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2nd February 2023

Digitalising ancient inscriptions


The Union Budget highlighted the government’s efforts for digitisation in the country, including a digital library for children and adolescents for preserving ancient inscriptions.

Highlights of the initiative:

  • It will facilitate the availability of quality books in different languages, genres and at different levels.
  • Objective: The government will also try to inculcate a culture of reading by collaborating with NGOs, which will provide age-appropriate reading material to everyone.
  • Key features:
  • The National Book Trust and Children’s Book Trust will also participate in the digitising event.
  • The library would be “device-agnostic”.
  • A specialized repository will be made in a digital epigraphy museum through the digitization of one lakh ancient inscriptions in the first stage.
  • Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions (Bharat SHRI) will be set up in a digital epigraphy museum.


  • States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at Panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.
  • To build a culture of reading and to make up for pandemic-time learning loss, the National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust and other sources will be encouraged to provide and replenish non-curricular titles in regional languages and English to these physical libraries.

Ancient Inscriptions:

Junagarh Rock inscription

  • The Junagarh Rock inscription of Rudradaman is considered an early example of chaste Sanskrit, written in mid second century AD.
  • It mentions that one of Chandragupta Maurya’s governors, Pushyagupta, was responsible for building a dam on Sudarshana Lake near Girnar in Kathiawar.
  • From another inscription of Skandgupta, we know that this dam was repaired during his reign, almost 800 years after it was built.

Mahrauli Inscription / Garuda Pillar

  • The Mahrauli Iron Pillar was originally placed on a hill near the Beas and was brought to Delhi by the King of Delhi. 
  • This pillar credits Chandragupta with the conquest of the Vanga Countries by his battling alone against the confederacy of the enemies united against him.
  • It also credits him for the conquest of Vakatkas in a fight that ran across seven mouths of Sindhu.
  • This pillar was established by Chandragupta-II of the Gupta dynasty as Vishnupada in honor of Lord Vishnu.

Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Prayag Prasasti)

  • This was issued by Samudragupta and was composed by Harisena.
  • It is written in very simple and refined Sanskrit in Champu Kavya style. It lists the achievements of Samudragupta.
  • This Inscription is a eulogy of Samudragupta and mentions about the conquests of Samudragupta and the boundaries of the Gupta Empire.
  • As per this inscription, Samudragupta defeated 9 kings in the North, and 12 Kings in the South, reducing all the Atavika states to vassalage.
  • It also mentions that more than five states in the frontier states surrendered and accepted his suzerainty. He had close contact with the kingdom of Ceylon and South East Asian colonies.
  • The eulogy of Harisena describes him as the hero of 100 battles.
  • He performed Ashvamedha Yajna, this has been testified by a seal of Samudragupta bearing a Horse. 

Nasik Inscription

  • The achievements of Gutamiputra Satkarni were mentioned in Nasik Inscription which was composed by his mother Gautami Balasri.
  • The Nasik Prasasti describes Gautamiputra as the ruler of the Aparanta, Anupa, Saurashtra, Kukura, Akara and Avanti and defeated the Saka King Nahapana and restored the prestige of his dynasty by reconquering a large part of the former dominions of the Satavahanas.

Nanaghat Inscription

  • The Nasik and Nanaghat inscriptions are the major sources that give detailed information about the Satavahana Empire.
  • The Nasik inscription was made by Gautami Balasari and the Nanaghat inscription was issued by Naganika.


Government to unveil National Data Governance Policy


While announcing the Union Budget for the year 2023-24, the Finance minister has mentioned that the government is going to unveil National Data Governance Policy to enable access to anonymized data to start-ups in order to boost development.

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) released a draft of this policy in May 2022 for public consultation.
  • An expert committee report submitted to MeitY on whether a company can be classified as a “data business” based on certain parameters, the type and quantity of data collected after which anonymized data from these firms can be obtained by a community.

Who can acquire data?

  • Any group of people who are bound by common interests and objectives. An example of non-personal data sharing is general traffic data in a city from ridesharing apps.

