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Daily Current Affairs

6 -January-2024

1. India’s GDP is estimated to grow by 7.3%, says NSO.

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy – Issues relating to growth.

The article is crucial for UPSC aspirants as it provides insights into India’s economic performance, aiding in understanding fiscal trends.


  • The article discusses India’s economic outlook for the fiscal year 2023-24, with the National Statistical Office estimating a 7.3% GDP growth, slightly higher than the previous year.
  • Concerns arise over lower-than-expected consumption growth and potential fiscal deficit challenges.

Additional information on this news:

  • India’s real GDP growth for the fiscal year 2023-24 is estimated at 7.3%, a slight increase from the previous year’s 7.2%.
  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) released the first advance estimates, projecting a better performance than the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) recent projection of 7% growth.
  • First-half GDP growth was reported at 7.7%, with NSO’s advance estimates suggesting second-half growth to be around 6.9%-7%.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) growth is expected to ease from 7% in 2022-23 to 6.9% in the current year, and nominal GDP growth is projected at 8.9%, below the Budget estimate of 10.5%.
  • The fiscal deficit may exceed the targeted 5.9% of GDP, potentially reaching around 6%, based on the lower nominal GDP growth.
  • GVA growth for the farm sector is estimated to decrease from 4% to 1.8%, and a similar decline is projected for Trade, Hotels, Transport, Communication, and Services.
  • Some economists express concern over optimistic estimates, particularly highlighting weak consumption growth at 4.4%, the slowest in the past two decades (excluding the pandemic year).
  • The NSO predicts a decrease in the share of private final consumption expenditure in GDP, dropping from 58.5% in 2022-23 to 56.9% in the current fiscal year.


  • The article underscores the significance of India’s economic trajectory for the fiscal year 2023-24, crucial for UPSC aspirants to comprehend national economic trends and potential fiscal challenges.

PYQ: Define potential GDP and explain its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP?

(UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2020) (150 words/10m)

2. ‘India’s oldest’ sloth bear in captivity dies in Bhopal zoo.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Conservation – Important species

The news highlights wildlife conservation challenges and captive animal care, relevant for UPSC aspirants studying environmental issues and governance.


  • A 36-year-old sloth bear named Bablu, the oldest in captivity in India, died at Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal due to multi-organ failure.
  • Bablu, rescued from a street performer in Rajasthan in 2006, stopped eating three days before his demise.

More about Sloth bear:

  • The Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is a species native to the Indian subcontinent, significant from the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) perspective due to its ecological importance.
  • Classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, it inhabits diverse habitats, from dry grasslands to dense forests.
  • Characterized by a shaggy coat and a distinct white V-shaped mark on its chest, the Sloth bear primarily feeds on insects, utilizing its long, sickle-shaped claws for termite extraction.
  • Conservation concerns include habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.
  • A comprehensive understanding of the Sloth bear’s ecological role is crucial for effective wildlife management and biodiversity conservation.

3. ‘Deep tech’ policy to be sent to Cabinet for approval, says scientific adviser.

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government Policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

This news is significant for UPSC aspirants as it addresses India’s deep tech policy, crucial for understanding technology governance and innovation promotion.


  • The Indian government is set to present a new deep tech policy to the Union Cabinet for approval, following a draft released in July 2023.
  • The policy aims to boost the number of deep tech start-ups, currently at 10%, through industry collaboration and support.

What is in the news?

  • The Indian government plans to present a new deep tech policy to the Union Cabinet for approval in the coming weeks.
  • The draft policy, introduced in July 2023 and open for public comments, is now in its final version after incorporating industry feedback.
  • “Deep tech” refers to start-ups with impactful intellectual property based on new scientific breakthroughs, as per Startup Indias database.
  • The draft notes disappointment in the low percentage of deep tech start-ups in India, currently at around 10%.
  • Ajay Kumar Sood, the Principal Scientific Adviser, emphasizes the need for more effort and support to boost the number of deep tech start-ups.
  • The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) aims to transfer technology to medium and small-scale industries, while CSIR focuses on larger industries, and the National Research and Development Corporation (CSIR entity) supports start-ups.


  • The impending deep tech policy for India, aimed at fostering innovation and supporting start-ups, holds paramount importance for technology governance and the nation’s entrepreneurial landscape.

4. Cabinet gives nod to ‘Prithvi’ programme for earth observation

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government Policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

Crucial for UPSC aspirants as it highlights a major environmental initiative (‘Prithvi’) and highlightsIndia’s international collaboration in space research.


