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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

7th May 2022

Nutrient-deficiency in Indian soils


According to a report released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), most Indian soils are deficient in organic carbon and macronutrients.


Key highlights of report:

  • About 85 per cent of the samples were found to be deficient in organic carbon; 97 per cent samples were deficient in available nitrogen; 83 per cent were deficient in phosphorus; and 71 per cent in potassium.
  • Soils were deficient in micronutrients as well: About 47 per cent, 39 per cent, 37 per cent and 36 per cent soil samples were deficient in boron, zinc, iron and sulphur
  • At least half of the soil samples in 24 states and Union territories were deficient in organic carbon.
    • Of them, seven states have more than 90 per cent deficient samples.
    • Haryana’s soils are the most deficient in organic carbon, followed by those of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in that order. 
  • As many as 27 states and UTs recorded nitrogen deficiency in over 90 per cent samples.
    • 15 states had nitrogen deficiency in almost all (99-100 per cent) of their samples.

  • In 2019, India was the second highest producer and consumer of chemical fertilizers in the world.
  • Chemical fertilizer consumption: In 2020–21, the chemical fertilizer consumption in India, excluding single super phosphate (SSP), was 62.98 million tonne, with a growth of more than 82.5 per cent since 2000–01.
  • Carrier-based solid bio-fertilizers: In 2020–21, India produced about 1,34,323 tonne of carrier-based solid bio-fertilizers.
  • Liquid bio-fertilizers: In 2020–21, the total production of liquid bio-fertilizers in India was about 26,442 kilolitre (kl). This marked a growth of about 552 per cent over the 2014–15 figures.

Importance of fertilization for nutrient replenishment in soil:

  • Crops extract nutrients from soil. Replenishment of nutrients is crucial if crop production is to continue in the long run.
  • Soil replenishment can be done through several ways, for example, by recycling organic matter or biomass in soil or through practices that help regain and rejuvenate soil nutrients or by application of external fertilizers.
  • Recycling of organic matter or biomass can be done through application of organic fertilizers and practices like growing green manure crops or mulching.
  • Some other practices that help regain nutrients include crop rotation, inter-cropping and mixed cropping.
  • Biofertilizers can enable nutrient mobilization and solubilization in soil. Chemical-based fertilizers directly provide nutrients to the soil.

About Centre for Science and Environment (CSE):

  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a non-governmental, independent policy research institution based in Delhi, which was started in 1980.
  • For more than three decades, CSE has helped shape policies and build public awareness to bring change in areas of pollution mitigation and public health security, low-carbon development, natural resource management and livelihood security to make growth sustainable and inclusive.
  • CSE researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable and equitable.

NSCN and Naga peace talks


The annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released recently said that the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) was involved in 44% of insurgency-related incidents in Nagaland in 2020.


Who are Naga’s?

‘Naga’ is a generic term which refers to a group of over 30 tribes inhabiting not only the boundaries along and within Nagaland, but also some hilly regions of the adjoining states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, and some parts of the bordering nation, Myanmar.

History of Naga resurgence:

  • Inner Line Permit: The British were not keen to extend their empire into the Naga Hills due to the hostile attitude of the hill tribes, who always took the British as an occupation force out to control the freedom of the Nagas and interfere with their distinct cultural identity.
  • In the given situation, the British found it convenient to protect them with the Inner Line Permits.
  • Thereafter, the spread of Christianity and establishment of modern political, administrative, and educational institutions led to an educated, elite class amongst the Nagas.
  • In 1918, Nagas, with the help of the British officials, formed the Naga Club.
  • In 1935, the then Government of India Act designated the Naga Hill districts as “excluded areas” wherein the Nagas could continue to maintain their traditions, culture and lifestyle with little interference from the federal or provincial governments. This ultimately led to the formation of the Naga National Council in 1946.
  • A nine-Point Agreement was signed in June 1947 between the Naga leaders and Akbar Hydari, then Governor of Assam, wherein it was agreed that, ten years after the signing of the agreement, the Nagas would be free to decide their own future.
  • The Nagas even boycotted the first general elections of independent India in 1952 on expected lines.
  • In 1956, the Naga militants, under the leadership of Phizo, created a secret government known as the Naga Federal Government (NFG) with around 1,500 armed guerrilla fighters.
  • This started the so-called ‘freedom struggle for Greater Nagaland better known as ‘Nagalim’.
  • The Indian government, in a reactive approach, first, sent in the Army to control insurrections and, subsequently, Nagaland was given the status of an Indian state in 1962, with the existing boundaries of the state.
  • This, however, did not satisfy many in the NNC and NFG, who, following years of negotiations with the government, eventually signed the Shillong Accord of 1975, agreeing to surrender arms and accept the Constitution.

