La Excellence IAS Academy

Europe’s world-first AI rules gets final approval from lawmakers

Syllabus: GS-III; Subject: Science & Technology; Topic: Computer and ICT, Issue: AI Act

Context: European Union lawmakers approved the AI Act.

It marked a significant step in regulating AI technologies.


  • The Act aims to protect fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from high-risk AI.
  • Certain AI applications threatening citizens’ rights will be banned.
  • Biometric categorization systems.
  • Emotion recognition in workplaces and schools.
  • Social scoring,
  • Predictive policing based solely on profiling.
  • AI manipulation of human behavior.


It may become outdated due to the rapid evolution of AI technology.


There is a need for ongoing collaboration between businesses and lawmakers.

 Prelims connect (Institutions in News):

European Union (EU):

·        Formed in the aftermath of World War II to foster economic cooperation and prevent further conflict.

·        It is a political and economic union of 27 member states located primarily in Europe.

·        It has established a single market, allowing for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within its borders.

·        It has also introduced a common currency, the euro, which is used by 19 of its member states.

·        The EU is India’s 2nd-largest trading partner (after the US) and India’s 2nd-largest export market.

·         India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner.

Source: Indian Express

Auditing regulator plans innovation lab, sandbox.


Syllabus: GS-III; Subject: Economy, Topic: Industry and Industrial policies

Context: The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) plans to set up an Innovation Lab for advanced auditing techniques.

 NFRA’s Initiatives:

  • Establishment of an Innovation Lab for advanced auditing techniques.
  • Engagement with Audit Committees and Independent Directors during inspections.
  • Embracing technology for fraud detection and identification of related party transactions (RPTs).
  • Advocacy for professional skepticism and the ‘Trust but Verify’ approach among auditors.
  • Push for global convergence in reporting and assurance standards.
National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA):

·        Established: October 1, 2018, under the Companies Act, 2013.

ü  Role: Independent regulator overseeing auditing profession and accounting standards in India.

ü  Objective: To enhance the quality of corporate financial reporting.


1.     Recommending accounting and auditing policies and standards.

2.    Monitoring and enforcing compliance with standards.

3.    Improving the quality of service in compliance-related professions.

Composition: Chairperson and up to fifteen members, appointed by the Central Government.


4.    Authority to investigate professional misconduct.

5.    Empowered with civil court-like powers for investigations.

Source: Indian Express

Ease e-commerce for MSME exports.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External Sector, Issue: MSME Export’s.

Context:   Niti Aayog recommended easing e-commerce routes for MSME exports.

Key Recommendations:

  • Simplify merchandise trade processes and establish a single national trade portal.
  • Address payment reconciliation challenges associated with exports.
  • Ensure accurate measurement of MSME exports.
  • Target specific sectors with global demand, like handicrafts and textiles, for export promotion.
MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises):

ü  Classified under the MSMED Act, 2006 based on investment and turnover.

ü  Micro: Investment < INR 1 crore, Turnover < INR 5 crore.

ü  Small: Investment < INR 10 crore, Turnover < INR 50 crore.

ü  Medium: Investment < INR 50 crore, Turnover < INR 250 crore.

ü  Key contributors to GDP, exports, rural development, and employment generation.

ü  Supported by government schemes for growth and development.

ü  Vital for innovation, social inclusion, and economic sustainability


Source: The Hindu

Political Background not sufficient reason to reject a candidate as judge, says SC Collegium

Syllabus: GS-IV; Subject: Ethics, Topic: Probity in Governance: code of conduct and code of ethics, Issue: Appointment of Judges

Context: The Supreme Court Collegium dismissed an input regarding a Kerala High Court judge candidate’s political affiliation.


  • The Collegium emphasized that a political background alone is not sufficient to reject a candidate as a judge.
  • There are previous instances of appointing judges with political affiliations.

Source: The Hindu

Growing tally, rising turnout: More and more women stepping out to vote

Syllabus: GS-II; Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Women’s participation in Elections.

Context:  increasing women’s participation in elections.

In recent Lok Sabha elections, women’s participation has notably increased, with female voter turnout surpassing male turnout in 2019.

Indicating  increased registration and participation.


  • More constituencies now have a higher number of female voters.
  • The overall turnout gender gap has narrowed, with women’s turnout surpassing men’s in 2019.
  • The geographical spread of high female turnout constituencies has expanded across states.

Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court to hear plea to bring CJI back in selection committee

Syllabus: GS-II  Subject: Polity  Topic: Institutions.

Context: Supreme Court to hear plea alleging Centre may exploit vacancies in Election Commission for unfair advantage.


  • Implementation of previous Supreme Court judgment for Chief Justice ‘s inclusion in the EC selection committee.
  • Emphasis on the Election Commission’s critical role in ensuring free and fair elections.
  • Request for insulation of Election Commission from political interference.
  • Urgency due to risk to electoral integrity and functioning with vacancies.
The Election Commission of India (Article 324):

The Election Commission of India is a permanent and independent body.

It is tasked with conducting elections to Parliament, State Legislatures, and the Office of the President and Vice President of India.

Appointment and tenure of Commissioners:

·        No specific legislative process is outlined in the Constitution.

·        President appoints based on advice of Union Council of Ministers.

·        Term lasts six years or until 65, with status and benefits akin to SC judges.

·        The removal process mirrors that of Supreme Court judges.

·        Retiring commissioners aren’t barred from further government appointments.


·        Initially a single-member body, it expanded in 1989 due to an increased workload.

