Daily Current Affairs – 21-07-2023


    Marital Rape

    Syllabus: GS1/Society

    In News

    • The Supreme Court would list a batch of petitions pertaining to the matters related to marital rape.

    What is Marital Rape?

    • ‘Marital rape’ refers to the act of forcible sexual intercourse by a man with his wife without her consent. While rape is a serious crime in India, marital rape is not illegal.

    Issues before the Court

    • An appeal against a split verdict of the Delhi High Court on a challenge to the constitutional validity of the ‘marital rape immunity’ in the Indian Penal Code.
    • An appeal against a judgment by the Karnataka High Court that allowed the prosecution of a man for raping his wife.
    • PILs challenging the ‘marital rape exception’ allowed under IPC Section 375 which defines rape.

    Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code

    • It defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 18 years of age.
    • Consent: Consent is defined as clear, voluntary communication that the woman gives for a certain sexual act.
    • Exceptions to Section 375: Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife who is above the age of 18, is not sexual assault.
    • Punishment: Except in certain aggravated situations, the punishment will be imprisonment of not less than seven years but it may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. 
      • In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

    Arguments favuring  Marital Rape

    • A marriage should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity.
    • The doctrine of Coverture: The marital exception to the IPC’s definition of rape was drafted based on Victorian patriarchal norms that did not recognize men and women as equals.
      • It  did not allow married women to own property, and merged the identities of husband and wife under the “Doctrine of Coverture.”
    • Article 14 of the Constitution: Indian women deserve to be treated equally under Article 14 and an individual’s human rights do not deserve to be ignored by anyone, including by their spouse.
      • Further, a married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman.
    • Bodily Integrity is intrinsic to Article 21: A woman is entitled to refuse sexual relations with her husband as the right to bodily integrity and privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 of the Constitution. 
      • Supreme Court has included sanctity of women, and freedom to make choices related to sexual activity under the ambit of Article 21
      • In the State of Karnataka v. Krishnappa, the Supreme Court held that sexual violence apart from being a dehumanizing act is an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a female.
      • In the Suchita Srivastava v. Chandigarh Administration, the Supreme Court equated the right to make choices related to sexual activity with rights to personal liberty, privacy, dignity, and bodily integrity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
    • Rape not ground for Divorce: As marital rape is not a ground for a divorce in any personal laws and even the Special Marriage Act, 1954, It cannot be used as a ground for divorce and cruelty against the husband Thus, the women remain helpless and keep suffering in silence.
    • Rape is rape, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and the age of the survivor.
      • A woman who is raped by a stranger lives with a memory of a horrible attack; a woman who is raped by her husband lives with her rapist throughout her life .
    • Criminalizing marital rape: It will ensure that women remains safer from abusive spouses and they can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse  
      • Much of the developed world has criminalized it. The even United Kingdom, whose common law was followed by India, made marital rape a criminal offence in 1991.
    • The JS Verma committee set up in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case and the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2013 had recommended that the Indian government should criminalize marital rape

    Arguments against marital rape

    • Destabilize marriage as an institution: It may create absolutely anarchy in families and destabilize the institution of marriage and thereby destroy the family platform which upholds family values and helps in sustaining the country.
      • Indian society believes that marriage is a sacrament
    • Misuse of law: It may become an easy tool for harassing the husbands by misusing the law similar to the growing misuse of section 498A (harassment caused to a married woman by her husband and in-laws) of the IPC.
    • Awareness is more important: Merely criminalizing marital rape may not stop it as “moral and social awareness” plays a vital role in stopping such an act.
    • Diversity in Cultures of the states: India has its unique problems due to various factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, the mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc. and these should be considered carefully before criminalizing marital rape.
      • Also, criminal law is in the Concurrent List and implemented by the states and there is a vast diversity in the cultures of these states
    • Law Commission has not recommended: Indian Law Commission and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs after thoroughly examining the matter did not recommend the criminalization of marital rape.
    • No violation of Article 21: Non-criminalisation of marital rape is “not a violation” of Article 21 of the Constitution as a wife is not compelled to live with a sexually abusive husband under personal law.
    • Implementation issues: Criminalizing marital rape will create serious implementational issues like
      • If all sexual acts by a man with his wife will qualify to be marital rape, then the judgment as to whether it is a marital rape or not will singularly rest with the wife who cannot always be trusted.
      • What evidences the courts will rely upon in such circumstances, as there can be no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his wife.

