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In News

• Chandra Shekhar, the minister of education for Bihar, recently said that the Ramcharitmanas “promote enmity in society.”

About Ramcharitmanas

  •  The Ramayana, the ancient epic of the sage Valmiki, is the basis for the Ramcharitmanas.
  •  The poem was composed in the Awadhi language of the 16th century, which is mostly spoken in the present-day regions of Lucknow, Prayagraj, and Ayodhya.
  •  It is broken into seven chapters (Kand) that recount Lord Ram’s life from his birth until he rose to power in Ayodhya.
  • According to one estimate, Geeta Press (Gorakhpur) has sold close to 7 crore copies of the Indo-Gangetic region’s holiest book, which is also one of the most read holy books worldwide.
Goswami Tulsidas

  • Ram Bola Dubey, a Brahmin by the name of Tulsidas.
  •  He wrote the Ramcharitmanas in Varanasi, where he is claimed to have started on Ram Navami day in 1574 and finished it over the following few years.
  •  He lived during the reign of Emperor Akbar, and some people think that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the leader of Akbar’s army, Bairam Khan. It’s also possible that they exchanged poetry.
  •  In addition to the Ramcharitmanas, other of Tulsidas’ well-known works in the Awadhi language include Ramlalla Nahachhu, Barvai Ramayan, Ramagya Prashna, Parvati Mangal, and Janaki Mangal.


Need to focus on Mental Health


• There is a critical need for an immediate, well-resourced “whole-of-society” strategy to safeguarding, advancing, and supporting people’s mental health.


  • Data on Suicide: 
  • When compared to other nations at the same socioeconomic level, India has one of the highest suicide rates.
  •  At 12.9 per 100,000 people in 2019, India’s suicide rate was greater than both the regional and worldwide averages of 10.2 and 9.0, respectively.
  •  In India, suicide is now the main cause of mortality for people between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • Male v/s Female: 
    • Across the world, the prevalence of some mental health disorders is consistently higher among women as compared to men.
  • COVID impact:
  • The pandemic has made the situation worse.
  •  In just the year between 2020 and 2021, it may have raised the prevalence of sadness and anxiety worldwide by 28% and 26%, respectively.
  • Younger age groups have seen the biggest increases, which are attributed to the virus’s uncertainty and fear, as well as to financial and employment losses, mourning, heavier childcare responsibilities, school closures, and social isolation.
  • Digital media and stress: 
  • Increased usage of some social media platforms is also making young people’s stress and mental illness worse.
  • Fewer in-person connections: Social media undermines in-person interactions, which are healthier, and lowers investment in worthwhile endeavours.
  • It damages self-esteem by forcing negative social comparison.
  • Mental ill-health has larger socio-economic implications: 
    • Poverty: 
      • People living in poverty are at greater risk of experiencing mental health conditions. 
      • On the other hand, people experiencing severe mental health conditions are more likely to fall into poverty through loss of employment and increased health expenditure. 
      • Stigma and discrimination often further undermine their social support structures. 
      • Countries with greater income inequalities and social polarisation have been found to have a higher prevalence of mental ill-health.

Determinants of Mental Health

  • The state of a person’s mental health at any given time is determined by a variety of social, psychological, and biological factors.

• For instance, persistent socioeconomic stress and violence are known to be dangers to mental health. Sexual violence is the subject of the most conclusive evidence.

• Negative mental health is also linked to

    • rapid social change, 
    • stressful work conditions, 
    • gender discrimination, 
    • social exclusion, 
    • unhealthy lifestyle, 
    • physical ill-health and 
    • human rights violations

Causes of Mental Illness 

• Personal psychological and biological traits including emotional intelligence, substance use, and heredity might increase a person’s susceptibility to mental health issues.

• People are more likely to have mental health disorders if they are exposed to unfavourable social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental circumstances, such as poverty, violence, inequality, and environmental deterioration.

