La Excellence IAS Academy

India asks South Korea to join the solar alliance and 2 other initiatives.

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s relations with other nations, Issue: India South Korea

Context: External affairs minister S. Jaishankar is on a two-day visit to South Korea.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • Launched in 2015 by India and France.
  • Aims to promote the use of solar energy among its member countries.
  • Membership: Open to all UN member states
  • One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG): Aims to interconnect the power grids of member countries to create a global solar grid, enabling the sharing of solar energy across borders.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure(CDRI)

  • Launched in 2019.
  • Aims to increase the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks.
  • Government of India’s second major global initiative after the International Solar Alliance.

Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

  • It is a regional framework launched by India in 2019 for maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • It aims to promote collaboration and capacity building among countries in maritime domains.

Source: Mint

New govt facility to boost space startups.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science & Technology, Topic: Space Technology, Issue: IN-SPACe

Context: India’s space regulatory body IN-SPACe has opened its first technical centre in Ahmedabad.


  • It will offer shared infrastructure including for simulations on climate, thermal and vacuum environment, etc.
  • Incentivize private companies to develop technologies and help boost commercial space
  • India aims to grow its share in the global space economy from 2% to 8% by 2033.
Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)

●      Single-window, independent nodal agency under the Department of Space (DOS).

●      Responsible for interfacing between ISRO and private entities for promoting, enabling, authorising and supervising various space activities of private entities.

Source: Mint

Govt weighs tax cuts on flex-fuel vehicles in green push.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Clean Energy, Issue: Flex fuel vehicles

Context: The government is considering a cut in taxes on flex-fuel vehicles, pushing for cleaner transportation.


  • Currently, 28% GST is levied on flex-fuel vehicles, while on electric vehicles it is 5%.
  • The government has set a net-zero target by 2070.
  • Ethanol blending target: 20% ethanol blended petrol by 2025.

Flex fuel vehicles:

  • Equipped with internal combustion engines but designed to run on more than one fuel.
  • Primarily meant to run on biofuels such as ethanol and methanol, or a blend of biofuels and conventional fuels.
Benefits Challenges
Reduced reliance on fossil fuels Lower fuel efficiency
Fuel flexibility for drivers Availability of ethanol
Improved acceleration Higher upfront cost

Source: Mint

Bloomberg to add Indian bonds to EM indexes in Jan.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External sector, Issue: Emerging Markets Index

Context: Bloomberg said it will add a set of Indian government bonds to its emerging market index.

  • JP Morgan previously announced it will include India’s fully accessible route (FAR) securities in its GBI-EM Global index.

Benefits of inclusion for India:

  • Increased foreign investments.
  • Reduction in borrowing costs.
  • Potential to increase the liquidity of Indian government bonds in the local currency.
  • Provides a benchmark for investors to compare the performance of Indian government bonds with other emerging markets.
Fully Accessible Route is a separate channel allowing non-residents to invest in specified Indian government securities without investment ceilings.

Emerging Market Local Currency Government Index:

  • A specific type of stock market index that tracks the performance of government bonds issued by emerging economies.
  • Denominated in their local currencies.
  • Example: JPMorgan GBI-EM Global Diversified Index

Source: The Hindu

Philippine and Chinese vessels collide in disputed South China Sea.

Syllabus:GS-II, Subject:International Relations, Topic: Global issues, Issue: South China Sea

Context: Chinese and Philippine coast guard vessels collided in the South China Sea.

South China sea dispute: Multiple countries making competing territorial claims over territories in the South China sea.

  • Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
  • Spratly islands are claimed by over six countries including China, Philippines, etc.
    • Second Thomas Shoal is part of Spratly islands.
  • Scarborough shoal: claimed by China and Philippines.
  • Nine dash line: a maritime claim made by China that overlaps with the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of several Southeast Asian nations.

In 2016, the Philippines challenged China’s claims in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The PCA ruled in favour of the Philippines, but China rejected the ruling.

Source: The Hindu

Indian troops out, Maldives inks defence pact with China

Syllabus: GS- II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India and its Neighbourhood, Issue: India-Maldives

Context: Maldives president Mohamed Muizzu’s calls for removal of Indian troops from the island nation.

India Maldives defence partnership:

  • 1988 – An attempted coup in the Maldives.
  • Operation Cactus – Indian forces intervene at the request of the Maldivian president to restore order.
  • Solidified India’s image as a regional security provider.
  • India provides training to Maldivian military personnel.
  • India has donated military equipment and has personnel stationed to operate them for humanitarian and surveillance purposes.

