SPR 2023 | Society Current Affairs Compilation for Prelims 2023

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Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) Report


  • Ministry of Education released a detailed Report on Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2021-22.

What is UDISE+?

  • Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) is one of the largest Management Information Systems initiated by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, GoI covering more than 14.89 lacs of schools, 95 lacs of teachers and 26.5 crores of children.
  • The entire system is online and has been collecting data in real-time since 2018-19.
  • UDISE+ has a mandate of collecting information from all recognized schools imparting formal education from Pre-primary to class XII.
  • Information collected through the digital platform, UDISE+ is utilized for planning, optimizing resource allocation and implementing various education-related programs and assessing progress.
  • UDISE+ provides a platform to organize and classify all school data across the country and build a credible database of school data. It monitors, measures and keeps track of vital KPIs related to school performance.

What are the key findings of 2021-22 Edition?

  • The report states that Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in Higher Secondary has improved significantly, rising from 53.8% in 2020–21 to 57.6% in 2021–22.
    • GER is the number of students enrolled in a given level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education.
  • The total number of students enrolled in primary to higher secondary education in 2021–22 was 25.57 crore, up from 25.38 crore in 2020–21, a 19.36 lakh increase in enrollment.
    • Total Scheduled Caste (SC) enrollment climbed to around 4.82 crore in 2021-22, up from 4.78 crore in 2020-21.
    • Total Scheduled Tribe (ST) enrollment grew from 2.49 crore in 2020-21 to 2.51 crore in 2021-22.
    • Total Other Backward Caste (OBC) students increased from 11.35 crore in 2020–21 to 11.48 crore in 2021–22.
    • A total of 22.67 lakh Children with Special Needs (CWSN) are enrolled in schools in 2021–2022, up from 21.91 lakh in 2020–201, indicating a 3.45% rise.
  • Over 12.29 crore girls are enrolled in primary to higher secondary schools in 2021-22, a rise of 8.19 lakh over the enrollment of girls in 2020-21.
  • The GPI value at all levels of school education is one or more, signifying increased participation of girls in school education.
    • The GER Gender Parity Index (GPI) shows that the representation of females in school education corresponds to the representation of girls in the population of the respective age group.
  • During 2021-22, 95.07 lakh teachers are engaged in school education, with more than 51% being female teachers.
  • Furthermore, the Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) in 2021-22 was 26 for primary, 19 for upper primary, 18 for secondary, and 27 for higher secondary.
  • The total number of schools in 2021-22 was 14.89 lakhs, down from 15.09 lakhs in 2020-21.

Performance Grading Index (PGI)


  • The Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSE&L), Ministry of Education today released the Performance Grading Index (PGI) for States/UTs for 2020-21.

What is the Performance Grading Index (PGI)?

  • According to the Ministry, it is a unique index for evidence based comprehensive analysis of school education system across State/UTs.
  • The prime objective of PGI is to promote evidence-based policy making and highlight course correction to ensure quality education for all.
  • So far, DoSE&L has released PGI report for the year 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. The present report is for the year 2020-21.
  • DoSE&L devised PGI for States/UTs to provide insights and data driven mechanism on the performance and achievements of on the success of school education across all States/UTs.
    • The Indian Education System is one of the largest in the world with about 14.9 lakh schools, 95 lakh teachers, and nearly 26.5 crore students from varied socio-economic backgrounds.
  • The PGI structure comprises of 1000 points across 70 indicators grouped into 2 categories viz.,
    • Outcomes,
    • Governance Management (GM).
  • These categories are further divided into 5 domains, viz.,
    • Learning Outcomes (LO),
    • Access (A),
    • Infrastructure& Facilities (IF),
    • Equity (E) &
    • Governance Process (GP).

What are the key highlights of this edition?

  • As was done in the previous years, PGI 2020-21 classified the States/UTs into ten grades viz., highest achievable Grade is Level 1, which is for State/UT scoring more than 950 points out of total of 1000 points.  The lowest grade is Level 10 which is for score below 551.
  • A total of 7 States and UTs, Viz., Kerala, Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh have attained Level II (score 901-950) in 2020-21 as compared to none in 2017-18 and 4 in 2019-20. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the new entrants to highest achieved level of any State  so far.
  • The newly formed UT viz., Ladakh has made significant improvement in PGI from Level 8 to Level 4 in 2020-21 or improved its score by 299 points in 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20 resulting into highest ever improvement in a single year.
  • The PGI will reflect the relative performance of all the States/UTs in a uniform scale which encourages them to perform better and to adopt best practice followed by performers.


  • Context:41 Indian universities feature in the 2023 QS World Rankings list, none in top 150
  • Rankings
    • Institute of Science Bangalore, one of the eight Institutes of Eminence, has secured a spot at the 155th ranking, followed by IIT-Bombay and Delhi, at 172nd and 174th positions respectively.
    • Forty-one Indian universities, seven more than last year, have made it to the QS World University Rankings 2023, but none figures in the global top 150.
    • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore has grabbed the highest rank at 155, leaving behind the coveted IITs. Delhi University is the only non-professional institution in the academic hall of fame, ranked below 520.
    • The top-ranking IISc Bangalore – one of the eight public Institutes of Eminence (IoE) – which moved up 31 places since last year, secured the first spot among the Indian institutions, is followed by IIT-Bombay and Delhi, bagging the 172nd and 174th positions, respectively.
    • Apart from IISc at 155, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B) and IIT-Delhi (IIT-D), which have risen five and 11 places to rank 172 and 174 respectively, are the only other Indian institutes in the global league of top 200, in continuation of a trend since 2017.
    • The number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.
    • “Furthermore, IISc Bengaluru is the fastest rising South Asian university among the QS World University Rankings top-200,” said a QS statement.
    • No Indian university besides IISc Bangalore, IIT-B and IIT-D has made it to QS’ top 200 in the last four years. Apart from IISc, eight IITs – Delhi, Bombay, Madras (250), Kanpur (264), Kharagpur (270), Roorkee (369), Guwahati (384), and Indore (396) – are ranked among the top 500 globally.
  • Research
    • India has also come out strongly on the research front, with IISc emerging number one globally in the ‘citations per faculty’ (CpF) indicator, which higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds uses to evaluate the impact of research produced by universities.
    • According to the CpF indicator, when universities are adjusted for faculty size, IISc Bengaluru is the world’s top research university, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 for this metric.
    • IIT Guwahati (37th for CpF), IIT Roorkee (47th for CpF) and the new entry University of Madras (48th for CpF) are also global top-50 research institutions.
  • Global Scenario
    • The top three positions this year are bagged by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for the eleventh consecutive year, while the University of Cambridge has risen to second place, and Stanford University remains in the third position.


  • Context
    • Recently, the central government issued guidelines to states about the Mission Vatsalya child protection scheme
  • New Guidelines
    • According to the guidelines, states cannot change the original name of the scheme in order to gain access to funding granted by the central government.
    • Funds to states will be approved through the Mission Vatsalya Project Approval Board (PAB), which will be chaired by the WCD Secretary, who will scrutinise and approve annual plans and financial proposals received from states and UTs for the release of grants.
    • It will be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with state governments and UT administrations, with a fund-sharing pattern in a 60:40 ratio.
    • However, for the eight states in the Northeast — as well as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir — the Centre and state/UT’s share will be 90:10
    • MVS, in partnership with states and districts, will execute a 24×7 helpline service for children, as defined under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
    • It will support State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), which will further support the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in promoting in-country adoption and regulating inter-country adoption.
    • SARA shall coordinate, monitor and develop the work related to non-institutional care, including adoption in the state.
    • The Mission plans to establish cradle baby reception centres in at least one specialized adoption agency in each area for receiving abandoned and trafficked children
    • Children in need of care, as well as special needs children, will be placed in distinct homes based on gender (including separate homes for transgender children) and age.
    • As they are unable to attend school due to physical or mental disabilities, these institutions will provide special educators, therapists, and nurses to impart occupational therapy, speech therapy, verbal therapy, and other remedial classes.
    • Further, employees in these specialised divisions must be fluent in sign language, Braille, and other related languages.
    • The establishment of open Shelters by the state government will be supported to care for runaway children, missing children, trafficked children, working children, children in street situations, child beggars, child substance abusers etc.
    • Financial support has also been prescribed for vulnerable children living with extended families or in foster care, supporting their education, nutrition, and health needs.
  • What is Mission Vatsalya
    • It’s an umbrella scheme for child protection services in the country.
    • Components under Mission Vatsalya include improve functioning of statutory bodies; strengthen service delivery structures; Upscale institutional care and services; encourage non-institutional community-based care; emergency outreach services; training and capacity building.
  • Objectives
    • To secure a healthy and happy childhood for each and every child in the country.
    • To ensure opportunities to enable them to discover their full potential and assist them in flourishing in all respects, in a sustained manner, foster a sensitive, supportive and synchronized ecosystem for the development of children, and assist States and UTs in delivering the mandate of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • It promotes family-based non-institutional care of children in difficult circumstances based on the principle of institutionalization of children as a measure of last resort.
  • Way Forward
    • These guidelines are in the right direction, as there are enormous children in our country who are suffering from physical and mental disabilities and all these initiatives would make their life easy.
    • The need to implement all these initiatives efficiently and at a better pace.


  • Context
    • Recently, the Ministry of Education informed Lok Sabha that less than 10% of schools are equipped with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools or Digital Tools, in at least 10 states of India.
  • What are the ICT Tools?
    • ICT tools for teaching and learning cover everything from digital infrastructures such as printers, computers, laptops, tablets, etc., to software tools such as Google Meet, Google Spreadsheets, etc.
    • It refers to all communication technologies that are the tools to access, retrieve, store, transmit and modify information digitally.
    • ICTs are also used to refer to the convergence of media technology such as audio-visual and telephone networks with computer networks, by means of a unified system of cabling (including signal distribution and management) or link system.
    • However, there is no universally accepted definition of ICTs considering that the concepts, methods, and tools involved in ICTs are steadily evolving on an almost daily basis.
  • What is a Digital Gap?
    • About
      • It is a gap between demographics and regions having access to modern information and communications technology (ICT) and those not having access.
      • It exists between developed and developing countries, urban and rural populations, young and educated versus older and less-educated individuals, and men and women.
      • In India, the urban-rural divide is the single biggest factor in the Digital Gap.
    • Status
      • A study in 2021 by the Azim Premji Foundation showed that almost 60 % of school children in India cannot access online learning opportunities.
      • A study by Oxfam India found that even among students of urban private schools, half of the parents reported issues with Internet signal and speed. A third struggled with the cost of mobile data.
    • Impact
      • Causes Dropouts and Child Labour
        • Children belonging to the Disadvantaged Groups may suffer the consequence of not having to fully pursue their education or worse still drop out because of the lack of access to ICT.
        • They even run the danger of being drawn into child labour or worse, child trafficking.
      • Deprivation of Quality Education
        • It will deprive people of higher/quality education and skill training that could help them contribute to the economy and become leaders on a global level.
      • Unfair Competitive Edge
        • The poor will remain void of crucial information presented online concerning academia, and thus they will always lag, and this may be summed up by poor performance.
        • Hence superior students who can access the internet have an unfair competitive edge over their less privileged counterparts.
      • Learning Disparity
        • The people in lower socio-economic classes are disadvantaged and have to undergo long hours of cumbersome studies in meeting the objectives of the course.
        • While the rich can easily access schooling materials online and work on their programs in a flash.
  • Way Forward
    • Governments can become powerful instruments in bridging the digital divide by ensuring affordable, easy-to-use technologies. The high cost of internet connectivity, the price of technological devices, electricity tariffs, and taxes are major contributors to the digital Gap for both teachers and students.
    • Teachers and students need to be fully trained on how to effectively use what the internet and modern technologies have to offer. The fewer students can use these tools, the more the digital divide widens.
    • Educational online content creators should aim to make information available in as many languages as possible. When the users are confident that they can see content in their native or local languages, they are more inclined to use similar tools that provide personalised benefits.
    • There is a special need to reduce the gender digital divide. Barriers and constraints in accessing the internet impede women's and girls' full involvement in the social and economic progress of their communities and countries.


  • Context
    • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council courted controversy recently over the ratings of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which changed from A to A+.
  • What is NAAC
    • The NAAC, an autonomous body under the University Grants Commission (UGC), assesses and certifies HEIs with gradings as part of accreditation. Through a multi-layered process, a higher education institution learns whether it meets the standards of quality set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other parameters.
    • The ratings of institutions range from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.
  • How is the accreditation process carried out?
    • Input Based: NAAC relies heavily on self-assessment reports of applicant institutions.
      • The first step is for an applicant institution to submit a self-study report of information related to quantitative and qualitative metrics.
      • The data is then validated by NAAC expert teams, followed by peer team visits to the institutions.
  • Status of Accredited Institutions in India
    • There are 1,043 universities and 42,343 colleges listed on the portal of the All-India Survey on Higher Education.
    • Around 406 universities and 8,686 colleges are NAAC-accredited.
    • Among the states, Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of accredited colleges at 1,869 followed by Karnataka’s 914, the second highest.
      • Tamil Nadu has the most accredited universities at 43.

  • Present Status of India’s Higher education Sector
    • India's higher education system is the world's third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States.
    • India's Higher Education sector has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of Universities/University level Institutions & Colleges since independence.
      • In the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2023, only three Indian Universities- IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IISc (Bangalore)- have been included in the top 200 institutes.
  • Challenges in India’s Higher Education Sector
    • Enrolment: The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of India in higher education is only 25.2% which is quite low as compared to the developed and other major developing countries.
    • Equity: There is no equity in GER among different sections of society. GER for males (26.3%), females (25.4%), SC (21.8%) and ST (15.9%).
      • There are regional variations too. While some states have high GER some are far behind the national figures.
      • The college density (number of colleges per lakh eligible population) varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Telangana as compared to All India average of 28.
      • Most of the premier universities and colleges are centred in metropolitan and urban cities, thereby leading to the regional disparity in access to higher education.
    • Quality: Higher Education in India is plagued with rot learning, lack of employability and skill development due to the low quality of education.
    • Infrastructure: Poor infrastructure is another challenge to higher education in India. Due to the budget deficit, corruption and lobbying by the vested interest group (Education Mafias), public sector universities in India lack the necessary infrastructure. Even the Private sector is not up to the mark as per the global standard.
    • Faculty: Faculty shortages and the inability of the state educational system to attract and retain well-qualified teachers have been posing challenges to quality education for many years. Shortage of faculty leads to Ad-hoc expansion even in the premier institutions.
      • The Pupil-to-teacher ratio though has been stable in the country (30:1), however, it needs to be improved to make it comparable to the USA (12.5:1), China (19.5:1) and Brazil (19:1).
  • Recent Initiatives taken by the Government in Higher Education
    • Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP): This is a five-year vision plan to improve the quality and accessibility of higher education over the next five years (2019-2024).
    • UGC’s Learning Outcome-based Curriculum Framework (LOCF): LOCF guidelines, issued by UGC in 2018, aims to specify what graduates are expected to know, understand and be able to do at the end of their programme of study. This is to make student active learner and teacher a good facilitator.
    • Graded Autonomy to Universities & Colleges: Three-tiered graded autonomy regulatory system has been initiated, with the categorization based on accreditation scores. Category I and Category II universities will have significant autonomy to conduct examinations, prescribe evaluation systems and even announce results
    • Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN): The programme seeks to invite distinguished academicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, experts from premier institutions from across the world, to teach in the higher educational institutions in India.
    • All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE): The main objectives of the survey are to- identify & capture all the institutions of higher learning in the country; and collect the data from all the higher education institutions on various aspects of higher education.
    • National Education Policy 2020.


  • Context
    • Union government is planning to set up a national regulator PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) for achieving a benchmark framework to assess students at the secondary and higher secondary level.
    • PARAKH, is also part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
  • About PARAKH
    • It's a proposed regulator, which will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT, and will also be tasked with holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
    • Its team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally.
    • It will eventually become the national single-window source for all assessment-related information and expertise, with a mandate to support learning assessment in all forms, both nationally and where applicable, internationally.

  • Objectives
    • Uniform Norms & Guidelines:
      • Setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognized school boards of India,
    • Enhance Assessment Pattern:
      • It will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century
    • Reduce Disparity in Evaluation:
      • It will bring uniformity across the state and central boards which currently follow different standards of evaluation, leading to wide disparities in scores.
    • Benchmark Assessment:
      • The benchmark assessment framework will seek to put an end to the emphasis on rote learning, as envisaged by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
    • Suggestions:
      • Hold Board Exams Twice: Various states have endorsed the NEP’s proposal to hold board exams twice a year, including one for helping students improve their scores.
      • Two types of Exams for Math: States are also on board regarding a proposal to offer two types of papers on mathematics — a standard exam, and another to test higher-level competency.
  • Significance:
    • Reduce Fear:
      • It will help reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning.
    • Removes Disparity in college Admission:
      • It will help tackle the problem of students of some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions as compared to their peers in CBSE schools.
    • Innovative Evaluation:
      • It will develop and implement the technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of tests at all levels of school education.
  • Way Forward
    • PARAKH creates a level playing field and reduces the disparity among various state boards and further aims to facilitate an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach to education, which takes into consideration field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, as well as lessons learned from best practices.
    • It is a progressive shift towards a more scientific approach to education.
      • The prescribed structure will help to cater to the ability of the child – stages of cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness.


  • Context
    • Recently, the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) has taken a unique initiative to support the research efforts of bright young minds of the Country by developing the Studentship Program for Ayurveda Research Ken (SPARK) for Ayurveda students studying in recognised Ayurveda colleges.
  • Key Points Related to Studentship Program for Ayurveda Research Ken (SPARK)
    • SPARK Program has been developed by the CCRAS to support the young minds of the students and to promote the culture of evidence-based scientific research in the field of Ayurveda.
    • SPARK Program will help the students to develop an acumen for research and to support their research ideas.
    • SPARK Program aims to support the research ideas of the young upcoming students across all the Ayurveda colleges in India.
    • The application process for the SPARK Program will be done online mode.
    • The selected students will be offered financial support of Rs. 50,000 under this fellowship.
  • Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS)
    • CCRAS is an autonomous body of the Ministry of AYUSH.
    • It is an apex body in India for the formulation, coordination, development and promotion of research on scientific lines in Ayurveda and Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine.
    • CCRAS has developed and implemented a wide range of schemes and programs to serve the citizens.
    • The Council has accelerated quality research activity in the domains of Ayurveda and allied sciences.
    • The Council has not only developed popular formulations such as Ayush-64, it has as many as 18 formulations and technologies.
    • The Council is currently working on research and development projects in collaboration with leading research institutions in Romania, Germany, Israel, USA, Canada and the World Health Organisation (WHO).


