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

31st August 2023

Zoning of flood plains in India


Punjab has been reeling under floods, especially villages along the rivers Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and Ghaggar are facing flood crisis. This has led to the need for zoning of India’s flood plains.

Flood prone region in Punjab:

  • Areas along the rivers in the districts of Ropar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Taran Taran, Hoshiarpur, and Nawanshahr all come under flood plains – further highlighting the risks that Punjab faces if it does not prepare adequately for floods.

Four states (Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand) have adopted floodplain zoning on paper but implementation is limited.

What is a floodplain?

  • A river expands and contracts naturally over seasons.
  • A flood plain is an area adjacent to the river which normally gets flooded when the river swells.

India’s Model Bill for Flood Plain Zoning, 1975, defines “floodplain” to include the “water channel, flood channel, and that area of nearby lowland susceptible to flood inundation.”

Significance of floodplains:

  • They are also useful for recharging groundwater levels and maintaining the water table.
  • Well maintained flood plains, free from wanton construction and concrete, are natural defences against flooding farther inland.

What does Zoning means?

  • Floodplain zoning is a land use planning strategy that designates specific areas along rivers and water bodies for various uses based on their susceptibility to flooding.
  • Aim: The aim of floodplain zoning is to regulate development in these areas to minimize the potential damage and risks associated with floods.
  • Floodplain zoning has been recognised as a “non-structural measure” to mitigate flood disasters as development in the floodplains reduces the carrying capacity of rivers and exacerbates the effects of floods.

How Zoning is helpful?

  • Zoning involves demarcating areas around rivers likely to be affected by floods of different magnitudes and frequencies, in order to specify the types of permissible developments there.
  • This is done so that whenever floods do actually occur, the damage is minimal.
  • Well-maintained flood plains are crucial to reduce the damage caused by deluges and recharge the groundwater table.

Guidelines by Government bodies:

  • By NDMA: As per guidelines on floodplain zoning by the National Disaster Management Authority, defence installations, industries, and public utilities like hospitals, electricity installations, water supply, telephone exchanges, aerodromes, railway stations, commercial centres, etc. should be located such that they are above the levels corresponding to a 100-year frequency or the maximum observed flood levels.
  • By NGT: According to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), there should be no construction within 500 m area from the central lining of a river.

Adverse Effects:

  • Lack of zoning leads to encroachment and mismanagement of flood plains.
  • Unsuitable constructions push floods further inland and delay floodwater drainage.
  • Floodplain degradation affects soil fertility and quality.


Aadhaar-based wage system


Fourth extension for mandatory payments through Aadhaar-based wage system (ABPS) for MGNREGA workers is going to end. As per a NGO, around 1.2 crore people in top five States are not be paid wages via this method because their accounts are not enabled for the new system.

About the stance for payment to MGNREGA workers:

  • Between the top five States in terms of active MNREGA workers - U.P., Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan - 1.2 crore will no longer be eligible for payments because they do not have ABPS-enabled accounts.
  • In Assam which has more than 63 lakh workers, 61.2% are not eligible and in Nagaland with 6 lakh beneficiaries, nearly 80% lack an ABPS account.

Aadhaar-based wage system (ABPS):

  • ABPS uses the worker’s unique 12-digit Aadhaar number as their financial address.
  • APBS is a gateway created by National Payments Corporation of India to enable departments and agencies administering government schemes to transfer funds to Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts of beneficiaries.
  • Objective: The basic idea of the APBS to act on the principle that a person’s Aadhaar number becomes their financial address.
  • Instead of providing multiple account details to receive a bank transfer, one only has to provide their Aadhaar number which significantly eases out the entire process.
  • For ABPS, a worker’s Aadhaar details must be seeded with their job card and bank account.
  • Aadhaar details should also be mapped with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
  • Finally, the bank’s institutional identification number (IIN) must itself be mapped with the NPCI database. 


  • Boost financial inclusion: It sub-serves the goal of financial inclusion and provides an opportunity to the government to attempt financial re-engineering of its subsidy management program.
  • Less delayed work: It eliminates inordinate delays, multiple channels & paper-work involved in the existing system making the process less cumbersome and eco-friendly and transfers benefits & subsidies in a seamless & timely manner and directly into the Aadhaar Enabled Bank Account.
  • No redundancy in bank accounts: Customers are not required to open multiple bank accounts for receiving benefits and subsidies of various social welfare schemes.
  • Minimize misuse of funds: APBS transfers are seen to be effective in removing fake beneficiaries and duplicates and thus minimize leakage of funds to unintended beneficiaries.

