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20th March 2023

NSS 78th Round Report 2020-21


The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) carried out its 78th round of the Multiple Indicator Survey (MIS).

  • The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) are household surveys implemented by countries under the programme developed by the United Nations Children's Fund to provide internationally comparable, statistically rigorous data on the situation of children and women.
  • The survey was conducted for all the states except for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Background:
    • The MICS was originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children (WSC) held in 1990 to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals.
  • Need of the initiative:
    • MIS was basically developed to fill existing data gaps and to inform and complement existing data collection methods and instruments (e.g. administrative records, census, vital events registration, etc.)
  • Objectives of the survey:
    • To collect information for developing estimates of some important Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.
    • To collect information Purchase/Construction of house(s)/ flat(s) by the household for residential purpose after 31 March 2021 and information on Migration.

Key Findings:

S. No.


Percentage (All India)


Percentage of persons reported to have improved source of drinking water



Percentage of persons reported access to hand washing facility with water and soap/detergent within the premises




Percentage of households using clean fuel as primary source of energy for cooking




Percentage of persons of age 15-29 years were in formal and non-formal education and training for the 12 months preceding the survey



Percentage of persons of age 18 years and above who used mobile telephone with active SIM card during the three months preceding the date of the survey



National Sample Survey Office (NSSO):

  • It is headed by a Director General who is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis.
  • Functions:
    • Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects like Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc.
    • Besides these surveys, NSSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.
    • It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas.
    • Later, the data obtained by the NSSO, is evaluated by CSO.

Central Statistics Office (CSO): It coordinates the statistical activities in the country and evolves statistical standards.


  • Improved governance: Survey indicates towards improved governance in the country. The policies of the government are directly reaching the citizens.
  • Improved access to basic necessity: About 95.0 percent of the persons in the rural areas and about 97.2 percent of the persons in the urban areas used ‘improved source of drinking water’.
  • Improved Infrastructure: About 92.5 percent of households in rural areas reported availability of all-weather roads within 2 km from the place of living.

India’s Deep Ocean Mission


The National Institute of Ocean Technology is set to take an edge by undergoing a 6,000-metre dive into the Indian Ocean for a mission to explore marine biodiversity and potential of the seabed.


About Deep Ocean Missions:

  • Deep Ocean mission is the Government of India’s mission to study the various aspects of ocean in an integrated frame work.
  • Objective:The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.
  • Nodal ministry:
    • Ministry of Earth Science will be the nodal ministryimplementing this multi-institutional ambitious mission.
  • Components of the mission:
    • Manned Submersible:manned submersible will be developed to carry three peopleto a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools.
      • India’s indigenous submersible, MATSYA-6000, will plunge into the bowels of the Indian Ocean
    • Integrated mining system: An Integrated Mining Systemwill be also developed for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.
    • Desalination plants: Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants are envisaged in this proof of concept proposal.
    • Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services: It entails developing a suite of observations and models to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.
    • Exploration and Conservation of Deep-sea Biodiversity: Bio-prospecting of deep sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilization of deep sea bio-resources will be the main focus.


  • Capabilities development: The ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Indian Ocean Basin.
  • Minerals:The International Seabed Authority has allocated about 75, 0000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) to conduct exploratory mining. This will mean scouting polymetallic nodules that lie on the seabed. IN
  • Climate Change:It will help in study Impact of climate change on ocean. This would help India to prepare for any disaster due to climate change. 
  • Technological advancements: It can also help us in innovating technologies from underwater vehicles to underwater robotics.
  • In line with high seas treaty: United Nations passed this treaty – India too has committed to this – that seeks to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. Deep sea mission in line with this treaty.

Similar government initiatives:

  • India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development:
    • It was inaugurated jointly by both the countries in 2020 to develop and follow up joint initiatives between the two countries.
  • Sagarmala Project:
    • The Sagarmala project is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT-enabled services for the modernization of ports.
  • O-SMART:
    • India has an umbrella scheme by the name of O-SMART which aims at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management:
  • It focuses on the conservation of coastal and marine resources, improving livelihood opportunities for coastal communities etc.




Generative artificial intelligence (GAI)


Generative artificial intelligence and its uses for Enterprises is transforming the way it operates by analysing vast amounts of data and generating new ideas.

