11 March 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

11-March -2024- Top News of the Day

1. Debating Tiger Safaris: Balancing Conservation and Tourism in India’s Wildlife Reserves

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservations

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the analysis sheds light on the evolution of wildlife conservation policies and the role of government agencies such as the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in implementing conservation measures.
  • The Supreme Court’s recent inclination to approve the establishment of the Tiger Safari at Pakhrau in the buffer area of Corbett Tiger Reserve has sparked debates regarding the concept and implications of tiger safaris in wildlife conservation.
  • This analysis delves into the various dimensions of tiger safaris and their impact on wildlife conservation efforts in India.

More about the news:
Meaning and Legal Context of Tiger Safaris:

  • Tiger safaris, although not explicitly defined under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, have been envisaged in guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • These guidelines allow for the establishment of safari parks in buffer areas of tiger reserves to mitigate tourism stress on wildlife.

Evolution of Tiger Safari Guidelines:

  • The NTCA initially proposed tiger safaris for injured, conflicted, or orphaned tigers, excluding those sourced from zoos.
  • However, subsequent amendments permitted the inclusion of zoo animals in safari parks, raising concerns about disease transmission and wildlife welfare.

Rationale for Tiger Safaris:

  • Proponents argue that safari parks help alleviate tourism pressure on tiger reserves, provide a natural habitat for distressed animals, and support local livelihoods through tourism revenue generation.

Critique and Counterarguments:

  • Critics highlight the adverse effects of safari parks on wildlife habitats, increased tourism congestion, and the departure from traditional wildlife conservation practices.
  • They argue that housing captive animals in natural environments can disrupt wild habitats and jeopardize species’ welfare.

Ground Reality and Local Context:

  • The proposed site for the Pakhrau Safari Park in Corbett Tiger Reserve raises concerns about habitat disturbance and potential conflicts with local wildlife.
  • While proponents emphasize economic benefits for local communities, past experiences in other reserves caution against hasty implementation without thorough assessment.

Challenges and Lessons Learned:

  • Previous initiatives to establish safari parks in wildlife reserves, such as in Ranthambhore, have faced logistical challenges and failed to achieve their intended objectives.
  • Lessons from these experiences underscore the need for careful planning and site-specific solutions in wildlife conservation efforts.

Future Prospects and Policy Recommendations:

  • The Supreme Court’s directive to form guidelines for tiger safaris presents an opportunity to develop comprehensive and context-sensitive policies.
  • Local authorities must prioritize wildlife conservation over commercial interests and adopt sustainable practices in tourism development.


  • The debate surrounding tiger safaris reflects the complex interplay between conservation goals, economic interests, and stakeholder perspectives in wildlife management.
  • As India seeks to balance biodiversity conservation with tourism promotion, a cautious and scientifically informed approach is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of tiger reserves and the protection of endangered species.

About Jim Corbett National Park
  • It is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.
  • The Project Tiger was launched in 1973 in Corbett National Park (first National Park of India), which is part of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
  • The national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
  • It is named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
  • The core area forms the Corbett National Park while the buffer contains reserve forests as well as the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The entire area of the reserve is mountainous and falls in the Shivalik and Outer Himalaya geological provinces.
  • Ramganga, Sonanadi, Mandal, Palain and Kosi are the major rivers flowing through the Reserve.
  • Sprawling over 500 square kilometres, CTR is home to 230 tigers and has the world’s highest tiger density — at 14 tigers per hundred square kilometres.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA)
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
  • It was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
  • It was constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it.
PYQ: Consider the following pairs: (2013)
National Park – River flowing through Park
1) Corbett National Park: Ganga
2) Kaziranga National Park: Manas
3) Silent Valley National Park: Kaveri
Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) None
Ans: (d)
Practice Question:  Discuss the concept of tiger safaris and their significance in wildlife conservation and ecotourism in India. Analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with the establishment of tiger safari parks. (150 words/10 m)

2. Gujarat’s Groundbreaking BioCNG Outlet: Turning Cow Dung into Sustainable Fuel

Topic: GS3 – Environment
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the initiative which demonstrates innovative approaches to addressing environmental challenges by converting organic waste into renewable energy sources.
  • The BioCNG outlet on the Deesa-Tharad highway in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district is a pioneering initiative, being India’s first and only gas-filling station operating on dung sourced from cattle and buffaloes.
  • While it resembles a typical CNG outlet from a distance, it signifies a significant shift towards sustainable energy production.

