La Excellence IAS Academy

XPoSat in orbit; to study black holes, neutron stars.

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Science and Technology

Topic: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology crossed

Context:   The launch put India in an elite category as it has become the second nation to send an observatory to study astronomical sources such as black holes, neutron stars among others.


  • The PSLV, in its 60th mission launched the XPoSat into an eastward low inclination orbit.
  • The PSLV-C58 has placed the primary satellite XPoSat in the desired orbit of 650 km with six-degree inclination.
  • XPoSat is the first dedicated scientific satellite from ISRO to carry out research in space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources.
  • Payloads:
    • POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) developed by the Raman Research Institute
    • XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) by the Space Astronomy Group of URSC, Bengaluru.
  • XPoSat is only the second X-ray polarimetry mission in the world, after NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched in 2021.
  • PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) experiment was also executed, lowering the PS4 stage to 350 km. PS4 stage is configured as a 3-axis stabilised orbital platform for conducting experiments to space qualify systems with novel ideas.
  • Among the payloads, the FCPS (Fuel cell Power System) payload is significant as it has potential applications in India’s space station which is proposed to come up by 2035.
What is POEM? ( PSLV Orbital Experimental Module)

·             Platform that will help perform in-orbit experiments using the final, and otherwise discarded, stage of the Polar Satellite Launch                 Vehicle (PSLV).

·             POEM has a dedicated Navigation Guidance and Control (NGC) system which acts as the platform’s brain to stabilize it with                        specified accuracy.POEM will derive its power from solar panels mounted around the PS4 tank.

Source: The Hindu

GST revenue growth dips to a 3-month low in Dec.

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Indian Economy

Topic: Government Budgeting.

Context: Revenues cross ₹1,64,800 crore last month, about 1.8% lower than the amount collected in November; it marks seventh successive month of ₹1.6 lakh crore plus receipts, says Ministry


  • year on year growth slowing to a three-month low of 10.3% from a 15.1% rise in the previous month.
  • The average monthly gross GST kitty in the first nine months of 2023-24 stands at ₹66 lakh crore, compared to ₹1.49 lakh crore a year earlier.
  • GST Compensation Cess collections stood at ₹12,249 crore, of which ₹1,079 crore was levied on goods imports.
  • The consistent mark of above ₹6 lakh crore provides fiscal confidence amid various global headwinds.


GST Compensation cess:

  • GST Compensation Cess or GST Cess was introduced by the government to compensate for the possible revenue losses suffered by such manufacturing states.
  • Compensation cess is levied on five products considered to be. ‘sin’ or luxury as mentioned in the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.
  • Initially valid only for five years from 2017 to 2022, The Centre has extended by four years till March 31, 2026.
  • Good and Services Tax:

Source: The Hindu

Jaishankar to begin a two-day visit to Nepal on January 4, power pacts on agenda

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: International Relations

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Context:  An agreement on the modalities of purchasing 10,000 MW of hydropower from Nepal and discussions on air connectivity issues, digital payments, and the inauguration of development projects funded by India are all on the agenda


Visit Overview:

  • Focus on the Joint Commission Meeting with Nepali Foreign Minister N.P. Saud.
  • Agreement on purchasing 10,000 MW of hydropower from Nepal.
  • Discussions on air connectivity and digital payments.
  • Inauguration of Indian-funded development projects.
  • Major announcement expected on a long-term power agreement, crucial for Nepal’s power export goals,increasing power exports from Nepal to India.
  • First bilateral exchange between Jaishankar and Prime Minister Prachanda.Signals positive strides in high-level engagements.
  • Uncertain discussions on the Eminent Person’s Group report.
  • Airspace permission for international flights over India for two Nepalese airports.Concerns over revenue for Nepalese airports without airspace permission.
  • Expected inauguration of high-impact community development programs.
  • Central library at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.
  • Discussions on road, railway, and inland waterways connectivity.
  • Focus on enhancing bilateral ties and addressing outstanding issues.

Conclusion: The visit reflects a comprehensive agenda aimed at fostering stronger ties, particularly in the energy sector, while addressing unresolved issues and enhancing economic cooperation between India and Nepal.


India-Nepal Ties:

Nepal holds vital importance in India’s foreign policy due to centuries-old geographic, historical, cultural, and economic linkages. Both nations share strong bonds through Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Roti-Beti ka Rishta (marital and familial ties).

Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950): The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the foundation of their special relations. It covers reciprocal treatment for citizens, national treatment for businesses, and provides Nepal access to Indian weaponry.

Significance for India:

1.        Geopolitical Importance:

·             Nepal shares borders with five Indian states, fostering cultural and economic exchanges.

·             Acts as a strategic buffer against potential aggression from China in India’s ‘Himalayan frontiers.’

2.        Ecological and Hydropower Nexus:

·             Rivers originating in Nepal contribute to India’s river systems, crucial for ecology and hydropower potential.

3.        Religious and Pilgrimage Sites:

·             Numerous Hindu and Buddhist sites in Nepal hold immense pilgrimage significance for a large number of Indians.

In essence, Nepal’s historical ties with India are multifaceted, encompassing strategic, economic, and cultural dimensions.

Source: The Hindu

Foreign inflows into Indian bonds spike to a 6-year high

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economic Development

Context:   Overseas investors net bought government bonds worth ₹35,000 crore in October-December


  • Foreign investment in Indian government bonds surged to a six-year high, reaching ₹35,000 crore in October-December 2023, propelled by JPMorgan’s decision to include Indian debt in its indexes.
  • The full-year tally stands at ₹59,800 crore, the highest since 2017.
  • Analysts anticipate continued inflows into the New Year, citing positive outlooks on India’s economic factors, including contained inflation and controlled fiscal risks.
  • JPMorgan’s move is expected to bring additional inflows of about $25 billion into Indian bonds.
  • The current 10-year benchmark bond yield is at 7.20%, with potential to dip below 7% due to factors like expected rate cuts from the Federal Reserve and a favorable economic environment.

What is Bond yield?

A bond yield is essentially the return on investment you get from holding a bond. It’s expressed as a percentage and reflects the total amount of money you’ll make from the bond’s interest payments and its eventual face value, all relative to the price you paid for it.

Foreign Investments:


Positive economic outlook, expected rate cuts, and potential for the 10-year yield to dip below 7% signal an optimistic investment landscape.

Source: The Hindu

Ministries flagged MSP concerns: Low returns to rising oil imports

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Indian Economy & Development

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

Context: Proposed unequal MSPs hinder crop diversification, favouring select states, say Union ministries on 2024-25 rabi crop pricing.Top of Form


Ministries’ Concerns on MSP Proposal for Rabi Crops (2024-25):

  1. Import Dependence (Department of Food & Public Distribution):MSP for oilseeds hasn’t boosted domestic production; 55% of dependence on imports persists.
  2. Unequal Benefits (Department of Expenditure): Skewed favoritism towards wheat procurement benefits limited states; need to address skewness and promote crop diversification.
  3. WTO Obligations (Department of Commerce): Adherence to the de-minimis subsidy limit crucial for WTO commitments; India breached limit for rice.
  4. Agriculture Ministry’s Response: MSP recommendations based on various factors; the increase proposed for wheat compensates for rising production costs.


  1. Advocate for a long-term MSP policy to incentivize oilseed production and reduce import reliance.
  2. Non-price recommendations implementation, including farm mechanization; scrutiny through Expenditure Finance Committee.
  3. MSP procurement should not be open-ended; set predetermined targets; ensure compliance with WTO regulations.
  4. Focus on reducing import dependence and promoting oilseeds and pulses; implement the Crop Diversification Programme.

Despite concerns, the Cabinet approved the MSP increase for rabi crops, emphasizing economic factors and strategies for reducing import dependence and promoting diversified agriculture.

What is Minimum Support Price or MSP?

MSP is the minimum price which the government pays for the farmers’ produce at the time of procurement. It is aimed at saving the crops from price fluctuations in the market. The MSP fixed by the government is considered as being remunerative for farmers. However, MSPs do not have legal backing.

How is MSP fixed?

It is fixed by the centre based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) which is a statutory body. CACP submits two separate reports for Kharif and rabi seasons and based on these, centre fixes MSPs twice a year.

Crops getting Minimum Support Price

As of now, 23 crops are being supported by the centre by fixing of MSP. They belong to the family of cereals (7), pulses (5), oilseeds (7) and commercial crops (4).


In response to the proposed MSP increase for rabi crops, ministries express concerns on import dependence and unequal benefits. Recommendations include a long-term MSP policy and adherence to WTO obligations.

Source: Indian Express