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16th August 2023

Independence Day 2023


On August 15, 2023 India celebrated its 77th Independence Day. The Prime Minister (PM), Mr. Narendra Modi led the celebrations with a speech from the Red Fort, New Delhi.

  • So, let us track the points from speech.
About Independence Day speech:
  • This year’s celebration is centered on “Nation First, Always First” as part of the larger “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
  • Throughout the speech, he referred to the people of the country as "Parivaarjan” (family members).
  • This was Prime ministers’ 10th Consecutive Speech on Independence Day.

Highlights of the Speech:

  • Vision for a ‘New World’ Order:
    • PM Modi expressed that a transformative global shift, akin to the Post-World War II era, is in progress after the pandemic.
    • He likened India’s role to that of “Vishwamitra,” symbolizing its evolving significance on the world stage.
  • Launch of Vishwakarma Yojana:
    • PM Modi announced the initiation of the Vishwakarma Yojana, aimed at benefiting individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship, particularly from the OBC community.
  • Beneficiaries: Weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, barbers, and such families will be empowered through the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’.
    • The scheme will receive an initial allocation of 13, 000-15,000 crore.
  • Empowering Border Villages:
    • PM highlighted the government’s “Vibrant Villages” initiative, transforming the perspective on border villages.
    • He stated that these border villages are not just the last in India but the first, signifying their importance.
  • Dream of Empowered Women:
    • PM Modi praised women’s self-help groups and aspired to create two crore ‘lakhpati didis’ (prosperous sisters).
    • He advocated for the protection of daughters and emphasized collective responsibility against atrocities.
    • Around 15,000 women’s SHGs would be given loan and training for operating and repairing drones.
  • Celebrating first year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of Independence):
    • The event marked the culmination of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, which commenced in 2021.
  • Launched Housing scheme for Urban Poor:
    • Under the programme for urban poor, they would receive relief in interest rates and loans taken from banks to construct their houses.
    • The mission aims to address the urban housing shortage among the economically backward sections, including the slum dwellers by ensuring a ‘pucca’ house to all eligible urban households by 2022.
    • The Centre has released Rs.1.48 lakh crore assistance to States for implementation of the scheme.

Tamil Nadu Govt. seeks to transfer of education back to ‘State List’


Recently, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has called for transferring ‘education’ back to the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

  • Education, originally a State subject, was moved to the Concurrent List by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency.

Indian Constitution and 7th Schedule:

  • The constitutional provisions in India on the subject of the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States are defined under several articles; the most important in this regard being specifically under Articles 245 & 246of the Constitution of India.
  • The Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India defines and specifies the allocation of powers and functions between Union & States.
  • Article 246deals with the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution that mentions three lists named as;
    • Union List,
    • State List and
    • Concurrent List.
  • Originally there were 97 subjects in the union list but now it is 100 subjectsin the union list.
  • And in the state list, there were 66 subjects but now it is 61 subjects.
  • And in the concurrent list, there were 47 subjects but now it is 52 subjectsin the concurrent list.

Concurrent Status of Education:

  • Until 1976, education was a state subject with some provisions at the central level.

According to the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, about 5 subjects were transferred from the state to the concurrent list. they are:

  • Protection of wild animals and birds
  • Weights and measures
  • Administration of justice
  • Education
  • Forests
  • The 42nd amendment, 1976 changed the status of education by putting it on the concurrent list.
  • Making education a concurrent subject ensures that both the Centre and state can legislate on any aspect of education from primary to the university level.
  • By having education in the concurrent list, center can implement directly any policy decisions in the states.
  • So, concurrent status of education means that there is a partnership between State government and central government when it comes to Education policy making and implementation.

Status of Education:

  • Under Central/Union List: The Center has exclusive authority to legislate for the items of this list.
  • Entry 65;
    • Research centres for special studies
    • Scientific or technical assistance in the investigation of detection of crime.
    • Training of police officers, professionals, vocational or technical training
  • Entry 66;
    • Coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.
    • Establishment of university grant commission (UGC).
  • Entry 67;
    • Under Article 49, protection of monuments and places and objects of National importance.

About Concurrent List:

The concept of ‘Concurrent List’ in the Indian Constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of Australia.

  • Central Government and State Government both can make laws on the subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List.
  • While both Central and State governments can legislate on subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List, however, in case of any conflict, the law made by the Central Government prevails.
  • The matters on which uniformity of legislation throughout the country is desirable but not essential are enumerated in the concurrent list.

State List and Powers:

  • The state list contains items pertaining to local interests, aims and objectives.
  • The States have the right to legislate items on this List according to local preferences and objectives.