    Way Ahead

    • In striking down the marital rape exception, the court will not be creating a new crime, or trespassing into the domain of Parliament. It will be held that an artificial immunity from criminal law, created by an 1860 law, can no longer survive constitutional scrutiny. 
    • Criminalising marital rape, therefore, is not about the State invading the privacy, but about ensuring that the principles of consent, dignity, and autonomy, apply as much in private as outside.

    Source: IE


    Katchatheevu’s Issue

    Syllabus: GS2/ India & Foreign Relations

    In News

    • Tamil Nadu CM Stalin urged the Union government to initiate diplomatic efforts to revisit the agreement transferring the Katchatheevu islet to Sri Lanka.

    Major issues with Sri Lanka

    • Issue of Katchatheevu:
      • The unpopular truth in the entire conflict is accusations about Tamil fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters & the ownership of Katchatheevu Island, where Tamil fishermen had traditional fishing rights for centuries, remains an unresolved issue.
      • In 1974, the island was ceded to Sri Lanka after an agreement was signed by Indira Gandhi between the two countries without consulting the Tamil Nadu government.
      • The agreement allowed Indian fishermen “access to Katchatheevu for rest, for drying of nests and for the annual St Anthony’s festival” but it did not ensure the traditional fishing rights.

    • Proliferation of trawlers in Indian coast: 
      • Trawlers are mechanised boats with highly exploitative fishing nets unlike most of the poor fishermen on the Sri Lankan coast who use traditional fishing methods.
      • The use of mechanised bottom trawlers has become a bone of contention between the fishermen of the two countries.
      • The actions of the Tamil Nadu fishermen adversely affect their counterparts in the Northern Province who are also struggling to come to terms with life after the civil war. 
      • The recent economic crisis in the island nation has only worsened their plight.
    • Demarcation of the IMBL:  
      • The fishermen of Tamil Nadu experience an issue with the lack of fishing areas consequent to the demarcation of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). 
      • Just as sections of fishermen from the Palk Bay bordering districts of Tamil Nadu continue to transgress the IMBL, cases of many of them getting arrested and their boats being impounded by the Sri Lankan authorities continue. 

    Problems faced by Indian fishermen

    • Indian fishermen face highly restricted access to traditional fishing grounds, increased harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy, and arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy on trespassing charges. 
    • Restoring the right to fish in the traditional fishing grounds of Palk Bay has always been among the top priorities of the Government of Tamil Nadu.


    • Regular patrolling, establishment of communication channels, and installation of warning systems could significantly reduce the incidents of harassment and apprehension.
    • Tamil Nadu’s CM has also proposed regular meetings and consultations of the Joint Working Group reconstituted in 2016, which he said would help in building trust, facilitate effective communication and ensure smooth fishing operations.

    India – Sri Lanka Relations 

    • About: 
      • India and Sri Lanka have a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction and the relationship between the two countries are more than 2500 years old. 
      • Trade and investment have grown and there is cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence.
      • In recent years, significant progress in the implementation of developmental assistance projects for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and disadvantaged sections of the population in Sri Lanka has helped further cement the bonds of friendship. 
      • The nearly three-decade long armed conflict between Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE came to an end in May 2009. 
      • During the conflict, India supported the right of the Government of Sri Lanka to act against terrorist forces. 
    • Commercial Partnership: 
      • Both countries enjoy a vibrant and growing economic and commercial partnership, which has witnessed considerable expansion over the years. 
      • In 2020, India was Sri Lanka’s 2nd largest trading partner with the bilateral merchandise trade amounting to about USD 3.6 billion.  
      • India is also one of the largest contributors to Foreign Direct Investment in Sri Lanka.
    • Projects under Lines of Credit: 
      • 11 Lines of credit (LOC) have been extended to Sri Lanka by the Export-Import Bank of India in the last 15 years. 
      • Important sectors in which Projects have been executed/ are under execution, under these LOCs include Railway, transport, connectivity, defence, solar.  
      • A US$ 100 million LoC for undertaking solar projects in Sri Lanka has been signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and EXIM Bank in June 2021.  
    • People-to-people ties: 
      • Buddhism is one of the strongest pillars connecting the two nations and civilizations from the time when the Great Indian Emperor Ashoka sent his children Arahat Mahinda and Their Sangamitta to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha at the request of King DevanampiyaTissa of Sri Lanka.  
    • Human Resource Development: 
      • India now offers about 710 scholarship slots annually to Sri Lankan students. 
      • In addition, under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program, India offers 402 fully-funded slots every year to officials in various Ministries of Government of Sri Lanka and also to other eligible citizens for short term training programs in a wide variety of technical and professional disciplines to enhance skill sets.
      • Indian institutes under the ‘Study in India’ Program provide technical expertise across a diverse range of courses and include programs in niche disciplines such as Ayurveda, Yoga, and Buddhist Studies. 
    • Defence:
      • India and Sri Lanka conduct a joint Military exercise named  ‘Mitra Shakti’ and a Naval exercise named SLINEX.  
    • Support during the recent Srilankan crisis: 
      • Sri Lanka recently faced an acute economic and energy crisis triggered due to a shortage of foreign exchange. 
      • India has provided a $2.4-bn package of financial assistance in February and March. 
      • India also appointed experts to assist Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, and for various joint projects. 
      • India extended a $400-million currency swap and a $500-million credit line for fuel purchases to Sri Lanka earlier this year.
      • Since January 2022, India has also signed several key bilateral agreements with Sri Lanka, including the joint development of the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms, and three major power projects in the north and east, involving the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Adani Group, apart from the recent pacts on maritime security.