  • Context
    • Recently, the Union Minister for Education launched Ramakrishna Mission’s ‘Awakening’ Programme for school students.
  • Awakening Programme
    • About
      • It is an initiative towards ensuring overall personality development of a child in line with the philosophy of National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
      • It is for the students of classes I to V.
    • Background
      • Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi branch, from 2014 onwards, has been successfully conducting the Awakened Citizen Program (ACP) for middle school students to enable them to build “ATMASHRADDHA” (Self-esteem) and make responsible choices. It helps them to find solutions for all problems of life.
      • There has been a demand from educationists for a similar program for Primary school students.
        • In response to this, ‘Awakening’ has been designed and piloted across 126 schools.
    • Need
      • Social transformation is one of the key goals of education.
      • Values and wisdom are more important than material wealth.
      • Value-based education is important for building a future-ready and socially conscious generation.
  • Ramakrishna Mission
    • About
      • Ramakrishna Mission carries out extensive educational and philanthropic work and expounds a modern version of Advaita Vedanta—a school of Indian philosophy.
      • The society was founded near Kolkata by Vivekananda in 1897 with a twofold purpose: to spread the teachings of Vedanta as embodied in the life of the saint Ramakrishna (1836–86) and to improve the social conditions of the Indian people.
      • The organizations were brought into existence by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), the great 19th-century saint from Bengal who is regarded as the Prophet of the Modern Age, and Sri Ramakrishna’s chief disciple, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).


Early Life

  • He was born as Narendranath Datta on 12th January 1863.
  • National Youth Day is held every year to observe the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
  • In 1893, upon the request of Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State, he took the name ‘Vivekananda.’


  • Introduced the world to the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga.
  • He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens, and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.
  • Laid the greatest emphasis on education for the regeneration of our motherland. Advocated a man-making character-building education.
  • Best known for his speech at the World Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893.
  • Spelt out the four pathways of attaining moksha from the worldly pleasure and attachment in his books – Raja-yoga, Karma-yoga, Jnana-yoga and Bhakti-yoga.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had called Vivekananda the “maker of modern India.”

Associated Organisations:

  • He was the chief disciple of the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna Paramhansa and established the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897.
  • In 1899, he established Belur Math, which became his permanent abode.


  • Though growth of Nationalism is attributed to Western influence but Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism is deeply rooted in Indian spirituality and morality.
  • His nationalism is based on Humanism and Universalism, the two cardinal features of Indian spiritual culture.
  • Unlike western nationalism which is secular in nature, Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism is based on religion which is life blood of the Indian people.
  • The basis of his nationalism are:
    • Deep concern for masses, freedom and equality through which one expresses self, spiritual integration of the world on the basis of universal brotherhood.
    • “Karmyoga” is a system of ethics to attain freedom both political and spiritual through selfless service.
  • His writings and speeches established motherland as the only deity to be worshipped in the mind and heart of countrymen.


  • He died at Belur Math in 1902. Belur Math, located in West Bengal, is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission



  • Context
    • Recently, the 9th National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC) for the INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), has commenced.
  • What is the INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) Award?
    • About
      • It is aligned with the ‘Start-up India’ initiative and is being executed by DST (Department of Science and Technology) with National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), an autonomous body of DST.
      • Under this, the students are invited from all government or private schools throughout the country, irrespective of their educational boards (national and state).
      • Financial support of Rs 10,000 each would be provided so that they could develop prototypes of the ideas which they submitted for the scheme.
      • As a next step, they competed at respective District Level Exhibition and Project Competition (DLEPC) and State Level Exhibition and Project Competition (SLEPC) and finally National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC).
    • Aims and Objectives
      • To motivate students to become future innovators and critical thinkers.
      • To target one million original ideas/innovations rooted in science and societal applications to foster a culture of creativity and innovative thinking among school children.
      • To address the societal needs through science and technology and nurture them to become sensitive and responsible citizens and innovation leaders of tomorrow.
  • INSPIRE Scheme
    • The INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • Its objective is to communicate to the youth population of the country the creative pursuit of science and attract talent to the study of science at an early stage and build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and Research & Development base.
    • The Government of India has successfully implemented the INSPIRE scheme since 2010. The scheme covers students in the age group of 10-32 years and has five components.
    • The INSPIRE Awards- MANAK is one of its components.

YUVA 2.0 Scheme


  • The Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education launched the Prime Minister's Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors, known as YUVA 2.0 (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors).

More about the scheme:

  • It is an Author Mentorship programme to train young and budding authors (below 30 years of age) in order to promote reading, writing and book culture in the country, and project India and Indian writings globally.
  • In view of the significant impact of the first edition of YUVA with large-scale participation from young and budding authors in 22 different Indian languages and English, YUVA 2.0 is now being launched.
  • The YUVA 2.0 is in tune with the Prime Minister’s vision to encourage the youth to understand and appreciate India's democracy.
  • YUVA 2.0 is a part of India@75 Project (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav) to bring to the fore the perspectives of the young generation of writers on the THEME: ‘Democracy (institutions, events, people, constitutional values – past, present, future)’ in an innovative and creative manner. This scheme will thus help to develop a stream of writers who can write on a spectrum of subjects to promote Indian heritage, culture and knowledge system.
  • The scheme will help to develop a stream of writers who can write on various facets of Democracy in India encompassing the past, present and future.
  • The National Book Trust, India, under the Ministry of Education as the Implementing Agency will ensure phase-wise execution of the Scheme under well-defined stages of mentorship.
  • The books prepared under this scheme will be published by National Book Trust, India, and will also be translated into other Indian languages ensuring the exchange of culture and literature, thereby promoting 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat'.
  • The selected young authors will interact with some of the best authors of the world, participate in literary festivals etc.

National Credit Framework(NCrF)


  • In a bid to integrate academic and vocational or skill-based education, Union Education unveiled the draft report on the National Credits Framework (NCrF) and invited nationwide public consultations and suggestions on the proposed educational credits system.

About National Credit Framework(NCrF):

  • Under this system school students in India can earn ‘credits’ from classroom learning as well as extracurricular activities and deposit them in a ‘bank’ — much like the system already being followed in some colleges and universities.
  • Credits are defined as a “recognition that a learner has completed a prior course of learning, corresponding to a qualification at a given level” in this draft report.
  • In other words, it is a way of quantifying learning outcomes.
  • The proposed NCrF seeks to integrate all the frameworks under one umbrella. Moreover, it also brings the entire school education system under the ambit of credits for the first time.
  • So far, only the National Institute of Open Schooling followed a credit system.
  • The NCrF also covers skill and vocational education.
  • It is launched as a part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Related term – Notional Learning Hours:

  • Notion learning hours in the context of NCRF means time spent not just in classroom teaching, but also in a range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
  • The list of such activities includes sports, yoga, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on-the-job training, internships or apprenticeships.

E-Baal Nidan Portal


  • Recently, the online portal “E-Baal Nidan” for the redressal of grievances against violation of child rights was revamped by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

About E-Baal Nidan Portal:

  • It is a Complaint Management System of NCPCR. It was launched in 2015.
  • It is an online complaint mechanism which enables individuals to report violations committed against a child and track the progress of the redressal of the complaint in the Commission.
  • It ensures the timely disposal of cases by the NCPCR.
  • The portal segregates complaints based on their subject matters like juvenile justice, PSCSO, child labour, education etc.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):

  • It is a statutory body constituted under Section 3 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 to protect child rights and other related matters in the country.
  • The Commission is further mandated to monitor the proper and effective implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012; Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • In one of the functions laid down under Section 13 of the CPCR Act, 2005, the Commission has been assigned with the function to examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.

Denotified Tribes


  • The Congress organised a function to observe “Mukti Diwas”, marking the 70th anniversary of the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act and de-notifying the DNTs as “Criminal Tribes”.

About Denotified Tribes:

  • The term “De-notified Tribes” refers to all communities that were previously notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts, which were enforced by the British Raj between 1871 and 1947.
  • The Independent Indian Government repealed these Acts in 1992, and these communities were “De-Notified.”
  • 31 August is celebrated as Vimukta Jati day in India by the de-notified tribal communities.
  • The Government in July 2014 had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) for a period of three years to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes.
  • All nomadic tribes (NTs) are not DNTs, but all DNTs are NTs.
  • Commissions for Denotified tribes in India:
    • Idate Commission Report
    • The Renke Commission (2008)

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U)


  • Recently the PMAY-U Awards 2021 were declared.

About PMAY-U Awards 2021:

  • In 2019, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) established the PMAY-U Awards for Implementation and innovation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana-Urban(PMAY-U).
  • The awards have broadly been classified into 3 major levels:
    • State Awards, Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats Awards
    • Special Category Awards
    • Beneficiary Awards
  • Awards are proposed to be evaluated on the basis of 4 broad parameters with the corresponding weightage.
  • Winners are as follows:
    • Uttar Pradesh(UP) has won the top honour at the Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana-Urban(PMAY-U) Awards 2021 under the “Best Performing State” category.
    • Madhya Pradesh(MP) and Tamil Nadu(TN) have won the 2nd and 3rd Prizes under the Best Performing State category respectively.
    • Gujarat has won the 5 PMAY-U awards for performance related to Affordable Rental Housing Complexes and ‘Convergence with other Missions’.
    • Odisha has won the PMAY-U Awards 2021 under the special category ‘Best Policy Initiatives by State’

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U):

  • Since June 2015, the MoHUA has been implementing the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U).
  • The beneficiaries of the scheme include the Economically weaker section (EWS), low-income groups (LIGs) and Middle Income Groups (MIGs).
  • PMAY-U is one of the largest housing schemes in the world.

eSanjeevani Initiative


  • In a significant achievement, eSanjeevani, Govt. of India’s free telemedicine service, has crossed another astounding milestone by clocking 8 crore teleconsultations.
  • The last 1 crore consultations were recorded in a remarkable time frame of around 5 weeks, signalling a wider adoption of telemedicine.

What is eSanjeevani Initiative?

  • An e-health initiative of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, eSanjeevani is a national telemedicine service that strives to provide an alternative to the conventional physical consultations via digital platform.
  • In less than 3 years, this initiative has garnered the distinction of being the world’s largest government owned telemedicine platform.
  • eSanjeevani is a cohesive part Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDM), and more than 45,000 ABHA IDs have been generated via eSanjeevani application.
  • eSanjeevani is developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Mohali.

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC):

  • It is the premier R&D organization of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for carrying out R&D in IT, Electronics and associated areas.
  • Different areas of C-DAC, had originated at different times, many of which came out as a result of identification of opportunities.
  • The setting up of C-DAC in 1988 itself was to built Supercomputers in context of denial of import of Supercomputers by USA. Since then C-DAC has been undertaking building of multiple generations of Supercomputer starting from PARAM with 1 GF in 1988.

What are the components or verticals of eSanjeevani?

  • It consists of two verticals that cater to patients across all states and UTs successfully making its presence felt in the innermost regions of the nation.
  • The first vertical is eSanjeevaniAB-HW:
    • It endeavors to bridge rural-urban digital health divide by providing assisted teleconsultations, and ensuring that e beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat Scheme are able to avail of the benefits they are entitled to.
    • This vertical operates on a Hub-and-Spoke model wherein the ‘Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centers’ (HWCs) are set up at state level, act as spokes, which are mapped with the hub (comprising MBBS/ Specialty/Super-Specialty doctors) at zonal level.
    • With the objective to provide quality health services to a patient residing in rural areas, this model has been successfully implemented in 1,09,748 Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) and 14,188 Hubs, achieving a total of 7,11,58,968 teleconsultations.
  • The first vertical is eSanjeevaniOPD:
    • It caters to citizens in both rural and urban alike.
    • It leverages technology via smartphones, tablets, laptops enabling doctor consultations to be accessible from the patient’s residence regardless of location.
    • eSanjeevaniOPD has acquired 1,144 online OPDs with 2,22,026 specialists, doctors and health workers that have been trained and onboarded.
    • This platform has an impressive record of having served over 4.34 lakhs patients in one day.
    • Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Mohali, which is providing holistic technical training and support to users, is augmenting the faculties of this vertical to be able to serve up to 1 million patients per day.

India's improved Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)


  • In a new milestone, there has been a significant decline in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country.

What is Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)?

  • The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births.
  • It depicts the risk of maternal death relative to the number of live births and essentially captures the risk of death in a single pregnancy or a single live birth.

What are recent developments?

  • As per the Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has improved further by a spectacular 6 points and now stands at 97/ lakh live births
  • As per the statistics derived from Sample Registration System (SRS), the country has witnessed a progressive reduction in MMR from 130 in 2014-2016, 122 in 2015-17, 113 in 2016-18, 103 in 2017-19 and to 97 in 2018-20 as depicted below:

  • Upon achieving this, India has accomplished the National Health Policy (NHP) target for MMR of less than 100/lakh live births and is on the right track to achieve the SDG target of MMR less than 70/ lakh live births by 2030.
  • The outstanding progress made in terms of the number of states which have achieved Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target, the number has now risen from six to eight leading with Kerala (19), followed by Maharashtra (33), then Telangana (43) and Andhra Pradesh (45), subsequently Tamil Nadu (54), Jharkhand (56), Gujarat (57) and lastly Karnataka (69).

Which measures did government adopt to reduce MMR?

  • Since 2014, under the National Health Mission (NHM), India has made a concerted effort to provide accessible quality maternal and newborn health services and minimize preventable maternal deaths.
  • The National Health Mission has made significant investments to ensure provision of healthcare services, particularly for effective implementation of the maternal health programs to accomplish the specified MMR targets.
  • Government schemes such as “Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram” and “Janani Suraksha Yojana” have been modified and upgraded to more assured and respectful service delivery initiatives like Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan’ (SUMAN).
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) is particularly lauded for its focus on identifying high-risk pregnancies and facilitating their appropriate management. This had a significant impact on mitigating preventable mortality.
  • LaQshya and Midwifery initiatives concentrate on promoting quality care in a respectful and dignified manner ensuring choice of birthing to all pregnant women.
  • India’s outstanding efforts in successfully lowering the MMR ratio provides an optimistic outlook on attaining SDG target of MMR less than 70 much before the stipulated time of 2030 and becoming known as a nation that provides respectful maternal care.

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA)


  • The Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), which was set up by the Centre in 2017 to upgrade the education infrastructure in the country to global best standards, has sanctioned 144 loans worth Rs 35,000 crore so far, falling short of the government’s target of mobilising Rs 1 lakh crore by 2022.

What is Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA)?

  • HEFA, which was set up as a non-profit Non-Banking Financing Company (NBFC) in 2017, is a joint venture between the Union Ministry of Education and the Canara Bank to finance infrastructure development in educational institutions through long-term loans.
  • It has sanctioned 144 loans worth Rs 35,000 crore so far, falling short of the government’s target of mobilising Rs 1 lakh crore by 2022.
  • While the premium is paid by the institute, interest is paid by the government.
  • The government expanded the scope of HEFA in 2018 under the Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education or RISE by 2022 initiative, bringing schools and medical colleges under its ambit, and making it the nodal body in infrastructure financing in the education sector.

Education for Democracy


  • India-supported resolution ‘Education for Democracy’ gets adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • On 18 January, the Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously and without a vote.

More on the news:

  • The resolution strongly encouraged Member States and other stakeholders to integrate education for democracy into their education standards.
  • Further, the resolution also highlighted that states should work with relevant stakeholders to close digital divides.
  • This resolution reaffirms the right of everyone to education & recognizes that ‘Education For All’ contributes to the strengthening of democracy.”
  • To reduce the digital divide in education, India has launched a number of programs and innovative efforts. Swayam, Skill India, and other initiatives are excellent tools for this aim.

Eat Right Station


  • Indian Railways’ Varanasi Cantt Railway Station has been awarded a 5-star 'Eat Right Station' certification for providing high-quality, nutritious food to passengers.

What is the 'Eat Right Station' certification?

  • The “Eat Right Station” certification is part of the “Eat Right India” movement, a large-scale effort by FSSAI to transform the country’s food system to ensure safe, healthy, and sustainable food for all Indians.
  • Eat Right India adopts a mix of regulatory, capacity-building, collaborative, and empowerment approaches to ensure that our food is suitable both for people and the planet.

Who gives this certification?

  • This certification is granted by FSSAI to railway stations adhering to standard food storage and hygiene practices.
  • The 'Eat Right Station' certification is awarded by FSSAI to railway stations that set benchmarks in providing safe and wholesome food to passengers.
  • The station is awarded a certificate upon a conclusion of an FSSAI-empanelled third-party audit agency with ratings from 1 to 5. The 5-star rating indicates full compliance by the station to ensure safe and hygienic food is available to passengers.

Other 5-Star “Eat Right” Certified Railway Stations:

  • Varanasi Cantt Railway Station is not the only railway station in India to have received the 5-star “Eat Right” certification. Other stations with this distinction include:
    • Anand Vihar Terminal Railway Station (Delhi)
    • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai)
    • Mumbai Central Railway Station (Mumbai)
    • Vadodara Railway Station
    • Chandigarh Railway Station
    • Bhopal Railway Station

What is FSSAI?

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS)


  • The Ministry of Education has approved the continuation of the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS) over the 15th Finance Commission cycle for a period of five years i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

More on the news:

  • The Central Sector Scheme ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ was launched in 2008, after getting approval from CCEA, with the objective to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue their education at secondary stage.
  • One lakh fresh scholarships are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their continuation / renewal in classes X to XII for study in State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools under the scheme.
  • The amount of scholarship is Rs. 12000/- per annum from 1st April 2017 (earlier it was Rs. 6000/- per annum).

Eligibility criteria:

  • Students whose parental income from all sources is not more than Rs. 3,50,000/- per annum are eligible to avail the scholarship.
  • The students must have minimum of 55 % marks or equivalent grade in Class VII examination for appearing in selection test for award of scholarship (relaxable by 5% for SC/ST students).
  • The students should be studying as regular student in a Government, Government-aided and local body school.
  • Students of NVS, KVS and residential schools are not entitled for the scholarship.
  • There is reservation as per State Government norms.