Institutional Challenges

  • Diverted Payments and Rejections: Issues beyond diverted payments in Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS), like rejected payments, affecting DBT recipients.
  • Consent Challenge: Forcing APBS on poor without consent raises ethical concerns, especially for underprivileged beneficiaries.
  • Selective Induction Guidelines: NCPI and UIDAI recommend Aadhaar-seeded account induction based on explicit customer request, protecting educated middle-class.
  • Coercive Imposition on Poor: Lack of consent, improper mapping, and symbolic consent lead to APBS issues, misdirecting subsidies and pensions.

Supreme Court in Article 370 case: The constitutionality of Orders 272 & 273


The recent hearings by the Supreme Court (SC) on arguments by petitioners challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, is ended and now the government will have to answer those allegations and prove their ground.


What are the allegations against abrogation of Article 370?

  • Validity of Constitutional Order (CO) 272:
    • Petitioners claimed Article 370's permanence, suggesting it's not terminable by President.
    • Constituent Assembly's Role: It was also argued that there is temporary reference of Article 370 related to Constituent Assembly's power for changes.
    • J&K Constitution Impact: Article 147 grants permanence after Constituent Assembly's dissolution, barring changes to Indian Constitution application.
    • Limitations of Article 367: Petitioners claimed CO 272 used Article 367 interpretatively, exceeding its amendment scope defined by Article 368.
    • No Abrogation via order 272: Argued neither J&K Assembly nor Parliament could undo Article 370 using Constitutional order 272.
  • Validity of Order 273:
    • President's proclamation confirmed Article 370 abrogation, linked to Governor's move.
    • Petitioners contended that Rajya Sabha couldn't assume Governor's powers under Article 356 without Assembly authority.
    • Governor's Role under President's Rule: Petitioners criticized 2018 events, where Governor dissolved Assembly unlawfully without cabinet's aid and advice.
    • The improper basis for Governor's actions, leads to unlawful President's Rule proclamation without government in place.
  • On Governor’s Rule:
    • While not disputing Governor's Rule or President's Rule, the argument was made to show Rajya Sabha's powers assumption during President's Rule as unlawful.
    • Petitioners’ claimed it amounted to a "fraud on the Constitution," as Article 370 safeguards couldn't be erased by Article 356's imposition of President's Rule.

What is government’s stand to remove Article 370?

  • The Government of India's stand on the abrogation of Article 370 is that it was a necessary step for the integration and development of the region of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The government asserts that the special provisions under Article 370 were hindering the region's progress and preventing the extension of various central laws and benefits to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganization of the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, are aimed at promoting socio-economic development, ensuring better governance, and addressing security concerns.
  • The government believes that the move will lead to greater investment, job opportunities, and overall growth in the region.

Constitutional backing for government’s move:

  • Under Article 370(3): The constitutional basis for the Indian government to remove Article 370 was provided by Article 370(3) itself, which allowed the President of India to modify or cease the operation of Article 370 by a public notification, with the concurrence of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • However, since the Constituent Assembly had already dissolved in 1957, the government argued that the provision was rendered inoperative, and the President's Order of August 5, 2019, effectively abrogated Article 370 and related provisions.
  • This decision was supported by the Parliament's approval and the reorganization of the state into two union territories through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019.

Red sand boa (Eryx johnii)


A report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India has pointed out around 172 incidents of seizures of red sand boa (Eryx johnii) between the years 2016-2021.

Highlights of the Report:

  • Published by: The Counter Wildlife Trafficking unit of WCS-India.
  • Title:Illegal Trade of Red Sand Boa in India 2016-2021
  • It collates information from media reports on the seizures.
  • Around 172 unique media records involving illegal sand boa trade has been searched from January 2016 to December 2021 in India.
  • Fifteen of these included sand boas alongside other wildlife species, with 157 records talking only about sand boa species.
  • One hundred and twenty-one of the 157 incidents documented seizures involving red sand boas.
  • Aim: This is an attempt to bring to light the trade in red sand boas, especially online trade, and to develop a better understanding that might help prevent the illegal collection and sale of the species.
  • Key data:
  • The highest number was recorded in Maharashtra (59), often from urban areas such as the districts of Pune (11), Thane (nine), Raigad (seven), and Mumbai Suburban (five).
  • The second highest number was recorded from Uttar Pradesh (33), often from regions in proximity to the international border with Nepal, such as the districts of Bahraich (eight) and Lakhimpur-Kheri (seven).