  • Objective:
    • It will aim to ensure greater citizen awareness, participation, and engagement with open data, increase the availability of datasets of national importance, and identify datasets suitable for sharing and improve overall compliance to secure data sharing and privacy policies and standards.
  • Key features:
    • A core component of the data governance framework will be the formation of an India Data Management Office (IDMO) under the IT ministry.
    • The anonymized datasets will be offered as part of the India datasets programmes to the AI (artificial intelligence) ecosystem, which will be a kinetic enabler for the digital economy.
    • It will lay out some guidelines for sharing of non-personal data by private entities


  • Datasets that represent India’s consumers is a huge opportunity for the next generation of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. 
  • The datasets will be provided for governance research, which even the government can use to create better targeted policies, more AI researchers can look at technology solutions.

How start-ups can be benefitted?

  • As part of the policy, the Indian government will also build the India Datasets program, which will consist of non-personal and anonymised datasets from Government entities that have collected data from Indian citizens or those in India.
  • Private entities will be encouraged to share such data.
  • For start-ups, ability to have access to anonymised data will be a phenomenal capability that really should help overall AI Machine Learning (AIML) research, outcomes, solutions, companies, everything becomes significantly better.

Defence budget 2023


The Union Budget presented in Parliament by Finance Minister allocated Rs 5.94 lakh crore for the Defence Ministry, a 13% increase year-on-year from last year’s budget estimates.


Defence Budget Estimates (2023-24):

Total allocation: Rs 5.93 lakh crore

Revenue allocation: Rs 2.7 lakh crore

Capital expenditure: Rs 1.62 lakh crore

Pension: Rs 1.38 lakh crore

Civil: Rs 22,612 crore

Highlights for the Defence sector:

  • The non-salary revenue outlay has gone up by 44% from Rs 62,431 crore the previous year to Rs 90,000 crore in the Budget Estimates for 2023-24.
  • The fund allocated to the sector is for the following purposes:
    • This will cater to the sustenance of weapon systems and platforms, including ships and aircraft, and their logistics;
    • boost fleet serviceability; emergency procurement of critical ammunition and spares;
    • procuring and hiring of niche capabilities to mitigate capability gaps wherever required;
    • progress stocking of military reserves; and 
    • Strengthening forward defences.
  • Capex for defence: It received a nominal 7% increase compared with the 33% rise in the country’s overall capital expenditure commitment.
    • Capital expenditure for military modernisation also saw a 6.7% rise by Rs 10,230 crore year-on-year to Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
  • For Agniveers:
    • The enhanced allocations will also cater to training aids and simulators for Agniveers and ensure that they achieve the set standards of training for induction in the defence forces.

Agniveer Corpus Fund:

  • This will cater to the Seva Nidhi severance package to be given to Agniveers on completion of four years. Individuals would have to contribute 30% of their monthly income to the fund during service, which will be equally matched by the government.
  • The government will also pay the subscriber interest, as approved from time to time, on the contributions in the account and the entire pay-out will be tax-free.
  • For pensioners:
    • There was also a major hike in the allocation of defence pensions on account of the revision of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
    • Allocation for the Defence Research and Development Organisation is Rs 23,264 crore, a 9% increase year-on-year.
    • Payment of arrears will be paid from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2022, which have been calculated at approximately Rs 23,638 crore as per the applicable Dearness Relief (DR).

Dearness relief:

Dearness Relief means the relief due to pensioners/family pensioners up to an average CPI of 1510.

  • For logistics and Infrastructure:
    • The capital budget of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has gone up by 43% to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 3,500 crore in 2022-23.
    • The estimates are committed towards infrastructure strengthening in the border areas, particularly the Northern Borders.

The BRO is close to finishing some key infrastructure projects in the eastern sector and improving all-weather connectivity along the LAC.

