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Blue Economy

GS Paper III

Context: The oceans have enormous promise for the blue economy’s sustainable growth, and India’s government’s efforts to realise that potential show that nation’s dedication to securing a bright future for both its marine resources and the whole world. The G20 presidency by India offers a chance to encourage teamwork for the change.

What is Blue Economy?

The World Bank defines the term “blue economy” as the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources for job creation, enhanced quality of life, and economic growth.

The Blue Economy idea gained popularity because to Gunter Pauli’s book “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 inventions, 100 million employment” (2010).

At a conference in 2012, the UN first discussed the “blue economy” and emphasised sustainable management, using the justification that healthy marine ecosystems are more productive. In fact, according to the UN, SDG 14—Life Below Water—can only be achieved by implementing the Blue Economy.

The phrase “blue economy” refers to economic growth depending on the ocean as well as inclusive social development, ecological security, and environmental preservation.

The Potential of the Oceans:

Due to the fact that 45% of the world’s coastlines and more than 21% of its exclusive economic zones are located in G20 nations, the oceans present a wealth of opportunities for the prosperity of our planet.

They serve as global biodiversity reservoirs, important weather and climate regulators, and sources of income for countless numbers of coastal residents.

India’s G20 Presidency and the Blue Economy:

The blue economy has been highlighted as a key topic within the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group during India’s G20 chairmanship.

Encourage acceptance of high-level principles for sustainable and equitable economic growth while tackling climate change and other environmental concerns is the goal of this initiative, which aims to promote the use of the ocean and its resources.

A suggestion for the G20 presidency: Oceans and the blue economy will continue to be discussed as long as India holds the G20 presidency, which will pave the path for future G20 presidencies.

Communication and cooperation: Governing the ocean and blue economy effectively and efficiently is a difficult task, but India’s G20 presidency can develop effective relationships with all stakeholders to share best practises, promote public-private partnerships, and develop innovative blue finance mechanisms.

Challenges and Responsibility:

The intensification of extreme weather events, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise pose a threat to nations’ ambitious plans to develop their blue economies.

The ocean, coastal and marine ecosystems, and biodiversity are also seriously threatened by marine pollution, excessive resource use, and unplanned urbanisation.

Oceans are inherently interconnected, which suggests that events in one region of the earth may have repercussions elsewhere.

Thus, it is the obligation of all nations to ensure their preservation, conservation, and sustainable use.


The G20 presidency of India presents a chance to encourage both individual and group efforts towards a sustainable blue economy. Future generations will be sustained by investments made in ocean stewardship, thus the international community must come together to ensure the health of our ocean commons.

Source: The Hindu


Marine Protected Areas in Antarctica

GS Paper I

Context: In order to conserve marine life and the ecosystem services that it offers, India has vowed its continuous support for the creation of two marine protected areas (MPAs) in Antarctica.

What are Marine Protected Areas?

The long-term preservation of marine resources, ecosystem services, or cultural heritage is the goal of an MPA, which is a designated area that is managed.

They can be built in both domestic and foreign waterways to protect the marine environment’s biodiversity.

Criteria used for MPAs declaration:

A set of standards for the administration and designation of marine protected areas (MPAs) has been created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These standards consist of:

Reprographicity: MPAs ought to have a variety of habitats, ecosystems, and species that are typical of the area.

Genetic variety, species, ecosystems, and other aspects of biological diversity should all be preserved through MPAs.

Rarity: Endangered, uncommon, or unusual species or ecosystems should be protected by MPAs.

Productivity: High-productivity regions, such spawning and nursery grounds, should be preserved in MPAs.

Resilience: MPAs ought to safeguard ecosystems that can tolerate shocks and mend after being harmed.

Ecological processes: MPAs should protect crucial ecological processes including migratory patterns and the cycling of nutrients.

Connectivity: To allow for the movement of species and genetic material, MPAs should be linked to other protected areas.

Cultural and social significance: MPAs should take into account the region’s cultural and social significance to nearby populations.

Southern Ocean:

Around 10% of the world’s ocean is made up of the Southern Ocean, which is surrounded by Antarctica and is home to almost 10,000 distinct polar species.

Fish and krill, which support commercial fisheries and serve as a food source for larger animals, are just two examples of the marine resources that the ecosystem is a significant source of.

Threats to the Southern Ocean and its marine life:

The Southern Ocean is being impacted by climate change, which is changing habitats like sea ice and the protected seabed beneath ice shelves that are home to a diversity of species.

The environment is also being threatened by commercial fishing, notably for krill, a creature that resembles shrimp.

Need for an MPA in Antarctica:

To stop the additional effects of climate change and economic exploitation, the Southern Ocean has to be protected.

A new MPA might help protect the area’s marine resources and distinctive biodiversity by limiting human activities like fishing, mining, and drilling.

Existing MPAs in the Southern Ocean:

The Southern Ocean currently has two MPAs:

In the southern shelf of the South Orkney Islands and

In the Ross Sea

These MPAs protect only 5 percent of the ocean, with all types of fishing, other than scientific research, prohibited within the southern shelf of the South Orkney Islands MPA.