Red sand boa is now acknowledged as one of the most traded reptile species in the illegal trade market, due to its demand in the pet trade, as well as for use in black magic.

  • The study also highlights the role of social media in the illegal trade of the species.
  • YouTube serves as a buyer-seller-interface for red sand boas in India, and sometimes acts as a gateway to facilitate trade via

Suggestions from the report:

  • The report also suggested that local and international conservation organisations should conduct formative research to better understand the situation of the illegal reptile trade and demand, particularly in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Civil society, education, and conservation organizations should develop training programs to increase the capacity of journalism students.
  • There should also be investigative journalists to produce well-researched and impactful media stories on the illegal wildlife trade to reduce misinformation on wildlife consumption and improve awareness of this issue.

About the Species:

  • It is a rare non-poisonous snake that is used for making certain medicines, cosmetics and in black magic, and is in huge demand in the international market.
  • It is found in whole of India excluding North-east states after North-Bengal.
  • Among layman it is famous as "Two-headed Snake" due to the presence of very thick tail having rounded end.
  • The trade and possession of the red sand boa is an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
  • Protection status:
  • The species is listed under Schedule 4 of the Act. Also, it is listed in CITES Appendix II.
  • The Red sand boa is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

10th plenary of IPBES


Recently, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have organized 10th plenary to publish a scientific assessment report on “Invasive Alien Species and their Control” at Bonn, Germany.

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES):

  • It is an independent intergovernmental body established by States to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.
  • It was established in Panama City, on 21 April 2012 by 94 Governments
  • It is not a United Nations body. 
  • Presently it has 140 plus members.

Invasive alien species are a key driver of biodiversity loss and they are part of the targets set under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) adopted by 193 members of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022.

  • The GBF has 23 targets that have to be met by 2030. The aim is to prevent and reduce the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by at least 50 per cent by 2030.
  • Since IPBES was established in 2012, IPBES has produced 10 assessment reports, which provide the most authoritative source of policy-relevant knowledge on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.
  • IPBES reports were instrumental in providing the scientific basis for the GBF, which prominently cites the assessment report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services published in 2019.

IPBES10 is the first meeting of the global body since the adoption of GBF.

What are Invasive Alien species?

  • Invasive alien species are animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms entered and established in the environment from outside of their natural habitat.

Why they are harmful?

  • They reproduce rapidly, out-compete native species for food, water and space, and are one of the main causes of global biodiversity loss.
  • Species are often introduced deliberately, through for example, fish farming, pet trade, horticulture, bio control; or unintentionally, through such means as land and water transportation, travel, and scientific research.
  • Invasive alien species are animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms entered and established in the environment from outside of their natural habitat.
  • Invasive species are capable of causing extinctions of native plants and animals, reducing biodiversity, competing with native organisms for limited resources, and altering habitats.
  • This can result in huge economic impacts and fundamental disruptions of coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Short News Article

Super Blue Moon

On 30th August 2023, the Earth observed both a “blue moon” and a “super moon” and therefore, a “Super Blue Moon”, a rare trifecta of astronomical events.

About full moon:

  • The orbit of the moon around the earth is not circular; it is elliptical, that is, an elongated or stretched-out circle.
  • It takes the moon 3 days to orbit the earth.
  • The point closest to earth in the moon’s elliptical orbit is called perigee, and the point that is farthest is called apogee.
  • A super moon happens when the moon is passing through or is close to its perigee, and is also a full moon.
  • A full moon occurs when the moon is directly opposite the sun (as seen from earth), and therefore, has its entire day side lit up.
  • The full moon appears as a brilliant circle in the sky that rises around sunset and sets around sunrise.

What is a blue moon?

  • Though the expression “once in a blue moon” implies a rare or unusual occurrence, a blue moon is described the situation when a full moon is seen twice in a single month.
  • Because the new moon to new moon cycle lasts 29.5 days, a time comes when the full moon occurs at the beginning of a month, and there are days left still for another full cycle to be completed.
  • Such a month, in which the full moon is seen on the 1st or 2nd, will have a second full moon on the 30th or 31st.
  • According to NASA, this happens every two or three years.

According to NASA, a full moon at perigee (super moon) is about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at apogee (called a “micro moon”).

