to be a part of this capacity-building measure.

Institutional Structure:

  • PM’s HR Council is the apex body to provide strategic direction to capacity building reforms.
  • Cabinet Secretariat Coordination Unit works to monitor progress and execution and overseas plans.
  • Capacity Building Commission works to harmonize training standards, create shared faculty & resources and facilitate world class learning.
  • Karmayogi Bharat SPV owns and operates the online platform iGOT-Karmayogi to facilitate world class learning.

Action Plan (2021-23):


News Summary:

  • Recently, the Capacity Building Commission has identified 12 friction points that can spoil the travel experience of customers; and four level of employees, who potentially make or mar the impression the customers carry back home.
    • The Commission was set up by the Indian Railways, under Mission Karmayogi, in April 2021.
  • The Commission is training all these (four) categories of officers across the nation, around one lakh people, to be citizen friendly.
  • A similar exercise is being initiated in the police departments in the Union territories. The project involves training Master Trainers who will then engage with constables and inspectors.
  • The exercise has the backing of the Prime Minister’s Office, with the specific mandate to improve customer interface and experience across sectors.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
30 May 2022

FY22: US crosses China to become India’s biggest trading partner

In News:

  • The US surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner in 2021-22, reflecting strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • News Summary

News Summary

  • India has now become America’s top trading partner as the bilateral trade between the US and India crossed US$ 119 billion.

Key Highlights

  • Bilateral trade between India and US in 2021-22
    • According to the data of the Commerce Ministry, in 2021-22, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at $119.42 billion.
      • It was $80.51 billion in 2020-21.
    • Exports to the US increased to $76.11 billion in 2021-22 from $51.62 billion in previous fiscal year.
    • Imports from US rose to $43.31 billion as compared to about $29 billion in 2020-21.
    • America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.
      • In 2021-22, India had a trade surplus of $32.8 billion with the US.
  • Bilateral trade with China during the same period
    • During 2021-22, India’s two-way commerce with China aggregated at $115.42 billion as compared to $86.4 billion in 2020-21.
    • Exports to China marginally increased to $21.25 billion last fiscal year from $21.18 billion in 2020-21.
    • On the other hand, imports from China jumped to $94.16 billion from about $65.21 billion in 2020-21.
    • Trade gap rose to $72.91 billion in 2021-22 from $44 billion in previous fiscal year.
  • Trade with other countries
    • In 2021-22, the UAE with $72.9 billion, was the third largest trading partner of India.
    • It was followed by Saudi Arabia ($42,85 billion), Iraq ($34.33 billion) and Singapore ($30 billion).

India-US Bilateral trade will continue to grow

  • In the coming years, the bilateral trade between India and the US will continue to grow.
  • This is due to the fact that New Delhi and Washington are engaged in further strengthening the economic ties as India is emerging as a trusted trading partner.
  • India has joined a US-led initiative to set up an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and this move would help boost economic ties further.
  • Also, global firms are reducing their dependence only on China for their supplies and are diversifying business into other countries like India.

Concerns in Economic relations:

  • Conflict between India’s Make in India and US' America First policy
  • Solar equipments issue:
    • US contends the domestic content requirement imposed by India in National Solar Mission is against WTO rules. India lost case in WTO.
  • Issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
    • Time and again, USTR Special 301 Report has classified India as Priority Watch List country.
    • US contends that Section 3(d) (prevents ever-greening) and Section 84 (Compulsory Licensing) of Indian Patent Act, 1970 are not compliant with TRIPS of WTO.
    • US frequently bans import of generic drugs from India on pretext of regulatory measures.
  • India was placed in Currency Monitoring list of US
    • India was for the first time, in April 2018, placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies.
    • In May 2019, US removed India from this list. However, in December 2020, it once again included India in its monitoring list.
  • India’s removal from Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) list of US
    • In May 2019, Trump administration terminated preferential trade terms to India which was extended under the U.S.’s GSP program.
      • GSP program is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to developing countries.
      • It is a preferential arrangement in the sense that it allows concessional low/zero tariff imports from developing countries
    • In June 2019, India raised tariffs on 28 items exported from the US in retaliation to America’s withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products.
  • H1B visa issue
    • US is in the process of reforming the H1B visa programme.
      • The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa given by the United States to employ skilled workers from other countries for various specialised fields of occupation for a certain period of time.
      • Basically, it is an employment-based and non-immigrant visa category for temporary workers
    • US feels that the programme has resulted into phenomenon like Outsourcing, Unemployment of US workers, and Wage depression.
    • It has increased the visa fees which has affected the movement of Indian professionals. India is the largest user of H1B visas.

Mains Article
30 May 2022

Centre retracts caution on Aadhaar photocopies

In News:

  • The government has withdrawn the notification cautioning people against sharing a photocopy of their Aadhar card, claiming that it could be misinterpreted.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) – About, role & responsibilities, Composition
  • News Summary

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)


  • UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (“Aadhaar Act 2016”).
  • It has been established under the administrative control of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • UIDAI was created to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as "Aadhaar", to all residents of India.
    • As on 31st October 2021, the Authority has issued 131.68 crore Aadhaar numbers to the residents of India.
  • It has its Headquarters (HQ) in New Delhi and eight Regional Offices (ROs) across the country.
    • UIDAI has two Data Centres, one at Hebbal (Bengaluru), Karnataka and another at Manesar (Gurugram), Haryana

Role & Responsibilities

  • Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for:
    • Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle,
    • developing the policy, procedure, and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals and
    • perform authentication and the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.

Composition of the Authority

  • The Authority consists of two part-time Members and a Chief Executive Officer who shall be the Member-Secretary of the Authority.
  • Chairman of the Authority is Vacant.

News Summary

  • The government has withdrawn an UIDAI advisory that cautioned the general public against sharing photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organisation.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said it is withdrawing the press release as it can lead to misinterpretation.

What was the earlier notification?

  • The earlier notification asked the general public not to share photocopy of one's Aadhaar with any organisation because it can be misused.
    • It was issued by the Bengaluru Regional Office of the UIDAI.
  • It further added that a masked Aadhaar, which displays only the last 4 digits of the biometric ID, can be used for the purpose.
  • That notification also advised against using a public computer to download electronic versions of the Aadhar.
  • Only those organisations with a ‘user licence’ from the UIDAI could use Aadhar for establishing a person’s identity.
    • Hotels and cinema halls weren’t authorised to collect photocopies of Aadhar.

UIDAI stand on sharing the Card details

  • UIDAI, on multiple occasions, had publicly stated that Aadhar details, without biometric information, couldn’t be used to impersonate a person.
  • However, it should be remembered that Aadhar is a document that detailed a person’s personal information.
  • Hence, it was akin to giving out a mobile phone number, or a bank account number or a PAN card and ought to be “ordinarily protected” to ensure a person’s privacy.
  • In 2018, UIDAI tweeted that Aadhar as an identity document by its very nature needs to be shared openly with others as and when required for.
    • On the other hand, in November 2016, UIDAI from its official handle tweeted:
      • We urge you to be very discreet about your Aadhar and other identity documents.
      • Do not share the document no. or a printed copy with anyone.