About National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN):

  • Naga Leaders like Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah, S S Khaplang left NNC and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
  • Their aim was to establish a sovereign Naga state.
  • In 1988 the group split into two
  • NSCN (IM) led by Muivah and Isak
  • NSCN (K) led by Khaplang

Where do the peace talks stand now?

  • After the 1997 ceasefire with NSCN-IM, there have been over a hundred rounds of talks spanning over 24 years between the Centre and the insurgent group, while a solution is still awaited.
  • After many rounds of talk, the group signed a framework agreement for the Naga Peace Accordin August 2015.
  • The then Joint Intelligence Chief R.N. Ravi was appointed the interlocutor for Naga peace talks and signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre.
  • He was later appointed as Nagaland’s Governor in 2019 to further the negotiations.
  • The negotiations hit an impasse in 2020, with the NSCN-IM demanding the removal of Mr. Ravi as interlocutor, accusing him of “high handedness” and tweaking the agreement to mislead other Naga groups.
  • The NSCN-IM continued to demand a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas and the creation of Nagalim, which it claimed was agreed upon in the Agreement.
  • After Ravi’s removal as the interlocutor last year, IB officer K. Mishra, was first appointed as the centre’s adviser and then the interlocutor for the peace talks.

The State Profile

  • Nagaland borders the State of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Burma, inhabited by 16 major tribes and various sub-tribes.
  • The Naga tribes always had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Myanmar.
  • The British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826. By 1892, all of Nagaland except the Tuensang area was governed by the British.
  • It was politically amalgamated into Assam, which was a part of the province of Bengal for long periods.
  • In 1957, the Naga Hills became a district of Assam.
  • Statehood was officially granted in 1963 and the first state-level democratic elections were held in 1964.

Lepakshi temple


Lepakshi temple is located in Andhra Pradesh, built during the era of Vijayanagara Empire.


About Lepakshi Temple Complex:

  • Lepakshi is famous for its three shrines, which are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Veerabhadra.
  • The Veerabhadra Temple was constructed by two brothers, Viranna and Virupanna.
  • The temple is built in the Vijayanagar architectural style and has beautiful sculptures adorning the walls.
  • There is a huge Nandi bull made from a single granite stone.
  • Lepakshi has many murals from the Vijayanagar Era and the famous sculpture of the snake on the Nagalinga.
  • The original structure is said to have been built by Sage Agastya, and finds mention in the Skanda Purana as one of the 108 Saivaite pilgrimage centres of ancient India.
  • The entire temple complex was believed to be re-built by Virupanna, and his brother Veeranna under the rule of Vijayanagara king Achyuta Devaraya.
  • The main shrine, the 70-pillared nrutya mantapa, the detailed and beautiful carvings on them depicts gods and artistes playing musical instruments and dancers in various poses and mudras.
    • The high ceiling is filled with long panels of fresco paintings.


Fresco Paintings

The Ramayana link

  • The name of the place itself is linked with the Ramayana.
  • Legend has it that Jatayu fell at this spot after Ravana cut its wings when he tried to prevent Sita’s abduction.
  • Rama stumbled upon the bird when searching for Sita.
  • After the injured bird narrated what had happened, Rama coaxed him to rise again, “le, pakshi” (rise, bird in Telugu).

The Age of Vijaya Nagara (1336-1647) AD :

