What's New :

16th February 2023

With an eye on China, Union Cabinet clears 7 ITBP battalions


The Union Cabinet sanctioned seven new battalions and an operational border base with a fresh strength of 9,400 personnel for the India-China LAC guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).



  • This would entail the recruitment of 9,400 personnel for deployment in Arunachal Pradesh where 47 new border outposts and 12 staging camps are under construction.
  • The outposts were sanctioned in January 2020. In all, there are 176 outposts of the ITBP along the 3,488-km China border.
  • The armies of India and China are engaged in a standoff in Ladakh since 2020.

About Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF)

  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) is a Central Armed Police Force functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • The ITBP was raised on 24th October 1962 during the India-China War and is a border-guarding police force specializing in high-altitude operations.
  • Presently ITBP has been guarding the India-China border in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh state from the Karakoram pass in Jammu Kashmir to Jechap La in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Force is also deployed for Anti-Naxal operations and other internal security duties.

Central Armed Police Forces:

The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains seven CAPFs:

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), assists in internal security and counterinsurgency.
  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), protects vital installations (like airports) and public sector undertakings.
  • The National Security Guards (NSG), is a special counterterrorism force.
  • Four border guarding forces, which are the Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), SashastraSeemaBal (SSB), and Assam Rifles (AR).


  • The decision to raise additional battalions was taken keeping an eye on the need for effective monitoring in the border areas and the battalion and sector headquarters would be raised by 2025-26.
  • New ITBP battalions were last raised in 2011 and the present decision has been in the pipeline since 2014.


  • The decision will increase the strength of the ITBP from the current 88,000 to 97,000, making it the fourth-largest Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).

Government Approves Rs 4,800 Crore Vibrant Villages Programme


The Cabinet approved the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) for the financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26.

  • The scheme was announced in the 2022-23 Budget.
  • Type: Centrally sponsored scheme
  • Allocation: Rs4,800 crore
  • Objective: development of villages on the northern border, thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages. 
  • Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of gram panchayats and 100% saturation of Central and State schemes will be ensured.
  • The scheme will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 districts and 46 border blocks in four States and one Union Territory along the “northern land border of the country”
  • In the first phase, 663 villages will be covered. In all, 2,966 villages in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are proposed to be covered.


  • Key outcomes that have been attempted are,
    • connectivity with the all-weather road, drinking water, 24x7 electricity — solar and wind energy
    • mobile and Internet connectivity
    • tourist centres
    • multi-purpose centres and health and wellness centres
  • There will not be an overlap with the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).

Border Area Development Programme (BADP)

  • The Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs has been implementing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) through the State Governments as part of a comprehensive approach to Border Management.
  • It is a 100% centrally funded programme.


  • Inclusive growth: It will help in achieving inclusive growth.
  • Retaining population and reversing migration: It would encourage people to stay in their native locations in border areas, reversing the out-migration from these villages and improving the security of the border.
  • Sustainable growth: It is a part of the government's efforts to promote sustainable development in rural India and build a self-reliant India

Cabinet nod for two lakh farm, dairy cooperatives


The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of 2 lakh new Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and dairy-fishery cooperatives in uncovered villages and panchayats over the next five years to strengthen cooperative movement in the country.



  • Primary dairy cooperative societies, around 1,99,182 in number and having around 1.5 crore members, are engaged in the procurement of milk from farmers, providing milk testing facilities, cattle feed sale and extension services to members.
  • Primary fishery cooperative societies, around 25,297 in number and having around 38 lakh members, provide marketing facilities, assist in procuring fishing equipment, fish seed and feed, besides credit facilities to members.
  • However, there are still 1.6 lakh Panchayats without PACS and nearly 2 lakh Panchayats without any dairy cooperative society.

What is in the plan?

  • Initially, 2 lacks PACS/dairy/fishery cooperatives would be established in the next five years.
  • The action plan for implementation of the project shall be prepared by NABARD, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Fishery Development Board (NFDB).

