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Anniversary of Lord Mahavir’s Birth

Tags: GS1, Art and Culture Literature Personalities

In Context

  • On Mahavir Jayanti, the Prime Minister recalls the noble teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir.
  • This event is the most significant for Jains because it commemorates the birthday of Lord Mahavir.

About Mahavira 

  • Birth:In the Ikshvaku dynasty of Bihar’s Kshatriyakund (Vaishali republic).
  • Prince Kshatriya of Lichchavis (Vajji Sangha).
  • He attained Kevaljnan at age 42 through correct knowledge, faith, and conduct (3 Jewels of Jainism).
  • Became Jina (conqueror) and the 24th Tirthankara.
  • Died at Pavapuri of Mahaparinirvana (Patna).
  • Teachings and Contributions
  • He questioned the Vedas’ authority and emphasised individual responsibility.
  • Added a fifth vow to the existing four (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Aparigraha & Brahmacharya).
  • His eleven chief disciples (ganadhars) compiled the Agamas (12 scriptures based on his teachings).
  • Easy-to-understand Prakrit was utilised.


  • Term derived from Jina (conqueror).
  • Primarily supported by Vaishyas (merchants) in opposition to Brahmin-Kshatriya.
  • Asceticism and penance are necessary for liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth, shaped by karma, and (Ghati and Aghati) responsible for soul distortions.
  • 7 tattvas of Jain Philosophy: Jiva, Ajiva, Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara & Moksha.
  • Spread: North India, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka.
  • Literature is composed in Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Tamil and categorised as Agam and Non-Agam.
  • Jain Sangh Composition:Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks & Shravikas.
  • Anekantavada: Metaphysical/reality theory and relativity/multidimensionality.
  • Syadvada: epistemological/knowledge theory & conditional judgments
  • Jain Councils
  • 1st: Patliputra was responsible for the compilation of Angas in 300 BCE.
  • 2nd: Vallabhi compiled the final 12 Angas and Upangas in 512 AD.
  • Sects
  • Digambar (sky clad): The Bhadrabahu-led southern migration was more austere.
  • Major Sub-sects: Bisapantha, Terapantha & Taranapantha.
  • Minor Sub-sects: Gumanapantha & Totapantha.
  • Shwetamber(white clad): Led by Sthulabhadra and residing in the north.
  • Sub-sects: Murtipujaka, Sthanakvasi & Terapanthi.

Source: PIB

Finland enlists in NATO

Tags: GS 2, Important International Institutions

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-kilometer border, doubling the current length of 1,200 kilometres, along with portions of NATO in northern Norway, Latvia and Estonia, as well as Poland and Lithuania.
  • Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance:
  • Following World War II, Finland sought neutrality via the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union.
  • 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 recovery after World War II. After the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Finland’s neutrality was manifested in its decision to remain outside of NATO despite its 1995 entry into the European Union.
  • This Finnish approach is also widely known as the Finland model or “Finlandisation.”
  • Ready for Russian invasion:
  • However, despite years of peace, Finland has maintained its readiness for an invasion.
  • The nation mandates military service and provides regular disaster training.
  • Its defence spending is 2 percent of GDP, the NATO-required minimum that even member states like Germany have not met.

Reason of joining NATO

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted its smaller neighbours to covet the robust military support provided by NATO, whose charter requires every member to defend any member under attack.
  • Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland and its neighbour Sweden applied for NATO membership.
  • Any new applicant must be approved by all existing alliance members, and Finland is the 31st member of NATO.
  • Turkey and Hungary are impeding Sweden’s application.

Significance of Finland joining NATO

  • For Finland:
  • Security Assurance:
  • Membership in NATO provides a security guarantee under Article 5 of the alliance’s charter.
  • 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:
  • According to Russia, Finland has made a “dangerous historical error” that will harm relations with Moscow and undermine its role as a confidence-building presence in the Baltic Sea and Europe in general.
  • Lost the say:
  • Some also criticised the move, stating that Finland has lost its unique voice in international affairs, becoming one of the small members of (NATO) that makes no decisions.
  • For NATO:
  • By doubling its border with Finland, NATO is in a better position to station weapons, including missile launchpads, closer to Russia.
  • Finland’s military is trained to repel a Russian attack.
  • For Russia:
  • For Russia, Finland’s move has brought NATO closer to its borders, the very thing it most vehemently opposes and one of the reasons it cited for invading Ukraine.

