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24th August 2023

National Curriculum Framework for school Education 2023


Recently, the final National Curriculum Framework (NCF) has been released by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

About the Proposed framework:
  • Framed by: The NCF was drafted by the National steering committee headed by former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K. Kasturirangan.
  • Key points:
    • For languages:
      • From now, Students in Classes 9 and 10 will need to learn three languages, of which at least two will be native to India.
      • Classes 11 and 12, students will learn two languages, including one of Indian origin.
    • Board Exams: The NCF states that all students will be allowed to take Board exams on at least two occasions during any given school year, with only the best score being retained.
    • New Text books: It follows the lead of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and gives assent for formulating new textbooks from Grades 3 to 12 under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
    • Number of Subjects: For students from Classes 9 to 12 has to study five mandatory subjects, with an option of adding one more subject.
    • Now, the number of mandatory subjects for Classes 9 and 10 is seven and six for Classes 11 and 12.
    • Optional subjects have been grouped in three parts in the NCF.
      • The first optional group includes art education, physical education and vocational education.
      • The second group includes Social Science, the Humanities, and interdisciplinary areas.
      • The third group includes Science, Mathematics, and computational thinking.
    • Shift to semester-based term: The NCF has recommended that in the long term, all Boards should change to semester or term-based systems.
    • Now, there is no hard separation between academic and vocational subjects, or between Science, Social Science, Art, and Physical Education.

    NCF from NEP 2020:

    The NCF brings the aims and commitments of the NEP:

    • This includes the full range of human capacities, values and dispositions that are aimed to be developed in school education.
    • Pedagogy, practices, and culture must work in tandem to develop these, and move away from an overemphasis on memorization and content accumulation; in fact, content reduction is required to create space for such development.
    • The 5+3+3+4 Curricular and Pedagogical structure of school education is reflected in the learning standards, the content, the pedagogy, and the assessment approaches.
    • It is integrative and holistic with equal status to all subjects and learning domains from Math to Sports.
    • It integrates vocational education in all schools, and there is integration across subjects while developing rigorous subject understanding and capacities.

    National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT):

    • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education.
    • The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to:
      • Undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education
      • Prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, and journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc.
      • organize pre-service and in-service training of teachers
      • develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices
      • Collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions.

    National ‘One Health’ Mission


    The concept of ‘One Health’ is currently gaining popularity worldwide which, India must deploy to bolster the way it responds to health crises.

    About the Mission:
    • India is currently preparing for a wider ‘National One Health Mission’ under the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor.
    • Objective: The idea behind this mission is to coordinate, support, and integrate all existing One Health initiatives in the country.

    What does One Health concept mean?

    • One Health is a holistic approach to problems that recognizes the interconnections between the health of humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

    An early articulation can be found in the writings of Hippocrates (460-367 BC), who contemplated the relationships between public health and clean environments.

    How ‘One health’ is linked to Humans and Animals?

    • Human population growth, urbanization, and industrialisation have compounded the damage to biodiversity and ecosystems.
    • These harmful environmental changes are linked to zoonoses – diseases shared between animals and humans.
    • Researchers have estimated that 60% of emerging diseases that can infect humans are zoonotic in nature.
    • They include bird flu, Ebola, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis.

    Some zoonotic spillover events:


    • COVID-19 Pandemic:


    The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic is believed to have originated in bats and possibly passed to humans through an intermediate animal host, possibly pangolins.


    • MERS-CoV:

    The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is believed to have originated in dromedary camels.

    Human infections have occurred through close contact with infected animals or their products.

    • Avian Influenza (H5N1 and H7N9):

    These bird flu strains have caused sporadic human infections, often associated with close contact with infected poultry. Although human-to-human transmission has been limited, the potential exists for these viruses to adapt and spread widely.

    • Rabies Virus

     Rabies is often transmitted to humans through the bites of infected animals, primarily dogs, bats, and other mammals.

    Need for such an initiative:

    • Humankind has also become beset by major issues of antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security, and the control of vector-borne diseases.
    • These issues warrant both the inter-sectoral management and the efficiency that characterises the One Health strategy.

    What are the benefits of One Health approach?

    • One Health minimises resource requirements across sectors.
    • Taking a One Health approach allows researchers to, for example, share their laboratories and findings, and ultimately make decisions that lead to resilient, sustainable, and predictable policies.
    • The economic benefits of One Health are understood in contrast to the cost of managing a pandemic with a non-One-Health approach.

    What are some recent One Health initiatives?