Notification withdrawn

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the parent body of the UIDAI, issued a statement withdrawing the notification of UIDAI.
  • It said that the UIDAI had advised Aadhaar card holders to only exercise normal prudence in using and sharing their Aadhaar numbers.
    • UIDAI had issued the notification in the context of an attempt to misuse an Aadhar card using a photocopy.
  • Aadhaar Identity Authentication ecosystem has provided adequate features for protecting and safeguarding the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar holder.
Polity & Governance

May 29, 2022

Mains Article
29 May 2022

India to face wider coal shortages, worsening power outage risks

In News

  • According to the Ministry of Power sources, India is expected to face a wider coal shortage in the quarter ending September due to higher power demand, increasing the risk of widespread power outages.
  • According to the same sources, the State-run Coal India, the world's largest coal miner, will import the fuel for use by utilities for the first time since 2015. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • Distribution of coal reserves across India (About coal, classification of coal, coal reserves in India)
  • The statistics related to power in India
  • News Summary

Distribution of Coal reserves across India:

  • About coal: It is a type of fossil fuel found in a form of sedimentary rocks and is often known as 'Black Gold'. Coal is the main source of energy in India as its share in total power generation is almost 51%.
  • Classification of Coal (on the basis of carbon content and time period):
    • On the basis of carbon content:
      • Anthracite (80 - 95% carbon content, found in small quantities in J&K).
      • Bituminous (60 - 80% of carbon content and is found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh).
      • Lignite (40 to 55% carbon content, high moisture content and is found in Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam) and Tamil Nadu).
      • Peat (less than 40% carbon content and it is in the first stage of transformation from organic matter (wood) to coal).
    • On the basis of a time period: Gondwana coal (around 98% of India's total coal reserves), Tertiary coal.
  • Coal reserves in India (State-wise):


  • Jharkhand:
    • With estimated 83.15 billion tonnes of reserves which is more than 26% of India’s total reserves, Jharkhand ranks first.
    • The state’s main coal-mining centers are Jharia (India’s oldest and richest coalfield), Bokaro, Auranga, Giridh, Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Karanpur and Hutar.
  • Odisha: Second on the list for coal reserves is the state of Odisha (over 24% of the country’s total reserves and about 15% of India’s total coal production). Talchar is Odisha's biggest coalfield.
  • Chattisgarh: Chhattisgarh has the third largest coal reserve in India and carries about 17% of the total coal reserves. However, the state has the first rank in the production of coal. Coalfields of the state include Korba, Hasdo-Arand, Chirmiri, Jhimli, and Johilla.
  • Others are West Bengal (about 11% of the total coal reserves of India), Madhya Pradesh (about 8%), Andhra Pradesh (7%), Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir.

The statistics related to power in India:


News Summary:

  • India expects a domestic coal supply of 154.7 million tonnes, 42.5 million tonnes short of the projected requirement of 197.3 million tonnes in the September quarter.
  • The grim forecast demonstrates the extent of India's fuel shortage due to -
    • Projections showing that annual power demand will grow at the fastest rate in at least 38 years.
    • Record highs global coal prices due to a supply crunch caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • The higher coal demand could also stifle efforts to build power plant inventories. Despite this, most states had yet to award contracts to import coal and Indian utilities would run out of coal by July if no coal was imported.
  • As a result, the Indian government has increased pressure on utilities to increase imports.
  • It would be the first time since 2015 that Coal India has imported the fuel, highlighting efforts by state and central officials to stock up to avoid a repeat of April, when India faced its worst power cuts in more than six years.
  • Coal India would import coal for blending on government-to-government (G2G) basis and supply to thermal power plants of state generators and independent power producers (IPPs).
  • Higher imports could put further pressure on State-Government-owned power distribution companies, which are already in debt and owe billions of dollars to generators as they have historically absorbed higher input costs to keep tariffs steady.

Mains Article
29 May 2022

MeitY issues draft norms to mobilise non-personal citizen data available with govt.

In News:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has issued a draft National Data Governance Framework.
  • The framework aims to mobilise non-personal data of citizens for use by both public and private entities to improve services.
    • Non-personal data is any set of data which does not contain personally identifiable information.
    • e., no individual or living person can be identified by looking at such data.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Background
  • Draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022 – About, key provisions, various issues
  • News Summary


  • In July 2020, the Expert Committee (Chair: Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan), constituted by the MeitY had published a draft report for public consultation.
    • It was constituted to study various issues relating to non-personal data.
  • The Committee observed that non-personal data should be regulated to:
    • enable a data-sharing framework to tap the economic, social, and public value of such data, and
    • address concerns of harm arising from the use of such data.
  • This report has started a debate on the need to have a proper data policy to harness non-personal data in order to unlock the economic value of such data.
    • In January 2021, Revised Draft Non-Personal Data Governance Framework was released.
    • Govt had released Draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022 in February 2022 which was subsequently scrapped.
    • In May 2022, govt came out with the current Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP).

Draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022


  • In February 2022, the government had released Draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022.
    • Due to widespread criticism, govt had scrapped this policy to bring the current Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy.
  • The Policy aimed to enhance access, quality, and use of non-personal data held by the government and enable sharing within the government as well as with the private sector.

Key Provisions

  • It permitted the licensing and sale of public data by the Government to the private sector.
  • Its operationalisation was sought to be achieved through the establishment of a India Data Office (IDO) under MEITY.
    • Each government entity had to designate a Chief Data Officer.
  • The policy strategy was to make Government data open by default and then maintain a negative list of datasets which cannot be shared.
  • As a measure of privacy protection, there is a recommendation for anonymisation and privacy preservation.

Various issues with this policy

  • Right to privacy
    • Inter-departmental data sharing, mentioned in the policy, posed concerns related to privacy.
    • The open government data portal which contains data from all departments may result in the creation of 360-degree profiles.
      • This, in turn, will enable state-sponsored mass surveillance.
  • Selling of Data
    • This draft had proposed that data collected by the Centre that has undergone value addition can be sold in the open market for an appropriate price.
    • This provision faced widespread criticism.
      • Questions were raised about the government collecting data to monetise it in the absence of a data protection law in India.
    • Also, it was silent on the following questions:
      • whether data gathered from States may be sold by the Central government and
      • whether the proceeds from it will be shared with the States.

News Summary

  • In order to mobilise non-personal data of citizens for use by both public and private entities, MeitY has issued a draft National Data Governance Framework.
    • This draft is a replacement of the now scrapped ‘India Data accessibility and Use policy’.

Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP)


  • To transform and modernize Governments data collection and management processes and systems through standardised guidelines, rules
  • To enable and catalyze vibrant AI and Data led research and Start-up ecosystem, by creating a large repository of India datasets

Key Provisions

  • Data Privacy & Security
    • The NDGFP standards and rules will ensure Data security and informational privacy.
  • Institutional Framework
    • An India Data Management Office (IDMO) shall be set up under the Digital India Corporation (DIC) under MeitY.
      • It shall be responsible for framing, managing and periodically reviewing and revising the Policy.
      • The IDMO shall also encourage and foster the data and AI-based Research, start-up eco-systems by working with the Digital India Start-up Hub (erstwhile MeitY Startup Hub (MSH)).
      • The composition of the IDMO and the process have not been made clear in the new draft policy
    • Every Ministry/Department shall have Data Management Units (“DMUs”) headed by a designated CDO who shall work closely with the IDMO for ensuring implementation of the Policy.
  • Role of India Data Management Office (IDMO)
    • Data Storage & Retention - A comprehensive and evolving set of standards and rules would be developed and provided by IDMO to help Ministries/Departments define their data storage and retention framework.
    • Government-to-Government Data Access: Standard mechanism for inter-government data access shall be developed by the IDMO.
    • India Datasets programme - IDMO will enable and build the India Datasets program.
      • It will consist of non-personal and anonymized datasets from the Government entities that have collected data from Indian citizens or those in India.
      • Private entities will be encouraged to share such data. Experts believe that private companies may not voluntarily share non-personal data. There may be trade and intellectual property issues.
      • The non-personal data housed within this programme would be accessible to start ups and Indian researchers.
    • Data Anonymisation - IDMO will set and publish Data anonymization standards and rules to ensure informational privacy is maintained.
    • Data Quality & Meta-Data Standards – IDMO shall finalise meta-data and data standards that cut across sectors.
    • Datasets Access and availability - The IDMO shall notify protocols for sharing of non-personal datasets while ensuring privacy, security and trust.
      • The IDMO will notify rules to provide data on priority/ exclusively to Indian/ India based requesting entities.
      • The IDMO will also judge the genuineness and validity of data usage requests, for datasets other than those already made available on Open Data portal.
    • Redressal mechanism - The IDMO shall institute a mechanism for citizens to request datasets register grievances.
      • It will establish responsibility of DMUs under the IDMO to respond in a timely manner, to facilitate transparent and accountable data sharing ecosystem.
    • User Charges: The IDMO may decide to charge User charges/ Fees for its maintenance/ services.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 May 2022

Centre extends scholarship for J&K, Ladakh students

In News:

  • The Central government has extended the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for students from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for another five years in the wake of the encouraging response it has received.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About PMSSS (Objective, Features, Benefits, Eligibility, Performance, etc.)

Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS):

  • The Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) was introduced by the Central government in
  • Objective:
    • To promote employment opportunities for students from J&K and Ladakh.
  • Under the scheme, funding is provided to 5,000 meritorious students each year to study in private and government educational institutions across the country.
  • The scheme offers 4,500 seats for general education courses (Bachelor’s in Arts, Commerce and Science), and 250 each for engineering and medical degrees.
  • Budget: Rs 180-190 crore annually
  • Implementing Agency: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)


  • Students who are the domiciles of Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
  • Those who have passed the 10+2 exam from the J&K Board or CBSE affiliated schools located in UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
  • Students who have passed 10+3 diploma from UTs of J&K and Ladakh Polytechnic.
  • Students having an annual family income of less than Rs 8 lakh.

PMSSS Benefits:

  • A total of 5,000 scholarships are awarded for students pursuing courses in General Degree, Professional Degree, and Medical Streams.
  • Students selected for the scholarship will receive the following benefits:
    • For General Degree-
      • Up to RS 30,000 per annum for the academic fee (payable to the institution)
      • Maintenance charges of RS 1 lakh per annum (hostel and mess charges-payable to the student)
    • For Professional Degree-
      • Up to RS 1.25 lakh per annum for the academic fee (payable to the institution)
      • Maintenance charges of RS 1 lakh per annum (payable to the student)
    • For Medical stream
      • ₹ 3 lakh per annum for the academic fee
      • Maintenance charges of RS 1 lakh per annum (payable to the student)

Recent performance of the scheme:

  • There are not many takers for general education seats. When these seats are not filled, they are converted on a pro rata basis into engineering and medical seats, raising the 500-seat limit.
  • According to AICTE data, there was a substantial increase in the number of applications received in the academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22, following a dip in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • The rise was recorded after J&K’s special status granted under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked by Parliament in August 2019.
  • The term of the scheme was due to end last year, but the Central government decided to extend it for another five years for the benefit of students.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 May 2022

Twin hurdles hinder India’s maritime role

In News:

  • As per the government officials, two issues limit India’s ability to further expand its maritime role.
  • These are infrastructure constraints and continued delay in posting Indian liaison officers at others facilities and centres in the region.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) – About, various institution integrated to IPMDA
  • Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) – About, significance
  • News Summary

The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

  • Indo-Pacific maritime domain awareness initiative was launched at recently held Quad Summit at Tokyo.
  • It is an initiative for information sharing and maritime surveillance across the region.
    • The IPMDA would offer a near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective maritime domain awareness picture.
    • It will respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, and combat illegal fishing.
    • It will also allow the tracking of “dark shipping” across Indo-Pacific region.
    • It will support and work in consultation with Indo-Pacific nations and regional information fusion centres in the region.
  • This initiative will integrate three critical regions in the Indo-Pacific — the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the IOR.

Various Fusion Centres will be integrated in IPMDA

  • In addition to the IFC-IOR, other existing regional fusion centres that will be integrated are
    • the IFC based in Singapore;
    • the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency based in the Solomon Islands, and
    • the Pacific Fusion Centre based in Vanuatu

Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)


  • In December 2018, Indian launched the IFC-IOR, at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram.
  • It was established for regional collaboration on maritime security issues. This includes:
    • Maritime terrorism, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing (IUUF), piracy, armed robbery on the high seas, and human and contraband trafficking.
  • The IFC-IOR aims to engage with partner nations and multi-national maritime constructs.
    • The idea is to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest (i.e., information on white shipping).
      • White shipping information refers to exchange of advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
      • White is the colour code for commercial ships, Grey is for military vessels and illegal ships are coded as black.
  • So far, this fusion centre has information sharing links with 50 nations and multinational/maritime centres.


  • Maritime security is a paramount concern
    • The IOR is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations.
    • More than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR.
    • However, maritime terrorism, piracy, trafficking, IUUF, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region.
  • Illegal unregulated and unreported fishing (IUUF) growing into a bigger threat
    • In recent years, IUUF has been seen as growing into a bigger threat to maritime states than international piracy.
    • This is because they deplete stocks and deprive vulnerable regional economies of an important food source.
    • IUU fishing also tramples sovereign rights, undermines the rule of law, and robs coastal states of a valuable economic resource
  • Need for collaborative effort
    • The scale, scope and the multi-national nature of maritime activities, make it difficult for countries to address these challenges individually.
    • Hence, collaborative efforts between maritime nations in the IOR, is essential.
  • Part of the India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth For All in the Region) initiative
    • The centre was established as part of the government’s SAGAR framework for maritime co-operation in the Indian Ocean region.
    • It hosts international liaison officers from partner countries. This include both:
      • India’s immediate neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and
      • from further afield, including Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US.
    • The two other data fusion centres likely to be involved in this initiative are:
      • the Singapore Navy’s Information Fusion Centre, and
      • the Australia-sponsored Pacific Fusion Centre.

News Summary

  • As the Quad grouping looks to roll out an Indo-Pacific maritime domain awareness (MDA) initiative, two issues limit India’s ability to further expand its maritime role.

Challenges faced by India:

  • The challenges that are limiting India’s maritime role are:
    • infrastructure constraints and
    • continued delay in posting Indian liaison officers at others facilities and centres in the region.
  • There are requests from several countries to post international liaison officers (ILOs) at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR).
  • However, India cannot induct any more at the moment due to infrastructure constraints.

Posting of Indian Navy Liaison Officers at Other International fusion centres (IFCs) are pending

  • It is not just important to have ILOs in India, but also equally important that Indian Navy officers be posted at similar centres in other countries.
  • Proposals to post Indian naval liaison officers (LO) at various regional fusion centres have been pending for more than two years. Some of them include:
    • the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC), Madagascar, and
    • the Regional Coordination Operations Centre, Seychelles.
  • India joined the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as an observer in March 2020 and the proposal to send an LO to the RMIFC has been pending since.
  • Another proposal to post an LO at the European-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi has also not been approved so far.

Significance of ILOs joining India’s Fusion Centre

  • Value addition
    • ILOs bring to the table one’s local expertise which Indian officials might not be aware of and can’t be determined from here.
    • It also helps in building linkages with various agencies in their home countries.
  • Joining India’s information sharing framework is a strategic statement
    • Countries in the neighbourhood joining India’s information sharing framework is a strategic statement that these countries are aligning with India for their security needs.
  • Better Maritime Picture
    • ILOs joining Indian Fusion Centre and vice-versa will ensure linkages of the IFC-IOR with the other IFCs and eventually becoming the repository for all maritime data in the IOR.
    • The benefits of maritime picture are vast:
      • It will allow tracking of dark shipping and other tactical-level activities, such as rendezvous at sea,
      • It will improve partners’ ability to respond to climate and humanitarian events and
      • It will protect their fisheries, which are vital to many Indo-Pacific economies.
International Relations

May 28, 2022

Mains Article
28 May 2022

Monkeypox rising, what now?


  • Several countries are reporting cases of monkey pox virus, all of which are non-endemic for monkey pox and outside Africa. This has alerted public health authorities around the world.
  • The identification of confirmed and suspected cases of Monkey pox with no direct travel link to the endemic area represents a highly unusual event. This is another concern that raises an alarm.