How existing PACS/dairy/fishery cooperatives would be strengthened?

  • The ministry seeks to strengthen the existing PACS/dairy/fishery cooperatives through the convergence of various schemes of the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
  • The following schemes have been identified for convergence under the current plan:
    • National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD)
    • Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying
    • Pradhan MantriMatsyaSampadaYojana (PMMSY), Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development (FIDF) under the Department of Fisheries.

Understanding India’s MentalHealthcare Act, 2017


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a report flagged the “inhuman and deplorable” condition of all 46 government-run mental healthcare institutions across the country; out of which three are run by the Union government and the remaining by State governments. 


Important issues highlighted in the Report

  • The facilities are “illegally” keeping patients long after their recovery, in what is an “infringement of the human rights of mentally ill patients”. 
  • Moreover, the perennial shortage of doctors, lack of infrastructure, and proper amenities speak of a “very pathetic and inhuman handling by different stakeholders”.
  • The human rights body’s observations were made after visits to all operational government facilities, to assess the implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017(MHA).

What does the Mental Healthcare Act, of 2017 say? 

  • Mental healthcare in India is governed by the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (MHA).
  • It was enacted after India ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006.
  • MHA, 2017 replaced the Mental Healthcare Act, of 1987, which did not provide for the rights of mentally ill persons and instead prioritised the institutionalisation of mentally ill persons.
    • The 1987 Act also necessitated stringent and arbitrary licensing requirements for psychiatrists.
  • MHA, 2017, emphasises the rights of mentally ill persons.
  • Its preamble states that it is “An Act to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental ”
  • It empowers persons with mental illnesses (PMIs) to decide the mode and method of their treatment, provided that they can comprehend the information provided to them. 

How long-term institutionalisation violates rights?

  • Long-term institutionalisation not only violates Article 21 of the Constitution which protects personal liberty but also indicates a “failure of the State Government(s) to discharge the obligation under various international Covenants [such as the United Nations Convention]relating to rights of persons with disabilities which have been ratified by India,”.

Important Government Initiatives dealing with ‘Mental Health'

  • National Mental Health Programme (NMHP): Aim to be implemented in 704 districts for which support is provided to States/UTs through the National Health Mission.
  • Community Health Centre (CHC) and Primary Health Centre (PHC) levels were established to address outpatient services, assessment, counselling/ psycho-social interventions, continuing care and support to persons with severe mental disorders, drugs, outreach services, ambulance services etc. 
  • National Tele Mental Health Programme: In the Budget (2022-2023), India's Finance Minister announced the programme to improve access to quality mental health counselling and also care services. 
  • T-MANAS (Tele-Mental Health Assistance and Nationally Actionable Plan through States) aims to provide mental health support and interventions to people in remote and neglected areas.
  • KIRAN: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline to provide support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health concerns.
  • Manodarpan Initiative: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members, and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.

Madhya Pradesh is the first State in the country to draft a suicide prevention strategy and the government has formed a task force for it.

Indigenous carrier INS Vikrant to be fully operational by year-end: Navy Chief


The country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is currently undergoing aviation trials, will be fully operational by year-end.


About INS Vikrant

  • INS Vikrant was commissioned into the Navy last September.
  • Speed: The 262 m long and 62 m wide INS Vikrant is powered by four General Electric LM2500 engines, which give it a maximum speed of 28 Knots and an endurance of 7500 nautical miles.
  • INS Vikrant has been built with state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.
  • It has a large amount of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs.
  • The carrier displaces about 45,000 tonnes, making it the largest warship in the Indian naval inventory.
  • It is designed by the Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
  • INS Vikrant carries a mix of about 30 aircraft MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, and MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy).

