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7th January 2023

What are the regulations announced for foreign universities in India?


Amid the several European universities have shown keen interest to open campuses in India, the higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) released draft regulations to allow foreign universities to enter India. 

About the guidelines:
  • Criteria for Foreign universities:
    • Only the universities that are placed at the top 500either in the overall or the subject-wise category, in global rankings such as QS, can apply to enter India.
    • Universities that do not participate in such rankings must be “reputed” in their countries to be able to apply.
    • The draft regulations do not specify a metric to judge the ‘reputation’ of the university.
  • Key provisions:
    • They have been granted free will to decide the fee structure and admission criteria for students.
    • The universities have the autonomy to their professors and faculty from India or abroad.
    • They can repatriate funds from their home jurisdiction.
    • They are not abiding to offer courses that are in favour of India’s national interest.
  • Provisions in favour of India:
    • The draft states that the UGC will have the right to inspect the campuses at any time.
    • The draft says the UGC shall impose a penalty and/ or suspend/ withdraw its approval at any time if the university’s activities or academic programmes are against the interest of India.
    • It also requires the foreign universities to submit audit reports and annual reports to the UGC certifying that operations in India are in compliance with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999(FEMA) and other relevant government policies.
  • Significance of the initiative:
    • In line with National Education Policy 2020:
    • The top universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India, and a legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.
    • In a way, the draft regulations released seek to institutionalise the NEP’s vision.

Recent developments:

  • King’s College London has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Telangana regarding collaborative research projects, staff and student exchanges, as well as curriculum development and upskilling in Telangana Pharma City.

Why were previous attempts in India failed?

  • Due to Non-compliance with funds or repatriation: In 2016, the NITI Aayog strongly pitched for foreign education providers to be allowed into India.
    • The draft regulations say that all cross-border flow of funds, including through repatriation, will be covered by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, of 1999.
  • Due to the political scenario in the country before 2014.

Similar Government Interventions:

  • The Young Professionals Scheme:
    • Under the scheme, the U.K. will offer about 3,000 degree-holding Indians in the 18–30-year age group places to work in the U.K. for up to two years.
    • The scheme will commence in early 2023. Both India and UK will allow young professionals in their Countries to hold degree programs.

India is the first country to benefit from such a scheme, highlighting the strength of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed upon last year.

  • Objective: The Young Professionals Programme is a recruitment initiative aiming to improve geographical representation, and promote gender parity in the Organization at the international level.

After Jain community, the Santhals of Jharkhand stake claim to Parasnath Hills


After the Central government assured members of the Jain community that the sanctity of their holy place, Sammed Shikharji on Parasnath hills in Jharkhand will conserve, the members of the Santhal tribe in the State have staked claim to the hill as their Marang Buru (hill deity). 


Details of the news:

  • Recently, the Jharkhand government has decided to cover the Parasnath hills under Tourist spots of the state.
  • After this decision, the Jain community across the country has shown discontent as the site belongs as a holy place to them.
  • Following the history of the place, it is considered that the Shikharji also known as Sammed Shikharji is a pilgrimage site in Giridih district, Jharkhand.
  • It is the most important Jain Tirtha (pilgrimage site) by both Digambara and Shewtambara, for it is the place where twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras along with many other monks attained Moksha.
  • However, the Santhal community in the state, the Parasnath hills are actually called Marang Buruand have clearly been mentioned in the Gazetteer of undivided Bihar’s Hazaribagh district in 1932, much before it became part of separate Giridih district.

Significance of the Parasnath Hills:

  • Parasnath Hills are a range of hills located in the Giridih district of Jharkhand. The highest peak is 1350 metres. It is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Jains.
  • It is located on Parasnath hill, the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand.
  • They call it Sammed Sikhar. The hill is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Twenty Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation on this hill.
  • For each of them, there is a shrine (gumti or tuk) on the hill.
  • Some of the temples on the hill are believed to be more than 2,000 years old. However, although the place is habited from ancient times, the temples may be of more recent origin.
  • The Santhals call it Marang Buru, the hill of the deity.
  • They celebrate a hunting festival on the full moon day in Baisakh (mid-April).

The Santhal Tribes:

  • Santhal tribe is the largest tribal community in Jharkhand and has a sizeable population in other States like Bihar, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal.
  • The tribe worships nature and over 40 lakh members of the community reside in Jharkhand.
  • The Santals are generally non-vegetarian and keep cattle, goats, and poultry.
  • Fishing is important whenever they have access to rivers and ponds.
  • Traditionally Santals were experts in woodwork and woodcarving, and produced finely carved carts, utensils, and musical instruments, mainly for their own use.

What are the Constitutional Provisions related to the issue?