About Monkey Pox Virus

  • Cause: Monkey pox is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus.
  • Source: Discovered in colonies of monkeys in 1958, the virus is normally seen in African countries.
  • Sub-genus: There are two clades of monkey pox virus, the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade.
  • Fatality rate: Human infections with the West African clade appear to cause less severe disease compared to the Congo Basin clade, with a case fatality rate of 3.6% compared to 10.6% for the Congo Basin clade.
  • Cases reported: New cases of monkey pox have been reported in 18 countries since May 13, 2022. All these 18 countries are non-endemic for the monkey pox and outside Africa and reported cases belonging to the West African clade.
  • Transmission: Monkey pox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals), for example, bites of infected rodents and squirrels and is also transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
  • Incubation period: The incubation period (period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms) of monkey pox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
  • Symptoms: Though this disease goes through four different phases, the Phase 1st is very important for the disease per se.
    • The first invasion period, which is between 0-5 days, is characterised by fever, headache, weakness or lack of energetic.
    • Skin eruptions usually show up within two days of fever. The rash is more concentrated on the face as is apparent in 95 per cent cases. In 75 per cent cases, it is found in the palm and sole of the feet.
    • It affects the oral mucous membrane in 70 per cent of the cases. The conjunctiva, cornea of the eye and the genital area can also get affected.
    • Though it is largely a self-limiting disease, it can lead to some difficult phases when it affects the lungs and the eyes.
  • Most severe symptom: The most worrying symptom is the enlargement or swelling of lymph nodes/lymph glands
  • Vulnerability: The high risk group comprises children, pregnant women and immune-compromised patients, including those who have diabetes. They can have more severe consequences compared to others.
  • Diiference from other rash causing diseases: The swelling of the lymph-nodes is one of the characteristic feature of Monkeypox and is not observed in similar rash causing diseases like measles and chickenpox.
  • Severity compared to small pox: Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
  • Medication: For rashes, doctors suggest anti-allergic medication as baseline treatment. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox as per WHO.

Earlier cases of spread of Monkey-pox to non-endemic countries

  • In 2003, the first outbreak outside Africa was reported in the USA. It was linked to contact with infected pet Prairie dogs. The dogs had been co-housed with infected rodents imported from Ghana.  This outbreak led to over 70 cases in the US.
  • Monkey Pox was also reported in travellers from Nigeria to Israel in September 2018.
  • UK reported cases in September 2018, Singapore in May 2019 and the US in July and November 2021.

Difference with Covid-19

  • Source: Coronaviruses normally contain a single strand of genetic material called RNA, and the monkey pox virus carries its genetic code in the DNA, which is double-stranded.
  • Size: Also, the monkey pox virus is much larger than the one that causes Covid-19, and it produces proteins that disrupt the defenses in the human immune system.
  • Symptoms: In case of Covid, the symptoms are more flu-like, like fever, headache, and runny nose. And if not contained, it can lead to breathlessness, loss of taste, and loss of smell. While monkeypox too has flu-like symptoms, it is more of fever, headache, body aches with lymph node enlargement and the rashes and the skin lesions.
  • Transmission: While monkeypox is also spread by coughing, the droplets are very large compared to Covid-19 where they are very small and spread only within a few feet. So, these particles (of monkeypox) do not spread very far.
  • Diagnosis and treatment: Diagnosis of monkeypox is specifically through microscopy. In two to three weeks, the person may recover. This disease can be easily contained and giving vaccination to the whole population at this point in time may not be necessary unlike Covid-19. The treatment is mainly supportive and symptomatic, however, the person has to be isolated for two to three weeks, and they normally recover by themselves.
  • But, unlike Covid-19, it’s not air-borne. However, it does spread when in contact with air around an infected person.

India specific findings of disease prevalence

  • Earlier, Smallpox was a very dangerous disease but using mass immunisation programme it was eradicated in 1978.
  • In India, there is another disease related to the same family: cowpox and buffalopox. Sporadic cases have been reported not only in cows or buffaloes but in humans too, indicating animal to human transmission.
  • Matter of concern: However, till now, Monkey pox cases has never been reported in the country. Hence, it is an exotic
  • Hence more precautionary measures are needed in place because it is a new disease that we have not been exposed to and don’t have immunity against it. That is a big challenge and matter of concern.

India’s preparedness

  • Travel guidelines: Amid threat of a new viral disease, travel advisory and a preparedness alert has been issued to all states. The international travel to the endemic and the currently ongoing outbreak regions would be under the surveillance at the entry points to check for the importation of the Monkey pox cases.
  • Lab testing: The samples of the symptomatic patients will be referred to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. Since it is a DNA virus, there is need to do a PCR test and sequencing of genome. India also has orthopox PCR test, which can rule out other pox viruses, not just the Monkeypox.

Way Forward

  • Evolving scenario: The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries.
  • Urgent action: Immediate actions could be focused on informing those who may be most at risk
  • Ramp up Public health systems: Further public health investigations including extensive case finding and contact tracing, laboratory investigation, clinical management and isolation provided with supportive care to limit further onward transmission.
  • Prioritize vaccination: Vaccination for monkeypox, where available, is being deployed to manage close contacts, such as health workers.
  • Awareness: The identification of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox without any travel history to an endemic area in multiple countries is atypical, hence, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about monkeypox.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
28 May 2022

Uttarakhand sets up expert panel for uniform civil code implementation

In News:

  • The Uttarakhand government recently announced the formation of an expert committee to examine ways for implementing a uniform civil code, including a review of laws governing marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance, adoption and other personal laws.
  • The committee will be led by retired judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, who is also the current chair of the delimitation commission. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • The Uniform Civil Code
    • Background
    • About
    • UCC vs personal laws
    • Importance
    • Challenges
    • Will Uttarakhand be the first state to bring UCC?
    • Way ahead


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC):

  • Background:
    • The idea of a UCC has been present in some form in India since British rule.
    • However, while the British desired the codification of various laws concerning crime, contracts, evidence, etc, they desired to keep Hindu and Muslim personal laws separate as part of their divide-and-rule policy.
    • As a result, while criminal laws in post-independent India are uniform and apply equally to all citizens (regardless of religious beliefs), personal laws implemented through civil laws are influenced by faith.
  • About UCC:
    • A Uniform Civil Code provides for one law that applies to all religious communities in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc.
    • In India, Article 44 in the Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)) of the Indian Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
    • Article 44 was incorporated into the Constitution as a provision that would be fulfilled when the nation was ready to accept it and the UCC could be socially accepted.
  • UCC Vs Personal laws:
    • Personal laws (mentioned in the Concurrent List of the Schedule VII of the Indian Constitution) are laws that apply to a certain group of people based on their religion, caste, faith and belief made after due consideration of customs and religious texts.
      • For example, Hindu personal law is based on ancient texts like Vedas, Smritis and Upanishads and modern concepts of justice, equality, conscience etc. While, Muslim personal law is primarily based on the Quran and Sunnah.
    • The introduction of a UCC is likely to annul all such codified laws and bring in a law that would be common to all citizens.
  • Importance of UCC: 
    • It will simplify the complex laws around marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, adoptions, etc, as the same civil law will then be applicable to all citizens irrespective of their faith.
    • It seeks to address the discrimination against vulnerable groups (including women and religious minorities) and harmonise diverse cultural groups across the country.
    • It aims to promote nationalistic fervour through unity.
  • Challenges in implementing UCC:
    • As defined in Article 37 of the Indian Constitution, the directive principles are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
    • Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour” (other Articles in the DPSP chapter use words such as “shall be obligation of the state,” etc). This implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.
    • It is looked upon as anti-minority and anti-tribal. For example, property succession and marriage laws are governed by traditional and customary procedures in Meghalaya.
      • Similarly, tribal laws differ in other North-eastern states. As a result, UCC may cause some dissatisfaction in the North-eastern region.
  • Will Uttarakhand be the first state to bring UCC?
    • Uttarakhand may not be the first state to implement a Uniform Civil Code.
    • Goa has a version of a UCC and it is the only state in India to follow a common law for all its citizens.
      • The coastal state follows the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867, which is survived in accordance with the Goa, Daman and Diu (Administration) Act, 1962.
  • Way ahead:
    • According to a Law Commission of India’s 2018 consultation paper, a uniform civil code is "neither necessary nor desirable at this stage" in the country.
    • The goal of a UCC should ideally be reached in a piecemeal manner, like the recent debate on the age of marriage.
    • A just code is far more important than a uniform code.



Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 May 2022

Aryan Khan gets clean chit in Mumbai ‘drugs-on-cruise’ case

In News:

  • Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan has been cleared of all charges in the drugs on cruise case for which he spent 26 days in judicial custody.
  • He was arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from a cruise ship off the Mumbai Coast in October 2021.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About NCB (Functions, Provisions of NDPS Act)
  • Constitutional, Legal Provisions w.r.t. drug abuse
  • Initiatives/Programmes to fight drug abuse

Narcotics Control Bureau:

  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was created in March 1986 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
  • Functions:
    • Coordination among various Central and State Agencies engaged in drug law enforcement;
    • Assisting States in enhancing their drug law enforcement effort;
    • Collection and dissemination of intelligence;
    • Analysis of seizure data, study of trends and modus operandi;
    • Preparation of National Drug Enforcement Statistics;
    • Liaison with International agencies such as United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP), International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), INTERPOL, Customs Cooperation Council etc;
    • National contact point for intelligence and investigations
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 47 of Constitution of India mandates a duty upon the State, wherein State shall raise the standard of living of people and improve the public health as well as shall endeavour to stop the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which can be injurious to health except those which are made for medicinal purposes.

Provision for Punishment under NDPS Act, 1985:

  • Minimum sentence for dealing in drugs – 10 years rigorous imprisonment coupled with Rs. 1 lakh fine;
  • For repeated drug offenders – capital punishment can be given;
  • For personal consumption – 6 months to 1 year imprisonment;
  • No relief for drug convicts by – termination, remission, computation.

Landmark Judgements:

  • Toofan Singh vs State of Tamil Nadu (2013):
    • Officers invested with powers under Section 53 of NDPS Act are “police officers”; confessional statement made to them are inadmissible as evidence.
  • Gurdev Singh Vs State of Punjab (2021):
    • Poverty cannot be a mitigating Factor while awarding punishment under NDPS Act. & quantity of narcotic substance recovered is a relevant factor to impose punishment higher than the minimum punishment of 10 years.

What are small and commercial quantity of Narcotic drugs under the NDPS Act?

  • Under the NDPS Act, a ‘small quantity’ means any quantity lesser than the quantity specified by the Central government.
    • For example, up to 100 gms of cannabis and 1000 g of ganja will count as a ‘small quantity’.
  • Similarly, a ‘commercial quantity’ means any quantity greater than the quantity specified by the Central Government by notification in the official gazette.

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act-2021:

  • It amended the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and seeks to rectify a drafting “anomaly” created by a 2014 amendment to the parent legislation.
  • Before the 2014 amendment, clause (viii-a) of Section 2 contained sub-clauses (i) to (v), which defined the term "illicit traffic".
  • In 2014, the Act was amended and the clause number of the definition for such illicit activities was changed.
  • However, the section (27A) on penalty for financing these illicit activities was not amended and continued to refer to the earlier clause number of the definition.
  • The 2021 Amendment Act replaced the ordinance which was promulgated earlier in 2021.

Initiatives/Programmes to tackle drug abuse:

  • Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21):
    • Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched the programme for 272 most-affected districts across the country.
    • It launched a three-pronged attack combining efforts of Narcotics Bureau, Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through the Health Dept.
  • National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2023:
    • NAPDDR aims to focus on preventive education, awareness generation, identification, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons.
    • It also focuses on training and capacity building of the service providers through collaborative efforts of the Central and State Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations.
    • The National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), an autonomous body of MSJ&E, has been given the responsibility of implementing the activities of NAPDDR.
  • National Awards for outstanding Services in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse:
    • The awards are given by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, annually, on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 May 2022

India likely to get its first semi-high speed freight train by this December

In News:

  • India's first semi-high speed freight train is likely to hit the tracks by December.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Gati Shakti- National Master Plan – About, vision, scope, 6-pillars
  • News Summary

Gati Shakti- National Master Plan


  • In October 2021, PM Modi launched the Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity in New Delhi.
  • Gati Shakti — a digital platform — will bring 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
  • PM GatiShakti is a transformative approach for economic growth and sustainable development. The approach is driven by 7 engines, namely:
    • Railways; Roads; Ports; Waterways; Airports; Mass Transport; Logistics Infrastructure

Vision of PM Gati Shakti

  • PM Gati Shakti will incorporate the infrastructure schemes of various Ministries and State Governments like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN etc.
  • Economic Zones such as textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, etc. will be covered to improve connectivity.
  • It will also leverage technology extensively including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery developed by BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics).
    • Dynamic mapping of all infrastructure projects with real- time updation will be provided by way of a map developed by BISAG-N.
    • The map will be built on open-source technologies and hosted securely on MEGHRAJ i.e. cloud of Govt. of India.

The scope of PM GatiShakti National Master Plan

  • The scope of this Plan will encompass the 7 engines for economic transformation, seamless multimodal connectivity and logistics efficiency.
  • It will also include the infrastructure developed by the State Governments.
  • The focus will be on planning, financing including through innovative ways, use of technology and speedier implementation.
  • The projects pertaining to these 7 engines in the “National Infrastructure Pipeline” will be aligned with PM GatiShakti framework.

6 Pillars of PM Gati Shakti

  • Comprehensiveness:
    • It will include all the existing and planned initiatives of various Ministries and Departments with one centralized portal.
    • Each and every Department will now have visibility of each other's activities providing critical data while planning & execution of projects in a comprehensive manner.
  • Prioritization:
    • Through this, different Departments will be able to prioritize their projects through cross-sectoral interactions.
  • Optimization:
    • The National Master Plan will assist different ministries in planning for projects after identification of critical gaps.
    • For the transportation of the goods from one place to another, the plan will help in selecting the most optimum route in terms of time and cost.
  • Synchronization:
    • Individual Ministries and Departments often work in silos. There is lack of coordination in planning and implementation of the project resulting in delays.
    • PM Gati Shakti will help in synchronizing the activities of each department, as well as of different layers of governance.
  • Analytical:
    • The plan will provide the entire data at one place with GIS based spatial planning and analytical tools having 200+ layers, enabling better visibility to the executing agency.
  • Dynamic:
    • All Ministries and Departments will now be able to visualize, review and monitor the progress of cross-sectoral projects.
      • This will be done through the GIS platform.
    • It will help in identifying the vital interventions for enhancing and updating the master plan.

News Summary

  • To tap the growing freight sector, the Railways is aiming to introduce the country’s first semi-high speed freight train by December 2022.

Key Highlights

  • Based on the Vande Bharat platform, the 16-coach ‘Gati Shakti’ train will be able to run at 160 km/hour.
  • It will be manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.
  • The Indian Railways has identified 74 new 'Gati-Shakti Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal (GCT) locations across the country.

Why the Railways is launching these trains?

  • To target the e-commerce and courier parcel segment
    • With a turnover of USD 50 billion in 2020, India has become the eighth largest market for e-commerce.
    • India's ecommerce market is expected to reach $111 billion by 2024 and $200 billion by 2026 and expected to reach $350 billion by 2030.
    • The Railways planned to capture the small size parcel shipments by running dedicated high speed freight trains.
  • To ferry perishable items within stipulated time
    • Each train would have two refrigerated wagons — the first and last cars, to ferry perishable items such as fruits and vegetables.
  • To increase its share in freight transportation
    • The Railways is aiming to increase its share in freight transportation from the present 27% to 45% by 2030 through better infrastructure and business development plans.



Mains Article
28 May 2022

‘Allow surrogacy for single men, mothers’

In News:

  • The petitioners have challenged the exclusion of single men and mothers from availing surrogacy under the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 and Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 – About, Key Provisions, issues,
  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 or The ART Act, 2021
  • News Summary

Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021


  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 came into effect from 25th January 2022.
  • The Act defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
  • It regulates the practice and process of surrogacy by constituting National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Board.

