Current Affair



1. Context:
Active equity funds are the flavour of the season for mutual fund investors. According to a recent study by Motilal Oswal AMC, during the July-September quarter (Q2), active equity funds witnessed net inflows of about Rs 74,000 crore with fund managers getting higher returns for investors through dynamic and active investing style. On the other hand, passive equity funds saw Rs 9,000 crore of inflows and arbitrage funds got Rs 29,000 crore.
2. What are Passive Funds?
Passive funds, also known as index funds or passive investments, are a type of investment fund that aims to replicate the performance of a specific market index, such as the S&P 500, rather than actively selecting and managing individual assets within the fund
If a fund is not performing better than the benchmark index, then the management cost is not justified. The investor would rather buy the reference index  not literally, but through a passive fund
2.1. Significance of Passive funds
  • Passive funds typically have lower management fees compared to actively managed funds. This is because they don't require a team of investment professionals to actively research and select investments. Instead, they aim to replicate the performance of an existing index, which reduces the need for extensive research and trading
  • Passive funds often provide broad exposure to a market or a specific segment of the market. For example, an S&P 500 index fund invests in all 500 stocks included in the S&P 500 index, offering diversification across multiple sectors and industries
  • The holdings of passive funds are generally transparent and can be easily tracked, as they aim to replicate a known index. This transparency allows investors to know exactly what they are investing in
  • Passive funds follow a predetermined investment strategy, and they do not engage in active trading or frequent buying and selling of assets. This can lead to a more stable and consistent investment approach.
2.2.. Types of Passive funds
Passive funds are often contrasted with actively managed funds, where portfolio managers make investment decisions based on their research and analysis

Common types of passive funds include:

  • Index Funds: These funds aim to replicate the performance of a specific market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq.

  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs are a type of passive fund that can be traded on stock exchanges, providing investors with liquidity and flexibility. They often track various indices and asset classes.

  • Passive Bond Funds: Similar to equity index funds, these funds track fixed-income indices, providing exposure to a diversified portfolio of bonds

3. What are Active Funds?
Active funds, also known as actively managed funds, are a type of investment fund in which professional portfolio managers or fund managers actively make investment decisions with the goal of outperforming a benchmark index or achieving specific investment objectives. Unlike passive funds, which seek to replicate the performance of a designated market index
3.1.Significance of Active Funds
  • Active funds are managed by investment professionals who research, analyze, and select individual securities, such as stocks, bonds, or other assets, with the aim of achieving superior returns.
  • These managers use their expertise to make buy and sell decisions based on their assessment of market conditions and investment opportunities.
  • Fund managers conduct in-depth research and analysis to identify potential investments that they believe will perform well.
  • This research may involve financial statements, company performance data, economic indicators, and various other factors.
3.2. Types of Active Funds
Investors choose active funds when they believe that the expertise of professional fund managers can deliver superior returns or when they have specific investment objectives that are not easily achieved with passive index-based investments

Common types of active funds include:

  • Equity Funds: These funds invest primarily in stocks, with the goal of achieving capital appreciation.

  • Fixed-Income Funds: These funds invest in bonds and other fixed-income securities, with an emphasis on generating income.

  • Multi-Asset Funds: These funds invest in a combination of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash, to achieve diversification and risk management.

  • Alternative Funds: These funds employ non-traditional strategies, such as long-short equity, market-neutral, or hedge fund-like approaches

4. Way forward
Investors choose between passive and active funds based on their investment goals, risk tolerance, and beliefs about the effectiveness of active management in achieving better returns
All actively managed funds consistently outperform their benchmarks, and they often come with higher fees and the risk of underperformance.
Source: The Hindu


1. Context
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a Rs 24,000-crore scheme aimed at holistic development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) on the occasion of ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ on November 15 in Jharkhand. The scheme will focus on the delivery of 11 interventions under nine ministries for 75 PVTGs
2.Why Janjatiya Gaurav Divas is celebrated?
  • "Janjatiya Gaurav Divas," or Indigenous People's Pride Day, is celebrated in India to honor and recognize the rich cultural heritage, traditions, customs, and contributions of the indigenous or tribal communities in the country.
  • The day aims to raise awareness about the unique identities, languages, art, crafts, rituals, and knowledge systems of these tribal groups. It acknowledges their significant role in the cultural mosaic of India and promotes respect for their way of life.
  • Moreover, the celebration of Janjatiya Gaurav Divas serves as a platform to highlight the challenges faced by indigenous communities, such as issues related to land rights, socio-economic disparities, cultural preservation, and access to education and healthcare. It endeavors to create a sense of pride and empowerment among these communities while also fostering inclusivity and understanding among the broader population regarding their diverse cultures and lifestyles.

