Operation Kaveri

In News

  • Recently, India airlifted 754 of its stranded citizens from Sudan.

More about Operation Kaveri

  • Sudan’s conflict:
    • Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group that has reportedly left around 400 people dead.
  • About Operation Kaveri:
    • Under Operation Kaveri, India has been rescuing its citizens in buses from conflict zones in Khartoum and other troubled areas to Port Sudan from where they are being taken to Jeddah in Indian Air Force’s transport aircraft and Indian Navy’s ships.
    • From Jeddah, the Indians are being brought home in either commercial flights or IAF’s aircraft.
    • India has set up separate control rooms in Jeddah and Port Sudan and the India embassy in Khartoum has been coordinating with them and the MEA’s headquarters in Delhi.
  • Indian diaspora in Sudan:
    • As per official estimates, the total number of Indians in Sudan is around 3,400 with around 1,000 PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) who have been residing in Sudan for generations. 
  • Challenges:
    • Many Indians working for the oil and gas industry stay in distant places and it is not easy to find out about them in the given circumstances.
    • This is likely to be a more challenging part of the operation as many are caught up in places like El Fashir in Darfur which is highly volatile at the moment
    • The focus of Operation Kaveri is now shifting to those groups of Indians who live in distant parts of Sudan away from Khartoum. 

More about the Conflict in Sudan

  • Background:
    • The roots of the ongoing conflict go back to April 2019, when Sudan’s long-serving authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by military generals following a countrywide uprising against him.
    • Despite Bashir’s ouster, civilians continued their demonstrations seeking democratic elections.
      • It led to an agreement between the military and the protesters under which it was decided to constitute the Sovereignty Council, a power-sharing body of military officers and civilians, and elections at the end of 2023.
    • But, the new arrangement was short-lived as the military overthrew the government in October 2021, and Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan became de-facto leader of the country.
      • Burhan announced that the military would hold power until elections are held in July 2023.
    • Over the past few weeks, the RSF (Para-military which was formed in 2013) was redeployed around the country, which the army saw as a provocation and threat.
      • With both sides on edge, a ferocious battle broke out.
  • Reason of recent crisis:
    • Clashes erupted after heightened tensions between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — also known as Hemedti — and the military, headed by Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
    • The two generals disagree over the proposed transition to civilian rule in Sudan.
  • Repercussions for Sudan:
    • The third largest country in Africa by size has seen repeated pro-democracy protests since the 2021 coup.  
    • Some experts fear the tussle could transform into a wider conflict leading to the country’s collapse.
    • Sudan’s economy is struggling, battered by hyperinflation and crippled by massive foreign debt.
    • Billions of dollars given in international support and debt relief, were frozen after the ouster of the government.
Indian Government’s recent evacuation OperationsOperation Raahat (2015):In response to the crisis in Yemen during the Yemeni Crisis of 2015, the Indian government launched Operation Raahat.It involved the Indian Armed Forces in the evacuation of not only Indian nationals but also foreign nationals stranded in Yemen. The operation successfully evacuated 6,710 individuals, including 4,748 Indians and 1,962 foreign nationals, who were brought back to India with the help of the Indian Armed Forces.Operation Maitri (2015):Operation Maitri (Operation Amity) was launched by the Indian government and armed forces as a rescue and relief operation in Nepal. It was conducted following the devastating earthquake that struck the country in April 2015. It also involved the participation of ex-servicemen from India’s Gurkha Regiments who provided guidance, relief, and rescue efforts.Operation Sankat Mochan (2016):Operation Sankat Mochan, carried out by the Indian Air Force was aimed to evacuate Indian and other foreign nationals from South Sudan amidst the ongoing civil war in 2016. With around 600 Indians stranded in the country, out of which approximately 450 were in Juba and others scattered elsewhere, the mission was a crucial effort to ensure the safe return of the citizens.Operation Devi Shakti (2021):Operation Devi Shakti (transl. Operation Goddess Shakti) was an operation of the Indian Armed Forces to evacuate Indian citizens and foreign nationals from Afghanistan after the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul, the capital city, to the Taliban.Operation Ganga (2022):Operation Ganga was an evacuation mission carried out by the Indian government to rescue its citizens stranded in neighboring countries during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The citizens were transported from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia to India with assistance from these countries.Operation Dost (2023):Operation Dost, which means “Operation Friend” is a search and rescue operation led by the Indian government to assist Syria and Turkey following the devastating 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake on February 6, 2023, with the epicenter near Gaziantep, Turkey.The Indian Army mobilized its rescue teams along with relief materials worth around ?7 crore within just 12 hours after the disaster struck.

Dual-use export Controls

In News

  • India and the United States (US) discussed export control issues related to items of dual use, ahead of the first meeting of the US-India Strategic Trade Dialogue (USISTD).

What is Dual Use export control?

