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10th April 2024 (12 Topics)

10th April 2024

QUIZ - 10th April 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes


The government recently re-imposed restrictions on import of solar modules. The move was taken to boost local manufacturing as domestic capacities are now ready to meet the demand and need to be supported.

1: Dimension- Need to focus on solar power generation in India
  • To meet its targets: The government’s ambitious target of 500 GW of installed capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2030 is the main driver to scale solar power in India.
  • To cater increasing demand for energy: India also accounts for the fastest rate of growth for demand of electricity through 2026 among major economies.
    • This is because of strong economic activity and expanding consumption of products to mitigate extreme weather. Solar power accounted for about one-third of all energy generated from renewables between April 2023 and February 2024.
  • To tap full potential: The country has an estimated solar power potential of 748.99 GW. Hence, the potential of solar energy is not fully tapped, so far.
2: Dimension- Efforts made by India  

To address this over dependence, India made three significant efforts over the past five years.

  • Notification of the ALMM order (2019: This list consists of manufacturers who “are eligible for use in Government Projects/Government assisted projects/ projects under Government schemes & programmes, including projects set up for sale of electricity to the Central and State Governments.
  • PLI Scheme: The government proposed the Rs 19,500 crore PLI scheme in the Union Budget of 2022-23. This was to scale domestic manufacturing of the entire solar supply chain — from polysilicon to solar modules.
  • Custom duty: The government also introduced a steep 40% customs duty on PV modules and 25% on PV cells. These duties were halved as solar capacity additions slowed.
3: Dimension- Reason behind China’s leading position as exporter
  • Cheap power supply to industries: China was the most cost-competitive location to manufacture all components of the solar PV supply chains. This is mainly because of the lower cost of power supplied to the industry, as electricity accounts for more than 40% of production costs for polysilicon and almost 20% for ingots and wafers.
  • Recognition as strategic sector: China’s policies prioritised solar PV as a strategic sector, and growing domestic demand enabled economies of scale and supported continuous innovation throughout the supply chain.
4: Dimension- Import restriction vs import substitution
  • The government’s focus to increase local sourcing of solar modules has been widely reported as ‘import restrictions’.
  • However, the government’s decision has been premised on the estimation that measures, such as the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, has boosted India’s domestic sector’s production capacities and bettered price competitiveness to meet local demand. This is an import substitution effort, and not an attempt to restrict imports.

Fact Box

India’s imports

  • India imported about USD 11.17 billion worth solar cells and modules in the past five years. This is worth 0.4% of India’s total exports in the same period. 
  • China accounted for 53% of India’s solar cell imports, and 63% of solar PV modules. 

India's solar module manufacturing capacity

  • As on December 2023, India's cumulative solar module manufacturing capacity has reached 64.5GW, and solar cell manufacturing capacity totalled 5.8GW.
  • India's domestic module manufacturing capacity is projected to surpass 150GW, and cell manufacturing capacity is expected to reach 75GW by 2026. 


The Indian steel industry has expressed concern over India becoming a net importer of steel in 2023-24, saying it is a “warning signal” for India which strives to become Atmanirbhar.

1: Dimension- Reason behind the surge
  • Predatory imports: India’s steel industry faces threat from predatory imports. Restricting steel imports is crucial to safeguard investments and ensure robust GDP growth.
  • Ease of availability: The surge in imports illustrates a broadening appetite for foreign steel products in India due to their ease of availability and wide range of specifications available across various price points.
  • Export taxes: In 2023, following the introduction of export taxes on steel and stainless steel by the Indian government, the export share was only 6.5%.
  • Red sea crisis impact on exports: The crisis in the Red Sea hit Indian steel exporters particularly hard and caused their logistics costs to explode. 
2: Dimension- Required Measures:
  • Arrest predatory imports: There is need for a trade remedial action on an urgent basis to arrest the inbound shipments.
  • Increase duty: India needs to remove lesser duty on steel import, as it helps importers and other steel-surplus country for supporting their own steel mills, while India suffers in expanding steel capacity.

Fact Box

  • India has registered a 38 per cent surge in imports of finished steel to 8.319 million tonnes (MnT) over 6.022 MnT imported during the preceding 2022-23 fiscal.
  • The surge in predatory imports from China is a big threat to the Atmanirbharta in steel.
    • Under the National Steel Policy, India aims to scale up its annual steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030 to cater to its domestic requirement.
  • Finished steel includes non-alloyed offerings, alloyed ones and stainless steel. 


Telemedicine has emerged as a viable alternative to in-person consultations with doctors in many contexts.

