La Excellence IAS Academy

400 smart city mission projects to miss June 30 deadline, states must take over, panel told.

Syllabus: GS- II

Subject:  Governance

Topic: Government Policies & Interventions.

Context: Report on Smart City Mission (SCM) Issues and Recommendations.

Key Issues Highlighted:

·         Changing projects, inadequate financial progress, and intercity disparities.

·         Lack of integration and cross-city learning.

·         Insufficient focus on core projects like social infrastructure and smart energy.

·         governance structure issues, limited public consultation.


·         Greenfield Development: Union ministry to lead master plan creation.

·         Implement fixed tenure for Smart City SPV CEOs.

·         To Introduce third-party evaluation of SCM projects.

·         To Expand SCM to more cities utilizing SPVs’ expertise.

·         Prioritize technology-driven solutions for holistic development.

(Prelims Connect)

Smart Cities Mission

·         Launched in2015.

·         Centrally Sponsored Scheme (funded by both Central and State govt. with different ratios).

·         To Promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment, and give a decent quality of life through application of ‘smart solutions’.

·         Till date, 100 cities selected


Source: Indian Express

What white paper says –and doesn’t.

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economy

Topic: Fiscal Policy.

Issue: Whitepaper on Indian Economy

Tags: #WhitePaper #IndianEconomy #FiscalResponsibility.

Context: The Finance Minister of India presented a “white paper” on the Indian economy in Parliament.


  • White Paper provides information on specific issues, often government-issued.
  • It was prepared Ministry of Finance.
  • Compares economic parameters over last decade and before.


  • It Informs about economic and fiscal crises inherited by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2014.
  • Outline policies and measures taken to restore the economy’s health since 2014.
  • Foster debate on national interest and fiscal responsibility.
  • Aim to avoid negative portrayal to maintain investor confidence.

Source: Indian Express

New guidelines to make cinema halls accessible to those with Disabilities

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Society & Social Justice

Topic: Welfare schemes. mechanisms, laws, and institutions related to the disabled.

Issue: Inclusive policies for Disabled.

Tags: #CinemaHalls#Divang#accessibilities.

New Guidelines for Cinema Halls:

  • The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting introduced guidelines to make films accessible for individuals with disabilities.
  • Based on Sections 29 and 42 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
Data Point:

·         2.21% of India’s population is disabled.

·         Of which- 19% having sight disabilities and 19% experiencing hearing disabilities.

Source: Indian Express

India’s Kala Dhan project in Myanmar in limbo as rebels control Key town.

Syllabus: GS- II

Subject: International relations

Topic: India & its neighbours.

Issue: Kaladhan Projects  

Context: situation in Myanmar jeopardizes India’s Kaladan connectivity project.

Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP):

·         Enhance road and maritime links with Southeast Asia.

·         Covers Sea, river, and road routes.

·         To Boost economic development in north-eastern states.

·         It Shortens the Kolkata-Sittwe distance by 1328 km and provides an alternative route to northeast India.

Source: The Hindu

Union Cabinet approved the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana (PM-MKSSY) under PMMSY

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Society & Social Justice

Topic: Social Empowerment & Welfare

Issue: Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana

Context:  Union Cabinet approved the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Kisan Samridhi Sah-Yojana (PM-MKSSY):

  • Formalize and support micro and small enterprises in the fisheries sector for the financial year (2023-24 to 2026-27).
  • The allocated 6,000 crore, split 50% from public finance (including World Bank, AFD) and 50% from beneficiaries/private sector.
  • Beneficiaries: Fishers, fish farmers, workers, vendors, LLPs, cooperatives, SHGs, FFPOs.
  • Components:
    1. Formalization of the fisheries sector with the National Fisheries Digital Platform (which is to be created).
    2. Adoption of aquaculture insurance.
    3. Support for value chain efficiencies.
    4. Ensuring the safety and quality of fishery products.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY):

o    It is a Flagship scheme fostering sustainable development in India’s fisheries sector.

o    Under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.

o    Aims to Drive a blue revolution by promoting sustainable and responsible growth in the fisheries sector.

o    And to Double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers.


Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

What are the regulations with respect to rice prices? | Explained

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economy

Topic: Agriculture and allied

Issue: Rice Production

Context: The Indian government made it mandatory for all traders, wholesalers, retailers, and millers to declare their respective rice stocks.

Paddy production in India:

  • The southern States have suffered a drop in paddy production because of inadequate rainfall.
  • However, in the north rice production (basmati and non-basmati) is up 15%.

Rice prices:

  • The retail price of rice has increased by 14.51% in the last one year.
  • Among the 430 varieties of rice produced in the country, the rice inflation is high in the varieties that is largely preferred by consumers.

Why are prices increasing?

  • The increase in Minimum Support Price for rice in the last five years.
  • Increase in the cost of transport, storage, etc.
  • Drop in production
  • The export duty levied by the government is neutralized by the high international prices.

What are the measures taken so far?

  • The government has asked traders, wholesalers, retailers, chain retailers and millers to report the stocks online.
  • It launched the retail sale of ‘Bharat Rice’ to general consumers at ₹29 per kg.
  • The export of broken rice was banned and specific export duties were imposed.