  • It has the potential to change the way businesses interact with customers, create products, and make decisions.

What is generative AI?

  • Like other forms of artificial intelligence, generative AI learns how to take actions from past data.
  • It creates new content – a text, an image, even computer code – based on that training, instead of simply categorizing or identifying data like other AI.
  • The rise of GAI can be attributed to the development of advanced generative models, such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and Variational Autoencoders (VAEs).


  • Healthcare: By generating new medical images and simulations, improving the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses and treatments.
  • Music: GAI can help musicians to explore the new sounds and styles, leading to more diverse and interesting music.
    • Example, Amper Music- creates musical tracks from pre-recorded samples.
  • Art and Creativity: It can be used to generate new works of art that are unique. This is helping artists and creatives explore new ideas and push the boundaries of traditional art forms.
    • Example, DALL·E2- This AI model from OpenAI generates new images from text descriptions.

Concerns Related to GAI?

  • Accuracy: ensuring that theoutputs generated by GAI are of high quality and accurate is major concern.
  • Privacy: There is a risk that this data could be used for unethical purposes, such as for targeted advertising or for political manipulation.
  • Joblessness: GAI can promote the joblessness as it has potential to replace the humans.

Way Forward:

  • Regulation: Regulations and standardsmust be put in place to ensure that GAI is used in a responsible and ethical manner. 
  • Collaborationbetween stakeholders, including industry, government, academia, and civil society, is crucial to ensure that GAI is used in a responsible and ethical manner.

Background radiation and Effects


The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has published a study, which has found that ‘background radiation’levels are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed in the State of Kerala.


Findings of the report:

  • Background radiation levels that emitted from natural sources such as rocks, sand or mountains, are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed in Kerala.
  • The average natural background levels of gamma radiation in India were 94 nGy/hr (nanoGray per hour) (or roughly 0.8 millisievert/year).  
  • The last such study, conducted in 1986, computed such radiation to be 89 nGy/hr.  

1 Gray is equivalent to 1 Sievert, though one unit refers to radiation emitted and the other to biological exposure.

About the Background Radiation:

  • Background radiation levels are emitted from natural sources such as rocks, sand or mountains.
  • All rocks and soils contain some trace amount of natural radioactivity and can sometimes be ingested or inhaled if disturbed.

Radon is a gas that can concentrate indoors and be inhaled, along with its decay products.

  • Radiation results from the disintegrating nucleus of an unstable element and these can be from anywhere, including from inside our bodies to the constituents of matter.
  • Gamma rays are a kind of radiation that can pass unobstructed through matter. Though extremely energetic, they are harmless unless present in large concentrated doses. 
  • Standard Limit:
    • Public exposure shouldn’t exceed 1 milli-Sievert every year; those who work in plants or are by virtue of their occupation shouldn’t be exposed to over 30 milli-Sievert every year.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specifies maximum radiation exposure levels and this has also been adopted by India’s atomic energy establishment.

Source of background radiations:

Natural Source: Natural sources, such as the earth, air, building materials, and food, provide the majority of background radiation. Cosmic rays from outer space also contain radiation.

  • Cosmic Rays- Radiations that reach us from outer space
  • Animals- All Animals emit a natural level of radiation.
  • Rocks- Some rocks give off radioactive radon gas.
  • Soil and plants- Radioactive material from the rock is absorbed by the soil and passed to plants.

Artificial Source: Human activity, on the other hand, has increased background radiation by building and employing artificial radiation sources.

  • X-Rays- When going through security or having an X-ray in the hospital, we are exposed to this type of radiation.
  • Nuclear missile- Man has exploded bombs in the environment, producing radioactivity.
  • Nuclear Power- Radiation has been emitted into the atmosphere by nuclear power plants.

Factors affecting Background radiation:

  • Background radiation varies from place to place and over time, depending on the amount of naturally-occurring radioactive elements in soil, water and air.
  • Weather conditions also affect radiation levels, as snow cover may shield these elements, and radioactive particulates can wash out of the air during rain storms.
  • Cosmic radiation from the sun, our galaxy, and beyond is constantly around us and contributes to natural background radiation.
  • Altitude and latitude can also influence the level of background radiation at any one site.

