Online Quiz Test

Sursingar, Karakattam & Mandolin

In Context

  • In his Mann ki Baat address, the prime minister mentioned a variety of musical instruments and folk artists whom he hoped would “continue to encourage everyone at the grassroots to increase the popularity of performing arts.”


  • Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar: 
  • Since 2006, the Sangeet Natak Akademi has presented the “Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar” to performers who have displayed exceptional talent in the arts of music, dance, and drama.
  • Outstanding young practitioners under the age of 40 are eligible, and the award is not granted posthumously.
  • Yuva Puraskar will be awarded annually, and the total number of awards cannot exceed 33 each year.
    • Artists named by PM who were conferred with Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar: Joydeep Mukherjee for Sursingar.
  • Uppalpu Nagmani has won an award for Mandolin Carnatic Instrumental.
  • V Durga Devi ji earned this award for the ancient dance genre Karakattam.
  • Sangram Singh Suhas Bhandare has been honoured for Warkari Kirtan.
    • Saikhom Surchandra Singh for proficiency in the creation of the Meitei Pung Instrument. This musical instrument has ties to Manipur.
  • Pooran Singh is a Divyang musician who popularised a variety of music styles, including Rajula-Malushahi, Nyuli, Hudka Bol, and Jagar.
  • Sursingar:
  • The Sursingar is a stringed instrument constructed from ivory and wood. This traditional instrument is widespread throughout North India.
  • The instrument typically has four strings composed of brass or bronze, which are plucked with a metal pick.
  • The Sursingar (together with the Rudra Veena and the Surbahar) typically accompanies Dhrupad, a kind of Hindustani vocal music characterised by a low, profound, and reflective pitch.
  • Due to the fact that only a small number of craftsmen currently produce the Sursingar, the instrument is rarely used in performances. Joydeep Mukherjee, a multi-instrumentalist from Kolkata, is credited for revitalising the Sursingar.
    • Noted performers: Baba Allauddin Khan, Birendra Kishore Roy Choudhury, Shaukat Ali Khan and Radhika Mohan Maitra.
  • Karakattam:
  • Karakattam is an old Tamil Nadu folk dance in which performers in colourful saris dance with a pot (karakam) on their heads to invoke Mariamman, the rain goddess.
  • This dance is traditionally divided into two types: Aatta Karakam signifies joy and happiness. It is primarily performed for amusement. Sakthi Karakam is exclusively conducted in temples as a religious sacrifice.
  • It consists of three tiers of multicoloured flower arrangements on a container filled to the brim with either water, rice, or dirt.
  • Other highlights including blowing fire, inserting needles into eyeballs, and balancing a bottle on the performer’s back while holding it parallel to the ground are also included.
  • V Durga Devi is a renowned Karakattam dancer from Salem.
  • Mandolin:
  • The Prime Minister also cited the mandolin, a stringed instrument with typically eight plucked strings.
  • The mandolin is a medium-sized instrument, smaller than the veena, sitar, and guitar, and was invented in Europe in the 18th century as a development of the older mandora (Mandola).
  • The contemporary design and proportions of the instrument were heavily influenced by its manufacturer Pasquale Vinaccia of Naples (1806-82).
  • The mandolin has a long history of use in Indian film music, having been employed by a number of famous composers.
    • Noted Performers: Uppalapu Srinivas, commonly referred to as ‘Mandolin’ Srinivas, was the finest exponent of the mandolin in Indian classical music.
    • Before him, the finest classical mandolinist was Sajjad Hussain, and the greatest Bollywood mandolinist was Kishore Desai, who played the instrument innumerable times.
    • Snehashish Mozumder, Pradipto Sengupta, and N. S. Prasad are presently India’s most renowned mandolinists.

Source: IE

Core Within Earth’s Core

In News

  • Recent research indicates that the innermost inner core of the Earth is completely distinct from the rest of the planet’s centre.