Way forward:

  • The government should prioritize sale for consumption since there is a demand for rice for consumption, ethanol production, and cattle feed.
Prelims Connect:

1. Bharat Rice: To check inflationary trends in the food economy, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution started retail sale of ‘Bharat Rice’ to general consumers.

Ø  The 3 agencies viz NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar areselling Bharat Rice.

2. Minimum Support Price (MSP): it is a form of market intervention by the Government of India where a minimum amount of price is fixed for certain crops.

It aims to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices.


Charting a path for the population committee

Syllabus: GS-I

Subject: Society and Social Justice

Topic: Population and associated issues

Issue: Emography of India

Context: The announcement in the interim Budget of a “high-powered committee to extensively consider the challenges arising from rapid population growth and demographic changes”.

India’s demographic landscape presents both opportunities and challenges for the country’s socio-economic development.

Tasks in front of the Committee:

  • addressing issues such as family planning, maternal and child health, education, employment, and socio-economic development.

Past, present and future of India’s demography:

  • increase in economic growth because of its demographic advantage comprising of:
    • decreasing Total Fertility Rate (TFR)
    • increasing working age population
    • steady rise of elderly population
    • decrease in the dependency ratio (increase in life expectancy
  • Health, education, employment challenges:
    • Public spending on health has remained around 1% of GDP
    • investments in education and skill development are crucial
    • The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified these challenges in health, education and skill gaps
  • Challenges to policy making in India – Data driven approach:
    • the non-availability of current and reliable data on the population for evidence-based policymaking.
    • regular and comprehensive national censuses and surveys are crucial for collecting demographic data.
    • Independent audits, data validation exercises, and peer review processes can help identify and rectify data errors and inconsistencies.
Data Point:

1.      According to UNICEF, nearly 47% of Indian youth may lack the necessary education and skills for employment by 2030.

2.     India’s TFR projected to touch 1.73 in 2031-35 from 2.5 in 2009-11


Prelims Connect:

Total Fertility Rate (TFR): the average number of children that a woman would have over her childbearing years (i.e. age 15-49), based on current birth trends.

Dependency Ratio: the ratio between working (14 to 65 yrs old) and non-working population (0-14 yrs old and over 65yrs old).

Towards uniformity: On the UCC adopted by the Uttarakhand Assembly

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Polity

Topic: Legal Issues

Issue: Uniform Civil Code

Context: Uttarakhand legislative assembly adopted Uniform Civil Code.

Uniform Civil Code:

  • Involves providing a uniform code for civil matters like marriage, succession and divorce etc.
  • Constitutional Provision: Article 44 states that “The State shall endeavor to secure the citizen a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India”.
  • A UCC is a desirable and progressive goal for a secular country.
  • However, mere uniformity without making reasonable allowances for diverse cultural and social practices among different social groups may not be ideal.

Evolution of UCC Debate in India:

  • According to B.R. Ambedkar, the UCC, if enacted, should be voluntary in the initial stages.
  • The previous Law Commission:
    • A UCC is neither desirable nor necessary,
    • Each body of personal law should be reformed to eliminate discrimination or regressive practices.
  • The present Law Commission has revived the idea and has started gathering views from the public.

Uttarakhand UCC:

Positive features:

  • conferring legitimacy on children born of live-in relations and
  • mandating maintenance in the event of desertion.

Features violative of the Constitution:

  • Formalizing live-in relationships through registration.
  • It is intruding into individual’s privacy and make them vulnerable to social hostility.

+1 Advantage:


“In striving for uniformity, justice should not be lost. Uniformity is a consequence of Equality”.

Grand bargain 2.0: Protests by Karnataka and Kerala

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economy

Topic: Fiscal policy and Budgeting

Issue: Fiscal Federalism

Context: The protest of Karnataka and Kerala against the union govt.’s fiscal policies towards them.

Concerns – letter and spirit of fiscal federalism:

  1. The disparity between revenue generation capacities and expenditure responsibilities:
  • Centre accounts for more than 60 per cent of the gross tax revenues collected together with the states.
  • The states have over a 60 per cent share in total government spending.
  1. Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime widened the imbalances:
  • It replaced the value added tax (VAT) and a number of other levies that were major sources of revenue for the states earlier.

Way forward:

  • A consensus based, transparent mechanism is required in matters of tax devolution and other resource transfers, both vertical (Centre to states) and horizontal (among states).
  • The next finance commission should frame clear and transparent rules for distribution of the Centre’s tax proceeds and grants-in aid.
  • Centre should not levy non-sharable cesses and surcharges on taxes.
  • States should strictly adhere to deficit targets and borrowing limits.
Prelims Connect:

VAT: Value Added Tax is the tax that is charged on goods and services, levied at each stage of a supply chain.

GST: GST, or Goods and Services Tax, is an indirect tax imposed on the supply of goods and services.

It is a multi-stage, destination-oriented tax imposed on every value addition, replacing multiple indirect taxes, including VAT, excise duty, service taxes, etc.

Finance Commission