What's New :

7th March 2023

India’s migrant Numbers


Amid the concerns in Tamil Nadu against the reverse migration of workers/labours of North India, after the fake video got viral showing exploitation of ‘Hindi speaking’ workers in the State.

  • There are high chances that economy of the state might get affected.

Who are migrant workers?

  • A person who migrates or who has migrated from one country to another with a view to being employed other than on his own account.
  • Migrant workers are also known to be much more likely to end up in what are often known as the ‘3D' (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) jobs, such as construction, mining or manual scavenging.

The Statistics for Migration in India:

  • The 2011 census reported the number of internal migrants in India at 45.36 crore, making up 37% of the country’s population.
  • This number included both inter-state migrants and migrants within each state.
  • The annual net migrant flows amounted to about 1 per cent of the working age population.
  • As per the 2011 census, India’s workforce was 48.2 crore strong. This figure is estimated to have exceeded 50 crore in 2016 — the Economic Survey that year pegged the size of the migrant workforce at roughly 20 per cent of the population, or more than 10 crore individuals.
  • District-wise migration data in the Economic Survey for 2016-17 showed that the highest influx of migrants within the country was in city-districts such as Gurugram, Delhi, and Mumbai; along with Gautam Budh Nagar (Uttar Pradesh); Indore and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh); Bengaluru (Karnataka); and Thiruvallur, Chennai, Kancheepuram, Erode, and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu).

State-wise data:

The highest outward movement of migrant workers was from;

  • Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur,Kaushambi, Faizabad, and 33 other districts of Uttar Pradesh;
  • Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudra Prayag, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Almora, and Champawat in Uttarakhand;
  • Churu, Jhunjhunu, and Pali in Rajasthan;
  • Darbhanga, Gopalganj, Siwan, Saran, Sheikhpura, Bhojpur, Buxar, and Jehanabad in Bihar;
  • Dhanbad, Lohardaga, and Gumla in Jharkhand; and Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra.
  • The largest recipient of migrant workers was the Delhi region, which accounted for more than half of migration in 2015-16.
  • While Uttar Pradesh and Bihar taken together account for half of total out-migrants.

Issues of Migrant workers:

  • Poor implementation of protections under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 (ISMW Act) 
    • The ISMW Act provides certain protections for inter-state migrant workers.  
    • Labour contractors recruiting migrants are required to:
      1. Be licensed,
      2. Register migrant workers with the government authorities, and
      3. Arrange for the worker to be issued a passbook recording their identity.  Guidelines regarding wages and protections (including accommodation, free medical facilities, protective clothing) to be provided by the contractor are also outlined in the law. 
  • Lack of portability of benefits:
    • Migrants registered to claim access to benefits at one location lose access upon migration to a different location.  
    • This is especially true of access to entitlements under the PDS.  Ration card required to access benefits under the PDS is issued by state governments and is not portable across states.  
  • Lack of affordable housing and basic amenities in urban areas
    • The proportion of migrants in urban population is 47%.
    • In 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs identified migrants in urban areas as the largest population needing housing in cities.  
    • There is inadequate supply of low-income ownership and rental housing options.  This leads to the spread of informal settlements and slums.
  • Political Exclusion
    • In a state of continuous drift, migrant workers are deprived of many opportunities to exercise their political rights. Because migrants are not entitled to vote outside of their place of origin, some are simply unable to cast their votes.
  • Health and Living Conditions
    • The migrant labourers working in unorganized sectors work and live in unhygienic and polluted environment are vulnerable to health problems and sickness
  • Child Labour
    • Children who migrate along with their families are deprived of the free and subsidised, educational facilities offered by the state resulting in Child Labour.

What are the steps taken by the government?                                                                          

  • The Prime Minister Awaas Yojana (PMAY) is a central government scheme to help the economically weaker section and low-income group access housing.
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana with a financial package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore was launched to help poor, needy and unorganised sector workers of the country. Under this package, 80.00 crore people have been provided 5 Kg. Wheat/Rice and 1 Kg. pulses.
  • Government of India has launched PM SVANidhi Scheme to facilitate collateral free working capital loan upto Rs.10,000/- of one-year tenure, to approximately, 50 lakh street vendors, to resume their businesses
  • One Nation One Ration Card System is an important citizen centric reform. Its implementation ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.

Digital villages programme


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a programme to adopt 75 villages and convert them into ‘digital payment enabled’ villages.

Details of the programme:

  • The programme has been launched as ‘Har Payment Digital’ mission amid the ‘Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023.’
  • Under the initiative, payment system operators (PSOs) will adopt these villages across the country and conduct two camps in each of these villages with an aim to improve awareness and on-board merchants for digital payments.
  • To initiate a 75 Digital Villages programme through adoption of 75 villages there will also be involvement of village level entrepreneurs.

