• In News
  • Scientists are using outer space particles called muons to examine the fortress wall of Xi’an city, an ancient city in China.
    • They used a muon detector, called CORMIS (Cosmic Ray Muon Imaging System), to examine the wall of Xi’an city. 

What are Muons?

  • Muons are subatomic particles raining from space. They are created when the particles in Earth’s atmosphere collide with cosmic rays — clusters of high-energy particles that move through space at just below the speed of light.
    • Atom is the smallest unit of matter and is made up of smaller units known as subatomic particles i.e.  protons, neutrons and electrons.

Muons vs Electrones

  • Muons are similar to electrons but weigh more than 207 times as much, equivalent to the difference between an adult person and a small elephant. Therefore, they are sometimes called “fat electrons”.
  • Muons are so heavy, they can travel through hundreds of metres of rock or other matter in comparison, electrons can penetrate through only a few centimetres. 
  • Muons exist for only 2.2 microseconds before they decay into an electron and two kinds of neutrinos. 


  • Muography (or muon radiography) is a technique that exploits the penetration capability of muons. The measurement of their absorption in matter allows the imaging of the inner structure of large bodies. 
  • Muography is conceptually similar to X-ray but capable of scanning much larger and wider structures, owing to the penetration power of muons.
  • As these high-energy particles are naturally produced and ubiquitous, all one needs to do is place a muon detector underneath, within or near the object of interest.
  • The technique was first used in the late 1960s, when Nobel Laureate and US experimental physicist Luis Alvarez joined hands with Egyptologists to search for hidden chambers in the Pyramid of Khafre, Giza. 


  • Archaeology: The technique was first used in the late 1960s, when Nobel Laureate and US experimental physicist Luis Alvarez joined hands with Egyptologists to search for hidden chambers in the Pyramid of Khafre, Giza.
    • However, in 2017, modern archaeologists repeated the experiment with more sophisticated and advanced muon detectors and stumbled upon a major finding.
    • By placing several detectors, the archaeologists were able to discover a previously unknown chamber at least 30 metres long.
  • Detecting Volcanic Eruptions: With the help of the technique, researchers are trying to understand the finer details of the volcano’s internal structure. Data will play a crucial role in predicting what hazards to expect in an eventual eruption.
  • Nuclear Plants: Muons can help detect dangerous nuclear material and see into damaged nuclear power plants.  Scientists used the technique to look inside the Fukushima nuclear reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
  • Application in various studies: Muons applications in studies of superconductors, molecular systems and chemical reactions, novel battery materials and a variety of organic systems.

India, UAE & France Trilateral Cooperation Initiative


  • India joined UAE, and France for a trilateral Cooperation Initiative in fields including energy, defence, and economy.


  • The trilateral was first discussed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2022.
  • The initiative will focus on
    • Nuclear and solar power
    • Climate change and biodiversity
    • Defence preparation 
    • Countering infectious diseases

Agenda of Trilateral Cooperation

  • It will serve as a forum to promote the design and execution of cooperation projects in the fields of energy, with a focus on solar and nuclear energy.
  • The initiative will also help in the fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity, particularly in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The three sides desired to cooperate in the field of circular economy under the aegis of India’s Mission LiFE.
  • They agreed to expand their cooperation through initiatives such as the Mangrove Alliance for Climate led by the UAE and the Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership led by India and France.
  • The countries have agreed to cooperate in defence preparation and in countering infectious diseases.
  • It seeks to promote cooperation in multilateral organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine AllianceGlobal Fund, and Unitaid
  • They will cooperate to implement the One Health approach and support the development of local capacities in biomedical innovation and production within developing countries.

