What's New :

17th March 2023

Artworks for new Parliament building


An official vision document entailing the objectives of artwork at the upcoming Parliament building shows that artworks and their installation represent Sanatan parampara and Vasstu shastra that continued over thousands of years.

Sanatan parampara broadly refers to Hindu culture, which is believed to have been in continuity for centuries.

Vaastu shastra is the traditional Indian system of architecture based on ancient texts that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, space arrangement and spatial geometry.

About the Central Vista Redevelopment Project:

  • A 3.2-kilometre stretch in Delhi which includes Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Block, India Gate, and National Archives among others is the ‘Central Vista Project’.
  • 1931 the year in which the new capital was inaugurated all these iconic buildings were constructed before that.
  • For the construction of a new parliament building that will be close to the existing one, the Central Vista Redevelopment Project is the government’s plan.
  • It includes an area covered by central administrative buildings and residential buildings at Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India, which is set under revamping.
  • At the time of British colonial rule, the place was built but later retained by the Indian government after the independence.
  • The planners of the area were Herbert Baker and Edward Lutyens.

Key Features of the New Building:

  • In 2019 it was proposed by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • A ‘triangular Parliament building’ next to the existing one is to be constructed.
  • Common Central Secretariat Construction is done.
  • From Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate-Revamping of the 3-km-long Rajpath.
  • As museums North and South Block to be reconverted.
  • The consultancy bid to revamp Central Vista was won by Ahmedabad-based firm - HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd.
  • As an archaeological asset of the country, the existing Parliament building will be conserved.
  • The basement, ground, first and second four floors in the new Parliament have It will integrate indigenous architecture and the height will be the same as the new building.
  • Reconstructed of Prime Minister's Office and the residences of the Prime Minister and Vice President will be done.
  • Under this project, Nirman Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan, and Vigyan Bhavan will be demolished.
  • CPWD (Central Public Work Department), India is the developer of the project.
  • Starting from 2020 to 2024 duration will be around 4 years.
  • Tata Projects Ltd. won the contract for the construction of the new building.
  • At the existing Shram Shakti Bhawan, a new complex will be constructed for the Members of Parliament of both Houses.

Highlights of Ancient Artworks model:

  • The new building is going to have six entrances to exhibit “guardian statues showing auspicious animals.
  • These “auspicious animals” have been chosen based on their importance in Indian culture, vaastu shastra and traits such as wisdom, victory, power and success.
  • Each animal chosen to be installed in the building possesses a set of affirmations, spreading well-being and harmony.
  • Importance of Direction:
    • The North: Guarding the ceremonial entrance to the north is the gaja (elephant), which represents wisdom, wealth, intellect and memory.
    • According to vaastu shastra, the northern direction is associated with Mercury, which is the source of higher intellect.
    • The South: The southern entrance is the ashva (horse), which is symbolic of endurance, strength, power and speed — describing the quality of governance.
    • The East: Soaring at the eastern entrance is the garuda (eagle), which symbolises the aspirations of the people.
    • In vaastu shastra, the east is associated with the rising sun, representing victory.
    • The northeastern entrance has hamsa (swan), representing discernment and wisdom.
    • The remaining entrances showcase the Makara (a mythical aquatic creature that is a combination of the body parts of different animals), which represents unity in diversity, and the shardula (a mythical animal that is said to be the most powerful of all living beings), which symbolises the power of the people of the country.
  • Remains of India’s freedom struggle:
    • The new building will have six granite statues devoted to personalities involved in the freedom struggle and making of the Constitution, four galleries each for the two Houses, three ceremonial foyers, as many India galleries and one Constitution gallery.
  • Depicting Art and Culture:
    • Inside the building, each wall will have a theme reflecting a certain aspect, such as contributions by tribal and women leaders.
    • The artworks used indicate the 5000 years old culture of India.
    • There will be an adequate focus on Indian knowledge traditions, the Bhakti tradition, Indian scientific traditions as well as monuments.

Educated women are likely to marry later


National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS) data shows that higher education levels could play a greater role than wealth in delaying a woman’s marriage in today’s Indian Society.