Key Provisions

  • Regulation of surrogacy:
    • It prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.
    • Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
    • Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
  • Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted:
    • Surrogacy is permitted when it is:
      • for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility;
      • altruistic;
      • not for commercial purposes;
      • not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and
      • for any condition or disease specified through regulations.
  • Eligibility criteria for intending couple:
    • The act defines eligibility criteria for the intending couple in order to prevent the misuse.
    • It states that the intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
  • Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother:
    • To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
      • a close relative of the intending couple; a married woman having a child of her own;
      • 25 to 35 years old;
      • a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
      • possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.
    • Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.
  • Registration of surrogacy clinics:
    • Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority.
    • Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.
  • National and State Surrogacy Boards:
    • The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively.
    • Functions of the NSB include - advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy; laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinics; and supervising the functioning of SSBs.
  • Parentage and abortion of surrogate child:
    • A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
    • An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority.
    • This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
    • Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.
  • Offences and penalties:
    • The offences include:
      • undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy;
      • exploiting the surrogate mother;
      • abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child; and
      • selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy.
    • The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.


  • Banning commercial surrogacy has created its own set of challenges
    • The banning of commercial surrogacy moves from the rights-based approach to a needs-based approach.
    • In other words, it removed the women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and right to parenthood.
  • No economic value to women’s work is recognised
    • The Act reinforces traditional patriarchal norms of our society that attributes no economic value to women’s work.
    • The altruistic surrogacy model expects the women to go through the physical and emotional pain and labor of giving birth to a child only out of compassion.
  • Other challenges
    • Having a relative as a surrogate mother may lead to emotional complications not only for the intending parents but also for the surrogate child.
      • There is great deal of risking the relationship in the course of surrogacy period and post birth.
    • In an altruistic surrogacy, there is no third-party involvement.
    • A third-party involvement ensures that the intended couple will bear and support the medical and other miscellaneous expenses during the surrogacy process.
  • Against LGBTQ+ community
    • The Act is a clear slap on the face of the LGBTQ+ community and single fathers who want to have a child.
    • The LGBTQ+ community forms 15% of the total population and around 20% of the population going for surrogacy accounts for single parents.
    • This law comes as a backlash to the other laws passed in favour of the LGBTQ+.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 or The ART Act, 2021

  • It provides a system for the implementation of the law on surrogacy by setting up of the National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Board.

News Summary

  • Two petitioners have challenged their exclusion from availing surrogacy under the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 and Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021.
    • The petitioners include a single man and a woman who is also a mother and desires a second child.

Questions posed by the petitioner to the Delhi High Court

  • Why can’t a single man or a married woman beget a child through surrogacy?
    • Petitioners contend that personal decision of a single person about the birth of a baby through surrogacy is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
      • i.e., the right of reproductive autonomy is a facet of the right to privacy.
    • Does such a denial not result in the violation of the right to privacy?
    • The petitioners also demanded that commercial surrogacy be decriminalised.
    • The petition also said that the best eligibility criteria to maximise the chances of finding the best surrogate mother would be any healthy woman above the age of majority.
      • Hence, the needless conditions of being genetically related, of a particular age, married and already having at least one child only constrict the universe of available candidates who may otherwise become healthy surrogate mothers.
Social Issues

May 27, 2022

Mains Article
27 May 2022

Knotty supply chains deepen global chip shortage


  • The Japanese automaker, Toyota Corporation recently announced to slash the global production of motor vehicles due to the semiconductor shortage.
  • The news comes as Samsung pledges to invest about $360 billion over the next five years to bolster chip production, along with other strategic sectors.

Revenue squeeze owing to chip shortage

  • Car manufacturers were particularly badly hit due to lack of flexibility in the supply chain. For example, Volvo cited chip shortages for a 22.1 percent drop in sales of its vehicles in March 2022, when compared to the same period the previous year.
  • Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors and others say they've also felt the squeeze this year.
  • However the effects of chip shortage are also being felt by makers of computers and other kit, with Dell reporting that it is expecting the backlog to grow.
  • Chipmaker TSMC warned in April that supply difficulties are likely to last through this year and into 2023.

Genesis of shortage

  • Fall from peak: After reaching its peak in 2011, the laptop market growth slowed down with the rise of alternatives such as smartphones and tablets. Then, the pandemic hit.
  • Pandemic: During the pandemic, people switched to work from home, and children connected to schools through laptops. This shift led to a surge in demand for laptops and tablets.
  • Gaming spurt: The stay­at­home rules also made several people pick up console­based gaming.
  • Boost in Semi-conductor manufacturing : Gaming demand was driven by console hardware, and subscription­based mobile games. Each of these devices were in high demand and are run on thumbnail­sized semiconductors, performing various functions on a single device.
  • Scarcity of wafers: : Manufacturers produce semi-conductors as 200mm or 300mm wafers which are further split into lots of tiny chips. The manufacturing equipment needed to make smaller diameter wafers were in short supply even before the pandemic began. That’s because the industry was moving in the direction of 5G and advanced communication, which required expensive wafers.
  • High demand for chips : High consumer demand for low­end products, coupled with large orders from tech firms chocked chip makers whose factories were also closed during lockdowns.
  • Supply crunch of chips: Carmakers stopped requesting chips from suppliers due to low demand for new vehicles owing to Covid-19 pandemic. And now, as they ramp up production to meet consumer demand, chip makers are down on supply because they have cut deals with other industries.
  • Logistic challenges: Logistical complexities have exacerbated the problem for chip-makers as lockdown has had a domino effect on global supply chains.
  • Raw material shortage: Separately, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has strained exports of essential commodities used to make chip sets. For instance, Moscow supplies rare materials like palladium, and Kyiv sells rare gases (like Neon) to make semiconductor fab lasers. This combination is required to build chipsets that power a range of devices, from automobiles to smartphones.

Intricate networks

  • Chip Sets manufacturing: About a decade and half back, firms developed a system to make chip sets instead of thumbnail­sized semiconductor piece which have drawn attention of large companies in recent times.
  • Inter-connected Process: The system was made by interconnecting several parts of the world to make a single device referred to as the global supply chain now. This was due to companies cutting up their businesses into smaller parts and outsourcing them to places where land, labour or capital was cheap.
  • Segmenting chip making: Semiconductor making firms applied the global supply chain knowledge to their industry. Hence the process to make a chip was divided into front­end (wafer fabrication and probe) and back­end parts (assembly and testing).
  • Global ecosystem: The front and back­end processes were further broken down into micro units, and were spread out across the globe, creating a global chip making ecosystem.
  • Extensive chains: The global chip making ecosystem is so vast that each segment of the semiconductor manufacturing involves roughly 25 countries in the direct supply chain, and 23 countries in allied functions, according to a joint study by Global Semiconductor Alliance and Accenture.
    • The report estimates a semiconductor­based product could cross international borders about 70 times before finally making it to the end customer.
  • Wafer trial: Wafer fabrication is the most globally dispersed, with 39 countries directly involved in the supply chain and 34 involved in allied activity, providing services like photolithography, etching and cleaning.
    • Similarly, designing happens across 12 countries, product testing and manufacturing each are done across 25 countries.

Strength becomes weakness

  • Developed during the World War II era, Just­In­Time (JIT) and Kanban technique was conceptualized by Taiichi Ohno, the father of Toyota Production System.
  • JIT was used by Japanese companies that lacked resources and space to rebuild factories and Kanban technique to run their supply chains smoothly and create an efficient production system for automobiles respectively.
  • About JIT: JIT lets firms take inputs from suppliers only when they are needed which helps them cut inventory storage cost, shorten production cycles and free up cash flow for other investment activities.
  • JIT backfired: This important aspect of supply chains back fired due to the pandemic, and the recent geopolitical events. When the pandemic began, carmakers stopped requesting chips from suppliers due to low demand for new vehicles.
    • As the geopolitical events in Central Europe and production shutdowns in China continue to add pressure to the already complicated semiconductor supply chain, the chip shortage tunnel only seems to be getting longer.
  • Production impetus: Intel CEO recently pointed out that the European Chips Act (45 billion euros) and CHIPS for America Act ($52 billion) would incentivise fab makers to set up their units in these regions and balance.
  • Balanced investments: Together, these two (U.S. and EU) will enable the semiconductor manufacturers to have equal investments in the East and West by 2030, from the current tally at 80% in Asia, and 20% in Europe and the U.S.