3.Who was Birsa Munda?

Birsa Munda - Our Inspiration | The Avenue Mail

  • Birsa Munda, a youthful freedom fighter and tribal leader, is renowned for his fervent activism in the late 19th century, symbolizing a potent opposition to British rule in India. Hailing from the tribal regions of Bihar and Jharkhand, his accomplishments are notably exceptional as he attained them before turning 25. Jharkhand was established in honor of his impact on the national movement, marking his birth anniversary in 2000.
  • Born on November 15, 1875, Birsa grew up migrating across villages with his parents, belonging to the Munda tribe in the Chhotanagpur Plateau. His initial education was under Jaipal Nag's tutelage at Salga, where he later converted to Christianity at the recommendation of his teacher to attend a German Mission school. However, he eventually left the school.
  • The influence of Christianity shaped his later religious perspectives. Acquainted with British colonial rule and missionary attempts to convert tribals, Birsa initiated the faith of 'Birsait.' This faith garnered followers from the Munda and Oraon communities, posing a challenge to British conversion endeavors.
  • Between 1886 and 1890, Birsa spent substantial time in Chaibasa, a hub for the Sardars agitation. Influenced by these activities, he became part of the anti-missionary and anti-government movement. By 1890, he was deeply involved in the resistance against British oppression of tribal communities.
  • Birsa Munda was apprehended by British police on March 3, 1900, while resting with his tribal guerrilla army in Jamkopai forest, Chakradharpur. He passed away in Ranchi jail on June 9, 1900, at the young age of 25. Despite his short life and the movement's decline post his demise, Birsa Munda successfully mobilized tribal communities against the British. He compelled colonial officials to introduce laws safeguarding tribal land rights. His legacy endures through celebrations, and he remains a significant figure in literature, academia, and mass media.

4.Why Munda Rebellion is significant?


  • The Munda Rebellion, also known as the Ulgulan or the Munda Uprising, was a significant tribal revolt against British colonial rule in India. It took place primarily in the region of Chotanagpur plateau, present-day Jharkhand, between 1899 and 1900.
  • Led by Birsa Munda, a revered tribal leader and freedom fighter, the rebellion was a response to various grievances faced by the tribal communities, including exploitation by landlords, loss of traditional land rights, forced labor, and oppressive policies imposed by the British authorities and missionaries.
  • The movement was deeply rooted in the cultural and religious beliefs of the Mundas and other tribal communities in the region. Birsa Munda, considered a charismatic figure, unified various tribes under a common cause to resist British oppression and reclaim their rights and autonomy.
  • The rebellion was characterized by acts of civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and sporadic violent clashes with the British forces. Birsa advocated for a return to the traditional way of life and urged his followers to revolt against the oppressive practices enforced by the British administration and missionaries.
  • However, the rebellion faced significant challenges, including lack of resources, arms, and unified leadership. The British swiftly suppressed the uprising by employing military force and eventually captured Birsa Munda. He was arrested in 1900 and later died in custody in Ranchi jail.
  • Despite its relatively short duration, the Munda Rebellion holds historical significance as one of the earliest and notable uprisings against British colonial rule led by tribal communities in India. It symbolized the resistance of indigenous tribes against oppressive policies and became a catalyst for future movements advocating for the rights and autonomy of tribal populations in the country.

