Current Affair




1. Context

Sikkim will be the first state in India to roll out the Universal Basic Income or UBI, with the ruling party Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) including it in its manifesto ahead of the state’s Assembly election this year. 

2. Universal Basic Income (UBI)

  • Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a social welfare program that aims to provide all citizens of a country with a regular and unconditional cash transfer from the government.
  • The concept of UBI has gained traction in recent years as a potential solution to address economic inequality, poverty, and unemployment in society.
  • Under this system, every individual, regardless of income, employment status, or wealth, would receive a fixed amount of money regularly.
  • Under a UBI program, all citizens, including children and the elderly, receive a fixed amount of money regularly, usually every month.
  • The payment is unconditional, meaning that individuals are not required to meet any specific criteria or work requirements to receive the income.
  • The amount of the UBI payment can vary depending on the country's economic conditions and the objectives of the program.

3. Significance of Universal Basic Income:

  • Poverty Reduction: One of the primary goals of UBI is to alleviate poverty by providing a basic level of financial security to all citizens. It ensures that every individual has access to a minimum standard of living, reducing the risk of extreme poverty and improving overall well-being.
  • Economic Stimulus: UBI can serve as an economic stimulus by putting more money directly into the hands of consumers. Increased consumer spending can lead to higher demand for goods and services, potentially boosting economic growth.
  • Job Displacement and Automation: With the rise of automation and advancements in technology, UBI has been proposed as a way to address potential job losses. By providing a regular income, individuals who lose their jobs due to automation can have a safety net while they seek new opportunities or reskill themselves.
  • Social Equality and Human Dignity: UBI promotes social equality by providing every citizen with the same basic income, regardless of their socio-economic background. It recognizes the inherent dignity of individuals and their right to a decent standard of living.
  • Streamlining Social Welfare Programs: UBI has the potential to simplify the existing complex welfare systems, reducing bureaucracy and administrative costs. By consolidating various means-tested programs, UBI can make social support more accessible and efficient.

4. Criticisms and Challenges of Universal Basic Income:

  • Cost and Funding: One of the main challenges of implementing UBI is its cost. Providing a regular income to every citizen requires significant financial resources, and funding such a program without negatively impacting the economy or burdening taxpayers is a major concern.
  • Inflationary Pressures: Critics argue that introducing UBI might lead to inflation, as increased consumer spending could drive up prices, reducing the purchasing power of the UBI payment.
  • Work Incentives: Some opponents of UBI fear that providing unconditional income might disincentivize people from working or seeking employment, potentially leading to a decline in labor force participation.
  • Targeting and Equity: Critics argue that UBI might not effectively target those who are most in need of financial assistance, as it provides the same amount to every citizen, including those who might not require additional support.
  • UBI Pilots and Experiments: Several countries and regions have conducted pilot projects and experiments to test the feasibility and impact of UBI. These experiments aim to gather data on the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing such a program on a larger scale.

5. India’s Pilot Project, Madhya Pradesh

  • In 2011, SEWA, funded by UNICEF, conducted a pilot study of Universal Basic Income in 8 villages of Madhya Pradesh for 18 months. 
  • Most villagers did not prefer subsidies (covering, Rice, wheat, kerosene, and sugar) as a result of the basic income experience. They Choose each transfer over subsidies.
  • Many people used the money to improve their housing infrastructure by building roofs and walls, toilets, etc.
  • This meant a reduced number of diseases emanating from dirty surroundings, which indirectly reduces their expenditure on fighting such diseases. It was also reported that nutrition levels improved, particularly among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
For Prelims: Universal Basic Income(UBI), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), and Self-employed Women Associations (SEWA).
For Mains: 1. Discuss the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a potential solution to address economic inequality and poverty. Evaluate its advantages and disadvantages in the context of a developing economy like India.(250 Words)