• For the past two years, the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic and the uncertainty they brought about have been damaging to mental health.

• Early traumatic or abusive experiences in life, such as maltreatment in the past (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)

• Alcohol or drug abuse

• Feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Issues and Concerns 

  • Mental health problems have been growing rapidly over the last few decades.
  • In 2015, the GOI carried out a National Mental Health Survey — 2015-16 to assess the prevalence of mental health in the country. 
    • The report showed mental disorders at 10.6 per cent among above 18-year-olds, 16 per cent among the productive age group of 30-49-year-olds — and lifetime morbidity affecting 150 million people with one per cent reporting high suicidal risk. 
  • The human resources and treatment facilities are woefully low.
  • For policymakers, mental health is a low priority. Such poor policy attention is often ascribed to indifference among bureaucrats and politicians. 
  • Designing a policy is the most challenging piece of policy-making. 

Government of India Initiatives 

  • National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982
  • o To guarantee that everyone has access to a minimal level of mental healthcare in the near future, with a focus on the most disadvantaged and at-risk segments of society.
  • Mental Healthcare Act, 2017
    • It was passed in 2017, came into effect in May 2018 and replaced the Mental Health Act of 1987. 
    • To the joy of most Indian medical practitioners and advocates of mental health, the act decriminalised suicide attempts in India. 
    • It also included WHO guidelines in the categorisation of mental illnesses. 
    • The most significant provision in the act was “advanced directives”, which allowed individuals with mental illnesses to decide the course of their treatment and also appoint someone to be their representative. 
    • It also restricted the use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), and banned its use on minors, finally introducing measures to tackle stigma in Indian society.
  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017
    • The Act acknowledges mental illness as a disability and seeks to enhance the Rights and Entitlements of the Disabled and provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and inclusion in the society
  • Manodarpan Initiative
    • An initiative under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, aims to provide psycho-social support to students for their mental health and well-being.
  • Kiran Helpline
    • The helpline is a giant step towards suicide prevention, and can help with support and crisis management.
    • The helpline aims to provide early screening, first-aid, psychological support, distress management, mental well-being, and psychological crisis management and will be managed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD).


• Just as we did with the Covid epidemic, there is a need for an immediate and well-resourced whole-society approach to safeguarding, promoting, and caring for our people’s mental health. These four pillars should serve as the foundation for this:

    • Stigma: 
      • Killing the deep stigma surrounding mental health issues which prevents patients from seeking timely treatment and makes them feel shameful, isolated and weak. 
      • Stigma festers in the dark and scatters in the light. There should be a mission to cut through this darkness and shine a light on the fact that most mental health conditions are very treatable.
    • Making mental health an integral part of the public health programme: 
      • It will help to reduce stress, promote a healthy lifestyle, screen and identify high-risk groups and strengthen mental health interventions like counselling services. 
      • Special emphasis will need to be given to schools. 
      • Pay special attention to groups that are highly vulnerable to mental health issues such as victims of domestic or sexual violence, unemployed youth, marginal farmers, armed forces personnel and personnel working under difficult conditions.
    • Creating a strong infrastructure for mental health care and treatment: 
    • Stigma and ineffective care reinforce one another.
    • Only 20–30% of those suffering from mental diseases are now receiving proper care.
    • Less than 2% of the government health budget, which is already the smallest of any G20 nation, is allocated to mental health concerns.
    • There is a serious lack of mental health specialists; there are fewer psychiatrists nationwide than in New York City.
    • To close the gaps in the infrastructure and human resources for mental health, considerable investments will be required.
    • Affordable Services: 
      • Improved coverage without corresponding financial protection will lead to inequitable service uptake and outcomes. 
      • All government health assurance schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, should cover the widest possible range of mental health conditions. 
      • Currently, most private health insurance covers only a restricted number of mental health conditions. 
      • Similarly, the list of essential medicines includes only a limited number of WHO-prescribed mental health medications. 
      • A comprehensive review of these policies will be needed to ensure that financial and other barriers do not prevent people from using services or push them into poverty.