Criteria for Centre to interfere in ‘State List’:

  • Article 249 gives Parliament the power to legislate concerning a subject enumerated in the State List in the national interest.
  • Or, Parliament can legislate on subjects that are enumerated under the State List on three conditions:
    • When Rajya Sabha passes resolution
    • During a National emergency (Article 250)
    • When two or more states pass a resolution requesting Parliament to legislate on subjects under State List.

CJI announces plan to expand Supreme Court (SC) Infrastructure


Recently, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has announced a plan to expand the Supreme Court with 27 additional courts and 51 judges’ chambers with other amenities for lawyers and litigants.

Currently, the Supreme Court has 17 courtrooms and two registrar courts. Its judicial strength as of now is 32.

About the Information:
  • While addressing the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the CJI has emphasised the need to overhaul court infrastructure on priority to make them accessible and inclusive.
  • According to the update, there is a plan to expand the Supreme Court by constructing a new building to accommodate;
    • 27 additional courts,
    • 51 judges’ chambers,
    • 4 registrar court rooms,
    • 16 registrar chambers, and
    • Other requisite facilities for lawyers and litigants.
  • The expansion of the Supreme Court will be done through the proposed two-phase project;
    • In the first phase, the court museum and annexe building would be demolished to construct a new building with 15 courtrooms, judges’ chambers, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) library, and offices for the SCBA and Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAoRA) office-bearers, canteen, women lawyers bar room and other facilities.
    • In the Second phase, some of the portion of the existing court complex would be demolished for the construction of the second part of the new building to accommodate 12 courtrooms, judges’ chambers, registrar courts, and lounge for SCBA and SCAoRA.
  • Importance of Technology:
    • Phase III of the e-Courts project seeks to revolutionise the working of courts in India by inter-linking of all courts across the country, setting up the infrastructure of paperless court, digitisation of court records, and setting up advanced e-sewa kendras in all court complexes.


  • The new building will reflect the constitutional aspirations, beliefs, and priorities of the Indian people, in addition to providing a space which facilitates access to justice.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA):

  • The Supreme Court Bar Association has been constituted for upholding, maintaining and consolidation of the constitutional values of democracy, rule of law and independence of Judiciary.
  • Senior Advocate Adish Aggarwala is the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

Bar Association and Bar Councils:

  • Bar associations are organizations of advocates working in particular courts while bar councils work on state leval and enrolle advocates and the Bar Council is a central body.

ISRO gearing up for mission to study Sun


According to a recent update, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has charted out a four-month-long trajectory for its solar spacecraft set for launch by September this year.

Evolution of ISRO’s Solar Mission:

  • Since a decade now to India’s sun observatory Aditya L1, is now going to further add to sun’s exploration.
  • Indian Institute of Astrophysics has been working to assemble Aditya L1’s primary payload–a 90-kg Visible Line Emission Coronagraph (VERC) which will drive ISRO’s first-ever scientific mission to the sun.
  • The final satellite consisting of seven different payloads has now been successfully integrated at UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC).
  • Though the sun is about 150 million kilometres from the Earth, the spacecraft would be put into a halo orbit around the Lagrange point (L1)–1.5 million km from the Earth, so it can view the mighty sun without any eclipses.
  • Objectives of the mission:
  • The scientific mission will also look to gather more data on understanding the coronal mass ejection.
  • It also aims to study the photons and the solar wind ions and electrons emitted by the sun, as well as the interplanetary magnetic field created in space.

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun’s corona.

  • The blast of a CME carries about a billion tons of material out from the Sun at very high speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.
  • A CME contains particle radiation (mostly protons and electrons) and powerful magnetic fields stronger than what is normally present in the solar wind.
  • The resulting shocks ripple through the solar system and can interrupt satellites and power grids on Earth.

Significance of Aditya L1 mission in India’s journey:

  • Advancement in Solar Physics: Data collected by the suite of instruments in this mission will help to advance our understanding of the sun's activity.
  • Understanding the sun's activity and its influence on Earth's climate can help in space weather forecasting space as events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections can disrupt communication and navigation systems.
  • It will help better predict sunspot cycles thus the sun’s energy output and contribute to the harnessing of renewable energy as a source to meet our energy demands.
  • A better understanding of the impact of the sun on earth’s climate contributes to the better development of strategies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Visible Line Emission Coronagraph (VERC):

  • It is the largest payload that would fly on the Aditya-L1 mission. It is an internally occulted solar coronagraph capable of simultaneous imaging, spectroscopy and spectro-polarimetry close to the solar limb.
  • The VELC consists of a coronagraph, spectrograph, polarimetry module and detectors, aside from auxiliary optics.

