La Excellence IAS Academy

The Finance Commission and public finance in Kerala.

Syllabus: GS-II; Subject: Polity; Topic: Federalism. Issue: Financial devolution.

Context: Asymmetric fiscal rules in Kerala spark wider debate on Centre-State financial relations.


  • Discussion focuses on debt-deficit dynamics, crucial in Centre-State financial relations.
  • Volatility in intergovernmental fiscal transfers.
  • Fifteenth Finance Commission’s tax transfer formula raises debate on equity versus efficiency.
  • Negotiations with Sixteenth Finance Commission critical for specific-purpose transfers addressing State-specific issues.

Prelims Connect:(Institutions in news)

 Finance Commission:

ü  Constitutional body advising on tax revenue distribution among Union and States.

ü  Constituted by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution.

ü  Mandated to recommend:

o   Distribution of tax proceeds between Union and States.

o   Principles for grants-in-aid to States from Consolidated Fund.

o   Measures to enhance State resources for local bodies.

o   Other financial matters referred by the President.

ü  Composition: A Chairman and four members appointed by the President.

ü  Tenure determined by the President, with eligibility for reappointment.

ü  Recommendations not binding on the government.


Source: The Hindu

Russia’s war is weakening scientists’ ability to track the climate.

Syllabus: GS-III; Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management; Topic: Global Warming and Climate Change, Issue: Tracking Climate change.

Context: War hampers climate data collection, impacting Arctic monitoring efforts.

Impact of War on Climate:

  • Collateral damage from geopolitical events affects scientific efforts worldwide.
  • The collapse of global collaborations hinders scientific research in the Arctic.
  • Exclusion of Russian data biases climate models, hindering accuracy.

Way forward:

  • Suggestions to counter bias include seeking data from similar Arctic regions.
  • Open data sharing and standardization are crucial for effective climate research.
  • Scientists emphasize the importance of continuous data collection despite challenges.
  • Urgent need for safeguarding continuous observation networks amid conflicts.

Source: The Hindu

India’s trade reliance on China and EU rising: UN trade body.

Syllabus: GS-III; Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External sector, Issue: Trade Dependency.

Context: India’s trade dependence on China and the EU is increasing as per UNCTAD.

Trade Statistics:

  • Shift attributed to geopolitical changes post-pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • India’s reliance on China and EU rose by 1.2%.
  • This came despite India’s efforts to cut reliance on China by implementing its flagship
    1. Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and
    2. Quality Control Orders (QCOs)
  • US decreased reliance on China by 1.2% in 2023, increasing ties with EU and Mexico.

Prelims Connect (Institutions in news)


·        The primary UN body for trade and development.

·        Established in 1964 by the UN General Assembly.

·        Aims to assist developing and least developed countries in integrating into the global economy.

·        Headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland.


·        Works towards promoting global partnership for development and coherence in economic policy-making.

·        Provides economic analysis, consensus-building, and technical assistance for sustainable development.

·        Reports: Trade and Development Report, World Investment Report, and Least Developed Countries Report.

Source: Indian Express

A record 60 traditional products from across India granted GI tags.

Syllabus: GS-III; Subject: Science & Technology; Topic: Intellectual Property Rights, Issue: GI Tags.

Context: Over 60 Indian products gain GI tags at once.

Products PProducts:

  1. Products that have received the GI tag include the famous Banaras Thandai.
  2. The crafts from Assam include Asharikandi terracotta craft, Pani Meteka craft, Sarthebari metal craft, Jaapi (bamboo headgear of rural Assam), Mishing handloom products, and the Bihu dhol.

Prelims Connect (Terminology in News)

 Geographical Indication (GI)

ü  Signifies a product’s unique qualities linked to its geographical origin.

ü  Provides legal protection against unauthorized use, misuse, or imitation.

ü  Grants the exclusive right to use the GI tag for specified goods or products.

ü  Applicable to various products like agricultural goods, foodstuffs, wines, handicrafts, etc.

ü  The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides legal framework for GI registration and protection in India.Top of Form


Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

N-energy as climate solution.

