Current Affair



1. Context
The Finance Minister listed ‘Green Growth’ as one of the seven priorities of her Budget. She said that these seven principles complement each other and act as the ‘Saptarishi’ guiding India through the Amrit Kaal. Green Growth is the fifth of these seven priorities.
2. What is the Green Growth Push?

The emphasis on green growth represents an economic strategy geared towards sustainable development, prioritizing the minimization of adverse environmental effects. The underlying idea of green growth posits that economic expansion and progress can persist while concurrently mitigating detrimental impacts on the environment, including the challenges posed by climate change.

Highlighted as one of the seven key focal points in the Union Budget 2023-24, the green growth initiative outlines a growth strategy that targets several objectives, including:

  • Facilitating a transition towards environmentally conscious industrial and economic practices
  • Promoting sustainable agriculture with a minimal ecological footprint
  • Encouraging the adoption of sustainable energy sources
  • Diminishing the carbon intensity of the economy
  • Creating substantial opportunities for employment in the green sector
3. Key Components of 'Green Growth Push'

Here are the component elements of the Budget’s Green Growth push:

Green Hydrogen Mission: The recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission, with an outlay of Rs 19,700 crores, will facilitate transition of the economy to low carbon intensity, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports, and make the country assume technology and market leadership in this sunrise sector

India aims to reach a target of an annual production of 5 MMT of green hydrogen by 2030

Energy Transition: The Budget has provided Rs 35,000 crore for priority capital investments towards energy transition and net zero objectives, and energy security by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Energy Storage Projects: To steer the economy on the sustainable development path, Battery Energy Storage Systems with capacity of 4,000 MWH will be supported with Viability Gap Funding. A detailed framework for Pumped Storage Projects will also be formulated.

Renewable Energy Evacuation: The Inter-state transmission system for evacuation and grid integration of 13 GW renewable energy from Ladakh will be constructed with investment of Rs 20,700 crore including central support of ` 8,300 crore.

Green Credit Programme: For encouraging behavioural change, a Green Credit Programme will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act. This will incentivize environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals and local bodies, and help mobilize additional resources for such activities.

PM-PRANAM: A new “PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth” will be launched to incentivize States and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers.

GOBARdhan scheme: 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme will be established for promoting circular economy. These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants at total investment of Rs 10,000 crore, the FM said.

Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres: The FM has proposed to facilitate over the next three years 1 crore farmers to adopt natural farming. For this, 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be set-up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.

MISHTI: Building on India’s success in afforestation, ‘Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes’, MISHTI, will be taken up for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands, wherever feasible, through convergence between MGNREGS, CAMPA Fund and other sources.

Amrit Dharohar: Wetlands are vital ecosystems which sustain biological diversity, the FM said. The government will promote their unique conservation values through Amrit Dharohar, a scheme that will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.

Coastal Shipping: Coastal shipping will be promoted as the energy efficient and lower cost mode of transport, both for passengers and freight, through PPP mode with viability gap funding

Vehicle Replacement: Replacing old polluting vehicles is an important part of greening our economy. In furtherance of the vehicle scrapping policy mentioned in Budget 2021-22, I have allocated adequate funds to scrap old vehicles of the Central Government. States will also be supported in replacing old vehicles and ambulances

4. Way forward

“Green growth” has been listed among the seven priorities of the Budget for 2023-24. This is a welcome move, considering that acceleration in economic development is as vital as ensuring energy security and meeting climate-action goals. These objectives, obviously, are hard to meet without transition to clean and renewable energy and improvement in energy-use efficiency in all sectors — industry, agriculture, services, transportation, buildings, equipment, and others. Fortunately, the Budget seems to make an earnest bid to take care of most of these imperatives, aiming ultimately to foster an environmentally conscious lifestyle