Passive Euthanasia

In News

• Recently, the country’s honourable Supreme Court decided to simplify the process for passive euthanasia.


  •  A five-judge Constitutional court, presided over by Justice KM Joseph, decides to greatly simplify the country’s laws governing passive euthanasia.
  • The document must now be signed by the “living will” executor in the presence of two attesting witnesses, preferably unrelated, and attested before a notary or Gazetted Officer in accordance with new regulations.
  •  The bench ruled that the witnesses and the notary must certify in writing that the document was signed voluntarily, without from enticement or coercion, and with a full grasp of all relevant facts and ramifications.
  • In a previous ruling from 2018, the SC acknowledged that a person who is terminally ill or who is in a persistent vegetative state may sign an advance directive or a “living will” to refuse medical treatment, holding that the right to live with dignity also included “smoothening” the dying process.
  • By amending its earlier ruling and removing the requirement that a magistrate’s approval be obtained before withdrawing or withholding life support from a terminally sick person, the Supreme Court has streamlined this process for passive euthanasia.
  •  Common Cause, an NGO, had filed a PIL asking the Supreme Court to recognise “living wills” submitted by terminally sick patients authorising passive euthanasia.
  • The SC has further stated that the directives and guidelines will be in effect till Parliament introduces relevant legislation.

• In the past, the Law Commission of India stated that active euthanasia should be decriminalised but not made legal in its 196th Report from 2006

What is Euthanasia?

  •  The purposeful taking of a person’s life to stop their agony or suffering is known as euthanasia.
  • Euthanasia can be classified as either active or passive by ethicists.
Active euthanasia Passive euthanasia
  • • Also referred to as assisted suicide, it is the purposeful and active act of putting someone’s life at risk.
  •  It involves actions like giving a deadly injection or a medicine overdose.
  •  Active euthanasia entails actually killing the patient,
  •  Most nations, including India, forbid this kind of euthanasia.
  • It’s described as willfully allowing a patient to die by removing artificial life support, including a ventilator or a feeding tube.
  •  Examples of this include turning off a patient’s life support system or stopping therapy for a terminal illness.
  •  In some nations, notably India, passive euthanasia is permitted with the right documentation and under specific conditions.

Other types:

  • Voluntary Euthanasia: In contrast to non-voluntary euthanasia, which occurs when a third party, such as a family member or legal guardian, decides to end the patient’s life, voluntary euthanasia is carried out when the patient asks it. Most nations, including India, forbid this kind of euthanasia.
  • Involuntary euthanasia: It is when the patient is killed against their will, and is illegal in all countries.


  • End of Pain: A person’s unbearably severe pain and suffering can be relieved by euthanasia. It spares those who are close to death from a protracted demise.
  • Respecting Person’s Choice: Living a dignified life is fundamental to being human, and forcing someone to live in an undignified manner is against their will. As a result, it expresses a person’s decision, which is a key value.
  • Treatment for others: In many developing and underdeveloped countries like India, there is a lack of funds. There is a shortage of hospital space. So, the energy of doctors and hospital beds can be used for those people whose life can be saved instead of continuing the life of those who want to die. 
  • Dignified Death: Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly provides for living with dignity. A person has a right to live a life with at least minimum dignity and if that standard is falling below that minimum level then a person should be given a right to end his life. 
  • Addressing Mental Agony: The motive behind this is to help rather than harm. It not only relieves the unbearable pain of a patient but also relieves the relatives of a patient from the mental agony.