5. What are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)?

  • PVTGs, previously referred to as primitive tribal groups, represent a subset of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), comprising those within the ST category recognized as particularly vulnerable compared to the general ST population. These endangered tribal groups were categorized by the government to prioritize advancements in their living conditions. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs identifies 75 PVTGs dispersed across 15 states and Union Territories.
  • The initiative was initially announced during the 2023-24 budget and is being rolled out preceding the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. These states harbor a substantial tribal population, with Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recording ST proportions of 21.1% and 30.6%, respectively, as per the 2011 Census.
  • PVTGs represent the most susceptible factions within tribal communities, typically possessing unique cultures, residing in remote areas, and maintaining minimal interaction with other communities.
  • The program aims to comprehensively address the scattered, isolated, and hard-to-reach settlements of PVTGs by providing essential amenities such as infrastructure development including roads, telecommunications, electricity, secure housing, clean water, sanitation facilities, enhanced access to education, healthcare, nutrition, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
  • Approximately 28 lakh individuals from the 75 PVTGs inhabit 22,544 villages spread across 18 states and Union Territories within India.

6. Way forward

The norms of certain schemes will be relaxed to cover these remote habitations.
In addition to the 11 interventions, saturation of other government schemes such as PMJAY health insurance scheme, the Sickle Cell Disease Elimination programme, TB Elimination programme, 100% childhood immunisation, PM Surakshit Matrutva to ensure free of cost antenatal care to all women, PM Matru Vandana Yojana for cash benefit to mothers, PM Poshan, and PM Jan Dhan Yojana.


For Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

For Mains: General Studies I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.

General Studies I: Social empowerment

General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


Previous Year Questions

1.Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India: (UPSC CSE 2019)

1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.

2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.

3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.

4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A.1, 2 and 3

B.2, 3 and 4

C.1, 2 and 4

D.1, 3 and 4

Answer (C)

Source: Indianexpress


1. Context

India and the U.K. are still negotiating a trade agreement that was initially supposed to be ready by Diwali of 2022. External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar has expressed hope that the two countries will be able to find a mutually beneficial "landing point" for the deal.

2. About the Free Trade Agreement

  • A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between two or more countries to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade, such as tariffs, quotas, and subsidies.
  • FTAs can also include provisions on other issues, such as investment, intellectual property, and labour standards.
  • The goal of an FTA is to promote trade and economic growth between the signatory countries.
  • By reducing or eliminating trade barriers, FTAs can make it easier for businesses to export their goods and services to other countries, which can lead to increased production, employment, and innovation.

3. Types of Free Trade Agreement

  • Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (BFTA) involves two countries, aiming to promote trade and eliminate tariffs on goods and services between them.  It establishes a direct trade relationship, allowing for a more focused and tailored agreement between the two nations.
  • Multilateral Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) Involving three or more countries, an MFTA seeks to create a comprehensive trade bloc, promoting economic integration on a larger scale. It requires coordination among multiple parties, addressing diverse economic interests and fostering a broader regional economic landscape.
  • Regional Free Trade Agreement (RFTA) involves countries within a specific geographic region, aiming to enhance economic cooperation and integration within that particular area. It focuses on addressing regional economic challenges and fostering collaboration among neighbouring nations.
  • Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) involves a reciprocal reduction of tariffs and trade barriers between participating countries, granting preferential treatment to each other's goods and services. It allows countries to enjoy trading advantages with specific partners while maintaining autonomy in their trade policies with non-participating nations.
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a broad and advanced form of FTA that goes beyond traditional trade barriers, encompassing various economic aspects such as investment, intellectual property, and services. It aims for a more comprehensive economic partnership, encouraging deeper integration and collaboration between participating countries.
  • Customs Union While not strictly an FTA, a Customs Union involves the elimination of tariffs among member countries and the establishment of a common external tariff against non-member nations. It goes beyond standard FTAs by harmonizing external trade policies, creating a unified approach to trade with the rest of the world.
  • Free Trade Area (FTA) with Trade in Goods (TIG) and Trade in Services (TIS): Some FTAs specifically emphasize either trade in goods or trade in services, tailoring the agreement to the specific economic strengths and priorities of the participating countries. This approach allows nations to focus on areas where they have a comparative advantage, fostering specialization and efficiency.