    Source: TH

    India Suspends Export of Non-Basmati Rice 

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy 

    In News:

    • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade recently banned the export of non-basmati white rice to boost domestic supply and help control inflation. 

    About Directorate General of Foreign Trade (Chief Controller of Imports & Exports (CCI&E) before 1991)

    • It is the governing body for the promotion and facilitation of exports and imports.
    • It comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 
    • It is responsible for implementing the Foreign Trade Policy and seeks  promotion of Indian exports.
    • It is also responsible for the formulation of exim guidelines and principles for Indian importers and exporters of the country. 

    Why is India crucial to global rice trade?

    • It accounts for more than 40% of world’s rice exports and non-basmati white rice accounts for nearly 25-30 percent of total rice exported from the country. 
    • Its rice shipment in 2022 was more than the next 4 exporters combined – Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the US.
    • India exported 17.86 mt of non-basmati rice in 2022, including 10.3 million tons of non-basmati white rice. India exports majorly to Iran, Iraq, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.

    About Rice crop in India

    • In India, rice is grown in 43.86 million ha and the productivity is about 2390 kg/ha. The highest productivity is 6710 kg per ha of China followed by Vietnam (5573 kg /ha), Indonesia (5152 kg/ha), Bangladesh (4375 kg/ha) etc.
    • Rice is grown in almost all the states in the country however the major 5 states in rice production are West Bengal, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. West Bengal produces 15 percent of the total quantity of rice produced in the country.
    • Climatic requirements: 
      • Rice cultivation in India extends from 8 to 350N altitude and from sea level to as high as 3000 meters. 
      • Rice crops need a hot and humid climate. It is best suited to regions which have high humidity, prolonged sunshine and an assured supply of water. 
      • The average temperature required throughout the life period of the crop ranges from 21 to 37 degree Celsius. At the time of tillering the crop requires a higher temperature than for growth. 
      • Photoperiodically, rice is a short-day plant. However, there are varieties which are non-sensitive to photoperiodic conditions.
    • Sowing method: Following two methods are commonly practiced: 
    • Direct seeding or Broadcasting method: In this method seed is directly sown in an unpuddled and puddle field prepared for sowing at appropriate moisture level. 
    • Transplanting method: In this method a nursery is prepared for transplanting of rice as required for the methods of transplanting.The 25 days old seedlings ( 4-5 leaf stage) uprooted from the nursery bed are then transplanted. 
    • The System of Rice Intensification: It involves cultivating rice with young seedlings planted and given intermittent irrigation. Under it, fields are not flooded but kept moist during vegetative phase. Later only one inch of water is maintained. SRI requires only about half as much water as normally applied in irrigated rice. It requires less water, involves less expenditure and gives more yields.
      • Sowing Time: The rice is grown almost in all crop seasons i.e. Kharif, Rabi and Summer in the country.

    Source: TH

    Why are Tomato Prices Still High?