  • Medical Ethics: Nursing, caregiving, and healing are required under medical ethics, not taking the patient’s life. Even the most fatal diseases are now treatable because to the rapid advancement of medical technology. Therefore, medical professionals must encourage patients to live their difficult lives with strength rather than urging them to end their lives.
  • Moral Wrong: Taking a life is morally and ethically wrong. The value of life can never be undermined.
  • Vulnerable people will become more prone to it: Groups that represent disabled people are against the legalisation of euthanasia on the ground that such groups of vulnerable people would feel obliged to opt for euthanasia as they may see themselves as a burden to society.
  • Suicide v/s Euthanasia:  When suicide is not allowed then euthanasia should also not be allowed. A person commits suicide when he goes into a state of depression and has no hope from the life. Similar is the situation when a person asks for euthanasia. But such a tendency can be lessened by proper care of such patients and showing hope in them. 
Right to Die

• Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab and P Rathinam v. Union of India (1994) are the two cases in which the Supreme Court first addressed the issue of whether the “Right to Life” included the “Right to Die” (1996)

Aruna Shanbaug versus Union of India

  •  In 2011, the debate over whether or not someone in a vegetative condition might be put to death gained momentum.
  •  Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who had spent nearly 40 years in a vegetative state after being raped in 1973, was placed off life support after activist and author Pinki Virani filed a plea with the Supreme Court asking for permission to do so.
  •  The Supreme Court of India accepted the idea of “passive euthanasia” in India and established rules for its use in the landmark case “Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India” in 2011.
  • The court ruled that turning off a person’s life support systems would not constitute murder in situations where the person is permanently vegetative and there is no chance of recovery.
  • The court also established a process for requesting the High Court’s approval before withdrawing life support systems.

The court also stressed the necessity of a living will in such circumstances.

Source: TH

Inclusive Circular Economy


• The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India recently unveiled a campaign to promote a circular economy that is inclusive.

More about the news

  • Programme highlights:
    • About:
    • As part of its campaign to promote sustainability, UNDP has started this programme to build an inclusive circular economy.
    • The initiative is an expansion of an already-existing cooperation under UNDP’s premier Plastic Waste Management Programme.
    • The initiative focuses on: 
    • End-to-end management of plastic trash through encouraging waste separation at the source,
    • Waste collection for several categories, and
    • Establishing Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) for the value-chain-wide recycling of all types of plastic waste
    • In partnership with Hindustan Unilever Limited:
  • The collaboration with HUL will increase urban local bodies’ capacity to implement the MRFs or Swachhata Kendra model for handling plastic and dry trash in additional cities.
  • The plastic waste management initiative encourages a cutting-edge multi-stakeholder model amongst local governments, businesses, Safai Saathis, and the general public to work together for cleaner and greener cities.
    • Segregation at source:
  • To ensure better waste management and recycling of plastic waste, the project will also reach out to 100,000 households for segregation at source.
  • Significance of the project: 
  • This programme deals with one of the most alarming problems of our time: plastic trash.
  • Safai Saathis, the face of the nation’s trash management system, receives a consistent income and leads a respectable life thanks to the programme.
  • The UNDP-HUL partnership has, to date, reached 100,000 families with information on source segregation,
  • 8,000 MT of plastic garbage were kept out of landfills.
  • Set up three prototype Swachhta Kendras in Mumbai.

Hazards of Plastic waste

  • Environmental pollution & Climate change:
    • Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are lost to the environment or sometimes shipped thousands of kilometers to destinations where it is mostly burned or dumped. 

o Plastic, a petroleum-based material, also adds to global warming.

      • If burned, its poisonous substances are released into the air and collect in biotic forms across the local ecosystems.
      • It also increases carbon emissions if it is burned since it emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • Soil, water & ocean pollution:
    • When buried in a landfill, plastic lies untreated for years. 
    • In the process, toxic chemicals from plastics drain and seep into groundwater, flowing downstream into lakes and rivers. 
    • The seeping of plastic also causes soil pollution due to the presence of microplastics in the soil.
    • Rivers and lakes also carry plastic waste from deep inland to the sea, making them major contributors to ocean pollution.
  • Tourism:

o Plastic garbage degrades the aesthetic appeal of popular tourist spots, resulting in lower income from tourism and significant economic expenditures for cleaning and upkeep.

