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Activation of the WMCC on India-China Border Affairs

In News

  • Officials from India and China discuss a border dispute in Beijing.


  • Indian and Chinese diplomats recently met in Beijing to discuss the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • At the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Issues (WMCC) meeting, the joint secretary (East Asia) from the external affairs ministry headed the Indian delegation.
  • India has requested that front-line troops be withdrawn to help normalise bilateral relations.
  • The WMCC on India-China Border Issues was activated in May 2020, after the confrontation on the Line of Actual Control began.
  • The recent conference in Beijing marks the organization’s first in-person gathering since then.
  • The eastern Ladakh border stalemate began on May 5, 2020, after a violent confrontation in the Pangong lake region.
  • The discussions were “open and constructive,” but there was no evidence of a breakthrough.
  • Following the savage conflict in the Galwan Valley in 2020, relations between the two nations deteriorated drastically.
  • Military and diplomatic discussions have aided the 2021 disengagement process on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake and in the Gogra region.


Major friction points along the India-China border

  • Depsang Plains: This region is located in the northernmost section of Ladakh and has previously been invaded by Chinese troops.
  • Demchok: This region in eastern Ladakh has been the site of boundary disputes between India and China.
  • Pangong Lake: This area has been a major flashpoint between the two countries, with Chinese troops attempting to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region.
  • Gogra and Hot Springs: In recent years, Indian and Chinese troops have engaged in skirmishes in these two regions of eastern Ladakh.
  • Arunachal Pradesh: This northeastern Indian state is claimed by China as part of its territory and has been a major point of contention between the two countries.


Importance of Peace for India and China

  • Economic cooperation: India and China are two of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, and stronger relations between the two countries can facilitate an increase in trade and investment.
  • Regional stability: India and China are two major powers in Asia, and their relations have a significant impact on regional stability.
  • Border security: Maintaining border security and avoiding any problems or misunderstandings at the border requires a healthy relationship between the two nations.

Geopolitics: India and China are both key participants in the global geopolitical landscape, and their harmonious coexistence is crucial for creating a more stable and predictable global environment.


Challenges of India-China peace process:

  • Border Disputes: Despite multiple rounds of negotiations, the two sides have been unable to resolve the border dispute, particularly along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Strategic Competition: India and China are both large regional powers with competing interests in the region, resulting in strategic competition in areas such as trade, infrastructure development, and influence over neighbouring nations.
  • Differences in Political Systems: India is a democracy, while China is a one-party state this differences in political systems have led to a lack of mutual trust and understanding.
  • Military Build-up: The military build-up by both countries along the border has increased tensions and made the peace process more challenging.
  • Historical Issues: Histories, especially the Sino-Indian War of 1962, continue to impact the relationship between the two nations.
  • Geopolitical Factors: Geopolitical factors, such as the increasing role of the United States in the region, have also added to the complexity of the India-China peace process.

Way ahead

  • The India-China peace process demands ongoing efforts from both parties to resolve these obstacles and create mutual trust and comprehension.
  • To further calm the border situation, it is necessary to continue conversations through military and diplomatic channels and to effectively implement the crucial agreement struck by the leaders of the two nations.
  • Peace between India and China is crucial for the economic, political, and strategic interests of both nations, as well as regional and global stability.

Source: TH

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy report

In News

  • Recently, the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) published a paper entitled The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.


  • This edition of the report emphasises the significance of language as a crucial fundamental ability in the acquisition of early literacy.
  • The report was compiled by the Institute for Competitiveness, India at Harvard Business School.
  • It covers the essential principles children need to become proficient readers and identifies the unique problems they confront in a multilingual setting.
  • A portion of the report focuses on the multiple initiatives now being implemented at the national and state levels to achieve the NIPUN-described foundational learning objectives.

Significance of Report:

  • • The study serves as a benchmark for states and union territories to measure their progress towards providing universal basic education by 2026-27.
  • The report’s results encompass a variety of elements, including the role of nutrition, access to digital technology, and a language-centered educational strategy.


NIPUN (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy) Bharat Scheme:

  •  Introduced as part of NEP 2020 (National Education Policy).
  • Aims to meet the educational requirements of children aged 3 to 9 years.
  •  Centers on
  • · providing access to and retaining pupils in elementary school;
  •  teacher capability development;
  •  creation of high-quality, varied Student and Teacher Resources and Learning Materials;
  •  monitoring each student’s progress towards achieving learning outcomes.

o    The Department of School Education and Literacy administers the NIPUN Bharat initiative.