  • For different arms of Force:
    • A 6.7% increase year-on-year, Rs 37,242 crore has been earmarked for the Army, a year-on-year increase of 16.32% 
    • Rs 52,804 crores for the Navy, a y-o-y increase of 10.96% and
    • Rs 57,137 crore for the Indian Air Force (IAF), a 2.79% increase on a y-o-y basis.

Budget promoting Clean Energy


In the Union Budget 2023-24, Green hydrogen, clean energy storage and transmission are the key drivers of the government’s “Green Growth” priority sector.

Key initiatives:

  • National Green Hydrogen mission: With an outlay of Rs. 19,700 crores, the mission will facilitate the transition of the economy to low carbon intensity, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and make the country assume technology and market leadership
  • Energy transition investment: The FM has announced an outlay of Rs 35,000 crore for energy transition investment.
  • Battery storage capacity: The government will support the setting up of a battery storage capacity of 4,000 MWH in India with viability gap funding. The aim is to touch green hydrogen production of 5 million tonnes by 2030.
  • Green credit programme: A green credit programme will be notified under the Environment Protection Act.
  • GOBARdhan scheme: 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme will be established for promoting a circular economy.
    • CBG plants: These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants at a total investment of ` 10,000 crores.
    • 5% compressed biogas: The government plans to introduce a 5 per cent compressed biogas mandate for all entities marketing natural gas in India.
  • National apprenticeship scheme: To provide support to 47 lakh youths in 3 years, a Direct Benefit Transfer under a pan-India national apprenticeship scheme will be rolled out.

Schemes launched:

  • PM Vishwa Karma Kaushal Samman: PM Vishwa Karma Kaushal Samman-package of assistance for traditional artisans and craftspeople has been conceptualised, and will enable them to improve the quality, scale & reach of their products, integrating with the MSME value chain.
  • Free food scheme to continue till 2024: From January 1, 2023, a scheme to supply free food grain to all Antyodaya and priority households for one year under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana is underway.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana: The Budget 2023-24 allocated Rs 79,000 crore for the Pradhan Mantri AwasYojana (PMAY), giving a further boost to the government’s programme to provide housing to the urban poor.
  • MISHTI scheme: The government will take up mangrove plantations along the coastline under the new MISHTI scheme. The Mishti scheme is aimed at preserving mangroves.
  • Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme: The Rs 2,200 crore programme to improve the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops will raise their cultivation area from a low 15%.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana 4.0: The government will launch Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana 4.0.
  • PM Azaz Yojana: The outlay for PM Azaz Yojana is being increased by 66% to over Rs 79,000 crore.
  • Amrit Dharohar: The scheme aims to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.
  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme: To provide stipend support to 47 lakh youth in three years, Direct Benefit Transfer under a pan-India National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme will be rolled out.
  • National Financial Information Registry: It will be set up to serve as the central repository of financial and ancillary information. This will facilitate the efficient flow of credit, promote financial inclusion, and foster financial stability.
  • Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Mahila Samman Bachat Patra: For commemorating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a one-time new small savings scheme, Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, will be made available for a two-year period up to March 2025.
  • PM Vishwakarma KAushal Samman (PM VIKAS): It is a package of assistance for traditional artisans and craftspeople. This will greatly benefit the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, women and people belonging to the weaker sections.

Important Policies in Union Budget 2023-24


The Finance Minister has presented the Budget 2023-24 and announced the introduction of many new government schemes in various sectors with additional benefits in the existing government schemes to enhance their scope.

  • Let us look at them briefly.

