La Excellence IAS Academy

Govt amends rules to allow postal ballots for those aged 85 or above, not 80-plus

Syllabus: GS-II,  Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Voting mechanisms

Context: Union Law Ministry amended the Conduct of Elections Rules-1961 to change the definition of senior citizens who are eligible to choose the postal ballot facility.

Postal Ballots:

  • The Conduct of Election Rules 1961 enable postal ballot voting for a “notified class of electors”.
  • Available to
    • persons with disability,
    • absentee voters who are working in essential services
    • senior citizens

Other mechanisms:

  1. Proxy voting enables voters to appoint proxies to vote on their behalf.
  2. Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) Wherein, the returning officer will send the ballot electronically and the voter can then register their mandate on the ballot printout and send it back with an attested declaration.

Currently, both ETPBS and proxy voting are currently available to only service voters, like those in the armed forces or diplomatic missions.

Source: The Hindu

Grasim consolidates gain: How curbs on a key input for textiles helped one industry, and hurt several small players.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External Sector, Issue: Import Barriers

Context: India enforced a strict quality control order (QCO) on viscose staple fibre (VSF), a key raw material in the textiles supply chain.

A Quality Control Order is a non-tariff trade barrier that bars manufacturers, importers, and distributors from storing or selling a product without a licence from BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).

Barriers to imports — tariff or non-tariff — more often than not end up making domestic industry uncompetitive.

Prelims Connect:

1.      VSF(viscose staple fibre) is a semi-synthetic fibre made with cellulose and is used widely in the textiles industry.

2.     Anti dumping duty: It is a tariff or tax imposed by a government on imported goods that are believed to be sold at a price below their fair market value in the importing country.


Bureau of Indian Standards:

  • It is India’s National Standards Body under the Department of Consumer Affairs, within the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
  • Established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016

Source: The Hindu

This summer, brace for above-normal max temperatures, prolonged heat waves: IMD

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Geography,  Topic: Climatology, Issue: Heatwaves

Context: The summer of 2024 will witness above-normal heatwave days due to El Nino conditions as per Indian Meteorological Department.

El Nino:. Unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern regions of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Impact of El Nino on India’s weather:

  • Reduced Rainfall: It can cause a delay in the arrival of the monsoon, as well as weakening the monsoon winds.
  • Drought Conditions: Impacting agriculture and water supplies, causing economic hardship, particularly for India’s large rural population.
  • Spatial Variation in rainfall
  • Heat Waves: increased occurrences of heat waves during the summer.

Prelims Connect (Institutions in News):

Indian Meteorological Department(IMD)

●       India’s national meteorological agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

●       Founded in 1875.

Meteorology is the scientific study of the Earth’s atmosphere. It delves into understanding weather phenomena such as Temperature, Humidity etc.

Key Responsibilities:

●     Weather Forecasting.

●     Cyclone Monitoring and Warning.

●     Severe Weather Warnings: Issuing warnings for heat waves, cold waves, thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, floods, etc.

●     Seismology: Monitoring and reporting earthquake activity across India.

Heatwaves are characterised by abnormally high temperatures and extended durations.

IMD criteria: When the maximum temperature at a station reaches at least

  • 40°C or more for plains and
  • 37°C or more for coastal stations, and
  • 30°C or more for hilly regions.

Consequences of heatwaves:

  1. Human Health: Heat Stroke, Dehydration, Heat exhaustion, Exacerbation of pre-existing health conditions, Mental health impacts.
  2. Environmental: Increased wildfires, Reduced agricultural yields, Water scarcity, Impact on wildlife and ecosystems.
  3. Social and economic impacts: Increased strain on healthcare systems, Labor disruptions, Infrastructure damage.

Source: The Hindu

Food Corporation to spend ₹15 crore in five States to buy food grain bags with PM photo.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Agriculture and allied, Issue: PMGKAY

Context: Distribution of food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY):

  • Launched in 2020
  • Offers 5 kg of free food grains each month in addition to the subsidised ration given under National Food Security Act 2013.
  • Coverage: About 81.35 crore beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH).
  • Implemented by : Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • Modification: Additional 5 kg foodgrains stopped. Foodgrains under NFSA 2013 are provided for free.
  • Extended for 5 yearse. till 2028.