    Syllabus: GS3/Agriculture


    • As per the RBI, High volatility of tomato prices has historically contributed to overall inflation levels in the country.

    India’s Tomato Cultivation

    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, tomato production in the country is concentrated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, and Gujarat, contributing about 50% of total production.
    • There are two major crops of tomato annuallykharif (from September) and rabi (between March and August). 
      • Regions in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh are able to grow tomatoes during the monsoon months, and Madanapalle region of Andhra Pradesh alone accounts for tomato cultivation in the entire country.
    • As for tomato production, it peaked in 2019-20 at 21.187 million tonnes (MT) and has been declining since. In 2021-22, it dropped to 20.69 MT and 20.62 MT in 2022-23.

    What has fuelled the current tomato inflation?

    • High rainfall and fungal diseases: The shortage has been attributed to the irregular weather including unseasonable high rainfall which devastated the growing crops and fuelled by a deadly fungal disease.
      • High humidity, high soil moisture, cloudiness and temperatures below 24°C are ideal for infection and development of fungal disease in tomatoes.
      • Heatwaves and high temperatures in the months of April and May along with delayed monsoon showers in southern India, including Maharashtra led to pest attacks in tomato crops.
    • Low commercial realisation, along with the extreme weather conditions , of the tomato for farmers in the months before June as well as last year. As a result, inferior-quality varieties came to markets earlier this year, fetching low prices to farmers.
      • The fact that July-August is a lean production period for tomatoes, as it falls between yields, compounded the problem. This led to a crunch in supply.
    • Supply chain issues in transporting the tomatoes from areas where it is grown to regions to the regions of scarcity.
    • According to the study of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), tomato prices have been following a cyclical phenomenon, with the same situation arising every alternate year. The year 2021 also saw prices drop to as low as ₹2-₹3 per kg for farmers. This led to a lot of them cultivating tomatoes in lesser land areas and shifting to other crops, which resulted in a glut.
      • For example, many farmers in Karnataka, which is usually responsible for sizable tomato supplies, shifted to different crops like beans owing to the higher prices it fetched last year.

    Cobweb Phenomena

    • It refers to a phenomenon where the prices of certain goods witness fluctuations that are cyclical in nature. It happens due to faulty producer expectations.
    • The producers of agricultural goods might decide to increase their output one year because their product commanded a very high price the previous year.
    • It might lead to overproduction and cause prices to slump that year, thus leading to losses.

    How does a spike in tomato prices affect the Consumer Price Index? 

    • The Centre has called this sudden and sharp price rise in tomatoes a “seasonal” and temporary issue.
    • Policy experts, the RBI and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) have expressed concerns over this high seasonal price volatility of tomatoes and its impact on the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI).
      • According to the study of NABARD, tomatoes are the most volatile out of all the three TOP (tomato, onion, potato) agri-commodities.

    What are the ways to control the inflation volatility of tomatoes?

    • Improving value and supply chains: Tomatoes are highly perishable. An organised value chain involving a market-focussed collaboration to produce, process and transport in an effective and efficient manner.
    • Increasing the processing capacity for tomatoes by creating more processing units and linking tomato value chains. ICRIER suggests processing tomatoes into paste and puree during peak seasons, and using them in the lean season can be a solution.
    • Encouraging Farmer Producers Organisations and eliminating middlemen: A 2022 study estimated that farmers get only 32% share of what consumers pay for tomatoes.

    Source: TH

    Rajasthan Honour of Dead Body Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS2/Indian Polity, Bills

    In News

    • The Rajasthan Assembly passed The Rajasthan Honour of Dead Body Bill, 2023, which penalises protests with a dead body.

    Key Provisions of the Bill

    • The Bill aims to curb the growing trend of protests involving bodies being placed on roads as a part of expressing anger over an incident. And, to ensure that every dead person has the right to last rites with dignity. 
    • The Bill binds the deceased person’s family to claim the dead body at the earliest
    • Bill contained provisions for protection of genetic data information through DNA profiling as well as digitisation and confidentiality of information.
    • If a family member does not take possession of a dead body, he shall be punished with imprisonment for up to one year or with fine or with both. 
      • Protest/remonstration with a dead body or giving consent for the same will invite imprisonment up to two years and fine. 
      • If someone other than a family member uses the dead body for remonstration, they shall be punished with imprisonment between six months to five years, with fine.
    • The Bill imposes a liability on the family members to perform last rites of the deceased “as soon as possible” unless there are exceptional reasons. 
    • If the family members don’t perform the last rites despite orders of the local police officer or Executive Magistrate, it will be done by the public authority.