Resistance to proposed MPAs:

China and Russia have opposed efforts to create MPAs in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and the waters surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1982 to protect Antarctic marine life, has a different perspective than the other members.

India’s interest in the commercial exploitation of krill:

India has showed interest in using krill for commercial purposes in the area.

Nevertheless, increased krill harvesting puts fish, whales, seals, penguins, and other seabirds in danger since they consume them.

Contribution of proposed MPAs to the United Nations 30×30 Framework:

If the planned Antarctic MPAs are created, they will support the UN 3030 Framework, which seeks to save 30% of the world’s land and ocean.

At the 15th Meeting of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022, this agreement was made.


The majority of nations have agreed in principle to the creation of MPAs in Antarctica, and it is anticipated that this topic will be further explored in the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Conference.

The creation of MPAs in Antarctica is essential for protecting the area’s marine resources and distinctive biodiversity as well as for benefiting the globe.

Source: The Hindu


Removing Tax Benefit for Debt Mutual Funds

GS Paper III

Context: The contentious choice to eliminate the tax advantage for debt mutual funds is part of the Finance Bill 2023, which was approved by the Lok Sabha with 64 modifications. Although the intention is to eliminate the advantage that debt funds have over bank deposits, this choice will have far-reaching effects that need to be carefully considered.

Mutual Funds:

Mutual funds are financial vehicles that pool money from several participants to buy a diverse portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. Mutual funds make investment choices on behalf of the investors. Professional fund managers that specialise in managing mutual funds choose investments on behalf of the fund’s investors.

Diversified portfolio of securities: In a mutual fund, investors hold a proportionate part of the underlying assets, and the value of their investment fluctuates in accordance with changes in the value of the securities owned by the fund. In order to reduce the risk associated with investing in individual securities, mutual funds can give investors access to a diverse portfolio of assets.

The Debate Over Scrapping Tax Benefit for Debt Mutual Funds:

Tax advantage for debt mutual funds is eliminated: 64 modifications to the Finance Bill 2023, including the elimination of the tax advantage for debt mutual funds, were approved by voice vote in the Lok Sabha last week.

What it means: As a result of this change, holders of debt mutual funds are no longer eligible to use indexation in determining long-term capital gains. As of April 1, these investments will be subject to the individual tax rate for income taxes.

Motive: By taking this action, the advantage that such debt funds have over bank deposits will be eliminated. Yet, it is important to carefully consider this choice’s effects.

The Impact of Removing Tax Benefit:

Impact on money flow: Investors will reevaluate their allocations to debt mutual funds as a result of the loss of the tax benefit, which could affect money flows into these funds.

Effect on bond market: As debt mutual funds channel money into the bond market, this might have an effect on the expansion and growth of the bond market in India.

Impact on corporate debt: This rule change may lead to a shift in investments away from debt mutual funds and towards other assets, which could impact flows to the corporate bond market and possibly have an impact on demand for corporate debt.

The Need for Rationalization:

As bank deposits are guaranteed up to Rs. 5 lakh and debt mutual funds incur risk based on the risk profile of the bonds they own, it is important to recognise the subtle differences between the two.

The capital gains architecture in India has been said to require revision and reorganisation.

Not only are there varying tax rates for various asset classes, but there are also differences in the holding time used to distinguish between short-term and long-term capital gains. Hence, rationalisation of the tax rate and/or holding term is preferred.


While the tax benefit for debt mutual funds may no longer be an advantage over bank deposits, its broad ramifications need to be carefully considered. The finer points of distinction between bank deposits and debt money must be acknowledged, and India’s tax system has to be rationalised. Wider conversations and debates on these issues are therefore necessary.

Source: Indian Express


Marburg Virus Disease

GS Paper II

Context: In Tanzania, the Marburg virus has claimed the lives of five people while infecting three more.

What is Marburg Virus Disease?

It is a very dangerous illness that can result in hemorrhagic fever and has a death rate of up to 88%. It belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus family of pathogens.


Long-term exposure to mines or caves where Rousettus bat populations live can cause human illness.

By direct contact (via damaged skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs, or other body fluids of infected persons, as well as with surfaces and materials (such as bedding, clothes), it can spread from person to person through human-to-human transmission.


strong headache, high temperature, and malaise. A typical aspect is aches and pains in the muscles.

On the third day, severe watery diarrhoea, cramps and discomfort in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting are all possible.

Patients at this stage have been characterised as having drawn features that are “ghost-like,” deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and profound lethargy.

Between 2 and 7 days following the start of symptoms, a non-itchy rash has been seen.

Severity of the Disease:

By seven days, many patients get significant hemorrhagic symptoms, and in fatal instances, there is often bleeding, frequently from several locations.

Confusion, impatience, and violence might occur from central nervous system involvement. There have been few reports of orchitis (testicular inflammation) in the late stage (15 days).