Highlights of NFHS-5:

  • The median marriage age of a woman who has completed over 11 years of schooling is 23 compared to 6 for a woman with less than five years of schooling.
  • The data also reflect wide variations between the marital age of rural and urban women, and Dalit and upper-caste women.
  • Social evils like the dowry system, poverty, and caste biases remained a major reason for girls fluctuating age of marriage.

Factors responsible for early marriages of girls in India:

  • Poverty is the greatest determinant of early marriage.
  • Societal barriers: It is believed that Marriage is a woman’s primary economic security.
  • Lack of Literacy
  • Norms associated with fertility
  • Wrong perception of providing social security to daughters from societal offences than an unmarried woman.

Impacts of early marriages:

  • Multiple diseases: The nutritional needs are high in late adolescence (15-19 years)and a fair measure of adolescent girls suffer from multiple forms of undernutrition, from chronic energy deficiency, and iron deficiency to micronutrient deficiency.
  • Marriage and delivery during adolescence drain their already poor nutritional reserves and also lead to child stunting and mortality to multiple diseases at a later stage.
  • The toll on mental health: Psychologically, women married as children are more likely to suffer from symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of depression.
  • Low access to education: Marriage dramatically limits a girl’s access to education.
  • Domestic violence: According to the International Council of Research On Women (ICRW), women with low levels of education and married adolescents between the ages of 15-19 years old are at a higher risk of domestic violence than older and more educated women.

Factors responsible for changing trends of marriage:

  • To reduce maternal deaths: Increase in the marriageable age of girls will help in lowering maternal deaths and improving nutrition levels in the near term by putting more girls in college and enabling them to achieve greater financial independence in the long term.
  • To keep the population in check: Helpful in controlling the population as it may help in keeping the population in check.
  • Improved health: It would be helpful for Children’s health and Women’s overall development as the children who are born to mothers who tend to get married at an early age may develop health problems.
  • Equality: Increasing the age of marriage will make the marriage age equal for both men and women.
  • Women’s Health: Increasing the Marriage age can reduce Mortality Rates and can reduce the diseases like anaemia among them. (young mothers are more susceptible to anaemia)
  • Enormous opportunities: Increasing women’s legal marriage age will give more power and legal support to all women so that they can choose the opportunities to educate and empower themselves, before being burdened with marriage and motherhood.
  • Increased participation in the labour force: India will get a large labour force by increasing the marriageable age. In India Female labour force participation is too low compared to the world average.

Africa’s great rift


Scientists have predicted that a new ocean would be created as Africa gradually splits into two separate parts.

  • The rift is going to develop in between the eastern and the western parts of the African continent.
About the rift:
  • Rifting refers to the geological process in which a single tectonic plate is split into two or more plates separated by divergent plate boundaries.
  • The division of the African continent is connected to the East African Rift which is a crack that stretches 56 kilometres and appeared in the desert of Ethiopia in 2005.
  • This geological process will inevitably divide the continent, resulting in currently landlocked countries, such as Uganda and Zambia, obtaining their own coastlines in due time, which would take five to 10 million years.
  • Formation of new islands:
  • As the Somali and Nubian tectonic plates continue to pull apart from each other, a smaller continent will be created from the rift, which will include present-day Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.
  • Formation of New Ocean:
  • The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea will eventually flood into the Afar region in Ethiopia and the East African Rift Valley, leading to the formation of a new ocean.
  • This new ocean will result in East Africa becoming a separate small continent with its own unique geographic and ecological characteristics.

Phenomenon behind splitting African continent:

  • The Arabian Plate is moving away from Africa at a rate of about an inch per year, while the two African plates are separating even slower, between half an inches to 0.2 inches per year.
  • The Earth’s lithosphere, comprised of the crust and upper part of the mantle, is divided into several tectonic plates that are not stationary but rather move in relation to each other at varying speeds.
  • Tectonic forces not only move the plates but also have the potential to cause them to rupture, resulting in the formation of a rift and potentially leading to the creation of new plate boundaries.