Interesting Facts about Sun:

  • The Sun is by far the largest object in the solar system.
  • It contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System with only Jupiter having the remaining 1.2%.
  • The Sun is personified in many mythologies: the Greeks called it Helios, Ancient Indian called it Surya.
  • About 73% of the Sun’s mass is hydrogen, and another 25% is helium (i.e. Sun is composed of roughly 98% hydrogen and helium).
  • Sun is rotating in counter-clockwise direction (when viewed from a long way above Earth’s North Pole).
  • Age: 4.6 billion years.
  • Diameter: 1.39 million km.
  • Temperature: 6000 °C on surface and 16 million °C in core.
  • Density: 1.41 times that of water.

Short News Article

Personality in News

Kanaklata Barua & Matangini Hazra

President Droupadi Murmu in her speech on the eve of Independence Day hailed the contribution of women freedom fighters and remembered the contributions of Kanaklata Barua and Matangini Hazra.

About Kanaklata Barua:

  • Kanaklata Barua was born on 22 December 1924 in Assam’s Barangabari village.
  • Barua initially wanted to join Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj.
  • However, her status as a minor excluded her from joining.
  • Barua then joined the Mrityu Bahini group.
  • Though the Mrityu Bahini had a similar policy of not allowing minors, Barua managed to persuade them to allow her to join and was even put in charge of the cadre.
  • On 20 September, 1942, Barua, aged just 17, led a group of 5,000 freedom fighters on a march towards Gohpur Police station to hoist the Tricolour in support of the Quit India Movement.
  • British forces at the station then opened indiscriminate fire on the group.
  • Barua, who was at the forefront of the procession, was shot dead at point-blank range.

Matangini Hazra:

  • Matangini Hazra’s active role was in the Civil Disobedience Movement, participation in the Salt March, and her instrumental role in the Quit India Movement highlights her commitment.
  • Her ultimate sacrifice while leading a procession to seize a police station demonstrated her unyielding spirit.

Polity and Governance(GS-II)

Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are among 14 States and Union Territories which are yet to sign a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry, which mandates the implementation of the National Education Policy.

  • As per the directive to these states, 40% of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) budget must be borne by the States themselves, and no extra funds have been earmarked for NEP reforms.

About the Scheme:

  • Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA), a centrally sponsored programme, aims to work with 300-plus state universities and its affiliated colleges.
  • Launched in 2013, the PM-USHA aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions. 
  • The central funding is based on norms and is outcome dependent. 
  • Funds flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories before reaching the identified institutions. 
  • Funding to states would be made on the basis of the critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which would enlist each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.
  • PM-USHA places greater emphasis on the improvement of the quality of teaching-learning processes in order to produce employable and competitive graduates, post-graduates and PhDs.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Metagenome sequencing

As per the scientific researches, Metagenomics is not only rapid method to detect diseases, but could also be deployed directly on patient samples, without any a priori knowledge of the infectious agent.


  • Metagenomics is the study of the structure and function of entire nucleotide sequences isolated and analyzed from all the organisms (typically microbes) in a bulk sample.
  • Metagenomics is often used to study a specific community of microorganisms, such as those residing on human skin, in the soil or in a water sample.

What is Metagenome sequencing?

  • This method allows researchers to comprehensively sample all genes in all organisms present in a given complex sample.
  • The method enables microbiologists to evaluate bacterial diversity and detect the abundance of microbes in various environments.


Disaster in the Himalayas and Troubled Tourism


The Policy of tourism is governed by the perception that the tourism industry is the key to prosperity in a region. An important element of this perception is the underestimation of the cost of unbridled tourism for the fragile Himalayan ecology.

The Background: A Himalayan Case Study

  • Violent engineering: The roads in the Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh were widened to provide the luxury of four-lane driving.
  • Distress: Laborers and their contractors return to clear the debris on highways as all major tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are facing intermittent distress and closure.
  • Steps for cutting down the number of tourists are hardly defined in any policy measure. Many among them are facing extraordinary circumstances — forest fires, unprecedentedly high temperatures, floods, landslides, and so on.

The current situation of Himachal and Uttarakhand Himalayas

  • Tussle is between discourses: Landslides seem to have made little impact on economic planning in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. On one side is the discourse of development, tourism being central to it in the hills. On the other side is the wail of nature conservationists.
  • Who cares? Across the Himalayan region, the hospitality industry does not care for the disappearance of forests or the disposal of waste, which is emptied out on the back slope, to eventually get immersed in a river.
  • Rivers are the ultimate drainage: Recently, a 4 lane highway near Manali was washed out by the mighty Beas River during cloud burst event.