  • Preferential treatment: The chip industry need to be given preferential treatment to ease the shortage more quickly.
  • Address skilled labour shortage: While chip making process is among the most-automated, the high-tech equipment used at the facilities still requires skilled staff to operate it. For example, In Taiwan, a global powerhouse in chip making, the recruitment gap is at its highest level in more than six years.
    • Hence, New chip-making facilities, known as fabrication plants, or “fabs,” require thousands of Technicians (oversee and manage the manufacturing process), researchers (to innovate new types of chips).
  • Knowledge hub: Innovation and education in high-tech sectors need to be promoted such as semiconductors, universities to start specialized semiconductor colleges in partnership with companies manufacturing chips etc.
  • Boosting substrate production: A key concern of the global semiconductor shortage is the supply of so-called substrates, panels of resin embedded with wiring onto which central-processing units and other types of chips are attached. Hence there is need to boost investments and diversify this critical sector which presently is based mostly in Asia.
    • For instance, Intel Company has secured substrate capacity dedicated to Intel products and has embraced new ways of working with substrate suppliers to support their longer-term investments.
  • Boost investments: Intel has pledged to make more than $100 billion in chip-factory investments over the coming years in the U.S. and Europe. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Samsung Electronics Co. and others also have big expansion plans which can ease the pressure on global chip shortage.

Hence the semiconductor industry needs to be built for long-term growth and diversify its portfolio as it could generate annual revenue of $1 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey.

Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
27 May 2022

NSCN (I-M) rigid as govt pushes for solution to Naga peace process

In News: In the midst of revived efforts to resolve the "Naga political issue," the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (I-M), stated that it would not accept the "Naga national flag" as a cultural flag, as suggested by New Delhi.

What’s in today’s article:

  • History of the insurgency in Nagaland (Origin of the Naga tribes, post-independence scenario, when did the NSCN come into the picture)
  • News Summary (The peace talks, recent developments) 

History of the insurgency in Nagaland:

  • Origin of the Naga tribes:
    • The Naga tribes migrated from southwest China to Burma (now Myanmar) and Thailand before settling in North East India and North West Myanmar.
    • The British coined the term Naga for administrative purposes to refer to a group of tribes with similar origins but distinct cultures, dialects and customs.
    • The British adopted a way of governance over the Nagas that involved keeping their traditional ways of life, customs and laws in place while putting British administrators at the top.
    • At present, the Naga tribes can be found in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Myanmar.
  • Post-independence scenario:
    • With the withdrawal of the British, insecurity grew among the Naga tribes about their cultural autonomy after India’s independence.
    • These gave rise to the formation of the Naga Hills District Tribal Council in 1945 (renamed as the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946).
    • A section of the NNC (led by Naga leader A.Z. Phizo) declared Naga independence on August 14, 1947, amid uncertainty about the Nagas' post-independence future.
    • The Naga Federal Government (NFG, established in the early 1950s by Phizo) and its armed wing (the Naga Federal Army (NFA)) launched the underground insurgency.
    • To suppress the insurgency, the Central Government sent armed forces into Naga areas and enacted the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which is still in effect in parts of Nagaland.
    • Following the formation of Nagaland in 1963 and years of negotiations with the government, the NNC signed the Shillong Accord in 1975, agreeing to surrender arms and accept the Constitution.
  • When did the NSCN come into the picture?
    • The signing of the Shillong Accord was not agreeable among many top NNC leaders and those operating from Burma.
    • Three NNC leaders - Thuingaleng Muivah of the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Manipur, Isak Chishi Swu of the Sema tribe and S S Khaplang from Myanmar’s Hemis tribe, formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to continue the armed movement.
    • After years of infighting and violent clashes along tribal lines and, the NSCN split into two factions in 1988 - the NSCN-IM (led by Mr. Muivah and Swu) and the NSCN-K (led by Mr. Khaplang).
    • The NSCN-IM demanded and continues to demand Greater Nagaland or Nagalim - to unite 1.2 million Nagas by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The NSCN-IM became the most powerful insurgent group (after the death of Mr. Phizo in 1990), also playing a role in the creation of smaller groups in other states.
    • Its armed operations intensified along with illegal activities like tax extortion, smuggling of weapons and so on.


News Summary:

  • The peace talks:
    • The Government of India persuaded the NSCN-IM to sign a ceasefire agreement in 1997 in order to begin talks with the goal of signing a Naga Peace Accord.
    • Since the 1997 ceasefire with the NSCN-IM, there have been over a hundred rounds of talks between the Centre and the insurgent group, with no resolution in sight.
    • New Delhi has been holding peace talks with the NSCN-IM and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which include the NSCN (K).
  • Recent developments:
    • In 2015, the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) signed the Framework Agreement, which was considered as the first step towards an actual Peace Accord.
    • However, the peace process was stalled due to the outfit's insistence on a separate flag and a Naga constitution (Yehzabo) as part of the agreement.
    • There have been reports that the Centre was open to using the Naga national flag for cultural purposes and incorporating a mutually acceptable part of the Naga constitution into the Indian Constitution.
    • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) annual report, the NSCN-IM was involved in 44% of insurgency-related incidents in Nagaland in 2020.


Defence & Security

Mains Article
27 May 2022

Why are tribals of Rajasthan and Gujarat demanding a separate state of Bhil Pradesh?

In News:

  • The demands for a “Bhil Pradesh”, a separate state for tribal people in western India, have of late begun to be raised again.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Background (Demand for a separate Bhil Pradesh, Reason for this demand, Challenges , Past examples)
  • Constitutional Provisions for STs 


  • The Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), a political party based in Gujarat, envisions Bhil Pradesh as a separate state carved out of 39 districts spread over four states: 16 in Gujarat, 10 in Rajasthan, seven in Madhya Pradesh, and six in Maharashtra.
  • Formed in 2017 in Gujarat, the party’s core objective is separate statehood.

Why is the party demanding a separate statehood?

  • Earlier, the Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur region in Rajasthan and Gujarat, MP, etc. was part of a single entity.
  • However, post-independence, many of these tribal majority regions were distributed across the states.
  • Economic backwardness of sub-regions within large states has also emerged as an important ground on which demands for smaller states are being made. Linguistic and cultural reasons, which were the primary basis for creating new states in the country, have now become secondary in most of these cases.
  • Over the decades, several Union governments brought various “laws, benefits, schemes, and committee reports” on tribals, but went slow on their execution and implementation.
  • For example, the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 was enacted in 1996.
    • However, the Rajasthan government adopted the law in 1999, and came out with its Rules in 2011.
    • In many remote areas of the state, majority of the people are still not aware about the provisions of the Act.

Challenges in Creation of New States

  • Setting up various institutions, government offices, universities, hospitals, etc. require huge sums of money, therefore, the new state might end up depending on the Union for funds, which may or may not be available.
  • Different statehood may lead to the hegemony of the dominant community/ caste/ tribe over their power structures. This can lead to the emergence of intra-regional rivalries among the sub-region
  • There is also possibility of increase in the inter-State water, power and boundary disputes.
  • Creation of smaller states only transfers power from the old state capital to new state capital without empowering already existing institutions like Gram Panchayat, District Collector, etc. rather diffusion of development in the backward areas of the states.

Past examples

  • Jharkhand has failed from the governance and administrative perspective and became state of coal scams and corrupt practices.
  • Chhattisgarh has witnessed largest tribal displacement in the recent times
  • Uttarakhand continues to be at the end in the Human Development Index. The recent floods showed the inability of the state to deal with rehabilitation of the displaced residents.
  • Telangana is heavily relying on the central grants to pay for its newly created administrative and institutional machineries.

