APMC mandis to be connected with e-NAM

In News

  • The Government has recently approved the integration of 101 agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) mandis into the electronic platform e-NAM.


  • The total number of mandis connected to the e-NAM platform is expected to reach 1,361 by March 31.
  • Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture(MoA) also launched the Platform of Platforms(PoP) within the e-NAM portal in Bengaluru.
  • Previously, the government has also launched initiatives such as the Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund, the Kisan Rath Mobile App, and the Platform of Platforms (PoP) within the e-NAM portal to promote e-NAM and increase the participation of farmers and traders.
  • These schemes aim to improve price discovery, increase transparency, and provide farmers with access to a wider market for their produce.

What is e-NAM?

  • e-NAM (Electronic National Agriculture Market) is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India.
  • It was launched by the Government of India in 2016 with the objective to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • It integrates existing physical markets, such as Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs  ) and other market yards, with an electronic platform.
  • It enables farmers, traders, and buyers to buy and sell agricultural commodities through an online portal, providing them with access to multiple markets and buyers across the country.
  • The platform also offers real-time price discovery, quality testing, and transportation services, thereby promoting transparency, efficiency, and competition in agricultural markets.

What are APMC Mandis?

  • APMC or Agricultural Produce Market Committee(APMC) are physical marketplaces or yards where farmers sell their agricultural produce to traders and agents.
  • These mandis are regulated by state APMC Acts, which require farmers to sell their produce through licensed traders and agents.
  • These mandis were established to protect farmers from exploitation and ensure fair prices for their produce.
  • Mandis are marketplaces or yards where farmers sell their agricultural produce to licensed traders and commission agents.
  • There are over 7,000 APMC mandis across India, each serving a specific geographic region or cluster of villages.

Significance of integrating APMCs in e-NAM

  • They help in regulating the market by ensuring quality standards, timely payments, and transparency in transactions.
  • Better monitoring and regulation of traders and commission agents.
  • It will help in Real-time price discovery and stable price realization for producers.
  • It will help in increasing agricultural trade and market reach.

Government schemes to promote APMC mandis:

  • electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform: It enables farmers to sell their produce online and access a wider market.
  • Model APMC Act, 2017: The act aims to liberalize the agricultural market and encourage private investment.
  • Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs): It was set up by government has proposed to help farmers gain access to markets and improve bargaining power.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF): It aims to provide financial support for

Linking Voter ID to Aadhaar

In News

  • Over 60% of India’s 94.5 crore voters in India have linked their Aadhaar number to their voter IDs, the Election Commission (EC) disclosed in a Right to Information.
    • Recently, the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 was passed to deduplicate electoral rolls by allowing election authorities to collect the 12-digit Aadhaar from voters.

Key Findings:

  • Gujarat, Delhi have the lowest Aadhaar linking for voters while Tripura topped the list with over 92% of voters having linked their Aadhaar.
  • The total number of voters with Aadhaar linked is 56,90,83,090.
  • Lakshadweep and Madhya Pradesh occupy the second and third spots, with over 91% and 86% of voters respectively.
  • Gujarat has the lowest Aadhaar registration by voters, with only 31.5% of voters having linked their Aadhaar to their voter ID.
  • Less than 34% of voters in the national capital, Delhi, have linked their Aadhaar.
  • Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka both fell short of 71%, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala were at around 63% and 61% respectively.

Need to Link Voter ID with Aadhaar

  • Inflated Voter Count: Duplicate voter entries can result in inflated voter counts, leading to inaccurate election results and defeating the very purpose of democratic elections.
  • Voter Fraud: Voting entries can be exploited by fraudsters to cast multiple votes or impersonate legitimate voters, leading to election fraud and compromising the integrity of the electoral process.
  • Resource Drain: Duplicate entries require additional resources to maintain, update, and deduplicate electoral rolls. 
  • Disenfranchisement: Duplicate entries can also result in legitimate voters being disenfranchised, as their names may be wrongly deleted or marked as duplicate entries, leading to a denial of their right to vote.
  • Lack of Trust: Duplicate voter entries can erode public trust in the electoral process and lead to doubts about the fairness and transparency of the election.
  • Legal Challenges: Inaccurate electoral rolls can also lead to legal challenges and disputes, leading to delays in the announcement of election results and uncertainty about the outcome of the election.

Issues Related to Linking Aadhaar with Voter ID

  • Attack on Right to Privacy:  As the  Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 proposed by the government chalks out exemptions for the government from the purview of the same, it is now enabled to misuse the critical information that it gets from the Aadhar – Voter ID linkage. Such a linkage will give the demographic information which has been linked to Aadhaar, being linked to the voter database to the government.
  • Aadhar not Proof of Citizenship: The right to vote is one of the “most sacred rights” and cannot be denied if a person lacks an Aadhaar card. The preference for Aadhaar for the purposes of determining voters is puzzling as Aadhaar is only proof of residence and not proof of citizenship.