The Plastic Waste Management Rules in India

  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016: 
    •  It expressly states that urban local bodies (ULBs) must prohibit plastic bags that are less than 50 microns thick and must forbid the use of recycled plastics to package food, beverages, or any other edibles.
    • To handle plastics in India, it created the idea of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility).
      • EPR refers to a producer’s duty to manage a product in an ecologically sound manner up until the end of its useful life.
  • Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022: 
    • · Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) rules and the ban on certain single-use plastic products.
    • It banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic less than seventy-five microns.
    • The items that will be banned are:
      • Earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons and knives, straw, trays, wrapping films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100-microns and stirrers.
      • Products produced of compostable plastic will not be subject to the restriction.
Circular Economy (CE) 

  • About:
    • It refers to a system where there is maximum recycling and reuse of materials to ensure minimum amount of wastage.
    • In a circular economy, the focus is on ensuring minimal wastage by encouraging longer use of materials, refurbishing the used items and dematerialization.
  • CE aims at –
    •  Preserving as much of the value of resources, goods, and materials by utilising them for as long as possible;
    • Minimizing wastage at each life-cycle stage; and 
    • Extracting the maximum value through reusing, repairing, recovering, remanufacturing and regenerating products and materials at the end of each service value. 
  • Global recognition:
    • Circular economy as a concept has been gaining ground globally, International Telecommunication Union, World Economic Forum, the United Nations and others stressing the need to ensure minimum wastage in the electrical and electronics sectors.
  • Significance of Circular Economy:
    • Environmental Benefits:  
      • Utilizing resources responsibly and in a circular fashion can also help reduce GHG emissions and satisfy climate change targets.
      • Raw material security will deal with sustainable product packages and policies, and material sourcing can consider addressing issues like lowering GHG emissions, a smaller environmental footprint, and less pollution.
    • Economic Opportunity: 
      • The movement towards a circular and resource efficient design has the scope of business savings for businesses. 
      • There is a lot of economic value in e-waste, particularly from such materials as gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium, among others. 
    • Jobs Creation: 
      • Although repair, refurbishment and recycling activities are already undertaken in India, a CE action plan and associated measures towards supporting these activities has the potential to create more jobs.
    • Social Benefits: 
      • Reduced extraction pressures due to adoption of CE measures have the potential to reduce conflict and displacement in mining areas, as well as improve health and welfare of local communities.

Measures taken by CE can help protect resources for future generations.

Source: TH

Indus Water Treaty ,1960


• Pakistan’s unwillingness to enforce the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) has prompted India to notify Pakistan that the treaty has to be modified in accordance with Article XII (3) of the IWT.


• Pakistan has been given 90 days to begin intergovernmental consultations in accordance with the notice from India.

• India claims that the treaty mandates that disagreements be settled through bilateral talks and consultations rather than through international arbitration.

What is the Indus Water Treaty?

• The Indus Waters Treaty was ratified by the World Bank in 1960, and it was signed by India and Pakistan.

• As a result of the treaty, Pakistan gained control of the western rivers Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab while India received control over the three eastern rivers Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej.

• In accordance with the terms of the treaty, India is permitted to produce hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on western rivers, subject to certain requirements for the design and operation.

Image Courtesy: Times of India

Dispute Resolution Process

• The “Settlement of Differences and Disputes” provisions of Article IX of the treaty provide for three possible ways to address complaints put up by either party.

  • Participating in the regular meetings of the Indian and Pakistani delegation of water specialists, known as the “Permanent Indus Commission” (PIC).
    • Consulting a neutral expert chosen by the World Bank.
    • Establishing a court system to hear the matter through the World Bank and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Problem with Hydroelectric Projects

  • Pakistan has objected to the two hydroelectric power projects (HEPs) :
  • The Kishenganga HEP, a 330 MW facility on a tributary of the Jhelum river.
  • The Chenab River’s 850 MW Ratle HEP.