More about the study

  • About:
  • For a very long time, scientists have studied the centre of the Earth in an effort to comprehend planetary genesis and evolution.
  •  Until recently, it was assumed that the Earth’s structure consisted of the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core.
  • Fifth layer:
  • According to new study published in Nature Communications, there is in fact a fifth layer.
  • The intensive study of Earth’s deep interior, based on the behaviour of seismic waves from large earthquakes, confirmed the existence of a distinct structure within our planet’s inner core – a wickedly hot innermost solid ball of iron and nickel measuring about 800 miles (1,300 kilometres) in diameter.
  • Earth’s internal structure:
    • Earth’s diameter is about 7,900 miles (12,750 km). The planet’s internal structure comprises four layers:
      • A rocky crust on the outside,
      • A rocky mantle,
      • An outer core made of magma and
      • A solid inner core.
        • This metallic inner core, about 1,500 miles (2,440) wide, was discovered in the 1930s, also based on seismic waves traveling through Earth.
  • Significance of Earth’s inner core (IC):
  • The inner core (IC) of the Earth, which comprises less than 1% of the planet’s volume, is a time capsule of our planet’s history.
  • When the inner core (IC) expands, the latent heat and light elements released by the solidification process drive the convection of the liquid outer core, which in turn maintains the geodynamo.

More about the layers of Earth’s interior

  • The Crust 
  • It is the outermost solid part of the earth.
  • It is brittle in nature.
  • The thickness of the crust varies under the oceanic and continental areas.
    • The oceanic crust is thinner compared to the continental crust.
    • The continental crust is thicker in the areas of major mountain systems.
  • The Mantle 
    • It is the portion of the interior beyond the crust.
    • The asthenosphere
  • Asthenosphere describes the uppermost region of the mantle.
  • The term ‘astheno’ denotes feeble.
  • It is the principal source of magma that reaches the surface during volcanic eruptions.
  • The lower mantle is thicker than the asthenosphere.
    • The lithosphere 
      • The crust and the uppermost part of the mantle are called lithosphere.
      • It is in a solid state.
  • The core 
    • The earthquake wave velocities helped in understanding the existence of the core of the earth.
    • The outer core is in a liquid state while the inner core is in a solid state.
    • The core is made up of very heavy material mostly composed of nickel and iron.


Seismic waves

  • About:
    • Seismic waves are the shockwaves of released energy that shake the Earth and briefly transform soft deposits when an earthquake occurs.
  • The phrase is derived from the Greek word seismos, which means “earthquake.”
  • Occurrence:
  • They are typically created by the shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates, but can also be the result of explosions, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.
  • Seismographs:
    • Seismologists use seismographs to record the amount of time it takes seismic waves to travel through different layers of the Earth.
  • There are three basic types of seismic waves: 
    • P-waves, S-waves and Surface waves (Rayleigh and Love waves).
      • P-waves and S-waves are sometimes collectively called Body Waves.
    • Body waves:

§  Created as a result of the discharge of energy at the focus and travelling through the body of the earth in all directions. Therefore the term body waves.

§  Only travel through the interior of the planet.

§  More rapid than surface waves.

§  P-primary waves and S-secondary waves are the two forms of body waves.

    • • P waves travel through gaseous, liquid, and solid substances, whereas S waves only move through solid substances.
    • Surface Waves:

• When body waves interact with surface rocks, a new set of waves known as surface waves is formed.

• These waves travel along the surface of the earth. Surface waves are transverse waves in which the movement of particles is perpendicular to the propagation of the wave. They form crests and troughs in the material they move through.

• These are the most destructive waves. Love waves and Rayleigh waves are two prevalent types of surface waves.

  • Speed of different Waves in descending order: 

Primaries > Secondaries > Love Waves > Rayleigh Waves.

Source: TH

Ending Manual Scavenging in India

In News

  • The Supreme Court recently ordered the government to submit a report detailing the measures taken to halt manual scavenging.


  • The court requested information on the efforts taken by the government to eliminate manual scavenging, including rehabilitation, compensation, and family rehabilitation.
  • The court has also ruled it illegal to enter sewers without protective gear, even in emergency cases.
  • Before, according to a declaration made by the Union government to Lok Sabha, no one in India had perished from manual scavenging in the previous three years (2019 to 2022).

What is Manual Scavenging?