  • Dual-use items are goods and technologies that may be used for both civilian and military purposes. 
  • Dual-use export controls cover a wide range of products and technologies and affect not only manufacturers but also transport providers, academia and research institutions.
    • Dual use export licenses are required in certain situations involving national security, foreign policy, short-supply, nuclear non-proliferation, missile technology, chemical and biological weapons, regional stability, crime control, or terrorist concerns. 
  • Their key contribution to international security has been helping to prevent the supply of goods and technologies that may contribute to illegal weapons of mass destruction programmes. However, in recent years there has been an increased focus on the role they can play in other areas, including preventing acts of terrorism and human rights abuses and controlling the trade in cyber-surveillance systems.
  • SIPRI’s work on dual-use export controls focuses on the development and implementation of national laws and regulations, United Nations and European Union arms embargoes, the EU Dual-Use Regulation, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group and UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

US-India Strategic Trade Dialogue

  • Recently, India and the US launched an initiative called the India-US Strategic Trade Dialogue which is an official government-to-government arrangement to deepen the engagement around the area of aligning export controls and information sharing.
  • It will address export controls, explore ways of enhancing high technology commerce, and facilitate technology transfer between the two countries.
  • The dialogue would prove a building block for the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET).

National Manufacturing Innovation Survey (NMIS) 2021-22

In News

  •  “National Manufacturing Innovation Survey (NMIS) 2021-22” is being releases 

What is NMIS Survey?

  • NMIS 2021-22 is a joint study by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to evaluate the innovation performance of manufacturing firms in India.
  • This study is a follow-up of DST’s first National Innovation Survey held in 2011.
  • The NMIS 2021-22 survey had two specific components: the firm-level survey and the sectoral systems of innovation (SSI) survey
  • The study was not designed to assess the effectiveness of specific policies individually or collectively

Major Findings of the report

  • 25.01% of the 8,074 firms surveyed were considered innovative
  • Of the 25% firms reporting innovations in the survey, 83% had increased turnover, 80% opened new market opportunities
  • Only 15% of micro firms are innovative while it is 56% in large firms.
  • More than 45% of firms reported that the most frequent barrier was the lack of funds within the firm or group, followed by high innovation costs (40.30%) and the lack of finance from external sources (39.52%).
  • Most critical barriers were low demand for innovations in the market (71.23%).
  • Firms with staff using innovative tools, an Industry 4.0 strategy, an R&D strategy have better innovation performance

India Manufacturing Innovation Index 2022

  • The responses obtained from the firm level survey have been converted into an IMII index.
  • The IMII provides a holistic index score for the level of innovation across states, taking into consideration innovation output through performance, and innovation input through the presence of innovation enablers and the absence of innovation barriers.
  • All 28 states and 6 union territories were ranked based on their IMII scores. Category ranks were also provided to the states and UTs post their classification into three groups: major (larger) states; hill states; and UT or city states.
  • The state of Karnataka ranked highest on IMII 2022 and the lowest was North-eastern states (excluding Assam)
  • The construct of the IMII allows for comparison with other innovation assessments particularly the Global Innovation Index (GII) and the India Innovation Index (III).

Triple-Helix model

  • Focuses on the relationships between universities and knowledge-based institutions (KBIs), firms, governments, and hybrid organisations at the intersection of these three helices.

NMIS Policy Directions

  • ‘Innovate to Make in India’ as a manufacturing innovation strategy – include broad-based awareness, promotional measures and investment incentives, along with sectorial sub-strategies with concrete innovation targets or roadmaps.
  • Make SSI a policy objective for handholding and incentivising the system of innovation and collaborations to strengthen manufacturing innovation and ecosystem by fostering the development and sharing of best practices.
  • Support pre-competitive, collaborative industry focused research and innovation–   R&D programmes for large-scale and long-term funding allocation for precompetitive industry-focused research and innovations, where collaboration can be mandated as a qualifying criterion for accessing any research grant.
  • Enhance state government participation for fostering innovation in MSMEs.
  • Implement innovation-linked incentive to help firms, especially MSMEs, to address the financial risks linked to innovation uncertainty.
  • Support firms to mitigate innovation-related risks – both fiscal and non-fiscal measures to encourage firms to take calculated risks and engage in innovation
  • Increase private sector innovation investment through crowding-in.

Unified Security Force

In Context 

  • The government is considering the creation of a Unified Security Force for all airports in the country along the lines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the U.S.  which will also combine immigration and customs.

About Unified Security Force

  • Indian Scenario: The concept received a green flag from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2023.
    • Discussions were held about expanding the scope of an Indian TSA-like force to include security for sea and land ports, as well as roads and highways.
    • In India, the proposal comes at a time when the country is pegged to be the third-largest aviation market in the world by 2024 and is already the third-largest domestic aviation market after the U.S. and China.
    •  It is also the world’s fastest-growing market at 9%, though it accounts for only 2% of the global passenger traffic.
  • Global Status: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of 9/11 in the U.S. to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce.

