What's New :
ITS 2025: Integrated Test Series & Mentorship Program for Prelims and Mains. Get Details
30th March 2024 (11 Topics)

30th March 2024

QUIZ - 30th March 2024

5 Questions

7 Minutes


During his interaction with Gates, PM Modi covered a spectrum of critical topics ranging from AI to India's impressive advancements in digital technology. Pointing to technology's role in sectors like agriculture, education, and healthcare, Modi ruled out a digital divide in India.

1: Dimension-Trends of Digital Divide

  • Gap: There exists a grave digital divide in India wherein gaps exist in the usage of the internet and access to digital infrastructure based on gender, area of residence whether rural-urban, caste, or age.
  • Gender inequality: Men have greater access to the internet and greater ownership of mobile phones. However, it is important to note that there have been some improvements in women’s access to cell phones between 2015–16 and 2019–21 which demonstrates that the efforts to reduce the digital divide are steadily coming into fruition.
  • Rural-Urban divide: While there might be small variances, urban men are much better off than others both in terms of access to the internet and ownership of phones when compared to urban women, rural men, and rural women.

2: Dimension-Implications of digital divide

  • Further increasing inequality: The inability to access technology has the potential to increase existing social exclusions and deprive individuals of essential resources.
  • Impact on employment:Digital literacy is no longer a luxury but a prerequisite for active participation in today's job market.
  • Impact on every aspect of life:With the increasing dependence on digital technologies and the internet, the digital divide has ramifications on education, health, mobility, safety, financial inclusion, and every other imaginable aspect of life.

Way forward

Whilst several government initiatives like the National Digital Literacy Mission and the Pradhan MantriGramin Digital SakshartaAbhiyan have been introduced to increase digital literacy, there is a need to ramp up such efforts.

It is also important to improve the existing digital infrastructure to ensure physical access to ICT to different sections of society. At the same time, underprivileged groups need to be motivated to incorporate technology into their daily lives and digital skills need to be imparted to allow such a change.

Fact Box

Statistics of Digital India

  • According to ICRIER’s State of India Digital Economy 2024 report, while “India as a nation is highly digitalised, the average Indian is not”.
  • Nearly 48 % of Indians do not access the internet and the quality of fixed line internet services does not match up to other G20 countries.
  • According to IAMAI’s internet in India report 2023, at 759 million, 52% Indians have access to the internet.
  • India’s gender gap in internet connectivity is, at 10%, higher than the world average of 9%, and the rural-urban divide is at 58%, higher than the world average of 49%.
  • While the digital divide along gender is large, it is declining.


Q: Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based projects/programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors and suggest measures for their effective implementation. (UPSC 2019)


The Government e Marketplace (GeM) plans to seek the Centre’s approval to enable work contracts for construction and building projects to also be bid out through the platform with a transparent monitoring mechanism to assess the progress in such contracts.

1: Dimension-Role of GeMin public procurement in India

  • Transparent process:GeM endeavours to make public procurement process transparent, efficient and inclusive.
  • Inclusiveness: It drives inclusiveness and ease of doing business (EoDB) with the government.
  • Standardization: It provides for standardization of processes backed by the regulatory framework
  • Automated system: It is a fully automated system enabled through advances technologies.
  • Efficiency:As an end-to-end online and integrated portal, GeM increases efficiency in public procurement by eliminating manual interventions at various stages of the procurement process.
  • Minimum Government, Maximum Governance: The platform has been effectively contributing to the government’s commitment of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”.

2: Dimension-Need of GeM in public procurement

  • The public procurement process involves several steps, starting with the government publishing a tender. Interested sellers participate, and once the participation deadline passes, the government (buyer) evaluates the bids to determine eligibility. The contract is then awarded to the bidder offering the lowest rate.
  • However, this process wasn't always as straightforward and transparent as it needed to be, which led to the introduction of the Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

Fact Box: About GeM

  • Launched in: 2016
  • GeM is an online platform for public procurement of goods and services.
  • The platform is now used for everything from critical defence procurements to services like aircraft chartering and printing of election-related material, envisaged for the coming year.
  • GeM Statistics: It offers over 12,000 product and 320 service categories generally sought by central and State government departments, and has even onboarded 90,000 Gram Panchayats as buyers.


Cyber slavery is emerging as a form of organized crime of unprecedented severity and scale. Over 5,000 Indian nationals are reported to be held captive in Cambodia, coerced into committing cyber frauds targeting individuals in India.