Benefits of Telemedicine

  • Easy and time saving: It saves patients time and expenses, which can be considerable if they are located in remote areas and/or are not well to do.  In India, where 70% of the population lives in villages, a hospital visit often requires expensive long-distance travel to urban centres, which imposes its own considerable carbon footprint.
  • Lower emissions: According to a recent study, India’s healthcare sector emitted 74 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2014, around 3% of India’s total emissions of the gasthat year. Vehicular emissions are a major contributor to local pollution and global warming. Telemedicine can be of help here.
  • Filling Gap: Most Indians live in rural areas while most doctors operate from urban locations. This leads to a gap in health care access that can be solved with telemedicine.
  • Economic impact: It can save time and money, lower fees and premiums.
  • Making up to doctor-population ratio: WHO recommends a doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 while the current doctor population ratio in India is only 0.62 : 1000.  The ratio is expected to remain low for a long time to come. This deficit is partly being made up by the active telemedicine services in various parts of the country.

Government Initiatives for Telemedicine

  • eSanjeevani is  Govt. of India’s free telemedicine service.  It is a national telemedicine service that strives to provide an alternative to the conventional physical consultations via digital platform.
  • AROGYASREE is another internet-based mobile telemedicine conglomerate that integrates multiple hospitals, mobile medical specialists, and rural mobile clinics.
  • Telemedicine Practice Guidelines under the NMC Act, 2019, regulate telemedicine in India. These guidelines outline prescription protocols and the responsibilities of registered medical practitioners during online consultations.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000, governs data collection by teleconsultation intermediaries.


A new study has revealed a worrying trend for India’s soil health. Nearly 30 per cent of the country’s landmass is experiencing “minor” soil erosion, while a critical 3 per cent faces “catastrophic” topsoil loss.

1: Dimension- Findings and Concerns
  • The biggest hotspot for soil erosion in the country is the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam. 
  • The north-eastern state Assam lost close to 300 square kilometres or 31 per cent of its surface soil to “catastrophic” erosion. 
  • Apart from the Brahmaputra Valley, the lower reaches of the Himalayas are characterised by moraine or loose soil and highly unstable slopes.
  • Topsoil is vital for agriculture as it holds nutrients and moisture essential for plant growth. Erosion significantly reduces fertility and can lead to decreased crop yields. 
  • Carbon:Land degradation reduces the soil’s ability to absorb carbon.
  • Worsened climate change:Land degradation and climate changefuel each other.
  • Threat to food security:Degraded land in the country is either rainfed farmland, responsible for the food security of the country, or forest land that offers the best defence against climate change.
  • Economic loss: Lost productivity can weigh heavily on the economy.
2: Dimension- Factors killing soil & solution
  • Farming practicessuch as tilling break up the soil and destroy its natural structure, killing many of the vital bacteria.
  • Agricultural chemicalscan alter the physiological, metabolic and biochemical behaviour of microbiota in the soil. This can disrupt the relationships between plants and microbes, decreasing nutrient bioavailability.
  • Pressures of population growth, food insecurity and agricultural intensification are leading to widespread soil degradation. This degradation can take many forms- degradation, erosion, acidification, salinization
  • Others: Burning of crop residues, land misuse and soil mismanagement and climate change
  • Solution: Replenishment, adopting organic practice (inter-cropping, mixed cropping, practicing crop rotation, Agroforestry, Permaculture, adopting biofertilizers.

Fact Box


  • Soil is a mixture of small rock particles/debris and organic materials/ humus which develop on the earth surface and support growth of plants.
  • A soil profile is a vertical cross-section of the soil, made of layers running parallel to the surface. These layers are known as soil horizons.
  • The layers of soil can easily be identified by the soil colour and size of soil particles. The different layers of soil are:
    • Topsoil
    • Subsoil
    • Parent rock
  • It could take up to 1,000 years to produce 2 to 3 centimetres of top or surface soil, which has a depth of 6 cm. 

Government Interventions

  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
  • Soil Health Card Scheme
  • Soil Health Management Scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY)
  • Per Drop More Crop
  • India is signatory to achieving Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030.


With revamped airfields and jetties to additional logistics and storage facilities, habitat for troops to a robust surveillance infrastructure, the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands are in the middle of a major military infrastructure upgrade.

About Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • The ANI are two groups of islands—the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, covering an area of 8,249 sq km.
  • The entire island chain consists of 836 islands including islets and rocky outcrops, of which some 38 are permanently inhabited by a population of over 430,000.
  • The islands are governed as a single Union Territory by the Central Government of India, through the Andaman Nicobar Administration.
  • The capital city of Port Blair is the seat of the Administration, headed by the Lieutenant Governor, who serves as direct link with the Central Government. 
  • The ANI are also home to India’s only integrated tri-service command of the armed forces—the Andaman and Nicobar Command for maritime surveillance and enhancing India’s strategic presence in the eastern Indian Ocean as it merges into the Pacific.

Need of the move

  • Monitoring Chinese activities: India is monitoring the Chinese aided activity in the nearby Coco Islands of Myanmar.
    • Beijing’s strategic footprint can be seen Ream national park in Cambodia, Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, Gwadar in Balochistan, Chah Bahar in Iran and at Khalifa port in UAE.
  • Strategic importance of islands: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are of great strategic importance as they straddle one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and give India the reach to monitor the flow of traffic from the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) to the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) through the Strait of Malacca, which is crucial for trade and oil shipments in the Indo-Pacific.

Fact Box: Coco Islands

  • The Coco Islands are a part of Yangon region of Myanmar. It is a small, remote island in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Great Coco is small at 11km in length, but its location is strategically important. 
  • It is not only close to the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, it also lies 55km from India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which host Indian navy and air force bases.


India accounted for the second-highest number of cases of hepatitis B and C in 2022 after China, with 3.5 crore infections, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Key-highlights of the Report
  • Report: WHO’s 2024 Global Hepatitis Report
  • 254 million people lived with hepatitis B and 50 million with hepatitis C in 2022 globally.
  • India, which was second only to China in the viral hepatitis burden, registered 2.98 crore hepatitis B cases in 2022 while the number of hepatitis C infections stood at 55 lakh.
  • China registered 8.3 crore cases of hepatitis B and C, representing 27.5 per cent of the total disease burden.
  • With a total of 3.5 crore cases, India accounted for 11.6 per cent of the total disease burden globally that year.

Fact Box: About Hepatitis

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause a range of health problems and can be fatal.
  • There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.
  • While they all cause liver disease, they differ in important ways including modes of transmission, severity of the illness, geographical distribution and prevention methods.
  • In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and together are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and viral hepatitis-related deaths.
  • Symptoms: Hepatitis symptoms include dark urine, yellowing of the eyes and skin, sickness, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, light-coloured stools and joint pain.
  • Treatment: There is no specific treatment for hepatitis but drugs like steroids can help, as well as medicines to treat the symptoms.


Rice vampireweed (Rhamphicarpa fistulosa) affected more than 140,000 farm households and caused losses worth USD 82 million per year to the continent’s economy, a new report showed. 


  • Rhamphicarpa fistulosa is a facultative, parasitic weed that grows on rice in Africa,
  • It is the most problematic and widespread species among the facultative parasitic weeds in Africa.
  • R fistulosa also affects sorghum and maize and, potentially, other cereal crops. Although infestation in other crops does not seem to be as common as in rice, the total economic losses inflicted by this weed may be higher. 
  • Weeds constitute important production constraints to rice in particular in Africa.
  • As yet, R fistulosais not controlled by fertilisers. Rice cultivars NERICA-L-40 and -31 were identified as resistant and high yielding under R fistulosa infested conditions.

New Rice for Africa (NERICA) 

  • The New Rice for Africa (NERICA) varieties are the first wide-scale success of crossing of the two cultivated species: Oryza sativa, known as ‘Asian rice’, and O glaberrima, often called ‘African rice’ and found only in Africa.


India’s built-up area has steadily increased over the past 17 years from 2005-06 to 2022-23, expanding by almost 2.5 million hectares, a new analysis showed. 

Key- Highlights

  • Period taken: 2005-06 and 2022-23.
  • The built-up land showed a modest increase with an overall growth of around 31 per cent.
  • Around 35 per cent of built up area has been added, with an average increase of around 2.4 per cent annually from land cover, which include wasteland and agricultural land cover. 
  • Wasteland, which includes degraded and unproductive land, contributed significantly (12.3 per cent) to built-up area expansion by 12.3.
  • A substantial percentage of built-up area expansion originated from agricultural land covers, which includes
    • 3 per cent of double / triple / annual crop
    • 3 per cent of kharif crop
    • 1 per cent of rabi crop
    • 9 per cent of plantation
    • 8 per cent of fallow land 

Fact Box: Built-up area

  • The term ‘built-up area’ refers to an area with buildings (roofed structures), paved surfaces (roads, parking lots), commercial and industrial sites (ports, landfills, quarries, runways) and urban green areas (parks, gardens).





Import Restriction

It refers to any one of a series of tariff and no-tariff barriers imposed by a country (importing nation) to control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries.


