What's New :

9th March 2023

India’s increasing power demands


In 2022, India’s power demand grew about 8%, at nearly double the pace of the Asia Pacific region something to more than 149.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) from 2021.

Power consumption data:

  • Over 80% of India’s energy needs are met by three fuels: coal, oil and solid biomass.
  • Coal has underpinned the expansion of electricity generation and industry, and remains the largest single fuel in the energy mix.
  • Oil consumption and imports have grown rapidly on account of rising vehicle ownership and road transport use.
  • Biomass, primarily fuel wood, makes up a declining share of the energy mix, but is still widely used as a cooking fuel.

Despite recent success in expanding coverage of LPG in rural areas, 660 million Indians have not fully switched to modern, clean cooking fuels or technologies.

Impacts of more consumption:

  • India is the third-largest global emitter of CO2, despite low per capita CO2 emissions.
  • The carbon intensity of its power sector in particular is well above the global average.
  • Additionally, particulate matter emissions are a major factor in air pollution, which has emerged as one of India’s most sensitive social and environmental issues: in 2019, there were well over one million premature deaths related to ambient and household air pollution.

Sources of power generation in India:

  • The Overall generation in the country has been increased from 1048.673 during 2014-15 to 1107.386 BU* during the year 2015-16.
  • The Category wise generation performance as follows: Thermal Increased by 7.45 %, Hydro Reduced by 6.09 %, and Nuclear Increased by 3.63 %.
  • Overall leader of electricity generation in India is thermal power (68%) of total power generation in India.

Why power demand is increasing?

  • Household consumption increasing: Homes account for a fourth, while agriculture has accounted for over a sixth in the recent years.
  • Consumption patterns vary wildly by state and season:
    • A heatwaves and easing of COVID-19 curbs drove power demand higher in the first half of 2022.
    • Erratic weather and a jump in agricultural activity were among the most prominent reasons behind the high growth in the second half of last year, according to a federal power ministry presentation reviewed by Reuters.
    • Uneven dry spells in few Northern states.
  • Higher Industrial demand: Industrial and commercial activity account for more than half of India’s annual power use.
  • Less sustainability of renewable energy sources: The powers sources like solar are less obtained for high energy consumption like for AC or a washing machine in households and large machines in Industries’.
    • Even they are liable to more installation cost.

Government interventions:

  • Under the Union Budget 2022-23, the government announced the issuance of sovereign green bonds, as well as conferring infrastructure status to energy storage systems, including grid-scale battery systems.
  • In the Union Budget 2022-23, the government allocated Rs. 19,500 crore (US$ 2.57 billion) for a PLI scheme to boost the manufacturing of high-efficiency solar modules.
  • Electrification in the country is increasing with support from schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS).
  • India has launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme to provide energy and water security, de-dieselise the farm sector and generate additional income for farmers by producing solar power

Himalayan Tourism and threats


The Himalayan region offers conditions suitable for several activities, including recreation, adventure or religious pilgrimages. However, some areas suffer due to mass tourism, while others have not fully reached their tourism potential.

  • Tourism is also an important source of income and livelihood for people living in Himalayan regions.
  • According to government think tank NITI Aayog, as of 2018, West Bengal sees the highest inflow of tourists, while the north western and central Himalayan states and Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura also record large numbers.
  • Over the last year, the Union government has laid emphasis on promoting sustainable tourism in the Himalayan region.


  • Ecology under stress: Due to population growth, industrial and commercial activity, the fragile ecology is under a great stress.
  • he common threats are deforestation, soil erosion and pressure on restricted land.
  • Climate Change: Climate change is impacting people and threatening wildlife in the Himalayas.
  • Many glaciers are melting and forming lakes prone to bursting and downstream flooding.
  • Traditional water springs have dried up, limiting the water supply.

Unplanned Urbanisation:

  • The unplanned and unauthorised construction has led to the blocking of the natural flow of water, which eventually results in frequent landslides.
  • Himalayan slopes have become extremely unstable in the last few decades due to increased construction, hydroelectric projects, and the widening of the National Highway.