Consequences of African rift:

  • Africa is the most impacted region when it comes to displacement, with a larger number of countries affected than any other continent or region.

As of 2015, more than 15 million people were internally displaced in Africa, according to the United Nations Environment Programme report on displacement and environment.

  • The phenomenon will result in the displacement of communities, settlements and various flora and fauna.
  • These changes will impact their habitats due to climate change, resulting in environmental degradation.

After effects of the rift formation:

  • Rapid urbanisation and increased settlements will put pressure on natural resources, leading to a scarcity of water, energy and food of the region.
  • Uncontrolled waste disposal will also be a significant concern.
  • Furthermore, some species will disappear, while others will become endangered due to habitat changes.

Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme


After the member of Taliban participated in India capacity building assistance to developing countries across the world via the ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) programme, it has seen various objections.

  • India has clarified by Ministry of external affairs that there has been no change in its position on Taliban.

About India Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC):

  • Background:
    • The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was instituted on 15 September 1964 by a decision of the Indian Cabinet.
  • Objective:
    • The programme of technical and economic cooperation is essential for the development of our relations with the other developing countries on the basis of partnership and cooperation for mutual benefit.
    • It would also be a concrete manifestation of our resolve to contribute to the evolution of world community based on the inter-dependence of all its members in the attainment of their common goal for promoting the social and economic well-being of their people.
    • Since then 15 September is celebrated as ‘ITEC Day’ every year.
    • Under the programme, India this year has organised a four-day session of online courses inviting several participant countries.
    • The courses under the programme are also open to nationals of various countries, including Afghanistan.
    • The members of the Taliban regime in Kabul attended ‘India immersion’ online course.
  • Title of courses:
  • Immersing with Indian Thoughts, an India Immersion Program’, is designed by the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation that executes capacity-building projects in partner countries.

The ITEC is the leading capacity building platform of the Ministry Of External Affairs.


E-postal ballot for overseas Indian voters


The Election Commission of India (EC) has proposed to change the rules pertaining to the conduct of elections rules to facilitate the ‘electronically-transmitted postal ballot system’ for overseas Indian voters.

  • In 2014, a committee constituted by the ECI concluded that proxy voting was the most viable solution.
  • A Bill was passed in the 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19) to enable this. But Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
  • The ECI then approached the government to permit NRIs to vote via postal ballots similar to a system that is already used by service voters, (a member of the armed Forces of the Union; or a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 which is the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System or ETPBS.

About the development:

  • The Election Commission of India has taken up a proposal to amend the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 to facilitate electronically-transmitted postal ballot system for overseas electors.
  • The matter is under discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs to iron out the logistical challenges involved in the implementation of the proposal.

What is the issue?

  • Citizens who leave the country for short-term work often miss out on exercising their voting rights.
  • Overseas citizens, although can cast their vote, the necessity to vote in person comes with a monetary cost and acts as a disincentive for their wanting to exercise their mandate.

Voting Rules for overseas voters:

  • Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010: After the passing of the Act, NRIs have been able to vote, but only in person at the polling station where they have been enrolled as an overseas elector.
    • The provision of having to visit the polling booth in person has discouraged eligible voters from exercising their mandate.
  • Amendment to Conduct of Election Rules, 1961: The Rule was amended in 2016 to allow service voters to use the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
    • Under this system, postal ballots are sent electronically to registered service voters.
    • The service voter can then register their mandate on the ballot and send it back via ordinary mail.
    • The ECI proposed to extend this facility to overseas voters as well.
  • In the case of overseas voters: the address mentioned in the passport is taken as the place of ordinary residence and chosen as the constituency for the overseas voter to enroll.

Significance of electronic voting:

  • Greater turnout among service voters in the process of voting.
  • It is a more trustworthy way of registering mandates rather than appointing proxies.


Short News Article


Zojila Pass reopens after 68 days

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) reopened the strategic Zojila Pass located on the Greater Himalayan Range after it remained closed during winter snowfall.

  • It remained closed for only 68 days this year as compared to 73 days last year and 160-180 days in the past.


