Daily Current Affairs 23 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 23 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. Growing Farmer Protests: Obstacles and Systemic Problems Affect Indian Agriculture

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – MSP
Given the facts about the declining GDP share of agriculture, the difficulties faced by farmers, the government’s policies pertaining to agriculture (such as MSP), and the larger socioeconomic background of rural distress, this topic is pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– A tragic turn of events occurred as police intervened to stop the farmers’ unions’ ongoing protests demanding legally guaranteed minimum support prices (MSP), resulting in the death of a 22-year-old farmer and stopping their march to Delhi.
– Sharp political divisions and public debate have resulted from these protests, which were heightened by farmers who had previously forced the government to repeal three controversial farm laws through a year-long sit-in at Delhi’s borders in 2020–21.
– The Congress party has promised to provide a legal guarantee for MSP, and other major opposition parties have sided with the farmers. However, it is important to remember that India’s agricultural distress predates the current government’s tenure, highlighting deeper systemic issues.

More news: The Economic Significance of Agriculture Is Declining:

  • Approximately 70% of India’s workforce was employed in agriculture at the time of independence, and it generated 54% of the country’s GDP.
  • Even so, today’s GDP is less than 18% and more than half of the workforce is employed in agriculture.
  • The proportion of cultivators declining relative to agricultural labourers highlights the difficulties facing the industry, as farming is becoming less and less profitable for many.

The difficulties associated with small land holdings and debt:

  • Nearly half of Indian farmers, who mostly work on small, marginal plots of land, are in debt.
  • Approximately 70% of agricultural households have less than one hectare of land, according to data from the most recent Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households.
  • Moreover, a considerable proportion of farm households in different states struggle with low earnings and high levels of debt, which exacerbates the financial burden on farmers.

Unfavorable Terms of Trade and Lack of Support:

  • Farmers continue to be at a disadvantage, as evidenced by the terms of trade (ToT) index, which has been either negative or stagnant in recent years.
  • According to OECD data, India lags behind other nations in terms of producer protection and agricultural support, despite the perception that farmers in the country receive excessive financial support.
  • This demonstrates how inadequate the current support systems are to deal with the difficulties Indian farmers face.

The MSP Debate and Structural Challenges:

  • Even though the MSP controversy attracts attention, it is only one symptom of larger structural problems that plague Indian agriculture.
  • Due to the unremunerative nature of the sector and persistent issues like small land holdings and debt, a comprehensive strategy is required, going beyond band-aid solutions like MSP adjustments.
  • Recognising that farming cannot sustainably support the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on it, addressing the systemic issues requires coordinated efforts to increase farmers’ bargaining power in the market and create alternative avenues for rural employment.


  • The complex structure of India’s agriculture industry necessitates comprehensive solutions that tackle the fundamental structural issues, such as disparities in land ownership, debt, and unfavourable trade conditions.
  • The security of farmers’ income and means of subsistence must be increased through measures other than MSPs, such as more comprehensive legislative changes, expenditures on rural infrastructure, and the creation of jobs.

Some solutions to tackle agricultural challenges
(A) advancing modern technologies and transforming agricultural extension and research:
– India’s infrastructure for agricultural research and extension has to be significantly strengthened and reformed as one of the most important prerequisites for agricultural growth.
– The gradual collapse of these services has been attributed to a number of factors, including widespread access to cutting edge technologies, a persistent lack of funding for operations and infrastructure, and an inability to replace ageing researchers.

(B) Improving Water Resources and Irrigation:
– Agriculture is India’s largest user of water.
– Nevertheless, the increasing competition for water among industry, residential use, and agriculture has highlighted the need for planning and management of water on a river basin and multi-sectoral basis.
– It is projected that as urban and other demands rise, there will be less water available for irrigation. It is imperative to discover methods for achieving “more crop per drop,” or significantly higher irrigation productivity.
– Among the things that could be done are the use of more efficient delivery systems like drip irrigation, better water management on farms, and piped conveyance.