    • The Government of India established its ‘Standing Committee on Zoonoses’ in 2006 under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
      • The purpose of this committee was to provide the Union and the State governments guidance and recommendations on challenges related to zoonoses.
    • India’s first consortium on One Health: The Department of Biotechnology launched India’s first consortium on One Health in October 2021.
      • It brings together 27 organisations from several ministries and plans to assess the burden of five transboundary animal diseases and 10 select zoonotic diseases.
      • The government has allocated Rs.31 crore for three years to the consortium, especially for its promise of improving cross-cutting collaborations between the animal, human, and wildlife sectors.
    • One Health pilot project in Karnataka and Uttarakhand:
      • In June 2022, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairy (DAHD) – in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Confederation of Indian Industry – launched a One Health pilot project in Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
      • This initiative intends to strengthen intersectoral collaborations through capacity-building, with the goal of improving livestock health, human health, wildlife health, and environmental health.

    Way forward:

    • Departmental collaboration: An important way to achieve one health is by encouraging coordination across governmental units, including the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Environment, and Science and Technology.
    • Surveillance and Early Detection: Establish integrated surveillance systems to monitor and detect emerging infectious diseases in both humans and animals. Timely identification can help prevent outbreaks and mitigate their impact on public health.
    • Research and Data Sharing: Invest in research that explores the connections between human, animal, and environmental health. Encourage open data sharing to facilitate informed decision-making and knowledge dissemination.
    • Policy Integration: Integrate the One Health approach into national and international policies, regulations, and guidelines. This can ensure that health strategies consider the interdependencies between sectors.


    ASTRA air-to-air missile


    Recently, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Limited Series Production-7 (LSP-7) successfully test fired the ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile off the coast of Goa.

    • The Astra project was officially launched in the early 2000s with defined parameters and proposed future variants.
    • Around 2017, the development phase of the Mk-1 version was complete.
    • Several successful tests have been conducted since 2017 from Sukhoi-30 MKIs.

    About ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR):

    • The Astra Mk-1 is a Air-to-Air Missile (AAM).
    • BVM missiles are capable of engaging beyond the range of 20 nautical miles or 37 kilometers.
    • AAMs are fired from an airborne asset to destroy an airborne target.

    • Range:
      • The range for Astra Mk-1 is around 110 km.
      • The Mk-2 with a range over 150 km is under development and Mk-3 version with a longer range is being envisaged.
      • One more version of Astra, with a range smaller than Mk-1 is also under development.
    • Designed and Developed by:
      • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
    • Can be integrated with other Fighter Aircraft: The missile is fully integrated on the Sukhoi 30 MKI I and will be integrated with other fighter aircraft in a phased manner, including the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
      • It will integrate the missile on the MiG-29K fighter aircraft which are deployed on the Navy’s aircraft carriers, thus adding to the lethality of India’s Aircraft carriers.

    7th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly


    As per the chief executive of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in a plenary session, it will likely to work more closely with civil society organisations in the future.

    Key Highlights:

    • About: Environmental leaders from 185 countries will gather in Vancouver, Canada for the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility from August 22-26, 2023.
    • Global Environment Facility (GEF): The GEF Assembly, which meets every 4 years, is the global body that coordinates financing for international efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and factors inhibiting land and ocean health.
    • Points of discussion:
      • Building on recent diplomatic breakthroughs on biodiversity loss, toxic chemicals, and the high seas, the GEF Assembly will be a critical stocktaking for 2030 goals to end pollution and nature loss, combat climate change, and propel inclusive, locally-led conservation.
      • GEF would work directly with non-governmental organisations that work at the convention level.
      • It is set to include the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, a new source of funding for protecting species and ecosystems globally.

    UNDP is a founding member of the GEF.

    • The fund will open new avenues for private sector and philanthropic support to enable rapid implementation of the historic Global Biodiversity Framework agreed at COP15 in Montreal, December 2022, and of the high seas treaty adopted in New York City, in June 2023.

    Need of such an initiative:

    • Biodiversity funding needs differ between recipient countries, for example between countries with key areas for biodiversity (often large emerging countries such as Brazil and Indonesia) and the least developed countries (LDCs) or Small Island Developing States (SIDS), for which it is more difficult to access funds.

    Global Biodiversity Framework:

    • It contains goals to be achieved by 2050 focus on ecosystem and species health including;
      • To halt human-induced species extinction,
      • The sustainable use of biodiversity,
      • Equitable sharing of benefits, and
      • On implementation and finance to include closing the biodiversity finance gap of $700 billion per year.

