What's New :
GS Mains Classes 2024, Morning Batch Starts: 12th June & Evening Batch Starts: 15th June

28th March 2023

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act


Sixty-three years after the implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960, the central government made reforms under the legislation.

About the development:
  • The Government has laid down the procedures for dehorning cattle and castration, branding or nose-roping of any animal.
  • The castration method involves crushing the blood vessels, nerves and vas deferns to cause the testicles to become defunct.
  • Dehorning of horned cattle is the process of removal of their horns or the process of preventing their growth.
  • These procedures were earlier undefined under Sections 11 and subsection 3 of the Act, which made it difficult to prevent cruelty against animals.
  • Section 11 defined the acts that amount to treating animals with cruelty.
  • But subsection 3 allowed exceptions for animal husbandry procedures, which involve dehorning cattle and castration, branding and nose roping of animals in a prescribed manner.
  • The rules also demand the breeding of naturally hornless cattle over dehorning and using face halters and other humane procedures for nose roping and preventing cold and hot branding on live tissues. 
  • The rules prescribe a methodology for euthanasia for ill animals to avoid a painful death, adding the rules also require using pain-reducing methods for dehorning and nose roping.

Need for reforms:

  • The new law was announced through a notification and defined how painful procedures such as castration of bulls, horses and other animals are to be carried out. 
  • All procedures are to be carried out with the involvement of a registered veterinary practitioner, along with the mandatory use of general and local anaesthetics.
  • The existing methods involve pushing a bull to the ground to use a castrator sans painkillers.
  • Dehorning is done by disbudding by chemical or hot-iron destroys the horn-producing cells of the horn bud.

Animal rights and safety:

  • None of the guarantees containedin Part III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights, are explicitly conferred on animals.
  • Therefore, when efforts to legislate on animal welfare were first made, it came from a more elementary ethical preceptthat it was morally wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.
  • It was with this vision in mind that Parliament enacted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), in 1960.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960:

  • The legislative intent of the Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • Discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • Provides the guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.
  • The Act enshrines the provisions relating to the exhibition of the performing animals, and offences committed against the performing animals.
  • This Act provides for the limitation period of 3 months beyond which no prosecution shall lie for any offences under this Act.


  • While it criminalizes several types of actions that cause cruelty to animals, it exempts, for example, from its coverage the use of animals for experiments with a view to securing medical advancement.

Other Government Interventions:

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM): To undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock.
  • E-Pashu Haat Portal: This portal is for connecting breeders and farmers regarding availability of quality bovine germplasm.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme: It has been launched for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis with a total outlay of Rs.13, 343 crore to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population.
  • National Livestock Mission: IT is for intensive development of livestock, especially small livestock along with adequate availability of quality feed and fodder.
  • Livestock Health & Disease Control Scheme: Assistance is provided for prevention and control of animal diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) etc.
  • Disease Protection of Livestock: For livestock protection, the diagnostic kits against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Bluetongue (BT) diseases and Subviral Particle based Infectious Bursal Disease Vaccine were developed.

Government does not subscribe to World Press Freedom Index rankings

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister has mentioned in a written response to Rajya Sabha that government does not subscribe to World Press Freedom Index rankings due to lack of ‘adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent’.

About the statement:
  • The government does not subscribe to the rankings of the World Press Freedom Index, nor does it agree to the conclusions drawn by ‘Reporters without Borders’.

The World Press Freedom Index is published by a foreign non-government organisation, called Reporters without Borders

  • The government does not subscribe to views of the index and country rankings and does not agree to the conclusions drawn by this organisation.
  • There are various reasons for disagreement to the index, including;
  • very low sample size,
  • little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy,
  • adoption of a methodology which is questionable and
  • Non-transparency

India and Freedom of Press:

  • The G7 countries and partner countries (including India) adopted a ‘Resilient Democracies Statement’ at the June 2022 G7 Summit which inter alia affirmed their commitment to strengthening the resilience of democracies and working towards equitable, inclusive and sustainable solutions to global challenges.
  • An advisory specifically on the safety of journalists was issued to states and Union Territories in October 2017, requesting them to strictly enforce the law to ensure the safety and security of media persons.

Laws related to Press:

  • Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Constitution of India and if the right is absolute or there is any restriction on the use or its misuse in electronic or print media.
  • Freedom of speech and expression is a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to citizens under Article 19(1) with restrictions as stated in Article 19(2).
  • Article 19(2), the state is empowered to impose reasonable restrictions on the operation of the right in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

Agencies involved:

  • The Press Council of India (PCI), a statutory autonomous body, has been set up under the Press Council Act, 1978, mainly to preserve the freedom of the press and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country.

Other provisions:

  • For television, all channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
  • For digital news publishers, the government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under the IT Act, 2000, which provides for a Code of Ethics for adherence by digital news publishers.