  • The Union Cabinet approves the ₹4,797-crore ‘Prithvi’ program, consolidating five Ministry of Earth Sciences schemes, focusing on Earth observation, climate modeling, ocean exploration, and sustainable harnessing of resources.
  • Additionally, an agreement for a joint ₹20 crore “small satellite” development with Mauritius is approved.

More on this news:

  • The Union Cabinet approves the ₹4,797-crore ‘Prithvi’ program, set to assimilate five existing Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) schemes.
  • Prithvi aims to enhance long-term observations of Earth’s various elements, model weather and climate hazards, explore polar regions, and harness oceanic resources sustainably.
  • The program encompasses the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM), including the objective of sending a manned submersible 6,000 meters into the Indian Ocean.
  • The Ministry’s 10 institutes, such as the India Meteorological Department and National Centre for Ocean Information Service, conduct research and operational activities.
  • The Cabinet also approves an agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation and Mauritius for jointly developing a ₹20 crore “small satellite” in 15 months.

5. Cabinet clears PRITHVI initiative for ease of research in earth sciences

Topic: GS2 – Govt policies and intervention, GS3– Science and tech 

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of government policies, advancements in science and technology.


  • The Indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has launched an ambitious initiative named PRITHVI (PRITHvi VIgyan), a comprehensive scheme by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • With a significant budget of Rs. 4,797 crore, the program spans from 2021-26, marking a new era in the study and understanding of Earth sciences in India.

Objectives of PRITHVI Scheme:

The PRITHVI scheme aims to revolutionize our understanding and interaction with various Earth systems. Its objectives include:

  • Long-Term Observations: Strengthening the continuous monitoring of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, geosphere, cryosphere, and solid earth to track and record essential changes.
  • Model Development: Creating advanced models for better forecasting of weather, oceanic, and climatic hazards, and deepening the understanding of climate change.
  • Polar and Oceanic Exploration: Venturing into the unexplored polar regions and high seas to discover new phenomena and resources.
  • Technology Advancement: Innovating technologies for the sustainable exploitation of oceanic resources, benefiting society.
  • Knowledge Translation: Converting scientific insights into practical services for societal, environmental, and economic advantages.

Enabling Cross-Disciplinary Research:

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences can now work on cross-disciplinary initiatives instead of sticking to its traditional division of research into the atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and ocean science by implementing the PRITHVI initiative.
  • By pooling funds allotted to various verticals, this strategy promotes a more comprehensive and integrated understanding of earth system sciences.

Prithiv Scheme: Operational and Research Framework:

The MoES conducts its research and operational activities through ten esteemed institutes, including:

  • India Meteorological Department (IMD)
  • National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF)
  • Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) And others

These institutes work in tandem, supported by a fleet of research vessels, to conduct ground-breaking research and provide essential services.

The Impact of PRITHVI:

  • PRITHVI promises to unify various disciplines under Earth sciences, fostering integrated, multidisciplinary research.
  • This collaborative effort aims to address significant challenges in weather, climate, oceanography, cryospheric studies, seismology, and sustainable resource utilization.
  • In conclusion, the PRITHVI scheme represents a significant leap forward in the realm of Earth sciences in India. It not only enhances our understanding of Earth’s complex systems but also ensures that this knowledge is transformed into practical applications for societal benefit. With its comprehensive approach and robust framework, PRITHVI is set to make a lasting impact on how we interact with and understand our planet.

The Role of the Ministry of Earth Sciences

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) plays a pivotal role in this initiative, translating scientific knowledge into valuable services for society. These services encompass:

  • Weather forecasts and warnings.
  • Alerts for natural disasters like cyclones, floods, and tsunamis.
  • Earthquake monitoring and more.

The MoES’s work in this regard has been instrumental in saving lives and reducing property damage during natural disasters.

Practice Question: Examine the significance of the recently approved ‘PRITHVI’ initiative by the Union Cabinet, elucidating how it transforms the approach towards earth sciences research in India. (200 words/12.5 m)

6. ISRO tests fuel cell to potentially power space missions

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology- Space

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of ISRO’s breakthrough in space technology


  • In a brief test, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) effectively demonstrated a fuel cell that uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy, marking a key milestone.
  • The fuel cell demonstrated its potential for use in human space missions when it was launched on January 1st, the PSLV’s fourth stage, and provided 180W of power.

Ideal for Human Space Missions:

  • The fuel cell’s ability to produce heat and water as byproducts, which satisfies several mission requirements, makes it unique.
  • The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) built this fuel cell, which is a prototype for future space station power systems, according to ISRO Chairperson S Somanath.
  • This breakthrough is in line with India’s ambitious goals for the Gaganyaan mission, which aims to create a space station in low Earth orbit by 2035 after many test vehicle trips and an unmanned spaceflight this year.

