What's New :
Open Session for INTEGRATED PREPARATION for Prelims and Mains. Register Now
Mentorship Sessions(Connect with the faculties and ask all your doubts). Book Now

25th August 2023

India’s Space Prowess and Global South


India's inaugural lunar South Pole exploration by its Chandrayaan-3 mission yields vital space insights, cementing its position among leading nations with significant space exploration capabilities especially influencing geo-politics in Global South.

  • On December 1, 2022 as India assumed the G20 Presidency from Indonesia.
  • And also on January 12 and 13, 2023, the Indian government hosted an online meeting of developing countries called the Voice of Global South Summit.

India’s space capabilities and Global Influence:

  • Global South Achievement: Chandrayaan-3's lunar South Pole landing elevates India's global standing. Remarkable feat from a post-colonial nation inspires others, showcasing Indian engineering and resilience.
  • Leadership and Inspiration: India's success encourages Global South nations to overcome colonial legacies, emphasizing self-reliance.
  • Soft Power and Research: India's lunar research benefits developing countries, fostering international alliances. Cutting-edge studies on the Moon advance science and technology for broader progress.

How India’s space strength will help developing nations of Global South?

  • Technological Influence in Global Order: Nations excelling in AI, IT, and space research shape the global landscape. Chandrayaan-3's success elevates India's standing, enriching Moon data, and potential life discoveries.
  • Enhanced Global Importance: Chandrayaan-3 showcases India's unique role. Democratic values and cooperation enhance soft power, fostering deeper ISRO-NASA collaboration and potential life-related breakthroughs.

How Technology can become India’s voice?

The technological prowess as well as economic scale is key to accelerate its rise relative to its Western counterparts.

  • Economic Strength: Technological innovation drives economic growth. Countries with strong technological sectors attract investments, enhance productivity, and gain economic influence, which in turn affects their geopolitical standing.
  • Regional Stability: Technology can address regional issues, such as water scarcity or disaster management. Providing technological solutions fosters goodwill and diplomatic influence.
  • Diplomacy and Alliances: Technological cooperation can strengthen diplomatic ties. Shared technological goals encourage alliances and partnerships between countries.
  • Soft Power: Technological achievements enhance a nation's soft power, improving its global image and fostering international collaboration.
  • Global Governance: Emerging technologies like AI and biotechnology raise ethical, legal, and regulatory questions. Nations participating in setting global norms and regulations gain influence over future governance frameworks.
  • Space and Communication: Space technologies influence communication, surveillance, navigation, and scientific exploration. Countries with advanced space capabilities gain advantages in communication and intelligence.

India and the Northern Sea Route


As per recent information, Murmansk, popularly called the capital of the Arctic region and the beginning point of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), is witnessing the rising trend of Indian involvement in cargo traffic. India has been showing greater interest regarding the NSR for a variety of reasons.

  • India's Arctic involvement traces back to the 1920 Svalbard Treaty.
  • Through the Himadri station and multiple studies, India contributes to Arctic research, spanning atmosphere, biology, oceans, hydrology, and glaciers.
  • India, becoming an Arctic Council observer in 2013, enhances its global role.
  • Collaborative research and station establishment reflect India's commitment to understanding and addressing Arctic changes.

Why India is showing interest in Arctic Ocean?

  • Economic Security: Arctic changes impact trade routes, affecting trade costs and hydrocarbon markets, indirectly influencing India's economic stability.
  • Water Security: Melting Arctic ice contributes to rising sea levels, risking coastal areas and freshwater sources, impacting agriculture and industries crucial for India.
  • Sustainability: Arctic shifts disrupt ecosystems, posing global ecological threats. India's Arctic Policy prioritizes UN Goals, highlighting its commitment to balanced development and environmental

What is Northern Sea Route (NSR)?

  • The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the shortest shipping route for freight transportation between Europe and countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It straddles four seas of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Running to 5,600 km, the Route begins at the boundary between the Barents and the Kara seas (Kara Strait) and ends in the Bering Strait.

Why NSR is most preferred?

  • A paper published on the website of the Arctic Institute in September 2011 states that in theory, distance savings along the NSR can be as high as 50% compared to the currently used shipping lanes via Suez or Panama.
  • The 2021 blockage of the Suez Canal, which forms part of the widely-used maritime route involving Europe and Asia, has led to greater attention on the NSR.