Habitat Loss:

  • The conversion of forests for agriculture and exploitation for timber, fodder and fuelwood threaten the biodiversity in this region.

Construction of Dams:

  • The creation of numerous dams without due environmental impact assessment could lead to the submergence of arable lands and biodiversity hotspots.
  • Not only would valley habitats be inundated by the creation of reservoirs, but villagers would be displaced.
  • The effect of dams on fisheries and fish ecology is also a matter of concern.

Recent Government efforts:

  • National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Traveller Campaign: It was launched in a summit organised in partnership with UN Environment Programme and the Responsible Tourism Society of India by Union Ministry of Tourism.
  • Swadesh Darshan 2.0: It is a centrally sponsored scheme for development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country to include a vision to set up sustainable and responsible tourism in various projects and initiatives in the Himalayan region.
  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem 


  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is among the eight national missions in India’s first ever National Action Plan on Climate Change.

Ecological significance of Himalayas, as stated in the mission document:

  • Himalayan ecosystem is vital to the ecological security of the Indian landmass, which includes Preservation of rich biodiversity, Providing water security as the world’s third ice pole after the Arctic and the Antarctica and Influencing weather patterns throughout the sub-continent.

The mission attempts to address some important issues concerning:

  • Himalayan Glaciers and the associated hydrological consequences,Biodiversity conservation and protection,Wild life conservation and protection,
    Traditional knowledge societies and their livelihood and Planning for sustaining of the Himalayan Ecosystem.

Regulation of tourist inflows:

  • The mission proposed measures to “regulate tourist inflows into mountain regions to ensure that these remain within the carrying capacity of the mountain ecology.”

India’s Higher Education Accreditation System


The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is facing allegations of irregularities in the way it operates.

  • The chairperson of NAAC’s executive committee, Bhushan Patwardhan, resigned after repeatedly demanding an independent inquiry into the functioning of the council.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC):

  • NAAC an autonomous body under the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • It assesses and accredits Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). 
  • Functions: 
    • NAAC is entrusted with assessing the quality of India’s higher educational institutions. 
    • It awards grades to colleges and universities on the basis of multi layered assessment process
  • Parameters of accreditation
    • Its parameters include curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research and financial well-being
    • The grades issued by NAAC range from A++ to C. 
    • If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.

Is NAAC’s accreditation mandatory for institutions?

  • Though UGC has issued multiple circular and asked all the universities to mandatorily undergo NAAC’s assessment, the process still remains largely voluntary.
  •  All higher education institutions must attain the highest level of accreditation during the next 15 years, according to the National Education Policy (2020).
  • However, As per AISHE REPORT, only 418 universities and 9,062 colleges out of the 1,113 universities and 43,796 colleges were NAAC-accredited as on January 31, 2023.

Towards Equality for Women


As the governments across the world are working towards gender equality globally where gender data are critical to inform policymaking and adapt interventions and services to those who need it most.

  • The World is celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March 2023.

Status of Crime against Women: (India-specific)  

  • According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day 93 women are being raped in the country.
  • Crime against women across the country increased by around 10 per cent last year as compared to previous year with total 3,37,922 cases registered in 2014 against 3,09,546 cases in 2013, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s latest report
  • Indian Government statistics also show that an estimated 7000 brides are killed and 18000 are maimed every year in India over dowry disputes alone.

What are the Current Areas of Concern Related to Women in India?