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Geography, Topic: Industry – World and India, Issue: Nuclear Power plants

Context: Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels was organized to promote use of nuclear energy as substitute to fossil fuel

Nuclear energy as substitute to fossil fuel:

  • Offers clean electricity generation with minimal carbon footprint.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions during the entire life cycle are significantly lower than coal and comparable to solar and wind.
  • Perennial availability unlike solar or wind energy
  • A key component in decarbonization pathways recommended by the IPCC.

Reason behind low use of nuclear technology:

  • Safety concerns, high costs, and lengthy construction times.
  • Nuclear technology has not seen breakthroughs to drive down costs.
  • Small modular reactor technology, often discussed as a solution, is not yet mature.

The way ahead:

  • Recently in COP28 about 20 countries pledged to work towards tripling global nuclear energy installed capacity by 2050.
+1 advantage for mains (India-nuclear energy)

·         India views nuclear power as a clean, reliable, and 24×7 source of energy for long-term energy security.

·         India currently operates 23 nuclear reactors with plans for rapid expansion.

·         Operational reactors have a combined capacity of 7,480 MW, expected to triple to 22,480 MW by 2031-32.

·         The share of nuclear energy in India’s electricity generation mix is currently around 3.1%, among the lowest for nuclear-powered countries.

·         Despite potential, India did not join the tripling declaration at COP28.

Source: Indian Express

A century later remembering vaikom satyagraha a progressive milestone

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: History-Modern, Topic: Gandhian Phase, Issue: Temple Entry movement

Context: 100 years of Vaikom Satyagraha.

Vaikom Satyagraha:

  • Began on March 30, 1924, marking the start of temple entry movements in India.
  • Led by T K Madhavan, Kelappan, K. P. Kesava Menon
  • Aimed to open temples and public roads to lower castes, challenging upper-caste hegemony.
  • Gained momentum after Madhavan secured Gandhi’s support in 1921.

Legacy of Vaikom Satyagraha

  • The Satyagraha lasted over 600 days, showcasing unity across caste lines and sustained mobilization.
  • Despite a compromise allowing only access to three roads, the movement was seen as a success, leading to the Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936.
  • It highlighted untouchability as a pressing political issue in India.

Source: Indian Express

Manifesto for Narishakti

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Issues of women, Issue: Electoral manifesto for women

Women empowerment:

  • Nari Shakti is deeply rooted in Indian civilization, symbolizing divine feminine power.
  • Empowerment extends beyond politics and economics to education and culture.

Steps to empower for women:

  • Financial inclusion schemes like MUDRA Yojana and PMJDY have empowered women by providing access to banking and basic rights.
  • Initiatives like Swachh Bharat and Ujjwala scheme have improved women’s access to clean toilets and energy.
  • Policies like PM-JAY and PM-SUMAN address women’s health but need investment in pre- and post-natal care.

What else the manifesto should address:

  • Advocacy for women’s rights in personal laws
  • Include policy statements against gender-based violence


  • Elections are crucial for understanding the aspirations of marginalized women, especially with initiatives like the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam Bill.

Source: Indian Express

Viksit must be inclusive

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Agriculture and allied sector, Issue: Role of agriculture in Viksit Bharat

Importance of Agriculture:

  • Agriculture contributes 18% to India’s GDP but employs 45% of the workforce.


  • Reducing water consumption, soil degradation, and curbing GHG emissions.
  • Without policy changes, agriculture’s share in GDP may drop to 7-8% by 2047.
  • Skill formation and job transition are vital for rural populations.
  • Agri-GDP growth in 2023-24 is low at 0.7%, posing risks for economic disparity.
  • Extreme weather events threaten agriculture’s stability.

The way ahead

  • Policy reforms should rationalize subsidies, boost R&D, promote high-value agriculture, and facilitate market access.
  • Access to pan-India and export markets should be enhanced through cooperatives, FPOs, digital commerce, and contract farming.
  • Restrictions on futures trading should be reconsidered for price stability.
  • Viksit Bharat needs to prioritize agricultural development for inclusivity and productivity.