Disbursal of Scholarship:

  • The scheme is fully on boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) from 2018-19.
  • The Ministry sanctions funds from Annual Budget Provision for releasing them to SBI, the implementing bank for scheme for disbursal of scholarships to students directly into their bank accounts by Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) through Public Financial Management System (PFMS).

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)


  • The National Health Authority (NHA) under its flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) has achieved another milestone in building a digitally connected healthcare ecosystem.
  • Union Health Ministry has said that over 25 crore health records of individuals have been linked to their Ayushman Bharat Health Account – ABHA.
  • These records can be easily accessed and managed by individuals using any of the ABDM-enabled health apps.

What is Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)?

  • It was launched by the Indian Government in September 2021 to connect the digital health
    solutions of various hospitals with each other.
  • It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required.
    • Under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, a user can generate their unique ABHA number.
  • The National Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is a implementing Agency.

National Health Authority (NHA):

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) has been constituted as an autonomous entity under the Society Registration Act, 1860 for effective implementation of PM-Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) in alliance with state governments.
  • Functions:
    • Formulation of PMJAY policies
    • Development of operational guidelines
    • Implementation mechanisms
    • Coordination with state governments
    • Monitoring and oversight of PMJAY amongst other.
  • The State Health Agency (SHA) is the apex body of the State Government responsible for the implementation of PM-JAY in the State.

What is Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA)?

  • The ABHA app will be instrumental in helping citizens to create their longitudinal health records.
  • User can use this ABHA number to link their existing and new medical records including doctor prescriptions, lab reports, and hospital records.
  • This digitization of data exchange will ensure better clinical decision making and continuum of care.
  • The World Bank and India recently signed two complementary loans of USD 500 million each to support and enhance the country's healthcare infrastructure.
  • Through this combined financing of USD 1 billion (about ₹8,200 crore), the bank will support India’s flagship Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM).

What is Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)?

  • It is the flagship scheme of the Union government as a part of the Indian government’s National Health Policy launched in September, 2018
  • It provides a health cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh a family a year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, to India’s bottom 40% poor and vulnerable population.
  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme and is jointly funded by both the union government and the states.
  • It is under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Health Sector


  • Artificial intelligence (AI) has made inroads into every sector and healthcare is no exception.
  • Recognising this, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released Ethical Guidelines for AI in Healthcare and Biomedical Research to “guide effective yet safe development, deployment and adoption of AI-based technologies”.

What are the guidelines?

  • Diagnosis and screening, therapeutics, preventive treatments, clinical decision-making, public health surveillance, complex data analysis, predicting disease outcomes, behavioural and mental healthcare and health management systems are among the recognised applications of AI in healthcare by the ICMR.
  • It outlined 10 key patient-centric ethical principles for AI application in the health sector for all stakeholders involved.
    • These are accountability and liability, autonomy, data privacy, collaboration, risk minimisation and safety, accessibility and equity, optimisation of data quality, non-discrimination and fairness, validity and trustworthiness.

Way Forward:

  • Informed consent and governance of AI tools in the health sector are other critical areas highlighted in the guidelines where the latter is still in preliminary stages even in developed countries. India has a host of frameworks which marry technological advances with healthcare.
  • These include the Digital Health Authority for leveraging Digital health Technologies under the National Health Policy (2017), the Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) 2018 and the Medical Device Rules, 2017.


ASHA workers


  • There was an article published recently in the newspaper describing the ASHA worker's views on how she envisions India upon the completion of 100 years of independence.

What are the ASHA workers?

  • One of the key components of the National Rural Health Mission is to provide every village in the country with a trained female community health activist ASHA or Accredited Social Health Activist.
  • Selected from the village itself and accountable to it, the ASHA will be trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
  • Following are the key components of ASHA:
    • ASHA must primarily be a woman resident of the village married/ widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
    • She should be a literate woman with due preference in selection to those who are qualified up to 10 standard wherever they are interested and available in good numbers. This may be relaxed only if no suitable person with this qualification is available.
    • ASHA will be chosen through a rigorous process of selection involving various community groups, self-help groups, Anganwadi Institutions, the Block Nodal officer, District Nodal officer, the village Health Committee and the Gram Sabha.
    • Capacity building of ASHA is being seen as a continuous process. ASHA will have to undergo series of training episodes to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence for performing her spelled out roles.
    • The ASHAs will receive performance-based incentives for promoting universal immunization, referral and escort services for Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) and other healthcare programmes, and construction of household toilets.
    • Empowered with knowledge and a drug-kit to deliver first-contact healthcare, every ASHA is expected to be a fountainhead of community participation in public health programmes in her village.
    • ASHA will be the first port of call for any health related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children, who find it difficult to access health services.


  • Context
    • For newborn girls, Delhi's initiative to get all key certificates at hospital itself.
  • Aim
    • The programme aims to complete essential services such as provision of a birth certificate, Aadhaar card registration, and opening a bank account for girls delivered in government hospitals in the district before mother and baby are discharged.
    • The basic aim of most of these schemes is to protect the birth of the girl child, and to facilitate a safe and secure environment and education for her
    • Additionally, it also aims to get registration for schemes for girl children and mothers such as the Sukanya Samriddhi Account scheme, the Ladli scheme, and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana done at the hospital itself.
    • The idea is providing a one-stop solution so that parents won’t have to go from here to there, trying to avail of essential scheme.
    • Apart from ensuring that schemes reach target beneficiaries and protecting the interests of girl children, the programme also aims to promote institutional deliveries.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
    • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana  (PMMVY) is a Maternity Benefit Programme that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
    • Objectives
      • Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentive s so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
      • The cash incentive provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW& LM).
    • Target beneficiaries
      • A Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, excluding PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
      • All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 01.01.2017 for first child in family.
      • The date and stage of pregnancy for a beneficiary would be counted with respect to her LMP date as mentioned in the MCP card.
      • Case of Miscarriage/Still Birth :
      • A beneficiary is eligible to receive benefits under the scheme only once.
      • In case of miscarriage/still birth, the beneficiary would be eligible to claim the remaining instalment(s) in event of any future pregnancy.
      • Thus, after receiving the 1st instalment, if the beneficiary has a miscarriage, she would only be eligible for receiving 2nd and 3rd instalment in event of future pregnancy subject to fulfilment of eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme. Similarly, if the beneficiary has a miscarriage or still birth after receiving 1 st and 2nd instalments, she would only be eligible for receiving 3rd instalment in event of future pregnancy subject to fulfilment of eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme.
      • Case of Infant Mortality: A beneficiary is eligible to receive benefits under the scheme only once. That is, in case of infant mortality, she will not be eligible for claiming benefits under the scheme, if she has already received all the instalments of the maternity benefit under PMMVY earlier.
      • Pregnant and Lactating AWWs/ AWHs/ ASHA may also avail the benefits under the PMMVY subject to fulfilment of scheme conditionalities.
    • Benefits under PMMVY
      • Cash incentive of Rs 5000 in three instalments i.e. first instalment of Rs 1000/ – on early registration of pregnancy at the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) / approved Health facility as may be identified by the respective administering State / UT, second instalment of Rs 2000/ – after six months of pregnancy on receiving at least one ante-natal check-up (ANC) and third instalment of Rs 2000/ – after child birth is registered and the child has received the first cycle of BCG, OPV, DPT and Hepatitis – B, or its equivalent/ substitute.
      • The eligible beneficiaries would receive the incentive given under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Institutional delivery and the incentive received under JSY would be accounted towards maternity benefits so that on an average a woman gets Rs 6000 / – .



  • Context: 
    • WHO highlights urgent need to transform mental health and mental health care through World Mental Health Report
  • Highlights of the Report
    • Report urges mental health decision makers and advocates to step up commitment and action to change attitudes, actions and approaches to mental health, its determinants and mental health care.
    • In 2019, nearly a billion people – including 14% of the world’s adolescents – were living with a mental disorder.
    • Suicide accounted for more than 1 in 100 deaths and 58% of suicides occurred before age 50.
    • Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability, causing one in six years lived with disability.
    • People with severe mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to preventable physical diseases.
    • Childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimization are major causes of depression.
    • Social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global, structural threats to mental health.
    • Depression and anxiety went up by more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic alone.
  • What Is Mental Health?
    • Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.
    • It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
    • Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
      • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
      • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
      • Family history of mental health problems
  • Stigma Associated
    • Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against people with mental health conditions are widespread in communities and care systems everywhere.
    • 20 countries still criminalize attempted suicide.
    • Across countries, it is the poorest and most disadvantaged in society who are at greatest risk of mental ill-health and who are also the least likely to receive adequate services.
  • Mental Healthcare scenario
    • Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, just a small fraction of people in need had access to effective, affordable and quality mental health care.
    • For example, 71% of those with psychosis worldwide do not receive mental health services.
    • While 70% of people with psychosis are reported to be treated in high-income countries, only 12% of people with psychosis receive mental health care in low-income countries.
    • For depression, the gaps in service coverage are wide across all countries: even in high-income countries, only one third of people with depression receive formal mental health care and minimally-adequate treatment for depression is estimated to range from 23% in high-income countries to 3% in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
  • Challenges related to Mental Health
    • Lack of Resources – Very low proportion of mental health workforce(per 100,000 population).
      • psychiatrists (0.3)
      • nurses (0.12)
      • psychologists (0.07) and
      • social workers (0.07).
    • High Public Health Burden
    • Very Less Awareness – People tend to ignore the early symptoms.
    • Mental Health not given as much importnace as physical health.
    • Post treatment gap
    • Stigma Associated
  • Steps taken by government to bridge the gap

    • National Mental Health Program
      • Poor awareness about symptoms of mental illness, myths & stigma related to it, lack of knowledge on the treatment availability & potential benefits of seeking treatment are important causes for the high treatment gap. The Government of India has launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982, with the following objectives:
        • To ensure the availability and accessibility of minimum mental healthcare for all in the foreseeable future, particularly to the most vulnerable and underprivileged sections of the population;
        • To encourage the application of mental health knowledge in general healthcare and in social development; and
        • To promote community participation in the mental health service development and to stimulate efforts towards self-help in the community.
        • The District Mental Health Program (DMHP) was launched under NMHP in the year 1996 (in IX Five Year Plan). The DMHP was based on ‘Bellary Model’ with the following components:
        • Early detection & treatment.
        • Training: imparting short term training to general physicians for diagnosis and treatment of common mental illnesses with limited number of drugs under guidance of specialist. The Health workers are being trained in identifying mentally ill persons.
        • IEC: Public awareness generation.
        • Monitoring: the purpose is for simple Record Keeping.
    • Kiran Helpline – In 2020, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline ‘Kiran’ to provide support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.
    • Manodarpan: The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) launched it under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.
  • Way Forward
    • Drawing on the latest evidence available, showcasing examples of good practice, and voicing people’s lived experience, WHO’s comprehensive report highlights why and where change is most needed and how it can best be achieved.
    • It calls on all stakeholders to work together to deepen the value and commitment given to mental health, reshape the environments that influence mental health and strengthen the systems that care for people’s mental health.
    • All 194 WHO Member States have signed up to the Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013–2030, which commits them to global targets for transforming mental health. 


  • Context
    • Union Government introduced new rules for Child Welfare Committee panel members and Chairpersons. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Amendment) Model Amendment Rules 2022 was implemented recently.
  • What are the norms?
    • It bars a person associated with an organisation receiving foreign funds to be a Chairperson or member of the Child Welfare Committees (CWC).
    • The rules also says that any person working in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in any NGO or organisation will also be ineligible to be on a CWC.
    • It adds that those who have “any family member” or “close relation” working for an NGO will also be disqualified to be on a CWC.
    • A person representing someone running a child care institution or member of the Board or Trust of any NGO can also not be on a CWC.
    • Retired judicial officers have also been omitted from the category of persons who can be considered for appointment to a CWC.
  • Child Welfare Committees
    • CWCs are constituted by the State government under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
    • It was tasked with giving necessary directions for care and protection of children who are abused, exploited, abandoned or orphaned.
    • It can also order an inquiry to ensure their safety and well-being and give an order for their rehabilitation either in family-based care such as through restoration to family or guardian, adoption, foster care or send them to child care institutions.
    • According to the JJ Act, 2015, the CWC will function as a Bench.
    • It shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
    •  But, experts opined that these rules will reduce the pool of human resource available for appointments to CWC.


  • Context
    • Recently, The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) has conducted an operation code-named “Megh Chakra”.
  • About the Operation
    • It is a pan-India drive against the circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
    • Searches at 59 locations across 20 States and one Union Territory were conducted.
    • It has been alleged that a large number of Indian nationals were involved in the online circulation, downloading and transmission of the CSAM using cloud-based storage.
    • The operation is sought to collate information from various law enforcement agencies in India, engage with the relevant law enforcement agencies globally and coordinate closely through the Interpol channels on the issue.
    • The probe had led to the identification of over 50 groups with more than 5,000 offenders, including the nationals of about 100 countries.
    • A similar exercise code named “Operation Carbon” was conducted by CBI in November 2021.
  • Issues Related to Child Sexual Abuse
    • Multi-layered Problem: Child sexual abuse is a multi-layered problem which negatively impacts children’s physical safety, mental health, well-being and behavioural aspects.
    • Amplification Due to Digital Technologies: Mobile and digital technologies have further amplified child abuse and exploitation. New forms of child abuse like online bullying, harassment and Child Pornography have also emerged.
    • Ineffective Legislation: Although Government of India has enacted the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSO Act), it has failed to protect children from sexual abuse. The reasons for this can be the following:
      • Low Conviction Rate: The rate of conviction under the POCSO act is only about 32% if one takes the average of the past 5 years and the percentage of cases pending is 90%.
      • Judicial Delay: The Kathua Rape case took 16 months for the main accused to be convicted whereas the POCSO Act clearly mentions that the entire trial and conviction process has to be done in one year.
      • Unfriendly to Child: Challenges related to age-determination of the child. Especially laws that focus on biological age and not mental age.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
    • It was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children.
    • It defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
    • It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.
    • It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
    • It also casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process.
    • The Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
    • It was amended in August 2019 to provide more stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for sexual crimes against children.
  • Related Constitutional Provisions
    • The Constitution guarantees to every child the right to live with dignity (Article 21), the right to personal liberty (Article 21), the right to privacy (Article 21), the right to equality (Article 14) and/or the right against discrimination (Article 15), the right against exploitation (Article 23 & 24).
      • Right to free and compulsory elementary education for all children in the 6–14-year age group (Article 21 A).
    • The Directive Principles of State Policy, and in particular Article 39(f), cast an obligation on the State to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
  • Related Initiatives
    • Child Abuse Prevention and Investigation Unit
    • Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
    • Juvenile Justice Act/Care and Protection Act, 2000
    • Child Marriage Prohibition Act (2006)
    • Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 2016

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS)


  • Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative launched by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

More about the Tele-MANAS initiative:

  • Acknowledging the mental health crisis in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and an urgent need to establish a digital mental health network that will withstand the challenges amplified by the pandemic, the Government of India announced National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) in the Union Budget 2022-23.
  • Tele-MANAS aims to provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas.
  • The programme includes a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre and the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing technology support. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bengaluru and the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHRSC) will provide technical support.
  • A toll-free, 24/7 helpline number (14416) has been set up across the country allowing callers to select the language of choice for availing services.

  • Tele-MANAS will be organised in two-tier system;
    • Tier 1 comprises of state Tele-MANAS cells which include trained counsellors and mental health specialists.
    • Tier 2 will comprise of specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)/Medical College resources for physical consultation and/or e-Sanjeevani for audio-visual consultation.
  • Presently there are 5 regional coordination centres along with 51 State/UT Tele MANAS cells.

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS):

  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences is a medical institution in Bangalore, India.
  • NIMHANS is the apex centre for mental health and neuroscience education in the country. It is an Institute of National Importance that operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • NIMHANS is ranked 4th best medical institute in India, in the current National Institutional Ranking Framework.

Global Hunger Index


  • In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 29.1, India has a level of hunger that is serious.

About Global Hunger Index:

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
  • The GHI is prepared by European NGOs of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
  • GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators:
    • Undernourishment: the share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
    • Child stunting: the share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
    • Child wasting: the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
    • Child mortality: the share of children who die before their fifth birthday, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.
  • Based on the values of the four indicators, a GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
  • Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.

India’s Performance in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) – 2022:

  • Barring war-torn Afghanistan, India has performed worse than all the countries in the South Asian region. India has ranked 107 out of 121 countries.
    • India ranked 101 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021.
  • India has a score of 29.1 which places it under ‘serious’ category.
  • India and Neighboring Countries:
    • Among the South Asian countries, India (107) is ranked below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99).

Other countries:

  • Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China and Croatia are the top five countries in GHI 2022.
  • Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the Central African Republic and Yemen are the bottom (worst) five countries in GHI 2022.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) – 2022


  • Recently, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2022 – Unpacking deprivation bundles to reduce multidimensional poverty was released.
  • It was released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
  • The MPI monitors deprivations in 10 indicators spanning health, education and standard of living and includes both incidences as well as the intensity of poverty.

India’s Performance:

  • For the first time, the report dedicated a special section focusing on the 15-year trend of poverty in India.
  • Over the past 15 years, the number of poor people has declined by 415 million.
  • The incidence of poverty declined from 55.1 per cent to 16.4 per cent over the past 15 years.
  • However, India still has the highest number of poor people in the world and Nigeria has the second-highest poor population.

Global Level Performance:

  • In 111 countries, 1.2 billion people (19.1%) live in acute multidimensional poverty. 593 million (50%) of these people are minors under the age of 18.
  • The developing region with the highest prevalence of multidimensional poverty is Sub- Saharan Africa (nearly 579 million), followed by South Asia (385 million).
  • The pandemic has reversed the progress made in multidimensional poverty by 3 to 10 years.

Global and Indian Initiatives:

Toilets 2.0 Campaign


  • The Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Shri Hardeep Singh Puri launched Toilets 2.0 campaign at a national event organized today at Bengaluru, Karnataka on the occasion of the World Toilet Day 2022.
  • The campaign aims to  change the face  of public and community toilets in urban India through collective action involving citizens and Urban Local Bodies.

What is Toilets 2.0 Campaign?

  • India is set to go beyond the Open Defecation Free (ODF) narrative. Aims to change the face of public and community toilets in urban India through collective action involving citizens and Urban Local Bodies.
  • The campaign has five thematic areas:
    • ‘People for Toilets’
    • ‘Partners for Toilets’
    • A design challenge under the ‘Design Toilets’ theme
    • ‘Rate your Toilet’
    • ‘My thoughts – Our Toilets’
  • The campaign will energise and bring States, cities and citizens together to take forward a rich sanitation legacy under the Swachh Bharat Mission that will script the Toilets 2.0 journey of India.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action or BPfA


  • The 16 Days of Activism run annually from November 25, which is International Day of Violence against Women, to December 10, which is International Human Rights Day.
  • Due to this event, BPfA was in news.