(C) Facilitating crop diversification to higher-value commodities:
– Encouraging farmers to diversify into higher-value commodities will play a significant role in boosting agricultural growth, particularly in rain-fed areas with high rates of poverty.
– Additionally, there is a lot of potential for developing competitive value chains that link farmers to cities and export markets, as well as for expanding agro-processing.
– Projects involving diversification should be led by farmers and business owners, but first the government should loosen regulations pertaining to processing, exporting, shipping, and marketing.

(D) Promoting high-growth commodities:
– Dairy is one of the agricultural subsectors with the greatest potential for growth.
– The livestock sector accounts for over 25% of the agricultural GDP, primarily from the dairy industry. This industry provides 70% of the income for rural families in India, the majority of which are headed by impoverished women.
– The domestic milk market is expected to grow by at least 5% annually in the future, despite the fact that milk production has been growing quickly—roughly 4% annually.
– However, the quantity of milk produced is restricted by low genetic quality cows, inadequate nutrition, restricted access to veterinary care, and other problems.

(E) Developing markets, agricultural credit and public expenditures:
– Trade barriers exist both inside and between India and other countries due to the country’s long history of heavy government engagement in agriculture marketing.
– Nevertheless, private sector spending on value chains, marketing, and agro-processing is increasing, albeit far more slowly than it should.
– Although certain limitations are being removed, much more work has to be done to promote diversification and reduce consumer costs.
– Since it’s still hard for farmers to secure credit, there’s a need to improve their access to rural financing.

(F) Climate change mitigation:
– More severe weather is expected, with areas that receive rain most likely to be most affected. These occurrences consist of floods, droughts, and sporadic showers.
– When paired with initiatives from agricultural research and extension, the watershed programme might be the greatest agricultural initiative for advancing novel crop varieties and enhanced farming methods.

(G) Marketing reforms:
– Due to a lack of a well-functioning market and sufficient transportation, Indian farmers struggle to make a living from their sellable excess produce.
– As a result, wholesalers have exploited farmers by rapidly offloading their goods at a loss-making lower price.
– Price fluctuations for agricultural goods pose a serious threat to Indian agriculture.
– In addition to farmers, price stability helps buyers, exporters, and the agro-based industries.
– Given that the price fluctuations are neither uniform nor smooth, India has a pattern of fluctuating prices for agricultural products.

(H) Minimizing Post-Harvest Losses:
– One of the main reasons India has such high food inflation is inefficient postharvest methods that result in food product waste. Waste happens at every stage of the food value chain, from the farmers to the carriers.
– Agricultural economists believe that the construction of cold storage, warehousing, packaging, and cold transport chain infrastructure has the potential to greatly reduce waste and increase the availability of agricultural produce, particularly horticultural crops like fruits and vegetables.

(I) Developing Food Processing Industry:
– Food processing is a relatively new industry, and India’s demand for processed food is predicted to grow over time due to the nation’s rapid urbanisation, rising per capita income, and rising proportion of women entering the workforce.
– Despite having tremendous growth potential, the food processing industry in India is still in its infancy, accounting for less than 10% of all food produced in the country.

PYQ: Should contract farming and land leasing be encouraged in agriculture given that the average size of land holdings in India is decreasing, rendering agriculture unprofitable for most farmers? Critically assess the benefits and drawbacks. (12.5 m/200 words) (2015, UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question: Examine critically the structural issues that the Indian agriculture industry is facing and assess how well government policies are working to resolve them. (10 m / 150 words)

2. The CBSE suggests a pilot study to investigate novel assessment methods for deeper learning in open-book exams.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education
This subject is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains since it deals with the facts surrounding the CBSE’s proposed educational reforms.

– A proposal for a pilot study has been made by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to determine whether open book exams (OBE) for students in Classes 9 through 12 are feasible.
– This pilot study, which is scheduled for November and December, will be carried out in a few schools for classes 9 and 10 in subjects like science, maths and English, and classes 11 and 12 in subjects like biology, maths and science.
– The decision aligns with the recently released National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and reflects the Board’s intention to investigate novel approaches to assessment.

More about the news:Understanding Open Book Exams:

  • Students can use their notes and textbooks to help them answer questions on open-book exams.
  • There are two types of exams: restricted and free. Restricted exams only allow approved study materials, while free exams let students bring any relevant materials.
  • OBE questions are not meant to test rote memorization, as is the case with traditional closed-book exams. Rather, they are meant to evaluate conceptual understanding and analytical skills.