  • Manual scavenging is the process of manually cleaning, transporting, disposing of, or otherwise handling human excreta or any other type of dry or wet waste from insanitary latrines, open sewers, septic tanks, or other similar locations.
  • Manual scavenging is a demeaning practise involving the use of basic and frequently hazardous instruments like as brooms, buckets, and baskets, which can result in major health risks, accidents, and even death.

Manual scavenging: A Sad Story

  • According to the 2011 Census of India, more than 740,000 Indian households still engaged in manual scavenging.
  • In India, people from lower castes, such as Dalits, are compelled to perform manual scavenging.
  • According to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, 482 manual scavengers perished in India between 2016 and 2019 while cleaning sewers and septic tanks.
  • According to the Safai Karamchari Andolan, there are still over 1.8 million manual scavengers in India.
  • Due to exposure to hazardous vapours in septic tanks and sewer lines, a large number of manual scavengers suffer from a variety of health conditions, including skin disorders, respiratory problems, and even death.
  • From 2019 to 2022, 233 persons died in accidents involving the hazardous cleaning of sewer and septic tanks. The largest number of fatalities occurred in Haryana with 13, followed by Maharashtra with 12 and Tamil Nadu with 10.
  • This maintains the cycle of caste-based discrimination and social marginalisation, as the majority of manual scavenging is performed by those from lower castes, such as Dalits.

Steps Taken by the Government

  • • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was enacted to prohibit manual scavenging;
  • • The National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) was developed by the government to prevent deaths caused by the hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks;
  • • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act of 2013 to further strengthen the ban and to allow for the rehabilitation of individuals who are engaged as manual scavengers.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court directed the government to take several measures including:
  • One-time cash assistance to people employed as manual scavengers
  • Houses for manual scavengers
  • Training in livelihood skills for at least one member of their families
  • Concessional loans to prop them up financially and find an occupation
  • Payment of ?10 lakh in compensation in the case of sewer deaths
  • Despite the legal prohibition and government efforts to eradicate manual scavenging, the practice still persists in various parts of the country.

Challenges of stopping manual scavenging

  • Social stigma: Manual scavenging has been associated with certain castes and communities, which has resulted in social discrimination and stigmatization of people engaged in manual scavenging.
  • Lack of awareness: There is a lack of awareness among people about the health hazards associated with manual scavenging, which has resulted in people continuing to engage in this practice.
  • Insufficient implementation: While laws and regulations have been put in place to prohibit manual scavenging, their implementation has been poor in many areas.
  • Poor infrastructure: In many parts of India, there is a lack of proper sanitation infrastructure, which has resulted in people engaging in manual scavenging to clean the sewage.
  • Inadequate rehabilitation measures: Many of the rehabilitation schemes have not been implemented properly, which has resulted in people not being able to find alternative sources of livelihood.

What more can be done?

  • Strict implementation of laws: Providing strict enforcement of laws that ban it will serve as a disincentive for those who engage in it.
  • Awareness campaigns: Raising awareness among people about the health hazards associated with manual scavenging campaigns, workshops, and other awareness programs.
  • Sanitation infrastructure: The construction of a modern sanitation system can go a long way towards eliminating hand scavenging. This includes the construction of restrooms, drainage systems, and sewage treatment facilities.
  • Technology-based solutions: It is possible to replace hand scavenging with technological solutions, such as sewage-cleaning trucks and robots.
  • Rehabilitation of manual scavengers: Measures like providing alternative sources of livelihood, education, and training can help rehabilitate people and enable them to find jobs in other sectors and lead a dignified life.
  • Strict action against violators: Strict action including fines, imprisonment, and cancellation of licenses must be taken against those who engage in manual scavenging.

Source: TH

“Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island” Project

In News

  • The “Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island” project faces significant criticism due to its influence on the island’s forest and coastline ecology, as well as the indigenous tribes.

More about the Project

  •  The Great Nicobar Development project proposes:
    • The 8.45-square-km airport
    • Rs 72,000-crore township (149.60 sq km);
    • A container transshipment terminal (7.66 sq km); and
    • A power plant (0.4 sq km).
  • Infrastructure management:
  • The port will be under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy.
  • The airport will serve both military and civilian purposes, as well as the tourism industry.
  • Highways, public transportation, water supply and waste management facilities, as well as a number of hotels, have been envisioned as tourist amenities.