In fatal instances, death often happens 8 to 9 days after commencement, frequently followed by significant blood loss and shock.


Although research on the transmission of the Marburg virus from wildlife to humans is still underway, prevention strategies against infection are not well established. So one method to guard against infection is to stay away from ill non-human primates and fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus).

Wearing protective clothing, such as gowns, gloves, and masks, isolating the infected person, sterilising equipment, and properly disposing of patient excretions are all recommended in order to prevent the spread of infection from one person to another.


Survival is increased with supportive care, which includes treating particular symptoms and rehydrating patients with oral or intravenous fluids.

The Marburg virus sickness is incurable and has no known cure. However a variety of prospective treatments, including immunotherapies, pharmacological therapies, and blood products, are now being examined.

Source: Indian Express


Biotransformation Technology

GS Paper III

Context: According to a UK-based business, biotransformation technology can change the condition of plastics and make them biodegradable without producing microplastics.

About Biotransformation Technology:

It is a novel strategy to guarantee that plastics that escape refuse streams are processed and broken down effectively.

The Imperial College of London and the British start-up Polymateria collaborated on its development.

With the aid of microorganisms, the device would naturally digest the trash from plastic packaging and biodegrade it without producing any microplastics.

Its biotransformation method assures that polyolefins totally biodegrade in an open environment without producing any microplastics, making it a first in the world.

How it works?

The quality of the plastics produced using this technique is maintained for a predetermined period of time during which they seem and feel like traditional plastics.

The product self-destructs and biotransforms into bioavailable wax once it expires and is exposed to the environment.

Microorganisms then eat this wax, transforming the waste into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass.


The two main businesses that may employ this technology to cut waste are those that package food and those that provide healthcare.

Compared to standard plastic that does not include this technology, the price increase is rather little.

Usage in India:

These technologies are used by a few well-known Indian companies in the food and packaging sectors.

This technology offers biodegradable options for non-woven hygienic items including diapers, sanitary pads, face pads, and so on in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

Other initiatives of India:

To combat the ever-increasing plastic pollution brought on by single-use plastics, the government published a gazette on plastic waste management.

To prohibit their usage in the nation, the Indian government enacted a ban on single-use plastics in 2022.

All interested parties are brought together by the National Dashboard on Elimination of Single-Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management to track the advancements achieved in the elimination of single-use plastic and the efficient management of such trash.

A site for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) makes it easier to declare compliance with EPR responsibilities for producers, importers, and brand owners while also enhancing accountability traceability.

India has also created a smartphone app to raise complaints about single-use plastics to monitor their sale, use, or production in their region.

Other alternatives to reducing plastic waste:

Possible ways to reduce plastic waste include switching to jute or paper-based packaging. This could reduce the cost of importing ethylene solutions and increase sustainability within the paper industry.

Another option is wooden packing, although it will make the packaging bigger and cost more.

Source: Indian Express


Facts for Prelims

Moray Eel:

Muraenidae, sometimes known as moray eels, are an eel family that is widespread.

They have tiny eyes, and they primarily hunt by ambush by laying in wait and using their highly developed sense of smell.

The majority of their body is patterned.

All tropical and subtropical oceans have moray eels, which are found living in shallow water among reefs and rocks.

Both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems are home to moray eels.

Its two types of jaws are well recognised: the first is the ordinary (oral) jaw, which has large teeth, and the second jaw is known as the pharyngeal jaw (which drags prey inside the eels stomach).

Gymnothorax tamilnaduensis, the scientific name for this recently found species, is named after Tamil Nadu and is also known as the Tamil Nadu brown moray.


India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge:

Anji Bridge is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project and is the nation’s first cable-stayed railway bridge.

Anji River is a branch of the Chenab River that runs through the Jammu district of Katra and Reasi.

The Anji bridge is a crucial piece in Indian Railways’ plan to provide all-weather rail connectivity from J&K to the rest of India.

The Anji bridge has a significant number of sensors installed so that the structural health may be checked often.

It was built to withstand strong storms and winds up to 213 km per hour.

By improved connection between the area and the rest of the country, the project is anticipated to contribute to the socioeconomic growth of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The project was designed to provide a reliable all-season transit route that could operate in inclement weather and drastically cut the travel time to several locations inside and beyond the valley.


Mahila Samman Saving Certificate:

The Indian government’s one-time new modest savings programme was unveiled in the Budget 2023.

Up to March 2025, a two-year period will see its availability.

This would provide a deposit facility of up to Rs 2 lakh for a two-year period in the name of women or girls.

The deposit facility will have a 7.5% fixed interest rate and allow for partial withdrawals.

During the near term, it serves as an acceptable substitute for fixed deposits (FDs) held in a woman’s name.

Liquidity is less of an issue because to the partial withdrawal and greater yields compared to bank FDs.

The Scheme will be implemented nationwide through banks and post offices.


The tax structure has not yet been determined, and the programme is anticipated to be accessible beginning on April 1, 2023.

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