Polity and Governance
Karnataka’s Gruha Lakshmi scheme

Context: Karnataka government has launched Gruha Lakshmi, a guarantee scheme providing financial aid of Rs.2, 000 to women head of families in the State.

About the Scheme:

  • Based on government data, nearly 10 crore women have registered for the scheme in the state.
  • The Karnataka government has earmarked Rs.17, 500 crore for 'Gruha Lakshmi' programme in the current financial year.
  • The registration for the Gruha Lakshmi scheme has started on July 19.
  • Eligibility:
  • Women listed as family heads on Antyodaya, Below Poverty Line (BPL), and Above Poverty Line (APL) ration cards are eligible for the Gruha Lakshmi Scheme.
  • Only one woman in a family will be the beneficiary of this scheme.
  • Women government employees, taxpayers and families whose husbands pay income tax or file GST returns are not eligible for the scheme.
  • The government has also introduced a WhatsApp chatbot service for registration in order to reduce congestion at the KarnatakaOne and BangaloreOne centres.

Personality in News
Alladi Ramakrishnan

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) will pay homage to its visionary founder-director Alladi Ramakrishnan in his birth centenary year falling on 2023, by hosting a conference in his honour at its campus in Taramani, Chennai.


  • He was born on August 9, 1923.
  • His father was the lawyer Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, who, as a member of the Constituent Assembly, was instrumental in drafting the Constitution of India with other prominent members.
  • He had his early education in P. S. High School, Madras. He graduated from Presidency College, Madras, with B.Sc. (Hons) degree in physics.
  • As a student of the college he had wanted to work under Sir C. V. Raman.
  • Major contributions: He made contributions to stochastic process, particle physics, algebra of matrices, special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

Location in News

The U.S. Coast Guard will have an expanded right to board vessels in Palau’s waters under a new maritime law enforcement agreement that comes after incursions by Chinese ships into the Pacific island country’s exclusive economic zone.

About Palau Island:

  • Palau is a country in the western Pacific Ocean that consists of coral and volcanic islands surrounded by single barrier reef.
  • Palau lies in the southwest corner of Micronesia (country spread across the western Pacific Ocean comprising more than 600 islands), with New Guinea to the south, and the Philippines to the west.

Palau became the 76th country to sign the International Solar Alliance framework agreement.

  • Its major populated islands are Babelthuap (Babeldaob), Koror, Malakal, Arakabesan, and Peleliu.
  • There is concern that the low-lying islands could be badly affected by rising sea levels possibly due to climate change.

Location in News

Recently, Military officers in Gabon have seized power, placing President Ali Bongo under house arrest after he was declared the winner of a disputed election.

About the location:

  • Gabon is a central African country, is rich in natural resources.
  • Located on the Atlantic Ocean, it borders Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo.
  • It is sparsely populated, with a population of 2.3 million (2021) and forests covering 85% of its territory.
  • Gabon, the fourth largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, posted strong economic growth over the past decade, driven mainly by oil and manganese production.

Key Facts:

  • India is now the second-largest destination for Gabonese exports.
  • Over 50 Indian companies have set up manufacturing units in the Gabon Special Economic Zone.


Cross the boulders in the Indus Waters Treaty


The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), brokered by the World Bank, which has again become a source of contention between India and Pakistan, considerably encapsulates the principle of equitable allocation rather than the principle of appreciable harm.

Issues raised in World Bank

  • India’s Hydel Project- The core of the issue now between India and Pakistan involves the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants in India’s Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Bone of Contention- India considers these projects crucial for energy needs and the region’s development, while Pakistan has raised objections, citing violations of the treaty
  • Request to form a Court of Arbitration- In 2016, Pakistan requested the World Bank to form a Court of Arbitration. To this, India requested a neutral expert be appointed to deal with the dispute.

India’s stand

  • Abstained from participating- India has been abstaining from participating in the proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and did not attend the present proceedings as well.
  • Cannot be compelled- India said that it cannot be “compelled to recognize or participate in illegal and parallel proceedings not envisaged by the Treaty”
  • Participating in the neutral expert’s proceedings- India has been participating in the neutral expert’s proceedings whose ?rst meeting was held at The Hague.