4. India's Free Trade Agreements

India is a member of several free trade agreements (FTAs) and is currently negotiating others.  India's FTAs have helped to reduce trade barriers and promote trade and economic growth. They have also helped to attract foreign investment and create jobs. 

  • The South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed in 1995 by the seven countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SAFTA aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs on trade between the member countries.
  • The India-Bangladesh FTA was signed in 2010 and came into force in 2011. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Sri Lanka FTA was signed in 1999 and came into force in 2000. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2002 and came into force in 2010. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in 2010 and came into force in 2011. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(CEPA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2023. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-UAE Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2022. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2022. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed in 2010 and aims to enhance economic ties by addressing trade in goods and services, as well as investment and other areas of economic cooperation.
  • The India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2003 and focuses on reducing tariffs and promoting trade in goods and services between India and Thailand.
  • The India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has been operational since 2005, this agreement covers trade in goods and services, as well as investment and intellectual property.
  • The India-Nepal Trade Treaty While not a comprehensive FTA, India and Nepal have a trade treaty that facilitates the exchange of goods between the two countries.
  • The India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement was signed in 2006 and aims to enhance economic cooperation and reduce tariffs on certain products traded between India and Chile.

5India - UK Free Trade Agreement

5.1. Background

  • Both countries have agreed to avoid sensitive issues in the negotiations.
  • The interim (early harvest agreement) aims to achieve up to 65 per cent coverage for goods and up to 40 per cent coverage for services.
  • By the time the final agreement is inked, the coverage for goods is expected to go up to "90 plus a percentage" of goods.
  • India is also negotiating a similar early harvest agreement with Australia, which is supposed to set the stage for a long-pending Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that both countries have been pursuing for nearly a decade.
  • While the commencement of negotiations does mark a step forward in the otherwise rigid stance adopted and when it comes to trade liberalisation, experts point to impediments and the potential for legal challenges going ahead.

5.2. GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs)

  • The exception to the rule is full-scale FTAs, subject to some conditions.
  • One rider, incorporated in Article XXIV.8 (b) of GATT, stipulates that a deal should aim to eliminate customs duties and other trade barriers on "Substantially all the trade" between the WTO member countries that are signatories to an FTA.
  • For this Agreement, a free-trade area shall be understood to mean a group of two or more customs territories in which the duties and other restrictive regulations of commerce are eliminated on substantially all the trade between the constituent territories in products originating in such territories.
  • It is often beneficial to negotiate the entire deal together, as an early harvest deal may reduce the incentive for one side to work towards a full FTA.
  • These agreements are not just about goods and services but also issues like investment.
  • If you are trying to weigh the costs and benefits, it is always better to have the larger picture in front of you.
  • In the case of the early harvest agreement inked with Thailand, automobile industry associations had complained that relaxations extended to Bangkok in the early harvest had reduced the incentive for Thailand to work towards a full FTA.
  • Early harvest agreements may serve the function of keeping trading partners interested as they promise some benefits without long delays, as India becomes known for long-drawn negotiations for FTAs.
  • Government emphasis on interim agreements may be tactical so that a deal may be achieved with minimum commitments and would allow for contentious issues to be resolved later.
For Prelims: Free Trade Agreement, India-U.K, Bilateral Free Trade Agreement, G-20 Summit, Agenda 2030, Covid-19 Pandemic, SAARC, General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Multilateral Free Trade Agreement, Regional Free Trade Agreement, Preferential Trade Agreement, Customs Union, 
For Mains: 
1. Evaluate the potential impact of the India-UK FTA on the Indian economy, considering both positive and negative aspects (250 Words)
2. Critically evaluate the significance of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in promoting trade and economic growth, considering their potential benefits and drawbacks. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Consider the following countries:
1. Australia
2. Canada
3. China
4. India
5. Japan
6. USA
Which of the above are among the free-trade partners' of ASEAN? (UPSC 2018)
A. 1, 2, 4 and 5          B.  3, 4, 5 and 6      C.  1, 3, 4 and 5       D.  2, 3, 4 and 6
Answer: C

2. Increase in absolute and per capita real GNP do not connote a higher level of economic development, if (UPSC 2018)

(a) Industrial output fails to keep pace with agricultural output.
(b) Agricultural output fails to keep pace with industrial output.
(c) Poverty and unemployment increase.
(d) Imports grow faster than exports.