  •     It is an independent agency that provides economic and policy-related advice to the government, particularly the Prime Minister.
  • Established in September 2017 for a two-year term, replacing the former PMEAC;
  • Role & Responsibility: o Analyzing and advising on any economic or non-economic subject presented to it by the Prime Minister.
  • o Handling matters of macroeconomic significance and offering comments to the Prime Minister,” either independently or in response to a reference.
    • · Delivering periodic reports on “macroeconomic developments and issues with ramifications for economic policy” to the Prime Minister.

Source: PIB

Asian malaria vector

In Context

  • A lethal malaria vector from Asia has recently been found in Kenya which is likely to impede Kenya’s huge progress in the fight against malaria.
  • Kenya is now the sixth and latest country in Africa to declare an invasion of the deadly malaria species.

Asian malaria vector- Anopheles Stephensi 

  • Origin:
    • Anopheles Stephensi originated in Southeast Asia, West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Spread:
  • The species’ distribution has expanded over the past decade, with the first detections in Africa being in Djibouti (2012), Ethiopia and Sudan (2016), Somalia (2019), and Nigeria (2019). (2020).
  • Characteristic features:
  •  According to reports, the species spreads more rapidly in different climatic conditions, particularly in countries experiencing rapid urban development through devolution, such as Kenya, where population growth rates in cities are escalating and malaria control programmes are concentrated in rural areas.
  • It also offers a considerable hazard because, unlike other major malaria-causing mosquito vectors that reproduce largely in rural regions, Anopheles Stephensi is very adaptable and may thrive in urban areas.
  • Risk & potential:
  • The lethal vector may also be silently wreaking havoc and killing people in other desert African regions, particularly those with minimal or no surveillance.
  • There is a chance that Anopheles Stephensi will move further south and west from its initial detection sites in the Horn of Africa.

About Malaria

  • About:
  • It is a preventable and treatable disease that continues to have a terrible impact on the health and well-being of people worldwide.
  • There were a projected 241 million new cases of malaria and 627 thousand deaths attributable to malaria in 85 countries in 2020.
  • More than two-thirds of deaths in the WHO African Region occurred among children under the age of five.
  • Cause: 
  • plasmodium parasites produce this life-threatening condition.
  • Transmission: 
  • Parasites are transmitted through the bites of infected Anopheles female mosquitoes.
  • Parasites in the human body multiply in liver cells before attacking Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
  • There are five parasite species that cause Malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax being the most dangerous.
  • Distribution: 
  •  It is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South America, and Asia.
  • Symptoms: 
  •  Fever and influenza-like symptoms, such as chills, headache, muscle pain, and weariness.
  • Prevention and Cure:
  • It is both avoidable and treatable.
  • The primary method for preventing and reducing malaria transmission is vector control.
  • Malaria is prevented by antimalarial drugs such as chemoprophylaxis and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).
  • Vaccine:
    • WHO has recommended the broad use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine for young children living in areas with moderate and high malaria transmission.

Source: DTE

22nd Law Commission

In News

  • The Union Cabinet has just extended the tenure of the 22nd Law Commission until August 31, 2024.

About the Law Commission of India

  • About:
  •  The Law Commission of India is a non-statutory organisation.
  •  It was established by a notification from the Government of India’s Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs.
  • Terms of reference & recommendations:
  • It is created with specific terms of reference to conduct research in the field of law.
  • In accordance with its terms of reference, the Commission offers recommendations to the government in the form of reports.
  • Until recently, the Law Commission has addressed a variety of issues based on referrals from the Department of Legal Affairs, the Supreme Court, and the High Courts.
  • Origin:
  •  Under British colonial authority in India, the East India Company established the first Law Commission under the Charter Act of 1833, under the leadership of Lord Macaulay.
  •  Thereafter, three other commissions were established in India before to independence.
  • Post-independence: 
  • In post-independence India, the tradition of pursuing legal reform through a law commission remained.
  • The first law commission in independent India was constituted in 1955, followed by the establishment of twenty additional law commissioners.
  • Constitution of the 22nd Law Commission:
    • Head:
    • Former Karnataka High Court Chief Judge Rituraj Awasthi heads the Commission.
    • Function:
      • The Commission shall, among other things, “identify laws which are no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed; examine the existing laws in light of Directive Principles of State Policy and suggest ways of improvement and reform and also suggest such legislations as might be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and attain the objectives set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution”; and “revise the Central Acts of general importance.”
      • The Commission is also looking into several significant issues like
  • Adoption of a uniform civil code (UCC);
  • holding simultaneous elections

Source: TH

Jaipur Declaration

In News

  • The Railway Protection Force and UIC recently endorsed the “Jaipur Declaration” at the 18th International Security Congress.