Previous year Questions

1. A recent radical idea to overcome the problem of poor targeting and misallocation of social welfare schemes is that of (APPSC Group 1 2017)
A. Universal Basic Income
B. Direct Beneficiary Transfer
C. Direct allocation of funds to Local Bodies
D. Privatization of all subsidy schemes
Answer: A
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
With Antibiotic resistance raising, Scientists think bacteriophages which hunt and kill bacteria could cure bacterial infections
2. Background
  • For such tiny agents, viruses have taken a huge toll on humanity. Outbreaks of viral diseases, such as smallpox, influenza, HIV, and COVID-19 have killed billions and fundamentally shaped societies throughout human history
  • But not all viruses are killers. As with bacteria, “good” or “friendly” viruses can also be beneficial for health.
  • Scientists now talk of a virome  all the different types of viruses we host in our bodies which contribute to health, much like the bacterial microbiome
  • This virome is huge. You have 380 trillion virus particles living (or existing) in or on your body right now  10 times more than the number of bacteria
  •  These viruses lurk in our lungs and blood, live on our skin and linger inside the microbes in our guts
  • They’re not all bad, however: There are viruses that kill cancer cells and help break down tumours, others that train our immune system and help them fight pathogens, and even some that control gene expression in pregnancy
  • The vast majority of viruses inside us are bacteriophages  viruses that kill bacteria in our microbiomes
  •  Bacteriophages, also known as phages, are harmless to human cells as they do not recognize them as their bacterial prey.
  • They work by hunting down bacteria and attaching themselves to the surface of a bacterial cell, before injecting viral DNA material into the cell
  • The viral DNA then replicates inside the bacteria, sometimes by borrowing the DNA replication hardware of the bacteria.
  • Once enough new viruses have been created inside the bacterial cell, the cell then bursts to release the new viral particles
  • All this takes just 30 minutes, meaning one virus can become many in a couple of hours
  • The ability of phages to take down bacteria had scientists pondering whether they could be used to treat bacterial infections in the early 20th century, but when antibiotics like penicillin came along, that research faded away
  • Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are now on the rise, with experts saying antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest medical challenges facing global communities
  • As a result, scientists are racing to find new forms of antibiotic agents, putting phages back on the menu as agents to fight bacterial infections.
4. Phages were medicine to Soviet medicine
  • Due to the scarcity of antibiotics in Soviet-era Russia, phages were used to treat bacterial infections, and their use has continued in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Russia for decades
  • Georgia is a hot spot for phage tourism, with patients from all over the world going there to be treated with phages
  • It’s from these clinics that some scientists say we have good evidence that phages can work against infections that are resistant to conventional antibacterial agents.
  • Georgia has developed into one of the global centers of phage therapy, hosting one of the largest therapeutic collections of bacteriophages in the world
  • But countries like Belgium and the US are beginning to use phages for exceptional cases in specialized therapy centers as well.
Source: indianexpress


1. Context
India has registered a decline in the number of “multidimensionally poor” individuals, from 24.85 per cent in 2015-16 to 14.96 per cent in 2019-2021, according to a report by the government think tank Niti Aayog. In absolute terms, approximately 13.5 crore Indians escaped poverty between the five-year time period, courtesy of improvements in indicators like access to cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, and bank accounts, among others.
2. About Multi-dimensional Poverty Index
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is a widely used tool for measuring and analyzing poverty at a broader level than traditional income-based methods. It was developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
The MPI takes into account various dimensions of poverty, recognizing that poverty is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon

The MPI is scored on a scale of 0 to 1, with 0 indicating no poverty and 1 indicating extreme poverty. A person is considered multidimensionally poor if they experience at least 33% of deprivations in the 10 dimensions.

The MPI was developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and is now used by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to track progress on multidimensional poverty reduction. The MPI is a valuable tool for understanding the nature of poverty and for designing policies that can effectively reduce it.

  1. Health: This dimension considers indicators such as nutrition, child mortality, and access to clean water and sanitation.

  2. Education: It looks at indicators like years of schooling and school attendance rates for children.

  3. Standard of living: This dimension considers access to basic services like electricity, cooking fuel, and adequate housing.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2022
3. Key Statistics
  • India still has more than 230 million people who are poor
  • According to the MDI report, one should take the population “vulnerable” to multidimensional poverty seriously
  • The UNDP defines, “Vulnerability — the share of people who are not poor but have deprivations in 20–33.3 percent of all weighted indicators — can be much higher.” India has some 18.7 per cent population under this category.
  • Globally, 1.1 billion people, or around 18 per cent of total population, are acutely multidimensionally poor. 
  • Children under 18 years old account for half of MPI-poor people (566 million). The poverty rate among children is 27.7 per cent, while among adults it is 13.4 per cent
  • 1.1 billion people in 110 developing countries are multidimensionally poor.
  • The number of multidimensionally poor people has fallen by 220 million since 1990.
  • The incidence of multidimensional poverty is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Children are disproportionately affected by multidimensional poverty.
  • Women are more likely to be multi-dimensionally poor than men.
For Prelims: Multidimensional poverty index, UNDP, Education, Health, Standard of Living
For Mains:  Multidimensional poverty index


Previous year Questions

1.The Multi-dimensional Poverty Index developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support covers which of the following? (UPSC CSE 2012)

  1. Deprivation of education, health, assets and services at household level
  2. Purchasing power parity at national level
  3. Extent of budget deficit and GDP growth rate at national level

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer - a

1.Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (UPSC CSE 2016)

Source: DownToEarth



1. Context

Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the Uttaramerur inscription in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu while discussing India’s democratic history.