• Both India and Pakistan differed on whether the technical details of the hydel projects conformed with the treaty, given that the Jhelum and Chenab were part of the “western tributaries”.

Timeline of the dispute between the two nations

• Pakistan abruptly withdrew this request the next year, in 2016, and suggested that a Court of Arbitration rule on its objections.

• Instead of responding to Pakistan’s request for a Court of Arbitration, India moved a separate application asking for the appointment of a Neutral Expert, which is a lower level of dispute resolution provided in the Treaty.

• On March 31, 2022, the World Bank agreed to pick a Chairman and Neutral Expert for the Court of Arbitration once more.

Criticism of the Indus Water Treaty

• Although the agreement is regarded as one of the most effective cross-boundary water dispute resolution agreements, its execution has been ignored over the previous three decades.

• The bi-annual communication between the Indus treaty commissioners was suspended due to the regular use of state-sponsored terrorism; it was reinstated the following year.

• Because of the treaty’s very technical terms, there have been several, varied interpretations.

Way Forward

  • The two nations have to sit together and resolve the apprehensions with regard to the IWT rather than going to International forums.
  • The technical provisions need to be updated with the current realities and concerns of both nations.


Liquefied Natural Gas


• By importing more liquefied natural gas at a quick rate, the European Union (EU) is lowering its reliance on Russian gas (LNG).

What is LNG?

  • LNG is natural gas reduced to a liquid state (liquefaction) through intense cooling to around -161 degrees Celsius (-259 Fahrenheit). This liquid gas is 600 times smaller than the original volume and is half the weight of water.
  • LNG is a compressed fossil fuel that is almost entirely made up of methane.
  • Liquefaction: The process of making or becoming liquid. LNG must be frozen in order to become liquid.
  • Applications: Power generation, Energy Storage, Transportation, Industrial usage, etc.


  • Greater fuel efficiency: Compared to natural gas in its gaseous state, LNG has a larger energy content per unit volume, allowing for the storage and transportation of more energy in the same amount of space.
  • Increased energy security: LNG can be stored and used as needed, reducing dependence on a single source of energy.
  • Export potential: LNG can be transported by ship, allowing for greater flexibility in sourcing and distribution.
  • • LNG has an energy density comparable to diesel fuel and requires less storage space on a vehicle than CNG.
  • Lower carbon emissions: When burned, LNG produces less carbon dioxide than coal or oil.


  • High cost of production: The process of liquefying and transporting LNG is expensive.
  • Environmental impact: The extraction, liquefaction, and transport of LNG can have significant environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and disruption to local ecosystems.
  • Risk of leaks and spills: LNG is highly flammable and can pose a risk of leaks and spills during transport.
  • Limited infrastructure: There is currently limited infrastructure for the storage and distribution of LNG, which can make it difficult to implement on a large scale.
  • Limited availability: Due to the uneven distribution of natural gas resources worldwide, LNG will not be a viable option for all nations.
  • Reasons for EU shift towards LNG
  • Diversification of energy sources: To lessen reliance on a single energy source and increase energy security, the EU is attempting to diversify its energy supply.
  • Security of Supply: LNG can be imported from a variety of countries, reducing the risk of disruption to gas supplies in the event of political conflicts or other disruptions.
  • Reducing dependence on Russia: Europe is looking to reduce its dependence on Russia as the main supplier of natural gas, and LNG allows countries to import gas from other sources.
  • Shale Gas revolution in the USA: The shale gas revolution in the USA has made LNG exports more competitive and accessible to the European market thus more imports of LNG from the USA.
  • Infrastructure: The EU has been investing in LNG terminals and other infrastructure to import and distribute LNG, making it a more viable option for the region.
  • Increased demand for natural gas: Natural gas is evolving into a crucial transition fuel as we move towards cleaner energy since it is thought to be cleaner than coal or oil.
  • Source:  IE


In News

• Recently, Indian Researchers have found 92 nests and 256 fossilised eggs belonging to Titanosaurs in Central India.