History and Context:

  • While not a completely new idea, CBSE had already implemented Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) in 2014 with the goal of lessening students’ need to memorise material and enhancing their ability to process information.
  • But the elimination of OTBA because it was thought to not develop critical thinking skills emphasises how difficult it is to conduct open-book assessments well.
  • OBEs are fairly common in higher education, where they are used for assessment purposes by a variety of institutions, including engineering colleges and universities.

Perceptions and Challenges:

  • OBEs, despite popular belief, are not intrinsically simpler than traditional exams; rather, their purpose is to assess conceptual understanding and application at a deeper level.
  • Creating questions that demand critical thinking instead of simple answers is a challenge for educators.
  • Additional challenges include the need for students to develop their skills in order to perform well in OBEs and connectivity issues.

Alignment with Educational Reforms:

  • The proposal from CBSE is in line with more extensive educational changes that aim to replace rote memorization with competency-based learning.
  • The National Education Policy 2020 places a strong emphasis on competency-based learning and assessment reforms, but it does not specifically address open-book exams.
  • In a similar vein, the National Curriculum Framework highlights the necessity of assessments that offer helpful criticism and accommodate a variety of learning styles.

Research Insights:

  • Research on open-book exams yield conflicting results; while some point to a decrease in students’ stress levels, others highlight drawbacks like connectivity problems and the requirement for skill development.
  • The benefits of open-book assessments can only be fully realised with targeted training and skill development, even though mean scores on OBEs may be higher than on closed-book exams.


  • The proposal by CBSE for open-book exams is a reflection of ongoing efforts to modernise assessment procedures and encourage students to achieve deeper learning objectives. But in order to execute it effectively, a number of issues must be resolved, and alignment with more general learning goals must be guaranteed.

Pros and Cons of Open Book Exams (OBE)
– Exams conducted with open books have the potential to eliminate the prevalent practice of rote learning in Indian education. As they hone their analytical abilities, students will be urged to be both creative and analytical.
– Memory-focused exams often reward students who can recall the information well, which concerns students who understand the content but have trouble remembering it. Open-book exams are advantageous for students with different learning styles.
– Even in the face of memory-based tests, students are free to study subjects in peace. At the moment, test preparation is taking precedence over conceptual comprehension for students.
– Exams that are open-book have the power to improve instruction and elevate academic standards.
– It can assist in eliminating cheating and copying.
– A common misconception is that students will simply replicate the content found in their textbooks. Nevertheless, content analysis is required because of the way open-book exam questions are constructed.

– Anxiety about exams inspires many students to study. Open-book exams have the potential to distract students from their studies.
– In India, there are a lot of coaching centres that assist students in preparing for various exams. They may provide memorizable model answers for each concept. – This could make the purpose of open-book exams less clear.
– Memory training is also essential, especially for young people. Exams with open books have the potential to discourage students from learning even the most basic material.
– Due to the rigorous evaluation criteria of open-book exams, students might experience even more stress.
– The fear of losing the knowledge will disappear.

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2018) 

1) In accordance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, an individual must meet the minimal standards established by the State Council of Teacher Education in question in order to be qualified for appointment as a teacher in that State.
2) According to the RTE Act, a candidate must pass a teacher eligibility test that is administered in compliance with the National Council of Teacher Education’s guidelines in order to teach primary classes.
3) The State Governments of India oversee more than 90% of the country’s teacher education establishments. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 3 only 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Examine critically the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) plan to carry out experimental research on open-book exams for grades 9 through 12. Examine the possible advantages and difficulties of introducing open-book exams into the Indian educational system. (15 m/250 words)

3. An international team achieves a breakthrough in atomic physics with the laser cooling of positronium.

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Development and their applications
Knowing the details of the AEGIS collaboration’s groundbreaking achievement in laser cooling Positronium makes this topic pertinent for both Prelims and Mains. It also showcases developments in experimental physics and laser cooling techniques.