1: Dimension-Factors responsible for growth of cybercrime

  • Internet:The internet allows criminals to operate seamlessly across borders, accessing a marketplace of victims anywhere, anytime and at scale. The internet also helps criminals to conceal their own identity, location and size.
  • Cybercrime-as-a-service:Criminals have their own ‘cybercrime-as-a-service’where experienced cybercriminals sell accessible tools and knowledge to help others carry out cybercrimes.
  • Difficult to catch:The difficulty in countering cybercrime is also a major factor.
  • Battlefield advantage:Cross-border attacks make cybercrime difficult for law enforcement to deal with, constrained as they are by national boundaries. 

2: Dimension-A global challenge

  • The operation’s international dimension was underscored by the diversity of its workforce.
  • Operatives from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Cambodia were drawn into the scheme, often under the guise of legitimate employment opportunities.
  • Once in Cambodia, these individuals found themselves stripped of their passports and coerced into participating in the scam. Reports of physical assault, electric shock, and solitary confinement emerged for those who resisted, highlighting the dark underbelly of cyber slavery.
  • As the scamming activities operate virtually, those running the rackets can easily shift their operations from one country to another. This makes it extremely hard to combat the crime by physically arresting the criminals.
  • This challenge needs a systemic and coordinated approach from governments and NGOs.

Fact Box: Cyber slavery

  • Criminals take advantage of the poor job opportunities available to young graduates and professionals in many countries.
  • The criminals convince people to travel abroad with promises of high-quality work and then threaten them and physically coerce them into working as online fraudsters.
  • They are forced to work on online scam farms run by cybercriminals.


The cVIGIL app of Election Commission of India has become an effective tool in the hands of people to flag election code violations. Since the announcement of General Elections 2024, over 79,000 complaints have been received.

About cVigil

  • cVigil is user-friendly and easy to operate application, which connects vigilant citizens with the District Control Room, Returning Officer and Flying Squads Teams.
  • By using this app, the citizens can immediately report on incidents of political misconduct within minutes and without having to rush to the office of the returning officer.
  • As soon as the complaint is sent on the cVigil app, the complainant will receive a unique ID through which the person will be able to track the complaint on their mobile.


The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) of banks are set to improve further upto 2.1 per cent by the end of the Financial Year 2025, as per a report.

What is a Non-Performing Asset?

  • They are loans or advances that are in default or in arrears.
  • In other words, these are those kinds of loans wherein principal or interest amounts are late or have not been paid.
  • Classification: Non-Performing Assets are basically Non-Performing Loans. In India, the timeline given for classifying the asset as NPA is 180 days. As against 45 to 90 days of international norms.

Types of NPA:

  • Standard Assets: It is a kind of performing asset which creates continuous income and repayments as and when they become due. These assets carry a normal risk and are not NPA in the real sense of the word. Hence, no special provisions are required for standard assets.
  • Sub-Standard Assets: Loans and advances which are non-performing assets for a period of 12 months fall under the category of Sub-Standard Assets.
  • Doubtful Assets: The Assets considered as non-performing for a period of more than 12 months are known as Doubtful Assets.
  • Loss Assets: All those assets which cannot be recovered by the lending institutions are known as Loss Assets.


Satellite analysis shows Gaza’s farms devastated and nearly half of the territory’s trees razed. The war has made the area unlivable.

What is Ecocide?

  • Ecocide is the destruction of the environment by humans.
  • Ecocide is broadly understood to mean mass damage and destruction of ecosystems – severe harm to nature which is widespread or long-term.
  • Impact on Gaza:Before the war, farms and orchards covered about 170 sq km (65 sq miles), or 47% of Gaza’s total land area. By the end of February, more than 65 sq km, or 38% of that land has been destroyed.


Caracal is suffering are on the path to extinction.

About Caracal

  • The caracal, a medium size wild cat with long black tufted ears, which is found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The caracal is an elusive, primarily noctural animal, and sightings are not common.
  • The wildcat has long legs, a short face, long canine teeth, and distinctive ears — long and pointy, with tufts of black hair at their tips.
  • The iconic ears are what give the animal its name — caracal comes from the Turkish karakulak, meaning ‘black ears’.
  • In India, it is called siya gosh, a Persian name that translates as ‘black Ear’.
  • Habitat
    • Besides India, the caracal is found in several dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia.
    • While it flourishes in parts of Africa, its numbers in Asia are declining.





Digital divide

Digital divide can be explained as the inequalities between the digital haves and the have-nots in terms of their access to the internet and the ICTs.



Economic inequality

Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in society. 