Global initiatives launched by India for Clean Energy

  • Mission Life
    • It aims to mobilise at least one billion Indians and other global citizens to take individual and collective action for conserving the environment in the period 2022-28. It is piloted by NITI Aayog and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
    • ISA’s objective is to scale up solar energy and reduce the cost of solar power generation through the aggregation of demand for solar finance, technologies, innovation, research, and development, and capacity building.
  • One sun, one world, one grid project (OSOWOG)
    • It is based on the vision of building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe. It can be the solution to most of our global problems in the energy sector.
  • India’s commitment at COP26 Glasgow summit
    • To take India’s non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
    • To bring down the carbon intensity of India by more than 45% by 2030.
    • India will achieve the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • Mission Innovation CleanTech Exchange
    • The network provides access to the expertise and market insights needed to support new technologies to access new markets global

Hydropower Generation and Climate Change

Based on observations and climate projections, the Team from IIT Gandhinagar studied the hydroclimatic changes in the catchment areas and their implications for hydropower generation in 46 major dams located in the north, central, and south India.

Major Highlights of a recent study 

  • warmer and wetter climate is projected to bring about 5%-33% increased rainfall. As a result, hydropower production is very likely to increase by 9%-36% for most dams and this will come from increased inflow (7-70%) into the dams.
  • Both north and central India are projected to receive a higher increase in precipitation than south India.
    •  The increased precipitation will alter the inflow to the dams more in north and central India than in south India and also hydropower generation
  • Due to global warming, there will be a simultaneous rise in extreme inflow and high reservoir storage conditions for most dams. 
  • This translates into a higher generation of hydroelectric power, which is good; but on the flip side, it poses challenges to reservoir management and the likelihood of dam breaks.

About Hydropower

  • Hydropower or hydroelectric power is a renewable source of energy that generates power by using a dam or diversion structure to alter the natural flow of a river or other body of water.
  • Hydropower is often considered green energy because it generates electricity from the natural flow of water without releasing any emissions or pollutants.
  •  It also does not rely on fossil fuels.


  • The Himalayas are a major water source for much of South Asia. 
  • Most countries in the region, including India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan, have built or are planning to build hydropower projects in the Himalayas. 
  • In India, the government has identified hydropower as a key renewable energy source.
    • Many hydropower projects are under construction or in the planning stages in the Indian Himalayas, including the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh and the Teesta Low Dam Hydroelectric Project in Sikkim.
  • Based on selected hydroelectric dams, the projected increase in hydropower potential in India is 10-23%. 

Challenges and Concerns 

  • The building and maintenance of large hydroelectric dams can also have a significant environmental impact.
  • The construction of dams can disrupt the flow of rivers, leading to changes in water temperature and chemistry. 
  • It can also cause erosion, landslides, and sedimentation which can have a negative impact on the local environment. 
  • Dams also disrupt the migration patterns of fish and other aquatic species and impact the local wildlife, particularly if the dam’s construction leads to habitat loss. 
  • Large-scale hydroelectric dams displace local communities, affecting their livelihoods and cultural heritage and impacting the overall well-being of the local population.
  • Climate change has driven erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall and rainfall.
    • These changing phenomena made infrastructure projects in the Himalayan regions risky.

Other Options: 

  • Micro hydro is a small-scale hydroelectric power generation system that typically generates up to 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity.
  •  These systems use the energy of falling water to turn a turbine, which, in turn, generates electricity. 
  • They can be used for various applications, including powering homes, businesses, and small communities
  • Micro hydro systems are typically less expensive to build and maintain than large hydroelectric dams and have a smaller environmental footprint. 
  • They can be located even in inaccessible areas where it is difficult to transmit electricity from larger power stations, and they can provide a reliable source of energy to communities that are not connected to the grid
  • Micro hydro systems can be tailored to minimise the ecosystem’s negative impact and provide sustainable energy solutions.
    • However, it’s important to note that even micro-hydropower projects can have some impact on the environment and local communities. 

