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                                                           Marine pollution: An Alarming Situation

GS Paper III

Context:A large amount of single-use plastic ends up on coasts, adding to the rising load of marine litter and harming aquatic species. Anthropogenic activities in India contribute around eight million tonnes of plastic garbage to the maritime environment.

Plastic pollution:

Plastic product demand has increased dramatically in recent decades, with plausible explanations including its durability, flexibility, lightness, and affordability.

Production and generation of plastic: Global plastic output surpassed 460 million tonnes in 2019, with 353 million tonnes of plastic garbage created in the same year.

Approximately half of it is disposed of in landfills: According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over 50% of plastic garbage created in the same year was placed in landfills.

To begin, use plastic: India’s plastic consumption is expected to be 20.89 million tonnes in 2021-22. According to the Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, around 40% of this is added to plastic garbage after the first usage.

Key sources of Marine pollution:

Land-based sources: The main contributors to the menace of marine litter are land-based sources such as dumpsites near coastlines or river banks, flood waters, industrial outfalls, discharge from storm water drains, untreated municipal sewerage, beach litter, tourism, fishing, ship breaking yards, defense-related facilities, automobiles, industrial wastes, natural events, and so on.

Sources from the sea: In addition, garbage from ships, fishing vessels, and other public transportation and research facilities; offshore mining and exploitation; legal and illicit waste disposal; ghost nets, natural disasters, and so on contribute to it.

Alarming situation:

By 2050, there may be more plastic in the oceans than fish: Tributaries of major Indian rivers also transport around 15-20% of plastic garbage into the marine environment. Many recent experts have cautioned that if this trend continues, there may be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

Microplastics in the food chain: Marine trash can cross international borders and distribute to far-flung locales. Because marine organisms ingest microplastics, they may ultimately find their way into our food chain.

Chemical bioaccumulation endangers Human well-being: Furthermore, leached contaminants may bioaccumulate in these animals, endangering human health.

Government efforts so far:

Single-use plastic ban: Beginning July 1, 2022, the Union government will prohibit the manufacture, sale, use, and storage of 19 designated single-use plastic goods. Nonetheless, the restriction is ineffective, since forbidden commodities have been discovered in practically every Indian city.

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): The national and state governments have already established an SBM and spent over Rs 3,000 crore on public awareness programmes and coastal cleanup initiatives.

Coastline cleaning programme: The National Centre for Coastal Research, an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, oversaw a 7,500-kilometer-long coastal cleaning operation.

Did you know?

Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar, a 75-day citizen-led campaign for improving ocean health through collective action, was launched on July 5, 2022.


It has three strategic underlying goals that target transformation and environmental protection through behaviour change.


The three underlying goals of the campaign are, consume responsibly, segregate waste at home and dispose of it responsibly.


Way forward:

Enlisting multi-layered plastic packaging in restricted list: The government should include multi-layered plastic packaging goods in the banned list; currently, only 19 plastic items have been considered.

Effective policing: Because the government has already spent a lot of money on public awareness initiatives in the previous six years, effective enforcement and penalties for defaulters are essential.

Strict CRZ monitoring: To prevent haphazard building along beaches, Coastal Regulation Zone and Special Area Planning standards should be strictly implemented and monitored. A National Marine Litter Policy must be developed as soon as practicable.


A long-term vision plan should be devised to encourage collaboration among coastal towns, cities, and municipal administrations in order to reduce marine litter and create sustainable waste management ecosystems. Marine litter is a complex issue that must be addressed as soon as possible to protect both human and environmental health.

Source – The Hindu


                                                    India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)

GS Paper III

Context:Human development has relied heavily on public infrastructure. The monopolisation of public infrastructure that troubled past generations has expressed itself in today’s digital infrastructure’s centralised form. Although Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) potentially meet this demand, it confronts significant hurdles.

What is the issue?

There is a concerning tendency of data and technology weaponization, also known as digital colonisation (Hicks, 2019), which results in a loss of agency, sovereignty, and privacy.

As a result, proactive deliberation on how to create appropriate DPI is critical to prevent such difficulties.

What Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is and what it does?

Three fundamental sets DPIs act as go-betweens for people, money, and information.

First, people will pass through a digital ID system.

Second, money flows through a real-time, quick payment mechanism.

Third, the flow of personal information through a consent-based data sharing mechanism in order to realise the benefits of DPIs and empower citizens with true data control.

These three sets serve as the foundation for creating a functional DPI ecosystem.

Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) in India:

India was the first country to create all three core DPIs: India became the first country to build the three core DPIs, digital identification (Aadhar), real-time quick payment (UPI), and a platform for safely sharing personal data without sacrificing privacy, through India Stack (Account Aggregator built on the Data Empowerment Protection Architecture or DEPA)

In India, technological-legal regulatory frameworks are employed to accomplish policy objectives through public-technology design.

For example, India’s DEPA provides citizens with technology means to exercise their rights under applicable privacy regulations. In a nutshell, this techno-legal governance framework incorporates data protection principles into a public-technology stack.

DPI is the most practicable solution because of its low cost, interoperability, and scalable architecture, as well as its precautions against monopolies and digital colonialism.

Do you know “India Stack”?

The India Stack is a collection of (application programming interface) APIs that enable governments, enterprises, startups, and developers to use a unique digital infrastructure to tackle India’s hard challenges in the direction of presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.

The iSPIRT Open API team has assisted in the creation, evolution, and evangelising of various APIs and services on a pro gratis basis.

How DPIs constitute the backbone of a country’s digital infrastructure?

Facilitate seamless public service delivery: These layers interact with one another to provide an ecosystem that allows companies to build unique solutions on top of the DPI layers and supports seamless public service delivery.

Allows for the development of hitherto unseen open networks: India is now creating such open networks for credit (Open Credit Enablement Network), commerce (Open Network for Digital Commerce), open health services networks (UHI), and many more.

Generate network effects: When DPIs are combined, they can generate network effects that help to build these open networks for diverse industries.

Three sorts of institutions must be established for India’s DPI success to become a global revolution.

An institution that serves as an independent DPI steward: It is critical to have an agile and responsive governance structure. Rather than being controlled by a single company or group, a multiparty governance process through independent DPI institutions will be responsible to a diverse variety of stakeholders. This can boost DPI’s trust and confidence. India developed the Modular Open-Source Identity Platform (MOSIP), which has been adopted by nine countries and has over 76 million active users.

The need for global standards to be developed through a multilateral dialogue led by India: If standards originating in developed countries were transplanted to the context of emerging economies without regard for their developmental concerns, smaller countries would simply be captive to dominant technology players. Furthermore, without these rules, Big Tech would very certainly engage in regulatory arbitrage to consolidate control.

Finally, we need to find sustainable finance strategies for developing DPI for the entire globe. Such approaches, which are now supported by philanthropic financing, run the risk of becoming an instrument of philanthropic competitiveness and positioning.


The world requires a new digital infrastructure plan that mediates the movement of people, money, and information. This will help governments who want to digitally empower their citizenry. They can then quickly design platforms that fulfil people’s individual requirements, while also guaranteeing that people can trust and use the platform without fear of exclusion or abuse.

Source – The Hindu


                                                                           Farm Exports Data

GS Paper III

Context:In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, India’s agricultural exports are expected to reach a new high. Imports, on the other hand, are reducing the total farm trade surplus.

Agriculture trade:

In fiscal year 2022-23, India’s agricultural exports are predicted to achieve a record high.

Farm exports totaled $39 billion during April to December 2022, representing a 7.9% increase over the same period the previous year.

Imports of agricultural produce have also increased 15.4% from $24.1 billion in April-December 2021 to $27.8 billion in April-December 2022, causing the total farm trade surplus to decline.

As a result, the surplus on the farm trade account has shrunk even further.

Drivers of Exports:

The two big contributors to India’s agri-export growth have been rice and sugar.

(1) Rice

In 2021-22, India exported an all-time high of 21.21 million tonnes (mt) of rice worth $9.66 billion.

This contained 17.26 million tonnes of non-basmati rice (worth $6.12 billion) and 3.95 million tonnes of basmati rice ($3.54 billion).

Basmati rice has been the primary driver of growth in the current fiscal year.

Its value of exports has increased by 40.3% (from $2.38 billion in April-December 2021 to $3.34 billion in April-December 2022).

Non-basmati exports have grown at a slower pace, increasing by 3.3% in value ($4.51 billion to $4.66 billion) and 4.6% in quantity (12.60 mt to 13.17 mt).

(2) Sugars

Sugar exports reached a new high of $4.60 billion in 2021-22, up from $2.79 billion, $1.97 billion, $1.36 billion, and $810.90 million in the previous four fiscal years.

This fiscal year had a 43.6% increase, from $2.78 billion in April-December 2021 to $3.99 billion in April-December 2022.

Rice and sugar exports from India are on track to reach, if not exceed, $11 billion and $6 billion, respectively, in 2022-23.

Key imports:

More than a general export slowdown, it’s the growth in imports that should be cause for concern.  This has come mainly from three commodities-

(1) Edible oils

The first is vegetable oils, with imports increasing from $11.09 billion in 2020-21 to $18.99 billion in 2021-22.