  • Gap in Male Female Literacy Rate: Despite the government's effort to ensure equality of opportunity for education for both men and women in our society, the literacy rate of women in India, especially in rural areas, still remains very poor.
    • Schools in rural India are at considerable distances and in absence of strong local law and order, women find it unsafe to travel long distances for schooling.
    • Traditional practices like female infanticidedowryand early marriage have also contributed to the problem as many families find it economically unviable to educate the girl child.
  • Role Stereotyping: Still a large section of our Indian Society considered the roles of men as taking all the financial responsibilities and work outside.
    • Gender role stereotyping attributed to women has generally led to prejudice and discrimination against women.
    • For example, women may be considered to be less reliable as workers because of their child-rearing functions.
  • Differentiation in the Socialisation Process: In many parts of India, especially in rural regions, there are still different socialisation norms for men and women.
    • Women are expected to be soft-spoken, calm, and quiet. They should walk, talk, sit and behave in a certain manner. Whereas men ought to be confident, loud, and could display any behaviour as per their wish.
  • Representation of Women in Legislature: The representation of women in different legislative bodies remains low across India.
    • According to the report of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women, India ranks 148 out of 193 countries in the number of elected female representatives in parliament.
  • Safety Concern: In India, despite of continuous efforts in the field of Safety, women are threatened by various acts via feticides, domestic violencerapetraffickingforced prostitution, honour killings, sexual harassment at workplace etc.
  • Period Poverty: a lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual education and hygiene and sanitation facilities necessary to properly manage menstruation.
    • According to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study conducted in 2011 only 13% of girls in India are aware of menstruation before menarche.
  • Glass Ceiling: Women not only in India but across the globe face a social barrier preventing women from being promoted to top jobs in management.

Global challenges:

The World Bank’s Gender Data Portal has given to explore some of the obstacles still preventing women from fully participating in the economy:

  • Globally, nearly one in three women have experienced violence:   
    • Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. Almost one in three—or 736 million—women above the age of 15 across the world have experienced intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence at least once in their lifetime
  • The gap in labour force participation rate between women and men has not narrowed in most regions over the last three decades:
    • Globally, roughly half of working age women participates in the labour force, which is significantly lower than the male labour force participation rate of around 80%.  
  • This gap is virtually unchanged from what it was three decades ago.
  • Across the world, more than one in five women have been child brides:
    • According to the latest statistics, more than one in five women was first married before the age of 18, with the practice of child marriage being most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

India Australia relations


Recently, Australian PM Anthony Albanese’s visited India to further strengthen India-Australia relations

Areas of Cooperation:

    • Political cooperation:  in multilateral institutions like Commonwealth, G20, IORA
    • Economic
      • India and Australia signed concrete Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) to strengthen their economic ties 
      • In 2018, Australia announced implementation of “An India Economic Strategy to 2035”.  
    • Defence ties: Australia participated in Malabar? exercise along with India, japan and USA. 
      • AUSINDEX-naval engagement between India and Australia.
    • Education: Australia also has a strong fit with the Indian effort to modernise its higher education sector under the New Education Policy. 
      • Australia is now set to open two universities in Gujarat’s GIFT city. 
    • Diaspora:
      • Indian's emerged as one of the Australian's largest community. It is largest diaspora to acquire citizenship?
      •  Nearly 60,000 Indians are studying in Australia at the end of 2022.
    • Technology: Australia-India Technology Framework agreement on cyber and cyber-enabled technology was signed between both the countries. 
    • Critical minerals: Both India and Australia cooperates in mining and rare earth minerals. Australia is the major supplier of critical minerals.   
    • Converging interest: Both India and Australia are concerned about the aggressive rise of China. Therefore, both the countries have signed the Mutual logistic support agreement.   
  • Global cooperation 
    • Both have shared interests in vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. Both are part of QUAD, and also proposed Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.
  • An Australia-India Strategic Research Fund was established in 2006 for scientists to collaborate on leading-edge research. 


  • India opted out from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 
  • Among other things, India and Australia could not agree regarding market access over agriculture and dairy products.  
  • Differences over china: Australia’s economy is heavily dependent on China, with China being Australia's largest trading partner, accounting for 26 % of its trade with the world. 
    • Also, Australian concerns have to do with China’s increased activities in the Pacific; while India is concerned about China’s greater presence and influence in the Indian Ocean
  • Nuclear Mineral resources: Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of uranium ore, but exports to India were banned because the country is not party to the NPT.

Way forward:

  • Both nations reassure neighbouring states, particularly those in South East Asia, that the Indo-Pacific region's public goods are the Quad's primary goal rather than containing China.
    • Modi’s emphasis on a “multipolar Indo-Pacific” and Albanese’s focus on “strategic equilibrium” provide the basis for a productive Indian and Australian regional engagement.
  • The political coordination and strategic cooperation between Delhi and Canberra in the numerous sub-regions, such as the southern ocean, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, eastern Indian Ocean, and South Pacific, also needs to be improved.

