World Malaria Day

In News

  • World Malaria Day is being observed on 25th April.

World Malaria Day

  • It is an international observance commemorated every year to recognize global efforts to control malaria.
  • Theme – “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”.
  • World Malaria Day was first held in 2008. It was developed from Africa Malaria Day.
  • WHO officially endorses disease-specific global awareness days for only four diseases namely, HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Hepatitis.


  • Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites (Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale) that are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • In the human body, parasites initially multiply in liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
  • There are 5 Plasmodium parasite species that cause malaria in humans and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
  • It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America and Asia.
  • It is preventable and curable.
  • Malaria symptoms include high fever, chills, headache and other flu-like symptoms.
  • Iinfants, children under 5 years, pregnant women, travelers and people with HIV or AIDS are at higher risk of severe infection.

India’s Malaria Burden

  • In 2021, India accounted for 79% of all malaria cases in Southeast Asia, according to the World Malaria Report 2022, released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • India also accounted for about 83% of all malaria deaths in the region.

Critical challenges on road to elimination

  • Disruptions due to COVID, potential effects of climate change, humanitarian crisis, health system shortfall, and limited donor funding are some of the challenges in combating malaria.
  • Absence of private sector in the fight, hidden malaria burden, lack of intersectoral action, exclusion of private health providers (local/traditional healers), and lax behaviour change communication.

Malaria Vaccines

  • RTS,S:
    • RTS,S (branded as Mosquirix) reduces the risk of malaria by nearly 40%.
    • It trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite
    • Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad, has been granted a licence to manufacture this vaccine.
  • R21:
    • R21, otherwise referred to as Matrix-M malaria vaccine, is the second vaccine ever developed for a disease (NOT APPROVED BY WHO YET)
    • Ghana and Nigeria have granted approval
    • manufactured by SII (Serum Institute of India), world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.


  • WHO’s Initiatives: 
    • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.
    • The WHO’s Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.
    • WHO has initiated the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India. 
  • India’s Initiatives:
    • National Framework for Malaria Elimination (2016-2030)- India’s vision to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030.
    • Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India)
      • Established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
      • It is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control
    • The Health Ministry has also initiated a joint action plan with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for malaria elimination in tribal areas.
    • Real time data monitoring through an integrated health information platform (HIP-Malaria Portal).

Indian Handmade Portal

In News

  • The Ministry of Textiles has developed an E-Commerce portal for the handicrafts and handloom sector.

About the Portal

  • It is an authentic Indian handloom & handicraft virtual store where artisans/weavers will be directly connected to the buyers through a common platform.
  • Diverse variety of authentic sellers can register over this portal, namely, artisans, weavers, producer companies, SHGs cooperative societies etc.
  • It offers a wide range of products, including clothing, home decor, jewellery, accessories, and more. 
  • There will be a safe and secure, multiple payment gateways for smooth transaction experience.
  • Free handholding of sellers from registration till order fulfillment to ensure “ease of doing business.”

Indian Handloom Industry

  • Handloom refers to the process of weaving cloth using a manually operated loom.
  • Handloom weaving is one of the largest economic activities after agriculture providing direct and indirect employment to 35.23 lakh weavers and allied workers. 
  • This sector contributes nearly 15% of the cloth production in the country and also contributes to the export earnings of the country. 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabric comes from India.
  • The sector employs 43.31 lakh weavers directly and indirectly throughout the country with 77% of them being women. 
  • Almost every state of India has a unique handloom product to offer such as Jacquard from Uttar Pradesh, Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh, Phulkar from Punjab, Brocade from Benares and Daccai from West Bengal.

Indian  Handicrafts Industry

  • Handicrafts are items made by skilled artisans using traditional techniques.
  • India produces woodware, artmetal wares, hand printed textiles, embroidered goods, zari goods, imitation jewellery, sculptures, pottery, glassware, attars, agarbattis, etc. 
  • The Handicraft industry in India is dominated by female artisans with over 56% of the total artisan. 
  • The country has 744 handicraft clusters employing nearly 212,000 artisans and offering over 35,000 products. Surat, Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai, and Mumbai are among the major clusters. 
  • India is one of the largest handicrafts exporting countries and a clear leader in the homemade carpet segment both in terms of volume and value. 

The major handicraft export destinations for India are USA, the UK, LAC, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, the UAE and Switzerland. 

National Panchayati Raj Day

In News

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh commemorated National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD).

Major Highlights of the Day

  • The Prime Minister inaugurated an integrated e-GramSwaraj and GeM portal for public procurement at the Panchayat level.
    • The integration aims at enabling panchayats to market their goods and services through GeM leveraging the e-GramSwaraj platform.
  • The Prime Minister handed over SVAMITVA Property Card to select beneficiaries, symbolizing the attainment of the milestone of 1.25 crore property cards distribution under the SVAMITVA Scheme in the country. 
  • A dedicated website and Mobile App on “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – SAMAAVESHI VIKAS” was launched by Prime Minister. 