  • The Jaipur declaration” offers an actionable agenda for the UIC to explore creative ideas that can assist global railway organisations in achieving their long-term safety and security objective.
  • It underscored UIC’s aim to provide a safer and more secure global rail network by activating the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and African regional assemblies in full by 2025.

About UIC

  • Established in 1922, the UIC (Union International Des Chemins) or International Union of Railways has its headquarters in Paris.


  • It is the worldwide professional organisation that represents the railway industry for research, development, and promotion of rail transport.


  • Members are encouraged to take an active role in UIC working groups and assemblies, which form the railroad industry’s stance on regional and global concerns.
  • Active participation in the working groups is a unique opportunity to voice opinions and benefit from the weight of the railway sector at a coordinated worldwide level.
  • The Security Platform of UIC is tasked with developing and formulating analytical and policy positions on behalf of the worldwide rail sector pertaining to the security of persons, property, and installations.

18th World Security Congress

  • Railway Protection Force India and UIC organised the UIC World Security Congress 2023 which was held in Jaipur on 20-23 February 2023.
  • The conference brought together experts, stakeholders, and delegates from around the world to discuss the latest developments and best practices in railway security.
  • Topic: “Railway Security Strategy: Reactions and Future Vision”

About Railway Protection Force (RPF)

  • The RPF is India’s premier security and law enforcement agency in the realm of railway security.


  • Formed in 1957 as a federal force, the RPF is responsible for ensuring the safety of railway property, passengers, and passenger zones.
  • RPF motto: “SEWA HI SANKALP”


  • It has been deploying unique solutions tailored to typical ground-zero requirements.
  • The RPF holds the distinction of being the Indian federal force with the highest proportion of women.


Comptroller and Auditor General

In News

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has just been appointed External Auditor of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva for a four-year period from 2024 to 2027.


  • CAG is an independent authority under the Constitution of India.
  • Articles 148 through 151 of the Indian Constitution address the establishment of the CAG of India. In terms of precedence, the CAG has the same standing as a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • He is the chief of the Indian department of audit and accounts.
  • It is the institution that ensures the government and other public authorities are accountable to Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • CAG’s appointment as an external auditor is a recognition of its standing among the international community as well as its professionalism, high standards, global audit experience and strong national credentials.
International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • • The International Labour Organization was founded in 1919 by the League of Nations and became an exclusive agency of the United Nations in 1946.
  • The ILO brings together the governments, employers, and employees of its 187 member states in order to establish labour standards, create laws, and design programmes that promote decent employment for all women and men.
  • The primary objectives of the ILO are to promote workers’ rights, stimulate good employment opportunities, reinforce social protection, and promote debate on work-related issues.
  • India has ratified about six out of the eight core/fundamental ILO conventions. They are:
    •  Convention on Compulsory Labour (No. 29)
    •  Convention on the Abolition of Forced Work (No.105)
    • Equitable Remuneration Convention (No.100)
    • Convention Against Discrimination (Employment Occupation) (No.111)
    •  Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
    • Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (No.182)
  • India still needs to ratify the two main core/fundamental conventions:
    •   The protection of the Right and Freedom of Association to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
    •  The Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98

Source: AIRPIB

Supreme Court’s Neutral Citation System

In News

  • The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has declared that the Supreme Court of India will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its decisions.


  • The HCs of Delhi, Kerala, and Madras have already implemented neutral citation.
  • The first portion will be until January 1, 2023, the second portion will be until 2014, and the last portion will be from 1950. Thus from now on, all judgements will include neutral citations.

Neutral Citation

  • A case citation is an identification tag for a judgement that includes a reference number, the year of the judgement, the name of the court that issued the judgement, and an abbreviation for the journal publishing the judgement.
  • A case citation includes a reference number, the year of the judgement, the name of the court that issued the judgement, and an abbreviation for A neutral citation would indicate that the court would assign its own citation, separate from those provided by standard Law Reporters.
  • Law Reporters are annual digests that publish judgements, frequently with an editorial note to make precedents easily accessible to lawyers.