Conclusion and Suggestion 

  • The good news is that global warming can lead to more hydropower generation in India, but the bad news is the potential impact on dam health.
  • The government must consider changes occurring due to climate change while planning new hydropower projects.
  • Reservoir operations should be strengthened through reliable weather and inflow forecasts to maintain storage that can accommodate high inflow due to extreme rainfall.
  • India may have to change reservoir rule curves on how much storage should be permitted at different times during the monsoon season to prevent flood-like situations from the sudden release of water from reservoirs.
  • A detailed assessment should be carried out to evaluate the potential impact before proceeding with the project.
Do you Know?India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity (including Large Hydro), 4th in Wind Power capacity & 4th in Solar Power capacity (as per REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report).India ranked among the top five in the Global Climate Change Performance Index and has reached the 2030 target of ensuring 40% installed capacity in non-fossil sources by 2021. The current capacity of non-fossil sources is 42%


Save Wetlands Campaign

In News

  • The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the ‘Save Wetlands Campaign’ in Goa.


  • The Save Wetlands Campaign aims to enable  affirmative actions for wetlands conservation by taking a “whole of society” approach. 
  • Activities involved:  
    • sensitizing people of the value of wetlands
    • increasing the coverage of wetland mitras 
    • building citizen partnerships for wetlands conservation.
  • World Wetlands Day:
    • It is observed on 2nd February every year to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1971. India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and has so far declared 75 wetlands as Ramsar sites
    • The 2023 theme for World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetland Restoration’  which highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration

What are Wetlands? 

  • Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by water. 
  • According to Ramsar Convention wetlands are defined as:“areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.
  • Importance
    • Sequester Carbon: Wetlands are part of global cycles for water, nitrogen and sulphur. Wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
    • Fighting Against Climate Change: Wetlands also help reduce the risk of disasters such as floods, by acting as buffers.
    • Paradise for Migratory Birds: Millions of migratory birds flock to wetlands
    • Cultural and Tourism Importance:Wetlands also have a deep connection with Indian culture and traditions.
  • Global Initiatives
    • Ramsar Convention: The convention aims at conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation. It came into force in 1975.
    • Montreux Record: It is a register of Ramsar wetland sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
    • World Wetlands Day: It is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February across the globe.
  • Indian Initiatives
    • Statutory Protection: In India, the wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. The 2010 Rules provided for a Central Wetland Regulatory Authority, but new Rules of 2017 replaced it with state-level bodies and created a National Wetland Committee, which functions in an advisory role.
    • Action Plan of MoEFCC: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) supports the implementation of management action plans for over 250 wetlands under schemes such as National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems, Mangroves and Coral Reefs, and Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats.
  • Ramsar sites in india
    • India has added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make a total of 75 Ramsar sites covering an area of 13,26,677 ha in the country in the 75th year of Independence.  
    • Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of Ramsar sites (14 nos), followed by UP which has 10 nos. of Ramsar sites.
Some of the newly added sites are given belowTampara Lake:Tampara Lake is among the most prominent freshwater lakes in the State  of Odisha It is situated on the right bank of the Rushikulya River,Its connection with the Rushikulya river helps in flood control during the monsoon season. Hirakud Reservoir:Hirakud Reservoir, the largest earthen dam in Odisha started operating in 1957. The reservoir to support a range of floral and faunal species, The wetland also provides important hydrological services by moderating floods in the Mahanadi delta,Ansupa Lake :Ansupa Lake is the largest freshwater lake of Odisha The wetland is an oxbow lake formed by River Mahanadi Yashwant Sagar:Yashwant Sagar is one of the two Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the Indore and Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.  Yashwant Sagar is a stronghold of the vulnerable Sarus Crane in central India. Due to its vast shallow reed beds, the wetland is considered heaven to a large number of winter migratory birds.Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary:Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary is located in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu. The wetland is a protected area since 1989 and declared as Bird Sanctuary,Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex:It is declared an Important Bird Area and lies at the southern tip of the Central Asian flyway of migratory birds.  It was formed for birds’ nesting purposes and it attracts thousands of birds every year Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary:Vaduvur bird sanctuary, is a large human-made irrigation tank and shelter for migratory birds. Indian Pond Heron is common in the sanctuaryThane Creek:an inlet in a shoreline is called a creek.Thane Creek is located in Mumbai,Maharashtra, India. It has several sources of fresh water, of which Ulhas River is the largest.Thane creek is fringed by mangroves on both banks & comprises around 20% of the total Indian mangrove species.It is also famous for flamingosHygam Wetland Conservation Reserve:Hygam Wetland falls within the River Jhelum basin and plays a significant role as a flood absorption basin. The wetland is located in the Baramulla district. It serves as an abode to many resident  and migratory bird species. 