Potential Applications on Earth:

  • With their heat and water byproducts, these zero-emission fuel cells have potential uses on Earth and may eventually take the place of car engines.
  • Furthermore, ISRO showcased an additional silicon-based cell created by VSSC, offering a more affordable and lightweight substitute for existing cells.

Advancements in Lithium-Ion Cell Technology:

  • The demonstrated silicon-graphite composite cell provides a more effective substitute for traditional Li-ion batteries.
  • It generates greater energy per unit weight by accommodating more Li-ions in a smaller mass through the use of a silicon-graphite composite for the anode.
  • The crimped sealing design and economical hardware considerably lower production costs even more.

Survival in Harsh Space Environments:

  • The cells on board the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) exhibited their resilience and functionality in extreme space settings.
  • These cells, which offer a significant 35–40% battery mass savings, are ready for deployment in future operational missions.

ISRO’s Multi-Experiments Approach:

  • The fuel cell demonstration was one of the ten experiments carried out by the POEM during its third flight.
  • The use of discarded rocket stages by ISRO for technology demonstrations is a sign of the organization’s dedication to expanding technological capabilities and space exploration.
  • On the same PSLV launch, further tests were conducted with radiation shielding, an amateur radio, and space start-up propulsion systems.

What is POEM?

  • POEM is an experimental mission by ISRO which performs in-orbit scientific experiments during the 4th stage of the PSLV launch vehicle as an orbital platform.
  • The PSLV is a four-stage rocket where the first three spent stages fall back into the ocean, and the final stage (PS4) — after launching the satellite into orbit — ends up as space junk.
  • POEM is equipped with a specialised Navigation Guidance and Control (NGC) system for attitude stabilisation, which refers to managing an aerospace vehicle’s orientation within permitted limits.
  • The NGC will act as the platform’s brain to stabilize it with specified accuracy.

PYQ: What is the main task of India’s third moon mission which could not be achieved in its earlier mission? List the countries that have achieved this task. Introduce the subsystems in the spacecraft launched and explain the role of the Virtual Launch Control Centre’ at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre which contributed to the successful launch from Sriharikota.  (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)

Practice Question: Discuss the significance of ISRO’s recent demonstration of a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell in the context of India’s space exploration endeavors. Analyze the potential applications of this breakthrough in human space missions and assess its environmental implications. (250 words/15 m)

7. India Vigilantly Observes Bangladesh Elections: Strategic Interests at Stake

Topic: GS2 – International Relations- India and it’s neighbourhood 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of India-Bangladesh bilateral relations.


  • India is going to be closely watching Bangladesh’s general elections because of the two countries’ extensive historical, cultural, and economic ties.
  • The strategic alignment of India with a stable, prosperous, and amicable Bangladesh is emphasised by the 4,100-kilometer border.

National Security Imperatives:

  • India firmly believes that Sheikh Hasina is the right person in office and acknowledges her critical contribution in changing bilateral relations.
  • Hasina’s campaign against anti-India elements has been strategically significant because it has reduced India’s security concerns along the eastern border.
  • Maintaining a strong security alliance with Bangladesh is crucial for both countries as the situation in Myanmar worsens.

Economic Ties and Regional Integration:

  • Bangladesh has become a significant economic force in South Asia, overtaking Pakistan to become the second-largest economy in the area.
  • India-Bangladesh economic relations have taken off under Hasina, with Bangladesh becoming as a major export market for Indian commodities.
  • Bangladesh plays a critical role in promoting economic integration within the subcontinent and providing effective connectivity to the Northeast of India, particularly in the event that Pakistan does not endorse regional economic cooperation.

Democratic Stability and Concerns:

  • Prime Minister Hasina’s stability has been crucial for India, as it has allayed worries about democratic regression under her leadership.
  • While there are concerns about the state of democracy, the region’s democracy, peace, and prosperity are more seriously threatened by Hasina’s opponents.

Perceived ‘Proximity’ to China:

  • Although some people are concerned about Hasina’s seeming closer ties to China, it’s possible that these worries are exaggerated.
  • Bangladesh’s pragmatic attitude is emphasised by its careful handling of the tensions between India and China, as well as its economic interests.
  • India’s main worry is that Bangladesh does not cross a red line that Hasina’s administration respects on security.