About National Panchayati Raj Day

  • It is celebrated on April 24 every year in India to commemorate the historic day when the Panchayati Raj System was introduced in the country.
    •  The Panchayati Raj System is a decentralized system of governance in India, where local bodies or Gram Panchayats are given the power to govern themselves and make decisions for the development of their respective areas. 
    • This system was introduced in 1993 by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, which aimed at bringing democracy at the grassroots level and empowering people in rural areas.

Historical Linkages 

  • The Panchayati Raj System has its roots in ancient India, where the village council or Panchayat was the primary unit of governance.
  •  The system was revived in the early 1950s when the first National Development Council recommended the establishment of a democratic system of governance at the grassroots level. 
  • However, it was not until 1993 that the Panchayati Raj System was given a constitutional status and made mandatory for all states in India.


  • The Panchayati Raj System has been instrumental in bringing about significant changes in the rural landscape of India. 
  • It has given people in rural areas a voice and an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process, leading to the overall development of their respective areas. The system has also helped in decentralizing power and reducing corruption at higher levels of government, as decisions are made at the local level. 
  • The system has been successful in bringing about socio-economic development, promoting social justice, and empowering women in rural areas.
SVAMITVA SchemeSVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas): It is a Central Sector Scheme launched by the Prime Minister on 24th April 2020 on the occasion of the National Panchayati Raj Day.It aims to provide “Records of Rights”/ Property Cards to rural household owners of the inhabited area of the village. It covers multifarious aspects viz. facilitating monetisation of properties and enabling bank loans; reducing property-related disputes; comprehensive village-level planning. It will further enhance the socio-economic profile of the Panchayats, making them self-sustainable. 

India’s First Water Body Census

In News 

  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti has recently released the report of India’s first water bodies census.

More about the census 

  • About:
    • India’s first water bodies census contains a comprehensive database of ponds, tanks, lakes, and reservoirs in the country
    • The census was conducted in 2018-19, and enumerated more than 2.4 million water bodies across all states and Union Territories.
  • Background:
    • The Centre earlier maintained a database of water bodies that were getting central assistance under the scheme of Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of water bodies.
    • Recommendation for the census:
      • In 2016, a Standing Committee of Parliament pointed to the need to carry out a separate census of water bodies. 
    • The government then commissioned the first census of water bodies in 2018-19 along with the sixth Minor Irrigation (MI) census
  • Objective of carrying out census:
    • The objective was to collect information “on all important aspects of the subject including their size, condition, status of encroachments, use, storage capacity, status of filling up of storage etc.”.

About “Water Bodies”

  • What consists of “Water Bodies”?
    • First Census Report considers “all natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (e.g. industrial, pisciculture, domestic/ drinking, recreation, religious, ground water recharge etc.)” as water bodies.
      • According to the census, the water bodies “are usually of various types known by different names like tank, reservoirs, ponds etc.”.
    • A structure where water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential or other areas is accumulated or water is stored by diversion from a stream, nala or river will also be treated as a water body.
  • Excluded Water Bodies
    • Seven specific types of water bodies were excluded from the count. They were:
      • Oceans and lagoons; 
      • Rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, canals, etc. which are free flowing, without any bounded storage of water; 
      • Swimming pools; 
      • Covered water tanks created for a specific purpose by a family or household for their own consumption; 
      • A water tank constructed by a factory owner for consumption of water as raw material or consumable; 
      • Temporary water bodies created by digging for mining, brick kilns, and construction activities, which may get filled during the rainy season; and 
      • Pucca open water tanks created only for cattle to drink water.

Water bodies Census Data highlights

  • Districts with highest number of water bodies:
    • As per the report, West Bengal’s South 24 Pargana has been ranked as the district having the highest (3.55 lakh) number of water bodies across the country. 
    • The district is followed by Andhra Pradesh’s Ananthapur (50,537) and West Bengal’s Howrah (37,301).
  • Encroachment of water bodies:
    • The census found that 1.6% of enumerated water bodies — 38,496 out of 24,24,540 — had been encroached upon.
      • More than 95% of these were in rural areas — which is logical because more than 97% of the water bodies covered by the census were in the rural areas. 
      • In almost 63% of encroached water bodies, less than a quarter of the area was under encroachment
      • In about 12% water bodies, more than three-quarters of the area was under encroachment.
    • Uttar Pradesh accounted for almost 40% (15,301) of water bodies under encroachment, followed by Tamil Nadu (8,366) and Andhra Pradesh (3,920).
      • No encroachment was reported from West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh.

Threats faced by water bodies in India

  • Increasing temperatures: 
    • India is witnessing a repeat of 2021 conditions, when temperatures touched 40 degrees Celsius as early as February in some parts of the country.
  • Climate Change’s Impact:
    • Climate change impacts are about heat — increased and scorching temperatures — and about variable and extreme rain. 
    • Both have a direct correlation with the water cycle. 
  • Possibility of El Nino conditions:
    • Globe saw the event of triple dip La Niña in the last few years — the Pacific water currents that are known to bring cooler temperatures globally.
      • But global warming has offset this cooling effect of La Niña.
    • Situation is bound to be worse in El Nino conditions.
  • Varying Rain Pattern:
    • The number of rainy days in India will further go down, but extreme rainy days will increase.
    • This will have a huge impact on India’s plans for water management. 