    Missions for Chandrayaan-3’s Lander


    After rolling down of Chandrayaan-3’s lander will begin its job of lunar exploration and will start collecting information operating for a single lunar day or equivalent 14 Earth days.

    The Historic Landing:

    • Chandrayaan-3 has landed around 70 degree south latitude, the closest that any spacecraft has reached to the lunar South Pole.
    • The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft consists of three parts:
    • Lander: The lander will be powered by four throttle-able engines and will feature a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV).
    • Rover: The rover will carry out chemical analysis of the lunar surface. Both the lander and the rover carry many scientific payloads for experiments on the lunar surface.
    • Propulsion module: The propulsion module has one main function—to carry the lander and rover from “launch vehicle injection” to a 100-kilometre circular polar lunar orbit before it separates from the other modules.

    Mission experiments:

    • Experiments by the Lander: The lander has four experiments on board:
    • The Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA) will study the electrons and ions near the surface of the moon and how they change over time.
    • The Chandra’s Surface Thermo physical Experiment (ChaSTE) will study the thermal properties of the lunar surface near the polar region.
    • The Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will measure the lunar quakes near the landing site and study the composition of the Moon’s crust and mantle.
    • The LASER Retroreflector Array (LRA) is a passive experiment sent by NASA that acts as a target for lasers for very accurate measurements for future missions.
    • Experiments by Rover: There are two scientific experiments on the rover:
    • The LASER Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) will determine the chemical and mineral composition of the lunar surface.
    • The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) will determine the composition of elements such as magnesium, aluminium, silicon, potassium, calcium, titanium, and iron in the lunar soil and rocks.

    Expected outcomes:

    • Discovery of water:
    • The southern polar region of the Moon is known to have deep craters that remain in permanent darkness, with a high likelihood of having water-ice.
    • India’s Moon Impact Probe (MIP) — a payload that was deliberately crashed on the lunar surface near the South Pole — helped study the concentration of water and hydroxyl molecules in the lunar atmosphere in Chandrayaan-1 mission.
    • Buried lava tubes:
      • The terrain mapping camera and hyper-spectral imager on board Chandrayaan-1 detected an underground lava tube, which, scientists believe, can provide a safe environment for human habitation in the future.
      • It can protect against hazardous radiation, small meteoric impacts, extreme temperatures, and dust storms on the surface of the Moon.
    • Magma ocean thesis:
      • The Moon is believed to have been formed after an early piece of the Earth separated due to an impact.
      • The energy generated by the impact is believed to have led to the melting of the Moon’s surface. This is called the magma ocean hypothesis.
      • The M3 payload on board Chandrayaan-1 picked up a specific type of lighter-density crystals on the surface of the Moon, which could be found on the surface only if it were liquid once.
    • Solar flares:
      • The Solar X-Ray Monitor on the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter was able to observe many solar microflares outside the active region as well as the elemental abundance from the not-so-bright solar corona.
    • Mapping of minerals:
      • CLASS X-ray Fluorescence experiment has mapped about 95% of the lunar surface in X-rays for the first time.

    Short News Article

    Personality in News

    C.R. Rao (1920-2023)

    Mr. Calyampudi Radhakrishnan Rao, 102, among the world’s most eminent statisticians, and who spent nearly his entire professional career in India, died on 23 August in the United States.

    About his achievements:

    • C.R. Rao is an Indian-born mathematician and statistician who has worked most of his life in America.
    • He graduated A. with First Class Honours in Mathematics from Andhra University in 1940.
    • His most significant result was obtained during this period is now called the Cramér-Rao inequality and gives a bound for the variance of an unbiased estimate of a parameter.
    • In 1972 he was appointed Director-Secretary of the Indian Statistical Institute.
    • He was named Jawaharlal Nehru Professor in 1976.

    Prizes and Awards:

    • The S S Bhatnagar Prize of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (1963),
    • The Guy Medal in Silver of the Royal Statistical Society (1965),
    • Awarded the title of Padma Bhushan by the Indian Government (1968),
    • The Jagdish Chandra Bose Gold Medal of the Bose Institute (1979),
    • The Silver Plate of the Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences (1984),
    • The Times of India listed Rao as one of the top 10 Indian scientists of all time (1988),
    • Awarded the Samuel S Wilks Memorial Award of the American Statistical Association (1989)


    Chess World Cup

    With the Chess World Cup final undecided after two games in the Classical format, R Praggnanandhaa, from India and Magnus Carlsen will now face off in a tie-breaker round further.


    • Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa wins over World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana in the tie-breaker round of the World Cup 2023, chess tournament at Baku, Azerbaijan.
    • Praggnanandhaa, the youngest Indian grandmaster and the youngest international master is among the most promising talents in the world of chess.
    • He achieved significant victories such as winning the World Youth Chess Championship (under-18) in 2019 and emerging victorious in the Asian Continental Chess Championship (open) in 2021.
    • The World Cup 2023 is organised by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the governing body of chess in the world.
    • It’s constituted as a non-governmental institution.
    • FIDE currently has its headquarters in Lausanne (Switzerland), but it was initially founded in 1924 in Paris under the motto “Gens Una Sumus” (Latin for “We are one Family”).


    Needed, a well-crafted social security net for all


    India needs to aspire to provide social security to its entire workforce, in a manner that is fiscally and administratively feasible.

    India’s present social security stance

    • Lack of Social Security: Around 53% of India's salaried workers there is lack social security benefits, including provident funds and health insurance.
    • Low Utilization: Policy announcements on social security have limited budget allocation and poor utilization, leaving schemes ineffective.
    • Systemic Issues: CAG audits reveal underutilized funds, stagnant pensions, and mismanagement in social security schemes, highlighting significant policy and implementation challenges.

    Schemes overseas

    • Brazil's Comprehensive System: Brazil's contribution-based system provides broad coverage for income loss due to accidents, disabilities, illnesses, family responsibilities, and even imprisonment.
    • Focusing Inclusive Approach: The system covers health care and unemployment, backed by National Treasury if funds are lacking, with easy benefit access in countries abroad like Canada.
    • India's Informal Sector Challenge: With 91% in the informal sector, India's workforce lacks social security. The 2020 Social Security Code doesn't sufficiently address informal workers' needs.
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    The U.K.-India relationship is alive with opportunity


    It is no secret that the U.K. and India share a thriving trading relationship, however, their strong partnership extends far beyond trade and investment i.e. into culture, sport, education and tourism too.

    India-UK Relations

    • Diverse Partnership: Beyond trade, the U.K. and India share bonds in culture, sports, education, and tourism, forming a "living bridge."
    • Cultural Exchange: Bollywood's popularity in the U.K., evident in films, showcases the strong connection.
    • Indian Diaspora: Over 1.6 million-strong Indian diaspora in the U.K. significantly contributes to education, workforce, and international student community.

    Area of Cooperation

    • G-20 Host India: India's role as G-20 host highlights its growing global influence, promoting international cooperation on trade and digitization.
    • K.-India Trade Relations: The U.K. emphasizes fair trade and is building trade partnerships, recognizing India's expanding middle class and investment potential.
    • Bilateral Trade Impact:K. and India's thriving trade ties involve investments, job creation, and economic growth in both nations.
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    Law must recognise women’s dignity to be effective


    Recently, the Parliament has passed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, under which a clause on using “deceitful means” to promise to marry a woman was penalized, after many cases emerged where women ask for their bodily rights (in case of pregnancy).

    Supreme Court’s Intervention

    • SC Emphasizes Reproductive Rights: India's Supreme Court underscores a woman's right to make reproductive choices, criticizes undue interference.
    • Timely SC Intervention: A woman's plea to terminate her pregnancy denied by Gujarat HC; SC's swift review enabled her decision.
    • Promise of False marriage: Alleged "false promise to marry" relates to IPC Sections 375 and 90, involving invalid consent due to fear or misconception.


    • Relative Progressiveness of Laws: India's abortion laws are more liberal than some U.S. states, but practical barriers persist.
    • Complex Obstacles: Medical, judicial, and societal barriers hinder legal and safe abortions in India, akin to some U.S. states.
    • Trauma of Violation: The Gujarat case highlights the additional trauma faced by victims when societal expectations collide with personal choices post-violation.
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    Easing credit flow


    The Reserve Bank of India’s Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit will help loan approvals for small borrowers.

    About the initiative

    • RBI's Credit Platform Initiative: RBI's 'Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit' aims to streamline credit access for small borrowers.
    • Efficient Loan Processing: The platform offers a digital clearing house, expediting loan approval and disbursement through integrated data.
    • Inclusive Design: Developed by RBI Innovation Hub, the platform fosters data exchange among diverse entities for seamless credit assessment.


    • Validation through Pilot Project: RBI's platform to undergo pilot testing on diverse loans, including Kisan Credit Card, dairy farming, and MSME loans.
    • Data Inclusion: Platform integrates data from Aadhaar e-KYC, digitized land records, and data like milk pouring data from cooperatives.
    • Enhancing Utility: Utility demonstrated through various loan types, aiming to enhance access and efficiency in lending processes.
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