Way Ahead

  • Need to revisit the Treaty-There is a need to revisit the Indus Waters Treaty observes that more than going to court, the need is to incorporate “equitable and reasonable utilisation” and the “no harm rule” in the IWT.
  • Need to involve local stakeholders- There is a need to involve local stakeholders also in any negotiation process between India and Pakistan on shared water issues.
  • Recognise common interests- To make the IWT work there is a need for the two countries to recognise their common interest in the optimum development of the Indus Rivers System.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


Pew survey proves India is managing its rise far better than China


As per the new study by Pew Research Center, India’s rising geopolitical and geo-economic clout is clearly visible in the data which shows lacks and developments of India, as a global Power.

The Pew Survey:

  • About: Pew Research Center is a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.
  • Procedure: It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.
  • Aim: It generates a foundation of facts that enriches the public dialogue and supports sound decision-making.

Highlights of the survey:

  • Observations: The Pew survey (Feb-May 2023) for 30,861 adults in 24 countries, including India, reveals positive global perception of India.
  • Data revealed: 46% respondents hold favorable view, 34% unfavorable. Modi maintains high popularity; 80% Indians approve 55% very favorable.
  • Political instance in the country: Survey suggests PM’s strong favorability (79%) positions him as front-runner for third term in 2024 elections.

Global Views on India's Rise: Pew Survey Insights

  • Divergent Perceptions: Pew survey shows mixed international opinion on India's growing influence.
  • Europe's Apprehensions: Europe's favorability towards India dips, linked to Ukraine stance. India's strategic autonomy and rise evoke discomfort.
  • Successful Ascent: India navigates power aspirations adeptly, fostering global partnerships; outperforms China in garnering positive perceptions.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


Boosting secondary agriculture


As per a recent survey conducted by a NGO named ‘SRIJAN’ on rural development and employment, indicates that facilitating rural industrialisation is essential to connect farm and off-farm activities, creating numerous opportunities for non-farm employment.

Need to focus on Transformation

  • Value Addition's Role: Transforming agricultural products enhances appeal, generates multiplier effect, and reduces poverty through increased wages.
  • India's Untapped Potential: Despite being a major producer, India processes less than 10% of agricultural goods. Growing demand offers value addition opportunities.
  • Doubling Farmers' Income Strategy: Secondary agriculture aligns with this strategy, fosters rural economic growth, and utilizes local resources for value addition.

Highlights of the survey:

  • Secondary Agriculture Categories: Report outlines Types A, B, and C for value addition, alternative enterprises, and crop residues utilization.
  • With Government Initiatives: Karnataka establishes Directorate of Secondary Agriculture to boost income, aligning with doubling farmers’ income goal.
  • Promoting Tribal Empowerment: NGO SRIJAN empowers Madhya Pradesh's Sahariya tribes with secondary agriculture, enhancing value chains and livelihoods.

Way forward

  • SRIJAN's Success: Study by NGO SRIJAN aids tribal communities in Madhya Pradesh, raising income by linking to markets and improving techniques.
  • Strengthening Secondary Agriculture: Prioritize studies, credit, partnerships, rural industrialization, training, and central coordination for effective growth.
  • Integrated Approach: Embed secondary agriculture in educational curricula to ensure skilled workforce for managing both primary and secondary sectors.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


When food is a vaccine


A latest paper released named RATIONS study contains the results of research addressing the effectiveness of food supplementation for patients with Tuberculosis (TB) in 28 public clinics in Jharkhand.

About the findings

  • Findings of the Research: Studies in India's underdeveloped region show food supplementation significantly reduces TB risk and mortality rates.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Supplementation for patients and families cuts TB risk highlights historical decline in TB due to nutrition.
  • Publication Impact: Lancet journals publish findings, underscoring significance of addressing TB with nutritional interventions alongside medical treatment.

Link between Nutrition & TB

  • Shift in TB Treatment: Prior focus on medication, ignoring social determinants. RATIONS study highlights food supplementation's dual benefits.
  • Broader Implications: Nutritional interventions could impact various diseases. Addressing social determinants within healthcare improves patient and population health.
  • Holistic Approach: Universal health coverage should include social welfare integration for comprehensive care, reinforcing public healthcare in India.

Recent Efforts

  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana: Government initiated scheme for TB patients' food supplementation. RATIONS study urges integrated approach, expanding coverage.
  • Science and Collaboration: RATIONS led by medical school and state institutions, funded by ICMR, showcases effective state-civil society partnership.
  • Health Research Priority: High-quality research for better health, leveraging civil society, vital for India's progress in health and science.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 31st August 2023
GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now