Source: Indianexpress


1. Context
The government announced the phased implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery with effect from June 16. In the first phase, gold hallmarking will be available in only in 256 districts and jewellers having annual turnover above Rs 40 lakh will come under its purview
2. What is hallmark?
  • A hallmark can refer to different things depending on the context, but generally, it signifies a distinguishing feature, characteristic, or mark that is indicative of a particular quality or origin. 
  • In the context of products, especially precious metals like gold and silver, a hallmark is a mark or stamp on an item that certifies its quality, purity, and authenticity. This is often done by an official assay office or regulatory body
  • More broadly, a hallmark can refer to a distinctive feature or characteristic that is typical of a particular person, thing, or period. For example, honesty might be considered a hallmark of a person's character
  • It can also refer to a symbol or mark that represents a tradition or is associated with a particular period, style, or quality. For instance, a specific style of craftsmanship might be considered the hallmark of a particular era.
  • In a legal or official sense, a hallmark may be an official mark or stamp used to validate or authenticate something. This could include official seals on documents, for example.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), which operates gold and silver hallmarking scheme in India, defines hallmarking as the “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.” So, it is a “guarantee of purity or fineness” of precious metal articles.
3. What are the metals covered under Hallmark?
  • The government, through a notification released on June 14, 2018, identified two categories, namely gold jewellery and gold artefacts, as well as silver jewellery and silver artefacts, to fall under the jurisdiction of hallmarking.
  • Consequently, hallmarking is applicable in India specifically for jewellery composed of gold and silver. Nevertheless, a specific subset of jewellery and items will be excluded from the compulsory hallmarking requirement.
  • As per the Department of Consumer Affairs, jewellery intended for export and re-import in accordance with the Trade Policy of the Government of India, as well as jewellery for international exhibitions and government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions, will not be subject to mandatory hallmarking.
  • Additionally, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution has specified that certain items such as watches, fountain pens, and distinct types of jewellery like Kundan, Polki, and Jadau are exempted from the hallmarking requirement.
  • As per BIS standards, there are three categories of hallmarking based on purity of gold—22 carat, 18 carat and 14 carat.
4. Significance of Hallmarking
India is the biggest consumer of gold. However, the level of hallmarked jewellery is very low in the country. According to the ministry, at present, only 30% of Indian gold jewellery is hallmarked.
One of the reasons responsible for low level of hallmarked jewellery is non-availability of sufficient assaying and hallmarking centres (A&HC). There are about only 35,879 jewellers across the country, who are certified by BIS. The number of A&HC is 945
5. Way forward
The government had announced mandatory hallmarking of gold several years back. However, it could not implement the same and kept postponing the dates. In November 2019, the government had announced the mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts across the country from January 15, 202
Source: Indianexpress


1. Context

Recently, The city of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh was added to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN) for its “strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity”. Kozikodhe from Kerala was also among the 55 new cities to join the network

2. About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

  • The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is a global initiative that aims to promote international cooperation and sustainable urban development through creativity.
  • It was established in 2004 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and currently encompasses seven creative disciplines: Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. 
  • The UCCN provides a platform for cities to exchange best practices, develop innovative projects, and foster creativity as a driver of economic, social, and cultural development.

3. Gharana Music 

  • The Gwalior Gharana is one of the oldest and most respected schools of Indian classical music.
  • It is known for its emphasis on melody, ornamentation, and emotional expression.
  • The Gwalior style is characterized by its use of slow tempos, intricate taans (melodic passages), and a wide range of gamaks (ornamentations).
  • The Gwalior Gharana is said to have originated in the 16th century, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
  • The early masters of the Gharana were Naththan Khan, Naththan Pir Bakhsh, and his grandsons Haddu and Hassu Khan.
  • The Gwalior Gharana has produced many renowned musicians, including Bade Mohammad Khan, Faiyaz Khan, and Begum Akhtar.
  • The Gharana tradition continues to be carried on by today's leading vocalists, such as Ustad Rashid Khan and Ustad Faiyaz Ahmed Dagar.
  • Indian classical music is a rich and diverse tradition that has evolved over centuries, encompassing a wide range of musical styles, forms, and instruments.
  • It is generally described using terms like Marg Sangeet and Shastriya Sangeet.
  • It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music known as Hindustani and the South Indian expression known as Carnatic.
  • During the period of Mughal rule of the Indian subcontinent, the traditions separated and evolved into distinct forms.

4.1. Key features of Indian classical music

Indian classical music is a rich and diverse tradition that encompasses a wide range of musical styles, forms, and instruments. Some of its key features include:

  • Indian classical music is based on a melodic system called raga, a collection of notes that define the melodic framework and emotional character of a piece.
  • Indian classical music employs a complex system of rhythmic cycles called tala, which provides the rhythmic foundation for the music.
  • Gamaks are ornaments that are used to embellish melodies. Gamaks can be simple or complex, and they can add a great deal of flavour and variety to a musical performance.
  • Improvisation is a central element of Indian classical music, allowing musicians to explore the raga's nuances and express their creativity within the established framework.
  • Indian classical music is characterized by its extensive use of ornamentation, including gamaks, meends, and taans, which add depth and complexity to the melodic line.
  • Indian classical music has been passed down through generations through an oral tradition, emphasizing the importance of guru-shishya parampara, the teacher-student lineage.

5. Hindustani music 

  • Hindustani music emerged in northern India during the 13th century. It is a synthesis of various musical traditions, including Indian folk music, Persian music, and Islamic music.
  • Hindustani music developed in the courts of the Mughal emperors, who were generous patrons of the arts.
  • Hindustani music and Carnatic music are the two main traditions of Indian classical music.
  • Hindustani music is the dominant tradition in northern India, while Carnatic music is the dominant tradition in southern India.
  • The two traditions share many similarities, but there are also some important differences.
  • Hindustani music is characterized by its emphasis on improvisation, while Carnatic music is characterized by its more structured approach.
  • Hindustani music also uses a wider range of instruments than Carnatic music.

