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15th September 2023

Sindhudurg Fort


In line to celebrate Navy Day 2023, the government is planning to get it held at the iconic Sindhudurg Fort off the Maharashtra coast, built by Maratha ruler ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj in the 17th century.

India celebrates Navy Day on December 4 to commemorate the Indian Navy’s attack on the Karachi harbour during the 1971 war against Pakistan.


About Sindhudurg Fort:

  • The Sindhudurg Fort was built in the 1668, built by ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj.
  • This sea fort is considered a masterpiece in military defense.
  • Its main objective was to counter the rising influence of foreign (English, Dutch, French and Portuguese) merchants and to curb the rise of Siddhis of Janjira.
  • It is Located in Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra.
  • Sindhudurg fort is located on a small island surrounded by the Arabian Sea near the shore of Malvan.
  • The fort is spread across 48 acres.
  • It was constructed using locally available laterite stone.
  • The fort has witnessed several battles, including the Battle of Sindhudurg.ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj's naval power symbol.
  • There are three temples on the fort namely Jari Mari Temple, ShriBhavani Temple and Shri Shiv Rajeshwar Temple.
  • It took 100 architects and manpower of 3000 to complete the construction of the fort in 1667.
  • Strategic significance:
    • Built to defend the Konkan coast against foreign invasions.
    • A naval base for Maratha Empire to control the Arabian Sea.
    • Well-planned fortification to protect against enemy ships.

Important Facts:

  • The Malvan Marine Sanctuary is a coastal conservation area situated in the state of Maharashtra, India. The sanctuary is known for its rich marine biodiversity and diverse habitats.
  • Notably, the sanctuary includes the historic Sindhudurg Fort, a monumental structure constructed byChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj. This fort adds cultural and historical significance to the conservation area.

Battle of Sindhudurg:

  • In 1713, the fort was besieged by the British under the command of Colonel Robert Cowan, but it withstood the attack and the British forces retreated.
  • The fort was also attacked by the Portuguese forces in 1737, but they were repelled by the Maratha forces.
  • The British captured it in 1765.

‘Every second extreme poor’ in the world is a child: Report


According to an assessment named “Global Trends in Child Monetary Poverty According to International Poverty Lines” by World Bank and UNICEF, India has some 52 million children in extreme poverty and every second poor in the world is a child.

A new global poverty line was adopted from mid-September, 2022, with the World Bank updating data on its Poverty and Inequality Platform.


Highlights of the assessment

  • As per the report, World’s extremely poor population is living below the international $2.15 (Rs 178.38) poverty lineand is increasingly being added by children.
  • In 2022, children accounted for 5 per cent of the total extreme poor population in the world.
  • This assessment of child poverty is based on the new poverty line of $2.15.
  • Key findings:
    • Poor children are mostly found in two regionssub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
      • Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest rate of children living in poverty at 40 per cent;
      • South Asia has 9.7 per cent.
      • These two regions together account for 90 per cent of extremely poor children in the world.
    • The assessment showed that in 2020 — the onset year of the pandemic — child poverty increased, breaking the trend of consistent decline.
    • Among the children, the poverty rate is the highest for the 0-5 year age group.
    • Some 18.3 per cent (99 million) of children living in extreme poor households were below the age of five years.
    • For India: According to the assessment, 5 per cent children live in extremely poor households.

Reasons for rising poverty amongst Children

  • Income Inequality: Growing income inequality within societies can lead to a concentration of wealth among a small portion of the population, leaving many families, including those with children, in poverty. As the rich get richer, the poor struggle to make ends meet.
  • Lack of Access to Quality Education: Children living in impoverished households often lack access to quality education. This educational disadvantage can perpetuate the cycle of poverty as they may not acquire the skills and knowledge needed for better job opportunities in the future.
  • Healthcare Costs: High healthcare costs, including medical bills and insurance premiums, can push families into poverty, especially if they have a child with a chronic illness or disability. Medical expenses can quickly deplete a family's financial resources.
  • Family Structure: Single-parent households, often led by single mothers, face a higher risk of poverty. This is because a single income may not be sufficient to cover all family expenses, including childcare and housing costs.
  • Unemployment and Underemployment: A lack of job opportunities or access to only low-paying, part-time, or temporary work can lead to poverty among parents and, consequently, their children. High unemployment rates can exacerbate the problem.