Reduced funds for MGNREGA in Budget 2023-24

In News

  • Recently, the funds for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme have been reduced in the Budget 2023-24


  • The Indian government has reduced the budget for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme to 60,000 crore rupees in 2023-24.
  • The new allocation is 33% lower than the revised estimate of ?89,000 crore for 2022-23 and 18% lower than the budget estimate of ?73,000 crore for the same year.
  • The government has shifted focus from transfers to investment, even in rural programs
  • According to the Ministry of Rural Development, MGNREGA is a demand-driven scheme and the generation of person days depends on the demand for work
  • The budget for MGNREGA was higher in 2020-21 to 2022-23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and job and real income losses
  • The government during the pandemic had deployed two major social safety nets, the public distribution system and MGNREGA, to help vulnerable sections during the pandemic
  • MGNREGA has generated a record 389 crore person-days of employment in 2020-21 and 363 crore in 2021-22
  • As per the government, the lower budget for MGNREGA is based on the assumption that the economy has fully recovered from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
  • However, the consortium of activists and academics have demanded an allocation of ?2.72 lakh crore for the scheme to provide the legally guaranteed 100 days of work to all households who have worked in the current year, with even 40 days of work requiring funding of ?1.24 lakh crore.

Major criticism

  • Activists from Peoples’ Action for Status Guarantee and the NREGA Sangarsh Morcha have criticized the allocation as it doesn’t not meet the minimum threshold to provide eligible households with 40 days of work instead of the legally guaranteed 100 days.
  • The allocation has been criticised for being brutal on the poor besides deliberate step towards killing the law by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan.
  • Less than 3% of the households employed under MGNREGA completed the 100 days of work they are legally entitled to, with the average days of employment provided per household being only 42 which is at a five-year low.

What is MGNREGA?

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005, is a flagship rural job scheme of the Indian government aimed at providing employment opportunities to the rural poor.
  • It is one of the largest public workfare programs in the world and has been instrumental in addressing the issue of rural poverty and unemployment in India.

Important provisions

  • Employment guarantee – MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of employment to every rural household in a financial year.
  • Decentralized planning – The program is implemented through Gram Panchayats, which are local self-governance institutions, ensuring decentralized planning and implementation.
  • Legal right: The Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households.
  • Women empowerment: At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women. 
  • Statutory limit: Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Time-Bound Guarantee of Work: Employment must be provided within 15 days of being demanded to fail which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
  • Supporting Panchayats: Gram Sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50 per cent of the works must be executed by them.
  • Social security measures – The program provides for a number of social security measures such as unemployment allowances and pension schemes for the aged and widows.
  • Transparency and accountability – MGNREGA provides for transparency and accountability through the use of biometric tools and a transparent complaint redressal mechanism.


  • Fund allocation and utilization – It is one of the major challenges faced by MGNREGA as the inadequate allocation of funds has resulted in a delay in wage payments and implementation of the program.
  • Corruption – Corruption at various levels such as misappropriation of funds, fake job cards, and fake muster rolls have been reported and have hampered the effectiveness of the program.
  • Delays in wage payments – Delays in wage payments are one of the major reasons for the low participation of workers in the program.
  • Lack of awareness – Many rural people are unaware of their rights and the provisions of the program, leading to low participation.
  • Lack of transparency and accountability – There have been instances of mismanagement of funds and lack of accountability, which has affected the credibility of the program.

Importance of MGNREGA:

  • Reducing rural poverty: MGNREGA has been instrumental in reducing rural poverty by providing employment opportunities and a steady source of income to the rural poor.
  • Empowering women: The program provides equal wages for both men and women, thus empowering women and promoting gender equality in rural areas.
  • Decentralized planning and implementation: MGNREGA’s decentralized planning and implementation ensure that the program is implemented in a participatory and inclusive manner, addressing the needs of the rural poor.
  • Climate resilience: It provides for the creation of durable assets such as water conservation structures and afforestation, which help in building the resilience of rural areas to climate change.