 5.1. Major styles of Hindustani music

  • Khyal is a vocal style of Hindustani music that is characterized by its emphasis on melody and improvisation. Khyal performances typically feature a vocalist accompanied by a tabla player and a harmonium player.
  • Dhrupad is an older style of Hindustani music that is characterized by its slower tempo and more complex rhythmic structure. Dhrupad performances typically feature a vocalist accompanied by a pakhawaj player and a surbahar player.
  • Tarana is a fast-paced improvisational style, often used as a concluding piece in a performance.
  • Thumri is a lighter and more playful style, characterized by its use of folk melodies and rhythms.
  • Qawwali is a devotional style of music, often performed by Sufi musicians.
6. Carnatic music

Carnatic music, known as Karnāṭaka saṃgīta or Karnāṭaka saṅgītam in the South Indian languages, is a system of music commonly associated with South India, including the modern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is one of two main subgenres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu texts and traditions, particularly the Samaveda. The other subgenre is Hindustani music, which emerged as a distinct form because of Persian or Islamic influences from Northern India.

6.1. Key Features of Carnatic Music

  • A raga is a melodic framework that defines the notes, scale, and ornamentation of a piece of music. It is said to evoke a particular mood or emotion.
  • Talas are rhythmic cycles that provide the underlying structure for Carnatic music. They are often complex and intricate and can be played on a variety of percussion instruments.
  • Carnatic music performances are typically based on short compositions, often written by the performer or their guru. Improvisation is still an important element, but it is generally within the confines of the composition.
  • Carnatic music places a strong emphasis on rhythmic precision and adherence to the tala. This is reflected in the use of percussion instruments, such as the mridangam and ghatam, which play a central role in Carnatic performances.
  • Carnatic music has been passed down through generations through an oral tradition, emphasizing the importance of guru-shishya parampara, the teacher-student lineage.

6.2. Instruments of Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is performed on a variety of instruments, including:

  • Veena is a long, fretted string instrument that is considered the premier instrument of Carnatic music.
  • Mridangam is a two-headed drum that is the main percussion instrument of Carnatic music. It is used to keep the tala and provide rhythmic accompaniment to the melody.
  • Flute is a wooden or bamboo flute that is known for its sweet and expressive tone. It is often used to play alapanas, slow, improvisational pieces that introduce a raga.
  • The violin was introduced to Carnatic music in the 20th century and has become a popular instrument. It is known for its ability to play both melody and harmony.
  • Vocal Singing is considered the most important instrument in Carnatic music. Vocalists are expected to have a strong command of both melody and rhythm.

6.3. Genres of Carnatic Music

Carnatic music encompasses a wide range of genres, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some of the major genres include:

  • Kriti is a structured composition that is the most common form of Carnatic music. It typically consists of a Pallavi (chorus), anupallavi (verse), and charanam (stanza).
  • Varnam is a complex composition that is known for its intricate rhythmic structure and rapid-fire melodic passages.
  • Alaapana is a slow, improvisational piece that introduces a raga.
  • Gamaka is an ornament that is used to add embellishment and expression to a melody.
  • Taan is a rapid melodic passage that is used to showcase the performer's virtuosity.
For Prelims: UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, Indian classical music, Carnatic Music, Hindustani music, 
For Mains: 
1. Analyze the historical and cultural factors that contributed to the divergence of Hindustani and Carnatic music traditions in India. (250 Words)
2. Critically analyze the challenges and opportunities faced by cities in leveraging creativity as a driver of economic, social, and cultural development. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Recently, UNESCO has designated Hyderabad as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of ________. (IBPS PO 2019) 
a. Traditional Art b. Gastronomy c. Creative Cities  d. Network Natural Art
e. Cultural Heritage
Answer: B
2. In October 2019, which of the following pairs of Indian cities was included by UNESCO in its network of ‘Creative Cities’ on the occasion of World Cities Day 2019? (SSC CHSL 2020)
A.  Hyderabad & Mumbai
B. Pune & Hyderabad
C. Delhi & Mumbai
D. Jodhpur & Kolkata
Answer: A
3. With reference to Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries, which of the following statements are correct? (UPSC 2012) 
1. Dhrupad originated and developed in the Rajput kingdoms during the Mughal period.
2. Dhrupad is primarily devotional and spiritual music.
3. Dhrupad Alap uses the Sanskrit syllabus from Mantras.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1 and 2 only     B.  2 and 3 only           C.  1, 2 and 3           D. None of the above is correct
Answer: B
4. With reference to cultural history of India, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2018) 
1. Most of the Tyagaraja Kritis are devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna.
2. Tyagaraja created several new ragas.
3. Annamcharya and Tyagaraja are contemporaries.
4. Annamacharya kirtanas are devotional songs in praise of Lord Venkateshwara.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
A. 1 and 3 only       B. 2 and 4 only        C.  1, 2 and 3          D. 2, 3 and 4
Answer: B
 Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
One of the most spectacular sights in the Solar System is the majestic ringed planet Saturn, which is clearly visible in the evening sky through a telescope. In 2025, however, Saturn’s rings will seemingly disappear from view
2. About Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun in our solar system and the second-largest, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with a prominent ring system that consists of nine continuous main rings and three discontinuous arcs. The planet is easily visible with the naked eye, and its rings make it one of the most iconic objects in our night sky.
Key Characteristics of Saturn:

Physical Characteristics:

    • Saturn is primarily composed of hydrogen and helium, similar to Jupiter.
    • It has a diameter of about 116,464 kilometers (72,366 miles) and is known for its low density.

Ring System:

    • Saturn's ring system is one of the most extensive and complex in the solar system.
    • The rings are made up of numerous particles, ranging in size from tiny dust grains to larger boulders.
    • The exact origin of the rings is not fully understood, but they are thought to be the remnants of moons, comets, or other objects that were shattered by tidal forces.


    • Saturn has a diverse array of moons, with over 80 confirmed natural satellites.
    • The largest moon, Titan, is the second-largest natural satellite in the solar system, after Jupiter's Ganymede.
    • Titan is unique among Saturn's moons because it has a thick atmosphere, and it has been studied extensively by spacecraft, including the Cassini-Huygens mission.


    • The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, a joint NASA-ESA-ASI mission, provided valuable data about Saturn and its moons. The Cassini orbiter studied the planet and its system for over 13 years, and the Huygens probe landed on Titan in 2005.
    • Other missions, such as Voyager 1 and 2, also provided significant information about Saturn during their flybys in the early 1980s.
3. Saturn and its rings
Saturn's rings are one of the most distinctive features of this gas giant and have captivated astronomers and skywatchers for centuries

Ring Formation:

    • Saturn's rings are composed primarily of ice particles, water ice, and rocky material.
    • The exact origin of the rings is not definitively known, but they are believed to be remnants of moons, comets, or other objects that were shattered by tidal forces.

Ring Structure:

    • Saturn's ring system is divided into several major ring groups, labeled alphabetically in the order of their discovery. The main rings are A, B, and C, with the Cassini Division separating the A and B rings.
    • The rings are surprisingly thin, with a thickness that varies but is generally just tens of meters.

Ring Dynamics:

    • The rings are not solid structures but consist of countless individual particles, ranging in size from tiny dust grains to larger chunks.
    • The particles in the rings orbit Saturn independently and collectively create the appearance of a continuous, flat disk.

Tilt and Changing Perspective:

    • Similar to Earth, Saturn has an axial tilt. Its axis of rotation is tilted by about 26.7 degrees.
    • As Saturn orbits the Sun, the tilt of its rings becomes apparent from Earth, creating a dynamic and changing perspective for observers. This tilt gives rise to a nodding effect as seen from Earth.

Visibility from Earth:

    • Saturn is visible to the naked eye from Earth, and its rings are a prominent feature even in small telescopes.
    • The visibility of the rings changes over time due to their tilt, providing different views to observers on Earth.

Potential Future Changes:

    • According to NASA, there is a possibility that Saturn might lose its rings over the next several hundred million years. The rings are gradually being pulled into the planet by its gravity, forming a dusty rain of ice particles under the influence of Saturn's magnetic field.


    • Spacecraft like Voyager 1 and 2 provided valuable data on Saturn and its rings during their flybys in the early 1980s.
    • The Cassini-Huygens mission, which concluded in 2017, provided an in-depth study of Saturn, its rings, and its moons.
4. Invisible rings of Saturn
Saturn rings.
  • Similar to Earth's axial tilt of 23.5 degrees, Saturn's axis of rotation is inclined at an angle of 26.7 degrees. Notably, Saturn's extensive ring system is also tilted concerning the plane of its orbit around the Sun.
  • Consequently, as Saturn completes its orbit, it appears to nod upward and downward when observed from Earth, resulting in a changing perspective of its rings.
  • Saturn's orbital period around the Sun is 29.5 years, and every 13 to 15 years, there is an alignment where the edge of its rings directly lines up with Earth.
  • Given the slim nature of the rings, typically just tens of meters thick in most areas, when they are in this specific position, they reflect minimal light, rendering them nearly invisible.
  • This alignment phenomenon makes it challenging to observe the rings during these periods, as explained by Vahe Peroomian, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Southern California

5.Disappearance of rings in future

As per a 2018 publication from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there is a likelihood that Saturn will shed its rings entirely within the next 300 million years, possibly even sooner. The anticipated cause for this phenomenon is the gravitational pull of the planet, drawing the rings inward. This gravitational influence, combined with Saturn's magnetic field, is causing a gradual descent of the rings in the form of a dusty rain of ice particles, as detailed in the report.