  • The largest dinosaurs that have ever existed were titanosaurs.

About the Study

  • Six different egg-species (oospecies) were discovered by the researchers, indicating a greater diversity of titanosaurs than is indicated by the local skeleton remains.
  •  The team deduced that these dinosaurs hid their eggs in shallow pits like contemporary crocodiles based on the arrangement of the nests.
  • A rare instance of a “egg-in-egg” suggests that titanosaur sauropods had a reproductive system similar to birds’ and may have laid their eggs sequentially, as is the case with contemporary birds.
  • The existence of numerous nests in one location shows that these dinosaurs, like many modern birds, engaged in colonial nesting behaviour.
  • The insights gleaned from this study contribute significantly to paleontologists’ understanding of how dinosaurs lived and evolved.
Lameta Formation

  • Several dinosaur fossils have been found in the Narmada valley particularly in the Bhedaghat-Lameta Ghat area of Jabalpur. 
  • The Infratrappean Beds, often referred to as the Lameta Formation, is a sedimentary geological formation connected to the Deccan Traps that may be found in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

Fossils in Narmada Valley

  • Captain William Henry Sleeman’s finding of dinosaur bones close to Jabalpur in 1828 is regarded as the first dinosaur-related find.
  •  Dinosaur bones and eggs from the Late Cretaceous Period, which lasted from roughly 145 to 66 million years ago, can be found in the Lameta Formation in the Narmada Valley of central India.
  •  It is one of the largest dinosaur hatcheries in the world, together with the previously discovered dinosaur nests in Gujarat’s Balasinor, located in the west, and Jabalpur, in eastern MP’s upper Narmada Valley.
Narmada River

  • • The Narmada is the largest west flowing river of the Peninsula, rises near the Amarkantak range of mountains in Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is Gujarat’s largest river and the fifth-largest river in the nation. After passing through Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, it reaches the Gulf of Cambay.

Source: IE

M-Sand Projects

In Context 

• M-Sand Projects will be introduced by Coal India Ltd.

About the projects  

  • Need:  Finding alternatives to river sand became necessary due to increasing demand, constrained availability, and a complete prohibition on sand mining during the monsoon to protect the river environment.
    • Overview: The Ministry of Mines’ (2018) Sand Mining Framework takes into account alternate sources of sand, such as manufactured sand (M-Sand) made from crushed rock fines (crusher dust) and sand from coal mine overburden (OB).
  • Coal India Ltd (CIL) has envisaged processing the overburden rocks for sand production in mines where OB material contains about 60% sandstone by volume which is harnessed through crushing and processing of Overburden.
  • The processing of waste overburden in CIL’s OC Mines is made easier by the OB to M-Sand project.
  • Benefits: Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) from the overburden of coal mines has several benefits in terms of economy and environmental sustainability, including
  • Cost-effectiveness: Using manufactured sand can be more cost-effective than using natural sand, as it can be produced in large quantities at a lower cost.
  • Consistency: Manufactured sand can have a consistent grain size and shape, which can be beneficial for construction projects that require a specific type of sand.
  • Environmental benefits: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the need for mining natural sand, which can have negative environmental impacts. 
  • Reduced water consumption: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the amount of water required for construction projects, as it does not require washing before use.
  • Better workability: Manufactured sand is more angular and has a rougher surface, which makes it more workable for construction projects.
  • Commercial sale of produced sand can generate additional revenue for coal companies
  • Lesser Sand extraction from the river will reduce erosion of channel beds & banks and protect water habitat
Do you Know?

  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) designates sand as a “minor mineral,” and as such, the State Governments have administrative jurisdiction over minor minerals, which are governed by State-specific laws.