What is Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action or BPfA?

  • The Beijing Declaration of 1995 marked a significant turning point in the global movement for gender equality.
  • The Beijing Declaration was a resolution adopted by the UN at the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women. The resolution adopted to promulgate a set of principles concerning the equality of men and women.
  • 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), (Beijing + 25).

World Conferences on Women:

  • The United Nations has organized 4 world conferences on women as follows:
    • Mexico City,1975
    • Copenhagen,1980
    • Nairobi,1985
    • Beijing,1995
  • The 1995 4th World Conference on Women (WCW), held in Beijing, was one of the largest ever gatherings of the United Nations, and a critical turning point in the world’s focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • The Beijing Declaration was adopted unanimously the UN at the end of the 4th WCW.

Social Progress Index (SPI)


  • Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the Social Progress Index (SPI) for states and districts of India.

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM):

  • It is an independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Prime Minister.
  • EAC-PM is responsible for analysing and advising the Prime Minister on any issue of macroeconomic importance that the Prime Minister refers to.
  • These could be either suo-motu or on reference from the Prime Minister or anyone else.
  • They also include attending to any other task as may be desired by the Prime Minister from time to time.

What is Social Progress Index (SPI)?

  • SPI is a comprehensive tool that can serve as a holistic measure of a country's social progress at the national and sub-national levels.
  • The index assesses states and districts based on 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress – Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.
  • The index uses an extensive framework comprising 89 indicators at the state level and 49 at the district level.
    • Basic Human Needs assess the performance of states and districts in terms of Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Personal Safety and Shelter.
    • Foundations of Wellbeing evaluates the progress made by the country across the components of Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communication, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Quality.
    • Opportunity focuses on Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Inclusiveness, and Access to Advanced Education.
  • Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress. The tiers are
    • Tier 1: Very High Social Progress;
    • Tier 2: High Social Progress;
    • Tier 3: Upper Middle Social Progress;
    • Tier 4: Lower Middle Social Progress;
    • Tier 5: Low Social Progress; and
    • Tier 6: Very Low Social Progress.


  • Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country, attributable to its remarkable performance across components like Personal Freedom and Choice, Shelter, and Water and Sanitation.
  • Lakshadweep and Goa closely follow it with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively.
  • Jharkhand and Bihar scored the lowest, 43.95 and 44.47, respectively.

Atal New India Challenge (ANIC)


  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog today launched Woman centric challenges under phase-II of the 2nd edition of the Atal New India Challenge (ANIC).

What is Atal new India Challenge (ANIC)?

  • ANIC is an initiative by AIM, NITI Aayog targeted to seek, select, support and nurture technology-based innovations that solve sectoral challenges of national importance and societal relevance. through a grant-based mechanism of up to INR 1 crore.
  • Keeping in mind that “a woman is an architect of society”, ANIC’s Woman centric challenges address the major issues faced by woman from all spheres of life.
  • These include driving women hygiene through innovation, innovations to improve women’s safety, professional networking opportunities for women, innovations that make working mothers’ life better, and easing the life of Rural Women.

What is Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)?

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) was launched by the NITI Ayog as an innovation promotion platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers utilizing national and international experience to promote the culture of innovation, R and D in India particularly in technology oriented areas.
  • Major Initiatives:
    • Atal Tinkering Labs
    • Atal Incubation Centers
    • Atal New India Challenges
    • Mentor India Campaign
    • Atal Community Innovation Center
    • Atal Research and Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE)

CLAP Campaign


  • The Andhra Pradesh government had on October 2 started the Clean Andhra Pradesh (CLAP)-Jagananna Swachha Sankalpam programme to clean up rural areas, improve sanitation conditions and waste management with public participation.
  • Rural households are told not to dispose of garbage on the streets and instead hand it over to the garbage collector.

More on the news:

  • CLAP campaign was launched with the aim of segregating liquid and solid waste, encouraging home composting and onsite waste treatment, apart from door-to-door collection of garbage. It also seeks to make the rural areas free of open defecation.

SeHAT Initiative


  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has introduced medical teleconsultation services for veterans and serving military people using an online medical consultation platform called Services e-Health Assistance and Teleconsultation (SeHAT).

What is SeHAT?

  • Services e-Health Assistance and Teleconsultation (SeHAT) is the tri-services teleconsultation service of the MoD designed for all entitled personnel and their families.
  • SeHAT stay home OPD is a patient-to-doctor system where the patient can consult a doctor remotely through the internet using his Smartphone, laptop, Desktop or Tablet.
  • The consultation occurs through video, audio and chat at the same time.
  • It aims to provide quality healthcare services to patients from the comfort of their homes.
  • Safe and structured video-based clinical consultations between a doctor in a hospital, and a patient within the confines of his or her home anywhere in the country, have been enabled.

World Day of Social Justice


  • Every year, February 20 marks the World Day of Social Justice across the globe.
  • This is the day is marked to raise voices against social injustice and remove barriers regarding gender, race, inequality, religious discrimination, etc. It also highlights the social injustice done throughout the world and looks into the solutions and improvements.

More on the news:

  • On 26 November 2007, the UN General Assembly declared 20 February as the annual World Day of Social Justice. In 2009, this day was first observed.
  • This year's theme is “Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice” which focuses on the recommendations of the United Nations (UN) to strengthen global solidarity and rebuild trust in governments.
  • This day promotes awareness of social injustice and breaking down barriers based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or handicap. Several schools, colleges, and universities hold numerous activities and  events on this particular day. So that people across the world understand the need to uphold social justice values.

Mission Shakti


  • The Supreme Court of India has recently asked the government to provide more information about Mission Shakti, a scheme launched in 2017 with the aim of ensuring the safety, security, and empowerment of women across the country.

What is Mission Shakti?

  • Mission Shakti is a comprehensive scheme launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in India, aimed at ensuring the safety and empowerment of women across the country.
  • The scheme is designed to address issues affecting women at all stages of their life cycle and make them equal partners in nation-building by promoting convergence and citizen ownership.
  • The scheme consists of two sub-schemes, Sambal and Samarthya.
    • Sambal focuses on the safety and security of women and includes several previously existing schemes such as the One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline (WHL), and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), along with a new component called Nari Adalats.
      • Nari Adalats are women's collectives established to promote and facilitate alternative dispute resolution and gender justice in society and within families.
    • The Samarthya sub-scheme, on the other hand, focuses on women's empowerment and includes several previously existing schemes such as Ujjwala, Swadhar Greh, Working Women Hostel, and the National Creche Scheme.
  • In addition, the scheme includes the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, which provides financial assistance to pregnant and lactating women, and a new component called Gap Funding for Economic Empowerment.

Porter Prize 2023


  • In a significant achievement towards recognizing efforts in health sector and especially COVID management, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) received the Porter Prize 2023.
  • The prize was announced at “The India Dialog” organized by Institute for Competitiveness (IFC) and US Asia Technology Management Center (USATMC) at Stanford University.

What is Porter Prize?

  • Porter Prize is named after Michael E. Porter, an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher.
    • He has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment and healthcare.
    • His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. 

Why MoHFW awarded this prize?

  • The prize recognizes the strategy followed by the Government of India in managing COVID-19, the approach, and involvement of various stakeholders especially involvement of ASHA workers in the industry to create PPE Kits.
  • It was  also noted that “the idea of vaccine development and vaccine manufacturing and the scale that India achieved, was tremendous.
  • India has delivered more than 2.5 billion doses today, which has just been amazing. The ministry took all the necessary steps to combat the Covid situation in the country.”



  • In the Union Budget 2023, the Government of India allocated Rs 100 crores for the NAMASTE scheme. With this, the GoI aims to mechanize septic tank cleaning and sewer cleaning in towns and cities.

What is National Action Plan for Mechanized sanitation ecosystem (NAMASTE) Scheme?

  • NAMASTE envisages safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India by creating an enabling ecosystem that recognizes sanitation workers as one of the key contributors in operations and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  • It is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).
    • It is being jointly implemented by MoSJE and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • NAMASTE aims to achieve the following outcomes:
    • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India.
    • All sanitation work is performed by skilled workers.
    • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter.
    • Sanitation workers are collectivized into SHGs and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises.
    • All Sewer and Septic tank  sanitation workers (SSWs) have access to alternative livelihoods
    • Strengthened supervisory and monitoring systems at national, state and ULB levels to ensure enforcement and monitoring of safe sanitation work.
    • Increased awareness amongst sanitation services seekers (individuals and institutions) to seek services from registered and skilled sanitation workers.
  • National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation(NSKFDC) would be implementing  agency for NAMASTE.

What is National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation(NSKFDC)?

  • National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation(NSKFDC),  A wholly owned Govt. of India Undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (M/o SJ&E) was set up on  24th January 1997  as a Company “Not for Profit” under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. 
  • NSKFDC is in operation since October, 1997, as an Apex Corporation for the all round socio-economic upliftment of the Safai Karamcharis, Scavengers and their dependants throughout India,through various loan and non-loan based schemes.

Women and Men in India, 2022


  • Recently, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released Women and Men in India 2022 report.

What is Women and Men in India, 2022?

  • The publication “Women and Men in India”is a comprehensive and insightful  document that provides data on a wide range of topics such as education, health, employment, and political participation, among others.
  • It presents data disaggregated by gender, urban-rural divide, and geographical region, which helps us understand the disparities that exist between different groups of women and men.
  • The book is published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) and has been released annually since 1995.

Key Findings:

  • The sex ratio at birth went up by three points to 907 in 2018-20 from 904 in 2017-19.
    • India’s sex ratio (females per 1,000 males) is expected to improve to 952 by 2036, up significantly from 943 in 2011.
  • The population growth, already on a downward trend from 2.2% in 1971 to 1.1% in 2021, is projected to fall further to 0.58% in 2036.
    • In absolute figures, this translates into 1.2 billion people with 48.5% female population as per Census 2011 to an expected 1.5 billion in 2036 with a marginal improvement in the female population share (48.8%).
  • India’s Labour Force Participation Rate for those above 15 years of age has been on the rise since 2017-2018.
    • However, women are severely lagging behind men. The rate was 77.2 for males and 32.8 for females in 2021-22, with no improvement in this disparity over the years.
  • India’s age and sex structure, as per which the population under 15 years of age is expected to decline and the population above 60 years is expected to increase by 2036.
    • Accordingly, the population pyramid will undergo a shift as the base of the pyramid in 2036 would narrow down, while the middle would be broadened.

Population, Women, Urbanisation:

Ima Keithel or Mothers’ Market


  • External Affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted pictures of his visit to Manipur’s Ima market, calling it a “great example of nari shakti (women’s power) powering economic growth”.

What is Ima Keithel or Mothers’ Market?

  • The Ima Market (Ima Keithel; literally, Mothers' Market), also known as the Nupi Keithel (English: Women's Market) or the Khwairamband Keithel (English: Khwairamband Market), is a market in the middle of Imphal in the Indian state of Manipur.
  • It is the only market in the world run entirely by women. Inside the market, male shopkeepers and vendors are not allowed to sell anything.
  • The Government of Manipur has announced that the male shopkeepers and vendors will be punished if their shops and vendors are found inside the market.
  • It is a commercial center and a popular tourist attraction in the state of Manipur.
  • It was established in the 16th century and hosts around 5,000–6,000 women vendors who sell a variety of products.
  • Products such as vegetables, fruits, textiles, toys, fish, spices and utensils are available in the market.
  • It is the largest all-women market in Asia.

History of the Ima Keithel:

  • The Ima Market is centuries-old, and has its origins in Lallup Kaba, an ancient bonded labour system.
  • Under the system, Meitei men had to compulsorily serve some time working in the military and on other civil projects, keeping them away from home.
  • The women, thus, were left to manage on their own, and they developed a market system which is today the Ima Keithel.

World Population Prospects 2022


  • India is anticipated to overtake China as the world's most populated nation in 2023, according to the World Population Prospects (WPP) 2022 edition.

What is World Population Prospects 2022?

  • The population division of the United Nations has been publishing the ‘World Population Prospects’, biennially, since 1951.
  • It provides an overview of population trends from 1950 to 2050. Each revision of the WPP provides a historical background of population indicators since 1950.

Key Findings:

  • The global population is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.
  • In 2020, the global growth rate fell under 1% per year for the first time since 1950.
  • More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission


  • Aibawk cluster in the Aizwal district of Mizoram has become the first cluster to be completed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM).
  • SPMRM was launched by the  Prime Minister in February 2016 with a vision to provide amenities to rural areas which are perceived to be urban and have the potential to stimulate local economic development. Such clusters were selected for well-planned and holistic development.

What is Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM)?

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in 2016 to deliver integrated project-based infrastructure in rural areas, which will also include the development of economic activities and skill development. 
  • The main aim of the mission is to bridge the gap between rural and urban populations by providing equal facilities, technology, and social-economic development.
  • SPMRM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). 
  • The Mission has 2 fund streams: Convergence through various schemes (Central sector, centrally sponsored schemes, State sector/ sponsored schemes/ programmes, CSR funds etc) and Critical Gap Funds (CGF).

What is Rurban?

  • The word rurban (rural+urban) refers to a geographic territory /landscape which possess the economic characteristics and lifestyles of an urban area while retaining its essential rural area features.


  • Context: Nearly 5 million people in India internally displaced due to climate change, disasters in 2021: UN
  • Displacement due to Climate Change
    • The largest displacements in the context of disasters in 2021 occurred in China (6.0 million), the Philippines (5.7 million) and India (4.9 million).
    • Most disaster displacements during the year were temporary
    • Nearly five million people in India were internally displaced due to climate change and disasters in 2021, the United Nations has said in a report.
  • Other Reasons for Displacement
    • The annual Global Trends Report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) highlighted that globally 100 million people were forced to flee their homes last year due to
      • violence
      • human rights abuses
      • food insecurity
      • the climate crisis
      • war in Ukraine and other emergencies from Africa to Afghanistan.
      • According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in 2021, there were 23.7 million new internal displacements globally due to disasters (these are in addition to those internally displaced due to conflict and violence). This represented a decrease of seven million, or 23 per cent, compared to the previous year.
      • The largest displacements in the context of disasters in 2021 occurred in China (6.0 million), the Philippines (5.7 million) and India (4.9 million). Most disaster displacements during the year were temporary.
  • Status of Migrants
    • The majority of the internally displaced persons returned to their home areas, but 5.9 million people worldwide remained displaced at the end of the year due to disasters.
    • The UN agency said that the number of people forced to flee their homes has increased every year over the past decade and stands at the highest level since records began, a trend that can be only reversed by a new, concerted push towards peacemaking.
    • By the end of 2021, those displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses stood at 89.3 million, up eight per cent on a year earlier and well over double the figure of 10 years ago.
    • While the latest global trends report reflects the period of January 2021 to December 2021, the UN agency said it is impossible to ignore the developments that have happened in early 2022, including the Russian war against Ukraine.
    • The report said that at the end of 2021, 89.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, including 27.1 million refugees, 21.3 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, 5.8 million Palestine refugees under United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’s (UNRWA) mandate, 53.2 million internally displaced people, 4.6 million asylum seekers and 4.4 million Venezuelans displaced abroad.
    • Asylum seekers submitted 1.4 million new claims. The United States of America was the world’s largest recipient of new individual applications (188,900), followed by Germany (148,200), Mexico (132,700), Costa Rica (108,500) and France (90,200).
    • By May 2022, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.
  • Migrants Hardships
    • The UN agency said that food scarcity, inflation and the climate crisis are adding to people’s hardship. The number of refugees rose in 2021 to 27.1 million. Arrivals climbed in Uganda, Chad and Sudan among others, it added.
    • Most refugees were, once again, hosted by neighbouring countries with few resources. The number of asylum seekers reached 4.6 million, up 11 per cent.
    • Last year also saw the 15th straight annual rise in people displaced within their countries by conflict, to 53.2 million. The increase was driven by mounting violence or conflict in some places, for example Myanmar.
    • The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray and other regions has spurred the flight of millions within the country. Insurgencies in the Sahel drove fresh internal displacement, particularly in Burkina Faso and Chad.


  • Context 
    • Education Ministry releases Performance Grading Index for Districts for school system for the sessions 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • About
    • Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) in the country assesses the performance of school education system at the district level by creating an index for comprehensive analysis.
    • The Indian Education System is one of the largest in the world with about 15 lakh schools, 97 lakh teachers, and nearly 26 crore students from varied socio-economic backgrounds.
    • DoSE&L had devised the Performance Grading Index (PGI) for States and released its report for the reference years 2017-18 to 2019-20.
    • Based on the success of the State PGI, an 83-indicator-based PGI for District (PGI-D) was designed to grade the performance of all the districts in school education.
  • Objectives
    • The PGI-D is expected to help the state education departments to identify gaps at the district level and improve their performance in a decentralized manner.
    • The indicator-wise PGI score shows the areas where a district needs to improve. The PGI-D will reflect the relative performance of all the districts in a uniform scale which encourages them to perform better.
  • Indicators 
    • The PGI-D structure comprises a total weightage of 600 points across 83 indicators, which are grouped under six categories– Outcomes, Effective Classroom Transaction, Infrastructure Facilities and Student’s Entitlements, School Safety and Child Protection, Digital Learning, and Governance Process.
    • These categories are further divided into 12 domains, viz.,
      • Learning Outcomes and Quality (LO),
      • Access Outcomes (AO),
      • Teacher Availability and Professional Development Outcomes (TAPDO),
      • Learning Management (LM),
      • Learning Enrichment Activities (LEA),
      • Infrastructure,
      • Facilities,
      • Student Entitlements (IF&SE),
      • School Safety and Child Protection (SS&CP),
      • Digital Learning (DL),
      • Funds convergence and utilization (FCV),
      • Enhancing CRCs Performance (CRCP),
      • Attendance Monitoring Systems (AMS) and School Leadership Development (SLD).
  • Grading
    • PGI-D has graded the districts into ten grades viz.
      • Highest achievable Grade is Daksh, which is for the districts scoring more than 90 per cent of the total points in that category or overall.
      • The lowest grade in PGI-D is called Akanshi-3 which is for scores upto 10 per cent of the total points.