Source: Indianexpress


1. Context

In its order on November 7, 2023, directing the Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments to ensure that the burning of crop stubble is “stopped forthwith”, the Supreme Court mentioned a “particular kind of paddy… grown mostly in Punjab”. This variety and “the time period in which it is grown” were seen as major causes of stubble burning and the resultant pollution problems in the National Capital Region.

2. About Pusa-44

Pusa-44 is a high-yielding rice variety developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in 1993. It is a non-aromatic variety that is suitable for combined harvesting and is widely grown in the northern Indian state of Punjab. Pusa-44 is a long-duration variety that takes around 120-130 days to mature.

3. About Pusa-2090

Pusa-2090 is a new short-duration rice variety developed by IARI in 2023. It is a semi-dwarf, non-lodging, and non-shattering variety that takes around 110-115 days to mature. Pusa-2090 has been developed as a replacement for Pusa-44 to address the problem of paddy stubble burning in Punjab. Stubble burning is a practice followed by farmers in Punjab after harvesting their paddy crop to prepare the fields for the next crop. However, stubble burning is a major source of air pollution and has been linked to various health problems.

4. Differences between Pusa-44 and Pusa-2090

Characteristic Pusa-44 Pusa-2090
Duration Long (135-140 days) Short (110-115 days)
Yield potential 7-8 tons per hectare 7-8 tons per hectare
Grain quality Good Good
Resistance to pests and diseases Resistant to most pests and diseases Resistant to most pests and diseases
Lodging resistance Moderate High
Shattering resistance Moderate High


5. When did Punjab farmers begin cultivating PUSA-44?

Punjab farmers began cultivating Pusa-44 in the early 1990s. It quickly became the most popular rice variety in the state, accounting for over 50% of the total paddy area. However, in recent years, there has been a growing concern about the environmental impact of Pusa-44 cultivation. The variety requires a lot of water and fertilizer, and it is also known to produce a lot of stubble, which is often burned by farmers after harvest. This stubble burning contributes to air pollution in the region.

The Indian government is now encouraging farmers to switch to short-duration rice varieties like Pusa-2090. These varieties require less water and fertilizer, and they produce less stubble. The government is also providing subsidies to farmers who switch to short-duration rice varieties.

6. About Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI)

  • ICAR is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • It was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It was formerly known as the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research.
  • At present, ICAR has 111 institutes and 71 agricultural universities spread across the country.
  • It is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.
  • The Union Minister of Agriculture is the ex-officio President of the ICAR Society.
  • ICAR Vision 2050 provides the strategic framework for innovation-led inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth in the country.

6.1. Initiatives by ICAR

  • It is all set to start a system to scientifically validate scale-up and propagate the innovations of progressive farmers.
  • A centre for innovation will be established in New Delhi where the innovations will be scientifically validated and farmers will be allowed to pursue research work.
  • The system intends to link farmers and farming with science and encourage farmers to continue their innovations.
  • It developing Nano Fertilizers and nano pesticides to promote organic farming and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • The council emphasises that agriculture is a science and application of principles of science helps boost agriculture.
  • It has created a link between 105 startups and farmers to encourage the use of technology in the farm sector.
  • It was inaugurated in 2020 for the first time in the 107 years of history of the Indian Science Congress highlighting the importance of farmer's innovations and their scientific validity.
  • The Theme of the Indian Science Congress in 2020 was "Science & Technology: Rural Development".
  • It has validated 51 integrated farming systems to help increase farm income and has developed 45 different organic farming models suitable for different agro-climatic regions.
  • The Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (Arya) programme is implemented to improve rural bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture.
For Prelims: Pusa-44, Pusa-2090, National Capital Region, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), stubble burning, Nano Fertilizers, nano pesticides, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Societies Registration Act 1860, Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (Arya) programme, 
For Mains: 
1. Critically analyze the role of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in developing new crop varieties and agricultural technologies. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions

1. Consider the following agricultural practices: (UPSC 2012)

  1. Contour bunding
  2. Relay cropping
  3. Zero tillage

In the context of global climate change, which of the above helps/help in carbon sequestration/storage in the soil?

(a) 1 and 2 only       (b) 3 only       (c) 1, 2 and 3           (d) None of them

Answer: B

2. The reference to National Capital Territory of Delhi is found in (MPSC 2017)
A. Article 239 A          B. Article 239 AA         C.  Article 239 AB       D.  Article 239 B
Answer: B

3. In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index? ( UPSC 2016)

  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Nitrogen dioxide
  4. Sulfur dioxide
  5. Methane

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only    (b) 2, 3 and 4 only     (c) 1, 4 and 5 only         (d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

 Answer: B

4. Consider the following: (UPSC 2019) 

1. Carbon monooxide
2. Methane
3. Ozone
4. Sulphur dioxide

Which of the above are released into atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue? 