Significance of the Project 

  • Defence, Strategic, National Security, and Public importance:
  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the proposed international airport will be “built as a dual-use military and civilian airport under the operational authority of the Indian Navy.”
  • It was stated that the initiative was for “Defense, Strategic, National Security, and Public Use.”
  • Rising Chinese assertiveness in the Bay of Bengal and Indo-Pacific has heightened the urgency of this necessity during the past few years.
  • Economic and strategic importance:
    • The island has a lot of tourism potential, but the government’s greater goal is to leverage the locational advantage of the island for economic and strategic reasons.
    • Location:
  • Great Nicobar lies equidistant from Colombo to the southwest and Port Klang and Singapore to the southeast.
  • It is located near the East-West international shipping corridor, through which a significant portion of the world’s shipping commerce flows.
  • Cargo transshipment:
  • · The projected International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) could serve as a hub for cargo ships on this route.
  • · The projected port will enable Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by transforming it into a significant cargo transshipment hub.
  • Job generation:
    • More than 1 lakh new direct jobs and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs are likely to be created on the island over the period of development.

Environmental Challenges

  • Diverting forest land:
  • o The project requires the diversion of 130 square kilometres of forest area and the felling of 8.5 million trees.
  • Ecologically important and fragile region:
  • Several environmentalists are disturbed by the proposed enormous infrastructure expansion in an ecologically significant and vulnerable region, which includes the destruction of about one million trees.
  • Impacting coral reefs & mangroves:
  • They have warned that the loss of tree cover will not only impair the flora and wildlife on the island, but will also increase runoff and silt deposits in the ocean, negatively impacting the coral reefs in the region.
  • Coral reefs, already threatened by ocean warming, are of immense biological importance.
  • Environmentalists have also raised concerns over the destruction of mangroves on the island due to the development project.

Way ahead

  • The Environment Ministry has suspended all forest clearing discussions for the whole 166.10-square-kilometer project approved by the statutory Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), which includes the airport.
  • The FAC is an expert body that reviews and approves forest land conversion for projects.


The Island

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
    • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a cluster of about 836 islands in the eastern Bay of Bengal, the two groups of which are separated by the 150-km wide Ten Degree Channel.
    • The Andaman Islands lie to the north of the channel, and the Nicobar Islands to the south.
    • Great Nicobar, the southernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, has an area of 910 sq km.
  • Great Nicobar island:
    • India’s southernmost point:
    • Less than 150 kilometres separate Indira Point on the southern tip of Great Nicobar Island from the northernmost island of the Indonesian archipelago.
    • Protected area:
      • Great Nicobar is home to two national parks and a biosphere reserve.
    • Inhabitants:
    • Shompen and Nicobarese native peoples inhabit the island, along with ex-servicemen from Punjab, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh who migrated there in the 1970s.
    • Flora & fauna:
      • The Great Nicobar Island has tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges reaching almost 650 m above sea level, and coastal plains.
      • Fourteen species of mammals, 71 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, and 113 species of fish are found on the island, some of which are endangered.
      • The leatherback sea turtle is the island’s flagship species.

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC)

  • • The FAC is a statutory body established by the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 to advise the government on forest clearing approvals.
  •  It meets at least once a month to debate suggestions based on an agenda pre-published by the ministry, which also posts meeting minutes on its website.


Source: TH

India’s $5 billion Defence Exports Target

In News

  • The Ministry of Defense has recently decided to increase India’s yearly export target for defence goods to $5 billion by 2024-25.


  • According to a research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published in 2022, Indian defence exports have surged by 334% over the past five years.

o India is one of the top 25 exporters of military equipment to more than 75 countries.

  • As of December 2022, the value of India’s defence exports had reached Rs 6,058 billion.

What does India Export?

  • India exports large defence platforms such as the indigenous LCA Tejas, the Advanced Light Helicopter, and fast patrol vessels.
  • India also exports missile systems such as the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers.
  • India also exports Personal Protection Items, SU Avionics, Bharati Radio, Coastal Surveillance Systems, Kavach MoD II Launcher and FCS, Spares for Radar, Electronic System, and Light Engineering Mechanical Components, among others, in the defence industry.

