Birth Anniversary of Lord Mahavir

In Context

  • The Prime Minister recalls the noble teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir on Mahavir Jayanti.
    • The occasion is considered to be the most important one for Jains and marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.

About Mahavira 

  • Birth: In Ikshvaku dynasty of Kshatriyakund (Vaishali republic) in Bihar.
  • Kshatriya prince of Lichchhavis (Vajji Sangha).
  • At 42, he attained Kevaljnan by right knowledge, faith & conduct (3 Jewels of Jainism).
  • Became Jina (conqueror) and 24th Tirthankara.
  • Death: Mahaparinirvana at Pavapuri (Patna).

Teachings and Contributions

  • Questioned Vedas’ authority & emphasised on individual agency.
  • Added 1 more vow to already existing 4 vows (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Aparigraha & Brahmacharya).
  • His 11 ganadhars (chief disciples) compiled Agamas (12 scriptures based on his teachings).
  • Used easy-to-understand Prakrit language.


  • Term originates from Jina (conqueror).
  • Supported mainly by Vaishyas (traders) in opposition to Brahmin-Kshatriya.
  • Asceticism & penance required for freedom from cycle of birth & rebirth, shaped through karma(Ghati & Aghatiresponsible for distortions of soul.
  • tattvas of Jain Philosophy: Jiva, Ajiva, Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara & Moksha.
  • Spread: North India, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka.
  • Literature: Written in Prakrit, Sanskrit & Tamil & classified in Agam & Non-Agam.
  • Jain Sangh Composition: Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks & Shravikas.
  • Philosophy
    • Anekantavada: metaphysical/reality theory & non-absolutism/many-sidedness.
    • Syadvada: epistemological/knowledge theory & conditional judgments
  • Jain Councils
    • 1st: Patliputra in 300 BC for compilation of Angas.
    • 2nd: Vallabhi in 512 AD for final compilation of 12 Angas & Upangas.
  • Sects
    • Digambar (sky clad): Led by Bhadrabahu, moved to South, more austere.
      • Major Sub-sects: Bisapantha, Terapantha & Taranapantha.
      • Minor Sub-sects: Gumanapantha & Totapantha.
    • Shwetamber (white clad): Led by Sthulabhadra & stayed in North.
      • Sub-sects: Murtipujaka, Sthanakvasi & Terapanthi.

Finland joins NATO

In News

  • Finland recently joined the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Finland-Russia ties & Background of the move

  • Borders:
    • Finland and Russia share a 1,300-km border and doubling it from the present 1,200 km, parts of NATO in northern Norway, Latvia and Estonia, and Poland and Lithuania.
  • Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance:
    • Post-World War-II, Finland sought to achieve neutrality through a defence alliance with the Soviet Union called the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance 
    • Finland also stayed out of the Marshall Plan as the treaty protected it from being attacked or incorporated into the USSR like the Baltic and eastern European states.
      • It allowed the country to pursue the path of democracy and capitalism while staying out of the conflict between the great powers.
      • Marshall Plan : It was the US aid programme for Europe’s post-World War II recovery. 
      • After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Finnish neutrality was manifest in its decision to stay out of NATO, even as it entered the European Union in 1995. 
    • This approach of Finland is also famously known as the Finland model, or “Finlandisation”.
  • Ready for Russian invasion:
    • But despite years of peace, Finland has kept itself prepared for an invasion. 
    • The country has compulsory military service and imparts regular disaster training.
    • Its defence spending is 2 per cent of GDP, the target figure demanded by NATO which even member countries like Germany have not reached.

Reason of joining NATO

  • Russia going to war against Ukraine has made its smaller neighbours crave the powerful military backing the NATO offers, under whose charter, every member has to defend any one member being attacked.
    • Finland and its neighbour Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
  • Any new applicant has to be approved by all existing members of the alliance, and while Finland is now the 31st NATO member.
    • Sweden’s bid is being held up by Turkey and Hungary.

Significance of Finland joining NATO

  • For Finland:
    • Security Assurance:
      • Being a member of NATO will give the nations a security guarantee under the alliance’s “Article 5” on collective defence.
      • The article essentially guarantees a military response and protection by NATO countries if any member of the organisation comes under attack.
    • Bolster the Nordic Region: 
      • It would formalize their joint security and defense work with neighbors Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.
    • Losing on Russian trade:
      • For Finland, while the country is in a better position in terms of security, it is losing out on the significant trade and tourist revenue it was making from Russia, and from its position as the West’s gateway to the East.
    • Threats from Russia:
      • Russia has said that Finland has committed “a dangerous historical mistake that would fray relations with Moscow and undo its status as a confidence-building presence in the Baltic Sea and Europe at large”.
    • Lost the say:
      • Some also criticised the move stating that, Finland has become one of the small members of (NATO) that doesn’t decide anything, losing its special voice in international affairs.
  • For NATO:
    • For NATO, the addition of Finland brings in
      • A military trained to repel an attack from Russia, and, 
      • By doubling its border with the country, brings it in a better position to station weapons, including missile launchpads, closer to Russia.
  • For Russia:
    • For Russia, Finland’s move has brought NATO closer to its doors, the very thing it most strenuously opposes, and the prevention of which it had cited as one of the reasons to invade Ukraine.