National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA):

  • Objective: To provide subsidised food grains to approximately two-thirds of the Indian population
  • Coverage:
    • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households: The poorest families, entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains per month.
    • Priority households (PHH): Entitled to 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month.
  • Legal right: A shift from a welfare-based approach to rights based approach.
  • Additional support through existing schemes like Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM).
  • Provisions for grievance redressal and transparency in the implementation process.

Priority Households (PHH) are families that meet the eligibility criteria set by their state government and are not covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).

India to establish international alliance to protect big cats.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: International Big Cat Alliance, Issue: IBCA

Context: The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with headquarters in India.

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA):

  • Conceived as a multi-country, multi-agency coalition of 96 big cat range countries, non-range countries interested in big cat conservation.
  • Aim: To secure the future of big cats and landscapes they thrive.
  • Announced on the occasion of commemorating 50 years of India’s Project Tiger.

Project Tiger:

  • Project Tiger is an initiative to safeguard tigers, initiated in 1973 in Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)


  • Maintain a viable tiger population
  • Protect core tiger habitats by establishing tiger reserves
  • Address human-wildlife conflict
  • Core-Buffer Strategy:
    • Core Area: This is the heart of the reserve, strictly off-limits to human activity. It enjoys the legal status of a national park or wildlife sanctuary.
    • Buffer Area: A designated zone surrounding the core, where limited human activity is permitted.

Implementing agency: National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA),a statutory body under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, of 1972.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

How the development of Agaléga figures in India’s vision for its maritime neighborhood

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s relation with other countries, Issue: India- Mauritius

Why in News:  inauguration of airstrip at Agaléga island by Indian and Mauritius Prime Ministers.

Key Points:

  • Agaléga was undeveloped and facing challenges due to its distance from Mauritius and lack of government presence.
  • Mauritius chose India as a development partner: due to deep historical, social, and cultural ties, as well as mutual trust.
  • Significance for India:
  • Enhances goodwill and trust,
  • Aligns with the vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),
  • Demonstrates its commitment to assisting smaller maritime nations.
  • Agaléga will not become an Indian military base, reflecting India’s respect for sovereignty and commitment to peaceful coexistence.
Prelims Connect (Agaléga Island – places in News)

Source: Indian Express

Semiconductors: Betting big

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Industry and Industrial Policy, Issue: Semiconductor Industry

Why in the news: Union cabinet approved three chip projects worth Rs 1.26 lakh crore.

Government incentive to boost semiconductor manufacturing:

  • In 2021, the government launched a Rs. 76,000 crore chip incentive scheme.
  • Plans to modernize the Semiconductor Laboratory with a Rs. 10,000 crore outlay.


  • A robust domestic ecosystem will reduce reliance on foreign sources and enhance supply chain security.
  • The government offers fiscal and regulatory support but must ensure a stable policy environment for sustained growth.

Source: Indian Express

India’s burgeoning death penalty crisis

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Judiciary and tribunals, Issue: Death penalty reforms

Death Penalty Reforms:

  • The Supreme Court issued procedural guidelines, attempted to reform death penalty in Manoj vs The State of Madhya Pradesh (2022).
  • Death sentence reforms have not reached trial courts
  • Acquittals by higher courts reveal systemic failures in police, prosecution, and trial courts.
  • Case-specific acquittal decisions have failed to acknowledge systemic issues.
+1 Advantage for mains (Data Point): 86.96% of death sentences imposed without mandated information.

Prelims Connect (Project 39A): Inspired by Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution, a research project by National Law University Delhi.

Source: The Hindu

Change and continuity in India’s Palestine policy

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International relation, Topic: India’s foreign policy, Issue: India’s Palestine policy

Why in the news: On going Israel-Hamas Conflict.

Evolution of India’s Palestine policy.

  • Opposed the partition of Palestine in 1947, due to our own partition experience.
  • Recognized Israel in 1950 but did not establish full diplomatic relations.
  • During Cold War, consistently supported the Palestinian cause.
  • Despite establishing full diplomatic relations (1992), still supports a two-state solution.

Continuity of balance approach after Hamas attack on Israel:

  • Neither a strong moral critic nor a mute spectator or enabler of Israel.
  • Advocating two-state solution through diplomacy and condemning violence.


  • India’s policy is linked national interest (IMEC)
  • India’s interests in West Asia include an immediate end to the war, restoration of stability, and a permanent resolution to the Palestine question.

Related Concepts:

Two-state solution, proposed framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by establishing two states for two peoples: Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinian people.

Source: The Hindu