Major Export Destinations

  • According to a survey published by India Exim Bank, between 2017 and 2021, Mauritius(6.6), Mozambique (5), and Seychelles(2.3) were among the top buyers for India’s defence exports.
  • In terms of ammunition, Myanmar was the largest importer of Indian armaments during the period of 2017-2021, importing fifty percent, followed by Sri Lanka with twenty-five percent and Armenia with eleven percent.

Government Initiatives

  • • India’s defence exports have increased as a result of the government’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in the defence sector. 75 percent of the capital budget for the defence in 2023–24 will be allocated to purchases from domestic suppliers as a result of indigenization activities.
  • o three positive indigenization lists with 3,738 items, which establish an import ban on the items listed.
  • • Development of two defence industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, as well as simplification of processes, with the goal of increasing defence exports.
  • Licensing relaxation: Measures like simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates has improved ease of doing buisness.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy to encourage defence exports and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import India’s defence products.


  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisitions worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of Development.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: The duplication of authority between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Industry Development hinders India’s capacity for defence production.
  • Lack of quality: In a few instances, the increased indigenous content is entirely attributable to low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.

Way Forward

  • The expansion of India’s defence sector benefits India not only strategically, but also economically by lowering imports and creating jobs.

Source: TH

FATF suspends Russia’s membership over Ukraine war

In News

  • As a result of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently suspended its membership.


  • The FATF recently expressed its sympathy for the Ukrainian people, who have “faced a tremendous weight” as a result of Russia’s “aggression war.”
  • In this context, the suspension of Russia’s membership appears to be a result of its flagrant violation of FATF members’ commitment to international collaboration and mutual respect.
  • The FATF has urged all jurisdictions to be vigilant against threats to the integrity, safety, and security of the international financial system posed by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
  • Previously, in 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan on its Grey-list for failing to address flaws in its counter-terrorist financing-related efforts. But, in 2022, the FATF stated that Pakistan had fulfilled its obligations and was no longer subject to heightened surveillance.

What is FATF?

  • FATF refers to the Financial Action Task Force, a 1989-founded intergovernmental organisation. It was established by the G7 to combat money laundering and terrorism financing by establishing worldwide standards and monitoring their compliance. Its primary purpose is to develop and support policies to protect the global financial system from money laundering, terrorism financing, and other challenges to its integrity.
  • Its headquarters are in Paris, France, and it consists of 39 member nations, including the United States, India, China, Saudi Arabia, and European nations like as Great Britain, Germany, and France.
  • Over the years, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has identified 40 recommendations that provide the fundamental foundation for anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) efforts.
  • FATF has the authority to issue warnings and consequences against nations that do not adhere to its rules, including suspension of membership and blacklisting.

FATF ‘grey list’ and ‘blacklist’

  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put on the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
  • Grey List: Countries that are considered a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  •  As of 2022, FATF has placed North Korea and Iran on its blacklist due to terror financing, while 12 nations are on the grey list: Bahamas, Botswana, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Panama, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Consequences of being in the FATF grey list

  • The countries in the grey list may face
  • Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
  • The problem in getting loans from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries.
  • Reduction in international trade.
  • International boycott.

Source: TH


Seattle City Council’s resolution on caste

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations

In News

  • Recently, Seattle became the first city in the United States to prohibit caste-based discrimination.


  •  In addition to race, gender, and religion, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance that protects caste from discrimination. Caste will be recognised as a distinct basis for discrimination, akin to race and gender.
  • Presently, caste is not an explicitly protected class, meaning that public authorities would be unable to examine a complaint based purely on caste discrimination. The passed resolution is expected to change this. This comes after several U.S.
  •  universities, including Harvard, Brown, and California State University, incorporated caste as an anti-discrimination criterion to their anti-discrimination policy.
  • Caste Discrimination In USA
  • The 2016 Caste in the United States poll by Equality Labs revealed that o one in four Dalits in the U.S. had experienced verbal or physical abuse and o two in three Dalits had experienced workplace discrimination.
  • In July of 2020, California officials filed a lawsuit against computer giant Cisco Systems Inc, accusing it of discriminating against an Indian-American employee and permitting caste-based harassment.
  • In 2021, it was suspected that Dalit labourers were trafficked by BAPS for the construction of the Swaminarayan Temple in New Jersey.