  • 342 of the Constitution of India, the President after consulting with the state governments concerned, has promulgated nine orders so far.
  • This promulgation has clearly specified the Scheduled Tribes in relation to concerned State and Union territories. India can proudly be called the largest TRIBAL population in the world.

According to the 2001 Census, 8.2% of India's population. This interprets into 82 million people. In all 698 Scheduled Tribes exist in India. Constitutional Provisions / Safeguards for Scheduled Tribes, can be divided into two parts:

  • Protective
  • Development

 Basic Safeguards Provided In the Indian Constitution:

  • Educational & Cultural Safeguards
    • Article 15(4): Special provisions for the advancement of other backward classes (it includes STs
    • Article 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities (it includes STs)
    • Article 46:The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
    • Article 350: Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
    • Article 350: Instruction in Mother Tongue 
  • Social Safeguard
    • Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggars and other similar forms of forced labour;
    • Article 24: Forbidding Child Labour.
  • Economic Safeguards
    • Article 244: Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
    • Article 275: Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.
  • Political Safeguards
    • Article 164(1): Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;
    • Article 330: Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
    • Article 337: Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
    • Article 334: 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period.);
    • Article 243: Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
    • Article 371: Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

RBI to issue green bonds in two tranches


As announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, the GOI as part of its overall market borrowings will be issuing Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) the RBI has mentioned that it would be issued in two tranches of Rs 8,000 crore each on January 25 and February 9.


What are Sovereign green bonds?

  • Category: Debt Instruments
  • Simply put, Green bonds are financial instruments that finance green projects and provide investors with regular or fixed-income payments.
  • Inception: The first green bond was issued in 2007 by the European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending arm.
  • Issued by: Green bonds are the bonds issued by any sovereign entity, inter-governmental groups or alliances, and corporates.
  • Aim: The proceeds of the bonds are utilized for projects classified as environmentally sustainable.


  • The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement.
  • It will help for mobilising resources for green infrastructure.

How are they different from conventional securities?

  • Green bonds differ from conventional fixed-income securities in one aspect the issuer pledges to use the proceeds to finance projects meant for positive environmental or climate effects.

Government’s plan:

  • As a part of the government’s overall market borrowings in 2022-23, Sovereign Green Bonds will be issued for mobilising resources for green infrastructure.
    • The proceeds from these bonds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.
  • The government has unveiled a record borrowing of Rs.14.95 trillion in FY23.

Benefits of Green Bonds:

  • Showcasing commitment towards sustainable development: Green Bonds enhance the issuer's reputation and showcases its commitment to sustainable development.
  • Lower interest rate: They typically have a lower interest rate than the loans offered by commercial banks.
  • Fulfilling green commitments: Ability to meet commitments, for signatories to climate agreements and other green commitments.
  • Attracting investment: Foreign investors are focusing more on green investments which in turn may help in reducing the cost of raising capital.
  • Increasing financial flow: They have been crucial in increasing financing to sunrise sectors such as renewable energy, thereby contributing to sustainable growth.

Challenges associated with Green Bonds:

  • Misuse of funds: It has been noted many times that the proceeds of green bonds are being used to fund projects that harm the environment.
  • Lack of guidelines: There's a lack of credit ratings or rating guidelines for Green Bonds or Green Projects.
  • Time-taking process: Green projects require more time to derive returns.

Guidelines for Technical Textiles Degree Programme in UG & PG issued


The Ministry of Textiles has given clearance to two guidelines, namely, ‘General Guidelines for Enabling of Academic Institutes in Technical Textiles- for Private & Public Institutes’ and ‘General Guidelines for Grant for Internship Support in Technical Textiles (GIST)’, under the Flagship Programme of National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM). 

Technical textiles are textiles materials and products manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics.

About the National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM):
  • Aim: With a view to positioning the country as a global leader in Technical Textiles, the National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM) has been approved with a four-year implementation period from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24.
  • Need of the initiative:
    • Technical Textiles are a futuristic and niche segment of textiles, which are used for various applications ranging from agriculture, roads, railway tracks, sportswear, and health on one end to bulletproof jackets, fireproof jackets, high altitude combat gear and space applications on another end of the spectrum.

Details of the guidelines:

  • The ‘General Guidelines for Enabling of Academic Institutes in Technical Textiles- For Private  & Public Institutes’:
    • It will enable the New Technical Textiles Degree Programme (UG & PG) and update existing conventional degree programmes with new papers on Technical Textiles.
    • Objective: To develop an eco-system in technical textiles not only in the textile field but other disciplines of Engineering like Civil, Mechanical, Electronics etc., Agriculture institutes, Medical Colleges, and Fashion institutes.
    • The Guidelines cover the funding of up-gradation/enhancement of laboratory equipment, training of lab personnel and specialized training of Faculty members of the relevant department/specialization in the University/Institute, with respect to the undergraduate (UG) and Postgraduate (PG) degree programmes.
    • This will cover Public funded institutions and also private institutions having NIRF ranking.
    • The assistance for introducing a full course in technical textiles and is up to 20 crores PG course and up to 10 Crores at UG level.