  • In 1336, Vijayanagar kingdom was established by Harihara and Bukka, who were two brothers and served in the army of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. 
  • They broke away from the Delhi Sultanate and established an independent state in Karnataka and established the capital city Vijayanagar on the banks of river Tungabhadra in 1336.
  • Harihara and Bukka were helped and inspired by contemporary scholar and a saint Vidyaranya for the establishment of their kingdom.
  • Sources:
    • Literary Sources: Rayavachakam by vishvanatha sthanapati
    • Foreign Accounts:
      • Nicholo de conti visited Vijayanagar durinh times of Devaraya 1 and gave details about his personality.
      • Abdul Razzaq from Persia visited during Devaraya 2. He described the beauty of capital city Hampi.
      • Domingo Paes and Barbosa visted during Krishnadevraya time.
      • Nuniz visted during the times of achyuthdevaraya
    • Inscriptions:
      • Bitragunta inscription is the major source for construction of family history of sangama dynasty.
      • Srirangam copper plates of Devaraya II provide the genealogy and achievements of Vijayanagar rulers.
      • Various copper plate inscriptions of krishnadevraya time.
      • The Hampi ruins and other monuments of Vijayanagar provide information on the cultural contributions of the Vijayanagar rulers.
  • Political History: Vijayanagar was ruled by four different dynasties
    • Sangama dynasty(1336-1486)
    • Saluva dynasty(1486-1506)
    • Tuluva dynasty(1506-1565)
    • Aravidu dynasty(1570-1647)
  • Architecture:
    • They used the Dravidian style of architecture later added some unique features to it and it came to be called as Vijayanagara style.
    • Preferred for its durability, local hard granite was the building material of choice, as it had been for the Badami Chalukyas.
    • Vijayanagar temples are surrounded by strong enclosures and characterized by ornate pillared kalyanamandapa (marriage halls); tall rayagopurams (carved monumental towers at the entrance of the temple) built of wood, brick, and stucco in the Chola style; and adorned with life-sized figures of gods and goddesses.
    • This dravida style became popular during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya and is seen in South Indian temples constructed over the next two centuries.
    • The courtly architecture of Vijayanagar is generally made of mortar mixed with stone rubble and often shows secular styles with Islamic-influenced arches, domes, and vaults.
    • Some famous temples exemplifying the Vijayanagar style include the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and the Hazara Rama temple of Deva Raya I etc.

Rare 'black widow' binary star with shortest orbit ever identified


Scientists have discovered a rare "triple black widow" system -- a pair of stars that rapidly circle each other before one is consumed by the other -- located some 3,000 light-years away.


About new discovery:

  • A black widow binary is a unique system that consists of a pulsar that is circling and slowly consuming a smaller companion star.
  • Astronauts have previously identified about two dozen black widow binaries in the Milky Way galaxy but the newest candidate has the shortest orbital period yet identified.
  • Named ZTF J1406+1222, the system has a pulsar and a companion star that circle each other every 62 minutes.
  • The system derives its name from the "black widow" spiders, in which the female eats the male after mating.
  • Another thing that makes the system unique apart from the short orbital period is the fact that it seems to host a third far-flung star that orbits the other two every 10,000 years.
  • The study used HiPERCAM, a high-speed camera developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield that can take more than 1,000 optical images per second, to find the exotic triple black widow.


  • Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that are the collapsed cores of massive stars.
  • They have an incredibly fast rotational period, spinning around every few milliseconds and emitting flashes of high energy gamma and X-rays while doing so.
  • Typically, pulsars spin down and die quickly as they burn huge amounts of energy in a short amount of time.
  • But every once in a while, a passing star can ‘refuel’ them.
  • As a star nears a pulsar, the latter’s gravity pulls material off the star, providing new energy to spin the pulsar back up.
  • This ‘reignited’ pulsar then starts reradiating energy that strips the star further until it is completely destroyed.
  • Every black widow binary discovered to date was detected due to the gamma and X-ray flashes from the pulsar.
  • But for this system, Burdge came upon it through the optical flashing of the companion star.

Underage marriage down overall:NFHS-5


Data of 5th round of NFHS has been released recently.


Key findings:

  • According to NFHS-5, 23.3% women surveyed got married before attaining the legal age of 18 years, down from 26.8% reported in NFHS-4.
    • The figure for underage marriage among men is 17.7% (NFHS-5) and 20.3% (NFHS-4).
  • Tripura has seen the largest jump in marriages under the legal age of 18 years for women from 33.1% (NHFS-4, conducted 2015-1) to 40.1%, and from 16.2% to 20.4% among men.
  • West Bengal, along with Bihar, remains one of the states with highest rate of underage marriages.
    • In Bihar, while it has come down, that reduction is marginal: from 42.5% (NFHS-4) to 40.8% (NFHS-5) for women, and 35.3% to 30.5%, respectively, for men.
  • Some of the biggest gains in improving legal marriage have been seen in
    • Chhattisgarh, where underage marriages have come down from 21.3% to 12.1% among women and from 26.9% to 16.2% among men;
    • Haryana (19.4% to 12.5% for women, and 23.9% to 16% for men);
    • Madhya Pradesh (32.4% to 23.1% for women),
    • Rajasthan (35.5% to 25.5% among women, 35.7% to 28.2% for men).
  • Teenage pregnancies are down from 7.9% to 6.8%.
  • According to NFHS-5, women who are employed are more likely to use modern contraception.
    • The data says 66.3% women who are employed use a modern contraceptive method, compared with 53.4% women who are not employed.
  • Total Fertility Rates, an average number of children per women, has declined from 2.2 (NHFS-4) to 2.0 at the national level.
    • The Survey says only five states are above replacement level of fertility of 2.1: Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) Manipur (2.17).
  • Institutional births have increased substantially from 79% to 89%.