Need for Neutral Citation

  • A few decades ago, quoting cases was simple because the number of lawsuits was low, resulting in fewer judicial declarations administered by a handful of official law reporters. But, as the number of lawsuits increased, an increasing number of law reporters appeared.
  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to translate decisions and transcribe court proceedings necessitates a uniform citation.
  • For the purpose of streamlining the adjudicative procedure and avoiding misunderstanding resulting from multiple people citing the same case in different ways.



Uttarakhand Signs MOU to build ropeway to Yamunotri temple

In News

  • The government of Uttarakhand has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth?167 crore for a ropeway from Kharsali to the Yamunotri temple.


  • The Ropeway will cut the time it takes pilgrims to reach the holy shrine from four hours to fifteen minutes.
  • Project Features
    • Estimated cost: Rs.12,000 crores.
    • Length of Ropeway: 3.38-km-long
    • Deadline: three years
    • Type: monocable detachable type
  •  It will be capable of transporting 500 passengers every hour.
  • This ropeway will operate as a public-private partnership (PPE).
  • Yamunotri temple
    • It is lodged in a narrow gorge close to the source of River Yamuna (the second-most sacred Indian river after River Ganga) in Uttarkashi district and  is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna.

Chardham Yatra

  • The Char Dham, also known as the four abodes, is a collection of four pilgrimage sites in India.
  • According to Adi Shankaracharya, the Char Dham consists of four Hindu pilgrimage locations.
  • Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameshwaram are the four Dhams.

Chota Char Dham(Uttarakhand)

Chota Char Dham is a short circuit in Uttarakhand that includes four pilgrimage sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. It is popular in North India.

  • This Yatra or pilgrimage is a visit of four holy sites in the Himalayas: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.
  • Each year, the high-altitude shrines are closed for around six months, opening in the summer (April or May) and closing with the advent of winter (October or November).


About Chardham project:

  • The project involves developing and widening nearly 900-km of national highways connecting the holy Hindu pilgrimage sites of; Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
  • The foundation stone for the Char Dham road project was laid by PM Narendra Modi in December 2016.


Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty

In News

  • The Indian Ministry of Earth Science asks UN member states to maintain their commitment to the conservation and preservation of oceans and their biodiversity.


  • India asks United Nations member states to support conservation and sustainable economic development in accordance with UNCLOS.
  • States must be determined to support global organisations in reaching an effective agreement on the protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.
  • It is necessary to address obstacles, including money, intellectual property, and institutional systems.
  • Member states can work on Capacity Development, Technology Transfer, and Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • It has also requested that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea encourage sustainable economic development and the welfare of coastal communities (UNCLOS).
  • India has also expressed its support for the alliance with ambitious goals for the early conclusion of the International Legally Binding Instrument – Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) under UNCLOS.
  • The adoption of the BBNJ agreement demonstrates an international commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.
  • There is a need for a legislative framework to conserve the vital resources of the world’s oceans, of which more than 60 percent have yet to be managed and regulated.

Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

  • It refers to the marine biodiversity found in areas beyond national sovereignty, which make up more than sixty percent of the world’s oceans.
  • It is not governed by any conservation-oriented legal structure, making it susceptible to overexploitation and degradation.

Importance of biodiversity conservation:

  • Ecosystem services: Biodiversity offers critical ecological services like air and water purification, climate regulation, pollination, and soil fertility.
  • Economic benefits: Biodiversity supports economic activities such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism, which generate livelihoods and income for millions of people around the world.
  • Medical advances: Many anti-illness and anti-disease medications are produced from plants and animals found in nature.
  • Cultural and spiritual values: It is an integral part of many cultures and religions, and is valued for its aesthetic, recreational, and spiritual benefits.
  • Conservation of endangered species: Biodiversity conservation helps to protect endangered species and prevent their extinction, which can have far-reaching ecological and social impacts.