At the UG level introducing one mandatory subject and a few electives, grants up to 7.5 crores may be given.


  • The guidelines will put emphasis on creating an effective and world-class knowledge ecosystem to make India a world leader in the field of technical textiles in the next decade.
  • India will take a huge leap in cutting-edge research, production, and innovative applications related to Technical Textiles, driven by the set of highly educated and competent professionals.
  • General Guidelines for Grant for Internship Support in Technical Textiles (GIST):
    • It shall be conducted in two phases;

(i) Empanelment of the eligible Companies,

(ii) Internship Program, wherein the grant of up to INR 20,000 per student per month shall be provided to the empanelled companies, subject to the maximum period of 2 months of funding support for the internship period.

    • The eligible agencies will be textile industries with a turn of more than 10 crores, Textile Research associations under the Ministry and textile machinery manufacturers.
    • The empanelled industries/ institutions can give training to engineering institutes of concerned discipline in publicly funded institutions and also to Private institutions with NIRF ranking up to 200.


  • This move will support in the creation of quality manpower, especially industry-trained engineers and professionals, and highly skilled workmen both for manufacturing and application areas of technical textiles along with fostering Academia–Industry linkages in the field of Technical Textiles.

More than 500 BIS Standards have been developed on technical textiles and BIS is working on developing 40 more such standards as per the requirements of the industry.

SRTEPC has been assigned the role of the Export Promotion Council for the promotion of Technical Textiles.

Royal Navy ship on permanent deployment in Indo-Pacific makes first port call in India


As mentioned by the United Kingdoms’ high commission, India is the ‘first port of call’ for the ship and underlines the United Kingdom’s and India’s intent to collaborate in the Indian Ocean Region.

Port of call:

  • When the ship leaves the port of origin, it may halt at a port in between before reaching its final destination port. This halt port or intermediate stop is called the port of call.
  • Also called port of refuge, port of call is usually not a part of a ship’s itinerary. The vessel may “call” the said intermediate port and need a stopover due to various reasons, like:
    • Cargo operations (cleaning, repairs, or maintenance)
    • Stock up supplies (fuel, food, etc.)
    • Load and unload cargo
    • Ship-to-ship transfers
    • Crew change
    • Bad weather conditions
    • Unforeseen emergencies

  • India and U.K. have signed a white shipping agreement which enables information sharing across the whole of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • In June 2021, the U.K. posted its first permanent liaison officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram to enhance maritime domain awareness in the region.
  • In October 2021, U.K.’s carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabethundertook its maiden overseas deployment to IOR during which the two countries conducted Exercise Konkan Shakti involving all three services.

About the move:

  • The Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, HMS Tamar, sailed to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on as part of its permanent deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

HMS Tamar is one of two Royal Navy vessels on permanent deployment in the Indo-Pacific as set out in the U.K.’s Integrated Review.

  • India is the first port of call for the ship and underlines the United Kingdom’s and India’s intent to collaborate in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and wider Indo-Pacific.
  • The Integrated Review published in March 2021 committed the U.K. to becoming the European country with the broadest, most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific.?
  • Significance:
    • The ship’s visit to India is an opportunity to further strengthen the shared maritime domain awareness effort.
    • The Indo-Pacific will drive future growth and prosperity for the world.
    • It is imperative that it remains free and open to all in support of trade, shared security and values.

Short New Article

Polity and Governance

Prasar Bharati mulls own OTT platform



Prasar Bharati is coming up with an over-the-top (OTT) platform.


About the move:

  • The Centre had recently approved the Broadcast Infrastructure Network Development (BIND) scheme for Prasar bharati, with an outlay of ?2,539.61 crore, for the upgrade and expansion of broadcasting infrastructure till 2025-2026.
  • The public broadcaster had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ‘Yupp TV’, an OTT platform.
  • Owing to the platform, DD India is now accessible in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The channel is currently available in more than 190 countries via multiple platforms.
  • Key points:
  • The plan includes priority projects of the AIR and Doordarshan with a focus on the expansion and strengthening of the FM radio Network and Mobile TV production facilities.
  • It will engage and would become HD programme 28 regional Doordarshan channelsproduction capable, and FM coverage of the All India Radio (AIR) would also be expanded to over 80% of the country’s population.


A new dwarf boa species discovered


Scientists have discovered a new species of dwarf boa in the Ecuadoran Amazon and named it after an Indigenous activist.