What more can be done?

  • Strengthening the implementation mechanism: Improving the capacity and effectiveness of the administration and implementing agencies.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability: Establishing clear and effective systems of monitoring, evaluation and grievance redressal is crucial to ensuring that the scheme is implemented in a transparent and accountable manner.
  • Improving financial management: The scheme should be financially sustainable and should have effective systems for tracking expenditures, tracking work and disbursing payments.
  • Fostering community ownership: Encouraging active community participation in the design and implementation of the scheme to ensure that the benefits of the scheme reach those who need it most.
  • Building human resources and technical capacities: Building the capacity of field functionaries, such as Gram Rozgar Sevaks and technical staff to ensure the effective implementation of the scheme.
  • Ensuring convergence with other schemes: MGNREGA should be integrated with other rural development schemes and programs to maximize its impact and improve its effectiveness.

Way ahead

  • MGNREGA has been a game changer in addressing the issue of rural poverty and unemployment in India. However, it faces several challenges such as corruption, lack of transparency, and inadequate fund allocation, which need to be addressed for the program to be more effective. 
  • Despite its challenges, MGNREGA continues to be an important safety net for the rural poor in India and has helped in empowering the rural poor and promoting inclusiv

Rise in Drug Abuse

In News

  • Recent surveys by the state Ministry for Excise highlights the rise in the drug overtake cases in Kerala.


  • In 2022, there was a substantial increase in the number of drug-related offences in Kerala highlighting that drugs have become a major issue for the state.
  • Kerala has seen a 300% increase in drug cases over the past six years, with arrests up 90%.
  • The number of cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2022 was 26,629, a significant increase from 5,924 cases in 2016 and 9,245 cases in 2019.
  • Nearly 97% of the respondents admitted to using some form of drug with Cannabis (ganja) being the most consumed drug (82%), followed by tobacco (75.6%).
  • Recreational drugs like MDMA and methamphetamine have found a market in Kerala, with seizures of the latter spiking in 2022.
  • The report has also highlighted that cannabis is finding its way into the state from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Bihar.

Need to curb drug abuse

  • About: India’s location between the world’s two main illicit opium-producing regions, the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle, has left its borders open to drug trafficking. It emanates from two fronts, the NW and NE, which pose a danger to national security and border violations, respectively.
  • Substance abuse and addiction: Harmful use of drugs or alcohol leads to physical or psychological dependence which impairs the individual’s ability to perform daily activities and makes it difficult for them to quit on their own.
  • Overdose and health consequences: Substance abuse can result in serious health problems, including overdoses that can be fatal.
  • Psychological and social impacts on the individual and their family: Substance abuse can cause emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems for the individual and their family.
  • Increased crime and criminal activity: Drugs are often linked to criminal behavior, such as theft, violence, and drug trafficking which pose a threat to public safety and increase the burden on law enforcement.
  • Strain on healthcare systems and resources: Substance abuse can put a strain on healthcare systems and resources, as it often requires extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Lost productivity and economic costs: Substance abuse can lead to decreased productivity at work, absenteeism, and even job loss. It also has broader economic costs, such as increased healthcare costs and decreased economic growth.
  • Social stigma and discrimination: Substance abuse is often stigmatized, and individuals struggling with addiction may face discrimination and social isolation.
  • Difficulty in access to treatment and recovery resources: Many individuals struggling with substance abuse face barriers to accessing effective treatment and recovery resources, such as lack of affordable options, long waitlists.
  • Difficulty in effectively addressing and preventing drug abuse through education and public policy: Addressing and preventing substance abuse faces challenges in implementing effective education and public policy initiatives, such as limited funding, lack of political will, and conflicting views on the best approach.