Global South 

o    The Global South is a geographical, geopolitical, historical and developmental concept, all at the same time - with exceptions"

o    Geographically, the term refers to the 32 countries below the equator (in the southern hemisphere), in contrast to the 54 countries that lie entirely north of it. 


Gross fiscal deficit (GFD)

o    The gross fiscal deficit (GFD) is the excess of total expenditure including loans net of recovery over revenue receipts (including external grants) and non-debt capital receipts. The net fiscal deficit is the gross fiscal deficit less net lending of the Central government.


 During President DroupadiMurmu's visit to Mauritius, India reinforced its commitment to strengthening ties with African nations, highlighting the significance of the Indian Ocean Region and Africa in its foreign policy agenda.

India's Engagement with Africa:

  • Economic Partnerships: India's engagement with Africa extends beyond rhetoric, with substantial investments and trade partnerships. Indian investments in Africa reached $98 billion in 2023, showcasing the depth of economic cooperation. Additionally, Indian social enterprises and NGOs are actively contributing to Africa's development through innovative solutions in various sectors.
  • Global Governance: Africa's growing influence in global forums presents opportunities for India's vision of inclusive global governance. As India advocates for the African Union's representation in platforms like the G20, it aligns with the goal of reforming existing structures to reflect the realities of a multipolar world.
  • Sustainable Development Cooperation: India's focus on sustainable development cooperation with Africa encompasses critical minerals and technical capacity building. Collaboration in the critical minerals sector, given Africa's abundance of resources, is crucial for India's energy transition and national security. Moreover, enhancing technical capacity building among Africa's workforce aligns with India's commitment to education and skill development in the region.

Enhancing India-Africa Relations:

  • Leveraging Historical Partnerships: As India positions itself as a leading voice of the Global South, strengthening historical partnerships with African nations becomes imperative. India's multifaceted relationship with Africa offers significant opportunities for both regions, ranging from economic cooperation to global governance reforms.
  • Opportunities for Cooperation: India's engagement with Africa presents avenues for cooperation in various sectors, including critical minerals, technical capacity building, and sustainable development. By leveraging Africa's potential and historical ties, India can contribute to the continent's growth and development while advancing its own strategic interests.
  • Future Prospects: As geopolitical dynamics evolve, India's engagement with African nations is poised for transformation. Recognizing Africa's importance in the Global South, India must prioritize deepening partnerships and fostering mutual cooperation to achieve shared developmental goals.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


The Supreme Court of India's recent ruling declared the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional, raising concerns about its effectiveness in addressing the issue of black money in politics.

Gap between the professed and the actual:

  • Failed attempt:The electoral bonds scheme failed to bridge the divide between the stated objective of curbing illegal financing in elections and the actual practices prevalent in Indian politics.
  • Promoting financing backers:Despite its implementation, political leaders continue to prioritize the interests of financial backers over the welfare of their constituents.

Money and the election:

  • Persistent challenges:The introduction of electoral bonds did not deter the flow of illegal funds into election campaigns, highlighting the persistent challenges in campaign financing and political influence.
  • Misuse and manipulation: The scheme's opacity facilitated potential misuse and manipulation, undermining efforts to promote transparency and accountability in electoral processes.

Cronyism uncovered:

  • Cronyism and corruption:Recent revelations regarding the use of electoral bonds have exposed the extent of cronyism and corruption in Indian politics, with funds exchanged for favors from policymakers and to evade legal scrutiny.
  • Need of reforms: The scheme's failure underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to address systemic issues and uphold the integrity of democratic institutions.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


The Centre's fiscal deficit has seen a significant increase, reaching Rs15 lakh crore by the end of February, indicating a notable deviation from the earlier trajectory and posing challenges for fiscal management.

Factors contributing to deficit surge:

Two key factors have contributed to the surge in the fiscal deficit for February.

  • Firstly, higher transfers to States, amounting to around Rs2.15 lakh crore, compared to ?1.4 lakh crore last year, have widened the deficit.
  • Secondly, capital expenditure witnessed a substantial increase from ?47,600 crore in January to Rs84,400 crore in February, driven by efforts to boost infrastructure development and stimulate economic growth.

Challenges and targets for fiscal consolidation:

  • The government aims to narrow the fiscal deficit to 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26, with a target of 5.1% for 2024-25.
  • However, achieving this requires recalibration of the fiscal path, considering factors such as economic conditions, government priorities, and expenditure patterns.
  • Despite room for spending available in critical sectors like Agriculture, Rural Development, and Consumer Affairs, persistent deviations from spending targets raise concerns about the effectiveness of fiscal planning and the need for better expenditure management.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now