  • Poor Health Outcomes: Children living in poverty often face inadequate access to healthcare, proper nutrition, and safe living conditions.
  • Limited Opportunities: Children in poverty often have fewer opportunities for extracurricular activities, such as sports, arts, and music, which are essential for their social and emotional development.
  • Cycle of Poverty: Child poverty can perpetuate a cycle of disadvantage. Children born into impoverished families are more likely to experience poverty as adults.
  • Mental Impact:Addressing child poverty is not only a moral imperative but also an economic necessity for society as a whole.
  • Increase in Crime rates:The poverty can drive children into illegal works and vulnerable to drag into criminal activities.

Government Interventions

  • The Govt. of India has expanded social protection programmes substantially in 2020–2021 to address the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • With over 206 million individuals covered, India’s PradhanMantri Jan DhanYojana (PMJDY)programme is the world’s largest COVID-related cash transfer scheme.
  • India has also shown significant reduction in the multi-dimensional poverty rate, from 55 per cent (2005–2006) to 28 per cent (2015–2016), with 35 per cent among children.
  • However, still a lot families are ultra-poor and more importantly a large of families are on the verge of poverty line, a shock and stress in their life pull them down back to the poverty line.
  • Other schemes includes;
    • POSHAN Scheme
    • Mid-Day Meal Scheme

Relook at ‘HarGharJal initiative’


With the JalJeevan Mission taking piped water to every village in India,and has risen from 1.2% in 2019 to 97.5% in 2023. This has eased women’s burden of work, but acceptance is slow.

So, let us relook the points and targets under the HarGharJal Mission.


About the Mission:

  • HarGharJal is part of the broader JalJeevan Mission,which focuses on sustainable water supply management and water resource development in rural areas.
  • The mission aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all.
  • HarGharJal, which translates to "Water to Every Home," is a flagship mission launched by the Government of India.
  • Objective: Its primary goal is to ensure that every rural household in India has access to clean and potable drinking water. The mission aims to provide tap water connections to all rural households by 2024.
  • The mission focuses on improving and expanding the rural water supply infrastructure, including the creation of piped water supply systems.
  • This involves constructing water sources, storage tanks, distribution networks, and individual household tap connections to deliver safe drinking water directly to people's homes.
  • Administered by:It coordinates efforts across government departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Jal Shakti, to ensure a holistic approach to water management.

The Dataraising voice:

  • Besides making women’s lives easier, piped water connections also mean reducing individual dependence on groundwater.
  • Recent estimates from the Central Groundwater Board of India pegs about 20% of the country’s groundwater blocks being “critical” or “overexploited”.
  • Uttar Pradesh has 13% of such blocks.

What are the loopholes?

  • A major challenge transporting water to villages sprawled across hundreds of kilometres is leakage.
  • Unlike in cities and urban settlements where pumped water is stored in tanks, most of the villages with new tap connections don’t have centralised or even individual storage tanks.
  • Untreated water supplies are frequent in many regions causing diseases like Diarrhea, cholera etc.

Water is a matter included in Entry 17 of List-II, i.e. State List.


Suggestive measures

  • States/ UTs have been advised to plan and implement piped water supply schemes of bulk water transfer based on safe water sources such as surface water sources or alternative safe ground water sources for the villages with water quality issues.
  • Rural Water Supply Department of State declares the village as ‘HarGharJal’ village on the basis of work completion report of the field engineer associated with the project the villages are marked as ‘reported HarGharJal’ in JJM IMIS.
    • The Gram Sabha should take a stand on the certification process.
  • The copy of certificate provided by implementing department, resolution passed by Gram Sabha, and a small video capturing the Gram Sabha is reflected on JJM Dashboard for every village that is certified.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)


In a statement by the Prime Minister, PMMSY has expanded inland fishing even to landlocked States and has made fishing an occupation for many across the country.

  • The government has recently announced investment of Rs. 6,000 crore as a sub scheme under the PMMSY, taking total investment into fisheries to more than Rs.38,500 crore over the last nine years.