Finance Bill 2023-24 passed in the Parliament


The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to the Finance Bill 2023 as recommended by the Rajya Sabha amid difference in view with the Opposition members.

About the issue:
  • The Lok Sabha on passed demands for grants authorising expenditure of about 45 lakh crore for 2023-24.
  • The proposal was passed by voice vote amid protests by opposition members over their demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue.

What is Finance Bill?

  • As per Article 110 of the Constitution of India, the Finance Bill is a Money Bill.
  • The Finance Bill is a part of the Union Budget, stipulating all the legal amendments required for the changes in taxation proposed by the Finance Minister.
  • This Bill encompasses all amendments required in various laws pertaining to tax, in accordance with the tax proposals made in the Union Budget.
  • The Finance Bill, as a Money Bill, needs to be passed by the Lok Sabha — the lower house of the Parliament.
  • Rule 219: The Finance Bill finds its mention in Rule 219 of the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha is authorised to decide whether the Bill is a Money Bill or not. Also, the Speaker’s decision shall be deemed to be final.
  • Post the Lok Sabha’s approval, the Finance Bill becomes Finance Act.

Why it is important?

  • The Union Budget proposes many tax changes for the upcoming financial year, even if not all of those proposed changes find a mention in the Finance Minister’s Budget speech.
  • These proposed changes pertain to several existing laws dealing with various taxes in the country.
  • The Finance Bill seeks to insert amendments into all those laws concerned, without having to bring out a separate amendment law for each of those Acts.
  • For instance, a Union Budget’s proposed tax changes may require amending the various sections of the Income Tax law, Stamp Act, Money Laundering law, etc.
  • The Finance Bill overrides and makes changes in the existing laws wherever required.

Money Bill vs. Finance Bill:

  • All Money bills are financial bills but all financial bills are not Money bills.
  • Only those financial bills are Money bills which contain exclusively those matters which are mentioned in Article 110 of the Constitution.
  • Financial bill (I) is treated as an ordinary bill. i.e.
    • It can be either rejected or amended by the Rajya Sabha.
  • In case of a disagreement between the two Houses over such a bill, the President can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock.
  • When the bill is presented to the President, he can either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.

Financial Bills (II):

  • A financial bill (II) contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, but does not include any of the matters mentioned in Article 110. It is dealt under Article 117 (3) of the Constitution.
  • It is governed by the same legislative procedure which is applicable to an ordinary bill.


SEBI getting set to regulate index providers


The government is going to regulate the practices of market index providers on the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), amid concerns about the safety of passive investors’ savings parked in funds linked to indices that have added or retained several Adani group stocks.

Who are market index providers?

  • Index providers are companies that design and calculate indexes.
  • They have the responsibility to set the rules that decide what securities to include in each index, how the index will be managed and how securities will be added or removed from that index over time.

The most prominent indices in India are the Nifty50 by NSE Indices, and Sensex provided by a venture of S&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE Lied.

How they help investors?

  • The process of listing usually determine how stocks can be classified, e.g. are a particular stock a Healthcare or an Oil & Gas stock, or are it a Developed or Emerging market stock.
  • An index allows investors and other stakeholders to get a snapshot/idea of the market.

What are index funds?

  • An index fund is a portfolio of stocks or bonds designed to mimic the composition and performance of a financial market index.
  • Index funds have lower expenses and fees than actively managed funds.
  • Index funds follow a passive investment strategy.
  • Index funds seek to match the risk and return of the market based on the theory that in the long term, the market will outperform any single investment.

Need for regulation:

  • SEBI had stressed the need for greater oversight on currently unregulated index providers like NSE Indices (a National Stock Exchange subsidiary) and the Asia Index Pvt. Ltd. citing their growing dominance due to the “proliferation” of index funds.
  • The firms associated with investors could “exercise discretion through changes in methodology resulting in exclusion or inclusion of a stock in the index or change in the weights of the constituent stocks” and their decisions can impact the volumes, liquidity and price of such stocks, as well as investors’ returns from index funds.

As of January2023, almost 16% of the mutual fund industry’s ?41 lakh crore assets under management were in index and exchange traded funds (ETFs), including from large investors like the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) which oversees formal sector workers’ retirement savings.

About the development:

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has proposed a regulatory framework for index providers.
  • The proposed framework would mandate index providers to adhere to International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) principles.
  • The proposed regulations would prescribe provisions to ensure eligibility criterion, compliance, disclosures, periodic audits, and penal action in case of non-compliance and incorrect disclosures.


  • Portfolios of index funds only change substantially when their benchmark indexes change.
  • Thus, regulating the market index providers could directly impact the index funds.

Weighting is a method that balances out the influence of any single holding in an index or a portfolio.