Caste Discrimination and UN

  • In 2001, Dalit supporters petitioned the United Nations World Conference Against Racism to include caste as a form of discrimination based on race and descent. Yet, the Indian government was able to thwart this United Nations recognition.
  • In 2016, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority problems concluded that caste-based prejudice still affects at least 250 million people globally.


Way Forward

  • The Seattle ban is a step in the right direction and should pave the way for more initiatives to eliminate caste prejudice.

Source: TH



IMF’s action plan to treat crypto assets

GS 3 Indian Economy & Related Issues

In News

  • The International Monetary Fund has just outlined a nine-point action plan for nations to take regarding crypto assets.

More about the news

  • Elements of Effective Policies for Crypto Assets:
  • IMF – The global lender of last resort stated that its Executive Board considered a report titled “Elements of Effective Policies for Crypto Assets” that offered “advice to IMF member nations on important aspects of an appropriate policy response to crypto assets.”
  • The document presents a framework of nine aspects to assist members in formulating an all-encompassing, consistent, and coordinated policy response.
  • The nine elements or policy actions are:
  • Protect monetary sovereignty and stability through strengthening monetary policy frameworks, and do not give crypto assets the status of official money or legal tender.
  • Prevent excessive capital flow volatility and preserve the efficacy of capital flow control techniques.
  • Assess and explain fiscal risks, as well as establish a clear tax treatment for crypto assets.
  • Provide legal certainty around crypto assets and mitigate legal dangers.
  • Establish and implement prudential, behaviour, and supervisory requirements for all participants in the cryptocurrency market.
  • Create a framework for coordinated domestic agency and authority monitoring.
  • Develop worldwide collaboration agreements to strengthen crypto asset regulation oversight and enforcement.
  • Monitor the impact of crypto assets on the international monetary system’s stability.
  • Increase worldwide cooperation to build digital infrastructures and alternative cross-border payment and financial solutions.
  • G20 Data Gaps Initiative:
  • In this context, the IMF has welcomed the new G20 Data Gaps Initiative.
  • According to the IMF, the uniform recording of crypto assets in macroeconomic statistics across economies, supported by a trustworthy data structure, would be crucial.


  • Such efforts have become a priority for authorities, according to the IMF, following the failure of a number of crypto exchanges and assets in recent years.
  • The paper addresses questions raised by IMF member nations regarding the benefits and hazards of crypto assets and how to develop suitable policy responses.
  • It operationalizes the ideas outlined in the Bali Fintech Agenda (IMF and World Bank, 2018) and incorporates macrofinancial issues, such as monetary and fiscal policy consequences.

More about Cryptocurrency

  • About:
  • It is a digital currency that can be substituted for traditional currency.
  • Cryptography is used to safeguard and verify transactions in cryptocurrencies. Also, it is used to regulate the supply of cryptocurrency.
  • It is supported by the blockchain, a decentralised peer-to-peer network.
  • Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was introduced in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Features of Cryptocurrency:
    • Cheaper to transfer: 
    • Some coins are used to transfer value (measured in a currency such as dollars) more quickly and cheaply than credit or conventional channels.
    • The cost of sending crypto, which can be turned into fiat currency, is less than that of sending a cheque or wire transfer.
    • No physical form:
      • Cryptocurrency does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority.
      • However, it can be and many governments are working to create a crypto coin version of its respective fiat currency.
    • Decentralised:
  • As opposed to a central bank digital currency, cryptocurrencies often use decentralised control. When produced with decentralised control, each cryptocurrency operates through distributed ledger technology, which is typically a blockchain that acts as a public financial transaction database.
  • Challenges
    • While the supposed potential benefits from crypto assets have yet to materialize, significant risks have emerged.
    • Undermining the monetary policy & international monetary system :
    • The widespread use of crypto assets might undermine the efficacy of monetary policy, evade capital flow management measures, and raise fiscal vulnerabilities.
    • Moreover, widespread adoption may have long-term ramifications for the international monetary system.
    • Security Risks: 
      • Cyberattacks on wallets, exchange mechanism (Cryptojacking).
      • They are prone to issues like Hijacking, Routing Attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
    • Shield to Crime:
  • Used for illicit trading, criminal activities and organised crimes.
    • Lack of Liquidity and Lower Acceptability:
  • Outside the traditional banking systems.
    • Price Volatility:
      • Prone to price fluctuations and waste of computing power.
    • Threat to the Indian rupee: 
      • If a large number of investors invest in digital coins rather than rupee-based savings like provident funds, the demand of the latter will fall.
    • Consumer protection and enforcement: 
  • Owing to the decentralised nature of bitcoin’s digital instruments, establishing a regulatory framework for crypto assets is difficult.
  • There is a high probability that unauthorised trades not in accordance with any regulatory framework will be executed.