PradhanMantriMatsyaSampadaYojana (PMMSY):

  • PMMSY was introduced as part of the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ package with an investment of Rs. 20,050 crores, the highest-ever investment in this sector.
  • The scheme is being implemented in all States and UTs for a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
  • The Government has launched the PMMSY for the development of marine & inland fisheries.
  • There are provisions of Ban Period Support to fishermen (during the period fishing is not permitted).
  • The focus will be on Islands, Himalayan States, and North-east & Aspirational Districts.
  • Objectives:
    • Harness the potential of the fisheries sector in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
    • Enhance fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilisation of land and water
    • Modernise and strengthen the value chain including post-harvest management and quality improvement
    • Double fishers' and fish farmers’ incomes and generate meaningful employment
    • Enhance the contribution of the fisheries sector to agricultural Gross Value Added (GVA) and exports
    • Ensure social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
    • Build a robust fisheries management and regulatory framework.

Achievements till now:

  • The PMMSY has helped to expand fisheries to non-traditional areas.
  • Almost 20,000 hectares of fresh pond area is being brought under inland aquaculture, and even in landlocked Haryana and Rajasthan, farmers are successfully converting their saline waste lands into wealth lands through aquaculture.
  • The PMMSY has empowered fisher women to explore remunerative options and alternative livelihoods, such as ornamental fisheries, pearl culture, and seaweed cultivation.
  • India is now counted among the world’s top three countries in fish and aquaculture production, and is also the biggest shrimp exporter in the world.

Other Initiatives Related to Fisheries Sector

  • SagarParikrama
  • Palk Bay Scheme
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF)

RBI launches innovative program to revolutionize credit access for MSMEs


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has embarked a comprehensive program focused on evaluating the feasibility of a ‘Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit.’


About Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit:

  • The initiative seeks to streamline and enhance credit delivery by financial institutions, ultimately contributing to greater financial inclusion in India.
  • Objective: The primary goal of this public tech platform is to simplify the credit appraisal process, making it more accessible and efficient for both lenders and borrowers.
  • Working:
    • Developed under the aegis of the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH), the Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit is set to become an end-to-end digital solution with an open architecture, open application programming interfaces (APIs), and standardized protocols that all banks can seamlessly connect to in a “Plug and Play” model.
  • Significance:
    • By consolidating all the necessary information in one place, this initiative aims to eliminate friction in the credit access journey for MSMEs.
    • The RBI’s commitment to facilitating financial inclusion aligns with the broader goals of the Indian government and the central bank to support the growth and development of MSMEs, which are crucial drivers of the country’s economic prosperity.

What are the advantages of the platform?

  • Simplification- It simplifies the integration of vital financial data through open Application Program Interface.
  • Scalability- It ensures that credit or other financial instruments are extended to a larger set of borrowers with good credit history.
    • World Bank pointed out that improved access to information provides the basis for fact-based and quick credit assessments.
  • Productive investment- The borrowers too would benefit by the resulting lower cost of accessing capital, which would translate into productive investment spending.
  • Cost effective- This platform reduces the multiple visits to bank to avail formal credit and costs associated with it.
    • RBI survey indicated that processing of farm loans took 2 to 4 weeks and costs about 6% of the loan’s total value.
  • Improves Efficiency- It centralizes potential borrowers information on a unified platform streamlines processes.
  • Seamless- The participation of banks, NBFCs, fintech firms, and start-ups in this platform aligns with the dedication to seamless credit and payment solutions.
  • Foster innovation- The 'plug and play' model encourages innovation, driving the lending sector towards greater accessibility, cost reduction and efficiency.

Delay to achieve SDGs


As per the World Meteorological Organsiation (WMO), the world is far from achieving its climate targets as the Sustainable Development targets (SDGs) deadline of 2030 approaches as extreme weather events threaten its achievement.


About WMO’s warning:

  • Weather-, climate- and water-related sciences can advance aims such as food and water security, clean energy, better health, sustainable oceans and resilient cities.
  • There is a direct link between these sciences and eight SDGs which include
    • SDG (Zero Hunger),
    • SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing),
    • SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation),
    • SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
    • SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities),
    • SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and
    • SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
  • Climate change has been fueling disease outbreaks, WMO says that integrating epidemiology and climate information helps understand and anticipate those diseases sensitive to climate.
  • Over 50 per cent of countries do not have multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWSs).