About the NFHS Survey

  • NFHS is released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). But the MOHFW designated the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, as the nodal agency.
  • The IIPS is responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the survey.
  • 5 rounds of National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) have been conducted so far in India.
  • The first one was conducted in 1992-93.
  • Every National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has two specific goals to fulfil. These are
    • To provide essential data needed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other agencies for informed decision-making and policy and programme intervention purposes.
    • To provide insight regarding important emerging health and family welfare issues.

Rules for inter-state arrest


The arrest of BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga by Punjab Police recently precipitated a crisis after the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against the Punjab Police team that apprehended Bagga.

  • The team, while transporting Bagga to Punjab, was then detained by Haryana Police en route and questioned on the basis of a warrant that Delhi Police got issued from a city court.
  • Later Delhi Police had escorted Bagga back to the national capital.

What is Inter-State Arrest?

  • Inter-state arrest is the concept under which the police officer of one state cannot arrest or interrogate an accused in any other state outside their jurisdiction.
    • Police is a State subject, and thus the jurisdiction of a state police is limited to the state.
  • However, to arrest the accused in another state, the police officer can request the local police of that state for cooperation and assistance.
  • Only the local police can arrest and produce the accused in front of the magistrate.
  • When the magistrate issues a transit warrant, then only the accused is given up to the custody of the police of that state.

Guidelines for Inter-State Arrest:

Recently in “Sandeep Kumar vs the State (Government of NCT of Delhi) & Ors. (2019)”, several suggestions or guidelines have been framed by the Supreme Court for the police regarding inter-state arrest. The guidelines are as follows:

  • The police officer must take the prior written permission of the superior officer to go out of the state or union territory to carry out the investigation.
    • He can take permission on the phone only in case of urgencies.
  • In cases where the police officer decides to arrest an accused in another state, he must write facts and reasons so as to satisfy why the arrest is necessary.
    • The police officer must attempt to get an arrest or search warrant from the magistrate having jurisdiction.
  • The police officers should have their identity cards with them, and they should be in uniform.
    • They should carry accurate, clear and visible name tags with their designations on them.
  • Before visiting the other state, the police officer must contact the local police in whose jurisdiction he has to conduct the investigation.
    • He must carry translated copies of the FIR and other documents in the language of the state he is going to visit.
  • Transit remand must be obtained after producing the arrestee in front of the nearest magistrate.
    • The arrestee must be produced in front of the magistrate before 24 hours.
    • The magistrate must grant transit remand after thinking psychologically and not mechanically.
  • If possible, the arrestee must be allowed to take his family member to remain with him till the time he is produced before the jurisdictional magistrate.
  • In any case, the arrested person must be produced at the earliest before the Jurisdictional Magistrate (within 24 hours of the arrest, excluding the time of the journey).


A new track for capital punishment jurisprudence

Supreme Court while dealing with appeals against the death sentence is examining sentencing methodology from the perspective of mitigating circumstances more closely. It will not only reaffirm the rarest of rare principle but also lead to a new wave of thinking in the jurisprudence around capital punishment.


Sentencing lapses 

  • Confirmation:Capital punishment once delivered by the court of sessions is required under law, specifically Chapter 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to be confirmed by the jurisdictional High Court.
  • Finding Alternatives:Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980) case calls for balancing mitigating and aggravating circumstances and laid down the principle that the death penalty ought not to be awarded unless the alternative of life imprisonment is “unquestionably foreclosed”.
  • Laxity in Sentencing:A report by the NLU Delhi’s Project 39A found that there is no judicial uniformity or consistency when it comes to awarding the death sentence. The judges have personalised, subjective, and divergent explanations of the rarest of rare cases. The courts have been lax in assessing the aspect of reformation while undertaking the sentencing exercise.
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Mains Question:

Q1. What is soil nutrient deficiency? Discuss the long term effects of soil nutrient deficiency on overall biodiversity. (150 words)


  • Introduction-define soil nutrient deficiency
  • Important nutrient and their role
  • Reasons behind declining nutrient
  • Effects on biodiversity
  • Required measures
  • Conclude accordingly

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