More about the news:
Operational Details and Output:

  • Operated by the Banaskantha District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, the BioCNG outlet in Dama village caters to 90-100 vehicles daily, selling approximately 550-600 kg of gas generated from 40 tonnes of dung processed at an adjacent four-acre plant.
  • This initiative demonstrates the potential for innovative energy solutions utilizing organic waste.

Understanding the Significance of Dung:

  • An exploration of the properties of dung reveals its potential as a source of biogas.
  • Fresh dung from bovine animals contains methane, produced during the fermentation process in the rumen.
  • To harness its fuel value, dung needs to be collected and delivered to biogas plants in fresh format, a process facilitated by local farmers.

Biogas Production Process:

  • The process of anaerobic digestion in a sealed vessel reactor involves several stages, including hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis.
  • Through this process, complex organic matter in dung is broken down to produce biogas, which is then purified to remove impurities like CO2, H2S, and moisture, resulting in compressed biogas (CBG) suitable for use as fuel.

Additional Benefits and Revenue Streams:

  • Beyond fuel production, the residue from anaerobic digestion serves as a source of bio-fertilizer.
  • This by-product undergoes decomposition and processing to produce phosphate-rich organic manure (PROM) or compost, creating additional revenue streams for the Union.
  • Notably, revenue from bio-fertilizer sales often surpasses that from BioCNG sales.

Scalability and Replicability:

  • The BioCNG model is not only scalable but also replicable, with the potential for adoption by other district-level milk unions across India.
  • With a steady supply of dung from local dairy farmers, the model presents an opportunity to expand income sources for farmers while promoting sustainable energy production.

Alternative Decentralized Model:

  • In addition to centralized BioCNG plants, decentralized biogas plants offer a viable alternative for dairy farmers.
  • Flexi Biogas plants installed in villages like Mujkuva in Anand district enable farmers to produce biogas for household cooking and generate additional income through the sale of slurry.


  • The establishment of India’s first BioCNG outlet marks a significant milestone in the country’s transition towards sustainable energy solutions.
  • By utilizing organic waste from cattle and buffaloes, these initiatives not only contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also create new income opportunities for dairy farmers.
  • As such innovative models continue to evolve and expand, they hold promise for addressing both energy and agricultural sustainability challenges in India.
What is BioCNG?
  • BioCNG, also known as biomethane, is a renewable and clean-burning transportation fuel produced by upgrading biogas to natural gas quality. It’s essentially purified biogas, made from organic waste materials like:
    • Agricultural waste: Crop residues, straw, manure
    • Food waste: Spoiled food, leftover scraps
    • Sewage sludge: Solid waste from wastewater treatment plants

What are the Benefits of BioCNG?

  • High Calorific Value: BioCNG has a high calorific value, which means it can produce more energy per unit volume than other fuels. This makes it more efficient and economical for various applications, such as vehicle fuel, power generation, heating, and cooking.
  • BioCNG can also replace liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which has a lower calorific value and is more expensive.
  • Clean Fuel: BioCNG is a clean fuel, as it helps in controlling air pollution. It emits less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter than gasoline or diesel.
  • These pollutants are harmful to human health and the environment, as they cause respiratory problems, acid rain, smog, and climate change.
  • No Residue or Smoke: BioCNG does not produce any residue or smoke, which makes it a non-polluting fuel. It does not leave behind any ash, tar, or carbon deposits, which can damage the engine and reduce its performance.
  • BioCNG is therefore a safer and cleaner fuel than other conventional fuels.
  • Economical: BioCNG is economical, as it can be produced locally from waste materials.
  • This can help in saving transportation and storage costs, as well as creating local jobs and income opportunities.
  • BioCNG can also reduce the energy import bill, as India imports about 85% of its crude oil requirement.
  • BioCNG can also be used as a cooking fuel in residential and commercial kitchens, as it is cheaper and cleaner than LPG.
  • Bio-Fertilizers: BioCNG can also generate bio-fertilizers, which can improve soil quality and crop yield. Bio-fertilizers are organic fertilizers that contain beneficial microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and algae, that enhance the nutrient availability and uptake by plants.
  • Bio-fertilizers can be produced from the slurry or digestate that is left behind after the production of BioCNG.
PYQ: Consider the following: (2019)
1) Carbon monoxide
2) Methane
3) Ozone
4) Sulphur dioxide
Which of the above are released into the atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Ans: (d)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the BioCNG outlet and decentralized biogas model in India’s sustainable development agenda. Analyze the economic, environmental, and social implications of such initiatives, and evaluate their potential role in addressing key challenges faced by rural communities. (250 words/15 m)