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 interconnected and ambitious goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These goals were designed to address a wide range of global challenges and promote a better, more sustainable future for all by the year 2030. The SDGs cover various dimensions of sustainable development, including economic, social, and environmental aspects.

  • No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  • Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  • Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  • Reduced Inequality: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  • Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • Life on Land: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  • Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Short News Article

Geography (GS-I) 

Earthquake light

In the recent earthquake hitted morocco has experienced a strange phenomenon which is now called as ‘Earthquake light’.


  • The occurrence of light bursts associated with earthquakes has been documented historically for centuries.
  • These light bursts can range in length from quick flashes to minute-long fireballs, and they can appear high or low in the sky and appear in a variety of hues.
  • Earthquakes can be accompanied by a number of visual phenomena, such as unusual lighting.
  • The United States Geological Survey refers to earthquake lights as sheet lightning, balls of light, streamers, and steady glow.

Cause of occurrence:

  • The phenomena as stating that strained rocks, such as basalts and gabbros, a type of coarse, volcanic rock, might discharge charge when activated by seismic waves.
  • These charges have the potential to move towards the surface, combine to form a “plasma-like state,” and produce electrical discharges in the atmosphere, according to the researchers.

Economy (GS-III)

Rubber Board to increase area under rubber in Northeast

The Rubber Board, jointly with the Central government and the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association, is implementing a project to expand the area under natural rubber in the Northeastern States.

About Rubber Board:

  • The Rubber Board is a statutory organization constituted under Section (4) of the Rubber Act, 1947 and functions under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Functions:
    • Undertaking, assisting or encouraging scientific, technological and economic research.
    • Training students in improved methods of planting, cultivation, manuring and spraying.
    • Improving the marketing of rubber.
  • Head Office is in Kottayam, Kerala.


Delhi Declaration first step to global no-first-use treaty


The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration has drawn consensus on, no to nuclear weapons use or threat, signaling support for a global ‘No-first-use policy’.

The G20 Declaration's Significance

  • Recognition of Nuclear Threat: The New Delhi Declaration emphasized the inadmissibility of using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, even in the context of the ongoing Ukraine War.
  • Security-Economic Connection: Despite being primarily an economic forum, the declaration highlighted the interconnectedness of security and the economy, underscoring the severe consequences of wars and conflicts onpeople, peace, and prosperity.
  • Hypocrisy in Actions: While the G20 declaration sends a hopeful message, the actions of major powers, such as the USA, China, and Russia, contradict their commitments. These nations have used force and violated the sovereignty of other countries.

India's Opportunity for Leadership

  • Global Existential Threats: Nuclear weapons, alongside climate change, are identified as primary global existential threats. The endorsement by all G20 nations that nuclear weapon use or threat is inadmissible presents an opportunity for India to take a leadership role.
  • Adherence to No First Use (NFU): India and China are unique among nuclear powers for consistently adhering to a No First Use (NFU) policy. This puts them in a position to lead efforts for a ‘Global No First Use Treaty (GNFU)’.
  • Holding Nuclear Powers Accountable: India can leverage the support of G20 members to encourage nuclear powers like the USA, UK, and France to commit to NFU policies, ultimately contributing to global peace and security.


  • Partnering with China: Collaborating with China on the GNFU Treaty may pose challenges due to existing tensions and China's reluctance to engage with India on nuclear issues. However, diplomatic efforts should be made to bridge this gap.
  • Drafting the GNFU Treaty: Regardless of China's participation, India can work on drafting a GNFU Treaty that outlines the commitment to never use orthreaten to use nuclear weapons, further solidifying India's commitment to global peace.
  • Challenges from Major Powers: The USA's military doctrines and concerns about extended deterrence present obstacles to adopting NFU policies. Overcoming these challenges requires diplomatic efforts to change the mindset of nuclear-armed nations.
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Invent in India


The organizations that help turn scientific knowledge into wealth through technology need significant improvements to boost India's economy.

India's Potential in Science and Technology

  • Growing Economy, Lagging Innovation: India, as the world's fifth-largest economy, aims to rise further but faces a lag in innovation, science, and technology compared to its economic size.
  • Historical Shortcomings: The underperformance in these fields results from academia and industry not contributing sufficiently to national research and development (R&D) efforts.
  • Positive Signs: Correcting past errors, India has seen the "Make in India" campaign gain momentum, increasing global merchandise exports. Additionally, efforts to improve patent infrastructure and bilateral agreements in science and technology reflect strategic priorities.