Policy Initiatives to promote Digital Payments

  • Ministry of Finance has taken a major initiative in drafting a Bill for amendment of Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, as envisaged in the Report of the Committee on Digital Payments 2016
  • RBI has taken four major policy initiatives:
    • National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system – Settlement at half-hourly intervals
    • Master Directions on Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs)
    • Rationalisation of Merchant Discount Rate
    • Storage of Payment System Data

How digital ecosystem is changing India?

  • Jan-Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity: Ensuring delivery of government schemes to its beneficiaries without leakage or misuse.
  • SVAMITVA Yojana: Provided digital land records to the rightful owners by leveraging the power of drones and GIS technologies.
  • Bharat Net:provided high-speed broadband to the entire village.
  • Common Service Centers (CSCs):offering banking, insurance, state and central government services, passport and PAN card services, digital literacy, rural eCommerce services and pre-litigation advice etc.
  • Digital payments revolution: UPI and Aadhaar-Enabled Payment Systems (AEPS), AEPS-based micro-ATM at CSCs and post offices.

Recent Government measures for regulating the sector:

  • In 2022 itself, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced the
    • draft amendment to the IT Rules 2021 (June 2022)
    • the draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy (February 2022)
    • National Data Governance Framework Policy (May 2022)
    • the New cyber security directions (April 2022)

India is also working on a complete overhaul of its technology policies and is expected to soon come out with a replacement of its IT Act, 2000, which is expected to look at ensuring net neutrality and algorithmic accountability of social media platforms, among other things.

Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure


U.N.'s World Meteorological Organisation has come up with a new Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure to fill a key gap in the fight against ‘Climate change: standardised, real-time tracking of greenhouse gases.’

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record high.
  • The three major greenhouses gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Of those, CO2 accounts for around 66% of the warming effect on the climate.
  • The rise in CO2 from 2020 to 2021 was greater than the average growth rate over the previous ten years, and the largest year-over-year increase in methane since observations began.
  • As part of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, nations committed to keeping global warming "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over levels observed between 1850 and 1900, and 1.5C if feasible.
  • Thus, the agreement's climate change mitigation measures required stronger scientific justification.

About Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure

  • It aims to provide better ways of measuring planet-warming pollution and help inform policy choices.
  • The new platform from the WMO aims to reduce uncertainty over the final destination of greenhouse gas emissions by integrating space-based and surface-based sensing technologies.
  • The data on how the planet's atmosphere is changing should become much more rapid and precise as a result.

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)


INDIA has proposed to launch a mega global alliance under its leadership to protect big cats and assured support over five years with guaranteed funding of $100 million.

  • India is the only nation in the world to have tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, and cheetahs in the wild since we acquired the cats.
  • Except for pumas and jaguars, India has all the big cats here today.
  • India taking the initiative to unite all nations in the big cat area under a UN-like organisation is only fitting.
  • Alliance was “inspired by the arrival of cheetahs in India” last year from Namibia.

About International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA):

  • Tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, and cheetah are the seven main big cats that IBCA will aim to protect and conserve.
  • 97 "range" countries, which house these large cats' native habitat, as well as other interested countries, international organisations, etc., will be able to join the alliance.
  • Aim: "dissemination of information on benchmarked practises, capacity building, resources repository, research and development, awareness creation, etc., on the preservation and conservation of big cats.
  • Functions: "Advocacy, partnership, knowledge e-portal, capacity building, eco-tourism, partnerships amongst specialist groups, and fund tapping" will be some of its main activities.
  • Governance structure:
    • General Assembly: IBCA will comprise a General Assembly consisting of all member countries
    • Council: Council of at least seven but not more than 15 member countries elected by the General Assembly for a term of 5 years
    • Secretariat: IBCA will also have a secretariat which whill deal with all administration work.
    • Upon the recommendation of the Council, the General Assembly will appoint the IBCA Secretary General for a specific term.

Indian Railways ties up with ISRO for real-time train tracking


The Indian Railways is utilising data analytics for seamless transit. Under the Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project, it has started a project that will now allow real-time tracking of train movements with the help of satellite photography.

  • Railways have integrated their systems with NavIC and Bhuvan while using bandwidth provided by ISRO.

Bhuvan portal: It is a particular kind of web portal, developed by ISRO, used to locate and gain access to geographical information (geospatial information) and related geographic services (display, modification, analysis, etc.) online.

  • Every locomotive is equipped with a gadget and a SIM card that broadcasts the train's precise location to a satellite and allows for feedback. A three-second update is made to the movement.
  • When it's necessary to determine a train's precise location to provide assistance in the event of an accident, flood, or landslide, real-time rail tracking can be helpful.

About Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC):

  • ISRO has established a regional navigation satellite system to meet the positioning, navigation and timing requirements of the nation
  • ISRO has established the constellation of 7 satellites operating 24*7.
  •  Three satellites of the constellation are placed in geostationary orbit, and four satellites are placed in inclined geosynchronous orbit with equatorial crossing.
  • NavIC offers two services: Standard Position Service (SPS) for civilian users and Restricted Service (RS) for strategic users.
  •  NavIC coverage area includes India and a region up to 1500 km beyond Indian boundary.
  • NavIC signals are designed to provide user position accuracy better than 20m and timing accuracy better than 50ns.
  •  NavIC SPS signals are interoperable with the other global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signalsnamely GPS,Glonass,Galileo, and BeiDou

Short News article


What are Salt flats?

In salt flats across the world, the salt on the surface forms ridges that join together in a patchwork of pentagons and hexagons, this remains same for all regions they found in.

  • The captivating patterns have been photographed from Bolivia, Chile, China, India (in the Rann of Kutch), Iran, Tunisia, and the U.S.
  • About Salt Flats:
  • A salt flat is a natural landscape in which a large area of flat land is covered by salt.
  • The world’s most well-known salt flat is the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

How are they formed?

  • A salt flat forms from a natural water body whose recharge rate is lower than the evaporation rate.
  • Over time, all the water evaporates, leaving behind the dissolved minerals, usually salts. They reflect sunlight strongly and thus appear bright.
  • The underlying soil is highly saline: even if the water table is shallow, the groundwater is too salty for humans to drink.
  • How do the shapes form?
  • The researchers began with the hypothesis that the salt on the surface is influenced by the salt flowing through the soil below.
  • The groundwater in the soil is saline but the distribution of salt is not uniform.
  • The salinity is highest near the top of the soil and decreases towards the bottom.
  • The researchers found that the salt penetrated deeper into the soil exactly below the ridges, and remained shallow under the flat areas.


Hot lightning strikes


Soaring global temperatures could lead to more “hot lightning” strikes in many parts of the world, a new study has found.

Key findings:

  • The lightning is a major cause of triggering wildfires and is responsible for producing the largest wildfires in some regions.
  • Lightning-caused wildfires are dangerous as they spread rapidly before a strong response can be implemented and release substantial amounts of carbon, nitrogen oxides and other trace gases into the atmosphere.
  • The researchers analysed 5,858 selected lightning-ignited fires based on satellite images of US wildfires between 1992 and 2018 and found that approximately 90 per cent of them might have started by “hot lightning” strikes.
  • Also known as long continuing current (LCC), this type of lightning strike can last from around 40 milliseconds to nearly a third of a second.

What is Hot lightning?

  • Lightning is a rapid and massive electrical discharge that takes place between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves.
  • Scientists believe that for lightning to occur, positive and negative charges must separate within a cloud.
  • When does it take place?
  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when the water droplets in the bottom part of the cloud are moved upwards, where the much colder atmosphere freezes them into small ice crystals.


Sea Horse (Hippocampus kelloggi)

Extensive fishing off the Coromandel Coast could be forcing the great seahorse to migrate laboriously toward Odisha.


  • Seahorses are tiny fishes that are named for the shape of their head, which looks like the head of a tiny horse.
  • There are 46 species of seahorses reported worldwide.
  • The coastal ecosystems of India house nine out of 12 species found in the Indo-Pacific, one of the hotspots of seahorse populations that are distributed across diverse ecosystems such as seagrass, mangroves, macroalgal beds, and coral reefs.
  • These nine species are distributed along the coasts of eight States and five Union Territories from Gujarat to Odisha, apart from Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The population of the great seahorse, which is among the eight species tagged ‘vulnerable’, is declining due to its overexploitation for traditional Chinese medicines and as ornamental fish, combined with general destructive fishing and fisheries bycatch.               


A New Trade Strategy


  • The Production-linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has been a game changer for Indian economy which has not only transformed India into a manufacturing hub but has also curtailed its burgeoning trade deficit in electronics and other manufactured

Production linked incentive scheme:

  • Implemented in sectors: The PLI scheme, launched in March 2020, initially targeted manufacturing mobile phones, electrical components and medical devices, and was later extended to 14 manufacturing sectors.
  • Boosted electronic manufacturing: The electronics manufacturing attracted a massive investment and its exports have grown rapidly by over 55 per cent annually.
  • Increase in Expenditure: Capital expenditure allocation has been sharply increased by 33 per cent to a record Rs.10 trillion on the development of rail, road, air, and ocean infrastructure, which would go a long way to make export logistics efficient.
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