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17th August 2023

Karnataka’s ‘Koosina Mane’ creches


The Karnataka government announced plans to set up “Koosina mane” across 4,000-gram Panchayats for children of working mothers.

  • Last month, in its 2023-24 Budget, the Karnataka government announced plans to set up crèches for children of women working in MGNREGA.
  • The Union government’s data show that women comprise a little over 50% of the person-days under MGNREGA in Karnataka, lower than in neighbouring States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala (80% each).

About the initiative:

  • Koosina mane” translates to ‘child homes’ or ‘creches’ and is aimed at providing healthcare, nutrition, and safety for children whose mothers are employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • Need of such an initiative:
    • The working hours of the centres are not designed to support working women.
    • Without maternity protection in the early stages of childbirth, women require care infrastructure before six months, but also until the child is much older, something that is possible in ’koosina mane’.
    • Reducing women burden: In a country where childcare responsibilities are deeply gendered, a reliable childcare infrastructure that provides beyond basic provisions can aid, increase, and sustain this labour force participation.
  • Significance of the initiative:
    • Its primary focus is improving maternal and child health.
    • The fact that this initiative aligns with the goals of both the MGNREGA and the Women and Children Development Department is an excellent example of convergence.
    • These crèches can also be built as community assets under the
    • This scheme will get support from gram Panchayats in the State and recognising it as “essential public infrastructure” is a significant step toward redistributing the gendered burden of childcare

Issues addressed via this initiative (related to Women in Indian society):

  • Triple Burden: In Indian households, working women encounter what is rightly termed the “triple burden” of work — paid work, childcare and domestic chores.
  • The “motherhood penalty”: Being a mother is considered to be one of the reasons why women drop out of the labour force.

Similar initiatives:

  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK): The scheme is for pregnant women to access Government health facilities for their delivery.
  • Anganwadi Services: Under Anganwadi Services, a package of six services is provided to Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers and to Children under the age of 6 years.
    • The facilities includes;
      1. Supplementary Nutrition (SNP);
      2. Pre-school Non-formal Education;
      3. Nutrition & Health Education;
      4. Immunization;
      5. Health Check-up, and
      6. Referral Services.
  • Child Protection Services Scheme: The Ministry is implementing Child Protection Services Scheme under the Mission Vatsalya scheme (erstwhile Integrated Child Protection Scheme) since 2009-10 for supporting the children in difficult circumstances.
    • Under the scheme institutional care is provided through Child Care Institutes (CCIs), as a rehabilitative measure.
    • The programmes and activities in Homes inter-alia include age-appropriate education, access to vocational training, recreation, health care, counselling etc.
    • Under the non-institutional care component, support is extended for adoption, foster care and sponsorship.
    • Further CPS also provides for “After care” services after the age of 18 years to help sustain them during the transition from institutional to independent life.

Global Initiative on Digital Health


India in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) is going to launch the ‘Global Initiative on Digital Health’ as part of the ongoing G-20 summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

About the initiative:

  • It is first-of-its-kind global initiate aimed at data converge, interface of health platforms and investments in the digital health space around the globe.
  • The G20 summit is also working on bringing in the crucial interim Medical Countermeasure (MCM) — which is a ‘network of networks approach’ before the next health emergency hits us and India in collaboration with WHO is leading the advocacy.
  • This global digital platform will include an investment tracker, an ask tracker and a library of existing digital health platforms.
  • The initiative has also found funding from global partners.
  • The global platform for data sharing will offer no data about its users but will share analyses and work at inter operational ability of data.
  • Other initiatives in similar direction:
    • The summit is also working at garnering support for setting up a Climate and Health Initiative (CHI) in India, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the launch of patient and healthcare workforce mobility portal.
    • It will explore the role of traditional complimentary and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.

Importance of Digital Health:

  • Digital health has the potential to prevent disease and lower healthcare costs, while helping patients monitor and manage chronic conditions.
  • It can also tailor medicine for individual patients.
  • Healthcare providers also can benefit from advances in digital health.
  • Digital tools give healthcare providers an extensive view of patient health by significantly increasing access to health data and giving patients greater control over their health.
  • The result is increased efficiency and improved medical outcomes.