A. 1 and 2 only         B.  2, 3 and 4 only            C. 1 and 4 only         D.  1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: D

5. What is Particulate matter? (BPSC 2016)

A. Solid residue      B. Air pollutant        C. Water pollutant   D. Soil pollutant

E.  None of the above/More than one of the above

Answer: B

6. With reference to chemical fertilizers in India, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)

  1. At present, the retail price of chemical fertilizers is market-driven and not administered by the Government.
  2. Ammonia, which is an input of urea, is produced from natural gas.
  3. Sulphur, which is a raw material for phosphoric acid fertilizer, is a by-product of oil refineries.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: B

7. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)

1. Other than those made by humans, nanoparticles do not exist in nature.
2. Nanoparticles of some metallic oxides are used in the manufacture of some cosmetics.
3. Nanoparticles of same commercial products which enter the environment are unsafe for humans.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

A. 1 only        B. 3 only         C. 1 and 2          D.  2 and 3

Answer: D

8. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was first reorganized in: (MP Patwari 2017)

A. 1956   B. 1965         C.  1969           D. 1972

Answer: B

 Source: Indianexpress


Shedding the shackles of foreign domination, India awoke to “life and freedom” on August 15, 1947. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. Thus ensued our democratic journey, emphasising the principles of individual rights, equality, accessibility, rule of law, separation of powers, universal suffrage and public participation
2. Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is a constitutional authority responsible for auditing and overseeing the financial operations of the Government of India and state governments. The role of the CAG is defined in the Constitution of India, primarily in Article 148
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) plays a pivotal role within the democratic framework, ensuring transparency, accountability, and financial integrity in the government's operations.
  • It actively contributes to upholding the separation of powers between the legislature and executive by verifying that the government's financial activities align with legislative intentions.
  • Through its audit discoveries and recommendations, the CAG advocates for good governance practices, aiding governments in streamlining operations, minimizing inefficiencies, and adhering to financial discipline.
  • In the evolving landscape of India's democracy, the CAG's role becomes increasingly crucial, promoting good governance and safeguarding the interests of the people.
  • Notably, the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments represent a significant advancement in India's democratic structure, establishing tiers of self-governance below the state level.
  • The roots of organized local governance in India trace back to the historical "Janpadi and Pancha" system. Looking ahead to independent India, the recommendations of the 1958 Balwant Rai Mehta Committee laid the groundwork for a three-tier structure for rural self-governance, ultimately materializing in the 73rd and 74th amendments.
3. Appointment and Tenure of CAG
  • The President of India appoints the CAG.
  • The appointment is made based on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, who consults with other authorities
  • The President is required to consult with:
    • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
    • The Vice President, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
  • The qualifications for the appointment of the CAG are similar to those of a judge of the Supreme Court
  • The CAG holds office for a term of six years from the date they assume office or until they attain the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
  • The CAG can be removed from office only in the manner and on the grounds prescribed for the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court
  • The constitutional provisions related to the appointment of the CAG are primarily outlined in Article 148 of the Indian Constitution
4. Functions and Powers
  • The primary function of the CAG is to audit the accounts related to the revenue and expenditure of the Government of India and state governments
  • The CAG also audits the accounts of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government
  • The CAG audits the accounts of public sector undertakings and other entities where the government has a substantial financial stake
  • The CAG audits the accounts of various statutory bodies and authorities to ensure compliance with financial regulations and legal requirements
  • The audit reports prepared by the CAG are submitted to the President of India in the case of the central government and to the Governors in the case of state governments.
  • These reports are then laid before each House of Parliament or the State Legislature.
  • The CAG operates independently and is not subject to the control or influence of the executive in the performance of their duties.
  • The CAG has the authority to access all records, books, and documents related to the accounts being audited
5. CAG of India vs CAG of the United Kingdom
Subject CAG of India CAG of the United Kingdom
Constitutional Status Constitutional authority Not a constitutional office, part of the National Audit Office (NAO)
Appointment Appointed by the President of India Appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister
Independence Independent Emphasizes independence but appointment process may raise questions
Functions Audits government accounts, conducts performance audits Audits central government departments, agencies, and public bodies
Reports Submitted to the President/Governors, laid before Parliament/State Legislatures Reports directly to the UK Parliament
Legal Framework Outlined in the Constitution of India Based on various statutes, operates under the Public Audit Act 2001
Role in Public Accounts Committees (PACs) Plays a crucial role in assisting PACs at central and state levels Supports the UK Parliament's Public Accounts Committee

6.How Independently does the Office of CAG Function?