Russia influence in NSR navigation:

  • As the seas of the Arctic Ocean remain icebound during most of the year, the icebreaking assistance is organised to ensure safe navigation along the NSR.
  • Russia is the only country in the world with a nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet.

In December 1959, the world’s first nuclear icebreaker, “Lenin,” was put into operation, unveiling the new chapter in the NSR development. It was decommissioned 30 years later.

  • Today, FSUE Atomflot, a subsidiary of Rosatom, acts as the fleet operator of nuclear-powered icebreakers. The fleet comprises seven nuclear-powered icebreakers, apart from one nuclear container ship.

Driving factors for India towards NSR:

  • NSR Cargo Growth: Northern Sea Route (NSR) sees robust cargo traffic growth, benefitting India's energy imports from Russia, driven by its reliability and safety as a transport route.
  • Strategic Transit Route: Given India's sea-trade dependence, NSR's transit role gains significance, aligning with India's geographical position and trade patterns, enhancing connectivity options.
  • Development of Chennai-Vladivostok Corridor: Proposed corridor through NSR, part of India-Russia collaboration, shortens transport time significantly, facilitating efficient trade of coking coal, crude oil, LNG, and fertilizers between the nations.


  • Cost effective: Fuel savings due to reduced distance;
  • Lesser distance: The shorter distance reduces the cost of staff labor and chartering vessels;
  • The Northern Sea Route does not charge payments for the passage (unlike, for example, the Suez Canal);
  • Less cargo traffic: There are no queues (unlike, for example, the Suez Canal);

Suez Canal vs. Northern Sea Route:

Way forward for India:

  • NSR Cargo Targets: Russian government's NSR development plan aims for substantial growth, targeting 80 million tonnes by 2024 and 150 million tonnes by 2030, amidst Western sanctions.
  • Russian-Indian Collaboration: Russia engages with Indian business community, offering key components and seeking Indian company involvement in NSR projects, reflecting mutual interest in Arctic trade.

Rajasthan’s Gig and Platform Workers Welfare Act


The Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers (registration and welfare) Act has been recently passed by the state legislation which aims to recognize gig/platform workers by ensuring that every worker on any platform has a unique ID that would anchor all future benefits.

Rajasthan’s Gig and Platform Workers Welfare Act:

  • The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act acknowledges the significant contributions of gig workers to the economy and aims to provide them with essential protection and support.
  • Objective: The primary objective is to extend social security and welfare benefits to gig workers operating in the state.
  • The Rajasthan government has launched this act on Hamal model.

The Hamal model:

  • Hamal Panchayat: Over 60 years ago, Maharashtra’s hamals formed the "Hamal Panchayat" union to address the challenges faced by unorganized sector workers, leading to the establishment of "Mathadi board" law.
  • The law mandated registration of workers and merchants using hamals' labor, requiring shopkeepers to deposit workers' wages and a levy for social security schemes with the board, providing benefits like gratuity, health, and education benefits.
  • The successful implementation of this law enabled hamals to secure social security.

Key Features of the Act:

  • Registration of Gig Workers: The act mandates the registration of all gig workers with the state government to bring them under the ambit of labor regulations.
    • The state government will maintain a comprehensive database of all gig workers operating in Rajasthan.
    • Each gig worker will be assigned a unique ID, which will facilitate tracking their employment history and entitlements.
  • Access to Social Security Schemes:
    • Gig workers will be granted access to a range of social security schemes.
    • These schemes may include health insurance, accident coverage, and other welfare measures to provide financial support during emergencies.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism:
    • The Act ensures that gig workers have the right to be heard and address any grievances they may have.
    • This provision seeks to protect the rights of gig workers and provide them with a platform to resolve work-related issues.
  • Establishment of Platform-Based Gig Workers Welfare Board:
    • The board will be responsible for overseeing the welfare and rights of gig workers in the state.
  • Welfare Board — comprising State officials, five representatives each from gig workers and aggregators, and two others (“one from Civil Society and another who evince interest in any other field”).
    • At least one-third of the nominated members should be women.
    • This representation aims to ensure that the interests of both parties are considered when making decisions related to welfare and regulation.
  • Platform-Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee:
    • The act introduces a "Platform-Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee" to finance the social security measures for gig workers.
    • The fund will be utilized to provide financial support and welfare benefits to gig workers during challenging times.
  • Fee Levied on Aggregators:
    • Aggregators will be required to pay a fee for each transaction involving a platform-based gig worker.
    • The specific percentage of the fee will be determined by the state government to contribute to the welfare fund.
  • Penalties for Non-Compliance:
    • The act includes provisions for penalties in case of non-compliance by aggregators.
    • Aggregators failing to pay the welfare fee on time will be charged an interest rate of 12% per annum from the due date.
    • The state government can impose fines of up to Rs.5 lakh for the first contravention and up to Rs 50 lakh for subsequent violations of the Act by aggregators.