Challenges of Biodiversity conservation:

  • Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Human activities like as deforestation, mining, and land-use change have resulted in the destruction and fragmentation of habitats, leading to a fall in biodiversity.
  • Climate Change: Climate change is causing significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, leading to alterations in ecosystems, shifts in species’ ranges, and changes in the timing of life cycle events.
  • Overexploitation: Overfishing, hunting, and harvesting of natural resources have resulted in the depletion of many species, with some facing the threat of extinction.
  • Pollution: Pollution from industrial activities, agriculture, and urbanization has led to the contamination of soil, water, and air, which has adversely affected biodiversity.
  • Invasive Species: Either intentionally or unintentionally by humans, invasive species can outcompete native species for resources and cause their extinction.
  • Lack of Political Will: Despite the importance of biodiversity conservation, many governments have not made it a priority, and international efforts have not always been effective due to a lack of political will.
  • Limited Resources: Conservation activities necessitate substantial financial resources, which are not always available or allocated appropriately.
  • India’s Approach to Biodiversity Management:
  • India has participated actively in the negotiations for the formation of an international legally binding instrument for the protection and sustainable use of BBNJ under the Convention on the Law of the Sea of the United Nations (UNCLOS).
  • The “Biodiversity Act of 2002” highlights India’s dedication to conservation, sustainable utilisation, and equitable benefit sharing.
  • India supports the formation of new institutions or the strengthening of existing institutions with a robust democratic method of operation.
  • India has prioritised capacity development, the transfer of marine technology, and Environmental Impact Assessment.


United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS)
  •  This international agreement was adopted in 1982 and went into effect in 1994.
  •  It establishes a comprehensive framework for the use and conservation of the world’s oceans, including rules for maritime boundaries, navigation, resource management, and environmental protection.
  •  It has been ratified by 168 countries, including India, making it one of the world’s most universally acknowledged agreements.
  •  It recognises the rights and duties of coastal states within their separate maritime zones, including the 200-nautical-mile-wide exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  •  UNCLOS has also served as the legal basis for numerous international agreements pertaining to the oceans, such as:
  • Convention on the Diversity of Biological (CBD)
  • Convention on the International Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)
  • Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention


Way ahead

  • The international community must arrive to a consensus on a legally binding instrument that covers the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ.
  • The treaty must also address equitable benefit sharing, capacity building, and the transfer of maritime technology.
  • There is a need to increase scientific understanding of marine biodiversity in areas outside national authority.
  • Conservation of biodiversity is crucial for sustaining a healthy planet and a sustainable future for all life.

Source: DTE


Comprehensive Group Standard for Millets

In News

  • As of September 1, 2023, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has specified a comprehensive group standard for millets.


  • Just a few millets, including Sorghum (Jowar), whole and decorticated Pearl Millet grain (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), and Amaranth, had separate requirements imposed by FSSAI in 2011.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive group standard for 15 types of millets that specifies 8 quality parameters, including maximum limits for moisture content, uric acid content, extraneous matter, other edible grains, defects, weevilled grains, and immature and shrivelled grains, in order to ensure the availability of high-quality (standardised) millets on domestic and international markets.
  • The group standard is applicable to the following millets.:
    • Amaranthus (Chaulai or Rajgira)
    • Barnyard Millet ((Samakechawal or  Sanwa or Jhangora)
    • Brown top (Korale)
    • Buckwheat (Kuttu)
    • Crab finger (Sikiya)
    • Finger Millet (Ragi or Mandua)
    • Fonio (Acha)
    • Foxtail Millet (Kangni or Kakun)
    • Job’s tears (Adlay)
    • Kodo Millet (Kodo)
    • Little Millet (Kutki)
    • Pearl Millet (Bajra)
    • Proso Millet (Cheena)
    • Sorghum (Jowar)
    • Teff (Lovegrass)
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • The Food Safety and Standards Act of India (FSSAI) was founded by the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, which consolidated different legislation and regulations that previously addressed food-related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
  • It was established to establish science-based standards for food products and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import in order to assure the availability of safe and nutritious food for human consumption.
  • The Administrative Ministry for the execution of FSSAI is the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

About Millets 

  • Millets are a type of small-grained cereal food crops that are very resistant to drought and other adverse weather conditions and require minimal chemical inputs such as fertilisers and insecticides.
  • Millets are gluten-free, have a low Glycemic Index (GI), and are rich in dietary fibre and micronutrients such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, etc.
  • To increase awareness and promote millets, millets were rebranded as “Nutri Cereals” in 2018 and 2018 was declared the National Year of Millets.
  • Subsequently, at its 75th session, the United Nations General Assembly designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM 2023).February