Import substitution

Import substitution is an economic or trade strategy focused on promoting the production of domestically produced goods over goods imported from other countries. It aims to decrease the reliance on imports, hoping to improve their own country's economic standing simultaneously.


Parasitic weeds

They belong to a group of plants which have lost their autotrophic way of life during their developmental process (evolution). They are nutrition specialists to the disadvantage of their host plants.


Soil erosion

Soil erosion is a gradual process that occurs when the impact of water or wind detaches and removes soil particles, causing the soil to deteriorate.


Solar module

A solar module or photovoltaic panel is a key building block of a solar system for home. They are made by connecting together photovoltaic (PV) cells or solar cells. 


India's struggle to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious goal, is exacerbated by a recurrent shortage of TB drugs, particularly for drug-sensitive TB patients.

Shortage of TB Drugs:

  • Drug shortage: India is facing a concerning shortage of TB drugs, including critical medications for drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients, hindering treatment initiation and success.
  • Questionable preparedness: With less than two years remaining to achieve the TB elimination goal, India's inability to address the most basic elements of TB control, including drug availability, raises doubts about the country's preparedness to meet its targets.
  • Undermined efforts: The shortage of TB drugs undermines efforts to address gaps in the TB care cascade, such as delays in diagnosis, treatment initiation, and achieving treatment success, posing significant challenges to TB control efforts.

Inadequate Management and Response:

  • Need for management: The decision to rename the National TB Control Programme as the National TB Elimination Programme without addressing fundamental issues like drug availability reflects inadequate management and seriousness in combating TB.
  • Logistical challenges: Last-minute permissions granted by the Health Ministry to States for local drug procurement create logistical challenges at the field level, further exacerbating the drug shortage issue.
  • Required measure: Addressing the recurrent shortage of TB drugs and improving the management of the national TB programme are crucial steps needed to enhance India's efforts towards eliminating TB by 2025.
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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on the National Broadcasting Policy, coinciding with significant developments in content delivery platforms and technologies.

Challenges of Regulatory Framework:

  • Fragmented regulatory framework: The convergence of traditional broadcasting and digital media has highlighted the fragmented regulatory framework, with traditional broadcasting under TRAI and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and digital media governed by self-regulatory mechanisms outlined in the IT Rules 2021.
  • Challenges: The disjointed regulatory regimes pose challenges in ensuring a level playing field for service providers, necessitating an evolutionary approach to address regulatory gaps and maintain fair competition.
  • Expansion of broadcasting services: The TRAI consultation paper identifies the low TV adoption rate in India, with over 100 million households lacking television access, highlighting the need to expand broadcasting services' reach by addressing barriers like high ownership costs and subscription fees.

Content Regulation and Cross-Media Ownership:

  • Content regulation is a critical area requiring regulatory intervention, yet the TRAI consultation paper remains silent on this aspect, despite the proposed Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023 granting extensive censorship powers to the Centre.
  • Cross-media ownership: The issue of cross-media ownership, which impacts media consolidation and pluralism, is overlooked in the consultation paper, despite TRAI's previous emphasis on necessary safeguards and the need for a robust policy to ensure healthy competition within the sector.
  • Consolidated National Broadcasting Policy: As India aims to establish itself as a global leader in media and entertainment, a progressive policy framework will be crucial to fostering an inclusive broadcasting ecosystem that supports innovation, diversity, and healthy competition.
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The impact of climate change on women's health and well-being, as well as the importance of incorporating gender-sensitive approaches into climate action plans, has gained prominence in recent discussions.

Disproportionate Health Risks:

  • Gender impact of climate-related events: Women and girls face disproportionately high health risks due to climate change, particularly in impoverished situations and influenced by existing cultural norms. Women and children are significantly more likely than men to die in disasters, emphasizing the gendered impact of climate-related events.
  • Food insecurity: Climate-driven factors such as crop yield reductions exacerbate food insecurity, leading to adverse health outcomes for women, especially those in rural areas who heavily depend on agriculture for livelihoods.
  • Impact on physical health: Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, further endanger vulnerable groups like pregnant women, young children, and the elderly, highlighting the need for targeted interventions to mitigate health risks.

Empowering Women in Climate Action:

  • Gender-sensitive approaches in climate action are essential for ensuring the effectiveness and inclusivity of mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • Empowering women with access to resources and decision-making roles can lead to better climate solutions, increased agricultural yields, and enhanced community resilience.
  • Local-level interventions, driven by women collectives and participatory approaches, can facilitate innovative solutions to climate challenges and contribute to sustainable development goals.
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