3. InflectionAI Unveils Pi 2.5: Empathetic Chatbot Enhanced with Real-Time Web Search Capabilities

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Developing new technology

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the development of advanced AI models like Inflection2.5 which raises questions about the impact of technology on society.
  • InflectionAI introduced its latest Large Language Model (LLM), Inflection2.5, as an upgrade to its chatbot personal assistant Pi.
  • Founded in 2022 by Mustafa Suleyman, Reid Hoffman, and Karen Simonyan, Inflection AI aims to provide empathetic and helpful AI-driven solutions. Pi, initially launched in May 2023, has undergone improvements, with the latest update, Inflection 2.5, claiming to rival leading LLMs like GPT-4 and Gemini.

More about the news:
Features of Inflection 2.5:

  • Inflection 2.5 is positioned as an upgraded in-house model, boasting competitiveness with top-tier LLMs while maintaining its signature empathetic personality.
  • Despite its enhanced performance, Inflection2.5 requires only 40% of the computational power of OpenAI’s GPT-4 for training.
  • Notably, Pi now incorporates real-time web search capabilities to ensure users have access to current and high-quality information instantly.

Distinguishing Characteristics of Pi:

  • Unlike other chatbots like ChatGPT and Gemini, which offer functional responses, Pi is designed to have more personality and serves as a companion to users rather than merely a tool.
  • It offers a choice of six distinct voices and is described as a “kind and helpful” computer program.
  • Pi has been trained on vast amounts of data from the open web, allowing it to engage in conversations and address a wide range of queries.

Evolution from Inflection-1 to Inflection-2.5:

  • Initially powered by Inflection-1, which surpassed competitors like GPT-3.5, LLaMA, and PaLM-540B in various benchmarks, Pi has now been upgraded to Inflection-2.5.
  • The new model enhances Pi’s emotional intelligence, enabling conversations on diverse topics, including current events, exam preparation, business planning, and leisure activities, while maintaining high safety standards and the unique persona of the Pi chatbot.


  • 5 represents a significant advancement in the capabilities of Pi, Inflection AI’s chatbot personal assistant.
  • With improved performance, real-time web search capabilities, and an enhanced emotional quotient, Pi continues to differentiate itself in the realm of AI-driven personal assistants.
  • The evolution from Inflection-1 to Inflection-2.5 underscores the company’s commitment to providing empathetic and helpful AI solutions tailored to human interaction.
PYQ: With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020)
1) Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units
2) Create meaningful short stories and songs
3) Disease diagnosis
4) Text-to-Speech Conversion
5) Wireless transmission of electrical energy
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Ans: (b)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of AI-driven chatbot personal assistants, such as Inflection2.5 and Pi, in the context of technological advancements and their impact on society. How do these chatbots differ from traditional AI models like ChatGPT and Gemini? (250 words/15 m)

4. India’s AMCA Project Clears Rs15,000 Crore Milestone: Pioneering Indigenous Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft Development

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the AMCA analysis provides insights into India’s defense preparedness, technological advancements, and strategic capabilities.
  • The Indian government’s recent clearance of a Rs15,000 crore project for the development of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) marks a significant milestone in India’s defense capabilities.
  • Led by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer, the AMCA project aims to design and develop India’s fifth-generation fighter jet.