Other important defence developments

  • The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Navy) and Mig-29K carried out their maiden landings on the carrier earlier this month.
  • MF-STAR [multi-functional digital active electronically scanned array radar] fitment will commence from May onwards and should take 3-4 months time.
  • It was an accomplishment that the LCA-Navy landed on the INS Vikrant within six months of its commissioning.
  • In January 2020, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully demonstrated an arrested landing of the LCA-Navy on INS Vikramaditya.
  • The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under DRDO embarked on developing a Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) with a weight of 26 tonnes and wing folding, based on the experience of the LCA-Navy.
    • The TEDBF project is expected to get approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security shortly, along with the AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) project for the development of a 5th-generation fighter jet.
  • Installation of the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) system and the MF-STAR radar are pending, as the carrier has to be taken into the dry dock.
    • The LR-SAM is a joint development by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and is manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
    • MF-STAR is manufactured by IAI and is also in service on other frontline warships in the Indian Navy.

HAL to provide MRO for MQ-9B drone engines in India

State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will provide maintenance support services for engines of the American MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, considered one of the most sophisticated armed drones globally, for their operations in India.


About MQ-9B RPAS drone(SeaGuardian)

  • The MQ-9B RPAS drone, also known as the SeaGuardian, is the latest and more advanced version of the Predator drone, which was initially developed in the early 1990s for aerial reconnaissance and forward observation roles.
    • After the failure of the GNAT 750 in operations over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and 1994, the RQ-1 Predator was developed as a more capable and enhanced version for medium-altitude tactical reconnaissance.
  • The MQ-9B has two variants - SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian, with the latter being operated by the Indian Navy since 2020.
  • The MQ-9B Sea Guardian can carry up to 12,500 lb and has a fuel capacity of 6,000 lb, allowing it to operate at over 40,000 feet, providing the Indian military with surveillance capacity in the high-altitude Himalayan border areas.
  • Additionally, the drone can support various missions, including land and maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, electronic warfare, and expeditionary roles.
  • The MQ-9B Sea Guardian also has automatic take-offs and landings, which makes it a more efficient and convenient option for the military.
  • The drone's maximum endurance of 40 hours is also useful for long-hour surveillance missions.
  • The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as remotely piloted vehicles/aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF.
  • The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS) and is popularly known in the US as the first hunter-killer UAV.

Short News Article

Environment (GS-III)

Antarctica's 'Doomsday Glacier’

Antarctica’s “Doomsday Glacier” is melting rapidly in unexpected ways, according to new research.


  • Thwaites Glacier is nicknamed as the Doomsday Glacier.
  • The Thwaites Glacier is roughly the size of Florida and is located in West Antarctica.
  • Part of what holds it in place is an ice shelf that juts out onto the surface of the ocean.
  • The shelf acts like a cork, holding the glacier back on the land and providing an important defense against sea level rise.

Economy (GS-III)

NSE inks pact to trade WTI crude oil and natural gas


The National Stock Exchange entered into a data licensing agreement with derivatives marketplace CME Group for WTI crude oil and natural gas contracts.

The Pact

  • The pact will allow National Stock Exchange (NSE) to list, trade and settle rupee-denominated Nymex WTI crude oil and natural gas derivatives contracts for Indian market participants.
  • The addition of the contracts will expand the NSE product offering and its overall commodity segment.
  • NSE has applied to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seeking approval to launch the additional futures contracts.



A manifesto for tackling the silent pandemic of Antimicrobial Resistance


India as the current G-20 president and a vulnerable country has a key role in ensuring that AMR remains high on the global health agenda.

Antimicrobial Resistance and Global concerns:

  • Global public health response has been threatened due to the rising misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals.
  • Microbial resistance to antibiotics has made it harder to treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), blood poisoning (septicaemia) and several food-borne diseases.
  • In 2019, AMR was associated with an estimated 4.95 million human deaths. A 2018 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned of a phenomenal increase, by 2030, in resistance to backup antibiotics (second and third-line).
You must be logged in to get greater insights.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now