  • Context
    • New research: Better road safety measures could save half a million lives annually worldwide
  • Findings
    • The benefits of more motorcyclists wearing helmets would be the biggest in China, where 13,703 lives could be saved every year, followed by Brazil (5,802 lives), and India (5,683 lives), says the study published in The Lancet.
    • An estimated 121,083 and 51,698 lives could be saved by passing and enforcing rules on wearing seat belts and motorcycle helmets respectively.
    • New global and country-level estimates suggest that routinely wearing helmets and seat belts, obeying speed limits, and avoiding driving drunk could save between 347,000 and 540,000 lives worldwide every year.
    • Analysis of data from 74 studies in 185 countries estimates that targeting four key risk factors for road injuries and deaths (speeding, drink driving, and non-use of crash helmets and seat belts) could prevent between 25% and 40% of all fatal road injuries worldwide every year.
    • Interventions to reduce speeding such as infrastructure changes and electronic speed control could save an estimated 347,258 lives globally each year, while measures to tackle drunk driving such as enhanced drink driving enforcement could save a further 16,304 lives, the study says.
    • An estimated 121,083 and 51,698 lives could be saved by passing and enforcing rules on wearing seat belts and motorcycle helmets respectively.
    • Improving seat belt use would have a particularly large effect on reducing road deaths in the United States (saving an estimated 14,121 lives every year) and China (13,228). Tackling speeding would be the single most effective measure to reduce road fatalities in most countries, preventing an estimated 88,374 deaths in China, 1,027 in Spain, and 815 in the United Kingdom.
  • Situation in India
    • Deaths on roads are a major problem in India.
    • Each year road accidents kill about 150,000 people and injure another 450,000 in the country.
    • The World Bank noted in a report this month that with only 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles, India accounts for almost 10 per cent of all crash related deaths.
    • Witnessing 53 road crashes every hour; road accidents are killing 1 person every 4 minutes.
    • The 2019 World Bank report, titled 'Guide for Road Safety Opportunities and Challenges: Low- and Middle-Income Countries Country Profiles', puts the road crash and serious injury cost estimate at 7.5 per cent of India's GDP or Rs 12.9 lakh crore for 2016.
  • Justice Radhakrishnan committee:
    • It has pointed out serious lapses in implementation of safety laws by States, which has led to increasing number of road fatalities.
    • It asked the State governments to formulate their respective State Road Safety policies besides setting up State Road Safety Councils.
    • States have to draw up a protocol to identify black spots on their roads and their removal.
    • The committee directed the States to strengthen enforcement on drunken driving, over speeding, red light jumping and helmet and seat belt laws.
    • Other directions include, tightening of road patrols on highways, establishment of road safety fund to which a portion of traffic fines collected would go to finance road safety expenses and remove encroachments on pedestrian paths, among others.
  • Steps taken by the government to prevent Road Accidents
    • Motor Vehicle Amendment Act that imposes stricter penalties of monetary fine and imprisonment on violation of traffic rules.
    • Education and Awareness
      • Observance of National Road Safety Month/week every year.
    • National Road Safety Policy
      • This Policy outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws etc.
    • Model Driving Training Institutes
      • Setting up of model driving training institutes in States.


  • Context
    • In a first, Chhattisgarh recognises CFR rights of village inside national park.The CFR rights of Gudiyapadar hamlet, which comprises of 403 hectares of forest area and consists of four reserved forest compartments inside the Kanger Ghati National Park, was recognised.
  • What is a community forest resource?
    • The community forest resource area is the common forest land that has been traditionally protected and conserved for sustainable use by a particular community. The community uses it to access resources available within the traditional and customary boundary of the village; and for seasonal use of landscape in case of pastoralist communities.
    • Each CFR area has a customary boundary with identifiable landmarks recognised by the community and its neighboring villages. It may include forest of any category – revenue forest, classified & unclassified forest, deemed forest, DLC land, reserve forest, protected forest, sanctuary and national parks etc.
  • What are Community Forest Resource rights?
    • The Community Forest Resource rights under Section 3(1)(i) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (commonly referred to as the Forest Rights Act or the FRA) provide for recognition of the right to “protect, regenerate or conserve or manage” the community forest resource.
    • These rights allow the community to formulate rules for forest use by itself and others and thereby discharge its responsibilities under Section 5 of the FRA.
    • CFR rights, along with Community Rights (CRs) under Sections 3(1)(b) and 3(1)(c), which include nistar rights and rights over non-timber forest products, ensure sustainable livelihoods of the community.
    • These rights give the authority to the Gram Sabha to adopt local traditional practices of forest conservation and management within the community forest resource boundary.
  • Why is the recognition of CFR rights important?
    • Aimed at undoing the “historic injustice” meted out to forest-dependent communities due to curtailment of their customary rights over forests, the FRA came into force in 2008.
    • It is important as it recognises the community’s right to use, manage and conserve forest resources, and to legally hold forest land that these communities have used for cultivation and residence.
    • It also underlines the integral role that forest dwellers play in sustainability of forests and in conservation of biodiversity.
    • It is of greater significance inside protected forests like national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves as traditional dwellers then become a part of management of the protected forests using their traditional wisdom.
  • Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition Of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
    • The Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 recognizes the rights of the forest dwelling tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on which these communities were dependent for a variety of needs, including livelihood, habitation and other socio-cultural needs. T
    • he forest management policies, including the Acts, Rules and Forest Policies of Participatory Forest Management policies in both colonial and post-colonial India, did not, till the enactment of this Act, recognize the symbiotic relationship of the STs with the forests, reflected in their dependence on the forest as well as in their traditional wisdom regarding conservation of the forests.
    • The Act encompasses Rights of Self-cultivation and Habitation which are usually regarded as Individual rights; and Community Rights as Grazing, Fishing and access to Water bodies in forests, Habitat Rights for PVTGs, Traditional Seasonal Resource access of Nomadic and Pastoral community, access to biodiversity, community right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge, recognition of traditional customary rights and right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource for sustainable use. It also provides rights to allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to fulfil basic infrastructural needs of the community.
    • In conjunction with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Settlement Act, 2013 FRA protects the tribal population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.
    • The Act further enjoins upon the Gram Sabha and rights holders the responsibility of conservation and protection of bio-diversity, wildlife, forests, adjoining catchment areas, water sources and other ecologically sensitive areas as well as to stop any destructive practices affecting these resources or cultural and natural heritage of the tribals.
    • The Gram Sabha is also a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.
    • Thus, the Act empowers the forest dwellers to access and use the forest resources in the manner that they were traditionally accustomed, to protect, conserve and manage forests, protect forest dwellers from unlawful evictions and also provides for basic development facilities for the community of forest dwellers to access facilities of education, health, nutrition, infrastructure etc.
  • Objective:
    • To undo the historical injustice occurred to the forest dwelling communities
    • To ensure land tenure, livelihood and food security of the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers
    • To strengthen the conservation regime of the forests by including the responsibilities and authority on Forest Rights holders for sustainable use, conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecological balance.
  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups
    • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
    • Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy. These groups are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • The need for identification
    • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
    • Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development. In this context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT), in the country (2011 census).

  • How they are identified
    • Government of India follows the following criteria for identifiaction of PVTGs.
      • Pre-agricultural level of technology
      • Low level of literacy
      • Economic backwardness
      • A declining or stagnant population.
      • Accordingly 75 PTVGs have been identified in the country. 
  • States in which PVTGs exist
    • Andhra Pradesh
    • Telangana
    • Bihar 
    • Jharkhand
    • Jharkhand
    • Gujarat
    • Karnataka
    • Kerala
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Chhattisgarh
    • Maharashtra
    • Rajasthan
    • Tamil Nadu
    • Tripura
    • Uttar Pradesh 
    • Uttarakhand
    • West Bengal
    • Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  • The characteristics of PVTGs
    • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
    • In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.
  • Population
    • In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population. Tribal people live in about 15% of the geographical area of the country. The places they live vary from plains,forests, hills, inaccessible areas etc. PVTGs are scattered in different geographical areas of the country. According to the 2001 census, the PVTGs population is approximately. 27,68,322. There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000 and the remaining groups have a population of 1000 or less. The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4,50,217, while the PVTGs of Sentinelets and Andamanese has a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.
  • Social conditions and declining population
    • The cultural practices, systems, self governance and livelihood practices of PVTGs have a lot of variations, depending on the group and locality.
    • These tribal groups are widely different culturally.
    • The level of inequalities in social and economical conditions is very high amongst PVTGs. Their problems are also very different from group to group.
    • The growth of PVTGs' population is either stagnating or declining, compared to the general population growth, particularly in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the declining rate is very high.
    • There are five PVTGs in the Andaman islands such as Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentineles and Shom Pens.
    • In 1858, the Great Andamanese were estimated at nearly 3500,in 1901 their number declined to 625. According to the2001 Census, the Great Andamanese stood at just 43, Jarawas are 241, Onges are 96, Sentineles are 39 and Shom Pens are 398.
  • Livelihoods
    • PVTGs depend on various livelihoods such as food gathering,Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works.
    • Most of their livelihoods depend on the forest.
    • The forest is their life and livelihood. They collect various NTFP items such as honey, gum, amla, bamboo, shrubs, fuel wood,dry leaves, nuts, sprouts, wax, medical plants,roots and tubes.
    • Most of the NTFP items they gather are for consumption and they sell the remaining to middle men.
    • But due to the shrinking forests, environmental changes and new forest conservation policies, their NTFP collection is getting hampered. Because of the lack of awareness about the value of NTFP produce, PVTGs have been exploited by the middle men.
  • Health conditions
    • Health is a prerequisite for human development and it is an essential component in well-being of humankind.Health problems of any community are influenced by different factors such as social, economical and political factors.
    • The health status of PVTGs is in an awful condition because of multiple factors like poverty,illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitary conditions, difficult terrain, malnutrition, poor maternal and child health services, unavailability of health and nutritional services, superstition and deforestation.
    • The diseases like anemia, upper respiratory problem, malaria; gastro-intestinal disorders like acute diarrhea,Intestinal protozoan; micro nutrient deficiency and skin infection diseases are common among PVTGs.
    • Many of these diseases can be prevented by providing nutrition food, timely medical facilities and health awareness. The condition of education is also very poor, with an average literacy rate of 10% to 44% in PVTGs.
  • Scheme for PVTGs
    • The Scheme for Development of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), came into effect from April 1, 2008.
    • The Scheme defines PVTGs as the most vulnerable among the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheme therefore seeks to prioritise their protection and development.
    • It identifies 75 PVTGs. The Scheme seeks to adopt a holistic approach to the socio-economic development of PVTGs and gives state governments flexibility in planning initiatives that are geared towards the specific socio-cultural imperatives of the specific groups at hand.
    • Activities supported under the scheme include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, cattle development, construction of link roads, installation of non conventional sources of energy, social security, etc.
    • Funds are made available only for activities essential for the survival, protection and development of PVTGs and not already funded by any other Scheme of the central/state governments.
    • Each state and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ administration, is required to prepare a long term Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) plan, valid for a period of five years for each PVTG within its territory, outlining the initiatives it will undertake, financial planning for the same and the agencies charged with the responsibility of undertaking the same.
    • The CCD Plan is approved by an Expert Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The Scheme is then funded entirely by the Central government.


  • Context
    • Govt launches SRESHTA scheme for SC students to provide quality education and opportunities
  • Aims
    • To empower students from the SC community.
    • To ensure equity and equality as mentioned in Article 14.
    • Inclusive Development.
  • Provions of the scheme
    • Under the scheme, 177 private schools have been identified, and 1,300 seats in ninth grade and 1,700 seats in grade 11are reserved for these students.
    • The selected students would be offered choices of the schools through web-based counselling system
    • The selected students would be offered choices of the schools through web-based counselling system
    • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Virendra Kumar has launched the Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SRESHTA) which aims to provide quality education and opportunities to the poorest SC students, as per the constitutional mandate.
    • The scholarship amount for grade nine is Rs one lakh, grade 10 is Rs 1.10 lakh, grade 11 Rs 1.25 lakh and grade 12 is Rs 1.35 lakh per annum.
  • Beneficiaries
    • To qualify for the scheme, the parental income of the students shall not be more than Rs 2.5 lakh per year and the scholarship will cover school fee (including tuition fee) and hostel fee (including mess charges).



  • Context:
    • The Centre has committed Rs 2.01 lakh crore for the PMAY-U, of which Rs 1.18 lakh crore has been released and Rs 1.10 lakh crore has been spent.
  • What is the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban?
    • The government had launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) on June 252015, to provide pucca houses to all eligible beneficiaries by 2022.
    • The PMAY-U is one of the two schemes envisioned under the PMAY-U. It is focused on the urban areas, while the other one—PMAY-G—is for rural areas.
    • The scheme has four verticals:
      • “In-situ” Slum Redevelopment (ISSR);
      • Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS);
      • Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP)
      • and Beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancements (BLC),
  • How many houses have been built?
    • As per information available on the PMAY-U, 1.21 crore houses have been sanctioned under the scheme till May 9 2022, of which 58.82 lakh houses have been completed/delivered.
    • A maximum number of 28.17 lakh houses have been built under the BLC vertical. The remaining 30.65 lakh houses have been built under the other three verticals—ISSR, CLSS and AHP.
  • What is the Beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancements (BLC)?
    • Under the BLC vertical, a beneficiary receives a financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh from the government to build his or her house.
    • The PMAY-U guidelines define a beneficiary family as a family comprising of “husband, wife and unmarried [sons and/ or unmarried daughters.]”
    • The beneficiary family should not own a pucca house (an all-weather dwelling unit) either in his/her name or in the name of any member of his/her family in any part of India.
    • Under the scheme guidelines, an adult earning member (irrespective of marital status) can be treated as a separate household. However, to avail the scheme, he or she should not own a pucca house (an all-weather dwelling unit) in his /her name in any part of India.
    • Under the PMAY-G, a beneficiary can avail the BLC component for the enhancement of his or her existing house. However, only persons with a pucca house having a built-up area of less than 21 sq.m are eligible to avail this facility.
  • What is geotagging and is it mandatory under the PMAY-U?
    • Geotagging is a process of adding geographical identification to various media like photography.
    • Under the PMAY-U guidelines, it is mandatory for the state government to ensure that all houses built under the scheme are geotagged to the Bhuvan HFA (housing for all) application, which has been developed by the government for the monitoring of the scheme.
  • What is Bhuvan HFA?
    • Bhuvan is an Indian Geo Platform developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It is a web-based application which allows users to access various map related services. The application also provides facility of geotagging of images of houses built or being constructed under the PMAY-U.


  • Context
    • The SFSI is released annually for a financial year. For instance, the latest SFSI, released on World Food safety Day, June 7, is for the fiscal 2021-22. This is the fourth edition of the SFSI since its inception in 2018-19.
  • What is the SFSI?
    • Developed by the FSSAI, the index aims to measure the performance of states and Union Territories on selected “parameters” of food safety.
    • According to the FSSAI, the index is aimed at encouraging states and UTs to “improve their performance and work towards establishing a proper food safety ecosystem in their jurisdiction…”
  • Which are these food safety parameters?
    • The SFSI takes into account the performance of the states on five key parameters, each of which is assigned a different weightage in the assessment.
      • HUMAN RESOURCES & INSTITUTIONAL DATA: This carries a weightage of 20% and measures the “availability of human resources like number of Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers facility of adjudications and appellate tribunals, functioning of State/ District level Steering Committees, pendency of cases and their monitoring and participation in Central Advisory Committee meetings of the Food Authority”.
      • COMPLIANCE: This carries the highest weightage, 30%. “This is the most important parameter and measures overall coverage of food businesses in licensing & registration commensurate with size and population of the State/UTs, special drives and camps organized, yearly increase, promptness and effectiveness in issue of state licenses/ registrations,” the FSSAI says. “Promptness” in attending to consumer grievances, and availability of a help desk and web portals, too, come under this parameter.
      • FOOD TESTING—INFRASTRUCTURE AND SURVEILLANCE: Weighted at 20%, this measures the “availability of adequate testing infrastructure with trained manpower in the States/ UTs for testing food samples”. The FSSAI says, “The States/ UTs with NABL accredited labs and adequate manpower in the labs score more in this parameter.” It takes into account the “availability and effective utilization” of Mobile Food Testing Labs and registration and utilization of InFoLNet (Indian Food Laboratories Network).
      • TRAINING & CAPACITY BUILDING: This parameter carries the lowest weightage, at 10%. It measures states’ performance on training and capacity building of regulatory staff.
      • CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT: This carries a weightage of 20%. It evaluates the states and UTs on their performance on various consumer empowering initiatives of FSSAI, such as participation in Food Fortification, Eat Right Campus, BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God), Hygiene Rating of Restaurants, Clean Street Food Hubs, etc.
  • How is the states and UTs assessed?
    • The states and Union Territories are not assessed and ranked together.
    • They are segregated into three categories — large states, small states and UTs— and assessed separately within their respective categories, based on their performance on the selected food safety parameters.
    • The assessment and evaluation of each category are done by separate teams comprising of outside experts for food testing and food & nutrition professionals in addition to FSSAI officials
    • These expert teams examine details received from the states and UTs. They also interact with the states/UTs through video-conferencing for verification and confirmation of data.
  • How have the states and UTs performed this year?
    • In the category of the 20 large states, Tamil Nadu with an overall score of 82 out of 100 has performed the best and been ranked 1st on SFSI 2021-22, while Andhra Pradesh with an overall score of 26 has been ranked at the bottom —17th place (some states share a common rank).
    • Following Tamil Nadu in the rankings of the larger states are Gujarat (rank 2nd with a score 77.5), Maharashtra (3rd with 70), Himachal Pradesh (4th with 65.5) and West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (sharing 5th with a score of 58.5).
    • Bihar (rank 16th, score 30), Telangana (rank 15th , score 34.5), Assam (rank 14th, score 35) and Chhattisgarh and Haryana (rank 13th, score 38) join Andhra Pradesh in the bottom 5 among the large states on the SFSI for the large states.
    • Among the remaining 8 large states, Kerala with a score of 57 has been ranked at 6th, Uttarakhand (score 55) at 7th, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh (both 54.5) at 8th, Karnataka (score 52.5) at 9th, Rajasthan (score 50.5) at 10th, Punjab (score 45) at 11th and Jharkhand (41.5) at 12th.
    • Among the eight small states, Goa with a score of 56 has been ranked at the top, while Arunachal Pradesh (rank 8th and score 21) is at the bottom.
    • Among the eight Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir with a score of 68.5 has been ranked 1st and Lakshadweep (score 16) as the bottom. Delhi with a score of 66 has been ranked at 2nd place.