  • The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is designed to function independently to ensure impartiality and integrity in auditing government expenditures. The independence of the CAG's office is crucial for maintaining transparency, accountability, and public trust in the financial management of the government
  • The CAG is a constitutional authority, and its independence is enshrined in the Constitution of India. This constitutional status provides a strong foundation for the CAG's autonomy.
  • The CAG is appointed by the President of India based on the recommendations of the Prime Minister in consultation with other authorities. The appointment process aims to ensure the CAG's impartiality and independence
  • The CAG holds office for a fixed term of six years or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier. This security of tenure helps insulate the CAG from external pressures
  • The conditions of service of the CAG, once appointed, cannot be varied to their disadvantage. This ensures that the CAG can perform their duties without fear of adverse changes in service conditions
  • The CAG operates independently and is not subject to the control or influence of the executive in the performance of their duties. This separation is crucial for conducting objective and unbiased audits.

7.What is the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)?

  • The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a parliamentary committee that plays a crucial role in overseeing government expenditures and ensuring financial accountability.
  • Its primary function is to examine the audit reports prepared by the supreme audit institution (such as the Comptroller and Auditor General, CAG) and to scrutinize the government's financial transactions, policies, and programs.
  • Members of the PAC are typically drawn from the legislature and reflect the political composition of the parliament or legislative body
  • The PAC is headed by a Chairperson, who is usually a member of the opposition party to ensure impartiality.
  • The primary mandate of the PAC is to examine the audit reports produced by the supreme audit institution, which highlights instances of financial irregularities, inefficiencies, or non-compliance with laws and regulations.
  • The PAC scrutinizes government expenditures to ensure that public funds are used efficiently and effectively
  • The PAC often follows up on its recommendations to ensure that the government has taken appropriate actions in response to identified issues
  • The PAC enhances public accountability by holding the government accountable for its financial decisions and ensuring transparency in the use of public funds
  • The PAC plays a critical role in upholding democratic principles by ensuring that public funds are utilized in the best interest of the citizens and that the government is held accountable for its financial decisions


For Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance

For Mains: General Studies II: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

Source: indianexpress



1. Context

Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told a Supreme Court bench of Justices B R Gavai and Aravind Kumar that the independent existence of the CBI “is, in fact, a product of the judgments of” the apex court, “wherein the CBI was vested with a separate legal and functional identity”

2. About the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating police agency in India. It functions under Dept. of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India. The CBI was established in 1941, to investigate cases of corruption in procurement during the Second World War. The Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommended the establishment of the CBI. Under Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.

2.1. Organisation

  • The CBI is headed by a Director, who is an IPS officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police.
  • The Director is appointed by the Government of India on the recommendation of a Collegium consisting of the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister of India, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
  • The CBI has a headquarters in New Delhi and zonal offices in major cities across India. It also has branches in several countries around the world.

2.2. The CBI is organized into four divisions

  • Anti-Corruption Division Investigates corruption cases against public servants.
  • The Economic Offences Division Investigates economic offences, such as bank fraud, tax evasion, and securities scams.
  • The Special Crime Division Investigates special crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, and extortion.
  • Cyber Crime Division Investigates cyber crimes, such as hacking, online fraud, and child pornography.
The CBI plays a vital role in the fight against crime in India. It has a strong reputation for its professionalism and impartiality. The CBI has been credited with solving many high-profile cases. The CBI also assists the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Lokpal.

2.3. The main functions of the CBI are

  • To investigate serious crimes such as corruption, murder, and terrorism.
  • To coordinate investigations between different state police forces.
  • To assist state governments in investigating serious crimes.
  • To collect and maintain intelligence on crime.
  • To train police officers in investigation techniques.
  • To collaborate with international law enforcement agencies.

3. Santhanam Committee

  • The Santhanam Committee was a committee appointed by the Government of India in 1962 to investigate corruption in the administration. The committee was headed by K. Santhanam, a retired Indian Civil Service officer.
  • The committee submitted its report in 1963. The report was highly critical of the government's efforts to combat corruption. The report recommended several reforms, including the establishment of a central agency to investigate corruption in high places.
  • The government accepted the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee. The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) was established in 1963. The DSPE was later renamed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • The Santhanam Committee's report had a significant impact on the fight against corruption in India. The establishment of the CBI was a major step forward in the government's efforts to combat corruption.

3.1. The key recommendations of the Santhanam Committee

  • The establishment of a central agency to investigate corruption in high places.
  • The agency should be independent of the government.
  • The agency should have the power to arrest and prosecute offenders.
  • The agency should have the power to investigate any crime that is committed by a public servant or that affects the security of India.

The Santhanam Committee's report was a landmark document in the fight against corruption in India. It helped to lay the foundation for the establishment of the CBI and the strengthening of the government's anti-corruption efforts.

4. About the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946

The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act) is an act of the Indian Parliament that provides for the constitution of a special police force called the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) for the investigation of certain offences in India.