– An international team of physicists from the Anti-hydrogen Experiment: Gravity, Interferometry, Spectroscopy (AEgIS) collaboration has demonstrated the laser cooling of Positronium, marking a significant breakthrough.
– Positronium is a basic atomic system with a half-life of only 142 nanoseconds, consisting of a bound electron (e-) and positron (e+).
It is a special kind of leptonic atom because its mass is twice that of an electron.
– Owing to its hydrogen-like properties and halved excitation frequencies, it offers a promising platform for fundamental theory testing and laser cooling experiments.

Additional information about the story: Notice and Test Environment:

  • Following tests carried out at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, physicists from 19 European and one Indian research group within the AEGIS collaboration announced the accomplishment.
  • This discovery is a critical step towards the measurement of Earth’s gravitational acceleration on anti-hydrogen and the development of anti-hydrogen in future experiments.
  • It also has the potential to be used to develop gamma-ray lasers for uses other than physics, such as the exploration of atomic nuclei.

Development and Challenges:

  • Over the past few years, the AEgIS experiment has undergone extensive testing and development, with multiple experimental runs carried out in CERN’s accelerator beam hall.
  • CERN’s official acknowledgement of the project in 2008 signalled the start of an intricate procedure that involved creating particle traps to contain positrons, antiprotons, and antiparticles.
  • The accelerator beam hall’s limitations created a difficult experimental environment, but technological advancements were crucial to achieving the experiment’s goals.

Laser Cooling Process and Results:

  • Researchers were able to effectively cool Positronium atoms from about 380 Kelvin to roughly 170 Kelvin by employing an alexandrite-based laser system with a 70 nanosecond pulse.
  • Using lasers that operated in the deep ultraviolet or infrared frequency bands, the cooling was shown in one dimension.
  • This accomplishment highlights the development of laser cooling methods and their potential uses in fundamental research as well as other fields.


  • An important turning point in atomic physics was reached with the successful laser cooling of positronium, which showed that basic atomic systems could be successfully manipulated and controlled for future scientific research and technological advancement.

About CERN
– The largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory in the world, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is best known for running the Large Hadron Collider, which produced the elusive Higgs boson in 2012.
– Geneva, near the French-Swiss border, is home to CERN.
– There are 22 states that make up its membership.

PYQ: In recent times, there has been a lot of news about the hunt for the Higgs boson particle.
What significance does the discovery of this particle have?

1) It will help us comprehend the reason behind the mass of elementary particles.
2) It will make it possible for us to create technology in the near future that allows us to move matter from one location to another without physically moving between them.
3) It will make it possible for us to develop improved nuclear fission fuels.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below: 
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Ans: (a)
Practice Question: Analyse critically the significance of the recent advancement in laser cooling of positronium made by an international team of physicists. Talk about how this discovery affects basic atomic physics research and how it might be used to advance technological innovation. (15 m/250 words)

4. India Reports Less Than One Case Per 10,000 People Nationwide in 2023, Reaching a Milestone in the Elimination of Kala Azar

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health 
Given that the government’s efforts in disease control and public health governance are reflected in the accomplishment of targets in the fight against Kala Azar, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– India’s goal of reporting fewer than one case per 10,000 people across all blocks in 2023 represents a major victory in the fight against Kala Azar, the second-deadliest parasitic disease after malaria.
– With 595 cases and four deaths reported in 2023, the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme’s data showed a decline in reported cases and deaths over the previous year.
– This accomplishment, which the Indian government has reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a critical step in the eradication of Kala Azar.

More about the news:Historical Context and Targets:

  • India had established several deadlines for the abolition of Kala Azar, which began in 2010 and went until 2015, 2017, and 2020.
  • No block in the nation reports more than one case per 10,000 people, which is the elimination target.
  • India has significantly reduced the disease burden, especially in endemic states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh, even though it has missed a number of deadlines.

Verification Process and Future Steps:

  • India has achieved the necessary goals, but before the nation can be formally proclaimed Kala Azar-free, WHO experts must verify and certify India’s progress.
  • In order for India to be certified by the WHO, low case numbers must be maintained for the next three years.
  • Before granting certification, experts will examine the surveillance mechanisms and determine whether the success can be sustained.