  • Context :
    • The Union Cabinet took a historic decision approving an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces for which a scheme has been introduced with the name AGNEEPATH (AGNIPATH). The youth selected under the Agneepath scheme will be categorised as Agniveers. With the announcement of this Agnipath Scheme, a window of opportunity has been opened for the youths to serve their nation for a period of 4 years.
  • What is Agneepath Scheme?
    • Agneepath/ Agnipath Scheme is a recruitment process launched by the central government wherein selected candidates will be enrolled as Agniveers for four years period in Indian Armed Forces.
    • The Armed Forces will be recruiting 46,000 Agniveers this year through Agnipath/Agneepath scheme.
    • On completion of the four-year period, Aginveers will go to the society as a disciplined, dynamic, motivated, and skilled workforce for employment in other sectors to pursue their career in the job of their choice.
  • Revised Age Limit 
    • The upper age limit for Agniveers has been revised to 23 years. 
  • Broad Objectives

    • To enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces so that they are at their fighting best at all times with increased risk-taking ability.

    • To imbibe the Armed Forces ethos, courage, commitment, and teamwork in the youth.

    • To provide abilities and qualities such as discipline, motivation, dynamism, and work skills so that youth remains as an asset.

    • To provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to serve the Nation in uniform for a short period of time.

    • To attract youth talent among the society to effectively exploit, adapt, and use emerging modern technologies with enhanced technical thresholds of intake while leveraging Technical institutions of the country. 

  • Reservation
    •  The government has announced a 10% reservation for ‘Agniveers’ in central police forces & Assam Rifles with upper age relaxation. Defence Ministry also came up with a 10% quota which will cover the Coast Guard, defence civilian posts and 16 defence PSUs, which include major ones like Hindustan Aeronautics, Bharat Electronics, as well as four shipyards and 41 ordnance factories.


  • Context
    • Recently, Pasmanda Community has gained the attention of many political parties for inclusive growth and eradication of intra-caste discrimination.
  • Who are Pasmanda Muslims
    • Muslims in India are broadly categorized into 3 social groupings – Ashraf (the 'noble' or 'honourable' ones), Ajlaf (backwards Muslims) and Arzal (Dalit Muslims)
    • Ajlaf and Arzal are collectively known as the Pasmanda – a Persian word meaning “left behind”.
    • It is a term used for Other Backward Class(OBC) Muslims comprising economically and socially backward members of the community.
    • The term “Pasmanda” is majorly used by Muslim associations in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and other parts of India to define themselves as Muslim communities historically and socially oppressed by caste.
    • Backwards, Dalit and tribal Muslim communities are now organising under the identity of Pasmanda. These communities include:
    • Kunjre (Raeen), Julahe (Ansari), Dhunia (Mansuri), Kasai (Qureishi), Fakir (Alvi), Hajjam (Salmani), Mehtar (Halalkhor), Gwala (Ghosi), Dhobi (Hawari), Lohar-Badhai (Saifi), Manihar (Siddiqui), Darzi (Idrisi), Vangujjar, etc.
  • Provisions available for minorities
    • Constitutional
      • Article 29
        • It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
        • It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
        • However, the SC held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article includes minorities as well as the majority.
      • Article 30
        • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
        • The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).
      • Article 350-B
        • The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
        • It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
    • Legal
      • National Commission for Minority Education Institution (NCMEI) Act, 2004
        • It gives minority status to the educational institutions on the basis of six religious communities notified by the government under the NCMEI Act, 2004– Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains.


  • Context
    • Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked India at 135 out of 146 countries in its Global Gender Gap (GGG) Index for 2022.
  • India's Position
    • India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2022 and is the worst performer in the world in the “health and survival” sub-index where it is ranked 146.
    • The Global Gender Report 2022, which includes the Gender Gap Index, says it will now take 132 years to reach gender parity, with the gap reducing only by four years since 2021 and the gender gap closed by 68.1%. But this does not compensate for the generational loss between 2020 and 2021 as the trends leading up to 2020 showed that the gender gap was set to close within 100 years. South Asia will take the longest to reach gender parity, which is estimated to be likely in 197 years.
    • India also ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan (146) perform worse than India in south Asia.
    • In 2021, India ranked 140 out of a total of 156 countries on the index.

  • What is Gobal Gender Gap Index
    • It benchmarks countries on their progress toward gender parity in four Key dimensions with Sub Metrics.
    • Economic Participation and Opportunity
    • Educational Attainment
    • Health and Survival
    • Political Empowerment
    • On each of the four sub-indices as well as on the overall index the GGG index provides scores between 0 and 1, where 1 shows full gender parity and 0 is complete imparity.
    • It is the longest-standing index, which tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.
  • Objectives
    • To serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics.
    • Through this annual yardstick, the stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context.
  • 4 Key Dimensions
    • The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks gender parity across four key dimensions or sub-indices — economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. It measures scores on a 0 to 100 scale, which can be interpreted as the distance covered towards parity or the percentage of the gender gap that has been closed.
    • The study highlights gender gap in health innovations
    • India ranks 146 in health and survival, 143 in economic participation and opportunity, 107 in educational attainment and 48th in political empowerment.
    • The report notes that India’s score of 0.629 was its seventh-highest score in the last 16 years. India also “recovered” ground since 2021 in economic participation and opportunity though the report goes on to add that the labour force participation shrunk for both men (by -9.5 percentage points) and women (-3 percentage points). The gender parity score for estimated earned income improved because even though the values for both men and women diminished, the decline was more for men. India recorded a declining score on political empowerment due to the diminishing share of years women have served as head of state for the past 50 years, says the report.
  • The Top 10
    • Although no country achieved full gender parity, the top 10 economies closed at least 80% of their gender gaps, with Iceland (90.8%) leading the global ranking. Iceland was the only economy to have closed more than 90% of its gender gap. Other Scandinavian countries such as Finland (86%, 2nd), Norway (84.5%, 3rd) and Sweden (82.2%, 5th) are in the top five, with other European countries such as Ireland (80.4%) and Germany (80.1%) in ninth and tenth positions, respectively. Sub-Saharan African countries Rwanda (81.1%, 6th) and Namibia (80.7%, 8th), along with one Latin American country, Nicaragua (81%, 7th), and one country from east Asia and the Pacific, New Zealand (84.1%, 4th), also take positions in the top 10.
  • Indian Initiatives to reduce overall Gender Gap
    • Economic Participation and Health and Survival
      • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: It ensures the protection, survival and education of the girl child.
      • Mahila Shakti Kendra: Aims to empower rural women with opportunities for skill development and employment.
      • Mahila Police Volunteers: It envisages the engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers in States/UTs who act as a link between police and community and facilitates women in distress.
      • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh: It is an apex micro-finance organization that provides micro-credit at concessional terms to poor women for various livelihood and income-generating activities.
      • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna: Under this scheme girls have been economically empowered by opening their bank accounts.
      • Female Entrepreneurship: To promote female entrepreneurship, the Government has initiated Programmes like Stand-Up India and Mahila e-Haat (an online marketing platform to support women entrepreneurs/ SHGs/NGOs), Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme (ESSDP).
      • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya: They have been opened in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs).
    • Political Reservation
      • The government has reserved 33% of the seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions for women.
      • Capacity Building of Elected Women Representatives: It is conducted with a view to empowering women to participate effectively in the governance processes.


  • Context
    • The Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs has announced the ‘NAMASTE scheme’ for cleaning sewers and septic tank
    • NAMASTE (National Action Plan for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme is a joint venture between;
      • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
      • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Objectives
    • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India.
    • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter.
    • All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers have access to alternative livelihoods.
  • Sanitation Workers in India
    • Despite the various laws, Sanitation workers in India constantly face stigma and are devoid of fundamental rights.
    • During the 1990s, various civil societies started a movement to abolish dry latrines.
    • This movement has always demanded the abolition of the dehumanising practise of the manual removal of human excreta.
    • In the present time, the focus shifted to manhole deaths and the requirement of safety equipment for sanitation workers.
    • The Union government has enacted an Act in 1993, the act restrict the construction of unsanitary dry latrines and employing manual scavengers.
    • With time, the construction of dry latrines has reduced, but the number of deaths in manholes, sewers and septic tanks continues to remain high.
    • According to the data released by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, a total of 971 people lost their lives while cleaning sewers or septic tanks since 1993, the year law prohibiting the employment of manual scavengers was passed.
  • Manual Scavenging
    • Manual scavenging is a term used mostly for “manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or an open drain or sewer or a septic tank or a pit”.
    • Manual scavengers usually use hand tools such as buckets, brooms and shovels. The workers have to move the excreta, using brooms and tin plates, into baskets, which they carry to disposal locations sometimes several kilometres away.
    • The occupation of sanitation work is tied with the caste in India. All kinds of cleaning are considered lowly and are assigned to people from the so-called lowest caste of the social hierarchy.
    • In the caste-based society, it is mainly the so-called lower caste or Dalits who work as sanitation workers.
    • According to data by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, the government has caste-related data of 43,797 identified manual scavengers, and over 42,500 of them belong to the Scheduled Castes, 421 to the Scheduled Tribes, and 431 to Other Backward Classes.
    • The construction of dry toilets and the employment of manual scavengers to clean such dry toilets were prohibited in India in 1993.
    • The law was extended and clarified to include a ban on the use of human labour for direct cleaning of sewers, ditches, pits and septic tanks in 2013.
    • India banned the practice of Manual scavenging under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSR).
    • The Act bans the use of any individual for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta till its disposal.
    • In 2013, the definition of manual scavengers was also broadened to include people employed to clean septic tanks, ditches, or railway tracks.
    • The Act recognizes manual scavenging as a “dehumanizing practice,” and cites a need to “correct the historical injustice and indignity suffered by the manual scavengers.”
    • Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) released in 2015, states that there were around 18 million manual scavenging households in rural areas.
    • Statistics show that 80% of India’s sewage cleaners die before they turn 60, after contracting various infectious diseases.
    • Reasons:
    • Manual scavenging persists mainly because of the continued presence of insanitary latrines.
    • It is strongly connected to the caste system.
    • Lack of support by society to eliminate this most inhuman profession.
    • Lack of education and humanity is missing in many parts of India.
    • Data show the manual scavengers' reluctance to take up self-employment, even if they try to switch their job; they face social discrimination due to their caste.
  • Concern
    • Even though manual scavenging is banned in India, the practice is still prevalent in many parts of the country.
    • Only in 30% of cases of Compensation awarded after death, hardly anyone receives the Rehabilitation or Alternative jobs to which they are entitled by law.
    • Employers and local authorities are not providing Protective measures.
    • When the Government builds toilets through its Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, it is not taking into account the question of who will have to clean the septic tank.
    • Rehabilitation has been Slow because they are mostly illiterate and have no Skill to do any work other than Sanitation related activities.
    • Most sanitation staff hardly has any ID cards, protection of medical insurance policies, etc.
    • The workers in sanitation departments are recruited through open competition. The local administration usually approaches particular cast members during such hiring.
    • The situation is so alarming that while we find volunteers to distribute food and undertake rescue operations during natural calamities, hardly any volunteer offers to do clean-up work or dispose of dead bodies.
    • There are no vehicles for sanitation workers to travel to their designated workplace, and they have to either walk for kilometres or use garbage vehicles. This is forced choice and is connected to the dignity of a worker.
    • There are hardly any exclusive trade unions for sweepers, and unlike other sections in the government or private workforce, their problems are expressed by mainly those who are not associated with sanitation work (Civil society or NGOs).
    • Despite the laws, manual scavenging was reported in many states. In 2021, the National Human Rights Commission observed that the eradication of manual scavenging as claimed by state and local governments is far from over.
  • Steps by the Government
    • Sanitation is a State subject as per the 7th Schedule.
    • In 2013 Delhi announced that they were banning manual scavenging, making them the first state in India to do so.
    • District magistrates are responsible for ensuring that no manual scavengers are working in their district.
    • “The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993”, drafted by the Ministry of Urban Development was passed by Parliament in 1993.
    • The act punishes the employment of scavengers or the construction of dry (non-flush) latrines with imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of Rs 2,000.
    • In 2007 the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers was passed to help in the transition to other occupations.
    • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013.
    • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
    • The Bill calls for complete mechanization of cleaning sewers and septic tanks.
    • Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to make sewer cleaning mechanized.
    • ‘Swachhta Abhiyan App’ has been developed to identify and Geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them.
    • In 2014, the Supreme Court order made it mandatory for the government to identify all those who died in sewage work since 1993 and provide Rs. 10 lakh each as compensation to their families.
  • Way Forward
    • India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of manual scavenging violates international human rights law, including protections found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
    • India is also a party to other international conventions that reinforce obligations to end manual scavenging.
    • Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the Right to Life and that also with dignity.
    • Need to ensure proper implementation of the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers, and promote Alternative opportunities or Jobs.
    • Ensure that rehabilitation entitlements under the 2013 Act—including financial assistance, scholarships, housing, alternative livelihood support, and other important legal and programmatic assistance—are available to manual scavenging communities.


  • Context
    • The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has reviewed the National Action Plan for Sr Citizens (NAPSrC) and renamed it Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY) for the welfare of Senior Citizens across the Country.
  • Components of the AVYAY scheme
    • Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC)
    • State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC)
    • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ (RVY)
    • Livelihood and Skilling Initiatives for Senior Citizens – (i) Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED) (ii) Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR Groups): Elderly Self Help groups
    • Promoting silver economy
    • Channelizing CSR funds for Elderly care
    • Scheme for Awareness Generation and Capacity Building for the welfare of Senior Citizens – Training, Awareness, Sensitization, Setting up of National Helpline for Senior Citizens.


  • Context
    • Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued detailed guidelines for the ‘Mission Shakti' scheme.
    • The norms of ‘Mission Shakti’ will be applicable with effect from 1st April 2022.
  • About Mission Shakti
    • 'Mission Shakti' was launched during the 15th Finance Commission period 2021-22 to 2025-26.
    • Mission Shakti is an integrated women empowerment programme is launched as an umbrella scheme for the safety, security and empowerment of women for implementation
  • Components
    • Sambal
      • It is for the Safety and Security of Women.
      • It consists of schemes of One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline (WHL), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), with a new component of Nari Adalats – women's collectives to promote and facilitate alternative dispute resolution and gender justice in society and within families.
    • Samarthya
      • It is for the Empowerment of Women.
      • It consists of erstwhile schemes of Ujjwala, Swadhar Greh and Working Women Hostel that have been included with modifications.
      • In addition, the existing schemes of the National Creche Scheme for children of working mothers and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under the umbrella of Integrated Child Development Services ICDS have now been included in Samarthya.
      • A new component of Gap Funding for Economic Empowerment has also been added to the Samarthya Scheme.
  • Objectives
    • Provide an immediate and comprehensive continuum of care, support and assistance to women affected by violence and for those in distress.
    • To put in place quality mechanisms for rescue, protection and rehabilitation of women in need of assistance and victims of crime and violence.
    • To improve accessibility to various government services available for women at various levels.
    • Making people aware about Government schemes and programmes as well as legal provisions to fight social evils like dowry, domestic violence, Sexual Harassment at Workplace and to promote gender equality etc.
    • Collaboration with partner Ministries/ Departments/ States/ UTs for convergence of policies, programmes/ schemes and to create an enabling environment for public private partnership for safety and empowerment of women across sectors.
    • To prevent gender-biased sex selective elimination; to ensure survival, protection,education and development of the girl child.
    • It also seeks to reduce the care burden on women and increase female labour force participation by promoting skill development, capacity building, financial literacy, access to microcredit etc.


  • Context
    • Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently inaugurated National Tribal Research Institute
  • About
    • The NTRI will be the premier national institute for the promotion and preservation of tribal heritage and culture and the nerve centre of tribal research issues and matters in academic, executive and legislative fields.
    • The institute will collaborate and network with reputed research institutes, universities, and organisations as well as academic bodies and resource centres.
    • Northeast and the Left-wing extremism-affected areas in the country are tribal-dominated regions and security is a precursor to development there. “A secured northeast and a secured central India will pave the way for the development of tribals,”.


  • Context
    • The Supreme Court recently dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.
  • What does the petition seek
    • Article 21: This provision in the act violates the right to privacy of the parties.
    • Article 14: The requirement violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution since no other laws prescribe such a requirement.
  • Provisions that have been challenged
    • Section 5 of the SMA: It requires couples getting married under it to give notice to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the date of marriage.
    • Section 6: It requires notice to be entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer, which can be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same.
    • Section 7: It provides the process for making an objection such as if either party has a living spouse, is incapable of giving consent due to “unsoundness of mind” or is suffering from a mental disorder resulting in the person being unfit for marriage or procreation.
    • Section 8:It Specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.
    • The petition contends that these provisions make the personal information of the individuals open to public scrutiny.
    • Hence, these provisions seriously damage one’s right to have control over her/his personal information and its accessibility.
    • By making the personal details of the couple accessible to everyone, the very right of the couple to be the decision makers of their marriage is being hampered by the state.
    • These public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.
    • There have been instances where marriage officers have gone over and beyond the law and sent such notices to the parents of the couple leading to the girl being confined to her house by her parents.
  • Rules and laws in different states:
    • Haryana: The Haryana government has laid down 16 prerequisites which ask couples to issue a notice in a newspaper and that such notices be sent to their parents.
    • No-objection certificate: In certain States, couples have to seek a no-objection certificate from their parents.
    • Maharashtra: The Maharashtra Department of Registration and Stamps publicly shares the details of couples marrying under SMA on its website.
    • Love Jihad law: 11 States passed anti-conversion laws.example: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc.
  • Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954
    • Marriages in India can be registered under the respective personal laws Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
    • It is the duty of the Judiciary to ensure that the rights of both the husband and wife are protected.
    • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India with provision for civil marriage for people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party.
    • When a person solemnises marriage under this law, then the marriage is not governed by personal laws but by the Special Marriage Act.