Challenges of digital health:

  • The digital transformation of healthcare has raised several challenges that affect patients, medical professionals, technology developers, policymakers and others.
  • Due to the massive amounts of data collected from a variety of systems that store and code data differently; data interoperability is an ongoing challenge.
  • Additional challenges relate to concerns ranging from digital literacy among patients and the resulting unequal access to healthcare to issues related to data storage, access, sharing and ownership.

Vishwakarma scheme


After the announcement of Prime minister (PM) to launch Vishwakarma scheme in his Independence day speech, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves the scheme, with an outlay of Rs.13,000 crore.

Highlights of the scheme:

  • Objective: The scheme aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the ‘Vishwakarmas’ are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
  • Targeted beneficiaries: 18 traditional trades such as carpenter, boat maker, armourer, blacksmith, hammer and tool kit maker, locksmith, goldsmith, potter, sculptor, stone breaker, cobbler, mason, basket/mat/broom maker/coir weaver, traditional Doll & toy maker, barber, garland maker, washerman, tailor and fishing net maker will be covered under the scheme.
  • Aspiration: The scheme will include five lakh families will be covered in the first year of the scheme and 30 lakh families will be covered over five years.
  • Key points:
    • The artisans and craftspeople will get PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, credit support up to Rs.1 lakh (first tranche) and Rs.2 lakh (second tranche) at a concessional interest rate of 5%.
    • The scheme will further provide skill upgradation, toolkit incentive, incentive for digital transactions and marketing support.
    • There will be two types of skilling programmes — basic and advanced.
    • Under the scheme and a stipend of Rs.500 per day will also be provided to beneficiaries while undergoing skill training.
    • They will also get a support of up to Rs.15,000 to buy modern tools.

Vishwakarma Jayanti:

  • The day marks the auspicious celebration of the birth of Lord Vishwakarma, who was the son of Lord Brahma.
  • Factory and store owners perform puja on this day to ask the Lord's favor for success in their respective professions.
  • It is celebrated on 17th September every year.

Green mobility initiatives


Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved a scheme to add 10,000 e-buses to city bus services across the country, and to shore up urban infrastructure under green mobility initiatives with a focus on cities having no organized bus services.

An e-bus is any bus whose propulsion and accessory systems are powered exclusively by a zero-emissions electricity source.

About PM e-bus Sewa scheme:

  • It will have an estimated cost of 57, 613 crore, of which the Centre will provide Rs.20, 000 crore.
  • It will support bus operations for 10 years.
  • In 169 cities, 10,000 e-buses will be deployed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model and in 181 other cities, infrastructure will be upgraded under the green urban mobility initiatives.
  • The scheme will be implemented in two segments:
  • For cities in the first segment, depot infrastructure will also be developed or upgraded to support the new e-buses, including the creation of behind-the-meter power infrastructure like substations.
  • For those in the second segment, initiatives will focus on bus priority, infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, automated fare collection systems, and charging infrastructure.
  • Implemented In: Cities with a population of three lakh and above will be covered under the scheme, including all the capital cities of Union Territories, and the northeastern and hill States.
  • The adoption of electric mobility services will help reduce noise and air pollution in Indian cities and also curb carbon emissions.
  • This scheme is also expected to bring in economies of scale for the procurement of electric buses through aggregation.
  • Around 45,000 to 55,000 direct jobs are expected to be generated via the scheme.

Green Mobility and Importance:

  • Green mobility refers to all those mobility options that emit lower emissions – in terms CO2 g/km than pure Internal Combustion Engine vehicles – through the use of alternate fuels, drive-train technologies or other measures;
  • Bio-fuel and Methanol based mobility
  • Compressed Natural gas (CNG) based mobility
  • Electric and Hybrid Mobility (xEV)
  • Hydrogen energy and fuel cell based mobility

Government Initiatives:

  • National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020: In 2013, Government of India launched a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
  • It aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
  • It targets 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards
  • FAME I (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India) : The objective of the scheme to support the hybrid or electric vehicles market development and its manufacturing eco-system in the country in order to achieve self-sustenance in stipulated period.
  • It also seeks to provide demand incentives to electric and hybrid vehicles from two-wheeler to buses.
  • Automotive Mission Plan 2026: It aims at making the Indian Automotive Industry among the top three of the world in engineering, manufacture and exports of vehicles & components; growing in value to over 12% of India GDP and generating an additional 65 million jobs.
  • Green Urban Transport Scheme: Under this scheme, government aims to launch eco–friendly transportation facilities in urban areas
  • India’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Mission 2030: Government plans to have an all-electric fleet of vehicles by 2030.