Recent strain in relationship:

  • Maldives president Mohamed Muizzu was elected on the “India out” campaign.
  • The new Maldivian government
    • Requested the withdrawal of Indian military personnel.
    • Refused to renew 2019 hydrographic survey agreement.
    • Skipped Colombo security conclave held in Mauritius.
    • Derogatory comments by Maldivian ministers against PM Modi.
  • Tilt towards China:

➢  Elevate relations to a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.”

  Military pact with China to provide free military assistance.

Source: The Hindu

Centre considers ‘Article 371-like’ shield for Ladakh

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Salient features, Issue: Article 371

Context: Ladakh witnessed massive protests demanding statehood, legislature and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule.

  • A government-appointed high-powered committee is looking into these demands.

Articles 371 to 371-J:

  • Special provisions for twelve states.
  • Purpose:
    • To meet the aspirations of the people of backward regions of the states.
    • To protect the cultural and economic interests of the tribal people.
    • To deal with the disturbed law and order condition in some parts of the states.
  • Not present in the original constitution, added through subsequent amendments.
Sixth schedule (Article 244):

●      It deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

●      Provides for establishment of Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) and Regional Councils consisting of elected and nominated members with legislative and executive powers.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

Meet MethaneSAT, a satellite which will ‘name and shame’ methane

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Space Technology, Issue: Measuring Methane emission


  • Launched on SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, orbits Earth 15 times daily to track global methane emissions.
  • Developed by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Harvard University, and others.
  • Aims for detailed methane data, including sources and trends.
  • High-resolution infrared sensors detect methane down to three parts per billion.
  • Wide-camera view identifies all emitter of all sizes.
  • Data is public in near real-time, aiding stakeholders and regulators.
  • Transparency holds governments and corporations accountable for methane reduction commitments.
Prelims connect (Significance of measuring Methane):

·         Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide, and contributes significantly to global warming.

·         Over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

·         Methane emissions also contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which poses health risks and causes premature deaths.

·         Fossil fuel operations are the primary source of methane emissions caused by humans, accounting for about 40% of the total.

Why INS Jatayu, India’s new naval base in Lakshadweep, matters

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Internal Security, Topic: Border Management( Maritime Security), Issue: India’s new naval base in Lakshadweep

INS Jatayu:

  • Second naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti.
  • It will have additional infrastructure, including an airfield and housing.
  • The proposed airfield will allow operations for a range of aircraft, including the P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft and fighter jets.


  • Enhances operational capability of the Navy in the region.
  • Bolster anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the western Arabian Sea.
  • Crucial to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Aligns with the government’s focus on comprehensive development of the islands.
Prelims connect (Lakshadweep Island):

·         An archipelago of 36 islands located between 220 km and 440 km from Kochi.

·         Only 11 of the Lakshadweep islands are inhabited, with a total area of 32 sq km.

·         Strategically positioned in the Indian Ocean, adjacent to the Maldives and the Chagos archipelago.

·         Minicoy Island is strategically located along vital Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs).

Express View on France making abortion a constitutional right: Decision is hers

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social justice, Topic: Issue related to women, Issue: Termination of pregnancy right for women

Context: Recently by an amendment, France has made abortion a constitutional right.


  • Addresses historic struggles for reproductive rights.
  • Stands against global trends of abortion restrictions seen in countries like Hungary, Poland, and USA.
  • Despite progress in some countries like Ireland and Mexico, women’s reproductive rights remain vulnerable worldwide.
  • In India, the legal framework has favored women’s autonomy in reproductive rights, but the “foetal viability” test presents challenges.
  • The Supreme Court’s denial of abortion to a woman at 26 weeks in 2023 highlights moral complexities in reproductive rights.
  • France’s amendment sets a precedent for affirming women’s autonomy in abortion decisions, independent of patriarchal and moral influence.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi writes: Why the legal architecture of defection must be reimagined

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Legislature, Issue: 10th Schedule

Tenth Schedule (Anti-defection law) key issues:

  • The implementation of 10th Schedule highlights the gap between principles and practice in Indian politics.
  • The Supreme Court has provided clear guidelines on disqualifications under the anti-defection law.
  • However, many potential defectors exploit loopholes and use delay tactics such as:
  • Pre-defection applications to the Election Commission claiming to be the real party.
  • Expressing no confidence in the Speaker before defecting.
  • Speaker’s party affiliation often influences their decisions on disqualification petitions, leading to delays and biased outcomes.