  • Context
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released the Accidental Deaths & Suicides report, as the number of suicide-related deaths in India reached an all-time high in 2021.
  • Findings of the Report
    • At 120 deaths per million population, the rate of deaths by suicide across India in 2021 soared to the highest level ever recorded, rising 6.1% from the previous year, new data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows, highlighting the toll the pandemic appears to have taken on the emotional well-being of Indians. In contrast, the trend in the rates of crime, as well as accidental deaths, has started moving towards pre-pandemic levels, data shows.
    • The fastest increase in deaths by suicide was observed among students and small entrepreneurs, much like what was observed in the 2020 edition of the reports, supporting anecdotal accounts of prolonged stress induced by the pandemic.
    • Data shows that a total of 164,033 people died from suicide in 2021, an increase of 7.2% from 2020, when 153,052 people died from suicide, data shows. In 2019, this figure was around 139,000.
    • At 120 deaths per million population, 2021 also saw the highest rate of deaths from suicide since 1967, the earliest year for which this data is available. The second highest rate of suicide ever reported in the country was in 2010 when it was 113.5 deaths per million population.
    • The data also shows that those in the lowest income group (people earning less than ₹1 lakh per annum), who make up around two-thirds of deaths by suicide, registered the biggest increase in deaths by suicide in 2021.
    • Among professions, people who are self-employed and those who are engaged as daily wagers registered the biggest increase in deaths by suicide, followed by salaried workers and students. To be sure, students had registered a much bigger increase than salaried persons in 2020. The increase in 2021 compared to 2019 is bigger among students than salaried persons. Among farmers of different kinds, deaths by suicide increased only among agricultural labourers, which was also the case in 2020.

  • What are the Report’s findings for Crime Against Women?
    • National Figures
      • The rate of crime against women (the number of incidents per 1 lakh population) increased from 56.5% in 2020 to 64.5% in 2021.
        • 31.8%: Cruelty by husband or his relatives
        • 20.8%: Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty
        • 17.6%: Kidnapping and Abduction
        • 7.40%: Rape
    • State
      • The highest rate of crime against women in 2021 was registered in Assam 168.3% followed by Odisha, Haryana, Telangana and Rajasthan.
      • Rajasthan showed a marginal decrease in the actual number of cases while the three other states (Odisha, Haryana and Telangana) marked an increase.
      • In terms of an actual number of cases registered in 2021, UP tops the list followed by Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Odisha.
      • Nagaland stood out with the lowest number of crimes against women registered in the past three years.
    • Union Territories
      • Among Union Territories, Delhi had the highest rate of crime against women in 2021 at 147.6%.
    • Cities
      • Jaipur had the highest rate at over 194%, followed by Delhi, Indore and Lucknow.
      • Chennai and Coimbatore (Both in Chennai) had the lowest rate.
      • In actual numbers among these cities, Delhi topped in 2021 (13,892) followed by Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
    • Domestic Violence & Dowry Deaths
      • Only 507 cases were registered in the country under the Domestic Violence Act in 2021 — 0.1% of the total cases of crime against women.
      • The highest number of cases (270) were filed in Kerala.
        • 6,589 cases of dowry deaths were registered in 2021 with the highest number of such deaths registered in UP and Bihar.
  • National Crime Records Bureau
    • About
      • NCRB, headquartered in New Delhi, was set up in 1986 under the Ministry of Home Affairs to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
      • It was set up based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task Force (1985).
    • Functions
      • The Bureau has been entrusted to maintain the National Database of Sexual Offenders (NDSO) and share it with the States/UTs on regular basis.
      • NCRB has also been designated as the Central Nodal Agency to manage technical and operational functions of the ‘Online Cyber-Crime Reporting Portal’ through which any citizen can lodge a complaint or upload a video clip as evidence of crime related to child pornography, rape/gang rape.
      • The responsibility of implementing the Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) has also been given to the NCRB.
      • ICJS is a national platform for enabling the integration of the main IT system used for the delivery of Criminal Justice in the country.
      • It seeks to integrate the five pillars of the system viz Police (through Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network Systems), e-Forensics for Forensic Labs, e-Courts for Courts, e-Prosecution for Public Prosecutors and e-Prisons for Prisons.


  • Context
    • A recent study has reported that “son bias” is on a decline in India as Sex Ratio at Birth normalised from 111 boys per 100 girls in 2011 to 108 boys per 100 girls in 2019-21.
  • Findings of the report
    • The latest study by Pew Research Center has pointed out that “son bias” is on a decline in India and the average annual number of baby girls “missing” in India fell from about 480,000 (4.8 lakh) in 2010 to 410,000 (4.1 lakh) in 2019.
    • The “missing” here refers to how many more female births would have occurred during this time if there were no female-selective abortions. 
    • From a large imbalance of about 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census, the sex ratio at birth appears to have normalised slightly over the last decade, narrowing to about 109 in the 2015-16 wave of the National Family Health Survey and to 108 boys in the latest wave of the NFHS, conducted from 2019-21,” the report states. 
    • Religion Wise
      • In the 2001 census, Sikhs had a sex ratio at birth of 130 males per 100 females, far exceeding that year’s national average of 110. By the 2011 census, the Sikh ratio had narrowed to 121 boys per 100 girls. It now hovers around 110, about the same as the ratio of males to females at birth among the country’s Hindu majority (109), according to the latest NFHS,” the report states. 
      • Both Christians (105 boys to 100 girls) and Muslims (106 boys to 100 girls) have sex ratios close to the natural norm, and this trend is holding. 
      • The study points out that while the Sikhs make up less than 2% of the Indian population, they accounted for an estimated 5%, or approximately 440,000 (4.4 lakh), of the nine crore baby girls who went “missing” in India between 2000 and 2019.
      • The share of “missing” girls among Hindus is also above their respective population share. “Hindus make up 80% of India’s population but accounted for an estimated 87%, or approximately eight crores of the females “missing” due to sex-selective abortions. The share of female births “missing” among Muslims and Christians during this period is lower than each group’s share of the Indian population,” the study says.
      • Muslims, who make up about 14% of India’s population, accounted for 7%, or approximately 5.9 lakh, of the country’s “missing” girls. Christians, who make up 2.3% of the population, have had an estimated 0.6%, or about 53,000 (0.5 lakh), of the total number of sex-selective abortions.
  • What are the Challenges in Ensuring a Balanced Birth Sex Ratio?
    • Regressive Mindset
      • There is considerable son preference in all states, except possibly in Kerala and Chhattisgarh.
      • This son’s preference is derived from a regressive mindset. E.g.: People associate girls with dowry.
    • Misuse of Technology
      • Cheaper technology like ultrasound helps in sex selection.
    • Failure in Implementation of Law
      • The Prenatal Conception and Prenatal Determination Act (PC-PNDT), 1994 which punishes healthcare professionals for telling expectant parents the sex of a child with imprisonment and hefty fines, have failed to control the sex selection.
      • Reports found major gaps in the training of personnel implementing PC-PNDT.
      • Poor training meant that they were unable to prepare strong cases against violators to secure convictions.
    • Illiteracy
      • Illiterate women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 years have higher fertility than literate women.
  • Way Forward
    • Bringing Behavioural Change
      • Increasing female education and economic prosperity help to improve the ratio. In this pursuit, the government’s Beti-Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign has achieved remarkable success in bringing behavioural change to society.
    • Sensitizing Youth
      • There is an urgent need to reach young people for reproductive health education and services as well as to cultivate gender equity norms.
      • For this, the services of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) can be leveraged, especially in rural areas.
    • Stringent Enforcement of Law
      • India must implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 more stringently and dedicate more resources to fighting the preference for boys.
      • In this context, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board's decision to include ultrasound machines in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940 is a step in the right direction.


  • Context
    • Recently, the report entitled “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): The Gender Snapshot 2022” was launched by United Nations (UN) Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
  • Key Highlights of the Report
    • The report highlighted that Substainable Development Goal-5 (SDG-5), or achieving gender equality, will not be met by 2030 at the current pace of progress.
    • By the end of 2022, around 383 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty (on less than USD 1.90 a day) compared to 368 million men and boys.
    • It will take close to 300 years to achieve full gender equality at the current rate of progress.
      • It will also take at least 40 years to achieve equal representation of women in national parliaments.
    • Progress must be 17 times faster than last decade’s progress of the last decade, to eradicate child marriage by 2030.
      • Girls from the poorest rural households and in conflict-affected areas are expected to suffer the most.
    • In 2021, about 38% of female-headed households in war-affected areas experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to 20% of male-headed households.
    • Globally, women lost an estimated USD 800 billion in income in 2020 due to the pandemic.
    • More women and girls are now forcibly displaced than ever before, some 44 million women and girls by the end of 2021.
    • Over 1.2 billion women and girls of reproductive age (15-49) live in countries and areas with some restrictions on access to safe abortion.
  • Challenges
    • Global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, violent conflict, climate change and the backlash against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights further exacerbate gender disparities.
    • The invasion of Ukraine and the war, there is further worsening food insecurity and hunger, especially among women and children.
    • In most parts of the World, still legal systems don’t ensure uniform protection of women rights in all spheres such as denying women’s rights in marriage and family, unequal pay and benefits at work and unequal rights to own and control land. Unfortunately, this may continue to exist for generations to come.
  • Way Forward
    • The data showed undeniable regressions in their lives made worse by the global crises in incomes, safety, education and health. The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all.
      • Gender equality is a foundation for achieving all SDGs and it should be at the heart of building back better.
    • Cascading global crises are putting the achievement of the SDGs in jeopardy, with the world’s most vulnerable population groups disproportionately impacted, in particular women and girls.
      • Cooperation, partnerships and investments in the gender equality agenda, including through increased global and national funding, are essential to correct the course and place gender equality back on track.


  • Context
    • Anti-gun activists have often pointed to the killing of innocents in mass shootings in public places and called for a ban on the purchase of guns by civilians in US also raise concerns over increasing gun culture in India.
  • Arguments in favor of Access to Guns
    • Some people believe that guns can actually make crime less likely by raising the cost of committing a crime. They have particularly pointed out that it is hard to quantify the number of lives that have potentially been saved by civilians who held guns, leave alone the number of crimes that never happened because the potential victims held a gun.
    • Some researchers have found that there is a strong negative relationship between access to firearms among blacks in the US and incidents of lynching. The finding implies that access to firearms helped blacks better protect themselves against incidents of lynching.
  • State of Gun Ownership in India
    • The Small Arms Survey of 2018 claimed that civilian gun ownership in India stands at an astounding 70 million, second only to the US.
      • The figure seems bizarre, given that gun licenses in India number just 3.4 million, over a third of them in Uttar Pradesh.
    • In 2016, India ranked 3rd in terms of gun-related homicides, and over 90 % of the cases involved the use of unlicensed weapons. This indicates that the seizure of illegal guns is just a small part of a larger problem.
    • According to the National Crime Records Bureau report of 2020, some 75,000 firearms were seized in that year, about half of them from UP, which is widely known to be the hub of illegal arms manufacture.
  • Gun Control Laws in India
    • Gun Control Laws in India
      • About:
        • It aims to be as extensive as possible to cover all aspects relating to the acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, import, export, and transport of arms and ammunition in India.
      • Requirements for Acquiring Gun License:
        • The minimum age requirement for acquiring a gun license in India is 21 years.
        • The applicant must not have been convicted of any offence involving violence or moral turpitude five years prior to commencing the application, not of an ‘unsound mind’ and not a threat to public safety and peace.
        • Property qualification is not a criterion for acquiring a gun license.
        • Upon receiving an application, the licensing authority (i.e., the Home Ministry), asks the officer in-charge of the nearest police station to submit a report about the applicant after thorough vetting within a prescribed time.
      • Other Features:
        • It defines ‘prohibited arms’ as those that either discharge any noxious liquid or gas, or weapons that seek pressure to be applied on a trigger for discharge.
        • It allows the use of smooth bore gun with a barrel of not less than 20 inches for crop protection or sport.
        • No entity is permitted to sell or transfer any firearm which does not bear the name of the maker, manufacturer’s number or any other visible or stamped identification mark.
    • Arms Amendment Act 2019:
      • The Arms Act amended in 2019 reduces the number of firearms that an individual can procure from 3 to 2.
      • The validity of the license has been increased from the present 3 years to 5 years.
      • It also enlists specific provisions on curtailing the use of licensed weapons to ensure social harmony.
      • The punishment of imprisonment is increased between 7 and 14 years, along with a fine for the offense of acquisition, possession or carrying of prohibited ammunition without a license.
        • It prohibits the conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license.
        • Unlawful manufacture, sale and transfer are liable for an imprisonment term not less than seven years which could be extended to life, with a fine.
  • Way Forward
    • One way is to impose severe gun controls and severely restrict who can buy or own a weapon. American laws are too loose and too lenient in this regard.
    • India too needs to review and tighten laws relating to the acquisition and possession of firearms.


  • Context
    • Recently, the Union Ministry of Rural Development has come up with penalties for any further delay in completing the flagship rural household scheme — Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin).
  • Need for Imposing Penalties
    • About
      • The penalty would be levied on the state government. If the sanction of the house is delayed for more than one month from the date of issue of the target, the State government will be penalised Rs 10 per house for the first month of delay and Rs 20 per house for each subsequent month of delay.
      • Similarly, if the first instalment due to the beneficiary is delayed for more than seven days from the date of sanction, then the State governments will have to pay Rs 10 per house per week of delay.
      • No penalty would be imposed if the central funds are not available with the State.
    • Need
      • To Reorient Focus: Due to Covid-19, there was sluggishness in the implementation of the scheme, therefore by imposing penalties the central government is ensuring that the States pay more attention to the programme.
      • Issues with State Government: West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha along Assam are the leading four laggard States who are far behind their targets.
        • Further, the West Bengal government repackaged the scheme as “Bangla Awas Yojana” and due to this reason, the central government withheld funds meant for the scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna Gramin
    • Ministry Involved: Ministry of Rural development. 
    • Aim: To provide a pucca house with basic amenities to all rural families, who are homeless or living in kutcha or dilapidated houses by the end of March 2022.
      • To help rural people Below the Poverty Line (BPL) in construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing unserviceable kutcha houses by providing assistance in the form of a full grant.
    • Beneficiaries: People belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST categories, widows or next-of-kin of defence personnel killed in action, ex-servicemen and retired members of the paramilitary forces, disabled persons and minorities.
    • Selection of Beneficiaries: Through a three-stage validation – Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011, Gram Sabha, and geo-tagging.
    • Cost Sharing: The cost of unit assistance is shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio of 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states.
    • Features:
      • The unit assistance has been increased from Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 1.20 lakh in plain and from Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1.30 lakh in hilly states.
      • The assistance for construction of toilets shall be leveraged through convergence with Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G), MGNREGS or any other dedicated source of funding.
    • Performance:
      • Under the scheme, the government has set the target of 2.95 crore houses and by August 2022, 2.02 crore houses have been constructed.


  • Context
    • The United Nations has estimated that by the year 2050, four billion people will be seriously affected by water shortages, pushing the One Water approach towards all sources of water.
  • What is the One Water approach?
    • About
      • One Water Approach, also referred to as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), is the recognition that all water has value, regardless of its source.
        • It includes managing that source in an integrated, inclusive and sustainable manner by including the community, business leaders, industries, farmers, conservationists, policymakers, academics and others for ecological and economic benefits.
      • It is an “integrated planning and implementation approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability meeting both community and ecosystem needs.
      • One Water is the future of the water industry when the barriers conventionally separating wastewater, stormwater, drinking water, groundwater and the reuse and re-utilisation are broken down, many benefits realised.
    • Characteristics
      • All Water has Value: The mindset that all water has value — from the water resources in our ecosystems to our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
      • A Multi-faceted Approach: Our water-related investments should provide economic, environmental, and societal returns.
      • Utilising Watershed-Scale Thinking and Action: It should respect and respond to the natural ecosystem, geology, and hydrology of an area.
      • Partnerships and Inclusion: Real progress and achievements will only be made when all stakeholders come forward and together will take a decision.
    • Objectives
      • Reliable, secure, clean water supplies
      • Aquifer recharge
      • Flood protection
      • Minimising environmental pollution
      • Efficient use and reuse of natural resources
      • Resiliency to climate
      • Long-term sustainability
      • Equity, affordability and accessibility to safe drinking water
      • Economic growth and prosperity
    • Why is the One Water Approach Needed?
      • Differences in regional water availability, pricing and affordability, the seasonal and inter-annual variation in supply, water quality and quantity, and unreliability of the resource poses great challenges.
      • Aged infrastructure, supply-centric management, polluted waterbodies, agricultural and industrial expansion following changes in consumption and production patterns, a changing climate and disproportionate distribution of the water also push for new water techniques.
      • At the global level, 31 countries are already facing a shortage of water and by 2025, there will be 48 countries facing serious water shortages.
      • Recognising, measuring and expressing water’s worth and incorporating that into decision-making is still a challenge, apart from the water scarcity.
    • How is IWRM Superior to Conventional Water Management?
      • In the conventional water management approach, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are managed separately, whereas in ‘One Water’, all the water systems, regardless of its source, are connected intentionally and managed meticulously for water, energy and resources.
      • Water is recycled and reused several times in IWRM, in contrast to a one-way route from supply to use, treatment and disposal.
      • Stormwater is utilised as a valuable resource to fight against water scarcity, recharge groundwater and support natural vegetation.
      • The water system includes green infrastructures and a mix of grey and green infrastructure that form a hybrid system as compared to grey infrastructure in conventional water management.
        • Grey infrastructure refers to structures such as dams, seawalls, roads, pipes or water treatment plants.
        • Green infrastructure refers to natural systems including forests, floodplains, wetlands and soils that provide additional benefits for human well-being, such as flood protection and climate regulation.
      • Active collaborations with industry, agencies, policymakers, business leaders and various stakeholders is a regular practice in the ‘One Water’ approach, whereas collaboration is need-based in conventional water management systems.
    • Way Forward
      • Failure to value water in all its forms is considered a prime cause of the mismanagement of water, according to the UN World Water Development Report 2021.
      • Therefore, shifting the attention from a single-minded and linear water management to a multi-dimensional integrated water management approach, that is, the ‘One Water’ approach, for a comprehensive, resilient and sustainable management of water resources.