Building Momentum for "Invent in India"

  • National Research Foundation's Role: The newly established National Research Foundation (NRF) is expected to address the need for significant changes in institutions facilitating the conversion of scientific knowledge into wealth.
  • Reforms' Urgency: India, with its rich human capital, has underperformed in science and technology.
  • Critical Parameters for Overhaul: Three key parameters should guide the overhaul: prioritizing merit and quality in human capital, integrating teaching and research, and implementing a barbell strategy for funding research projects.

Implementing Reforms in Science Culture

  • Merit and Quality Emphasis: Reforms must prioritize human capital's merit and quality for staffing and administration in scientific institutions. Retaining top talent and attracting global talent is vital.
  • Integrating Teaching and Research: Research labs should collaborate with universities and science parks to bridge the gap between teaching and research, fostering a merit-driven admissions system.
  • Cultural Reboot: The culture of science should promote collegiality, controlled risk-taking, and impartial peer review to encourage innovation and quality.
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How vehicular pollution is not primary cause of poor air quality in Delhi


As per a recentstudy found that during the winters in the capital, the main cause of air pollution is not vehicular smoke, but actually the burning of natural materials like wood and plants.

Air Pollution's Impact on Lives

  • Dire Consequences of Air Pollution:The 2023 ‘AQLI report by the University of Chicago’ reveals air pollution in Delhi reduces lifespan by 11.9 years, highlighting health risks.
  • A Deteriorating Situation: An earlier report warned of a nine-year life expectancy reduction in northern India due to persistently high pollution levels.
  • Lack of Progress: Environmental discussions lack progress, with narrow focuses and dominant voices, impeding effective action on pressing air pollution concerns.

Identifying the True Causes of Air Pollution

  • Misplaced Blame: Vehicular emissions wrongly accused as Delhi's main pollution source; rain improvements suggest dust and biomass burning culprits.
  • Dust and Biomass Impact: Studies find dust and biomass burning significantly pollutes air, challenging vehicle-centric focus.
  • Neglected Debate: Dominance of "vehicles-pollute-Delhi" narrative stifles discussions about alternative pollution causes like dust and biomass burning.

Addressing the Root Causes

  • Urbanization's Impact: Rampant urbanization in India marked by encroachment, corruption, and unregulated construction, fuels environmental degradation like waste dumping and water contamination.
  • Vehicle Ownership Reality: India's low vehicle ownership (8% of households) contrasts with cleaner Western cities with more cars per household.
  • Neglected Priorities: Excessive focus on vehicle emissions sidelines critical issues like illegal urbanization and environmental consequences, leaving people to suffer.
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Disentangling the 2030 global renewable energy target


At COP28, developing countries should consider the target only if the North commits to equitable absolute targets domestically.

Global Renewable Energy (RE) Targets

  • COP28's Renewable Energy Target: COP28 aims to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, reflecting in the G-20 declaration, but complexities arise.
  • Current Global Renewable Capacity: In 2021, RES had 39% installed capacity but contributed only 28% to total electricity generation, led by hydropower.
  • Tripling Capacity Implications: Achieving 9000 GW RES by 2030, largely from solar and wind, raises feasibility and energy demand questions.

Regional Variations and Energy Demand Growth

  • Diverse Electricity Demand: Electricity demand varies widely among countries, with developing nations like China and India experiencing rapid growth.
  • Impact on Nations: The RE target affects countries differently, with the U.S. and EU needing a smaller share compared to India.
  • Challenges in Equal Distribution: Unequal burden distribution can be challenging for developing nations, requiring significant infrastructure development.

Equity and Accountability in Renewable Energy Targets

  • Origin of Global RE Target: The origin of COP28's global RE target is uncertain but likely influenced by IRENA's report, reflecting the outlined inequitable scenario.
  • Issues with Absolute Projections: Absolute capacity projections disconnected from energy demand growth pose challenges. Relative targets are considered safer. Resource allocation for grids and climate finance remains problematic.
  • Lack of Domestic Targets: Leading proponents like the U.S. and EU lack absolute domestic targets, relying on market signals. Developing nations should consider the target only if developed countries commit to equitable domestic targets.
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