MoEFCC refuses the merger of autonomous bodies


Recently, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued a notification mentioning to get back from its move to establish integrated regional offices by merging offices of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).

About the merger:
  • The merger notification proposes to reorganize existing regional offices by collaborating all bodies.
  • The MoEFCC dropped the merger plan, likely owing to technical and administrative difficulties in merging the institutions in question.
  • The NTCA is the managing authority of Project Tiger and India’s Tiger Reserves.
  • The FSI is a scientific body that primarily deals with forest data.
  • The WCCB is an enforcement authority.
  • And the CZA’s purview is limited to the functioning of zoos.

Concerns related to merger:

  • Jurisdiction overlap: The Indian government announced a plan to merge Project Tiger and Project Elephant. Tiger Reserves are recognised under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 but Elephant Reserves are not.

Functions of the autonomous bodies:






Established by





National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

It is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.

Forest Survey of India (FSI) is a premier national organization under the union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Administered under





The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for constituting the NTCA.

It was constituted by amending the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

It was established in 1992 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.

It functions under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It was founded in 1981.



Chaired by



The Inspector-General of Forests, in charge of project Tiger, will be ex-officio Member Secretary.

It is governed by

Chief Wildlife warden.

It is chaired by the Environment Minister and consists of ten members and a member-secretary

FSI is headed by a Director General supported by two Joint Directors and eight Deputy Directors at headquarters.







Approving the tiger conservation strategy of state governments. Establishing tourism standards and project tiger guidelines for tiger reserves.

It assists foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.

The Central Zoo Authority's mission is to provide better upkeep and veterinary care to the wild animals housed in zoos in India to ensure their conservation through best practices of management and bringing education & awareness among the people.

Acting as a nodal agency for collecting, compiling, storing and disseminating spatial database on forest resources.

Short News Article


Lake Titicaca

The waters of Lake Titicaca are within 10 inches (25 centimeters) of their all-time low, a record set in 1996 signaling one more instance of Climate change.

About the site:

  • The level of Lake Titicaca has been progressively decreasing due to many meteorological, hydrological and climatic factors.
  • Lake Titicaca lies on a plateau known as the Altiplano which is made up of multiple basins.
  • The western part of the lake lies in the Puno region of Peru while the east part lies in the La Paz department in Bolivia.
  • It is the second largest lake in South America.
  • Lake Titicaca lies approximately 3,820 m above sea level and is the highest, commercially navigable lake in the world.
  • The lake is 284 m deep at its deepest point located in the northeastern section of the lake.

Polity and Governance

SC unveils handbook to curb stereotypes based on gender

Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has compiled a glossary of words that judges should avoid while writing orders and lawyers should steer clear of while filing cases, in a bid to weed out gender stereotypes that are not only demeaning and retrograde but can also cloud judgements.


  • The lists of some commonly used phrases used in the context of women, children and sexual crimes, and some commonly held notions about gender, in a book titled ‘Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes’ has been mentioned.
  • Words and phrases to be junked includes; “slut”, “harlot”, “seductress”, “fallen woman”, “woman of easy virtue”, and descriptors such as “Indian woman”, “western woman”, “career woman” or “chaste woman”. All these, the book says, should be replaced simply with “woman.

Location in News

Sulina Channel

A new trade route to support black grain initiative, has been identified i.e. the Sulina Channel – a 63 km long distributary of the Danube, connecting major Ukrainian ports on the river to the Black Sea, lying completely within the borders of Romania, a NATO member.


  • Location: Sulina is situated at the mouth of the Danube, 148km East of Constanta.
  • The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia.
  • It flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe.
  • General overview: Depths in the canal range from 10m to 14m, permanent dredging allows vessels of max draft 7.32m to berth.

Location near Black sea:

  • The Danube–Black Sea Canal (Romanian: Canalul Dun?re–Marea Neagr?) is a navigable canal in Romania, which runs from Cernavod? on the Danube river, via two branches, to Constan?a and N?vodari on the Black Sea.


Housing for all


Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent announcement of a new scheme to assist urban poor in building houses signals a change in government policy. However, despite this effort, the goal of "housing for all" remains distant, with only about two-thirds of the sanctioned houses completed or handed over in the eight years since PMAY-U's launch.