Key Interventions and Challenges:

  • Rigorous interventions, such as indoor residual spraying, sealing mud walls to prevent sandfly nesting, and mobilising the ASHA network to ensure that patients with post-Kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) receive their treatment to the end, are responsible for India’s success in meeting elimination targets.
  • Tracking PKDL cases is still difficult, though, because untreated reservoirs may harbour disease that resurfaces.

Advancements in Diagnosis and Treatment:

  • Improvements in early diagnosis and patient outcomes have been made possible by advances in diagnostic equipment and treatment plans.
  • In comparison to earlier decades, point-of-care diagnostic kits and shorter treatment durations have improved the efficiency of disease management, lessening the burden on patients and healthcare systems.


  • India’s success in lowering the number of cases of Kala Azar represents a major public health win, but continued work and attention to detail are necessary to keep the disease’s progress going and eventually eradicate it completely.

What is Kala-Azar?
– The indigenous disease known as kala-azar, or visceral leishmaniasis, progresses slowly and is brought on by a protozoan parasite belonging to the genus Leishmania.
– Other names for it include Dumdum Fever and Black Fever.
– Leishmania donovani is the only parasite that causes this illness in India.

Transmission and Symptoms:
– Sandflies are the ones who spread it.
– In India, sandflies belonging to the Phlebotomus argentipes genus are the sole known carriers of kala-azar.
– Fever, weight loss, and enlargement of the liver and spleen are the symptoms.
– In 95% of cases, it can be fatal if left untreated.

Recorded Cases in India:
– India recorded 530 cases and four fatalities in 2023—a decrease from the years before.
– Furthermore, 286 cases of post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) were reported.

Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL):
– Skin lesions are the result of Leishmania donovani infiltrating and growing within skin cells, causing this condition.
– Although PKDL sometimes appears following treatment in kala-azar cases, it is now thought that PKDL may develop without passing through the visceral stage. Still, additional information is required to comprehend how PKDL evolves.
– When internal organs are affected by the parasite during the early stages of visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar), it is referred to as the visceral stage. 

– In India, injectable liposomal amphotericin B is the main treatment for kala-azar infections.
– Oral miltefosine for 12 weeks, with dosage adjustments based on patient weight and age, is the standard treatment for PKDL.

Strategies for Elimination in India:
– Effective Spraying: To stop the spread of disease and sandfly breeding, indoor residual spraying should be closely monitored.
– Wall Plastering: To reduce the areas where sandflies breed, use Gerrard soil when plastering walls.
– Treatment Compliance: Using the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) network to guarantee that PKDL treatment is completed.

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2017) 

1) The same mosquito that spreads dengue also spreads the Zika virus in tropical areas.
2) It is possible for the Zika virus to spread sexually.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2 

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Talk about the importance of India’s accomplishment in 2023 of reporting fewer than one case of Kala Azar per 10,000 people in all blocks. Examine the most important interventions and difficulties India has faced in its efforts to eradicate Kala Azar. (15 m/250 words)

5. Should the Indian Supreme Court have regional benches?

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary
Crucial for UPSC to consider as it explores the discussion surrounding the creation of regional benches and how it affects access to justice and judicial efficiency.

– The suggestion to create regional benches of the Indian Supreme Court is covered in the article.
– The implications are examined by Justices Govind Mathur and Sanjoy Ghose, who also touch on issues of conflicting precedents, virtual hearings, geographic bias, and lawyers’ access to the legal system.


  • The establishment of regional benches for the Indian Supreme Court has been recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law, and Justice.
  • But the supreme court has consistently disapproved of this notion, and the case is still pending.
  • Sanjoy Ghose and Justice Govind Mathur talk about the effects of regional benches.

Addressing Geographical Bias:

  • Justice Mathur admits to having changed his mind and emphasises the necessity of regional benches to address the issues that those who live outside of Delhi face.
  • Sanjoy Ghose expresses worries about pointless petitions and recommends putting in place a system to carefully review the kinds of cases that are accepted by the Supreme Court.

Virtual Hearings vs. Regional Benches:

  • Ghose proposes a hybrid method in which the final hearings are held in person, but the preliminary and admission hearings are held virtually.
  • Judge Mathur argues that although technology can be helpful in managing courts, virtual hearings might not be a good substitute for regional benches because in-person hearings preserve objectivity.