Way ahead

  • Russia has stated it would now strengthen its military capacity in its west and northwest.
  • Observers have also noted that Finland’s accession “raised the risk of the Ukraine conflict escalating further”.
  • Some may see an expanding NATO and the growing role of the US in European security as a repetition of history where war was an ever-present threat. 
    • Even during the Cold War the US and the Soviet Union met regularly to reduce the risk of war, especially nuclear.
NATONorth Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance made up of the United States, Canada, France, and eight other European countries.It was founded in 1949. It currently has 31 members, with 28 from Europe, two from North America, and one from Eurasia. The key purpose of NATO’s formation was to create a “collective defence” against any potential German or Soviet Union attack in the aftermath of World War II.Article 5If a NATO member attacks another member, it is considered ‘an attack on all NATO members, according to Article 5 of NATO.NATO’s support is restricted without membership. It does not, for example, commit to sending troops to non-member countries. It has, however, dispatched troops to neighbouring nations and expressed public support for Ukraine.Membership of NATO It is open to all European nations that fulfil certain criteria that include “a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions”.New members are admitted with the unanimous consent of all membersWho controls NATO?The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, is in charge of NATO’s Command Structure (NCS), which is made up of the Chiefs of Defence of all twenty-nine member countries. Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) are the two strategic commands that make up the NCS (ACT).

Cybersecurity & Imports from NSO Group

In News

  • The spyware maker Cognyte, often billed as an alternative to Pegasus, has been selling tech gear to the Signal Intelligence Directorate which comes under the Ministry of Defence.
    • The firm in question is Cognyte Software Ltd, which faces a class action lawsuit in the U.S. from investors.


  • Cognyte regularly targeted journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists around the world, without their knowledge, and collected intelligence on these people by manipulating them to reveal information and/or by compromising their devices and accounts.
  • Earlier, the Pegasus spyware was reportedly used on Indian activists, journalists, and politicians, among others. A year has passed since the disclosures about the Pegasus Project revealed the threat to India’s democracy.


  • Cybersecurity or information technology security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation.
  • Cyber security is concerned with making cyberspace safe from threats, namely cyber-threats. 
  • Cyber warfare: When a nation-state or international organization attacks and attempts to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks.

Need for Robust Cybersecurity

  • A nation’s cyberspace is part of the global cyberspace; it cannot be isolated to define its boundaries since cyberspace is borderless. Unlike the physical world that is limited by geographical boundaries in space—land, sea, river waters, and air—cyberspace can and is continuing to expand. Increased Internet penetration is leading to growth of cyberspace, since its size is proportional to the activities that are carried through it.
  • India is positioned to become a global leader in terms of data, technology, digitization and inclusion. The government has been at the forefront of driving technology-led initiatives through flagship programmes like Startup India, Digital India etc. to foster a favourable business environment for existing and new businesses to become global unicorns.
  • India has significant potential for growth in the coming years. And as the digital economy grows, it becomes more prone to  cyber threats and vulnerabilities. For instance, there is a growing risk of cyberattacks on key infrastructure as well as financial institutions.
  • India has the world’s highest number of Internet users downloading millions of apps every year. However, 80% of these apps are insecure from a security standpoint.

cyber sec

Government Initiatives

  • The Government of India (GoI) has taken several technical, institutional, and legislative steps to tackle issues related to cybersecurity, including the National Cyber Security Policy (2013) and enactment of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) was founded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as the national bureau for event response, including evaluation, prediction and alerts for cybersecurity breaches. 
  • The Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) (CSK), a constituent of the Digital India initiative of the GoI under MeitY, works to create a secure cyberspace by identifying botnets.
  • Cyber and Information Security (C&IS) division of MHA deals with issues relating to Cyber Crime, Cyber Security, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and National Information Security Policy & Guidelines (NISPG).
  • NATGRID is an integrated intelligence master database structure that links databases from several security agencies within the GoI. 
  • Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme is established by MHA to give the states/UTs financial support of USD 11.99 million for the establishment of cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories.
  • MHA established the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) to deal with all types of cybercrime in the country in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. It has an outlay of USD 49.9 million.
  • National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) are some other initiatives undertaken by the government concerning cybersecurity.
  • For example, Card-on-File Tokenization is one of the most recent technologies rolled out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to create a robust and safer digital payment infrastructure for consumers and increase business confidence in accepting digital payments.