  • Context
    • Recently, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) launched operation ‘Gear Box’ to stop heroin smuggling, seizes 39.5 kg of contraband from Kolkata port.
    • The heroin was examined and seized under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
  • What is Operation Gear Box?
    • Operation Gear Box is conducted to detect the hidden drugs in the gear boxes.
    • The gears from old and used gearboxes were removed after opening them and plastic packets containing the narcotic substance were placed in the created cavity and the gearboxes were refitted to avoid detection.
      • The drug syndicate has used this unique modus operandi to conceal heroin.
    • These packets were shipped concealing inside this metal scrap with other metal scrap so that it would go unnoticed by the authorities.
  • Drug Addiction in India
    • The menace of drug addiction has spread fast among the youth of India.
      • India is sandwiched between two largest Opium producing regions of the world that is the Golden triangle on one side and the Golden crescent on other.
      • The golden triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.
      • The golden crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
    • According to the World Drug Report 2022, India is one of the world's single largest opiate markets in terms of users and would likely be vulnerable to increased supply.
    • According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India 2020 report, a total of 59,806 cases were lodged under NDPS Act.
    • According to the Social Justice Ministry and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) report on magnitude of substance use in 2019, there were:
      • 3.1 crore cannabis users (of which 25 lakhs were dependent users).
      • 2.3 crore opioid users (of which 28 lakhs were dependent users).
  • Other Related Initiatives
    • Seizure Information Management System
    • National Drug Abuse Survey
    • NDPS Act,1985
    • Nasha Mukt Bharat
  • International Treaties and Conventions to Combat Drug Menace
    • India is signatory of the following International treaties and conventions to combat the menace of Drug Abuse:
      • United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)
      • UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
      • UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
      • UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) 2000.

Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki Campaign


  • The month-long campaign titled, “Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki” with the theme of ‘Elimination of Gender-Based Violence’ will be conducted as a 'Jan Andolan' (people's movement) in all the States/UTs of the country from 25th November to 23rd of December, 2022.
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Urban Development.
  • The campaign has been launched under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood
    Mission (DAY-NRLM).
  • Kerala also launched the campaign under the umbrella of the Kudumbashree Mission.
    • Kudumbashree Mission is the poverty eradication and women empowerment programme implemented by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala.

What is Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki Campaign?

  • It is a community-led National Campaign Against Gender-Based Discrimination.
  • It is a four-week campaign, aiming at equipping women to recognise and prevent violence and making them aware of their rights.
  • This will be an annual campaign focussing on specific gender issues each year. The focus area of the campaign this year is gender-based violence.

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM):

  • It is a centrally sponsored programme, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in June 2011.
  • The DAY-NRLM is essentially a poverty relief programme of the Central government.
  • The scheme is an improved version of the earlier Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).
  • The programme is supported partially by the World Bank.
  • It aims at creating effective and efficient institutional platforms to enable the rural poor to increase their household income by means of sustainable livelihood enhancements and better access to financial services.
  • Sub-schemes:
    • Mahila Kisan Shashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
    • Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) and Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)
    • Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY)
    • Rural Self Employment Institutes (RSETIs)

Which agencies are responsible for its implementation?

  • This campaign will be implemented by all states in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) partners, and actively executed by all levels including the states, districts and blocks, engaging the community institutions along with the extended community.

Adoption Awareness Month


  • As part of the ‘Adoption Awareness Month', Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) organised 10 State orientation programmes, ran 200 special social media campaigns, held interactive meets with more than 700 Prospective Adoptive Parents and Adoptive Parents in November ,2022.
  • The  key features of the new Adoption Regulations, 2022 notified by the Central Government on September 23, 2022 were also  shared with them. CARA  engaged with the adoption community by offering in-depth knowledge and resources for families.

What is Adoption Awareness Month?

  • Adoption Awareness Month is about spreading adoption awareness amongst the stakeholders and the waiting families desiring to adopt.
  • Adoption Awareness Month was celebrated in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Daman & Diu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Through the adoption process, CARA is dedicated to ensuring the long-term rehabilitation of children.

Adoption procedure in India:

  • Adoptions in India are governed by two laws:
    • Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA): It is a parent-centric law that provides son to the son-less for reasons of succession, inheritance, continuance of family name and for funeral rights and later adoption of daughters was incorporated because kanyadaan is considered an important part of dharma in Hindu tradition.
    • Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: It handles issues of children in conflict with law as well as those who are in need of care and protection and only has a small chapter on adoptions.
  • Both laws have their separate eligibility criteria for adoptive parents.
  • Those applying under the JJ Act have to register on CARA’s portal after which a specialized adoption agency carries out a home study report.

New Adoption Regulations, 2022:

  • In 2015, the then Minister for Women and Child Development centralized the entire adoption system by empowering Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
  • It was empowered to maintain in various specialized adoption agencies, a registry of children, prospective adoptive parents as well as match them before adoption.
  • The Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 in order to amend the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), 2015.
  • Then under this act government relased new Adoption Regulations, 2022.
  • The key changes include authorizing District Magistrates and Additional District Magistrates to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act by striking out the word “court”.
  • This was done “in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability,” according to a government statement.

What is Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)?

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

Section 10 A of the Divorce Act, 1869


  • The Kerala High Court held that the fixation of the minimum period of separation of one year under Section 10A of the Divorce Act, 1869 is violative of fundamental rights and struck it down.
  • The decision was made in response to a petition filed by a young couple who got married according to Christian customs earlier this year.
  • After realising it was a mistake, they filed a joint petition for divorce with the Family Court in May under Section 10A of the Divorce Act.
  • The petition was denied by the Family Court, which stated that a one-year separation following the marriage is required to maintain a petition under Section 10A of the Act.
  • The parties then filed an appeal with the Kerala High Court, challenging the order. Recognizing that the bar was created by statute, the couple filed a writ petition to declare Section 10A(1) of the Act unconstitutional.

What is Section 10 A of the Divorce Act, 1869?

  • It mandated a one-year wait from the marriage date to file the plea.
  • It requires the couple to be separated for at least two years. The couple needed to provide that they have not been living as husband and wife during this period.

What did HC say about it:

  • The court observed that if the parties are not given the option to highlight the hardships and exceptional hardships they may encounter during the waiting period, the mandate of Section 10A(1) will become oppressive.
  • The court observed, “If the right to a judicial remedy is curtailed by statutory provisions, the court will have to strike them down as they are violative of a fundamental right. The right to life encompasses judicial remedy as well.”
  • According to Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to an effective remedy by competent national tribunals for acts that violate fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution or by law.
  • The court suggested to the Union government that there should be a uniform marriage code in India to promote the common welfare and good of spouses in matrimonial disputes.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)


  • It was in news due to various reasons.

What is National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)?

  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is a statutory body constituted under Section 3 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 to protect the child rights and other related matters in the Country.
  • The Commission is further mandated to monitor the proper and effective implementation of
    • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012;
    • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and
    • Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • In one of the functions laid down under Section 13 of the CPCR Act, 2005, the Commission has been assigned with the function to examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
  • The Commission also has the powers of Civil Court trying a suit under Section 14 of CPCR Act, 2005 and Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Bangladeshi Kuki-Chin Refugees


  • The ongoing conflict between Bangladeshi security forces and the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA) has resulted in an influx of Kuki-Chin refugees to the Indian state of Mizoram.
  • The Mizoram government has been making consistent efforts to provide assistance to the Kuki-Chin tribals of Bangladesh.
  • Recently, the Mizoram Cabinet has approved the setting up of temporary shelters and other amenities for them.
  • Mizoram, which shares a 318-km-long border with Bangladesh, hosts over 30,000 refugees from Myanmar.

Who are Kuki-Chin tribes?

  • People of the Kuki-Chin community share close ethnic ties with the Mizos.
  • They fled to India due tocrackdown by Bangladeshi security force on the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA) which is fighting for an independent state in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeastern Bangladesh.
  • Most of the asylum seekers are from the Bawm tribe who primarily live in CHT’s Bandarban and Rangamati districts.
  • About 350000 people of Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities live in CHT.

Who are Kuki people?

  • The Kuki people are an ethnic group native to the Mizo Hills (formerly Lushai), a mountainous region in the southeastern part of Mizoram and Manipur in India.
  • The Kuki constitute one of several hill tribes within India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Some fifty tribes of Kuki peoples in India are recognised as scheduled tribes, based on the dialect spoken by that particular Kuki community as well as their region of origin.
  • The Chin people of Myanmar and the Mizo people of Mizoram are kindred tribes of the Kukis. Collectively, they are termed the Zo people.

India and refugees:

  • India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Nor does India have a well-defined national policy on refugees.
  • All foreign undocumented nationals are governed as per the provisions of The Foreigners Act, of 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, of 1939, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, of 19,20, and The Citizenship Act,1955.

UN Refugee Convention 1951:

  • The UN Convention on Refugees is an international convention that pertains to refugee protection worldwide.
  • It was adopted in 1951 and entered into force in 1954.
  • There has been one amendment to the convention in the form of the 1967 Protocol.
  • The Convention spells out clearly who a refugee is and what kind of assistance, rights and legal protection a refugee is entitled to receive.
  • It also lays down the obligations of refugees towards the host countries.
  • The Convention also specifies certain categories of people, such as war criminals, who do not qualify for refugee status.
  • The foundation of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulement.
    • As per this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to life or freedom.
  • Refugees are guaranteed other rights under the Convention such as:
    • The right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions.
    • The right not to be punished for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting State.
    • The rights to work, housing, education, public relief and assistance, freedom of religion, access courts, and freedom of movement within the territory.
    • The right to be issued identity and travel documents.
    • The right to be protected from refoulement apply to all refugees.
  • 149 countries are parties to either or both the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol.
  • India has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.
  • India remains one of the few liberal democracies not to have signed, supported or ratified the international convention. India does, however, host a large number of refugees in its territory.
  • However, India had always been compassionate and allowed refugees fleeing civil war, religious persecution or ethnic cleansing to come into the country.

Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/ Minorities (SPEMM)


  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment recently pulled up the Union government for the delay in approving the continuation of the Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM), which provides for financial assistance to madrasas and minority institutes.

What is Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/ Minorities (SPEMM)?

  • Department of School Education and Literacy is implementing an Umbrella Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM) which comprises of two schemes namely Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) and Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI).
  • The scheme is being implemented at the national level. Both the schemes are voluntary in nature.
  • Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) seeks to bring about qualitative improvement in Madrasas to enable Muslim children attain standards of the National education system in formal education subjects.
  • Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI) has been operationalised to augment Infrastructure in Private Aided/Unaided Minority Schools/Institutions in order to enhance the quality of education to minority children.

PM Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS)


  • The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) has now been named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme.
  • The integrated scheme converges five erstwhile schemes of the Ministry viz. Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Hamari Dharohar, Nai Roshni and Nai Manzil. The scheme has been approved by the Cabinet for the period of 15th Finance Commission.

What is the Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme?

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • PM VIKAS aims to improve livelihoods of the minorities, particularly the artisan communities, using the components of skill development, education, women leadership & entrepreneurship.
  • There are four components under the scheme: 
    • Skilling and Training,
    • Leadership and Entrepreneurship,
    • Education and
    • Infrastructure Development.
  • These components compliment each other in the ultimate objective of the scheme to increase the incomes of the beneficiaries and provide support by facilitating credit and market linkages.

Global Gender Gap Index/Report


  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) will take into account the participation of women at panchayat level to rank countries in its future Global Gender Gap reports, which will better India’s position at the global level.
  • The international body is re-examining and changing the indices for the ranking according to a written assurance given to Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani who had led an Indian delegation to Davos recently, and reiterated the “flaws” in the ranking system.

What is Global Gender Gap Index?

  • It is released by World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • It benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four Key dimensions with Sub Matrices:
    • Economic Participation and Opportunity
    • Educational Attainment
    • Health and Survival
    • Political Empowerment
  • On each of the four sub-indices as well as on the overall index the GGG index provides scores between 0 and 1, where 1 shows full gender parity and 0 is complete imparity.

Recent changes and India:

  • So far, for women’s political participation, the WEF looks at the number of women in the Union Cabinet and members in both houses of Parliament.
  • It did not even consider Ministers of State, women MLAs and state ministers.
  • Due to this India's true image was not reflected in the indices.
  • There are 1.4 million women in the Indian panchayat system whose political contribution will now be enumerated.
  • This will improve India’s position at the global level.


UNDESA World Social Report 2023


  • The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) published the World Social Report 2023.
  • The theme of this report is “Leaving No One Behind in an Aging World”.

What are the key findings of the Report?

  • As per the report, the number of persons aged 65 years or older worldwide is expected to double over the next three decades.
  • The elderly population will reach 1.6 billion in 2050, accounting for more than 16% of the global population.

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  • North Africa, West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are expected to experience the fastest growth.
  • Also, Europe and North America have the highest share of older persons combined.
  • In India, by the year 2050, it is expected that the number of elderly in the country will reach 324 million.

What is the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)?

  • It was formed in the year 1948.
  • It is the development pillar of the United Nations.
  • UN DESA is a pioneer of sustainable development and the home of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where each goal finds its space and where all stakeholders can do their part to leave no one behind.
  • It is a leading analytical voice for promoting inclusion, reducing inequalities and eradicating poverty, and a champion for tearing down the barriers that keep people in poverty.

Other Indian and Global Initiatives:

World Hindi Day


  • Every year on January 10, we commemorate World Hindi Day. Also known as Vishwa Hindi Diwas, it marks the day when Hindi was first spoken in the United Nations General Assembly in 1949.

More on the World Hindi Day?

  • The very first World Hindi Day was celebrated on January 10, 2006, at the behest of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
  • World Hindi Day is an occasion to recognise Hindi as a universal language.
  • The Hindi Diwas is used to spread awareness about the use of the Indian language as well as the ongoing issues with Hindi usage and promotion.
  • It also places a strong emphasis on developing a passion for the language and valuing the contributions of Hindi speakers.
  • Hindi was made the official language of the Union of India in 1950. The official language of India is designated as Hindi in Devanagari script in Article 343 of the Indian Constitution.
  • To promote the Hindi language, the government of India also hosts a conference. Dubbed the “World Hindi Conference,” it was first organised in 1975 in Nagpur.
    • A total of 122 representatives from 30 nations attended the conference.
    • This year, in partnership with the Government of Fiji, the Ministry of External Affairs will host the 12th World Hindi Conference in Fiji from February 15–17.
  • The World Hindi Day 2023 conference's main theme is “Hindi: From Traditional Knowledge to Artificial Intelligence.”

Young Professionals Scheme


  • On the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, India and the UK have decided to launch Young Professionals Scheme (YPS).

More on the scheme:

  • The Young Professionals Scheme was conceived as part of an India-U.K. The Migration and Mobility MoU signed in May 2021, was announced in November at the G20 summit in Bali.
  • The scheme will permit degree-holding citizens aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in each other’s countries for a period of two years.
    • They would be able to either work, study, or visit, for two years.
    • The scheme will run for a period of three years initially.
  • The scheme allows for exchange visas for up to 3,000 individuals per year.
  • It isn’t even necessary for an applicant to have a job in hand when he/she applies for the visa.
  • So, the successful candidates could look for a job, educational or cultural opportunity once they arrived in their host country. Or they could just visit.

Operation AAHT


  • Recently, Railway Protection Force has launched a nationwide operation named “Operation AAHT” to curb human trafficking.

More on the news:

  • Under this , special teams will be deployed on all long-distance trains/routes with a focus on rescuing victims, particularly women and children, from the clutches of traffickers.
  • The infrastructure and intelligence network of the RPF could be utilised to collect, collate and analyse clues on victims, source, route, destination, popular trains used by suspects, the identity of carriers/agents, kingpins etc and shared with other law-enforcing agencies.
  • The cyber cells would start patrolling the web/social media to look for digital footprints of Human Trafficking to strengthen the intelligence machinery and the action plan to identify, investigate, rescue and rehabilitate victims of the offence.
  • The focus should be more on trains originating from districts bordering Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Community Innovator Fellowship Program


  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in collaboration with UNDP has launched the Community Innovator Fellowship (CIF) marking the “International Day of Women & Girls in Science”.

What is Community Innovator Fellowship?

  • Community Innovator Fellowship (CIF) is an initiative of the Atal Innovation Mission. It is being implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India.
  • Its aim is to facilitate knowledge building and provide infrastructure support to aspiring community innovators and help them in their entrepreneurial journey.
  • This is a one-year-long fellowship program that will provide assistance for innovators involved in solving challenges faced by communities.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country and was setup in 2016.
  • Towards this end AIM has taken a holistic approach to ensure creation of a problem-solving innovative mindset in schools and creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in universities, research institutions, private and MSME sector.
  • All the initiatives of AIM are currently monitored and managed systematically using real-time MIS systems and dynamic dashboards.
  • AIM is also currently having its programs reviewed by third party agencies for ensuring continuous improvements.
  • Any community innovators between the age of 18 to 35 can apply for this program irrespective of their socio-economic background. The community innovator must have a bachelor’s, diploma, or degree in any field from a government-recognized institution.
  • This initiative seeks to provide conducive environment that promotes knowledge, mentorship, community immersion and inclusion through infrastructure and funding support.
  • Under this initiative, the fellows will work on their concept while staying at an Atal Community Innovation Center (ACIC) and learning about the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, developing their entrepreneurial abilities, and developing life skills.

Special Marriage Act, 1954


  • It was in news due to various reasons.

What is Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954

  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 (SMA) was passed by the Parliament on October 9, 1954.
  • It governs a civil marriage where the state sanctions the marriage rather than the religion.
  • Issues of personal law such as marriage, divorce, adoption are governed by religious laws that are codified. These laws, such as the Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, require either spouse to convert to the religion of the other before marriage.
  • However, the SMA enables marriage between inter-faith or inter-caste couples without them giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
  • The Indian system, where both civil and religious marriages are recognised, is similar to the laws in the UK’s Marriage Act of 1949.
  • An earlier version of the SMA was enacted in 1872 and was later re-enacted in 1954 with provisions for divorce etc.

Who can get married under the Special Marriage Act?

  • The applicability of the Act extends to the people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, across India.
  • Some customary restrictions such as parties not being within degrees of a prohibited relationship still apply to couples under SMA.
  • The minimum age to get married under the SMA is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.

Some important sections of the SMA:

  • As per Section 5 of the Act, the parties to the marriage are required to give a notice, in writing, to a “Marriage Officer” of the district in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the notice.
  • As per Section 6, a true copy of the notice given by the parties will be kept under the “Marriage Notice Book” which will be open for inspection at all reasonable times, without a fee. Upon receiving the notice, the marriage officer shall publish it in “some conspicuous place in his office” to invite any objections to the marriage within 30 days.
  • Section 7 deals with “Objection to marriage” and allows any person “before the expiration of thirty days from the date of the notice’s publication” to object to the marriage on the ground that it would contravene one or more of the conditions specified in Section 4 of the Act.

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