More about the news:
Features of AMCA:

  • Stealth: The AMCA, weighing 25 tonnes and powered by twin engines, is set to incorporate advanced stealth features, making it difficult for enemy radar systems to detect. Experts at ADA, suggests that the AMCA may rival or even surpass existing fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft globally.
  • Fuel & Weapons: Notable features of the AMCA include a concealed internal fuel tank with a capacity of 6.5 tonnes and an internal weapons bay capable of housing various armaments, including indigenous weapons. These features enhance the aircraft’s operational capabilities while maintaining a stealth profile.
  • Engine: The AMCA will initially be equipped with the US-built GE414 engine for its Mk1 variant, while the more advanced Mk2 variant will feature a more powerful engine developed by DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment in collaboration with a foreign defense major..

Significance of AMCA:

  • The AMCA represents India’s stride towards indigenous development in defense technology.
  • Initiated in 2007 with discussions for a joint development with Russia under the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program, India’s withdrawal from the FGFA project in 2018 paved the way for the indigenous development of the AMCA.
  • While the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas serves as a 4.5-generation aircraft, the AMCA positions India as a developer of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, primarily distinguished by its stealth capabilities.

Stealth Features and Advanced Technology:

  • The AMCA’s stealth features, including an internal weapons bay and a larger internal fuel tank, contribute to its low electromagnetic signature, making detection by enemy radar challenging.
  • Such features align with the characteristics of fifth-generation aircraft and differentiate them from their predecessors.
  • Additionally, advanced sensors and weapons further enhance the AMCA’s combat effectiveness, enabling it to detect and neutralize enemy threats effectively.

Development Timeline and Integration:

  • The ADA aims for the first flight of the AMCA within 4.5 to 5 years, with full development expected to take around a decade.
  • The development process involves the construction of five prototypes before HAL initiates mass production.
  • Private industry participation in manufacturing is anticipated, highlighting the collaborative effort in India’s defense sector.

Comparison with Other Fifth-Generation Fighters:

  • While countries like the US, China, and Russia have developed fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor, J-20 Mighty Dragon, and Sukhoi Su-57 respectively, India’s AMCA joins this exclusive league, showcasing its technological prowess in defense aviation.

Challenges and Requirements:

  • Despite advancements in indigenous defense production, the Indian Air Force (IAF) faces challenges due to its diminishing squadron strength.
  • With only around 30 fighter squadrons against a sanctioned strength of 42, the induction of new aircraft like the AMCA is critical for bolstering India’s air defense capabilities.
  • However, meeting the IAF’s requirements for seven squadrons of the AMCA, alongside other planned inductions, poses a challenge in achieving the sanctioned squadron strength within a decade.


  • The development of the AMCA marks a significant milestone in India’s defense capabilities, positioning the nation among a select group of countries with indigenous fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
  • With advanced stealth features, innovative technology, and a rigorous development timeline, the AMCA represents India’s commitment to self-reliance and technological advancement in defense aviation.
  • However, addressing challenges such as squadron strength remains imperative for ensuring robust national defense in the coming years.
  • The notion of aircraft generations, a term that applies to only jet rather than propeller driven fighter aircraft, appeared in the 1990s and attempted to make sense of the leap-frogging improvements in performance to jet fighter aircraft brought about through major advances in aircraft design, avionics, and weapon systems.
  • While the rationale that constitutes a generational shift is debatable, a generational shift in jet fighter aircraft occurs when a technological innovation cannot be incorporated into an existing aircraft through upgrades and retrospective fit-outs.

First generation subsonic jet fighters (mid 1940s to mid 1950s)

  • The first generation of jet fighters such as the F-86, MiG-15and MiG-17, had basic avionic systems with no radars or self-protection countermeasures, and were armed with machine guns or cannons, as well as unguided bombs and rockets.
  • A common characteristic of this generation of fighter was that the jet engines did not have afterburners and the aircraft operated in the subsonic regime.

Second generation jet fighters (mid-1950s to early 1960s)

  • The second generation fighters saw the introduction of air-to-air radar, infrared and semi-active guided missiles, as well as radar warning receivers into such aircraft as the F-104, F-5, MiG-19 and MiG-21.
  • This generation’s fighters also incorporated advances in engine design and aerodynamics, which allowed them to reach and sustain supersonic speeds in level flight.
  • During this period, although air-to-air combat was still within visual range, radar-guided missiles started to extend engagement ranges.