What more can be done?

  • Aadhaar Linking: Aadhaar is a unique identification number issued by the Indian government that can help eliminate duplicate entries and ensure that each voter has a unique identity.
  • Data Analytics: The use of data analytics can help election authorities identify duplicate entries by comparing voter lists with other databases such as PAN, driving license, and passport can help identify and eliminate duplicate entries more efficiently.
  • Voter Education: It can play a significant role in eliminating duplicate entries by creating awareness among voters about the importance of maintaining accurate voter lists and the consequences of having duplicate entries.
  • Regular Updation: Regular updation of voter lists is critical to ensure that the lists remain accurate and up-to-date. 
  • Technological Solutions: The use of technology such as biometric verification, facial recognition, and machine learning can help automate the process of identifying and eliminating duplicate entries, making the process more efficient and accurate.
  • Legal Action: The election authorities can take legal action against individuals found to have created or facilitated duplicate entries, which can act as a deterrent to such activities.

Source: TH

Section 153A: its use and misuse

In News

  • Recently, a leader of a political party was arrested under section 153 A of IPC for alleged hate speech.

About Section 153A of the IPC

  • About:
    • Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) penalises “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”. 
    • This is punishable with imprisonment up to three years, with a fine, or both.
  • Origin:
    • Pre-independence:
      • In the pre-Independence Rangila Rasool case, the Punjab High Court had acquitted the Hindu publisher of a tract that had made disparaging remarks about the private life of the Prophet, and had been charged under Section 153A.
    • Post-independence:
      • The provision was enacted in 1898 and was not in the original penal code. 
      • At the time of the amendment, promoting class hatred was a part of the English law of sedition, but was not included in the Indian law.
  • Issue of low conviction:
    • Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that the rate of conviction for Section 153A is very low.
    • In 2020, 1,804 cases were registered, six times higher than the 323 cases in 2014. 
    • However, the conviction rate in 2020 was 20.2%, suggesting that the process often becomes the punishment.
  • Safeguards against misuse
    • Given that the provisions are worded broadly, there are safeguards against its misuse. 
    • Prior sanction:
      • For example, Sections 153A and 153B require prior sanction from the government for initiating prosecution. 
      • But this is required before the trial begins, and not at the stage of preliminary investigation.
    • Supreme Court’s guidelines:
      • No automatic arrest for sentence of fewer than seven years:
        • To curb indiscriminate arrests, the Supreme Court laid down a set of guidelines in its 2014 ruling in Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar. 
        • As per the guidelines, for offences that carry a sentence of fewer than seven years, the police cannot automatically arrest an accused before investigation.
      • Proving intent: 
        • In a 2021 ruling, the SC said that the state will have to prove intent for securing a conviction under Section 153A.

India-South East Asia Defence Co-Operation

In News

  • Recently,  Indian Navy’s Kilo class conventional submarine, INS Sindhukesari docked in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the first time.


  • The main aim  of India’s Look East Policy that was launched in 1992 was to reintegrate India economically and culturally with our civilisational neighbours of South East Asia
  • Growing trade ties have resulted  in expansion of relationship into areas of defence and security.
  •  the engagement which was primarily political and economic in early stages had acquired strategic dimension by the time of Act East Policy,2014

Types Of Co-Operation

  • Defence cooperation with ASEAN members can be categorised into training exchanges and joint exercises,Institutional Measures and provision of defence equipment.

Training Exchanges And Joint Exercises

  • India holds joint naval exercises with ASEAN states such as Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia etc.

Bi-Lateral Exercises

  • With Indonesia India conducts  IND-INDO CORPAT and IND-INDO BILAT
  • With Malaysia India conducts  Exercise Table Top.
  • With Myanmar India conducts  IMCOR
  • With Singapore India conducts  SIMBEX

Multi-Lateral Exercises

India participates in following multilateral exercises .

  • Multilateral Exercise by Brunei            ADMM+ Exercise
  • Multilateral Exercise by Indonesia       KOMODO
  • Multilateral Exercise by India               MILAN

Institutional Measures

  • India is  an active participant in several regional strategic forums like  ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting + (ADMM+) and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
  • ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting + (ADMM+) :The ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
  • Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF): it is avenue for track 1.5 diplomacy focusing on cross cutting maritime issues of common concern between ASEAN and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States of America,

Defence Exports

  • Atleast 50 percent of India’s defense exports between 2017 and 2021 went to South East Asian countries.
  • Recent instances like India and the Philippines $375 million deal for the sale of Brahmos missiles,sale of  a remote-controlled air defense station worth US$600,000 to Myanmar project a india as reliable security provider for south east asian nations .