Major challenges in controlling the drug menace

  • High demand: The demand for drugs in India is high and is driven by a growing population of young people and an increase in disposable income.
  • Lack of effective law enforcement: Despite efforts by the government to curb drug trafficking, the porous borders and widespread corruption in India make it difficult to effectively enforce anti-drug laws.
  • Inadequate rehabilitation facilities: There is a shortage of rehabilitation facilities and resources for those struggling with drug addiction, making it difficult for them to access the help they need.
  • Stigma and discrimination: Substance abuse and addiction are often associated with social stigma and discrimination, which can prevent people from seeking help and make it difficult for them to receive the care they need.
  • Difficulty in prevention and education: Drug abuse prevention and education campaigns are often underfunded and not effectively implemented, making it difficult to reach those who are most at risk.
  • Lack of comprehensive approach: The lack of a comprehensive approach to addressing the drug problem in India, including both treatment and prevention, makes it difficult to effectively address the issue.
Government steps to curb Drug abuse in IndiaNational Drug Demand Reduction Policy: It aims to prevent and reduce drug abuse through multiple strategies including demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction.Rehabilitation: The government has set up multiple rehabilitation centers and de-addiction clinics to provide treatment and support to individuals struggling with drug addiction.Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act(1985): It is the main legal framework in India to curb drug abuse and trafficking, and imposes stringent penalties on those involved in drug-related crimes.Information dissemination: The government has implemented various public awareness and educational campaigns to spread knowledge about the dangers of drug abuse and to prevent drug use, particularly among young people.Co-ordination: The government also works with other countries in the region to curb cross-border drug trafficking and to dismantle illegal drug production and distribution networks.Support: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment runs a scheme to provide financial and technical assistance to NGOs and other organizations working on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation.Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN): It is the main enforcement agency responsible for implementing the NDPS Act and for conducting raids and arrests in connection with drug-related crimes.

What can be done to curb the issue of drugs?

  • Improving access to treatment and rehabilitation: Providing access to quality addiction treatment and rehabilitation resources can help individuals overcome their drug dependence.
  • Strengthening law enforcement: Strengthening law enforcement efforts to curb drug trafficking and distribution can reduce the availability of drugs in the country.
  • Educating the public: Educating the public about the dangers of drug abuse through campaigns, public speaking, and school programs can raise awareness and discourage drug use.
  • Addressing root causes: Addressing the root causes of drug abuse, such as poverty, lack of education, and mental health issues, can help prevent people from turning to drugs in the first place.
  • Involving community leaders: Involving community leaders and organizations in the fight against drug abuse can help mobilize local resources and increase public support for drug-control efforts.
  • Encouraging alternative activities: Encouraging individuals to participate in alternative activities, such as sports, music, and community service, can provide positive outlets and reduce the risk of drug abuse.
  • Implementing effective public policy: Developing and implementing effective public policy that addresses the issue of drug abuse can help prevent drug use and support those who are struggling with addiction.
  • Researching new treatments and prevention methods: Investing in research and development to find new treatments and prevention methods can help reduce the harm caused by drug abuse.

 Source: TH

Sant Ravidas

In News

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Sant Ravidas on his Jayanti.

  • The day commemorates the birth of the famous Bhakti Movement saint.
    •  This year marks the 646th anniversary

About Sant Ravidas

  • He was a mystic poet-saint of the Bhakti Movement from the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • He was a great poet, social reformer, and spiritual figure. 
  • He is also known as Raidas, Rohidas, and Ruhidas
  • Contributions
    • His devotional songs and verses left an indelible mark on the Bhakti Movement.
    • He was a disciple of Sant Kabir and the founder of the Ravidassia religion. Mirabai was his pupil. 
    • The Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, contains forty-one of his devotional songs and poems.
    • The philosophy and values of Guru Ravidasji like social justice, equality, and fraternity have been imbued in our constitutional values.
      • The Chief Architect of our Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar embodied the Constitutional principles around the values expressed by Guru Ravidasji.
Who are the Ravidassias?The Ravidassias are a Dalit community of whom the bulk — nearly 12 lakh — live in Punjab’s Doaba region comprising Jalandhar, Hoshirpur, Kapurthala, and NawanShahr. The Dera Sachkhand Ballan, their largest dera with 20 lakh followers worldwide, was founded in the early 20th century by Baba Sant Pipal Das. Once closely connected with Sikhism, the dera severed these decades-old ties in 2010 and announced they would follow the Ravidassia religion.

