La Excellence IAS Academy

Centre ensures place for Madiga member in Scheduled Caste panel.

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Welfare schemes, mechanisms, laws and institutions related to SCs, Issue: National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

Context: The Union government to constitute the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) with at least one member from the Madiga community.

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

  • A constitutional body established in 1990 under Article 338A of the Indian Constitution.
  • Composition: The NCSC is headed by a Chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and three other members appointed by the President of India.


  • Protection from exploitation of SCs and ensure their safety and security.
  • Promoting social, educational, and economic development of SC communities.
  • Safeguarding constitutional rights of SCs guaranteed by the constitution.
Madiga Community is a Scheduled Caste mainly concentrated in states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

They argue that they are crowded out of benefits of reservation by the relatively dominant Mala community.

Source: The Hindu

Report turns spotlight on India’s ‘zero-food children’.

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Poverty, Hunger and developmental issues, Issue: Zero food children

Context: A study published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open journal.

Zero-food children are infants who have not eaten any food of substantial calorific content — semi-solid, solid,soft, or mushy food, infant formula or fresh milk — for 24 hours.

Highlights of the study:

  • The prevalence of zero-food children in India at around 19%.
  • India has the third-highest percentage of zero-food children.
  • In terms of numbers, India has the highest number of zero-food children at more than six million.
  • Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for around 28% of zero-food children in India.


  • Poverty and marginalisation in economic background.
  • Rapid industrialisation resulting in nuclear families
  • Lack of awareness about the nutritional needs of children, and misconceptions,

Source: The Hindu

Panel, headed by PM, likely to appoint new ECs by March 15.

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Institutions, Issue: Appointment of CEC and ECs

Context: The filling up of two vacancies in the Election Commission (EC).

Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) and Election Commissioners(ECs):

  • Article 324 (2):
    • The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, , as the President may from time to time fix
    • the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall be made by the President.

Appointment Procedure:

  • Regulated by the CEC and Other ECs (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023
  • The CEC and ECs will be appointed by the President upon the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of the
    • Prime Minister,
    • a Union Cabinet Minister, and
    • Leader of Opposition/leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha.

The salary and conditions of service of the CEC and ECs will be equivalent to that of Cabinet Secretary.

Source: The Hindu

Gig workers suffer lack of social security, regulations.

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Social sector – Human resources, Issue: Gig and Platform Economy

Context: A study conducted by the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers.


  • Almost a third of app-based cab drivers work for over 14 hours a day of which 60% are from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Low earnings: 43% of the participants in the study earn less than ₹500 a day.
+1 Advantage for Mains (Statement)

“These income disparities further exacerbate the already existing social inequalities and perpetuate cycles of poverty and distress.”

Gig economy

It refers to work arrangements that are temporary, project-based, or freelance in nature.

  • People in the gig economy are often called “gig workers”.
  • They typically find and complete short-term projects or tasks.

Issues faced by gig workers:

  • Income Instability: No guarantee of consistent work or pay, unlike traditional jobs with regular paychecks
  • Lack of Benefits: Gig workers typically don’t receive benefits like health insurance, paid time off, or unemployment benefits.
  • Job Security and Legal Protections: No formal employment contracts or job security.
  • Unpredictable Work Conditions: Little control over their work environment or schedule.

Platform economy: It encompasses the online platforms that connect gig workers with businesses or consumers who need services.

  • These platforms act as intermediaries, facilitating the exchange of work and streamlining the process.

Example: Uber, Swiggy

Source: The Hindu

India inks free trade agreement with four European countries.

Syllabus: GS-III Subject: Economy Topic: Trade and External Sector, Issue: Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA)

Context: : India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) signed a free trade agreement called TEPA.

Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA)

  • Includes tariff reduction, increase in market access, and simplification of customs procedures.
  • Commitment by EFTA- an investment of $100 billion and one million jobs in India over 15 years.
  • Also included a chapter on commitments to human rights and sustainable development.
Prelims Connect (terms in News)

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between two or more countries to lower trade barriers by

●             Eliminating or reducing tariffs (taxes placed on imported goods) and quotas(limits on the amount of  imports)

●             Simplify customs procedures and regulations.

Institutions in News:

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

  • A regional trade organisation and free trade area
  • Composition: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland .
  • All countries are not part of the European Union.

Source: The Hindu

Govt. mulls Rs. 1-trillion fund to spur local deep-tech.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Emerging Technology, Issue: Deep Tech

Context: Capital support scheme to encourage indigenous deep-tech and cutting-edge technologies.

Deep technology:

  • It refers to advanced technologies based on some form of substantial scientific or engineering innovation.
  • The innovations are “deep” in that they are sophisticated, very advanced answers to complex challenges or issues.

Governments Support:

  • Financial support to encourage adoption of indigenous deep-tech and cutting-edge technologies in defence, energy and electronics.
  • Initial period of five years, scheme to be run by
    • National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) and
    • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

Challenges in deep tech:

  • Need for greater investment in R&D.
  • Improvement in infrastructure.
  • Addressing regulatory and policy hurdles.
Prelims Connect (Institutions in News):

National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID)

●             India’s fifth All India Financial Institution (AIFI),established in 2021 under NaBFID Act 2021.

●             Core function: it directly or indirectly lends, invests in, or attracts investments for infrastructure projects across India.

●             Regulated and supervised by Reserve Bank of India.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund:

●             Established in 2015.

●             Anchored by the Government of India but functions with operational independence.