2. About Uttarmerur Inscription

  • The Uttaramerur inscriptions are an invaluable collection of historical documents dating back to the 10th century CE.
  • Discovered in Uttaramerur village, Tamil Nadu, India, these inscriptions offer unique insights into the political and administrative system of medieval South India, particularly during the Chola dynasty.
Image Source: Quora

3. Discovery and Location

  • The Uttaramerur inscriptions were found in the Uttaramerur Kailasanatha Temple, located in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.
  • These inscriptions are engraved on copper plates, inscribed in the Tamil language and script, preserving crucial information about the village assembly system.

4. The Sabha System

  • One of the primary focuses of the inscriptions is the "Sabha" or "Mahasabha," the local self-governing body that played a pivotal role in administering the village's affairs.
  • The inscriptions detail the functioning and organization of the Sabha, providing a comprehensive understanding of its democratic practices.
  • The inscription describes a number of important committees within the sabha with
    their own distinct functions.
  • These include, the garden committee, the tank committee, the annual committee (an executive committee that required prior experience and knowledge to be a part of), the committee for supervision of justice (for supervising appointments and wrong doing), the gold committee (in charge of all the gold in the village temple) and the five-fold committee (its role is unclear in the inscription).
  • These committee assignments would last for 360 days after which the members
    would have to retire.
  • Anyone in the committee who was implicated in any wrongdoing, such as forgery or having ridden a donkey (i.e. being punished for a crime), was removed instantly.
  • Also, the inscription emphasizes upon the keeping of accounts – any discrepancy can also disqualify members of the sabha.

5. Qualifications and Elections

  • The inscriptions outline the eligibility criteria for candidates aspiring to hold positions within the Sabha.
  • These qualifications included age, experience, and moral conduct. Understanding these criteria offers valuable insights into the values and principles that guided the selection process.

6. Roles and Responsibilities

  • The inscriptions shed light on the various officers within the village administration, such as the "Grama Kilar" (village accountant), "Perungudi" (chief), and "Talaiyari" (village watchman).
  • Each official had distinct duties and responsibilities, contributing to the smooth functioning of the village's governance.

7. Emphasis on Fairness and Accountability

  • The inscriptions highlight the emphasis placed on honesty, fairness, and accountability in the governance of the village.
  • They detail the penalties for dishonesty or negligence in performing official duties, revealing the significance given to ethical conduct among elected officials.

8. Insight into Chola Dynasty Governance

  • As the inscriptions provide detailed information about the administrative system, they offer scholars and historians a deeper understanding of the socio-political structure during the Chola dynasty.
  • They act as a valuable resource for studying the decentralized governance systems of medieval South India.

9. Continuing Significance

  • The Uttaramerur inscriptions continue to be studied by researchers and enthusiasts alike, contributing to our knowledge of India's rich historical heritage and the evolution of democratic practices in the region.
  • Their discovery stands as a testament to the advanced administrative and governance systems that flourished in ancient India.

10. Preservation and Research

  • Efforts have been made to preserve and protect the Uttaramerur inscriptions to ensure their longevity.
  • Ongoing research and study of these inscriptions provide valuable information about early Indian society and governance, offering a fascinating window into the past.

11. About Chola Dynasty

  • The Chola Dynasty was one of the most significant and influential dynasties in the history of South India.
  • It emerged as a major power during the medieval period and had a lasting impact on the region's culture, economy, and political landscape.
  • The Cholas ruled parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Kerela, and Andhra Pradesh, with their empire reaching its zenith between the 9th and 13th centuries CE.
  • The origins of the Chola Dynasty can be traced back to the early centuries of the Common Era, but it was during the 9th century that they rose to prominence.
  • The first significant ruler of the dynasty was Vijayalaya Chola, who established the Chola kingdom with his capital at Thanjavur.
For Prelims: Uttermerur inscription, "Sabha" or "Mahasabha, Chola dynasty, Kailasanatha Temple, "Grama Kilar" (village accountant), "Perungudi" (chief), and "Talaiyari" (village watchman).
For Mains: 1. Discuss the significance of the Uttaramerur inscriptions in understanding the political and administrative system of medieval South India. (250 Words)
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
The Centre has focused on digitisation of land records through its scheme Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme (DILRMP). According to the Department of Land Records, over 90 per cent of land records have been digitised across 24 states
The linkage of National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) with the ‘One-Nation One-Registration Software’ will be promoted as an option for uniform registration process and “anywhere registration of deeds & documents”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 
2. What is Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) 
The Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) is a significant initiative undertaken by the Government of India to modernize land records and make them easily accessible and transparent to citizens.
Launched in August 2008, the main objective of DILRMP is to digitize land records, minimize land disputes, enhance transparency in land-related transactions, and improve overall land governance in the country.
3. Key Objectives

The Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) is a significant initiative undertaken by the Government of India to modernize land records and make them easily accessible and transparent to citizens. Launched in August 2008, the main objective of DILRMP is to digitize land records, minimize land disputes, enhance transparency in land-related transactions, and improve overall land governance in the country.