Focus on Constitutional Matters:

  • To lessen the load on the Supreme Court, the article suggests creating distinct courts of appeal and cassation, akin to the French legal system.
  • Ghose favours the Supreme Court concentrating only on constitutional cases by transferring non-constitutional cases to a court of cassation.

Conflicting Precedents and Increased Litigation:

  • According to Ghose, there might be fewer contradictory rulings if the permanent appellate court and the court of cassation were kept apart.
  • Justice Mathur disagrees, pointing out that technology helps judges stay current and ensure consistency in their rulings.

Impact on Lawyers and Access to Justice:

  • Although Ghose agrees with the Supreme Court Bar’s concerns regarding the Supreme Court’s fragmentation, he thinks regional benches would result in a thriving local bar.
  • The talk emphasises how regional benches could lead to more opportunities and democratisation of the legal profession.

Reforming High Courts and Dealing with SLPs:

  • Justice Mathur highlights that in order to increase efficiency, general judicial reforms—not just those pertaining to High Courts—are required.
  • During the conversation, it is suggested that the Supreme Court maintain some of its exclusive jurisdiction while addressing the problem of an excessive number of Special Leave Petitions (SLPs).


  • The article examines the advantages and disadvantages of creating regional benches, discussing issues such as geographic prejudice, virtual hearings, the emphasis on constitutional issues, conflicting precedents, the effect on attorneys, and the requirement for more extensive judicial reforms.

Practice Question: Analyse the possible advantages and difficulties of setting up regional Supreme Court benches in India. (10 m / 150 words)

6. Laws are enforced by the highest court, but pollution control boards are incompetent

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental Pollution and Degradation
GS2 –  Governance – Government policies – Issues arising out of their implementation 
Relevance of UPSC: Examines environmental and legal issues, highlighting enforcement deficiencies in pollution control that have an impact on governance and industry.

– The Supreme Court highlights the lax enforcement of pollution laws by criticising the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Thoothukudi administration for their carelessness in handling the toxins from Vedanta’s closed copper smelting plant.

Additional information on this news:

  • The Thoothukudi district administration and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) are both held equally accountable by the Supreme Court for the pollutants that originated from Vedanta’s copper smelting plant.
  • Judges chastise pollution regulators for their lax enforcement of the law, stressing that the issue is not a lack of laws but rather a lack of enforcement.
  • The impact on investment is highlighted as the court questions TNPCB about shutting down the plant without specific violations.
  • Hearings are being held on Vedanta’s request to reopen the plant, which was shut down in 2018 over pollution issues.
  • TNPCB contends that the application’s expired status was the basis for the denial of a consent renewal.

Regulatory bottlenecks in controlling environmental pollution
– Legal system fragmentation: Several agencies with conflicting missions cause misunderstandings and ineffective enforcement.
– Outdated laws: New types of pollution or developing technologies may not be covered by current laws.
– Insufficient resources: Effective monitoring and enforcement are hampered by a lack of resources and manpower.
– Weak compliance: A “pollute and pay” mentality is fostered by frequently insufficient penalties for infractions.
– Industry lobbying: Strong businesses may put pressure on decision-makers to loosen environmental laws.

Way Forward:
Streamline legal framework: For improved coordination, combine environmental laws into a single nodal agency.
Update regulations: Review and amend regulations frequently to stay up to date with new developments in pollution sources and technology.
– Boost enforcement: by hiring more people, making technological investments, and applying harsher sanctions for non-compliance.
– Encourage transparency: Accountability can be improved by making environmental data and decision-making processes accessible to the public.
– Economic incentives: To promote compliance, impose market-based tools, clean technology subsidies, and taxes on pollution.
– Communities: should be empowered by promoting public involvement in environmental decision-making and providing them with the legal resources necessary to hold polluters responsible.
– International cooperation: Exchange best practices, standardise laws, and work together to resolve environmental transboundary issues.

By tackling these issues and putting workable solutions in place, we can strengthen the regulatory framework that protects the environment and encourages sustainable development.