Answer: C

3. The SEZ Act, 2005 which came into effect in February 2006 has certain objectives. In this context, consider the following: (2010)

  1. Development of infrastructure facilities.
  2. Promotion of investment from foreign sources.
  3. Promotion of exports of services only.

Which of the above are the objectives of this Act?

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

Answer: A

4. A “closed economy” is an economy in which (UPSC 2011)

(a) the money supply is fully controlled
(b) deficit financing takes place
(c) only exports take place
(d) neither exports nor imports take place

Answer: D

5. With reference to the “G20 Common Framework”, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)
1. It is an initiative endorsed by the G20 together with the Paris Club.
2. It is an initiative to support Low Income Countries with unsustainable debt.
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: C
 Source: The Hindu


1. Context
On July 18, 2020, three labourers from Jammu’s Rajouri district — Imtiyaz Ahmed (20), Abrar Ahmed (25) and Mohammed Ibrar (16) — were killed and labelled as “terrorists” by troops under the officer’s command in Shopian district.
2.What is Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)?
  • The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) is a specialized military tribunal established in India. It was set up under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007. This tribunal serves as a dedicated forum for the redressal of grievances and disputes related to the personnel of the Indian Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
  • The primary objective of the Armed Forces Tribunal is to address issues such as service matters, promotions, postings, pension-related disputes, disciplinary matters, and appeals against court-martial verdicts. It provides a legal avenue for military personnel, both serving and retired, to seek justice and resolution for disputes arising from their service in the armed forces.
  • The tribunal operates on a national level, with regional benches established across various parts of the country. These benches facilitate accessibility for military personnel to seek justice without having to approach civil courts, ensuring a specialized and expedited resolution of their grievances within the military justice system.
3.What is the purpose of the Armed Forces Tribunal?

The primary purpose of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) is to serve as a specialized and exclusive judicial body to address legal disputes and grievances concerning the personnel of the Indian Armed Forces. It was established to provide a dedicated forum for resolving various types of issues and conflicts faced by military personnel, both serving and retired.

The specific objectives and purposes of the Armed Forces Tribunal include:

Grievance Redressal: Providing a platform for military personnel to seek justice and resolution for a wide range of disputes related to their service in the armed forces. This encompasses issues such as service matters, promotions, postings, disciplinary actions, and pension-related matters.

Fair and Expedited Justice: Ensuring a fair, efficient, and expedited resolution of disputes within the military justice system without the need for approaching civil courts. The tribunal aims to streamline the process of addressing grievances, thereby reducing delays and providing timely justice to personnel.

Specialized Jurisdiction: Focusing on understanding the unique nature of military service and its associated challenges, the tribunal possesses specialized knowledge and expertise to handle matters specific to the armed forces.

Appeal and Review: Offering a platform for military personnel to appeal against decisions made by their respective service authorities, including challenging court-martial verdicts. It serves as a higher judicial forum for appeals, allowing for a review of decisions made by military courts or authorities.

National and Regional Coverage: Operating on a national level with multiple regional benches established across the country, the tribunal ensures accessibility for military personnel from various regions to seek legal recourse without geographical constraints