    Need for the Bill

    • There has been an increase in cases where the family sits with a dead body and demands compensation. 
    • These protests, staged by relatives of the deceased following unnatural deaths, are often supported by political parties and social and community organisations.
    • There were 82 incidents of demonstrations with corpses on the streets or outside the police stations, between 2014 -2018 which increased to 306 between 2019-2023.

    Source: TH

    Facts In News

    National Commission for Women


    Syllabus: GS2/ Polity, Statutory Body

    In News

    • National Commission for Women (NCW) condemns incidents of Manipur and Rajasthan and taken suo-motu cognizance of the and asked the Director General of Police of respective states to promptly take appropriate action.

    National Commission for Women (NCW)

    • About: It was set up as statutory body in 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to:
      • review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
      • recommend remedial legislative measures ;
      • facilitate redressal of grievances and
      • advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
    • Constitution of the NCW: The Union Government shall constitute a body to be known as the NCW to exercise the powers conferred on and to perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.
      • The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, five Members to be nominated by the Union Government from amongst persons of ability and integrity who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations, administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare;
      • Provided that at least one Member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.
    • Term of office and conditions of service of Chairperson and Members:
      • The Chairperson and every Member shall hold office for such a period, not exceeding three years, as may be specified by the Union Government on this behalf. 
      • The Chairperson or a Member (other than the Member-Secretary) may, by writing and addressed to the Union Government, resign from the office of Chairperson or Member at any time.

    Functions of the Commission

    • The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
      • Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws;
      • Review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislations;
      • Take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities;
      • Look into complaints and take suo-moto cognizance of matters relating to:
        • deprivation of women’s rights;
        • non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and also to achieve the objective of equality and development;
        • non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women, and take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities;
      • Inspect or cause to be inspected a jail, remand home, women’s institution or other place of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise, and take up with the concerned authorities for remedial action, if found necessary.

    Source: AIR

    Section 69A of IT Act

    Syllabus: GS3/ Security

    In News:

    What is Section 69 (A) of the IT Act?

    • It allows the government to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecom service providers, web hosting services, search engines, online marketplaces, etc. 
    • The Section requires the information or content being blocked to be deemed a threat to India’s national security, sovereignty, or public order.
    • Both centre and state governments may direct agencies to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.
    • As per rules that govern these blocking orders, any request made by the government is sent to a review committee, which then issues these directions. 

    What has the Supreme Court said on Section 69 (A)?

    • In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal vs Union of India struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which entailed punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services, etc. 
    • The plea had also challenged Section 69A of the Information Technology Rules 2009, but the SC held this to be “constitutionally valid”.
    • It will be noticed that Section 69A unlike Section 66A is a narrowly drawn provision with several safeguards. 
      • First, blocking can only be resorted to where the Central Government is satisfied that it is necessary to do so.
      • Secondly, such necessity is relatable only to some of the subjects set out in Article 19(2). 
      • Thirdly, reasons have to be recorded in writing in such blocking order so that they may be assailed in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

    Source: IE

    Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana

    Syllabus: GS2/ Welfare schemes/ Government policies & interventions, Health

    In Context

    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has been working towards creating an inclusive and equitable society for all its citizens and Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY) is one such scheme for empowering the elderly for a dignified life.

    Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)

    • About: 
      • Earlier it was named as National Action Plan for Senior Citizen (NAPSrc) and had been revamped, renamed in 2021.
      • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • Objectives: 
      • To  recognize the invaluable contribution made by the elderly to society and seeks to ensure their well-being and social inclusion.
      • Through recognising their contribution, the government aims to empower and uplift them, ensuring their active participation and inclusion in all aspects of life.
    • Components: 
      • Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC): It provides financial assistance for running and maintenance of Senior Citizen Homes to improve the quality of life by providing basic amenities.
      • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY): To provide financial assistance of Rs. 15000 to senior citizens who belong to below poverty line (BPL) category suffering from any of the age-related disabilities with assisted living devices.
    • Achievements:
      • Under IPSrC:
        • A total of 552 Senior Citizen Homes, 14 Continuous care homes, 19 mobile Medicare units and 5 physiotherapy clinics are being maintained by different NGOs across the country. 
        • Nearly 1.5 lakh beneficiaries are staying in the Senior Citizen homes.
      • Under RVY: 
        • Total 269 camps as implementing agencies  have been held till date and the Number of beneficiaries of this camp is over 4 lakhs. 
        • A total amount of Rs. 140.34 crore has been released during the last 3 financial years .