Role of Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI):       

  • It is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • It has empowered to exercise on following areas;
    • To approve by−laws of Securities exchanges.
    • To require the Securities exchange to amend their by−laws.
    • Inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognized Securities exchanges.
    • Inspect the books of accounts of financial intermediaries.
    • Compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more Securities exchanges.
    • Registration of Brokers and sub-brokers.

Mutual Funds re-open overseas investment funds


Mutual fund houses are re-opening their international funds for investment due to the potential loss of long-term capital gains tax benefits if invested after the end of March 2023.

  • In January 2022, market regulator SEBI had banned mutual funds’ investments in overseas stocks as it was inching closer to the $7 billion limit and a separate cap of $1 billion for overseas ETFs.
  • Following a representation from the industry and meltdown in global markets, SEBI re-opened overseas investments last June but within the individual mutual fund cap as of last February.
  • With the steady fall in the international markets and change in taxation rules from April 1, mutual funds left with some headroom want investors to take advantage of overseas investment.

International Mutual Funds:

  • International mutual funds are equity funds that primarily invest in stocks of companies listed outside India.
  • These funds help to diversify the investment portfolio of the mutual fund and help the funds to obtain better returns by taking a higher risk associated with investing in international markets.

What are overseas investment funds?

  • Foreign investment refers to the investment in domestic companies and assets of another country by a foreign investor.
  • Large multinational corporations will seek new opportunities for economic growth by opening branches and expanding their investments in other countries.
  • A foreign fund is a type of fund that invests in companies that are based internationally, or outside the investor's country of residence.

Foreign funds are also known as international funds. Foreign funds can be mutual funds, closed-end funds, or exchange-traded funds.

Rules governing international investments:

  • The Overseas Investment Rules and Regulations, notified under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, will be administered by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and shall subsume all existing norms pertaining to overseas investments as well as the acquisition and transfer of immovable property outside India.
  • A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) will be mandatory for any person who has a bank account classified as a Non-performing asset, or is labelled a wilful defaulter by any bank, or is under investigation by a financial service regulator, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Central Board of Investigation (CBI).
  • Further, no Indian resident will be permitted to make investments in foreign entities that are engaged in real estate business, gambling in any form and dealing with financial products linked to the Indian rupee without the central bank’s specific approval.



Action plan against heatwaves in India


Following Prime Minister’s high-level meeting to review the heatwaves preparedness — a new report by the Centre for Policy Research indicates that the country is ill-prepared to face the heat.

What is Heat wave?

  • A heat wave is a period of unusually hot weather that typically lasts two or more days.
  • To be considered a heat wave, the temperatures have to be outside the historical averages for a given area.

Highlights of the report:

  • Theme: “How is India Adapting to Heatwaves?”
  • Released by: Centre for Policy Research.
  • The current report analysed 37 heat action plans at the city (9), district (13) and State (15) levels across 18 States.
  • It found that nearly all HAPs fail to identify and target vulnerable groups and are underfunded with weak legal foundations and are insufficiently transparent.
  • Key findings:
    • It indicates that the country is ill-prepared to face the heat.
    • The report states that only — two HAPs carry out and present vulnerability assessments (systematic studies to locate where the people most likely to be affected are in a city, district, or State).
    • While most HAPs list broad categories of vulnerable groups (elderly, outdoor workers, pregnant women) and the list of solutions they do not necessarily focus on these groups.
    • Additionally only three of 37 HAPs identify funding sources and eight HAPs ask implementing departments to self-allocate resources, indicating a serious funding constraint.

Need of the initiative:

  • Extreme heat poses an unprecedented challenge to health and productivity, cautioned the centre adding that heat waves (prolonged periods of extreme heat) have increased in frequency in recent decades due to climate change.
  • Landmark heatwaves (1998, 2002, 2010, 2015, and 2022) have each led to large death tolls (according to government estimates) and extensive economic damage by reducing labour productivity and affecting water availability, agriculture, and energy systems.

India and Heatwave:

  • Governments across India at the State, district, and municipal levels have responded by creating heat action plans (HAPs), which prescribe a variety of preparatory activities and post-heatwaves response measures across government departments to decrease the impact of heatwaves.
  • Criteria for declaring Heat Wave: Heat wave is considered if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degree Celsius or more for Plains and at least 30 degree Celsius or more for Hilly regions.
  • Period of Heat Wave in India: It is occurring mainly during March to June and in some rare cases even in July. The peak month of the heat wave over India is May.
  • The heat wave prone states over India: Heat waves generally occur over plains of northwest India, Central, East & north Peninsular India during March to June.
  • It covers Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra & Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Sometimes it occurs over Tamilnadu & Kerala also.
  • Favourable conditions for Heat wave:
    • Transportation / Prevalence of hot dry air over a region
    • Absence of moisture in the upper atmosphere
    • The sky should be practically cloudless
    • Large amplitude anticyclonic flow over the area.