4. Significance of AFT

  • It serves as a dedicated judicial forum specifically designed to address legal disputes and grievances of personnel serving in the Indian Armed Forces. This specialization ensures a nuanced understanding of military laws, procedures, and challenges unique to armed forces personnel.
  • By providing a streamlined process for dispute resolution, the AFT offers a quicker and more efficient mechanism compared to civil courts. This helps in timely redressal of grievances, allowing military personnel to seek justice without prolonged delays.
  • The tribunal enhances accessibility to justice for armed forces personnel across the country. With regional benches, it reduces the need for individuals to travel long distances or face geographical barriers when seeking legal recourse
  • By addressing various issues such as service matters, promotions, postings, disciplinary actions, and pension-related disputes, the AFT safeguards the rights, interests, and welfare of military personnel, both serving and retired
  • By providing a specialized forum for military-related disputes, the AFT helps alleviate the burden on civil courts, allowing them to focus on other civil and criminal cases.
5.What is the difference between military tribunal and military court?
Subject Military Tribunal Military Court
Purpose Specialized judicial body for grievances Court within the military justice system
Nature Administrative and quasi-judicial Judicial
Jurisdiction Redressal of grievances and disputes Conducts trials and legal proceedings
Focus Resolution of legal issues within forces Conducting trials for military offenses
Composition Comprised of judicial and administrative members Consists of judges and legal officers
Appeals Higher forum for appealing service-related decisions Conducts trials and reaches verdicts
Review process Reviewing decisions made by military authorities Ruling on cases presented in court
Speed of proceedings Aim for quicker resolution of disputes Proceeds with legal trials and processes
Scope Addresses service matters, promotions, postings, disciplinary actions, etc. Conducts trials for offenses under military law
Accessibility Multiple regional benches across the country Centralized within the military framework
Legal expertise Specialized in military laws and procedures Adherence to legal protocols and precedents
Role in justice system Supplemental to military court system Integral part of the military justice system
Source: Indianexpress


1. Context
Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research announced the winners of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) awards for 2022. The announcement was highly anticipated not only due to the nearly year-long delay in declaring the results but also because it came amid the government’s plans for a major revamp of the structure of science and medicine awards.
2. Rashtriya Vignan Puraskar (RVP)
  • The new initiative, named the ‘Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar’ (RVP), features a range of accolades: Vigyan Shri, Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Vigyan Team, and Vigyan Ratna.
  • The government aims to elevate the RVP to the same level as the Padma and other national awards.
  • These fresh accolades will be accessible to a broader spectrum of “scientists, technologists, and innovators (or teams)” operating within government, private entities, or independently.
  • The RVP will encompass 13 scientific domains, spanning basic and applied sciences, medicine, and engineering. The announcement ensures inclusivity across domains and strives for gender parity.
  • Like the Padma awards, nominations for the RVP awards will be open for a specified period and assessed by an RVP Committee consisting of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Secretaries of Science Departments, members of Science and Engineering Academies, and distinguished science/technology experts.
3.How different is RVP from the previous ones?
  • The proposed restructuring of the RVP holds significant importance for various reasons. It marks a positive departure from the tradition of primarily recognizing scientists within conventional academic roles, now extending acknowledgment to innovators, technologists, including those in industry, and individuals with diverse and unconventional affiliations.
  • These new awards boast broader eligibility criteria, encompassing not just discovery-based research but also technology-driven innovations or products. Moreover, the RVP introduces team awards (Vigyan Team) to honor the collaborative, interdisciplinary, translational, and multifaceted nature of scientific exploration.
  • One notable aspect is the absence of age restrictions for most RVP awards, except for the Vigyan Yuva-SSB award, specifically meant for scientists up to 45 years old. It explicitly pledges to ensure fair representation of genders, a noteworthy stride in addressing ageism and gender biases prevalent in Indian science discussions.
  • The RVP awards extend their reach beyond India, welcoming Persons of Indian Origin abroad, and recognizing the substantial contributions of the Indian scientific, engineering, and technological diaspora in the global scientific landscape.
  • Finally, a significant change in the new award system involves the removal of cash prizes, replacing them with certificates and medals as recognitions.
4. Procedure to select Awardees
  • As India undergoes a transformation in its approach to acknowledging commendable scientific work, it's an apt moment to evaluate the intentions, execution, and the processes of selection and assessment. This evaluation is crucial to ensure that the new system reflects both the aspirations of scientists and the contemporary practices in Indian science, while also addressing the challenges faced by the previous awards.
  • Firstly, to uphold the notion that the RVP system acknowledges exclusively "remarkable and influential contributions," the award descriptions should specify that the contributions surpass the standard duties of a scientist/technologist. They should not merely be incremental tasks or integral to their job description.
  • Secondly, as these awards serve as national recognition for exceptional work, it's noticeable that they lack specific recognition for teaching, mentoring, science communication, public engagement, outreach, leadership, and administration—roles previously acknowledged by science academies. Scientists involved in these initiatives often manage these alongside their primary responsibilities. Hence, these contributions need inclusion in the new award structure—ideally as distinct categories or at least considered during the selection process.
  • Thirdly, the age limit of 45 years for the Vigyan Yuva-SSB award poses a challenge to the new system's commitment to ensuring gender equality. The previous version, with the same age limit, was criticized for inadequate gender representation, particularly impacting women due to relocation, childcare responsibilities, and career breaks. Therefore, redefining the criteria for a 'young scientist' based on years since a candidate held an independent position or offering eligibility extensions based on personal circumstances, similar to the EMBO Gold Medal, is crucial to prevent creating systemic barriers to gender parity.
  • Fourthly, during the implementation of the RVP award process, adherence to predetermined timelines, publication of a public list of shortlisted candidates, inclusion of gender-balanced and diverse selection committees, international jury members, and potentially a non-partisan jury member—preferably a non-scientist—is essential to ensure fair selection.
  • Fifthly, the new award system should actively strive, beyond gender parity, to ensure proper socioeconomic and demographic representation among recipients. It should recognize contributions made despite significant systemic social challenges or workplace considerations.
  • Lastly, while some debate the necessity of awards for scientists, India lacks adequate data to make an informed decision. Continuously assessing the impact of the new award system on subsequent scientific work, the evolution of disciplines, the influence of role models on diversity and inclusivity in Indian science, and the scientific temperament nationwide will be beneficial
5. Way forward
With these aspects in place, this is an opportunity for the RVP awards to become a blueprint for an expansive, inclusive, and transparent award system that can be adopted by scientific ecosystems in other countries as well
Source: The Hindu