Who are Gig Workers?

  • A ‘gig worker’ is currently defined as someone who“earns from such activities outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship and who works on a contract” for various platforms or aggregators, such as Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, Uber, Urban Company, etc.
  • Gig workers aredifferent from regular employees, as they have flexible work hours and multiple sources of income.
    • They are paid on the basis of the tasks or services they complete, rather than on a monthly or hourly basis.
  • Gig workers provide various services, such asfood delivery, ride-hailing, home services, e-commerce, content creation, graphic design, web development, etc.


  • Increasing Numbers: Gig workers are estimated to be around 15 million in India,according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. They are expected to grow to 90 million by 2028.
  • Contribution in Economy: A Gig economyis a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.


Should the CJI be part of the committee ‘selecting the CEC’?


Recently, the Union government introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha that proposed that the selection panel for appointing the Members of Election Commission (EC) will include a Cabinet Minister rather than Chief Justice of India (CJI).

  • According to Bill proposed by the union government, the selection panel will consist of the Prime Minister as the chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition as a member, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as another member.
  • However earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled that the selection panel should comprise the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) until Parliament enacts a law on the manner of appointment.

Election Commission of India (ECI):

  • It is a constitutional body responsible for administering elections in India according to the rules and regulations mentioned in the Constitution of India.
  • Its aim is to define and control the process for elections conducted at various levels: Parliament, State Legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President of India.
  • The ECI implements norms and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

Process of selection of Members of EC:

  • The President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
  • They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 324: Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
  • Article 325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special electoral roll on the ground of religion, race, caste or sex.
  • Article 326: Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
  • Article 327: Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to legislature.
  • Article 328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
  • Article 329: Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.

Does SC can intervene in the selection process?

  • The Supreme Court can intervene in the selection process of members of the election commission under certain circumstances.
  • In India, the Election Commission is an autonomous body responsible for conducting elections and ensuring their fairness.
  • While the process of appointing Election Commissioners is largely done by the executive branch of the government, the Supreme Court can intervene if there are concerns about the fairness or legality of the process.
  • The cases under which SC can intervene are:
    • Violation of Constitutional Provisions: If the appointment process violates constitutional provisions or principles, such as those related to transparency, impartiality, or non-discrimination, the Supreme Court can intervene to ensure that the process is carried out in accordance with the Constitution.
    • Malafide Actions: If there are allegations of malafide or political interference in the selection process, and these allegations are supported by evidence, the Supreme Court can step in to investigate and possibly rectify the situation.
    • Public Interest Litigation (PIL): Citizens, civil society organizations, or other concerned parties can file PILs in the Supreme Court if they believe that the selection process was not conducted properly or fairly.
    • Violation of Fundamental Rights: If the selection process violates fundamental rights of citizens, such as the right to information or the right to equality, the Supreme Court can step in to protect these rights.

Concerns associated:

  • Hindering Separation of Powers: As the constitution places the power to make any law on appointment of ECI in the hands of Parliament, SC ruling on this issue poses a question of Separation of Power.
  • However, SC has stated that this ruling will be subject to any law made by parliament, which means parliament can bring a law to undo it.
  • Another view is that since there is no law made by parliament on this issue, the Court must step in to fill the “constitutional vacuum.”

Short News Article

History (GS-I)
Mylara cult

The recent discovery of two sculptures, which resembles one belonging to 15th century A.D. and another to 17th century A.D., at Basrur, near Kundapura, in Udupi district has proved that the Ancient Mylara cult existed in the coastal region.