Basic safeguards provided in the Constitution:

  • Educational & Cultural safeguards:
    • 15(4): Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (it includes STs);
    • 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities (religious and linguistic minorities);
    • 46: The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation;
    • 350: Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
    • 350: Instruction in Mother Tongue.
  • Social safeguards:
    • 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
    • 24: Forbidding Child Labour.
  • Economic safeguards:
    • 244: Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule;
    • 275: Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.
  • Political safeguards:
    • 330: Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
    • 337: Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
    • 334: 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period.);
    • 243: Reservation of seats in Panchayats;
    • 371: Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

Special Programmes & Enactments:

  • Successive Union governments have enacted progressive legislation, programmes and schemes for development and empowerment of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2016).
  • The provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, Minor Forest Produce Act, 2005 and the Tribal Sub-Plan strategy are focused on the socio-economic empowerment of Scheduled Tribes.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
27 May 2022

Learning loss will dent India’s GDP: ADB

In News:

  • India would see the highest decline in South Asia due to learning losses for the young.
  • This has been highlighted by a new working paper published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Asian Development Bank
  • Asian Development Outlook
  • News Summary

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • ADB (founded in 1966) is an international development finance institution.
  • Its mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.
  • Headquartered in Manila, ADB is owned and financed by its 68 members, of which 49 are from the region and 19 are from other parts of the globe.
  • The two largest shareholders of the Asian Development Bank are the United States and Japan.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.

Asian Development Outlook (ADO)

  • The Asian Development Outlook is a series of annual economic reports on the developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank.
  • The ADO provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic and development issues for the DMCs of ADB.
  • It analyzes economic and development issues in developing countries in Asia.
    • This includes forecasting the inflation and GDP growth rates of countries throughout the region, including China and India.

News Summary

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has published a working paper on ‘Potential Economic Impact of COVID-19 related School Closures’.

Key Highlights of the report

  • GDP of India would see the highest decline in South Asia
    • As per the paper, the gross domestic product (GDP) of India would see the highest decline in South Asia due to learning losses for the young.
      • India is among the countries with the longest school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • GDP decline: in numbers
    • Starting with a $10.5 billion dent in 2023, the country’s economy could take a nearly $99 billion hit by 2030.
    • This translates into a 3.19% reduction in GDP from the baseline growth trends.
  • India’s contribution in global GDP decline
    • India may account for over 10% of the global GDP decline of $943 billion estimated by the ADB on account of earning losses in 2030.
    • Jobs for skilled labour is expected to decline by 1%, and unskilled labour by 2% that year.
  • Rural areas are worst hit
    • India has notable enrolment in secondary education and among students in rural areas.
    • Pandemic-induced school closures have also been more extensive there and students on rural areas lack access to stable Internet connection needed to study online.
  • Learning and earning losses will be significant
    • Learning and earning losses are significant because a notable portion of the impacted population will migrate to the unskilled labour force.
    • A large part of India’s work force is constituted by unskilled labour — 408.4 million as per the ADB paper’s estimates, compared to 72.65 million skilled workers.
  • Number of students in India
    • India has the highest number of children enrolled in primary and secondary education among the Asian economies covered in the paper, at 255.74 million.
    • The number of students in tertiary education were second only to China at 36.39 million.
  • Most immediate challenge
    • As per the paper, the most immediate challenge is to help students recover “lost opportunities” by conducting assessments among impacted children.
  • Recommendations
    • The paper mooted greater investments in education and skills with a focus on narrowing the digital divide.
    • It is important to identify the learning gap and specific learning needs of individuals.
    • Effective learning programs should be devised to offer appropriate support such as tutoring or special classes and help them to bridge the learning gap.
    • It is important to keep school-age children in education as much as possible by providing financial support and incentives, while giving additional support for skills training to youth already out of school.


Social Issues

Mains Article
27 May 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2022

In News:

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2022 came to an end on 26 May.
  • This was the first global in-person leadership event since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • World Economic Forum (about, Davos meet, reports published by WEF)
  • Summary of Modi's 'State of the World' address

In Focus: World Economic Forum


  • The World Economic Forum is the international non-governmental organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
    • It was founded in January 1971 by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab.
  • The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
    • It has no independent decision-making power.
  • HQ: Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland.

Davos meet:

  • Annually, the WEF organizes a meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland.
  • The Annual Meeting, also known as the Davos Agenda, has the objective of orienting global leaders on the imperatives of the year ahead.

Reports published

  • WEF also produces a series of annual reports such as –
    • Global Competitiveness Report,
    • Global Information Technology Report,
    • Global Gender Gap Report,
    • Global Risks Report,
    • Global Travel and Tourism Report,
    • Financial Development Report and
    • Global Enabling Trade Report.

News Summary

  • The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, being held at Davos, Switzerland, came to an end on May 26, 2022.
  • Theme of this year’s summit was - 'working Together, restoring Trust'.

Key highlights

  • Most critical edition so far
    • This edition was one of the most critical so far, due to the vast changes the world has seen since the event was last held.
    • With the pandemic in the background and the invasion of Ukraine in the foreground, the summit comes at a crucial geopolitical and economic moment.
    • The world faces urgent challenges in humanitarian emergencies, energy and security, while not losing sight of the long-term commitments to transform, feed and decarbonize the planet.
  • Various issues discussed
    • The global leaders and experts discussed various topics, ranging from trade deals and global cooperation to press freedom and the Ukraine conflict.
    • The meetings were structured around six themes:
      • Promoting global and regional cooperation;
      • Ensuring economic recovery and building a new era of growth;
      • Building healthy and fair societies;
      • Safeguarding the climate, food supply and nature;
      • Promoting the transformation of industry;
      • Harnessing the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • The global leaders will work on eight thematic priorities:
    • global cooperation; economic rebalancing; society and equity; climate and nature;
    • innovation and governance; industrial transformation; risks and resilience; and global health.
  • Global Digital FDI Flows Launched
    • The summit saw the launching of a new initiative to boost flows of digital foreign direct investments
    • It is a joint initiative of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) and the WEF.
      • The DCO focuses on digital economy initiatives supporting youth, start-up entrepreneurs and women.
      • It has nine member states with a combined GDP of nearly USD 2 trillion and a population of nearly 600 million.
    • The agreement will see the DCO and WEF work together to identify methods to increase digital adoption, investment in new digital activities, and investment in digital infrastructure.
    • Under the initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch Digital FDI Enabling Projects in countries around the world.
  • Defining and Building the Metaverse
    • Forum announced a new initiative, Defining and Building the Metaverse.
    • This initiative brings together key stakeholders to build an economically viable, interoperable, safe, and inclusive metaverse.
    • Research suggests that the metaverse is expected to grow into an $800 billion market by 2024.

India at Davos 2022

  • India sent a record delegation this year
    • From India, three union ministers -- Piyush Goyal, Mansukh Mandaviya and Hardeep Singh Puri -- participated.
    • Beside them, several state leaders including two chief ministers -- Basavaraj S Bommai and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy – also participated in the meeting.
    • India presented its position on critical global issues like the energy crisis, food security, and health equity at the summit.
  • Launch of Indian CEO Alliance
    • The Forum launched the India chapter of the Alliance of CEO Climate Action Leaders to supercharge India's climate action and decarbonization efforts.
    • Part of the WEF’s Climate Action Platform, the Alliance will continue efforts to achieve the vision of Mission 2070: A Green New Deal for a Net Zero India, on India's low-carbon transition by 2070.
  • India, leading the transition to green energy
    • The participating Indian leaders highlighted the fact that:
      • 60 million people go to fill up their tanks every day in India; 5 million barrels a day is the Indian consumption.
      • The aim of a 20% ethanol blend has been pushed ahead from 2030 to 2025.
      • Green hydrogen, biofuel discovery, and production from alternate sources is being prioritised.
  • New $15 million investment to tackle freshwater crisis
    • With record-breaking heatwaves and droughts affecting the country, the meeting took some substantive action on freshwater conservation and management.
    • Global conglomerate HCL announced a partnership with UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum.
    • Through a $15 million investment over five years, HCL will accelerate the innovation agenda for water.
    • It will create a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector on UpLink.
  • Maharashtra joins the World Economic Forum in the Fight Against Plastic Pollution
    • Maharashtra, India's largest state in terms of GDP, has joined the World Economic Forum's Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP).
    • It has joined the platform to drive localized solutions for the circular economy.
  • India's role in defining the metaverse
    • The concept of the metaverse is new, but that hasn't stopped companies across the spectrum from making plans for engaging with it.
      • The metaverse refers to a virtual world where people can live, work and play via an avatar.
      • It doesn’t actually exist yet, but tech companies are investing billions of dollars into developing the technology.
    • And it's no different for industry leaders in India.


International Relations
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