     The way ahead

  • The public is disillusioned with such political maneuvering, leading to calls for abolishing the 10th
  • Suggestions include mandating resignation for party switchers, barring them from ministerial positions without re-election, and reforming the Speaker’s role.
  • Establishing a non-partisan convention for Speaker selection.
One mark extra for mains ( SC clarification on Tenth Schedule in various cases)
Case Judgment
Manipur Judgment Three months is the ideal time limit for Speakers to decide disqualification petitions.
Kihoto Hollohon Case Speaker’s order subject to judicial review; 10th Schedule not an unreasonable restriction on free speech.
Ravi Naik Case Voluntary giving up of membership inferred from various forms of conduct, not limited to resignation.
Vishwanathan Case Expelled member continues as unattached member unless joining a new party doesn’t attract anti-defection law.
Naik and Patil Case Speaker can shorten notice period for disqualification, even down to two or three days.

Maharashtra’s latest Maratha quota law and its challenges | Explained

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Right issue, Issue: Maratha quota law

Context: Maharashtra assembly recently passed the Maratha quota law.

  • Based on a report from the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission led by Justice (retired) Sunil B Shukre.
  • Marathas constitute 28% of Maharashtra’s population, with 84% of them not socially advanced.
  • Reasons cited for Maratha backwardness include extreme poverty, decline in agricultural income, and landholding partitions.
  • The Commission justifies reservation for Marathas beyond the 50% limit due to “exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations.”
  • Divide Marathas into – Non-Kunbi Marathas (covered under a separate category), Kunbi Maratha will get OBC certificate.
  • Apply the concept of Creamy layer to Maratha community.
  • The new Bill in Maharashtra does not affect the existing OBC quota.
  • With the Maratha reservation, the total reservation will increase to 72%.

Judicial scrutiny of Maratha reservation:

  • Bombay High Court, in 2014, stayed the Maratha quota ordinance, citing that Marathas could not be considered backward.
  • A Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in 2021 ruled against breaching the 50% reservation cap for Marathas, stating no “exceptional circumstances” exist.
  • Expert believe that Marathas are deemed politically dominant and landholders, making it challenging to justify their social and educational oppression.

Green jobs and the problem of gender disparity

Syllabus: GS- I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Issue related to women, Issue: Green jobs and women

Context- Unlocking benefit of green jobs for women

Green Jobs:

  • ILO defines Green jobs as decent jobs contributing to environmental preservation.

Concerns for women:

  • Mostly in sectors with low female participation (manufacturing, construction etc.)
  • Men are likely to transition to green jobs faster than women.
  • Study by the Skill Council for Green Jobs (2023) found that 85% of green skills training was for men.
  • Over 90% of women feel, social norms limit their participation in green job training.
  • Restrictive social norms include– belief that women are unsuitable for certain roles, safety concerns, low representation in STEM subjects, and familial constraints.

The way ahead:

  • Collect sex-disaggregated data and map emerging green growth areas.
  • Early interventions like hands-on learning, mentorship, and financial assistance.
  • Support women entrepreneurs by – Gender focused financial policies and products, collateral-free lending, financial literacy training, and supportive networks.
  • Multi-pronged strategies focusing on employment, social protection, and skill development.
  • Increasing women in leadership positions.
+1 Advantage for mains (Data point):

·         Transition to low-carbon development could create 35 million green jobs in India by 2047.

·         Despite 42.7% of STEM graduates being women, they represent only 30.8% in key sectors for green transition in India.

·         Despite a 250% increase in renewable energy capacity, only 11% of workers in solar rooftop sectors are women.

·         COP 28’s high-level dialogue launched ‘Gender-Responsive Just Transitions and Climate Action Partnership’ to address gender gaps in climate action.

Deprivileging bribe: On overruling the majority verdict in P.V. Narasimha Rao vs State

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Legislature, Issue: Privileges

Context: Recent Supreme Court judgement on parliamentary privileges

  • SC overturns 1998 JMM bribery case verdict; MPs, MLAs not immune to bribery charges.
  • Historic ruling clarifies parliamentary privileges don’t shield legislators from prosecution for corruption, ensuring legislators’ accountability.
  • Decision based on equality, probity principles; aims to protect parliamentary democracy’s foundation.
  • Distinction between bribe-givers and -takers eliminated; all accountable under law.
  • Recognizes potential for misuse, asserts judiciary’s jurisdiction to prosecute bribery without weakening legislative functions.
  • Ruling protects legislators’ freedom of speech under Article 105 and Article 194 while ensuring it doesn’t cover corrupt acts.
  • Reinforces need for a responsible, responsive, and representative democracy free from corruption.
  • The Bench has also held that voting in a Rajya Sabha election, being part of a legislator’s function, is protected under Article 194 as a privilege.