    • It stands as a testament to the government’s commitment to the well-being and empowerment of senior citizens in India.
    • By addressing their financial, healthcare, and social needs, the scheme aims to empower the elderly, ensuring their active participation and inclusion in society
    • The government strives to create an environment where senior citizens can live a life of dignity, respect, and fulfillment, acknowledging their invaluable contributions to the nation.

    Other welfare schemes for Senior Citizens

    • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
    • Rashtriya Vayoshree Yojana 
    • Integrated Program for Older Persons 
    • SAMPANN Project
    • SACRED portal for elderly
    • Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE)

    Source: TH

    Elon Musk’s New AI Company ‘xAI’

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology, Artificial Intelligence

    In News

    • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and owner of Twitter, announced the debut of a new AI company, xAI, with the goal to “understand the true nature of the universe.”


    • Elon Musk accused companies like OpenAI and Google of developing the technology without considering risks to humans.
    • xAI would seek to build a “good AGI,” as an alternative to Microsoft, Google and OpenAI. AGI stands for artificial general intelligence and refers to AI that can solve problems like a human.
    • The company will use public tweets to train its AI models and may also work with Tesla on AI software.
    • Such a relationship would have “mutual benefit” and could accelerate Tesla’s work in self-driving capabilities

    Source: IE

    India Climate Energy Dashboard (ICED)

    Syllabus:GS3/ Environment


    • NITI Aayog released the India Climate Energy Dashboard (ICED) 3.0.


    • The ICED is the country’s one-stop platform for near real-time data on the energy sector, climate, and related economic datasets based on government published sources.
    • Objective: The Portal will draw insights from the available data parameters and hence be useful in monitoring the Climate Action Progress
    • This dashboard offers more than 500 parameters, over 2000 infographics, and a number of interactive visualizations, allowing users to gain a holistic understanding of India’s energy sector.


    Rule 176 and Rule 267



    • Recently, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament the Opposition insisted on suspending all business under Rule 267.

    What is Rule 267?

    • According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, Rule 267 relates to suspension of rules. 
    • Under this rule, Rajya Sabha MPs can give a written notice to suspend all listed business and discuss an issue of importance the country is facing. For instance, if a Bill is to be introduced,it would be listed.But  if a rule is coming in the way, 267 is aimed at suspending the rule. 

    Short-duration discussion: Rule 176

    • It says that “any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General specifying the matter to be raised: Provided that the notice shall be supported by the signatures of at least two other members.”
    • Once the Chairman approves the notice, he/she, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, will fix the date and time for discussion, not exceeding two and a half hours.

    Adjournment motion

    • Adjournment motion is governed by Rules 56-63 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
    • It is “a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance may be made with the consent of the Speaker”.And the rules say not more than one such motion shall be made at the same sitting.
    • Along with discussion the adjournment motion has an element of censure.Only Lok Sabha has this privilege because the Rajya Sabha can not  bring down a government.


    India Energy Security Scenarios (IESS) 2047



    • A Revamped India Energy Security Scenarios (IESS) 2047 was released by NITI Aayog.


    • IESS is to assess the integrated impact of various green energy policies of the Government of India.
    • It incorporates several policies related to alternative energy resources like Green Hydrogen, Energy Storage, Renewable Purchase Obligations, PM-KUSUM, offshore wind strategy, Electric Vehicle policy, Energy efficiency, etc. 
    • The revamped IESS 2047 will be updated on yearly basis.The baseline has been standardized at 2020 and calibrated up to 2022.


    • IESS 2047 is a user-friendly interactive tool that can help ministries/ departments to develop a variety of energy transition scenarios to achieve net-zero. 
    • It will help researchers and think tanks to develop user-specific scenarios and the option of customized applications on the basis of share of industry/services/agriculture, population, the pace of urbanization, end-use energy demand etc.
    • It provides capabilities to compute the energy needs and estimates of the country and hence reduce India’s dependency on external agencies for the estimates.