Money laundering laws will now cover cryptocurrency trade


In a gazette notification, the Finance Ministry has mentioned that the anti-money laundering legislation is going to be applied to crypto trading, safekeeping and related financial services.

About the development: 

  • The government has imposed money laundering provisions on cryptocurrencies or virtual assets as it looks to tighten oversight of digital assets.
  • After this, Indian crypto exchanges will have to report suspicious activity to the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU-IND).
  • Need of the initiative: There is a global trend of requiring digital-asset platforms to follow anti-money laundering standards similar to those followed by other regulated entities like banks or stock brokers.

Status of Crypto currencies:

  • A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the rupee or the US dollar, but is digital in format that uses encryption techniques to both control the creation of monetary units and to verify the exchange of money.

Bitcoin is the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency in the world.

  • Strong cryptography is used to protect transaction records, regulate the production of new coins, and confirm ownership transfers. 
  • Generally, it is not issued by a central authority and doesn't exist in tangible form (like paper money).
  • Cryptocurrencies typically use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems.
  • The majority of cryptocurrencies are seen as alternative currencies or methods of financial exchange. Currently, they fall beyond the purview of official monetary policy and are not regulated by national governments.
    • Recently, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal money in September 2021.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002:

  • Background:
    • The PMLA was enacted in response to India’s global commitment (Vienna Convention) to combat the menace of money laundering. 
  • About:
    • It is a criminal law enacted to prevent money laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from, or involved in, money-laundering and related matters.
    • It forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat Money Laundering.
    • The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions, banks (Including RBI), mutual funds, insurance companies, and their financial intermediaries.
  • Recent Amendments:
    • Clarification about the Position of Proceeds of Crime: Proceeds of the Crime not only include the property derived from scheduled offence but would also include any other property derived or obtained indulging into any criminal activity relate-able or similar to the scheduled offence.
    • Money Laundering Redefined: Money Laundering was not an independent crime rather depended on another crime, known as the predicate offence or scheduled offence.
      • The amendment seeks to treat money laundering as a stand-alone crime.
      • Under Section 3 of PMLA, the person shall be accused of money laundering if in any manner that person is directly or indirectly involved in the proceeds of the crime.
        • Concealment
        • Possession
        • Acquisition
        • Use or projecting as untainted property
        • Claiming as untainted property
    • Continuing Nature of Offence: This amendment further mentioned that the person will be considered to be involved in the offence of money laundering till the time that person is getting the fruits of activities related to money laundering as this offence is of a continuing nature.

Issues in policy framework:

  • High volatility: Cryptocurrency has a volatile nature and is speculative. High investment quantities cause market volatility, which causes price fluctuations and the potential for significant losses for investors.
  • Absence of Ombudsmen: Consumers are exposed to transactional and informational risks because there is currently no place where a user may ask for support or a way to resolve a grievance relating to crypto assets.
  • Absence of a regulatory framework: Lack of regulatory authority has raised the likelihood of fraud, endangering investor protection and the flow of money throughout the economy.

Way forward:

  • International collaborations: Crypto assets are by definition borderless and require international collaboration to prevent regulatory arbitrage.
  • Defining Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrencies should be explicitly defined as securities or other financial instruments under the relevant national laws.

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): The establishment of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for India in the form of the Digital Rupee was announced by the Indian Finance Minister. It will significantly strengthen India's digital economy.

Short News Article


Hybrid Solar Eclipse

A hybrid solar eclipse will happen on April 20, 2023. 


  • A hybrid solar eclipse is one which will appear either as an annular eclipse or a total eclipse depending on the viewer's location.
  • During an annular eclipse, the Moon will not fully cover the Sun and as a result, it will appear as a dark disk superimposed on the Sun.