Way ahead

  • Russia has stated that it will now bolster its military capabilities in its western and northern regions.
  • Observers have noted that Finland’s accession has “increased the risk of the Ukraine conflict escalating further.”
  • Some may view the expansion of NATO and the growing role of the United States in European security as a recurrence of a time when war was a constant threat.
  • Even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union met frequently to reduce the risk of nuclear war.



• The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance composed of the United States, Canada, France, and eight additional European nations. It was established in 1949.

· It consists of 31 members, 28 from Europe, 2 from North America, and 1 from Eurasia. The primary reason for the formation of NATO after World War II was to create a “collective defence” against any potential German or Soviet attack.

· Article 5Article 5 of the NATO charter states that an attack on one NATO member constitutes an attack on the entire alliance.

·  Support from NATO is restricted for non-members. It does not commit to sending troops to non-member countries, for example, but it has sent troops to neighbouring countries and has publicly expressed support for Ukraine.

· Membership of NATO

·  It is open to all European nations that meet certain criteria, such as “a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to provide a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.”

·  New members are admitted with the agreement of all existing members.

Who controls NATO?

• The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, oversees NATO’s Command Structure (NCS), which is comprised of the Chiefs of Defence of all twenty-nine member nations.

• Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) are the two strategic commands that comprise the NCS (ACT).

Source: TH


UN Statistical Commission seat chosen for India

Tags: GS 2

In News

  • India has been elected to the United Nations’ highest statistical body for a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2024.
  • India’s last membership in the Statistical Commission was in 2004, and the nation is rejoining the UN agency after a twenty-year absence.

United Nations Statistical Commission 

  • About: 
  • Established in 1947, the United Nations Statistical Commission is the apex of the global statistical system.
  • It brings together the Chief Statisticians of member states from around the globe.
  • Function: 
  • As a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, the Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
  • It is the highest decision-making body for international statistical activities, responsible for the establishment of statistical standards, the development of statistical concepts and methods, and their implementation on a national and international scale.
  • Members: 
  • The Commission is comprised of 24 United Nations member states elected by the Economic and Social Council on the basis of an equitable geographical distribution according to the following formula:
  • Five representatives from African states;
  • Four representatives from Asia-Pacific states;
  • Four representatives from Eastern European states;
  • Four representatives from Latin American and Caribbean states;
  • Seven representatives from Western European and other states Members serve for a duration of four years.
  • Annual Meeting: 
  • The Economic and Social Council decided in July 1999 that, beginning in 2000, each session of the Commission would last four days.


About Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation 

• In 1999, following the merger of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Programme Implementation, it became an independent ministry.

•The Ministry consists of two divisions, Statistics and Programme Implementation.

• Statistics Wing: The National Statistical Office (NSO) comprises the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the Computer centre, and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

• The Wing for Programme Implementation: It is composed of three Divisions:

• Twenty Point Programme

• Infrastructure Monitoring and Project Monitoring and

• Local Area Development Scheme for Members of Parliament.

• In addition to these two wings, there is the National Statistical Commission, which was established by a Resolution of the Government of India (MOSPI), and the Indian Statistical Institute, which was designated as an institute of national importance by an Act of Parliament.

• The ministry places a great deal of emphasis on the coverage and quality of statistics released in the country, which are derived from administrative sources, surveys and censuses conducted by the central and state governments, as well as non-official sources and studies.


NSO Group’s imports and cybersecurity

Tags: GS 2, Government Policies & Interventions, GS 3, Internal Security

In News

  • Cognyte, often marketed as an alternative to Pegasus, has sold technology to the Signal Intelligence Directorate, which falls under the Ministry of Defense.
  • In the United States, investors have filed a class action lawsuit against Cognyte Software Ltd.


  • 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.
  • The Pegasus spyware reportedly targeted Indian activists, journalists, and politicians in the past. A year has passed since the Pegasus Project revelations revealed the danger to India’s democracy.


  • Cybersecurity or information technology security refers to the techniques used to protect computers, networks, programmes, and data from unauthorised access or exploitative attacks.
  • Cyber security is the practise of protecting cyberspace from threats, specifically cyber-threats.
  • Cyber warfare:When a nation-state or international organisation uses computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks, for instance, to attempt to damage the computers or information networks of another nation.