1. Introduction

The electric battery has revolutionized our lives, providing a portable and convenient source of electricity that powers a vast array of devices, from smartphones and laptops to electric vehicles and medical equipment. This remarkable invention has its roots in the late 18th century when Alessandro Volta's voltaic pile laid the foundation for modern batteries.

2. About Battery Development

  • Luigi Galvani's accidental discovery in 1780, where he observed a frog's leg twitching when connected to two different metals, sparked the curiosity of scientists and paved the way for further exploration in the field of electricity.
  • Volta's voltaic pile, developed in 1800, was a significant advancement, demonstrating the ability to generate a continuous flow of electricity using a series of stacked metal plates and a salt solution.
  • John Daniel's improved design, which replaced Volta's pile with copper and zinc electrodes immersed in their respective sulfate solutions, provided a more stable and durable source of electricity.
  • Michael Faraday, in the early 19th century, provided a deeper understanding of these electrochemical cells, elucidating the concepts of anode, cathode, electrolyte, and the role of electron transfer in generating electricity.

3. The Working Principle of an Electric Battery

  • An electric battery, also known as a voltaic or galvanic cell, operates based on the principle of redox reactions.
  • These reactions involve the transfer of electrons between two half-cells, each containing an electrode and an electrolyte.
  • The anode, where oxidation occurs, releases electrons, while the cathode, where reduction occurs, accepts electrons.
  • These electrons flow through an external circuit, generating an electric current.

4. Key Concepts of a Battery

  • The cathode is the positively charged electrode, attracting electrons, while the anode is the negatively charged electrode, releasing electrons.
  • Oxidation releases electrons, while reduction consumes electrons.
  • The source voltage, also known as electromotive force, represents the energy imparted to electrons by the half-cells, while the terminal voltage is the driving force pushing electrons from the anode to the cathode.
  • Corrosion poses a significant challenge to battery performance, as it can degrade the electrodes and reduce the battery's lifespan.
  • Corrosion can occur due to factors such as humidity, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and galvanic corrosion, where one electrode dissolves faster than the other.