Imports currently account for more than 60% of the country’s annual oil consumption, which is projected to be 22.5-23 mt.

(2) Cotton

Cotton has shifted from being a net exporter to a net importer in India.

Cotton exports from India hit an all-time high of $4.33 billion in 2011-12.

It remained very high until 2013-14 ($3.64 billion), then falling to $1.62 billion in 2016-17 and $1.06 billion in 2019-20.

Following that, there was a rebound to $1.90 billion in 2020-21 and $2.82 billion in 2021-22.

However, imports increased from $414.59 million to $1.32 billion during the same fiscal period.

Policy implications:

It is clear how strongly India’s agricultural success is related to foreign commodity prices.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index averaged 122.5 points in 2012-13 and 119.1 points in 2013-14, with a base value of 100 for the 2014-16 period.

Those were the years when India’s agricultural exports totaled $42-43 billion. Exports fell to $33-34 billion as the index fell to 90-95 points in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Exports recovered in 2020-21 and 2021-22 in tandem with — rather, as a result of — growing global prices and the FAO index, which averaged 102.5 points and 133 points in the two years.

Way forward:

Cotton and edible oils require action from the government.

Cotton output in India has fallen from a peak of 398 lakh bales in 2013-14 to a 12-year low of 307.05 lakh bales in 2021-22.

The consequences of not permitting new genetic modification (GM) technologies beyond the first-generation Bt cotton are clearly visible, and they are affecting exports as well.

A proactive approach is also necessary in the edible oil industry, where the planting of GM hybrid mustard has been allowed with much difficulty – and is now before the Supreme Court.

Source – The Hindu


                                                                             Bhashini Initiative

GS Paper II

Context:Bhashini, a small team at the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), is currently developing a WhatsApp-based chatbot that uses information provided by ChatGPT to respond to enquiries.

What is Bhashini Initiative?

One of these efforts, ‘Bhashini,’ is a local language translation campaign that tries to tear down barriers across diverse Indian languages by utilising current technology.

This government portal intends to make AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) materials available in the public domain for usage by Indian MSMEs, startups, and individual innovators.

This would enable developers to provide simple access to the internet and digital services in all Indian languages to all Indians.

How does it work?

Its goal is to create an ecosystem in which many stakeholders may collaborate to maintain a “ever-evolving library of data, training and benchmark datasets, open models, tools, and technology.”

This online platform also features a distinct ‘Bhashadaan’ component that allows people to participate to a variety of crowdsourcing activities, and it is available via Android and iOS apps.

Users can contribute in four ways: Suno India, Likho India, Bolo India, and Dekho India, where they must write what they hear or confirm writings transcribed by others.

Importance of Bhashini:

Bhashini intends to break down the large Indian language barrier by encouraging developers to provide digital services in Indian languages.

The project not only has a vast size and scale, but it also offers a number of advantages.

India has the opportunity to develop a road map for allowing native languages to access the internet.

Furthermore, the greater availability of smartphones and lower data prices are allowing the internet to permeate the country’s distant and rural areas.

Key initiatives in this regard:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the National Language Translation Mission (NLTM) in the 2021-22 budget.

The rationale for launching this endeavour was a poll that found that 53% of Indians who don’t use the internet stated they would start using it if it offered information in their local languages.

This is where Bhashini enters the picture, with the primary goal of creating a national digital public platform for languages to give universal access to material.

This is intended to improve digital content distribution in all Indian languages.

Finally, it will contribute to the development of a knowledge-based society in which information is freely and readily available, transforming the ecosystem and citizens into “Atmanirbhar.”

Source – Indian Express


                                                             Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati

GS Paper I

Context:The Prime Minister launched events marking Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati’s 200th birthday.

Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883):

Dayanand Saraswati (born Mool Shankar Tiwari) was a religious leader and the founder of the Arya Samaj, a nineteenth-century reform movement.

He was an expert in Vedic lore and the Sanskrit language.

Dayanand was a renowned scholar who knew the Vedas and Upanishads inside and out.

He also had knowledge of Sanskrit language, philosophy, theology, politics, and other disciplines.

Literary works:

He published various writings, notably the Satyarth Prakash, which established the Arya Samaj’s moral and spiritual underpinning.

Many languages, including Hindi, English, and Urdu, have been translated into this book.

Freedom movement:

In 1876, he was the first to demand for Swaraj as “Indian for India,” a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.

S. Radhakrishnan, India’s philosopher and President, later referred to him as one of the “makers of Modern India,” as did Sri Aurobindo.