About the species:

  • They measures up to 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) long and with skin colouring similar to those of the boa constrictor -- the previously unknown snake was named Tropidophiscacuangoae.
  • They belong to South America.
  • Significance of the study:
  • The species is unusual for having a "vestigial pelvis" characteristic of primitive snakes and taken as evidence by some that snakes descended from lizards that lost their limbs over millions of years.

Science and Technology

India’s kala-azar cases declined 98.7% since 2007












Recently, informed by the Ministry Of Health that the Kala-azar cases in India fell to 834 in 2022 from 44,533 in 2007 — a 98.7 percent decline.

About the disease:

  • It is a chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease of the internal organs, particularly the liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
  • It is caused by bites from female phlebotominesandflies – the vector (or transmitter) of the leishmania parasite.
  • The sand flies feed on animals and humans for blood, which they need for developing their eggs.
  • The term "kala-azar" comes from India where it means black fever.
  • It is also known as Indian leishmaniasis, visceral leishmaniasis, leishmania infection, dumdum fever, black sickness, and black fever.
  • It spreads due to infection by the parasite called Leishmaniadonovani.
  • Leishmaniadonovani is transmitted by sandfly bites in parts of Asia (primarily India), Africa (primarily Sudan), South America (primarily Brazil), Europe (primarily in the Mediterranean region) and in North America.
  • According to WHO, if the disease is not treated, the fatality rate in developing countries can be as high as 100% within 2 years.

Symptoms of Kala azar:

  • It is associated with fever, loss of appetite (anorexia), fatigue, enlargement of the liver, spleen and nodes and suppression of the bone marrow.
  • It also increases the risk of other secondary infections.

Diagnosing Kala azar:

  • The first oral drug found to be effective for treating kala-azar is miltefosine.
  • The most common method of diagnosing kalaazar is by dipstick testing. However, this method is highly problematic.

International Relations

India to host ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’

India will host ‘The Voice of Global South’ Summit on January 12-13.

About the event:

  • Theme:Unity of Voice and Unity of purpose.
  • Ten to 20 countries will be part of one session and two lead sessions will be hosted by Prime Minister.
  • We will be hosting a special virtual summit on 12th and 13th January 2023.
  • This summit will be called the Voice of Global South Summit.
  • Significance:
  • It essentially envisages bringing together countries of the global south and sharing their perspective and priorities on a common platform across a whole range of issue.

Art and Culture

SagolKangjei: The ancient polo of Manipur, played on the celebrated Manipur Pony




The Home Minister Amit Shah’s has inaugurated a 122-foot-tall statue of a polo player astride a Manipur Pony in Imphal.


  • SagolKangjei is the modern-day Polo game originated in Manipur.
  • The sport indigenous to Manipur, in which players ride horses, specifically the Manipur Ponies, which are referenced in records dating back to the 14th century.
  • The Manipur Pony is one of five recognised equine breeds of India, and has a powerful cultural significance for Manipuri society.
  • A pony is a type of small horse that is under an approximate or exact height at the withers, or a small horse with a specific conformation and temperament. Compared to a larger horse.
  • The Marjing Polo Complex has been developed as a way to conserve the Manipur Pony.
  • The state government’s Manipur Pony Conservation and Development Policy 2016 refers to the mythology around the Manipur Pony.

Need to conserve Manipur pony:

  • The 17th Quinquennial Livestock Census 2003 had recorded 1,898 Manipur Ponies, in which the number fell to 1,101 in the 19th Quinquennial Livestock Census in 2012.
  • However, when the Manipuri Pony Society tried to conduct a random survey in the state in 2014, they said they found it difficult to count even 500 of the animals.


The crisis in international law


  • The challenges for core universal values enshrined in international law are Securitisation, populism, and protectionism.

The Geo-economic challenge:

  • The post-world war-II scenario: It was a bipolar one with great power competition between a ‘capitalist’ America and a ‘communist’ Soviet Union led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism. 
  • The ‘relative harmony’ phase:later the phase saw the spread of democracy, greater acceptance of universal human rights, and a global consensus for maintaining international rule of law with multilateral institutions and independent international courts acting as referees.
  • Evolving a multipolar world:   Today international law faces a new ground reality i.e. the dwindling of the ‘liberal’ and ‘capitalist’ west and the rise of an ‘autocratic’ China and ‘expansionist’ Russia.
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Mains Question:

Question:  What are Sovereign Green Bonds? How will these bonds help in reducing the carbon intensity and help in achieving the goal of Green Economy? (150 Words)


Question Mapping:

  • Subject: Indian Economy (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic: Government Policies and Interventions and Capital Market
  • Introduction with the recent Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) issued in India.
  • In short, explain the significance of SGrBs and what they will be used for.
  • Now explain how these bonds will help in reducing carbon intensity in India and make the Indian Economy more Greener.
  • Conclude with how SGrBs will help in economic development along with environmental conservation with the achievement of SDG 13.

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