The Tourists personality and stereotypes

  • Luxury above nature: Providing tourists luxurious access is regarded as part of hospitality, even in pilgrimage sites where difficult access was a prized value until recently.
  • Irresponsible behavior: Tourists don’t seem to notice that their travel style injures the hills, if a disaster unfolds while they are on the move, they don’t associate it with their holiday plan.
  • Nothing but entertainment: The stereotype can be seen with a recent event of forest fire near a hotel in Uttarakhand, when some foreign tourists started taking pictures, assuming that a fire dance was being staged to entertain them.
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Consumption-based poverty estimates have relevance


As per the data released by NITI Aayog for Multidimensional poverty index (MPI), shows that the poverty has declined to 15% in the year 2019-20. However, it is argued that relevance of National Sample Survey (NSS) consumption-based poverty estimates are still very important to consider than the Multi-dimensional poverty.

Facts supporting Consumption based Poverty estimation:

  • Based on Tendulkar estimates: The estimates of poverty based on consumer expenditure, using the Tendulkar committee methodology show (over a seven-year period between 2004-05 and 2011-12) that the number of poor came down, but less than the MPI estimates.
  • Different mechanism of interpretation: Poverty based on income or consumption is different from deprivations based on education or health.
  • Deaton and Drèze (2014): It also indicates that “it is important to supplement expenditure-based poverty estimates with other indicators of living standards, relating for instance to nutrition, health, education and the quality of the environment”.

Changes in surveys for consumption estimates:

  • For aggregation of correct data: Independent indicators and analytically appropriate rules of aggregation require that all of them relate to the same household. More generally, this requirement poses several data constraints.
  • Lack of survey data: The survey data on consumption expenditures done in 2017-18 have not been released officially. In the absence of such data, indirect methods like Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data sources can be used for differing conclusions.
  • Mismatches in aggregate consumption estimates: The differences in aggregate consumption estimates between National Accounts Statistics (NAS) and NSS data. These two estimates of consumption (NSS and NAS) do not match in any country;

Suggestive Measures:

  • MPI data evaluation must be changed: Data collection and interpretation is different. For e.g. there is a problem with the child mortality indicator as it is for population groups and not for households.
  • To supplement the results of consumption surveys: The data obtained from consumption survey must be supplemented to study the impact of public expenditure on health and education of different expenditure classes.
  • Role of NSO: The National Statistical Office must study the problem and come out with possible suggestions to improve the collection of data through both routes.
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A surge foretold: Inflation could undermine broader consumption and economic growth


NSO data, showed retail inflation accelerating to a 15-month high, comes less than a week after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left interest rates unchanged even as it warned of “a substantial increase in headline inflation” in the near term. 

Inflation dynamics-things to know

  • Retail inflation: Also called as Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation, it is the increase in the prices of goods and services that consumers buy for personal use. Any increase may hamper consumption.
  • CPI as economic tool: CPI is used as a macroeconomic indicator of inflation, as a tool by the central bank and government for inflation targeting and for inspecting price stability, and as deflator in the national accounts.
  • Headline inflation and core inflation: Change in the prices of all goods in the basket is headline and when we exclude food and fuels items from this basket (as they are volatile) we get core inflation.

What does recent Data reflects?

  • Recent surge: Driven by food price component, accelerating by 11.51%, from June’s 4.55%. Besides oils and fats, the 12 basket CPI index showed year on year increase.
  • Surge in staples: Cereals, with almost 10% weight in the CPI representing rice and wheat, saw prices surge 13% from July 2022 levels. Data compiled by CMIE show the sequential surge in vegetable prices was the highest in at least five years.
  • Effect on common man: Prices of 18 of the 19 items in the vegetables sub-group registered appreciable sequential price gains making it for family to manage its monthly food budget. Inflation in non-food items too were a palpable (easy felt) concern. 

Concerns and Way forward:

  • Spread of inflation: The 5 other broad groups on the CPI, all recorded price increases, signalling inflation is now more widely spread across the goods and services consumed in the economy. Lifting the food bill by over 12.3% for urban, while rural consumers encountered 11% food inflation.
  • Impacts: Undermines broader consumption and economic growth. Optimism that current price shock is temporary, policymakers are cautious about disregarding the impact of a couple of high headline inflation readings. Concern lies in risk of inflation expectations becoming unanchored due to rapid & sustained price increases.
  • Way forward: looming El Niño and uneven monsoon adds uncertainty over the supply the RBI may find an uphill task in aligning inflation to its avowed target of 4% unless all authorities act in concert. Changes in interest rates can signal the central bank's stance on controlling inflation. If the central bank raises rates to curb inflation, it sends a message that it is committed to controlling rising prices.
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