India asks to renegotiate bilateral investment pacts


India has issued termination notices to 68 countries for Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) with a request to renegotiate on the basis of the model agreement formulated in 2015.


About Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT):

  • BITs are treaties between two countries aimed at protecting investments made by investors of both countries.
  • BITs encourage foreign investors to invest in a State and there by contributing towards overall developments and advancements of the economy.
  • Some essential clauses covered under BITs:
    • Applicability
    • Fair and Equitable Treatment and Full Protection & Security
    • National treatment and Most-favoured-nation treatment

Most favoured nation:

  • Most-Favoured-Nation treatment requires members to accord the most favourable tariff and regulatory treatment given to the product of any one Member at the time of import or export of “like products” to all other Members.
  • This is a founding principle of the WTO.
    • Expropriation
    • Dispute settlement mechanisms - between States and between an investor and a State
  • Objective of BITs: BITs protect investments by imposing conditions on the regulatory behaviour of the host state and thus, prevent undue interference with the rights of the foreign investor.
  • These conditions may include:
    • Imposing obligations on host states to treat foreign investment fairly and equally (FET) and not to discriminate against it.
    • Permitting the repatriation of profits under conditions that the two nations have agreed upon.
    • The ability for individual investors to sue host states for damages in the event that those latter's sovereign regulatory measures conflict with the BIT is the most significant provision.

India and BIT:

  • India had signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with 83 countries/regions till 2015 based on the Model BIT of 1993 and as amended in 2003.
  • A 2016 study suggests that by providing substantive protection and commitment to foreign investors, BITs indeed contributed to rising FDIs in the 2001-2012 period.
  • However, in 2016 India launched the Model BIT. It aims to act as a base for negotiating new BITs with other States, as well as for re-negotiation of the existing ones.
  • As per Model BIT in 2016, India moved away from an overly investor-friendly approach to a somewhat protectionist approach concerning foreign investments.

Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference


The Prime Minister inaugurated the Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference in New Delhi.


About the conference:

  • It is a two-day global conference.
  • It will consists of sessions on all important issues related to millets (Shree Anna) like promotion and awareness of millets among producers, consumers and other stakeholders. 

What is Millet?

  • Millet is a collective term referring to a number of small-seeded annual grassesthat are cultivated as grain crops, primarily on marginal lands in dry areas in temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions.
  • Examples: jowar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet), Kodo (Kodo millet), kutki (little millet), kakun (foxtail millet), Sanwa (barnyard millet), cheena (proso millet), kuttu (buckwheat) and chaulai (amaranth).

Positives of millets:

  • Nutritionally superior traits:Millet’s score over rice and wheat in terms of minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibre content, as well as amino acid profile.
  • For example,Bajra (pearl millet) has iron, zinc, and protein levels comparable to that of wheat, but it’s gluten-free and has more fibre.

It can address the problem of “hidden hunger” arising from the consumption of energy-dense but micronutrients-deficient foods.

  • The rotis from bajra make one feel fuller for longer, as they take more time to digest and do not raise blood sugar levels too fast.

Advantages as a crop:

  • Millets are hardyand drought-resistant crops.
  • This has to do with their short duration(70-100 days, against 115-150 days for rice and wheat)
  • lower water requirement(350-500 mm versus 600-1,250 mm) and
  • Ability to grow even on poor soilsand in hilly terrain.

Where do millets lag?

  • Eating Habits: For the poor, both in urban and rural areas, rice and wheat were once aspirational foods
  • The dominance of traditional grains:Two-thirds of India’s population receives up to 5 kg of wheat or rice per person per month at Rs 2 and Rs 3/kg respectively.
    • The recent move to place two fine cereals free of cost from January 2023, further tilts the scales against millets.
  • Cooking: Rolling Rotis is easier with wheat than millet flour
    • This is because gluten proteins make the wheat dough more cohesive and elastic.
    • As resultant bread come out light and fluffy (in the case of wheat), which isn’t the case with bajra or jowar.
  • Low per-Hectare yields: The national average is roughly 1 tonne for jowar, 1.5 tonnes for bajra and 1.7 tonnes for ragi.
    • Whereas it is 3.5 tonnes for wheat and 4 tonnes for paddy — are a disincentive.
  • Presence of Infrastructure for traditional grains: With access to assured irrigation, they would tend to switch to rice, wheat, sugarcane, or cotton.
  • Absence of government procurement at minimum support price (MSP): It makes farmers hesitant to grow even this high-yielding and naturally bio-fortified bajra, suitable for both post-monsoon Kharif and summer cultivation.