5. Types of Batteries

  • Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized the portable electronics industry due to their high energy density, long lifespan, and rechargeable nature.
  • In a lithium-ion polymer cell, lithium metal oxide acts as the cathode, graphite as the anode, and a semisolid polymer gel as the electrolyte.
  • The battery can function in both voltaic (discharge) and electrolytic (charge) phases.
  • Lithium-ion batteries play a crucial role in powering electric vehicles (EVs). For instance, Tesla's Model S cars utilize thousands of lithium-ion cells in their batteries.
  • Fuel cells, such as hydrogen fuel cells, are another promising alternative for electric power in vehicles.
  • These cells generate electricity through the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, producing only water as a byproduct.

6. Conclusion

Electric batteries have revolutionized our lives, providing a portable and convenient source of electricity for a wide range of applications. The evolution of battery technology, from early voltaic cells to modern lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells, continues to shape our world, powering our devices, propelling our vehicles, and driving innovation in various fields. With ongoing research and development, batteries are poised to play an even more significant role in shaping a sustainable and electrified future.

For Prelims: electric battery, electric vehicles, Alessandro Volta's voltaic pile, Luigi Galvani, anode, cathode, electrolyte, Michael Faraday, Corrosion, Lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the significance of lithium-ion batteries in the portable electronics industry and their role in powering electric vehicles. (250 Words)
2. Evaluate the potential of fuel cells, such as hydrogen fuel cells, as an alternative source of electric power for vehicles and their environmental benefits. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Choose the correct option regarding FAME Scheme? (SBI Clerk 2021)
A. To promote the manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology
B.FAME stands for Faster adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles
C.FAME India is part of the National Electric mobility Mission Plan
D. All of the above
Answer -D

2. With reference to ‘fuel cells’ in which hydrogen-rich fuel and oxygen are used to generate electricity, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2015)

1. If pure hydrogen is used as a fuel, the fuel cell emits heat and water as by-products.
2. Fuel cells can be used for powering buildings and not for small devices like laptop computers.
3. Fuel cells produce electricity in the form of Alternating Current (AC).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: A

3. With reference to technologies for solar power production, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2014)

1. ‘Photovoltaics’ is a technology that generates electricity by direction conversion of light into electricity, while ‘Solar Thermal’ is a technology that utilizes the Sun’s rays to generate heat which is further used in electricity generation process.
2. Photovoltaics generate Alternating Current (AC), while solar Thermal generates Direct Current (DC).
3. India has manufacturing base for Solar Thermal technology, but not for Photovoltaics.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: A

4. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)

1. Coal ash contains arsenic, lead and mercury.
2. Coal-fired power plants release sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen into the environment. 3. High ash content is observed in Indian coal.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

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

Answer: D

5. Consider the following: (UPSC 2011)

1. Carbon dioxide
2. Oxides of Nitrogen
3. Oxides of sulphur

Which of the above is/are emission/emissions from coal combustion at thermal power plants?  

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

Answer: D

6. Which of the following Indian States/Union Territories launched Electric Vehicle Policy on 7th August 2020? (UPPSC 2020)
A. Madhya Pradesh
B. Uttar Pradesh
C. Delhi
D. Tamil Nadu
Answer: C
7. Which type of battery is used in the recently launched world's first fully electric cargo ship by change? (Delhi Police Constable 2017) 
A. Lead Acid
B. Manganese
C. Lithium ion
D. Nickel metal hydride
Answer: C
8. With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following?  (UPSC 2020) 
1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units.
2. Create meaningful short stories and songs.
3. Disease diagnosis.
4. Text-to-Speech Conversion.
5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 1, 2, 3 and 5 only       B. 1, 3 and 4 only      C.  2, 4 and 5 only      D. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Answer: B

9. Which one of the following pairs of metals constitutes the lightest metal and the heaviest metal, respectively? (UPSC 2008)

A. Lithium and mercury
B. Lithium and osmium
C. Aluminum and osmium
D. Aluminium and mercury

Answer: B

10.  Recently, there has been a concern over the short supply of a group of elements called ‘rare earth metals’. Why? (2012)

  1. China, which is the largest producer of these elements, has imposed some restrictions on their export.
  2. Other than China, Australia, Canada and Chile, these elements are not found in any country.
  3. Rare earth metals are essential for the manufacture of various kinds of electronic items and there is a growing demand for these elements.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: C


1. How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development in India? (UPSC 2019)

Source: The Hindu

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