Need For ASEAN Co-Operation :

  • Maritime Connectivity & Security:
    • India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and ASEAN Countries have borders with india and Indo-Pacific waters. This opens up plenty of opportunities for India and other countries to work on maritime security, trade, and better supply chain networks.
  • Checks Chinese Dominance: 
    • Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security will place india in a better position in the backdrop of China’s advancements in the South China Sea. 
  • Act East Policy & Indo-Pacific:
    • Indo-Pacific is an interconnected geography where ASEAN is at its core. 
    • Both ASEAN and India believe that openness, inclusiveness, rules-based order, freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes lie at the very core of the Indo-Pacific
  • Market for India’s Defence Exports:
    • India’s defense exports have seen 334 percent rise in the past five years and south east asian nations form a major market for our exports

Challenges :

  • Internal contradictions:
    • The ASEAN countries have their own contradictions internally and india needs to be dynamic while dealing with ASEAN countries.
      • India’s relations with Philippines started slow because of India’s relations with Vietnam – perceived as aggressor by the Philippines during the Cold War years
  •  Chinese Influence: 
    • Inspite of india’s efforts ,south east asian nations are still heavily dependent on china. 

Way Ahead

  • India till now pursued bilateral and multilateral cooperation with asean countries .Indian should explore avenues for forging trilateral cooperation on defence and strategic issues .


In News

  • Recently, four police personnel in Chennai were suspended for aiding orangutan smugglers.

About Orangutans

  • About:
    • Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are now found only in parts of Borneo and Sumatra.
  • Habitat:
    • The name orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language
    • The most arboreal of the great apes, orangutans spend most of their time in trees. 
  • Characteristics:
    • They have proportionally long arms and short legs, and have reddish-brown hair covering their bodies. 
    • Bornean and Sumatran orangutans differ a little in appearance and behavior.
      • While both have shaggy reddish fur, Sumatran orangutans have longer facial hair.
  • Threats:
    • Human activities have caused severe declines in populations and ranges. 
    • Threats to wild orangutan populations include poaching (for bushmeat and retaliation for consuming crops), habitat destruction and deforestation (for palm oil cultivation and logging), and the illegal pet trade.
  • Declining population & IUCN Status:
    • A century ago there were probably more than 230,000 orangutans in total, but
      • The Bornean orangutan is now estimated at about 104,700 based on updated geographic range categorized as Endangered and 
      • The Sumatran about 7,500 which are categorized as Critically Endangered.
      • Tapanuli orangutan: A third species of orangutan was announced in November, 2017. With no more than 800 individuals in existence, the Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered of all great apes.

Source: TH

National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS)

In News

  • Recently  Government made it mandatory that the attendance for MGNREGS workers will be captured through a mobile application, National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS)


  • The National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) App was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in 2021.
  •  It aimed at bringing more transparency and ensuring proper monitoring of the schemes.
  • Significance:
    • The NMMS App permits taking real time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with geo-tagged photographs. 
    • The app helps in increasing citizen oversight of the programme.
  • Issues:
    • Poor internet connectivity, little access to smartphones and glitches in the app have created a problem functioning of programme. According to  Ministry of Rural Development’s own statistics
      • Only 25.9% registered devices have been used to record the attendance .
      • 41.3% of the gram panchayats report no NMMS device usage.
    •  The workers are forced to buy a smartphone with their own wages with no extra support given by government.
MGNREGAIt is a poverty alleviation programme of the Government of India, which provides the legal Right to Work in exchange for money to the citizens of the country.On average, every day approx. 1.5 crore people work under it at almost 14 lakh sites.It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.Funding: It is shared between the Centre and the States.The Central Government bears 100 per cent of the cost of unskilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of materials and 6 percent of the administrative costs.

Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2023

In news

  • India was among 190 countries that participated in GBBC 2023 from February 17-20.


  • It is an annual event that brings bird enthusiasts, students and nature enthusiasts together for counting birds they see around the places where they live, work or study. 

Major Findings

  • West Bengal reported the highest number of species (489 species)  followed by Uttarakhand (426), Arunachal Pradesh (407), Assam (397) and Karnataka (371) during the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2023. Tamil Nadu and Kerala took the eighth and ninth spots with 349 and 325 species. 
  • India’s birds are thriving in diverse habitats from the city to the countryside. A remarkable increase in participation across the country helped India upload the second-highest number of checklists after the United States of America and the third-highest species of any country.

About GBBC

  • The GBBC was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, and was the first online citizen-science project (also referred to as community science) to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time. Bird Count India organises the GBBC in the country.
  • In 2013, it became a global project after entering data into eBird, the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science (community science) project.
Bird Count IndiaBird Count India is an informal partnership of organisations and groups working together to increase collective knowledge about bird distributions and populations.It supports listing and monitoring of birds in India: from individuals maintaining their bird lists, to groups of students or birders monitoring local birds, to large India-wide projects to document the abundance and distribution of species. 


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