Indian Government’s stand on Cryptocurrency

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has long recommended a complete ban on all crypto, warning that it has the potential to destabilize the country’s monetary and fiscal stability.
  • Despite having no regulatory framework for crypto, the Indian government had introduced a new tax regime in 2022, taxing crypto income at 30% and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on crypto transactions.

Way ahead

  • The right regulations could be introduced to aid the growth of the industry.
  • The other option would be to follow the nine-point action plan banning and wait for more clarity.


G20 Data Gaps Initiative

  • About:
    • o During the G20 Leaders’ Meeting in Bali, India affirmed that “data for development” will play a significant role in their G20 leadership.
  • o The Data Gaps Initiative will capitalise on the tight cooperation between the member economies and international organisations.
  • Data gaps & significance of initiative:
    • Many countries face information gaps that impede their ability to fully grasp the impact of policies.
    • And without comprehensive and internationally comparable data to monitor progress, it is difficult to know what works, and where corrections are needed.
    • All this makes the full availability of fiscal data across all levels of government a public good.



Source: TH

ALMA Telescope

GS 3 Space

In Context

  • Software and hardware updates are planned for the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA).


  • The improvement will allow it to collect more data and produce photographs with greater clarity than ever before.
  • The most significant modernisation made to ALMA will be the replacement of its correlator, a supercomputer that combines the input from individual antennas and allows astronomers to produce highly detailed images of celestial objects.
  • ALMA’s correlators are among the fastest supercomputers on the planet.

Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array

    • About: ALMA is a cutting-edge radio telescope with 66 antennas that investigates astronomical objects at millimetre and submillimeter wavelengths.
    • They can penetrate through dust clouds and help astronomers examine dim and distant galaxies and stars out there.
    • It also has extraordinary sensitivity, which allows it to detect even extremely faint radio signals.
    • Location: Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
  • It has been fully operational since 2013 and has assisted astronomers in making important discoveries, such as the discovery of starburst galaxies and the production of dust within supernova 1987A.
  • Development: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) of the United States, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) designed, planned, and built it (ESO).
  • Operation:  ALMA is operated through a cooperation between the United States, sixteen European countries, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Chile; the announcement was made after all partners approved the necessary money for the upgrades.
  • Why is ALMA located in Chile’s Atacama Desert?
  •  ALMA is located at an elevation of 5,050 metres above sea level on the Chajnantor plateau in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
    • Reason: as the millimetre and submillimeter waves seen by it are highly sensitive to absorption by water vapour in the Earth’s atmosphere.
    • Moreover, the desert is the driest place in the world, meaning most of the nights here are clear of clouds and free of light-distorting moisture — making it a perfect location for examining the universe.

Findings of Telescope

  • In 2013: Starburst galaxies
  • • ALMA captured precise photos of the protoplanetary disc surrounding HL Tauri, a very young T Tauri star in the constellation Taurus located approximately 450 light-years from Earth.
  • In 2015:
  • It enabled scientists examine the Einstein ring, a phenomenon that occurs when light from a galaxy or star passes by a huge object on its way to Earth.
  • It also offered the first glimpse of the supermassive black hole in the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
  • Scientists unveiled the image in May 2022.