Religious reform:

He attempted to revive Vedic principles while condemning the idolatry and ceremonial worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time.

He felt that the Vedas should be understood using logic rather than blind faith.

He also spoke against animal sacrifice and idol worship.

Social reform:

Dayanand was a strong supporter of women’s rights.

He pushed for the eradication of the caste system and believed in the equality of all human beings.


Dayanand was a firm believer in the power of education and information.

He developed the Gurukul educational system, which gave free education to everybody, regardless of caste or gender.

Based on his teachings, the first DAV School was created in Lahore in 1885, which was later expanded to become the first DAV College.

The DAV College Trust and Management Society was formed and registered in 1886.

Source – Indian Express



Facts For Prelims

Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP):

Rajasthan has raised the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) with the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister has stated that the state government cannot cover the anticipated project cost of roughly Rs 40,000 crore on its own.

The state wants the Centre to declare this a national initiative, resulting in a 90:10 cost-sharing ratio between the Centre and the state.

ERCP was established with the goal of delivering water to the state’s drought-prone districts.

It attempts to gather excess water in rivers in southern Rajasthan, including as the Chambal and its tributaries Kunnu, Parvati, and Kalisindh, during the rainy season.

The project entails the building of two canals: the Chambal Canal (which flows from the Chambal River) and the East Rajasthan Canal (which originates from the Mahi River).

The ERCP is projected to irrigate around 3.4 million hectares of agricultural land in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

It is scheduled to cost around Rs 51,000 crore and be finished by 2021.

About 2.6 million farmers in Rajasthan and another 2.4 million in Madhya Pradesh were projected to gain from the initiative.

The Central Water Commission authorised the project in 2017.

The state administration had proposed to the federal government that ERCP be designated as a national priority project.



A quasicrystal is a crystal-like material.

However, unlike a crystal, which has atoms ordered in a repeating pattern, a quasicrystal has atoms arranged in a pattern that does not repeat itself on a regular basis.

For a long time, physicists assumed that any crystalline arrangement of atoms must have a pattern that flawlessly replicates itself over and over again.

This changed in 1982, when material scientist Dan Shechtman found mathematically regular crystal formations that do not repeat themselves.

In the new discovery, an electrical discharge produced the production of quasicrystals.

It’s also the first time scientists have discovered a quasicrystal someplace other than meteorites or nuclear bomb debris.

There are no large commercial applications that directly harness the features of the quasicrystalline state.

Quasicrystals develop in compounds with great strength and low weight, implying possible uses in aerospace and other sectors.

They have use in surgical equipment, LED lighting, and nonstick frying pans.

Agasthyarkoodam Observatory:

The Agasthyarkoodam Observatory is an astronomical research observatory in Kerala, India.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics owns and operates the observatory, which is located at an elevation of 1600 metres above sea level (IIA).

The observatory has a 1-meter optical telescope and other tools for studying the night sky.

The observatory is available to the public for observing night-sky objects and is utilised for research and teaching.

The Scottish meteorologist John Allan Broun erected a magnetic observatory near Agasthyarkoodam in the Western Ghats.

Broun utilised it in concert with the Thiruvananthapuram astronomical observatory to record magnetic and meteorological readings.

Broun’s astronomical studies in India began when he was recruited to lead the Thiruvananthapuram observatory following the death of its first director, John Caldecott, in 1849 by the monarch of the old Travancore UthramTirunalMarthanda Varma.

In July 1855, the observatory began recording observations.

However, it was closed in 1881 by the then-Governor of Madras, Sir William Denison.

What are magnetic observatories?

At a number of places, magnetic observatories continuously monitor and record the Earth’s magnetic field.


Magnetized needles with reflecting mirrors are hung by quartz fibres in this type of observatory.


Reflected light beams are imaged on a photographic negative positioned on a spinning disc.


Variations in the field induce equivalent negative deflections.


Their magnetograms are shot on microfilm and sent to global data centres, where they may be used for scientific or practical purposes.



Solar Prominence:

When viewed against the solar disc, a solar prominence (also known as a filament) is a big, luminous structure stretching forth from the Sun’s surface.

Prominences are tethered to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere and extend into the scorching outer atmosphere of the Sun, known as the corona.

A prominence originates in roughly a day, and stable prominences can last for months in the corona, looping hundreds of thousands of kilometres into space.

Scientists are currently investigating how and why prominences emerge.

Plasma is a heated gas made up of electrically charged hydrogen and helium that glows red.

The prominence plasma travels through a tangled and twisted network of magnetic fields produced by the sun’s core dynamo.

An erupting prominence happens when a structure like this becomes unstable and explodes outward, releasing plasma.

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