US Criticism and Changing Dynamics:

  • India’s interests have been damaged by the long-standing animosity between Bangladesh and the US, which has its roots in the events of 1971.
  • Although Washington has been critical of Hasina, there are recent indications that Washington may be changing its position, as evidenced by the more nuanced attitude seen at the G20 Summit.
  • In order to improve Bangladesh’s standing abroad, India seeks for free and peaceful elections.


  • Due to common interests in regional stability, economic linkages, and security, India keeps a careful eye on the elections in Bangladesh, highlighting the significance of preserving a solid and cooperative relationship with its neighbour.

Current Major Issues Between India and Bangladesh

  • Sharing of Transboundary River Waters: India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers, but only two treaties have been signed so far of Ganga Waters Treaty and The Kushiyara River Treaty.
  • The other major rivers, such as the Teesta and Feni are still under negotiation.
  • Illegal Migration: Illegal migration from Bangladesh to India, involving refugees and economic migrants, remains a pressing issue.
  • This influx strains Indian border states, impacting resources and security. The problem intensified with Rohingya refugees entering India through Bangladesh.
  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at curbing such migration, has raised concerns in Bangladesh.
  • Drug Smuggling & Trafficking: Drug trafficking and smuggling across borders have occurred often. These boundaries are used for the trafficking of humans, particularly women and children, as well as the poaching of numerous animal and bird species.
  • Growing Chinese Influence in Bangladesh: Bangladesh currently participates actively in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); India is not a part of the BRI. China’s increasing involvement with Bangladesh could potentially undermine India’s regional standing and impede its strategic aspirations.

PYQ: The protests in Shahbag Square in Dhaka in Bangladesh reveal a fundamental split in society between the nationalists and Islamic forces. What is its significance for India? (200 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2013)

Practice Question: Examine the strategic importance of the Bangladesh elections for India, considering factors such as national security, economic ties, and regional stability. (200 words/12.5 m)

8.Pollinator Decline Spurs Flowers to Self-Pollinate, Threatening Future Adaptability, Reveals Study

Topic: GS3 – Environment 

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of environmental science, ecology, biodiversity conservation, and the impact of climate change on ecosystems and species.


  • A recent study indicates certain flowers are responding by increasing self-pollination when pollinator groups, like bees and butterflies, are declining.
  • This might help with reproduction in the short term, but the study looks into the long-term effects of this tendency on plant adaptation to environmental changes.

Study Findings on Evolving Self-Pollination:

  • Published in the journal New Phytologist, the study titled ‘Ongoing convergent evolution of a selfing disease concerns plant–pollinator interactions’ centres on field pansies in the vicinity of Paris.
  • When compared to flowers in the same areas two to three decades ago, the researchers found that same blooms had shrunk 10% in size and yielded 20% less nectar.
  • In addition, there was a greater inclination on the part of the flowers to fertilise their own seeds as opposed to pollinating other plants.

Limitations of Increased Self-Pollination:

  • The study highlights the possible disadvantages of self-pollination even if it can provide immediate reproductive benefits.
  • More self-pollinating flowers have less DNA mixing, which leaves next generations more vulnerable to a variety of problems, including as diseases, droughts, and other environmental stresses.

Consequences for Plant-Pollinator Interactions:

  • The conventional dynamics of plant-pollinator interactions have been upset by the continuous decrease of pollinators.
  • Pollinators have a less important function in transferring pollen from one bloom to another as flowers become more self-pollinating.
  • This has an impact on seed production and fertilisation.
  • The health and biodiversity of ecosystems are also affected more broadly by this change in plant reproduction methods.

Environmental Challenges and Future Adaptability:

  • Concerns regarding these flowers’ ability to adapt to upcoming environmental changes are brought up by the study.
  • Plants may find it difficult to adapt to changing climatic conditions if they limit their genetic diversity through greater self-pollination, which could endanger their long-term survival.


  • The study highlights the necessity for a balanced approach to plant reproduction, taking into account the wider ecological ramifications and the function of pollinators in preserving biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, even though self-pollination may provide instant benefits.


Pollination, the process that yields seeds, fruits, and the following generation of plants, begins when a pollen grain travels from the anther, or male portion, of a flower to the stigma, or female component.

Pollinators, wind, and water pollination, as well as self-pollination, can all cause this.


  • Vectors that move pollen within the flower and from flower to flower are called pollinators.
  • They visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot.

There are two categories of pollinators:

  • Invertebrate pollinators: Include bees, moths, flies, wasps, beetles and butterflies.
  • Vertebrate pollinators: Include monkeys, rodents, lemurs, tree squirrels and birds.

Practice Question: Examine the implications of pollinator decline on plant evolution, as highlighted in the recent study on increased self-pollination in flowers. (150 words/10 m)

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