Need for Robust Cybersecurity

  • A nation’s cyberspace is a part of the global cyberspace; its borders cannot be defined by isolating it because cyberspace is borderless. Cyberspace can and is expanding, unlike the physical world, which is limited by geographical boundaries in space (land, sea, river waters, and air). Increased Internet penetration is causing cyberspace to expand, as its size is proportional to the activities conducted within it.
  • India is poised to become a global leader in data, technology, digitalization, and social inclusion. The government has been at the forefront of driving technology-driven initiatives through flagship programmes such as Startup India, Digital India, etc. in order to foster a favourable business environment for existing and new companies to become global unicorns.
  • India has substantial growth potential in the coming years. And as the digital economy expands, its susceptibility to cyber threats and vulnerabilities increases. For example, the risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and financial institutions is increasing.
  • India has the highest number of Internet users who annually download millions of applications. Nonetheless, 80% of these applications lack adequate security.


cyber sec

Government Initiatives

  • The Government of India (GoI) has taken numerous technical, institutional, and legislative measures, including the National Cyber Security Policy (2013) and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, to address cybersecurity issues.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) established the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) 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 component of the Government of India’s Digital India initiative under MeitY, identifies botnets to create a secure cyberspace.
  • The Cyber and Information Security (C&IS) division of MHA handles Cyber Crime, Cyber Security, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), and National Information Security Policy & Guidelines matters (NISPG).
  • NATGRID is an integrated master database structure for intelligence that connects databases from multiple security agencies within the GoI.
  • MHA establishes the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme to provide states/UTs with USD 11,99 million for the establishment of cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories.
  • The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) was established by the Ministry of Home Affairs to address all types of cybercrime in the country in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. It incurs expenditures of USD 49.9 million.
  • The National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) are additional government initiatives pertaining to cybersecurity.
  • Card-on-File Tokenization, for instance, 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 to increase business confidence in accepting digital payments.

Solutions and Initiatives to safeguard India’s Cybersecurity journey 

  • Both state and federal governments, as well as the private sector, will need to play an active role in educating and training individuals. A significant portion of India’s population is digitally literate but ignorant of fundamental security measures.
  • The role of policymakers will be of equal importance, as they can assist the industry in accelerating innovation and introducing new solutions to the market with greater speed and agility.
  • Government and industry players must develop capabilities driven by advanced AI and ML technologies in order to combat cyber threats immediately.
  • AI/ML facilitates the analysis of data from millions of cyber incidents in order to identify potential threats or a new strain of malware.


First-Ever Anti-Spyware Declaration

• The United States and ten other countries issued the world’s first significant anti-spyware declaration.

· Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States are participating nations.

• The declaration recognises the significance of strict domestic and international controls on the spread and use of this technology.

• Necessity: the threat posed by the improper use of commercial spyware, such as Israeli software Pegasus and Hermit spyware.

Source: TH

Bill 2023, Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment)

Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues

In News

  • In the Lok Sabha, the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023 has been introduced.

Major Highlights of the Bill 

  • The purpose of this bill is to amend the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act of 2005.
  • This bill seeks to decriminalise offences under the Act in order to promote business efficiency and to refine the operational procedures of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority.
  • Additionally, it prohibits the use of harmful antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances in coastal aquaculture.
  • Objectives: to promote newer forms of environmentally friendly coastal aquaculture, such as cage culture, seaweed culture, marine ornamental fish culture, and pearl oyster culture, which has the potential to generate 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 third largest fish producer in the world and the second largest aquaculture nation after China. • The Blue Revolution in India demonstrated the significance of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. The sector is anticipated to play a significant role in the Indian economy in the near future and is regarded as a sunrise sector.
  • Indian fisheries have witnessed a paradigm shift from marine-dominated fisheries to inland fisheries in recent years, with inland fisheries emerging as a major contributor to fish production, from 36% in the mid-1980s to 70% in recent years.


  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): The Indian government approved the flagship Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) programme in May 2020 as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat COVID-19 relief package, with the goal of bringing about the Blue Revolution through the responsible and sustainable development of the fisheries sector.
  • A new sub-program titled Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana (PMMKSSY) was announced in the Union Budget 2023-24 to increase the earnings and incomes of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro- and small-scale 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 proposed a comprehensive strategy involving multiple stakeholders and government agencies to address the sector’s challenges.
  • Scientists stress the need for comprehensive legislation and an inter-state mechanism for fisheries management across the country.
  • The solution is a system of co-management involving the active participation of fishermen.

Source: TH

IFC will no longer support new coal-fired generation projects.

Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues

In News

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, has stated that it will not support investments in new coal projects.
  • The IFC is taking the next step towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.


  • Earlier in 2020, IFC unveiled a policy requiring clients to reduce their exposure to coal projects by half by 2025 and to zero by 2030. However, this policy did not prohibit new investments.
  • The IFC finances banks and other financial institutions, which in turn provide financing for infrastructure and energy projects. According to reports, the IFC has lent approximately $5 billion to 88 financial institutions in India.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

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

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Source: TH