New Government Schemes Proposed to be launched

  • PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS) 
    • Artisans are provided financial assistance under the PM Vishwakarma KAushal Samman scheme.
    • The new scheme will enable artisans to improve their products’ scale, quality and reach, integrating them with the MSMEs value chain. 
  • Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Programme 
    • The Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme will be launched to boost the availability of quality and disease-free planting material for high-value horticultural crops at an outlay of Rs.2,200 crore. 
  • Pharma Innovation Programme
    • In the Budget 2023, the Financial Minister proposed to launch a new programme to promote innovation and research in pharmaceuticals, which will be taken up through centres of excellence. 
  • Aspirational Districts and Blocks Programme
    • The government has launched the Aspirational Blocks Programme, covering 500 blocks to provide essential government services across multiple areas such as nutrition, health, agriculture, skill development, education, financial inclusion, water resources and basic infrastructure. 
  • Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission
    • The Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission will be launched to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
    • This mission will saturate PVTG habitations and families with basic facilities such as clean drinking water and sanitation, safe housing, health and nutrition, road and telecom connectivity, improved access to education and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
    • The government will provide an amount of Rs.15,000 crore to implement this mission in the coming three years.
  • Green Credit Programme
    • The Green Credit Programme will be launched under the Environment (Protection) Act to encourage behavioural change.
    • It will incentivise environmentally responsible and sustainable actions by individuals, companies and local bodies and help mobilise additional resources for such activities. 
    • PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM) will be launched to incentivise states and UTs to promote the balanced use of chemical fertilisers and alternative fertilisers.
  • Amrit Dharohar
    • Wetlands are crucial ecosystems to sustain biological diversity. The government will promote the conservation values of locals towards wetlands through the Amrit Dharohar scheme.
    • This scheme will be implemented over the next three years to enhance carbon stock, bio-diversity, income generation for local communities and eco-tourism opportunities, and encourage optimal use of wetlands.
  • Mahila Samman Bachat Patra
    • Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, a one-time small savings scheme, will be available for two years, i.e. up to March 2025. It will offer deposit facilities up to Rs.2 lakh in the name of girls or women for two years at a fixed interest rate of 7.5% with a partial withdrawal option.

Revision in Existing Government Schemes

  • PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
    • A scheme to supply free food grains to all priority and Antyodaya households for the next year will be launched under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).
    • This scheme will be implemented from 01/01/2023. It ensures nutritional and food security, with the entire expenditure of about Rs.2 lakh crore to be borne by the Central Government.
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana and National Rural Livelihood Mission
    • The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana and National Rural Livelihood Mission achieved success by mobilising rural women into 81 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs).
    • The government will enable the SHGs to reach the next phase of economic empowerment through the formation of collectives or large producer enterprises, each with several members managed professionally.
    • They will be enabled to scale up their operations through supporting policies to serve the large consumer markets.
  • PM Awas Yojana
    • In the Budget 2023, the outlay for the PM Awas Yojana was enhanced by 66% to over Rs.79,000 crore.
  • Mission Karmayogi
    • The government has launched an integrated online training platform, iGOT Karmayogi, under Mission Karmayogi to provide continuous learning opportunities for government employees and to upgrade their skills.
  • GOBARdhan scheme
    • New 500 ‘waste to wealth’ plants will be established under the GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme to promote a circular economy.
    • These will include 300 community or cluster-based plants and 200 Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas at a total investment of Rs.10,000 crore.
  • Skill India Digital Platform
    • The digital ecosystem for skilling will be expanded by launching a unified Skill India Digital platform for linking with employers, including MSMEs, enabling demand-based formal skilling and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes. 
  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme 
    • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) under a pan-India National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme will be launched to provide stipend support to 47 lakh youth over three years. 
  • Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs
    • The government will revamp the credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs through the infusion of Rs.9,000 crore corpus, effective from 01/04/2023.
    • It will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs.2 lakh crore, and the cost of the credit will be reduced by about 1%.
  • Savings Scheme
    • The maximum deposit limit is enhanced to Rs.30 lakh from Rs15 lakh for the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme.
    • The maximum deposit limit under the Monthly Income Account Scheme will be enhanced to Rs.9 lakh from Rs.4.5 lakh for a single account and Rs.15 lakh from Rs.9 lakh for a joint account.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0
    • The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 will be launched to skill youth within three years. The scheme will cover the new age courses for Industry 4.0, like AI, coding, mechatronics, robotics, IoT, drones, 3D printing and soft skills.
    • 30 Skill India International Centres will be set up to skill youth for international opportunities across different States. 
  • PM Matsya Sampada Yojana
    • The government will launch a new sub-scheme under the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with an investment of Rs.6,000 crore to enable activities of fish vendors, fishermen and micro and small enterprises for improving value chain efficiencies and expanding the market.