Third generation jet fighters (early 1960s to 1970)

  • This generation witnessed improvements in manoeuvrability, and significant enhancements to the avionic suites and weapon systems. They were also the first cadre of multi-role fighters such as the MiG-23, F-4, and Mirage III.
  • Doppler radar supported a ‘lookdown/shoot-down’ capability, and with off-bore-sight targeting and semi-active guided radio frequency missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow and AA-7 Apex, aerial engagements moved to beyond visual range.
  • The major change brought about by this generation aircraft was that it was no longer necessary to visually acquire opponents to neutralise them and gain control of the air.

Fourth generation jet fighters (1970 to late 1980s)

  • Through the 1970s and 80s the trend of improvement in avionics such as head-up displays and optimised aerodynamic design continued with the development of ‘fly by wire’ fighters such as the MiG-29, Su-27, F/A-18, F-15, F-16, and Mirage-2000.
  • Most of this generation of fighters had the ability to both switch and swing roles between air-to-air and air-to-ground, as opposed to the previous role-dedicated aircraft. This in turn blurred the distinction between control of the air and strike missions.

Four and half generation jet fighters (late 1980s and into the 90s)

  • The concept of having a half generation increment stemmed from a forced reduction in military spending, which resulted in a restriction in aircraft development.
  • It became more cost-effective to add ‘stealth’, radar absorbent materials, thrust vector controlled engines, greater weapons carriage capacity and to extend the range of fourth generation fighters, such as the Hornet, Eagle and Flanker, than to design new aircraft. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is an example of a 4.5 generation fighter evolved from a fourth generation aircraft.
  • The addition of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar was a significant enough game-changing combat capability for these redesigned fighters to be deemed a generation of their own, hence the generation 4.5 rating. Some manufacturers designed new platforms, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS 39 Gripen and Dassault Rafale, which incorporate many of the generation 4.5 advanced characteristics.
  • Advances in computer technology and data links also allowed 4.5 generation fighters to be integrated into a network centric battlespace where fighter aircraft have much greater scope to conduct multi-role missions. As an example, the AESA radar allows fighter aircraft to perform a limited Airborne Early Warning and Control function.

Fifth generation jet fighters (2005 to date)

  • The F-22 Raptor, introduced in 2005, is considered the next generation fighter aircraft. Soon to follow are aircraft designs like the F35-Joint Strike Fighter, the Sukhoi PAK FA (and the planned joint Russian/India variant) as well as the Chinese Chengdu J-20 which is believed to reflect features of this generation of fighter.
  • A quantum improvement in the fighter’s lethality and survivability has been a qualifying requirement to achieve generational change and the fifth generation fighters personify these traits.
  • The advances over earlier generational fighters include nose-to-tail low observable or stealth technologies as part of the aircraft’s design that make it almost impossible for even other generation five fighters to detect them; improved situational awareness through having multi-spectral sensors located across all aspects of the airframe which allows the pilot to ‘look’ through the airframe of the aircraft without having to manoeuvre the fighter to obtain a 360 degree picture which in turn, enhances the aircraft’s ability to use its suite of weapons to engage and neutralise an adversary without the adversary even being aware of the threat.
  • These aircraft are also ‘born’ networked which allows them to receive, share and store information to enhance the battlespace picture. Fifth generation fighter capabilities are largely defined by their software and it will be the ongoing development of their software that will ensure they maintain their edge against evolving threats.
  • The F-35 has more software than any other air combat aircraft, with 7 million lines of code in the aircraft, and a further 7 million lines of code in the supporting ground systems.
  • An example of the complexity and sophistication of the F-35 software is that it uses about 100 times the number of parameters than a fourth generation fighter does to define a potential threat.
  • Ultimately, a fifth generation aircraft allows the pilot to maintain decision superiority over an adversary. This provides greater chances of survivability, which when combined with effective lethality, assures battlespace dominance.
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project in the context of indigenous defense production and national security. Also, critically evaluate the challenges faced by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in modernizing its fleet and the role of indigenous defense initiatives like the AMCA in addressing these challenges.
(250 words/15 m)