Practice Question: In India, environmental pollution is still a big problem in spite of current laws. Analyse the main regulatory roadblocks preventing efficient control and offer a multifaceted solution to get around them. (10 m / 150 words)

7. Scientists at IISc create a synthetic antibody to counteract the lethal toxin from snake bites.

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology –  Development & their applications 
Relevance to UPSC: Developments in artificial antibodies against snakebite, fusing biology and technology, promoting biodiversity preservation and public health.

– A synthetic human antibody that neutralises the strong neurotoxin from Elapidae snakes, such as the cobra and black mamba, is developed by scientists at IISc, Bengaluru.

Additional information on this news:

  • Researchers at IISc, Bengaluru, create a synthetic human antibody to counteract the strong neurotoxin found in snakes belonging to the Elapidae family, which includes black mamba and cobras.
  • The group uses an innovative method for treating snakebite that is also utilised for HIV and COVID-19 antibodies.
  • Elapid venom contains a major toxin (3FTx), which the antibody targets in its core, a conserved region.
  • A vast library of synthetic antibodies is created and evaluated using yeast cell surfaces, ultimately resulting in the identification of a single, potent antibody.
  • When combined with a toxic 3FTx, the synthetic antibody dramatically improves animal model survival rates when compared to mice that are injected with the toxin alone.

8. Overworked, underpaid, and on the verge of collapse are the women of ASHA.

Topic: GS2 –  Governance – Government policies – Issues arising out of their implementation
GS2 – Social Justice – Health 
UPSC Relevance: Highlights the social, economic, and health aspects of the issues that ASHAs confront, making them essential to India’s health programmes.

– The difficulties Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in India face are covered in the article, along with requests for their acknowledgement as legitimate employees and issues with overwork, low pay, and health hazards.


  • In India, Accredited Social Health Activists, or ASHAs, deal with three distinct sets of challenges: household duties, community health work, and health centre responsibilities.
  • Underpaid and overworked, ASHAs run the risk of non-communicable diseases, anaemia, and malnourishment.

The ASHA Role:

  • ASHAs, who are mostly female, work as community health workers who support underserved communities and are essential to India’s health programmes.
  • Their responsibilities grew beyond the health of mothers and children to include reporting cases of domestic abuse, vaccination follow-ups, and mental health support.

The Study’s Findings:

  • Forty ASHAs were identified during COVID-19 in Bhopal, where a study conducted on their time, money, and well-being revealed their difficult routines and restricted autonomy.
  • ASHAs’ increased work responsibilities, irregular eating patterns, and lack of sleep all contribute to their health vulnerabilities.

Economic Inequities:

  • ASHAs are categorised as volunteers who confront psychological, physical, and economic obstacles that draw attention to power imbalances.
  • ASHAs provide vital care, but the system does not provide them with enough support.

Environmental Challenges:

  • ASHAs’ health is impacted by extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves, which present additional challenges.
  • There is not much discussion, and safety precautions for ASHAs operating in severe weather are mentioned.

Health Impact and Maternal Services:

  • The well-being of ASHAs has a direct impact on their productivity, which in turn affects women’s access to maternity services and the safety of their deliveries.
  • Improving the health of mothers and children in India requires bolstering the ASHA initiative.

Monetary Barriers and Out-of-Pocket Expenses:

  • As honorary employees, ASHAs earn a range of salaries and are not eligible for government health benefits.
  • One factor contributing to ASHAs’ financial difficulties is their out-of-pocket expenses for logistical costs.

Violence and Marginalization:

  • ASHAs experience abuse, harassment, and assault with few avenues for redress due to gender and caste hierarchies.
  • Being from historically marginalised communities, they experience stress in a health system where privileged people predominate.

Calls for Change:

  • ASHAs seek pensions, access to maternity leaves, set working hours, and fixed honoraria.
  • Proponents recommend paying ASHAs fairly, treating their physical and mental health, and acknowledging them as legitimate employees.


  • Maintaining India’s community health programmes and enhancing general public health outcomes require acknowledging and resolving the difficulties faced by ASHAs.

Practice Question: Talk about the difficulties Indian Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) face and offer solutions to enhance their quality of life. (10 m / 150 words)

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