4.1. Key Provisions of the DSPE Act

  • Establishes the DSPE, a special police force under the superintendence of the Central Government.
  • Empower the DSPE to investigate offences notified by the Central Government.
  • Grants the DSPE the powers and jurisdiction of a police force in any area of India.
  • Allows the Central Government to extend the powers and jurisdiction of the DSPE to other areas of India.

4.2. Significance of the DSPE Act

  • Plays a crucial role in investigating serious crimes, particularly corruption and economic offences.
  • Acts as a central investigative agency, facilitating coordination between different state police forces.
  • Enhances the investigative capacity of the Indian government, enabling it to address complex and high-profile cases.

The DSPE Act is a vital piece of legislation in India's fight against crime. It empowers the government to effectively investigate and prosecute serious offences, contributing to a safer and more just society.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. In 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

5.1. Objectives of CVC

  • To promote efficiency and integrity in the administration.
  • To investigate and monitor corruption cases in central government ministries, departments, and public sector undertakings (PSUs).
  • To propose remedial measures to prevent corruption.
  • To advise the government on the implementation of anti-corruption policies.
  • To review the effectiveness of vigilance systems in government organizations.
  • To exercise superintendence over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in respect of investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

5.2. Functions of CVC

  • To receive and examine complaints relating to corruption and misuse of power by public servants.
  • To inquire or cause inquiry into any matters concerning corruption or misuse of power by public servants.
  • To investigate or cause investigation into offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • To advise the government on matters relating to corruption and vigilance administration.
  • To examine the systems of vigilance and corruption prevention in government organizations and public sector undertakings and to recommend measures for their improvement.
  • To monitor the implementation of the government's policies on corruption prevention and to evaluate their effectiveness.
  • To undertake research and studies on corruption and to disseminate information and knowledge on the subject.
  • To coordinate the activities of various agencies engaged in the fight against corruption.
  • To collaborate with international organizations in the fight against corruption.

5.3. Powers of CVC

  • To summon any person and examine him on oath.
  • To require the production of any document or thing.
  • To enter and inspect any premises occupied by any public servant.
  • To seize any document or thing which may be relevant to any matter under inquiry.
  • To arrest any person against whom a case of corruption is registered.
  • To prosecute any person against whom a case of corruption is registered.
  • To recommend to the government to take disciplinary action against any public servant against whom a case of corruption is registered.

6. The key differences between the CVC and the CBI

Feature CVC CBI
Role Monitoring and preventing corruption Investigating corruption and other serious crimes
Head Central Vigilance Commissioner Director
Composition Officers drawn from the IAS, IRS, and other central services Officers drawn from the IPS, IRS, and other central services
Powers Advisory, review Investigative, prosecutorial
Relationship Provides information to CBI, reviews CBI investigations Investigates cases referred by CVC and other agencies
Independence Independent of the government
For Prelims: Central Bureau of Investigation, Solicitor General, Dept. of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Santhanam Committee, Prevention of Corruption, Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, Cyber Crime,  Central Vigilance Commission, 
For Mains: 
1. Evaluate the role of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in promoting transparency and integrity within government organizations in India. (250 Words)
2. Explore the challenges faced by the CBI in maintaining independence and impartiality while operating under the administrative control of the central government. (250 Words)
3. Discuss the effectiveness of the CBI in addressing corruption cases and its contribution to the anti-corruption efforts in India. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. "Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation" is listed in the __________ list given in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. (SSC CGL 2017)
A. Union      B. State        C. Global          D. Concurrent
Answer: A
2. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022) 
1. Attorney General of India and Solicitor General of India are the only officers of the Government who are allowed to participate in the meetings of the Parliament of India.
2. According to the Constitution of India, the Attorney General of India submits his resignation when the Government which appointed him resigns.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only       B.  2 only        C. Both 1 and 2          D.  Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: D
3. santhanam committee was established for prevention of which social problem- (RPSC 2015)
A. dowry system      B.  communal riots    C. aids         D. corruption
Answer: D
4. The Central Vigilance Commission was established on the recommendation of which one of the following Committees? (NDA 2018)
A. Santhanam Committee      B.  Dinesh Goswami Committee         
C. Tarkunde Committee         D. Narasimham Committee
Answer: A
5. Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 amends various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) ______. (UPSSSC Forest Guard 2018) (UP Police SI 2021)
A. 1971        B. 1988          C. 1994         D. 2003
Answer: B

6.  With reference to the ‘Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (PBPT Act)’, consider the following statements: (2017)

  1. A property transaction is not treated as a benami transaction if the owner of the property is not aware of the transaction.
  2. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government.
  3. The Act provides for three authorities for investigations but does not provide for any appellate mechanism.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: B


1. Discuss how emerging technologies and globalisation contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels. (UPSC 2021)
2. “Institutional quality is a crucial driver of economic performance”. In this context suggest reforms in the Civil Service for strengthening democracy. (UPSC 2020)
Source: The Indian Express

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