Need and Significance  

  • The total number of airports in the country is also targeted to grow from the current 148 to 220 by 2025, and airlines have more than 1,000 aircraft on order.
  • Today, coordination with a multitude of agencies becomes difficult.
    • Therefore, In a fast-growing aviation market, we need a robust system. 
  • There is a need for a unified security agency for aviation and also shipping, metro, road, rail, and land and sea ports.
  • The move would also help in integrating policy, regulations, and implementation by bringing them under one body. 


  • Airports will have to procure security infrastructure and have often cited financial constraints and delayed upgradation. 
  • The proposal for a unified agency means it will also be tasked to buy security infrastructure such as x-ray machines and full body scanners.

Way Ahead 

  • The exact contours of the proposal are yet to be finalised and the move could result in a merger of the CISF with the BCAS. 
  • Government must deliberate over “the move to a TSA-based concept across all airports in the next three to four years.
    • We should have a seamless security system.
  • The Bureau of Immigration, which works under the Intelligence Bureau of the Union Home Ministry is responsible for immigration checks at airports, sea ports, and land borders.
    • But once the TSA is a reality, the immigration functions will also fall under it. 
Do you Know?The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which is the security watchdog for civil aviation, falls under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The Central Industrial Security Force, which guards the airports, falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs, as does the Bureau of Immigration. The Central Industrial Security Force is deployed at 66 out of the current 148 airports to carry out security functions, State police oversee security at the remaining airports.The Customs Department falls under the Finance Ministry.

All India Radio network expansion

In News

  • Prime Minister virtually inaugurated Low Power FM Transmitters of capacity of 100 Watt at 91 locations across the country, thus adding 2 crore listeners to All India Radio network.


  • Left Wing Extremism hit areas, Aspirational Districts and border areas of the country have been given priority for the installation of the new transmitters.
  • The transmitters will act as a conduit to carry information about the programmes and policies of the government as well as entertainment related content to the corners of the country.


  • The inauguration of the 91 FM transmitters is expected to benefit underprivileged individuals who have previously lacked access to this facility.
  • This will strengthen cultural connectivity as well as intellectual connectivity.
  • It will give a push to digital entrepreneurship in villages. Digital India has not only given new listeners to the radio but a new thought process as well
  • This could be linked to the strength of the country and the collective power of the duty among the countrymen.
  • The radio has come to the fore in innovative ways through podcasts and online FM.


  • As India continues to enhance its FM connectivity, the government remains committed to democratizing technology and promoting social connectivity. The addition of these new transmitters will ensure more people can access vital information, entertainment, and cultural content, ultimately strengthening the nation through continuous dialogue.

All India Radio 

  • All India Radio, formally known as Akashvani since 1957, is India’s national public radio broadcaster and a branch of Prasar Bharati.
  • It was founded in 1936 and is the sister service of Doordarshan, an Indian television broadcaster owned by Prasar Bharati.
  • All India Radio (AIR) is the country’s most well-known public service radio station.
  • It is run by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Its slogan is ‘Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya,‘ which translates to ‘serving, educating, and entertaining the public.’

Appointment of LIC Chairman

In News

  • The government has named Siddhartha Mohanty as the first chief executive of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for the term beginning in June 2024 to June 2025.
    • The Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) recommended Siddhartha Mohanty’s name for the post of chairman. The decision regarding the appointment of Mohanty as the LIC chairman was taken by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by the PM

About Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) 

  • It is an Indian public sector life insurance company headquartered in Mumbai. It is India’s largest insurance company as well as the largest institutional investor.
  • It was established in 1956, when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act, nationalizing the insurance industry in India.
  • There are a total of 8 zonal offices, located in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Kolkata, Bhopal and Patna.


  • 1818: Oriental Life Insurance Company, the first life insurance company on Indian soil started functioning.
  • 1870: Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society, the first Indian life insurance company started its business.
  • 1912: The Indian Life Assurance Companies Act enacted as the first statute to regulate the life insurance business.
  • 1928: The Indian Insurance Companies Act enacted to enable the government to collect statistical information about both life and non-life insurance businesses.
  • 1938: Earlier legislation consolidated and amended to by the Insurance Act with the objective of protecting the interests of the insuring public.
  • 1956: 245 Indian and foreign insurers and provident societies are taken over by the central government and nationalised. LIC formed by an Act of Parliament, viz. LIC Act, 1956, with a capital contribution of Rs. 5 crore from the Government of India.
    • The General insurance business in India, on the other hand, can trace its roots to the Triton Insurance Company Ltd., the first general insurance company established in the year 1850 in Calcutta by the British.