Significance of Water Security for India & way ahead

  • To Address Rising Demand: 
    • With total water demand in India expected to rise by over 70% by 2025, a huge demand-supply gap is expected in the coming years. 
  • Ensuring Health:
    • Poor water quality and lack of adequate access to sanitation are also major causes of disease and poor health.
    • Proper access to potable water will minimise health issues and medical expenses.
  • Supporting Economy: 
    • Adequate water security will act as a potentially significant booster on economic growth as it will reduce the costs for water infrastructure.

Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP)

In News 

Recently, the French company  Electricite de France (EDF) stated that Nuclear liability issues were not resolved for the Jaitapur project.

About Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP)

  • Indo-French cooperation on the ‘peaceful use of nuclear energy’ was signed in 2008, primarily for building the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP).
  • India has announced plans to construct six 1,650 MW nuclear power plants at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri, which could become the nation’s largest nuclear power site once completed with a 9,900 MW capacity.
  • Importance for India 
  • Nuclear power is clean and environment friendly, apart from having a huge potential to ensure the country’s long-term energy security on a sustainable basis.
  • This project will embody the strong partnership between India and France, a commitment to a low carbon future, and will directly benefit Maharashtra with thousands of local jobs.
    • It would provide electricity to seven crore households. 
Nuclear liability conventions Across the globeThe IAEA serves as a depositary for several international legal instruments on civil liability for nuclear damage, which aim to ensure compensation is available for damage, including transboundary damage, caused by a nuclear incident at a nuclear installation or in the course of transport of nuclear material to or from an installation. These include the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and the Protocol to amend it, the Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention, and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.Indian Scenario The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act came into existence in 2010. The Act provides for civil liability for nuclear damage and prompt compensation to the victims of a nuclear incident.Features Compensation to victims through a no-fault regimeExclusive jurisdictional competence and a mechanism to provide compensationChanneling liability to the OperatorLimiting liability of the operator in amount and timeMandatory coverage by the operator through financial security or insurance


  • The issue is arising from India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act.
    • The act is considered excessive by foreign companies, which could be liable to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in the event of a nuclear accident. 
    • As a result, despite signing civil nuclear deals with a number of countries, including the U.S., France and Japan, the only foreign presence in India is that of Russia in Kudankulam, projects that predate the Law.
  • India has ratified the international convention on nuclear energy accident liability, which was perceived as a barrier for foreign companies to invest in the country.
  • It is believed that international manufacturers have been reluctant to begin any nuclear project in India because of the country’s domestic liability law which makes all, including equipment suppliers, accountable for any untoward incident. 

Suggestions  and Way Forward 

  • In the past, India has taken steps to address the issue of civil nuclear liability.
    • It released a list of FAQs on “Civil Nuclear Liability” in February 2015 and also launched the India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) in June that year.
      • INIP is an insurance pool to cover the equipment suppliers’ risk of potential liability.
  • The existing technical, financial, and civil nuclear liability issues need to be resolved at the earliest.
  • Other measures to enhance the generation from nuclear power plants in the country.
    • Accord of administrative approval and financial sanction of – ten (10) indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) to be set up in fleet mode with the provision of equity support.
    • Resolution of issues related to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act & Creation of the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP).
    • Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects.

Guided Bomb

In News

  • The Ukrainian government has reported an increase in the number of guided bomb attacks carried out by the Russian forces.
    • Ukrainian military experts believe Russia currently has two types of guided bombs.
      • Satellite-guided UPAB-1500B
      • High-explosive FAB-type bomb equipped with wings

What are Guided Bombs?

  • A guided bomb (also known as a smart bomb, guided bomb unit, or GBU) is a precision-guided munition designed to achieve a smaller circular error probable (CEP).
  • Unlike simple bombs, guided bombs have small wings and tail surfaces that allow them to be put into gliding flight.
  • Guided bombs carry a guidance system which is usually monitored and controlled from an external device. A guided bomb of a given weight must carry fewer explosives to accommodate the guidance mechanisms.

Reasons behind Increased use of Guided Bombs

  • Through this Russia can mitigate the risk of further aviation losses by operating out of the range of most Ukrainian anti-aircraft and air defense systems
  • The Russian forces are dropping more guided bombs because they are running out of missiles, and guided bombs are cheaper. 

Challenges to Ukraine

  • To destroy guided bombs, Ukraine needs modern air defense systems like the Patriot .
  • Bombs are very difficult to hit, it is easier to destroy the carrier itself with  the help of the fighter jets.
  • Ukraine does not have air-to-air missiles with sufficient range to hit jets over Russian-controlled areas.


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