In News

The renowned pashmina shawls from Kashmir have had a French makeover.


• Artist Maximilien Pellet turned the fabric into a canvas for contemporary art forms at a Parisian exhibition, in a rare bid to cater to Western sensibilities.

• He described the action as an effort to expand the market for Kashmiri shawls.


  • The Persian word “Pashm,” which meaning “soft gold,” is where the word “Pashmina” originates.
  • Pashmina is made of Cashmere, an animal fibre obtained from Changthangi goats in Ladakh.
  • It is native to Jammu and Kashmir and the high-altitude areas of Leh-Ladakh.
  • History: 
    • It was the 18th century French empress Josephine — gifted a Kashmiri Kani shawl by her husband, the Emperor Napoleon — who helped revive a dying craft in Kashmir by becoming its style icon in Europe. 
    • It remains to be seen if the new French touch proves to be another Josephine moment for the Kashmiri shawl industry.
  • Features:
  • In addition to its distinctive dye-absorbing ability, it is also renowned for its warmth, lightness, and softness.
  •  Pashmina has been recognised as the priciest fabric in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Pashmina wool, which is the finest variety of cashmere and is valued on the global market, is thinner than human hair.
  • Usage: 
    • It is known for its use in beautiful shawls and other handmade items.
Pashmina Shawl

  • They are a fine variant of shawls spun from cashmere wools. 
    • Cashmere wool itself is obtained from the Changthangi goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) native to the high plateau of Ladakh.
    •  Every spring, goats used to make pashmina shed their winter coats. One goat sheds between 80 and 170 grammes of fibre. The goats’ undercoat is naturally shed in the spring (moulting season), and it grows back in the winter.
    • This undercoat is collected by combing the goat, not by shearing, as in other fine wool. 
  • The shawl made up of pashmina wool was promoted as an alternative to Shahtoosh shawl. The reason is that Shahtoosh Shawls are made from the Tibetan Antelope. 

Source: TH

Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2023

In News

• The 2023 Asian Waterbird Census was just completed.


  • • The census was first conducted in the Indian subcontinent in 1987, and it quickly expanded to include 26 nations in South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific, and Russia’s Far East.
  • The International Waterbird Census (IWC), which is run by Wetlands International, includes it as a citizen science activity.
  • The Bombay Natural History Society and Wetlands International collaborate to organise the AWC. It coincides with other global waterbird surveys taking place in Africa, Europe, and the Neotropics.
  • Wetland sites: All varieties of naturally occurring and artificially created wetlands, such as freshwater swamps, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs, rice fields, and sewage farms, are included in the sites.
  • Waterbird species: Waterbirds counted during the census include all types of waterbirds regularly encountered at wetlands. Also mentioned are raptors, kingfishers, and other bird species that depend on wetlands.
  • Findings of the Census of 2023
  •  In the northern portions of Alappuzha, it appears that waterbird migration patterns are changing.
  • It demonstrated a decline in the numbers of some migratory waterbird species that frequent the area, particularly duck species.
  •  The most striking finding was the complete absence of duck species including Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon that had been observed in earlier studies. The number of birds that visit the area has decreased due to climate change.
Wetlands International

  •  It is the only non-profit organisation in the world devoted to wetlands protection and restoration.
  •  To accomplish its objectives, it relies on a network of offices, partners, and specialists. Governments and private contributors finance the majority of the work on a project-by-project basis.
  •  Members of the government and NGOs also support it.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)

  • • It is a pan-Indian organisation that conducts wildlife studies and has been advocating for environmental protection since 1883.
  • Mission: Conservation of nature, primarily biological diversity through action based on research, education and public awareness.
  • The Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, has classified BNHS as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO), and it is a partner of BirdLife International in India.
    •  BirdLife International is a global coalition of nongovernmental organisations that works to protect birds and their habitats.

Source: TH