  • Mylara is a folk deity identified as a manifestation of Lord Shiva.
  • This deity, commonly known as Mailara in Karnataka and as Khandoba in Maharashtra, has a plethora of other names as well, such as Khanderao and Khandnatha.
  • This cult is prevalent in the southern part of India, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

Mylara Lingeshwara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god (Mailara dynasty), a form of the god Shiva in Mylara.

Mylara is the main deity of this temple, who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

International Relations (GS-II)
Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP)

Recently, Biopharmaceutical company Bugworks Research, which has research and development facilities in Bengaluru, has entered a partnership with the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) based out of Switzerland.


  • The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is a not-for-profit organization developing new treatments for drug-resistant infections that pose the greatest threat to health.
  • Established by the WHO and the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi) in 2016, GARDP is a core element of WHO’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
  • The Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) accelerates the development and access of treatments for drug-resistant infections.
  • Together with private, public and non-profit partners, GARDP works to preserve the power of antibiotics for generations to come.

Science and Technology (GS-III)
Womb transplantation

Recently, the first successful UK womb transplant has been performed at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.


  • Womb transplantation is an intricate procedure in which one team of surgeons removes the womb from the donor and a second team transplants it into the recipient.
  • Both stages of the procedure are serious operations lasting many hours, and the patients remain in hospital for days afterwards.
  • Donor and recipient undergo extensive counselling before the transplant to ensure psychological suitability, and the recipient must take drugs that suppress the immune system afterwards to prevent her body from rejecting the new organ.

How safe is it?

The procedure is claimed to be medically safe for donor and recipient.

Science and Technology (GS-III)
Mi-17 V5 helicopters

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals worth approximately Rs. 7,800 crore, including Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite for the IAF’s Mi-17 V5 helicopters.


  • AoN is the first step in the long defence procurement process.
  • Grant of an AoN does not necessarily lead to a final order.
  • The DAC is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.

Mi-17 V5 helicopters:

  • Mi-17V5 is part of the Russian Mi-17 series, which can fly at high altitudes in complex weather conditions, be it in tropical and maritime climates or even in desert conditions.
  • They are medium twin-turbine choppers useful in search and rescue operations, and can be equipped with weapons.
  • Mi-17s can travel at a maximum speed of 250 km/h, have up to eight fire posts for small weapons and can transport cargo up to 4,000 kg.
  • The Mi-17V5 is produced and manufactured in Kazan, a city in southwest Russia.
  • It is a modern military transport helicopter used by the Indian Air Force.

Location in News
Murmansk Port

India’s engagement with Russia’s Arctic region has been strengthening with India-bound goods constituting the maximum share of cargo handled this year by ‘Murmansk Port’.

About the location:

  • The seaport of Murmansk is one of the largest ice-free ports in Russia.
  • It is located on the Kola Peninsula at the coast of Barents Sea.
  • It is about 2,000 km northwest of Moscow.
  • The port is navigated all year round.
  • The main port capabilities are located on the western coast of Kola Bay, among them the mooring berths of the commercial port (including passenger area), fishing port, ship-repair yard, shipyard, oil terminal, and FSUE Atomflot premises.
  • On the eastern coast of Kola Bay there is a number of small fish and fleet maintenance terminals.



India’s G-20 opportunity for an African Renaissance


Africa's rising role in global platforms like BRICS and G-20 reveals its challenges - misgovernance, terrorism, tribal conflicts, and more. India's strong ties with Africa can provide innovative solutions through these forums.

Challenges and Disruptors

  • Existential Challenges: Africa grapples with misgovernance, unplanned development, tribal dominance, and corruption.
  • New Disruptors: Emerging threats include Islamic terrorism, tribal conflicts, climate change, food inflation, urbanization, and youth unemployment.
  • Intervention Complexities: Military interventions by foreign powers worsen the situation, often perpetuating dictatorships to safeguard economic interests.

Return of Generals and Political Disorder

  • Resurgence of Generals: Over the past decade, military leaders have come back to power in countries like Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
  • Divided Armed Forces: Libya and Sudan experience internal splits among their armed forces, leading to power struggles.
  • Complexity of Generals' Return: The resurgence is driven by intricate national factors, challenging efforts to curb this trend.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


Misplacing the warning


The newly introduced rules by the Union Health Ministry that require anti-tobacco warnings for smoking scenes on OTT platforms, intended to raise awareness about tobacco's ill effects, are being critiqued for their force-fitted nature and lack of industry consultation.