Indian Insurance Industry

  • India is the fifth largest life insurance market in the world’s emerging insurance markets, growing at a rate of 32-34% each year.
  • The Economic Survey notes that insurance penetration in India has been steadily increasing. While this was 2.7% around 2000, this stood at 4.2% in 2020 and 2021.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the industry under the automatic method is allowed up to 26% and licensing of the industry is monitored by the insurance regulator the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
Financial Services Institutions Bureau It has been constituted effective from 2022, by the Union Government for the purpose of recommending persons for appointment as whole-time directors and non-executive chairpersons on the Boards of financial services institutions and for advising on certain other matters relating to personnel management in these institutions. The Secretariat of the Bureau currently comprises Secretary and four officers.Vision: To Promote excellence in Corporate Governance in Public Sector Financial Institutions.Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)It is a statutory body formed under an Act of Parliament, i.e., Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (IRDAI Act 1999) for overall supervision and development of the Insurance sector in India.The powers and functions of the Authority are laid down in the IRDAI Act, 1999 and Insurance Act, 1938. The key objectives of the IRDAI include promotion of competition so as to enhance customer satisfaction through increased consumer choice and fair premiums, while ensuring the financial security of the Insurance market.The Insurance Act, 1938 is the principal Act governing the Insurance sector in India. It provides the powers to IRDA to frame regulations which lay down the regulatory framework for supervision of the entities operating in the sector. Further, there are certain other Acts which govern specific lines of Insurance business and functions such as Marine Insurance Act, 1963 and Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.

Source: TH

Combined Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI)

In News

The combined Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) increased by 3.6 percent (provisional) in March 2023 as compared to the Index of March 2022. 

  • The production of Coal, Fertilizers, Steel, Natural Gas, and Refinery Products increased in March 2023 over the corresponding month of last year(2022).

Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI)

  •  ICI measures combined and individual performance of the production of eight core industries viz. Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement, and Electricity. 
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 percent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 
  • The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) releases the Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI).
  • Base year: 2011-2012

Summary of the Index of Eight Core Industries 

  • Coal – Coal production (weight: 10.33 percent) increased by 12.2 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Crude Oil – Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98 percent) declined by 2.8 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Natural Gas – Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88 percent) increased by 2.8 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Petroleum Refinery Products – Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 28.04 percent) increased by 1.5 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Fertilizers – Fertilizer production (weight: 2.63 percent) increased by 9.7 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Steel – Steel production (weight: 17.92 percent) increased by 8.8 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Cement – Cement production (weight: 5.37 percent) declined by 0.8 percent in March 2023 over March 2022. 
  • Electricity – Electricity generation (weight: 19.85 percent) declined by 1.8 percent in March 2023 over March 2022.

Star rating system for water fixtures

In News

  • The Centre is in the process of bringing in a star rating system for water fixtures similar to the ratings of electrical appliances.

More about News

  • The new rating system would have 3-, 4- and 5-star water fixtures based on their water efficiency and this rating system would come under one umbrella called Bharat Tap
  • All manufacturers adopt and promote these standards and bring in water efficient fixtures.
  • Data derived from this initiative showed that on average over 30% of water can be saved

Bharat Tap

  • Bharat Tap is a collaborative effort which was formulated under AMRUT 2.0 to drive water efficiency.
  • It will provide low-flow, sanitary-ware at scale, and thereby reduce water consumption at source considerably.
Government Initiative for Water ConservationNational Water Policy: National Water Policy (2012): It has been formulated by the Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, inter-alia advocates rainwater harvesting and conservation of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through direct use of rainfall. Groundwater legislation: The Ministry has circulated a Model Bill to all the States/UTs to enable them to enact suitable groundwater legislation for the regulation of its development, which also includes the provision of rainwater harvesting. So far, 19 States/UTs have adopted and implemented groundwater legislation.Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA): It has been constituted under Section 3 (3) of the “Environment (Protection) Act, 1986” for the purpose of regulation and control of groundwater development and management in the Country.Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater- 2020: It has been prepared by CGWB in consultation with States/UTs which is a macro-level plan indicating various structures for the different terrain conditions of the country including estimated cost. National water Awards: The Department of Water Resources, has instituted National Water awards to incentivize good practices in water conservation and groundwater recharge.Mass awareness programmes: Training, Seminars, Workshops, Exhibitions, Trade Fares and Painting Competitions etc. are conducted from time to time each year under the Information, Education & Communication (IEC) Scheme of DoWR, RD & GR in various parts of the Country to promote rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge to groundwater.Mission Water Conservation: The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has developed an actionable framework for Natural Resources Management (NRM), titled ‘Mission Water Conservation” to ensure gainful utilization of funds. Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY): It is an Rs.6000 crore scheme with World Bank funding, for sustainable management of groundwater with community participation is being taken up in the identified over-exploited and water-stressed areas fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


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