Bharat Gaurav Train

In News

  • Indian Railways to introduce Bharat Gaurav Deluxe AC Tourist Train under ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ Scheme for special tour Garvi Gujarat.
    • Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train launch is in line with the Government of India initiative “Dekho Apna Desh” to promote domestic tourism. 

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Scheme

  • It was launched by the PM on Rashtriya Ekta Diwas held on 31st October, 2015, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 
  • It aims to enhance interaction & promote mutual understanding between people of different states/UTs through the concept of state/UT pairing. 
  • Implementation: Every State and UT in the country would be paired with another State/UT for a time period, during which they would carry out a structured engagement with one another in the spheres of language, literature, cuisine, festivals, cultural events, tourism etc. 
  • The Ministry of Education has been designated as the Nodal Ministry for coordination of the programmes.

Dekho Apna Desh Initiative

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in 2020.
  • Objective: To create awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country and encourage citizens to travel within the country. 
  • Target group: This scheme primarily targets the middle-class citizens of the country, encouraging them to travel within India rather than abroad.
  • Goal of the Scheme: The scheme’s goal is to increase domestic travel and so strengthen the Indian economy. It is anticipated to expand employment prospects in the tourism industry and provide the economy of the nation a much-needed boost.
    • To create mass awareness, the Ministry has also launched an online Dekho Apna Desh pledge and Quiz on the platform. 

Green Deal Industrial Plan

  • In News
  • European Commission recently presented a Green Deal Industrial Plan to enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s industry


  • The  Green Deal Industrial Plan involves building a simpler regulatory framework, providing faster access to funds, enhancing skills and improving the EU’s trade network.
  • The proposal aims to bring changes in the following areas:
  • Regulatory Framework
    • The plan seeks to formulate a “Net-Zero Industry Act”, which will not only simplify rules but also speed up the issuance of permits for green projects
    • It also includes a “Critical Raw Materials Act”, which will provide access to materials like rare earths that are crucial for developing net-zero technology.
  • Access to funds
    • Loosening of state aid rules to help EU’s 27 governments with investment  in clean energy projects.
    • The plan enables countries with minor economies to take money from existing EU funds.
    • Aims to set up a “European Sovereignty Fund” in the future to give a structural answer to the investment needs.
  • Enhancing skills
    • The plan aims to establish “Net-Zero Industry Academies” that will provide up-skilling and re-skilling programmes in strategic industries. 
  •  Trade network
    • seeks to further develop the EU’s network of Free Trade Agreements to support the green transition.
  • Implications
    • Will increase europe’s competitiveness in green industries
    • When seen together with USA’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which will direct $390 billion towards clean energy projects the plan might trigger a global subsidy war.

Spy Balloon


  • high-altitudeballoon originating in China entered the United States airspace, causing diplomatic tensions.
    • The balloon was successfully shot down by the U.S. Air Force.


  • The USA alleged the balloon to be a surveillance device and accused China of  international airspace violation.
  • But the Chinese government claimed it was a civilian meteorological research airship blown off course by winds.

Spy Balloon

  • Spy Balloons  were already being used for military purposes. During the French Revolutionary Wars in the late 18th century, balloons were used to provide a bird’s eye view of the battlefield, with there being documented evidence of their use in the Battle of Fleurus in 1794.
  • Before aircraft technology really took off during the Great War, balloons were the primary mode of big-picture reconnaissance, providing perspective on enemy positions and movements simply impossible to obtain from the ground.
  • Unlike satellites that watch from higher altitudes, spy balloons can watch from lower altitudes.
  • After World war II, the US military started exploring the use of high-altitude spy balloons, which led to a large-scale series of missions called Project Genet. 

Tensions between the US and China

  • Nancy Pelosi Taiwan visit
  • Trade War
  • Semiconductor Industry
  • Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Technology Race
  • Emerging Superpower


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