Types of solar eclipse:

There are three main types of solar eclipses:

  • Total solar eclipse: A total solar eclipse is visible from a small area on Earth.
  • Partial solar eclipse: This happens when the Sun, Moon and Earth are not exactly aligned.
  • Annular solar eclipse: An annular eclipse happens when the Moon is farthest from Earth.

Science and Technology 

NISAR satellite

Recently, NASA announced that the NISAR satellite has been handed over to India for other additions.

About NISAR: 

  • NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) is being jointly developed by NASA and ISRO.
  • The launch is scheduled for 2024. 
  • NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory.


  • NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater, and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides.
  • It carries L and S dual band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with the Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swaths with high-resolution data.
  • The SAR payloads mounted on Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory.


Dusky Tetraka

Dusky Tetraka has been spotted for the first time in 24 years.


  • The Dusky Tetraka, a small olive-coloured and yellow-throated mysterious songbird.
  • The bird, which some feared to be extinct, was rediscovered by an expedition team searching the tropical forests of north-eastern Madagascar. 
  • The Dusky Tetraka has a history of mistaken identity largely because it closely resembles the Spectacled Tetraka.


Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus Palustris)

Anthropogenic threats like illegal fishing and sand mining pose a threat to the mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus plaustris) of the Rapti river flowing along the Chitwan National Park (CNP) in south-central Nepal, contiguous to the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar.


    • The Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus Palustris) also known as the Indian crocodile has a body covered in brown scales and has the widest snout of all the different crocodile species. 
    • The Mugger crocodile looks like an alligator due to its snout. 
  • They are native to the freshwater settings of southern Iran and India. 
  • They can be found in rivers, lakes, hill streams, and village ponds. 
    • The Mugger crocodile’s diet consists of fish, reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals. 
    • They are opportunistic feeders. They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting practices by humans. 
  • The Mugger crocodile has a lifespan of 44 years.
  • Crocodilia is an order of large, semiaquatic, carnivorous, solitary reptiles that first appeared 95 million years ago. 
  • Crocodilia, surprisingly, are most closely related to birds, as the only two remaining survivors from the Archosauria age. 
  • Crocodilia have members such as crocodiles and alligators.

Polity and Governance 

Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number

Before implementation of 6 digit Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number, hallmarking of Gold jewellery becomes mandatory by the Central government.


    • A 6 digit HUID was introduced from 01 July 2021 and all articles hallmarked post 01 July 2021 have to be hallmarked with HUID only. 
  • After introduction of HUID, hallmark consisted of 3 marks viz, BIS logo, purity of the article and six-digit alphanumeric HUID. 
  • Each hallmarked article has unique HUID number which is traceable.


  • According to the Department of Consumer Affairs website, hallmark consists of 3 symbols which give information. 
    • the first symbol is the BIS logo
    • the second symbol indicates purity and fineness
    • the third symbol is the HUID
  • Every item of jewellery will be issued a HUID number at the moment of hallmarking, and each one will be unique. 
  • At the Assaying & Hallmarking centre, the jewellery is hand stamped with the unique number.


Preparing for 5G


  • In December 2022, the AIIMS database suffered a ransomware attack, in which such malware can travel through inter-connected devices compromising the whole system. This concern is now elongated to security of 5G services connected to Internet.

Benefits from 5G services:

  • Provide high speed data: 5G services will deliver higher multi-gigabytes per second peak data speeds with ultra-low latency, enhanced capacity and better user experience. 
  • Built a smarter technology: An increase in the bandwidth to gigahertz will bring our devices online and make them smart with built-in Siris and Alexas. The Internet of Things (IoT) enabled by 5G will be the next stage of smarter living.
  • Protect confidential data: protocols protect the confidentiality of interconnected devices. Whether telecommunication firms will adopt the standards depends on the investments they can afford.

Concerns surrounding 5G services:

  • A Pre-mould structure: The initial wave of 5G will be built on existing 4G infrastructures; therefore, it will inherit vulnerabilities of the past.
  • Exposed to cyber-attacks: More devices connected to the internet increase the scope of cyber-attacks.
  • Dependence on Imports: Privacy concerns are bound to multiply as the number of devices increases and parts being imported from China.
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