Possible Government Intervention:

  • The Centre has two existing schemes:
    • PradhanMantriPoshan Shakti Nirman and
    • SakshamAnganwadi&Poshan 2.0 — with a combined budget of Rs 30,496.82 crore in 2022-23.
    • These can be better leveraged by making them more millets-focused.
  • MSP procurement of milletsshould be part of a decentralized nutritional programme specifically targeting tomorrow’s citizens.
  • Centre could fund any state willing to procure milletsspecific to their region exclusively for distribution through schools and anganwadis.

Short News Article

Art and Culture

Sri SriHarichand Thakur Ji




The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Sri SriHarichand Thakur Ji on his Jayanti, falls on 11 March.


  • Harichand Thakur was born in a Namashudra peasant family in 1811 in the Orakandi village of Gopalganj District of Bangladesh.
  • He was the son of JashomantaBiswas (father) and Annapurna Devi (mother).
  • He founded a sect of Vaishnavite Hinduism called Matua.
  • Matua religion is based on only three basic principles - Truth, Love, and Sanity.
  • He did not believe in asceticism and preached the word of God staying within the family.
  • According to him, the best ascetic is the person who can express his devotion to God remaining a family man.
  • He established number of schools in his locality for the education of Dalit community.

International Relations

India-Bangladesh Oil pipeline

Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh has virtually inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Oil Pipeline.


  • The pipeline lies from Assam’s Numaligarh refinery’s marketing depot in Siliguri to Parbatipur in northern Bangladesh.
  • The 131.57-km-long pipeline will bring diesel from a marketing depot in Siliguri to Dinajpur of Bangladesh.
  • The pipeline has started to supply diesel.

International Relations

India-Maldives defence Cooperation dialogue

India and the Maldives conducted the 4th Defence Cooperation Dialogue (DCD) in Male on March 19, 2023.


  • During the interaction, on-going bilateral defence cooperation activities were reviewed and both sides expressed satisfaction at the increasing engagements.
  • The talks covered the existing bilateral exercises, with both countries agreeing to increase the complexity of these drills.
  • The Armed Forces of India & the Maldives continue to seek bilateral cooperation in multiple fields and the increased engagements are a positive sign for the future of bilateral relations.

Science and Technology

First evidence of volcanic activity on Venus

Scientists have got direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on the surface of Venus.


  • The discovery was made by analysing archival radar images of Venus taken more than 30 years ago by NASA’s Magellan mission.
  • The images revealed a volcanic vent changing shape and increasing significantly in size in less than a year.

NASA's new mission to Venus ‘VERITAS’ aims to discover more volcanic activity on planet.

Key features of Venus:

  • It is the second planet from the Sun and sixth in the solar system in size and mass.
  • It is the second brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, probably that is the reason why it was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC.
  • Unlike the other planets in our solar system, Venus and Uranusspin clockwise on their axis.
  • It is the hottest planet in the solar system because of the high concentration of carbon dioxide which works to produce an intense greenhouse effect.


Moving forward with a newer concept of Universal Health Care


  • Halfdan Mahler proposed the slogan “Health for All” by 2000 which means universalization of health.
  • Thus, nobody is denied good health and everybody is eligible without being discriminated against on the basis of financial status, gender, race, place of residence, and affordability to pay or any other factors.


  • Issues with Primary Health: Alma Ata, 1978, listed eight components of minimum care for all citizens. Any non-communicable disease, chronic disease including mental illnesses, and its investigations and treatment were almost excluded from primary health care.
  • Abdication of responsibility: When it came to secondary and tertiary care, it was left to the individual to either seek it from a limited number of public hospitals or from the private sector by paying from their own pockets.
  • Unregulated Private Sector: Private sector is largely unregulated which makes the health sector expensive for the poor persons.
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