·        Majority vote resolves disagreements among commissioner.Top of Form

Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court stops Assam’s move to withdraw notification of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Syllabus: GS-II; Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Biodiversity and Conservation, Issue: Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Context: The Supreme Court halted Assam’s attempt to revoke notification of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Situated in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River, Morigaon district, Assam.
  • here the Rhino Density is the Highest globally, second only to Kaziranga in Assam.
  • it acts as a source population for initiatives like the Indian Rhinoceros Vision 2020 (IRV).
  • Nickname: “Mini Kaziranga” due to similar landscape and rhino population.Top of Form

Greater one-horned rhinoceros:

  • Also known as the “Indian rhino,” (largest among all rhino species).

o          Its distinctive features include a solitary black horn.


Commonly found in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, and in Assam, India.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

Explained: India’s first indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor begins ‘core loading’, why it matters

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Nuclear Technology, Issue: Fast Breeder Reactor


  • India’s indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, commenced core loading.
  • Core loading involves placing nuclear fuel assemblies inside the reactor core.

India’s FBR program:

  • Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) was established in 2003 to build and operate the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR)
  • Once operational, India will be the second country after Russia with a commercial operating FBR, while China has a smaller FBR program

 Significance of FBR program:

  • Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE) three-stage power programme aims to utilize thorium reserves for electricity generation.
  • FBRs play a crucial role in the three-stage programme by converting fertile materials like U238 and thorium into fissile materials like Pu239 and U233.
  • India’s “closed fuel cycle” approach involves reprocessing spent fuel to separate useful isotopes for fuel multiplication. and eventual thorium utilization in the third stage.
  • India-US civil nuclear deal has increased the pace of its nuclear programme.
India’s Three Stage Nuclear Program
Stage Description
First ·        Setting up Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) using natural uranium and heavy water as coolant and moderator.

·        NPCIL operates 22 commercial nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 6,780 MWe.

·        Construction of imported Light Water Reactors (LWRs) with Russian collaboration.

Second ·        Establishment of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) alongside reprocessing and plutonium fabrication plants.

·        Aimed at multiplying fissile material inventory to enable a higher power base and thorium utilization.

Third ·        Implementation of the ThU233 cycle, utilizing U233 produced from thorium irradiation in PHWRs and FBRs.

·        Proposed Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs) for producing U233.

·        Combining reactors from all stages for long-term energy security.

·        Commercial utilization of thorium depends on abundant U233 or Pu239 supplies.

·        Progress on FBRs indicates advancement towards the third phase.

Source: Indian Express

On judges and bureaucrats joining politics | Explained

Syllabus: GS-IV, Subject: Ethics, Topic: Probity in Governance, Issue: Resolving conflict of interest


  • The joining of political parties by independent constitutional authorities and senior government officials after leaving office has raised concerns about propriety.

 Constitutional restrictions to ensure Probity:

  • Retired Supreme Court judges cannot appear as lawyers in any court in India,
  • High Court judges face similar restrictions except for appearances before the Supreme Court or other High Courts.
  • CAG and Public Service Commission members cannot take up employment with Central or State governments post-retirement.
  • However, there are no restrictions on joining political parties, contesting elections, or being nominated to political posts after demitting office.

 Issue of cooling off period:

  • Election Commission recommended cooling-off period for retired bureaucrats in 2012.
  • Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition seeking cooling-off period, stating that it is legislature’s job to decide on this.


  • Cooling-off period for contesting elections may not align with democratic principles, as it is the right of every citizen to contest elections.
  • Yet, it is crucial to uphold the principle of justice being seen to be done, applicable even after officials demit office.

Source: The Hindu

A fresh stance: On India and the European Free Trade Association deal

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International relations, Topic: Regional and global groupings, Issue: India – EFTA
  • EFTA comprises of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
  • India signed a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


  • Offers easier market access for Indian services firms, including architects, accountants, and nurses,
  • Aims to attract $100 billion in investments and create a million jobs over 15 years.


  • Swift conclusion of the EFTA reflects India’s renewed engagement in trade pacts.
  • It is India’s second major trade pact since the UAE deal and the first with a western grouping.
  • Signifies India’s shift towards embracing free trade.

Inclusion of non-trade issues like labor, human rights, environment, and gender signifies a positive shift in India’s approach, significant for potential allies like the EU.

Wrong messaging: On the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Bill/Act/Rules, Issue: Citizenship (Amendment) Act(CAA), 2019.

Key points:

  • The CAA, fast-tracks citizenship for minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.


  • CAA’s discriminatory as it favors specific religious communities.
  • The CAA’s association with the National Register of Citizens: heightened fears among Muslims about potential loss of citizenship without proper documentation.
  • the CAA’s use for political messaging by the government exacerbates concerns about religious bias in government policies.

Related Concepts:

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the register containing names of Indian CITIZENS.

It is prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during Census.

Source: The Hindu

India’s R&D funding, breaking down the numbers

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Indigenization and Development of Technologies, Issue: Research and development(R&D) in India.

Analysis of Research and development (R&D) funding landscape:

  • Despite significant increase in Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD), the overall numbers in percentage of GDP remains low.
  • GERD is mainly fueled by the government sector (~63%).
  • 54% of R&D funding goes primarily to four institutions-DRDO (~30%), Department of Space (~18%), ICAR (~12%), Department of Atomic Energy (~11%)
  • Higher Educational Institutions contribute only 8.8% to overall R&D.
  • Despite low allocation to R&D, India has emerged as a powerhouse in producing academic talent.

 Challenges in India’s R&D ecosystem:

  • Ensuring equitable fund distribution,
  • fostering interdisciplinary collaborations,
  • upholding global standards.

 Steps taken by government:

  • National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) – holds the potential to incentivize private sector engagement in India’s R&D ecosystem.
  • Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF) Act, underscores the government’s dedication to catalyzing research and innovation.

 The way ahead

  • Closing the existing gap demands a dual strategy:
    • encouraging private sector involvement and
    • fortifying academia’s research infrastructure.

Source: The Hindu