5. Goel likely quit over ‘differences’ with CEC

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Constitutional Bodies
The abrupt resignation of Election Commissioner Arun Goel raises governance, electoral transparency and integrity concerns, relevant for UPSC aspirants.
  • Election Commissioner Arun Goel’s sudden resignation, reportedly due to differences with Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar during a West Bengal visit, sparks questions and concerns among opposition parties.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigned unexpectedly a week before the Lok Sabha election announcement, surprising many.
  • Sources claim differences arose between Goel and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar during their West Bengal visit to oversee poll preparations.
  • Goel allegedly refused to attend a press conference in Kolkata, leading to his reported departure from West Bengal.
  • CEC Rajiv Kumar cited Goel’s “health concerns” in a press briefing, but insiders argue that he left due to serious differences.
  • Opposition parties question whether Goel resigned due to conflicts with the CEC, to contest an election, or for personal reasons.
  • Goel attended meetings in Delhi on March 7 but reportedly skipped a key meeting on March 8, sending his resignation to the President without informing the CEC.
  • The government attempted to reconcile differences, but Goel remained firm on his exit, and his resignation was accepted on March 9.
Concerns over Tussle Between Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner

  • Lack of Unanimity: Instances have occurred where Election Commissioners disagreed with the Chief Election Commissioner, leading to a lack of unanimity in decision-making.
  • Power Imbalance: The Chief Election Commissioner holds a more powerful position, and the perceived imbalance can result in conflicts over decision authority.
  • Need for Collegial Decision-Making: The Election Commission is meant to function as a collegial body, and disputes hinder its ability to carry out its duties effectively.

Way Forward:

  • Clear Guidelines: Establishing clear guidelines and procedures for decision-making within the Election Commission can help prevent conflicts and provide a structured approach.
  • Enhanced Communication: Regular and transparent communication among Election Commissioners is crucial to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Strengthening Institutional Framework: Strengthening the institutional framework by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each member can contribute to a smoother functioning of the Election Commission.
  • Legal Reforms: Consideration of legal reforms to address any ambiguities in the current provisions regarding the functioning of the Election Commission and the resolution of internal disputes.
PYQ: Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct.
(UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2022) (250 Words /15 marks)
Practice Question:  Discuss the challenges arising from conflicts between Election Commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner in India. Suggest measures for institutional strengthening and reforms to ensure effective functioning of the Election Commission.(150 Words /10 marks)

6. Gig workers suffer from lack of social security, regulation: study

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues related to development and employment

UPSC may assess candidates on socio-economic issues, labour laws, and policy implications, making the gig economy a relevant and contemporary topic for examination.
  • A study of over 10,000 Indian app-based cab drivers and gig workers reveals alarming working conditions, with a third working over 14 hours daily, exacerbating social inequalities and economic hardships.

 Additional information on this news:

  • A study of over 10,000 Indian app-based cab drivers and gig workers reveals concerning working conditions.
  • Almost 1/3 of cab drivers work over 14 hours daily, with 83% working more than 10 hours and 60% over 12 hours.
  • Social disparities impact working hours, with 60% of Scheduled Castes and Tribes drivers working over 14 hours compared to 16% from the unreserved category.
  • Authors recommend stronger social security for workers and government oversight on platform algorithms’ fairness.
  • Over 43% of participants earn less than ₹500 a day, exacerbating social inequalities and perpetuating poverty cycles.
  • Study covers 8 cities and includes 5,302 cab drivers and 5,028 delivery persons, highlighting health risks and economic challenges faced by workers.

Gig economy in India

  • The gig economy refers to a labour market characterised by short-term, flexible, and freelance employment, where individuals work on a project or task basis rather than having traditional full-time jobs.

Challenges Faced by Gig Workers:

  • Job Insecurity: Gig workers lack job stability and often face uncertainty about their next assignment.
  • Lack of Social Security: Gig workers often miss out on benefits like health insurance, provident fund, and other social security measures.
  • Income Variability: Earnings fluctuate, and gig workers may struggle with inconsistent income streams.
  • Limited Legal Protections: Gig workers may face challenges in asserting their rights due to the absence of clear legal frameworks and protections.
  • Limited Skill Development Opportunities: Continuous skill enhancement and professional growth may be hindered for gig workers compared to traditional employment.