Collaborative investment platform: It attracts capital from both domestic and foreign sources to fund infrastructure and related sectors in India


+1 Advantage for Mains (Data Point)

India’s gross expenditure on R&D is at around 0.7% of GDP compared with its BRICS peers— China (2.4%), Brazil (1.3%) and Russia (1.1%).

Source: Indian Express

Daily Editorials

What factors are pushing Bitcoin to a new all-time high? | Explained

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and technology, Topic: Emerging technologies, Issue: Crypto-Currency

Reason behind rise in crypto currency price:

  • Market recovery: from geopolitical events like Russia – Ukraine Conflict and cryptocurrency collapses in 2022.
  • Sign of regulatory openness – Approval of the first spot exchange traded funds for Bitcoin by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Increase in investor confidence and dominance in digital asset investment.
  • Anticipation of the Bitcoin Halving event in April, is driving investor speculation and price increase.
Prelims Connect (terms in News)

Bitcoin Halving:

·         Bitcoin miners receive rewards for verifying transactions and contributing to the block chain’s growth.

·         Bitcoin Halving occurs approximately every four years, reducing the mining reward by half.

·         The halving ensures a gradual release of coins, maintaining scarcity and preventing inflation.

·         Unlike fiat currencies, Bitcoin’s scarcity is governed by mathematical principles rather than human decisions.

Spot Exchange:

Spot markets trade commodities or other assets for immediate (or very near-term) delivery.

The word “spot” refers to the trade and receipt of the good being made “on the spot”.

Source: The Hindu

Is the government going to introduce a new toll collection system? | Explained

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Infrastructure, Issue: Infrastructure- Road and Highways

Context: Road Transport and Highways Minister announced plans for a new highway toll collection system.

Proposed Highway Tolling System:

  • Involves fitting vehicles with On-Board Units (OBUs) for tracking.
  • GAGAN, with 10-meter accuracy, to map vehicle locations.
  • Toll rates will be assigned based on highway coordinates and distance traveled, deducted from a linked OBU wallet.
  • Aims to enable pay-as-you-use tolling and eventually barrier-free movement.


  • Recovering toll from non-compliant users presents a major challenge.
  • Lack of barriers makes it difficult to stop non-compliant vehicles.
  • Vehicles traveling without an OBU, deliberate OBU switch-off, or misuse of OBUs.


  • Requirement for OBUs in vehicles need to be mandated by regulations.
  • The new tolling system to coexist with FASTag-based toll collection.
  • Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 to address privacy concerns.
  • Use of GAGAN satellite system instead of GPS will ensure data remains within India.
Prelims Connect (Technology in News):

On-board units (OBUs) are electronic devices that are installed in vehicles. They can collect and transmit data for various applications.

The GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system: developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), together with Airports Authority of India (AAI), to deploy and certify an operational satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS).


Source: The Hindu

We need limits on election campaign spending

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

Key issues in election campaign spending:

  • Uneven playing field: Government advertisements before elections often favor the ruling party.
  • No expenditure limits: on political parties during elections.
  • The illicit distribution of cash and the opaque nature of donations.
  • Still unaccounted electoral funding acquired through electoral bonds scheme.

Election reform proposed by Election Commission in 2016:

  • Ban on government advertisements from six months before elections.
  • Imposition of expenditure ceilings on parties, linked to candidate limits.
  • Appointment of additional judges in High Courts: for expeditious resolution of election-related cases.
+1 Advantage for Mains

Data Point:

·         A report by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS): 35% elections spending by parties was spent on campaigns, while 25% was distributed amongst voters illegally.


·         Indrajit Gupta Committee (1998) and Law Commission report (1999) recommended state funding of elections.


Source: The Hindu

Electoral bonds, the State Bank and the art of evasion

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Election and RPA, Issue: Electoral Bonds

Context: the Supreme Court declared the electoral bond scheme unconstitutional.

More about the S.C. court ruiling:

  • The scheme facilitated unlimited anonymous funding of political parties.
  • The court ordered the State Bank of India to halt the issuance of electoral bonds.
  • And disclose complete details of bond purchased since April 12, 2019 within 21 days.


  • Transparency in political funding:
    • allows voters to track potential quid pro quo.
    • crucial for maintaining democratic integrity and effective governance.
  • The C. must enforce disclosure timelines to uphold voters’ right to information.

Access to this information empowers voters to make informed decisions.

Source: The Hindu

Crisis of time: On parched Karnataka and its water woes

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Disaster Management, Issue: Water Crisis

Context: Water Crisis in Karnataka (Bengaluru)

  • Bengaluru’s reliance on the Cauvery River and groundwater worsens the crisis.

Key factors responsible for the crisis:

  1. Insufficient rainfall– resulting under-‘replenishment’ of the Cauvery.
  2. Reduction in rainy season – less number of rainy days.
  3. Bengaluru’s lack of preparation– low ground water recharge rate, demand-supply mismatch, reduction in number of lakes within the city, low investment on research and development etc.


  • Climate change leads to non-linear, disproportionate, and potentially irreversible outcomes, necessitating rapid and sustained responses.
  • Even if erratic rainfall is not directly linked to climate change, its unpredictability will likely increase.

The way ahead:

  • long-term strategies are crucial.
  • Holistic solutions to be ready for rapid urban growth
  • Circular water economy: can reduce reliance on external sources and maximize water utility.
  • Restoring the health of rivers.

Source: The Hindu