Highlights of PMAY-U:

  • Nodal agency: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) falls under the Government’s mission – ‘Housing for all by 2022’ for urban housing being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • Significance: It makes home loans affordable for the urban poor by providing a subsidy on the Interest Rate of a home loan during repayment by way of EMI (Equated Monthly Installments).
  • Beneficiaries: The Mission addresses urban housing shortage among the EWS/LIG and MIG categories including the slum dwellers, and a beneficiary family will comprise husband, wife, unmarried sons and/or unmarried daughters.

Points of proposed scheme

  • Objective: A proposed scheme aims to lower the beneficiary share to around 40%, recognizing their limited income capacity.
  • Aim: The scheme shift in stance comes after the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) until December 2024.
  • Fund allocation: The project amounts to Rs.1.49 lakh crore, with the government's share at 4%, states and urban bodies at 16%, and the remaining 60% expected from beneficiaries.

Parliamentary Committees’ recommendations

  • Flexible assistance: The committee's key proposal is to replace the current uniform and fixed assistance approach with a flexible one that considers regional variations and factors like topography.
  • To address issues of poor housing quality and unoccupancy: It suggests delving into reasons behind these problem such as high land costs, restrictions on floor space index, and complexities arising from multiple certifications by various agencies play pivotal roles in determining the success of urban housing initiatives.
  • Involvement of stakeholders’: The government should facilitate discussions involving relevant stakeholders like state governments, local bodies, urban planning organizations, professionals, financial institutions, and activists.
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A necessary brake: On altered weather patterns and infrastructure development


Haphazard development is increasing the impact of weather events.

El Nino being Ineffective

  • Less rainfall: Being an El Niño year, the expectation was that north India would see a sparse monsoon.
  • Despite seen patched rains: However, the pendulum has swung the other way. July saw record rainfall in many parts of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand and the rare sight of the Yamuna nearly spilling into the Red Fort in Delhi.
  • Leading to floods: The worst, however, was yet to come as the week saw multiple floods in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand that have claimed at least 60 lives recently. A series of landslides has crumbled buildings and blocked highways.

Western Disturbances (WD) and monsoon

  • Erratic Western Disturbance: There were too few of them in December and January and their absence was cause for the hottest February recorded in India in at least a century.
  • Compensating Monsoon: However, the WD appear to be overcompensating for their absence, with several of them incident over north India in the last two months — a time when they normally should not be around.
  • Reasons: The wired WD is in part due to a warming Arctic that causes the polar jet stream, which carries moisture, to deviate from its regular path and bring the disturbances to north India during the monsoon.

The Infrastructure Effect on Weather Systems

  • Consequences of construction: As recent fears of land subsidence in Joshimath, Uttarakhand demonstrated, ill-thought construction.
  • The ongoing Char Dham road building project: It has led to large-scale altering of the mountains with significant chunks carved away, rendering them vulnerable to upheaval.
  • Way forward: It is time that more serious thought is given to the nature of infrastructure development and, if need be, restrictions imposed in the larger interest of minimising hazards and maintaining stability.
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New Bills and a principled course for criminal law reforms


The recent introduction of three Bills transforming India’s criminal laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita to replace the Indian Penal Code; the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill to replace the Indian Evidence Act — has ignited a spectrum of reactions.

Reformatory measures

  • Fostering gender inclusivity - The Bills exhibit moderative modifications fostering gender inclusivity and replacement of anachronistic terms such as ‘unsoundness of mind with mental illnesses.
  • Integration of ICT- Significantly, the integration of information and communications technology applications with the criminal justice process is noteworthy.
  • New added offences- Newly created o?ences such as terrorism; organised crime, mob lynching, and negligent acts too add novel dimensions.

Parameters to examine these laws

  • Addressing needs of the concerned-The primary principle is to address the needs and concerns of those impacted by criminal justice, especially the realisation of fundamental and statutory rights.
  • Following the principles of criminalisation-There is a need to study the principled basis of the harm or the moral/legal o?ence caused by such criminalised conduct.
  • Principles of equality- The principles of equality and equitability become essential checks on criminal law reform.

Way Ahead

  • Greater engagement to improve- The Select committee should allow greater engagement to improve the drafts in terms of language and substance.
  • Strike a balance - The amended laws must strike a balance between state security imperatives and individual freedoms.
  • Foster the rule of law- The envisioned criminal law reforms must foster the rule of law and fortify the pursuit of justice.
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