Way Forward:

  • Regulatory Framework: Implement and strengthen labour laws to provide better protection and rights for gig workers.
  • Social Security Measures: Introduce policies to extend social security benefits, including health and retirement benefits, to gig workers.
  • Skill Development Programs: Establish programs to enhance the skills of gig workers, fostering continuous learning and adaptability.
  • Digital Platforms: Promote responsible and fair business practices among gig economy platforms, ensuring transparency and ethical treatment of workers.
  • Collective Bargaining: Facilitate the formation of associations or unions to enable gig workers to collectively negotiate for better working conditions and rights.

Addressing these challenges and implementing supportive policies can contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive gig economy in India.

PYQ: Examine the role of ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India. (150 words) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2021)
Practice Question:  Examine the socio-economic challenges faced by Indian app-based cab drivers and gig workers. Discuss policy measures to ensure their welfare. (150 Words /10 marks)

7. Report turns spotlight on India’s ‘zero-food children’

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable sections

GS2 – Social Justice – Health

Crucial for UPSC as it addresses severe child malnutrition in Uttar Pradesh, emphasizing economic, social, and awareness challenges.

  • A recent study reveals that Uttar Pradesh, India, has a concerning 28.4% of “zero-food children” aged 6-23 months, highlighting severe malnutrition, exacerbated by poverty, urbanization, and family dynamics.

 Additional information on this news:
Child Nutrition Crisis in Uttar Pradesh:

  • Prevalence: Recent studies reveal 19.3% of Indian children aged 6 to 23 months are “zero-food children.”
  • Global Ranking: India ranks third, with over six million zero-food children, surpassed only by Guinea (21.8%) and Mali (20.5%).
  • Uttar Pradesh’s Disturbing Statistic: The state alone accounts for 28.4% of zero-food children in India.

Factors Contributing to the Crisis:

  • Economic Challenges: Poverty and marginalization, exacerbated by rapid urbanization and nuclearized families.
  • Limited Awareness: Lack of awareness about children’s nutritional needs and prevalent misconceptions.
  • Time Constraints: Working mothers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds struggle to find time for complementary feeding.
  • Social Dynamics: Nuclear families, coupled with industrialization, leave limited resources for child feeding beyond the mother.
  • Personal Struggles: Sunita Gautam’s case illustrates challenges faced by mothers, including a husband’s alcoholism hindering childcare efforts.
  • Call for Intervention: Public health specialists emphasize the urgent need for awareness, support, and interventions to address this critical issue in Uttar Pradesh.

Child malnutrition in India
What are zero-food children?

  • “Zero-food children” refer to infants aged 6 to 23 months who haven’t consumed any substantial calorie-containing food, including solids, semi-solids, or infant formula, within a 24-hour period.


  • Prevalence: Widespread in rural areas, particularly in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Urban Disparities: Malnutrition is also present in urban slums, highlighting socio-economic divides.


  • Health Consequences: Stunted growth, weakened immune systems, and higher susceptibility to diseases.
  • Cognitive Development: Impaired brain development, affecting learning abilities.
  • Inter-generational Cycle: Malnourished children are likely to become malnourished parents, perpetuating the cycle.

Way Forward:

  • Nutrition Programs: Strengthen and expand existing government programs like ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services).
  • Education and Awareness: Promote nutritional awareness among parents and communities.
  • Agricultural Interventions: Enhance agricultural practices to improve food diversity and availability.
  • Healthcare Infrastructure: Strengthen healthcare facilities, particularly in rural areas.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborate with private sectors for innovative solutions and resource mobilization.

Addressing child malnutrition requires a comprehensive approach, involving health, education, and socio-economic development to break the cycle and improve the overall well-being of the population.

PYQ: Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016)
Practice Question:  In the context of child malnutrition in India, critically analyze the effectiveness of current government interventions and propose innovative strategies for breaking the inter-generational cycle of malnutrition. Discuss the role of public-private partnerships in addressing this issue.
(150 Words /10 marks)

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