Solutions and Initiatives to safeguard India’s Cybersecurity journey 

  • Governments, both at the state and central level as well as industry will need to play an active role in spreading awareness and training individuals. A large part of India’s population is digitally literate but unaware about basic security measures.
  • The role of policymakers will be equally crucial as they can help the industry in catalysing innovation and bringing new solutions to the market at a faster pace and with enhanced agility. 
  • To tackle cyber threats on an urgent basis, the government and industry players have to build capabilities that are being driven by advanced AI and ML solutions
  • AI/ ML helps in analysing data from millions of cyber incidents and using it to identify potential threats or a new variant of malware.
First-Ever Anti-Spyware DeclarationThe US and 10 other nations issued the first-ever significant anti-spyware declaration.Countries involved:  Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United StatesThe declaration seeks to realize the importance of stringent domestic and international controls on the proliferation and use of this technology.Need: Threat posed by the misuse of commercial spyware e.g., Israeli software Pegasus, Hermit spyware.

Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023

In News

  • The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Major Highlights of the Bill 

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act 2005.
  • The Bill seeks to decriminalise the offences under the Act for promoting ease of doing business and to fine-tune the operational procedures of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority.
    • It also has a provision to prevent the use of antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances which are harmful to human health in coastal aquaculture.
  • Objectives: It aimed at promoting newer forms of environment-friendly coastal aquaculture including cage culture, seaweed culture, marine ornamental fish culture, and pearl oyster culture which has the potential for creating additional employment opportunities. 


  • It is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments.

Potential in India 

  • India is the 3rd largest fish producing and 2nd largest aquaculture nation in the world after China. 
  • The Blue Revolution in India demonstrated the importance of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. 
  • The sector is considered as a sunrise sector and is poised to play a significant role in the Indian economy in near future. 
  • In the recent past, Indian fisheries have witnessed a paradigm shift from marine-dominated fisheries to inland fisheries, with the latter emerging as a major contributor to fish production from 36% in the mid-1980 to 70% in the recent past. 


  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): the Government of India approved the flagship scheme, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), in May 2020 under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat COVID-19 relief package with a vision to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector. 
  • New sub-scheme named Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana (PMMKSSY) announced in the Union Budget 2023-24 to further enhance the earnings and incomes of fishermen, fish vendors and micro & small enterprises engaged in the fisheries sector. 

Issues and Challenges

  • India is yet to catch up with its global counterparts in quality infrastructure, tech adoption, and financial inclusion. 
  • The farmers and other stakeholders sometimes were worried about poor exports and fall in prices in the international market.

Way Ahead 

  • Scientists and aquaculture farmers have suggested a comprehensive approach involving various stakeholders and government departments to address issues confronting the sector.
  • Scientists stress the need for comprehensive legislation and an inter-state mechanism for fisheries management across the country. 
  • A co-management system with the active participation of fishers is the solution.

India elected to UN Statistical Commission

In News

  • India has been elected to the highest statistical body of the United Nations for a four-year term beginning January 1, 2024.
    • India was a member of the Statistical Commission last in 2004 and the country is returning to the UN agency after a gap of two decades.

United Nations Statistical Commission 

  • About: 
    • The United Nations Statistical Commission was established in 1947 and is the highest body of the global statistical system.
    • It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. 
  • Function: 
    • The Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and it is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council.
    • It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities, responsible for setting of statistical standards and the development of concepts and methods, including their implementation at the national and international level.
  • Members: 
    • The Commission consists of 24 member countries of the United Nations elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the basis of an equitable geographical distribution according to the following pattern:
      • Five members from African States;
      • Four members from Asia-Pacific States;
      • Four members from Eastern European States;
      • Four members from Latin American and Caribbean States;
      • Seven members from Western European and other States.
    •  The term of office of members is four years.
  • Annual Meeting: 
    • In July 1999 the Economic and Social Council decided that the Commission should meet annually for four days each session, starting in the year 2000.
About Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation It came into existence as an Independent Ministry in 1999 after the merger of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Programme Implementation. The Ministry has two wings, one relating to Statistics and the other Programme Implementation. Statistics Wing: It is called the National Statistical Office(NSO) and consists of the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the Computer center and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). The Programme Implementation Wing: It has three Divisions,Twenty Point ProgrammeInfrastructure Monitoring and Project Monitoring andMember of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme. Besides these two wings, there is National Statistical Commission created through a Resolution of Government of India (MOSPI) and one autonomous Institute, viz., Indian Statistical Institute declared as an institute of National importance by an Act of Parliament.The ministry attaches considerable importance to coverage and quality aspects of statistics released in the country which are based on administrative sources, surveys and censuses conducted by the center and State Governments and non-official sources and studies.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

In News

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of The World Bank, has said it will not support investments in new coal projects.
    • The IFC is taking the next step toward alignment with Paris Agreement ambitions.


  • Earlier, in 2020, IFC had unveiled a policy requiring clients to reduce their exposure to coal projects by half by 2025, and to zero by 2030, but did not prevent new investments.
  • The IFC funds banks and other financial institutions that in turn lend to infrastructure and energy projects. The IFC has reportedly lent close to $5 billion to almost 88 financial institutions in India.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

  • Established in the 1950s, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) headquartered in the United States of America.
  • It is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.


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