Distinction and Concerns

  • Application of Theatre/TV Rules: New rules mandate anti-tobacco warnings for OTT platforms similar to theatres and TV.
  • Lack of Contextualization: The rules overlook distinctions between OTT and traditional media, raising concerns about the viewing experience.
  • Industry Pushback: The absence of industry consultation has led to criticism and resistance against the rules due to their impractical implementation.

OTT's Unique Attributes

  • OTT Growth: The OTT market's exponential growth in India is attributed to personalized content delivery and on-demand viewing.
  • Self-Regulation Framework: Unlike theatres/TV, OTT operates under self-regulation through the Digital Media Ethics Code.
  • Viewing Experience Impact: Force-fitting warnings disrupt binge-watching and short-form content, and efficacy concerns are raised regarding repeated exposure.

Complex Challenges and Way Forward

  • Compliance Challenges: Imposing warnings across extensive OTT libraries within a short timeframe presents resource-intensive difficulties.
  • Light-Touch Approach: Evolving technology-driven models like OTT should be governed with innovation and growth in mind.
  • Consultation and Self-Regulation: The editorial suggests addressing tobacco depiction concerns through industry consultation and existing self-regulatory mechanisms.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


Growth & the Tier-2 City


Despite being the fastest-growing large economy, India faces the issue of high employment. The situation highlights the need of good infrastructure, both physical and human, to create more jobs.

Lop-sided Development and Unemployment

  • India's Growth-Unemployment Paradox: India's rapid economic growth alongside high youth unemployment is attributed to skewed development policies.
  • Demographic Advantage: With a significant young population, India's demographic structure offers potential, but lack of jobs constrains its benefits.
  • Importance of Balanced Growth: The necessity of creating employment opportunities aligned with economic growth is emphasized.

Human Infrastructure Deficit and Education

  • Infrastructure Imbalance: While physical infrastructure has progressed, the deficit in human infrastructure, particularly education and skills, hampers job growth.
  • Education's Impact on Job Creation: Investing in education is key, as the returns on education investment are high, and educated individuals contribute to job creation.
  • Challenges and Quality Concerns: Poor quality, faculty shortages, outdated curricula, and the need for creative thinking hinder effective education delivery.

Governance, Tertiary Education, and De-urbanization

  • Governance Enhancement: The complexity of the education system necessitates improved governance, monitoring, accountability, and performance assessment.
  • Role of Tertiary Education: Scaling up tertiary education can create a professional workforce capable of driving new enterprises and job creation.
  • Urbanization and Job Creation: India's urbanization and industrialization paths have diverged, leading to pre-mature de-industrialization, underscoring the importance of balanced spatial development.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


The Onion Diktat


The recent discontent among onion growers regarding the 40% export duty imposed by the Indian government highlights the challenges faced by farmers of onions, potatoes, and tomatoes who lack Minimum Support Price (MSP) benefits, making them reliant on market forces.

Price Volatility and Government Response

  • Market Vulnerability: Farmers of onions, potatoes, and tomatoes experience price volatility due to market dynamics.
  • Lack of MSP Support: Unlike other crops, these farmers lack the safety net of MSP-based procurement by government agencies.
  • Differential Attention: The government's intervention varies based on price fluctuations, leading to criticism and farmer frustration.

Farming Practices and Consequences

  • Crop Storage Strategies: Onion farmers adopt staggered sales through storage structures to counter market fluctuations.
  • Impact of Unseasonal Rains: Unusual excess rains damaged a portion of harvested onions, affecting storage quality.
  • Price Fluctuations: The combination of damaged stored onions and distress sales due to rapid quality deterioration caused price fluctuations.

Short-Sighted Policy and Repercussions

  • Government's Reactive Approach: The government's reactive approach to rising prices after neglecting low prices is criticized.
  • Erosion of Reforms: Recent actions, such as export bans and stock limits, undermine the spirit of farm reform laws introduced earlier.
  • Global Supplier Reputation: Export restrictions jeopardize India's credibility as a dependable global supplier and present a challenge to restoring it.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 25th August 2023
GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now