  • It lies at an altitude of 11,650 feet.
  • It acts as a gateway between Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The snow clearing operations were named as Project Beacon and Vijayak, located in J&K and Ladakh respectively.


  • During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, it was seized by Pakistani supported invaders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh.
  • The pass was re-captured by Indian forces on 1 November in an assault codenamed Operation Bison, which achieved success primarily due to the surprise use of tanks, then the highest altitude at which tanks had operated in combat in the world.

International Relations

Poland to send Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets


Poland becomes the first NATO country to provide MiG-29 Fighter Jets to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.


  • Poland has around a 1to 15 of MIGs that it got in the 90s when the aircraft were handed down from the German Democratic Republic.
  • The ones transferred to war-torn Ukraine will be replaced at home with South Korean FA-50 planes bought by Poland, followed by American F-35s.
  • Poland has also sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

About NATO:

  • NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance of 30 different countries from Europe, North American and Asia.
  • It was established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, which sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
  • Headquarter: The NATO headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium.
  • While the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
  • Original members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Unites States.
  • Member countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, UK and USA.
  • North Macedonia is the latest entry in the organization.


Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology




For supplying portable drinking water, Lakshadweep using Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology which the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is working at making this process free of emissions.

About the technology:

  • The plants are equipped to provide at least 100,000 litres of potable water every day.
  • The desalination plants are powered by diesel generator sets — there being no other source of power in the islands.
  • LTTD exploits the difference in temperature (nearly 15°C) in ocean water at the surface and at depths of about 600 feet.
  • Such de-pressurised water can evaporate even at ambient temperatures and this resulting vapour when condensed is free of salts and contaminants and fit to consume.


  • The need for diesel power to reduce the water pressure means that the process is not fossil-fuel free and also consumes diesel.

Currently there were five desalination plants in operation in the Lakshadweep islands.

National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT):

  • NIOT, an institute under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has worked for years on harnessing energy from the ocean.
  • It is a Chennai-based plant.

Science and Technology

First test vehicle demonstration for Gaganyaan mission

The first test vehicle demonstration (TV-D1) under the Gaganyaan mission is likely to take place in May 2023.

About TV-D1:

  • The test vehicle demonstration has been designed to test:
    • The processes for aborting the mission mid-air,
    • The parachute system that will bring the crew module down to sea, and
    • The recovery of crew members from the module after splashdown.
  • The demonstration will use a single liquid propellant-based rocket stage to carry the crew module to sub-orbital level.
  • The mission was initially supposed to have only two uncrewed missions and then a crewed mission.
  • Gaganyaan Advisory Council has recommended testing of Crew Escape System and deceleration systems through four abort missions using Test Vehicle (TV) and Integrated Air Drop Tests before proceeding with crewed missions.

Gaganyaan mission:

  • The Gaganyaan programme is an indigenous mission that would take Indian astronauts to space.
  • The Gaganyaan Programme envisages undertaking the demonstration of human spaceflight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the short-term.


Betting on National Champions


  • Although it is believed that a developed country must have a good infrastructure and better facilities, but it cannot be the sole solution to fulfil the growth aspirations of developing country like India as it still needs much to get implemented via ‘National Champions model’.


Issues to manage Infrastructure:

  • The biggest constraints: One, it needs to be built to a minimum scale, which makes it expensive.
  • Less Private participation: It is often seen as a public good component which makes the social value of infrastructure higher than its private value to individual users, hence attracts less private players.
  • Finances dependent on government: The traditional approach to financing infrastructure has thus relied on tax revenues or government borrowing. But this introduces elements of a vicious trap.


Measures to be adopted:

  • Incentivise the sector: To increase the private sector participation there is a need to provide targeted subsidies for infrastructure investments.
  • Involving Credit facilities: There must be involvement of access to credit from public sector banks for infrastructure projects, as a priority sector lending.
  • Incentivise private giant companies: As the Infrastructure projects needs a slow return over time, private giants can act as shock absorbers in the sector, thus they also needs incentives.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 17th March 2023

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now