Short News Article

Polity and Governance

Mechanised sewer cleaning











Government has announced to launch NAMASTE (National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem) scheme to enable 100% mechanical desludging of septic tanks and sewers in all cities and towns.

About the scheme:

  • Aim: To transition from manhole to machine-hole mode and to enhanced focus for scientific management of dry and wet waste.
  • The NAMASTE scheme was launched last year, subsuming the already existing Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS).
  • The guidelines issued by the Social Justice Ministry intends to first enumerate the number of people engaged in hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks across 500 AMRUT cities (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and then proceed with its plans. 
  • The NAMASTE scheme provides for;
  • o    Capital subsidies to sewer cleaners on the purchase of sanitation machinery,
  • o    Training of workers with a stipend amount, and
  • o    Loan subsidies with capped interest rates on sanitation equipment. 

Polity and Governance

PAN as common identifier for digital systems





The government has announced that the Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be used for common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.


  • PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number allotted by the income tax department to a person, firm or entity.
  • The Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be made as a single business identifier for all digital systems of all specified departments of the government.

Polity and Governance

Measures  for tribal welfare








An additional allocation of Rs 4,000 crore reflects the government’s greater focus on tribals.


  • Pradhan Mantri Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Group (PMPVTGS) mission is been launched to improve socio-economic condition on PMPVTGS.
  • To improve social-economic condition of the Particularly Tribal Groups, PMPBTG Development mission will be launched, to saturate PBTG habitations with basic facilities.
  • o    Rs 15,000 cr to be made available to implement scheme in next 3 years.


Cooperative manufacturing units









Finance Minister announced new initiatives for the cooperative sector in her 2023-24 Union Budget speech.


  • Tax exemption: The new cooperatives that commence manufacturing activities before March 31, 2024, shall get the benefit of a lower tax rate of 15%, as is presently available to new manufacturing companies.
  • An opportunity to sugar cooperatives to claim payments made to sugarcane farmers for the period prior to assessment year 2016-17 as expenditure.
  • A higher limit of ?2 lakh per member for cash deposits to and loans in cash by Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and Primary Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (PCARDBs) adding that a higher limit of ?3 crore for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on cash withdrawal is being provided to cooperative societies.
  • The government has already initiated computerisation of 63,000 PACS with an investment of ?2,516 crore.
  • Model bye-laws for PACS were formulated enabling them to become multipurpose PACS.
  • A national cooperative database is being prepared for countrywide mapping of cooperative societies.


Amrit Dharohar’ scheme





Amrit Dharohar’ to encourage conservation of vital wetlands in India.

About the scheme:

  • The scheme aims to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.


Where she shows the way


  • The fact that women have progressed since Independence is a myth and we need to acknowledge that the nation cannot progress if half of it is held back.

Vision for development of women:

  • Free from social boundaries: Every woman’s enterprise and individuality are recognised and she must be free from the shackles of hackneyed traditions, distorted social perceptions, and contradictory standards of morality.
  • Enable to be financial independent: Enabling women to own property and safeguard their interests, to being economically independent and leaving their mark in the business space.
  • Being part of growth: Indian women have seized the reins and developed a vision in tune with global developments.

Reality for Women:

  • Less women representation: Only 15 and 14 per cent of MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively, are women; 11 women feature in the council of ministers; just 26 per cent of the selected candidates for Civil Services were women.
  • Less self-sufficient and still dependent: Only 23.3 per cent are in the labour force; only 20.37 per cent are MSME owners; only 10 per cent of start-ups in India have women founders.
  • Serving less than their proportion: As women accounts for half of the population, but only contribute 18 per cent to the nation’s GDP.
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