Heat Index: The heat index is the combination of air temperature and relative humidity; it measures how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.

  • Health Impacts of Heat Waves: The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.


Short News Article


Saving Day time

Recently, Lebanon was thrown into mass confusion after its government at the last minute delayed the start of daylight saving time by a month.

  • Greenland has chosen to stay with daylight saving time forever.
  • What is daylight saving time?
  • According to Norway-based Time and Date, daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from the standard time during the summer and back again in the autumn.
  • This is done to make better use of natural daylight.
  • India does not follow daylight saving time as countries near the Equator do not experience high variations in daytime hours between seasons.

What is phenomenon behind it?

  • Daylight saving is a result of the earth's tilted rotation around the sun.
  • The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, which means that the sun rises and sets at different times throughout the year as the Earth moves around the Sun.

Polity and Governance

Revised NCERT books under NEP 2020

After nearly two decades, school students at all levels will learn from updated textbooks to be introduced in the 2024-25 academic year.

About the development:

  • The modification was done as per the National Education Policy 2020 and National Curriculum Framework (NCF) released in August 2022.
  • Currently the government has released NCF for pre-school to Class 2, for children aged between three and eight years.
  • The framework for other classes is yet to be rolled out.
  • Correspondingly, textbooks based on NCF for Class 1 and 2 will be released by the end of this month.

Key features:

  • The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks will be developed in 22 languages, in consonance with the NEP 2020 perspective of imparting multilingual education.
  • NCERT has developed material to feed into the play-way teaching method: the Jaadui Pitaara (magic box) would be made available to every school in the form of open education resources.
  • Significance:
  • The Ministry of Education aims to help students develop their cognitive and critical thinking skills, which involve problem-solving in real-life situations.
  • It also speaks about developing the social and emotional capacities of the child.
  • There is an emphasis on vocational education so students can develop an entrepreneurial mindset or be gainfully employed in the future.

Polity and Governance

‘Bharat Nepal Ashtha Yatra


As per the information by IRCTC, more than 80 per cent of seats for the first-ever trip of the 600-seater ‘Bharat Nepal Ashtha Yatra’ special train have already been booked.

  • The train is scheduled to start its journey from Jalandhar in Punjab on March 31.
  • About:
  • The route will cover Ayodhya, Varanasi, and Prayagraj in India and Pashupatinath (Kathmandu) in Nepal.
  • The train, operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd, offers a nine-day and 10-night package inclusive of boarding fees, transport costs, and meals.
  • More than 80 per cent of seats out of 600 have been booked.
  • The train will run till Raxaul railway station in East Champaran in Bihar and, thereafter, tourists will be taken to Nepal in buses.
  • The boarding stations are Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Ambala, Kurukshetra, and Panipat in the Ambala Railway division.


Plastic-rock hybrid discovered in Andaman’s Aves island





A team of marine biologists during routine monitoring of marine litter in some of the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, have stumbled upon a piece of rock made from plastic.


  • Known as Plastiglomerate, the rock is composed of sand, rock fragments, shells and other materials held together by plastic, resulting in a plastic-rock hybrid.
  • It is a new form of plastic pollution described by scientists in 2014.
  • This is the first find from India of Plastiglomerate.
  • Laboratory analysis showed that it has two very commonly used plastic polymers– polyethene and polyvinyl chloride– which was holding the smaller rock and sand particles to form a rock, approximately the size of ones found along railway tracks.
  • The findings have been published in Marine Plastic Pollution.


  • Plastic accumulating in oceans and on beaches has turned into a global crisis due to which thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it.


Dwindling allies


  • By formally establishing diplomatic relations with China, Honduras has joined a growing list of countries that have recently switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

What is Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China?

  • After World War II: Taiwan was controlled by Japan for half a century until the end of World War II, when it became a part of the Republic of China, ruled by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang.
  • During Mao Zedong: Though the mainland was taken over by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces in China’s civil war, the island remained under Kuomintang control after the war ended in 1949.
  • After 1990: By 2021, only a third identified themselves as both Chinese and Taiwanese, with most of the rest describing themselves as exclusively Taiwanese.

How has China responded to the increasing tensions?

  • Gray Zone Warfare: China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, has sent jet fighters, bombers and spy planes on hundreds of sorties near Taiwan in recent years.
  • Military Exercises: China conducts military exercises around Taiwan often in response to the presence nearby of U.S. aircraft-carrier strike groups.
  • Nuclear Expansion: China has also begun a major expansion of its nuclear arsenal, partly to deter the U.S. from using its own nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 28th March 2023
GS Classes 2024 Optional Foundation Optional Q&A mains test series 2023 mains classes 2023 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now