La Excellence IAS Academy

Why Maharashtra is exempting private schools from RTE quota admissions

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Social Sector-Education, Issue: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

Context: Maharashtra exempted private schools from RTE quota admissions

The Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009:

  • mandates that private schools reserve 25% of Class 1 seats for children from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighborhood.
  • Students under this quota are given fee concessions, with the state government meant to reimburse private schools.
  • Maharashtra have exempted private schools within a 1 km radius of government or aided schools from the 25% admission requirement under RTE-2009.
  • Karnataka (2018) and Kerala (2011) have earlier made similar exemption.


  • State governments have also often failed to reimburse the fees for students admitted through this quota. ( Mandated under 12(2) of RTE act)
  • Allowing children in private school has resulted in drastic drop in enrollment in government school.
  • The move has been criticized as it is closing down the window of quality education for disadvantaged section.

PM Modi flags off railway project in Jammu and Kashmir: Route, challenges, benefits

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Infrastructure, Issue: infrastructure project in Jammu and Kashmir

Context: Prime Minister  inaugurated the Banihal-Sangaldan section.


  • Alternative travel option to the Valley when roads are not usable.
  • Opens far-off areas of Jammu division for tourists.
  • Reduces travel time between Srinagar and Jammu to 3-3.5 hours (currently 5-6 hours by road).
  • Facilitates hassle-free transport of goods like apples, dry fruits, pashmina shawls, and handicrafts to other parts of the country.
  • Expected significant reduction in the cost of transporting daily use items to the Valley from other parts of the country.


  • The Himalayas are young, geologically unstable nature.
  • Construction projects faced difficulties due to heavy snowfall, difficult terrain, and seismic activity in Zones IV and V.


  • Railways engineers developed the Himalayan Tunneling Method (HTM), using horseshoe-shaped tunnels instead of D-shaped ones,
  • HTM involves constructing tunnels in a curved shape, providing structural strength in loose soil conditions, particularly in areas with steep inclines exceeding 70 degrees.
  • This enhances the stability and durability of infrastructure in the region, ensuring safer transportation and connectivity.

What each district says about India’s progress – and how it can help frame better policies.

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Governance, Topic: important aspects of governance, Issue: Multidimensional and localized index at district level

Context: Recently Maharashtra has created a District development index

Need for Multidimensional and localized index at district level:

  • Large average population of districts (86 million people larger than UAE and Singapore population)
  • Develop grass root insight by analyzing socio-economic indicators
  • Highlight the significant disparities in the income concentration across districts,
  • Help in establishing varied measures for different localities and regions, tailored to their culture, urbanization, development and demography.
  • Brings Transparency and ensure accountability of stakeholders.
  • Helps in tracking and supporting the contemporary socio-economic and infrastructure development at the district level

Existing initiative in this direction

  • Bottom-up policies are founded on three key pillars — data collection, best governance practices and incentivized collaboration between different departments.
  • Aspirational Districts Programme – As per NITI AAYOG transformed the lives of about 25 crore people in 112 districts with visible outcomes
  • Schemes such as the One District One Product (ODOP) is increasing district level productivity.

District level data can be used to created district level industrial cluster. This will catalyze district-level productivity and value-creation.

+1 Advantage:

Data on progress of aspirational district program:

·         The percentage of pregnant women registered for ante-natal care within the first trimester rose from 68 per cent in 2018 to 89 per cent in 2023.

·          The percentage of underweight children below the age of six years has considerably declined.

One District One Product (ODOP)

·         Since its launch in 2020, the programme has seen the development and promotion of 1,000-plus unique products, across 767 districts, encompassing sectors such as textiles, agriculture, food processing and handicrafts.

Government’s new grain storage plan: More in store

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Agriculture and allied sector, Issue: New Grain Storage Plan

Context: Prime Minister launched world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector.

  • Aiming to set up storage infrastructure of 700 lakh metric tons over five years.(Almost double of existing storage capacity)
  • Pilot project being carried out by primary agricultural credit societies.

Expected benefits:

  • Cut down losses due to lack of adequate infrastructure.
  • Enable farmers to sell their output at an opportune time in terms of prices.
  • emphasis on co-operative societies.

+1 Advantage:

·         The Union Budget 2023-24 provides for computerizing Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).

·         Reserve Bank of India reported 1.02 lakh PACS in India.

·         81% of PACS members are small and marginal farmers.

·         These societies facilitate around 60% of lending by district central cooperative banks.

·         Despite their significance, less than 50% of PACS were profitable according to the study.

Source: Indian Express

An expansive land management policy is overdue

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Environment and ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Land degradation, Issue: Land Management Practices

Land management:

  • Land is central to all human activities yet its multidimensional character is ignored in land management practices.
  • This leads excessive stress, land degradation, and environmental draw down.

Challenge of land management in India

  • High population density (2.4% of the world’s area 17% of the global population)
  • Large degraded land (around 30 %) (Arable land-55%, forestland -22%).
  • Access to agricultural land is an important livelihood issue.
  • Pressure on land due to
    • Land demand of growing population,
    • infrastructure,
    • rapid urbanization,
    • social, cultural, and environmental aspects
  • Competition and conflicts over land use – increase in land prices and changing land rights.
  • Challenges in adopting good land management practice
    • Knowledge gaps,
    • a short-term planning bias,
    • a fragmented approach,
    • lack of action for unforeseen events, and regulatory barriers.


  • Establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms at district and sub-district levels (by using constitutional provision under Article 243ZD)
  • A landscape approach:
    • to assess the potential of land
    • the scope of allocation
    • reallocation of land for appropriate uses.
  • Follow global approach-
  • European Landscape Convention– landscape is a key element of individual and social well-being
  • K. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology- highlighted the importance of sustainable land management in its brief.

+1 Advantage:

·    Globally, the annual losses of ecosystem services due to land degradation is estimated at $6 trillion.

·    The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) (New Delhi in 2019)

Ø  Discussed the problem of land degradation experienced by different countries and the ways of achieving land degradation neutrality.

·   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on ‘Climate Change and Land’ (2019)

Ø  Suggested country-level stocktaking of land management practices.

Ø  Proposed several near- and long-term actions that reduce competition for land with co-benefits and minimum negative impacts on key ecosystem services.

·   The Food and Agriculture Organization report, ‘State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: The System at Breaking Point’ (2021),

Ø  A sense of urgency needs to prevail over a hitherto neglected area of public policy and human welfare— that of caring for the long-term future of land, soil, and water.


Source: The Hindu

Everything in the garden of elections is not lovely

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Free and fair elections

 Free and Fair Elections :

  • A part of the basic structure of the constitution.
  • Mechanism to hold free and fair elections
    • Election Commission of India ,
    • Representation of The People Act (RPA), 1950 and 1951,
  • Threat to free and fair election
    • degeneration of institutions (visible in Chandigarh mayor election) and
    • communalism
  • judiciary has intervened at times to ensure the sanctity of elections.

+1 Advantage for Mains:

Issue linked to elections Supreme Court Judgement
Degeneration of institutions  Kuldeep Kumar vs Union Territory of Chandigarh and Others (Chandigarh Mayor case):

·         Elections at the local participatory level act as a microcosm of the largest democratic structure in the country.

·          Ensuring a free and fair electoral process throughout this process, is imperative to maintain the legitimacy of and trust in representative democracy.

·         Court is duty-bound, to do complete justice to ensure that the process of electoral democracy is not allowed to be thwarted by subterfuges.

Secularism Ziyauddin Burhanuddin Bukhari vs Brijmohan Ramdass Mehra & Ors (1975),

·         Criticized the practice of appealing to voters based on religion.

Abhiram Singh vs C.D. Commachen (2017)

·         Wider interpretation to the appeal in the name of religion.

·         held that such an appeal would include even the religion of voters and not merely that of the vote-seeker.

Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court asks Coast Guard to ensure women officers get permanent commission

Syllabus: GS-III Subject: Current Affairs Topic: Defence related

Context: The Supreme Court hearing on plea filed by Indian Coast Guard officer Priyanka Tyagi.

  • A Permanent Commission means a career in the Army till you retire.

Supreme Court Observations:

  1. Ensure that women are granted permanent commission in Indian Coast Guard.
  2. The government must come up with a policy which treats women fairly.
  3. Women are no lesser beings.

First private ammunition manufacture facility opens

Syllabus: GS-III Subject: Current Affairs Topic: Defence related, Issue: Defence Manufacturing

Context: Private sector facilities for the manufacture of ammunition and missiles opened in Uttar Pradesh.


  1. This is the first private sector endeavour in ammunitions manufacturing in India.
  2. Need for self-reliance in missiles and ammunition.
  3. Recent geo-political events emphasise the need for reliable supply of ammunition from internal sources.
  4. Important for preparedness of a long-drawn conflict.

Trade diplomacy: Govt. depts red-flag high duties to curb China imports, seek nuance in strategy

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

Context: Hike in customs duties targeted at imports of Chinese components and inputs.

Trade diplomacy is the use of diplomatic strategies and negotiations to promote international trade and economic cooperation between nations.

+1 Advantage (for Mains)

  • China’s share in the total Indian merchandise imports and exports (FY2023) stands at 14% and 3%, respectively.
  • This import dependency has left India vulnerable to supply chain disruption.

Related Concepts:

  • China +1 strategy is a business strategy aimed at diversifying supply chains and manufacturing operations to reduce over-reliance on China.
  • Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate: is the standard tariff that a member country of the WTO applies to imports from all other WTO members.
    • Unless there’s a specific trade agreement in place.

Source: Indian Express

Sweden clears final hurdle to join NATO as Hungary approves accession

Syllabus: GS-II Subject: International Relations Topic: International institutions, agencies and fora, Issue: NATO


  • Hungary’s parliament approved Sweden’s NATO accession.
  • Sweden abandoned its non-alignment policy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
  • It became the 32nd member of NATO.

Prelims Connect: (Institutions in news)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

●       It is an intergovernmental military alliance, established in 1949.

●       Collective defence: Article 5 of North Atlantic Treaty commits its member states to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external force.

●       HQ: Brussels, Belgium.


Source: Indian Express

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