Source: Indian Express

Pointer from wheat

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Agriculture, Issue: Impact of climate change on crop yield

Effect of climate change on wheat yield:

  • Heat stress and temperature fluctuations.
  • Early summer onset and delayed winter impact wheat growth stages.
  • Warm temperatures during sowing reduce tiller formation and cause premature flowering.

The way ahead:

  • India needs to invest in breeding crops resilient to climate change.
  • Green Revolution 2.0 should prioritize input efficiency and climate resilience.
  • Focus on producing more with less water, nutrients, and energy.
  • Breeding drought-resistant and heat-tolerant varieties is crucial.
  • Screening germplasm and identifying desirable genes are essential steps.
  • This strategy aims to ensure food security amidst changing climate conditions.

Source: Indian Express

Workers, not tech, should be state’s priority

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Poverty, Issue: Government initiatives, measures, and programs

Context: Aadhaar-Based Payment System (ABPS) in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Issues in linking MGNREGA job card to ABPS

  • Internet connectivity, fingerprint recognition, and difficulties faced by the disabled.
  • Other issues – unrecorded working days, name duplication, lack of awareness, and errors in linking.
  • Approximately 34.8% of job cardholders are ineligible for ABPS.

The way ahead:

  • Core objectives of the scheme should not be overshadowed by technology.
  • Budgets should address technological challenges.
  • The state must prioritize workers’ livelihood security over technological solutions in addressing inequality and rural distress.
+1 advantage for mains(Reports/Study/Indices)

·         A study in has shown that employment generation scheme leads to

Ø  Higher nutritional intake in the households that participate in them,

Ø  Empower women and pay them on a par with men,

Ø  Serve as insurance substitutes,

Ø  Offer pronounced benefits to marginalized communities including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to households with disabled workers,

Ø  Contribute to ensuring political transparency.

Source: The Hindu

The ART of India’s HIV/AIDS response

Syllabus: GS III, Subject: Science and technology, Topic: Medical science and Health, Issue: Vaccine Administration in India

Context: 20 years of the launch of Free Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), for Persons living with HIV (PLHIV)

Free Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)

  • ART not only treats HIV but also suppresses viral load, halting disease transmission.
  • By 2023, HIV prevalence decreased to 0.20%, with India’s share in global PLHIV reduced to 6.3%.
  • National AIDS Control Programme aims for ambitious targets by 2025: 95-95-95.
  • Political will, sustained funding, community engagement, and program modifications contributed to the success of free ART.


  • Delayed enrollment, patient adherence, supply chain, private sector engagement, staff training, and integration with other health programs.


  • Free ART initiative in India sets an example for delivering quality, accessible healthcare nationwide.
  • The program’s success can guide other public health initiatives, like hepatitis C treatment, to accelerate progress.
Prelims Connect(Schemes/Policies/Programs)

·         National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) phase 5 calls for the attainment of ambitious targets of 95-95-95 by 2025, where 95% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status; 95% of all people diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 95% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy achieve viral suppression by 2025.

·         These targets are aligned with global targets agreed by the UNAIDS.

Source: The Hindu

Compounding crises: On the impact of a summertime water crisis

Syllabus: GS- I, Subject: Geography, Topic: Resources, Issue: Water Resources

Context: Analysis of Central Water Commission data.

Key points:

  • South India’s reservoirs are only filled to 23% of their holding capacity.
  • The situation is worse than the 2017 summertime water crisis.

Factors responsible for water crisis:

  • El Niño events contributing to erratic monsoons.
  • General elections in India will result in increased outdoor activity and water demand
  • On-ground preparedness and implementation of policies remain inadequate.
  • Persistent issues- unplanned urban growth, groundwater over-extraction, low water reuse efficiency, lack of community involvement, and degradation of catchment areas.


  • Climate change exacerbates simultaneous crises, such as droughts and disease outbreaks.
  • Marginalized groups suffer most from compounded crises

The way ahead:

  • Water crises must be understood in this broader context of compounding effects.
  • Policymakers must recognize the multifaceted nature of future crises.

Source: The Hindu