The program aims to achieve the following key objectives:

  1. Computerization of Land Records: Under DILRMP, land records, including details of ownership, cultivation, and other relevant information, are digitized and stored in electronic formats. This ensures easier access to land records for both government authorities and citizens.

  2. Integration of Land Records: The program seeks to integrate various land-related databases to create a comprehensive and unified system for land records. This helps in reducing discrepancies and promoting better coordination among different government departments.

  3. Title Guarantee: DILRMP aims to establish a title guarantee system to provide conclusive land titles, thereby reducing disputes and ensuring more secure land transactions.

  4. Online Services: One of the primary objectives of the program is to provide online access to land records and related services, such as record verification, land ownership details, and mutation status. This allows citizens to access information conveniently and saves time and effort.

  5. Survey and Resurvey: DILRMP focuses on conducting accurate surveys and resurveys to update land records and maps regularly. This helps in maintaining the accuracy of land records and ensuring their relevance in current times.

  6. Capacity Building: The program emphasizes the training and capacity building of officials and staff involved in land administration to effectively manage the digitized land records and provide better services to citizens.

  7. Public Awareness: DILRMP aims to raise awareness among citizens about the benefits of digitized land records and how to access and utilize the online services effectively.

4. Way forward
By modernizing land records and making them more transparent and accessible, the Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme plays a crucial role in promoting land-related investments, reducing land disputes, and facilitating overall economic development in India.


1. Context
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has demanded an “unconditional apology” from Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation for a video in which he is seen making the claim that Saint Samarth Ramdas was Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji’s guru, and that it was Ramdas who gave Shivaji his saffron flag.
Samarth Ramdas - DOT-Maharashtra Tourism - Maharashtra Tourism
2. Samarth Ramdas
Samarth Ramdas (circa 1608 – 1681), also known as Sant Ramdas or Ramdas Swami, was a Hindu saint, philosopher, poet, writer and spiritual master. A devotee of Lord Ram and Hanuman, he toured the entire Indian subcontinent for 12 years, during which he came across various spiritual teachers and diverse religious traditions.
Ramdas has influenced Hindu nationalist thinkers across the years. The likes of Lokmanya Tilak, RSS founder KB Hedgewar, and VD Savarkar, all claimed to have been inspired by the 17th century saint.
His paean to Lord Hanuman, Maruti Stotra, is still commonly recited by school children as well as wrestlers akhadas across Maharashtra.
3. Life and Contributions

Key aspects of Samarth Ramdas's life and contributions include:

  1. Spiritual Journey: Samarth Ramdas was deeply inspired by the teachings of Saint Tukaram and became his disciple. He dedicated his life to the worship of Lord Rama and embarked on a spiritual journey to spread devotion and the ideals of righteousness and social welfare.

  2. Literary Works: Ramdas was a prolific writer and composed several devotional songs (kirtans) and philosophical works in Marathi, which expressed his devotion to Lord Rama and emphasized the path of self-realization and righteous living. His most notable literary work is the "Dasbodh," a profound philosophical treatise that provides guidance on various aspects of life and spirituality.

  3. Social and Spiritual Reforms: Samarth Ramdas played an essential role in social and spiritual reforms during his time. He advocated for unity among people of different castes and stressed the importance of treating all human beings with respect and dignity.
  4. Rama Bhakti: Central to Samarth Ramdas's teachings was the principle of devotion to Lord Rama. He encouraged people to chant the name of Rama (Rama Nama Japa) and meditate on his divine attributes as a means to attain spiritual enlightenment and liberation (moksha).

  5. Establishment of Math and Ashrams: Samarth Ramdas established several Math (monastic centers) and ashrams in various places, including Sajjangad near Satara in Maharashtra, where he spent most of his later life. These centers served as hubs for spiritual activities, study, and the dissemination of his teachings.

  6. Legacy: Samarth Ramdas's teachings and devotion to Lord Rama had a profound impact on society, and his influence can still be felt today. His followers continue to revere him as a spiritual guide, and his works continue to inspire millions of devotees in Maharashtra and beyond.

Previous Year Questions
1. Which of the following was not written by Samarth Ramdas (Maharashtra Police Constable (Satara) 2017)
A. Dasbodh
B. Manache Sloka
C. Aparokshanubhav 
D. Karunashtake
Answer -C
Source: indianexpress

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