August 2019
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Rythu Bima providing instant aid to families


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Rythu Bima scheme

Mains level: The newscard discusses the Rythu Bima scheme which is gaining wide acknowledgement and puts Centre to think over such framework at pan India level.


Rythu Bima Scheme

  1. Rythu Bima group life insurance scheme is introduced by the Telangana government for all the landholding (pattadar) farmers in the age group of 18-59 years from August 14.
  2. It is proving to be an instant aid to their families in case of death of the enrolled farmer, irrespective of the cause either natural or otherwise.
  3. The death of farmers with any reason is compensated within a maximum time of seven days by NEFT transaction by crediting the amount of ₹5 lakh each to the nominees.
  4. The settlement of claims has proved to be the fastest under any life insurance schemes available in the country.
  5. Settlement of 52 claims out of deaths of 78 beneficiary farmers in the first five days of implementation of the scheme is an ample proof of fastest life insurance claims settlement in the country.

Seamless Operational Framework

  1. State government departments have been provided with tablet PCs for this.
  2. Agriculture Department officials have been putting the devices to optimal use beginning with collection of details of lands under cultivation by Agriculture Extension Officers early in 2017.
  3. Later, the devices were used during purification of land records and now for Rythu Bima.
  4. Manual work in the settlement of Rythu Bima claims is limited only at village and mandal-level.
  5. The AEO concerned collects the copies of Aadhaar of deceased farmer and the nominee, bank account passbook copy of the nominee, filled-in claim form and death certificate.
  6. These documents are attested by Mandal Agriculture Officer (MAO) at mandal-level.
  7. It’s everything online from the next step onwards — till crediting of claim amount to the nominee account.

Uses NIC developed software

  1. The NIC has developed special software for the purpose of forwarding the claims received from District Agriculture Offices (DAOs) to the LIC without human intervention every day at 5 p.m.
  2. The software creates a text file of all claims received till 4 p.m. every day and forwards them to LIC’s E-Sat office in Hyderabad along with scanned documents in PDF format for further processing.

Way Forward

  1. Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bima have improved the image of Agriculture Department and its officials in villages enormously and the recognition would help in maintaining good liaison with farmers.
  2. Besides, the act of helping somebody get instant help gives immense satisfaction to the field-level work by the officials.
  3. A scheme with such an operational framework can be a remedy to the distressed farmers at pan-India level.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Odisha to showcase its biodiversity


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Bhitarkanika National Park

Mains Level: Read the attached story.


Setting up world-class interpretation centre

  1. The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika National Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity.
  2. The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, will be taken up at an estimated cost of ₹3 crore.
  3. It is planned to develop the centre both as a tourist attraction and a place for students to learn about the environment.

Mangroves as Bio-shield

  1. In 1999 when coastal Odisha was battered by Super Cyclone, the rich mangrove forests had then acted as a bio-shield.
  2. There was very little impact of the cyclone in the mangrove-forested regions.
  3. In fact, Kalibhanjdia Island spread over 8.5 square km, a place in Bhitarkanika, has attracted the attention of foreign scientists as its possesses 70% of the total mangrove species of the world.


Bhitarkanika National Park

  1. Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located in Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India.
  2. It spreads over 672 km2 and is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.
  3. It was designated as national park on 16 September 1998 and as a Ramsar site on 19 August 2002.
  4. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
  5. The national park is home to saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Indian python, King cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
  6. It hosts a large number of mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
  7. The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.
  8. Bhitarkanika, one of the State’s finest biodiversity hotspots, receives close to one lakh visitors every year.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM):

  1. Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) or Integrated coastal management (ICM) is a process for the management of the coast using an integrated approach, regarding all aspects of the coastal zone, including geographical and political boundaries, in an attempt to achieve sustainability.
  2. It is a World Bank assisted project.
  3. The ICZM plan involves identification of infrastructure requirements and livelihood improvement means in coastal districts. Conservation of mangroves is among the components.
  4. The national component of the project includes mapping of the country’s coastline and demarcation of the hazard line.
  5. It is being implemented by the Department of Forests and Environment with assistance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  6. The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, will provide scientific and technical inputs.

Odisha launches health scheme for 70 lakh families


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Non-compliance of states to AB-NHPM


Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

  1. Odisha CM launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day.
  2. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population
  3. It may be recalled that the Odisha government had rejected the National Health Protection Scheme as it covered much lesser number of people in Odisha by adopting the 2011 census.
  4. The State government went ahead with its own scheme with coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per year per family. The amount is ₹7 lakh per family with women members.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam Scheme


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Initiative to address Unemployment related issues


Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam- a Pension Scheme

  1. The AP government has launched this  scheme through which an allowance of Rs 1000 per month will be provided to unemployed youth in the state.
  2. About 12 lakh youths in the age group of 22-35 years will get the benefit of the scheme.
  3. The registration for the scheme will start mid-August.
  4. The scheme will be extended to all those eligible even if there are more than one beneficiary in a family.
  5. It will implement the scheme in a very transparent manner like pension scheme.
  6. The money will be credited directly into the bank accounts through biometric authentication.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Rajasthan first State to implement biofuel policy


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the National Policy on Biofuels

Mains level: Read the attached story.


With emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds

  1. Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in May this year.
  2. It will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.
  3. A biodiesel plant of the capacity of 8 tonnes a day has already been installed in the State with the financial assistance of the Indian Railways.
  4. The State government would promote marketing of biofuels and generate awareness about them.
  5. The Minister said the State Rural Livelihood Development Council would also encourage women’s self help groups to explore the scope for additional income through the supply of biodiesel.


National Biofuels Policy, 2018

  1. The Union Cabinet approved a national policy on biofuels that seeks to not only help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner but also reduce India’s oil-import dependence.
  2. The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch-containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes that are unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  3. The policy also provides for a viability gap funding scheme of ₹5,000 crore in six years for second generation (more advanced) ethanol bio-refineries in addition to tax incentives and a higher purchase price as compared to first-generation biofuels.
  4. Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
  5. Taking this into account, the policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
Biofuel Policy

President clears Assam Bill against witch-hunt


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Social empowerment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mission Birubala

Mains level: Curbing atrocities in the name of superstitious witchcraft hunting.


Mission Birubala

  1. President Kovind has given his assent to the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015 against witch-hunting that the Assam Assembly passed three years ago.
  2. Birubala Rabha has been campaigning against witch-hunting after a quack almost killed her son in 1996.
  3. She stood her ground despite the threat of excommunication by the local shaman and went on to rescue over 50 women from being branded as witches before launching Mission Birubala against the menace.

Provisions of the Bill

  1. The legislation has made every offence a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.
  2. The Act prescribes a prison term of up to seven years and up to ₹5 lakh in fine for calling a person witch.
  3. It also has provisions to come with Section 302 of the IPC (punishment for murder) if someone is killed after being branded a witch.
  4. The punishment for leading a person to suicide may be extended to life imprisonment and up to ₹5 lakh in fine.
Human Rights Issues

How Telangana supports farmers with Rs 4,000 for every acre they own


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Rythu Bandhu scheme

Mains level: The newscard discusses the Rythu Bandhu scheme which is gaining wide acknowledgement and puts Centre to think over such framework at pan India level.


Earning centres appreciation

  1. A support scheme for farmers in Telangana has earned the appreciation of outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.
  2. It is formally gives scope for feasible framework at pan-India level.

What Ryuthu Bandhu provides?

  1. Under Rythu Bandhu, the Telangana government gives every beneficiary farmer Rs 4,000 per acre as “investment support” before every crop season.
  2. The objective is to help the farmer meet a major part of his expenses on seed, fertiliser, pesticide, and field preparation.
  3. The scheme covers 1.42 crore acres in the 31 districts of the state, and every farmer owning land is eligible.
  4. Officials said 92% of the beneficiaries own less than 5 acres, 5% own 5-10 acres and the remaining 3% own more than 10 acres.


  1. The government plans to extend the flat Rs 4,000-per-acre subsidy to the rabi season as well, with distribution of cheques from November 18.
  2. The government has allocated Rs 12,000 crore for Rythu Bandhu in 2018-19; the 24×7 free power supply to farmers is estimated to cost another Rs 1,000 crore.
  3. The government will issue cheques rather than make direct benefit transfer (DBT) because banks might use the DBT money to adjust against farmers’ previous dues.
  4. The cheques have been distributed along with free Pattadar Dharani passbooks with updated information including ownership and land purchase and sale.


  1. The government had initially drawn up a list of 72 lakh beneficiaries based on a revenue department survey last year.
  2. Lack of proper land records resulted in the total being shortlisted at 57.33 lakh.
  3. But the records are still under rectification and more farmers will be added to the list later.

Relief from Indebtedness- the major impact

  1. Ryuthu Bandhu money provides that cushion to the farmer because with that money the farmer can purchase seeds and fertiliser and start sowing.
  2. If a bank approves his loan later then it is of additional help to hire farm labour etc but at least he is not going to moneylenders.

Criticisms of the scheme

  1. The foremost issue is that it does not exclude rich farmers and wealthy landlords.
  2. The scheme leaves out tenant cultivators — an estimated 40% of Telangana’s farming population and mostly coming from the poorest and most disadvantaged backgrounds.
  3. Tenant farmers cannot be included in the scheme as they cannot submit any proof of cultivation of land, which is done mostly based on informal and oral lease arrangements.
  4. One year they are cultivating land in one village and the next year they move to a different village. It is very difficult to identify them. If they are included in the scheme, it will lead to unnecessary litigation.

Uttarakhand HC declares animals to be ‘legal persons’


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Economics of animal-rearing

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Particulars of the Judgement

Mains level: The newscard highlights the directives issued by Judiciary to prevent cruelty against animals.



  1. The order came on a public interest lawsuit seeking restrictions on the movement of horse-drawn carts between Indian and Nepal through Banbasa.
  2. It was also prayed for in the PIL that there should be provisions for vaccination, medical checkup of the horses for suspected infections before entering into the Indian Territory from Nepal and for regulating traffic in the border areas.

To prevent cruelty against animals

  1. In a unique ruling, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of “legal person or entity” to animals in the State, saying “they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.”
  2. A Division Bench bestowed the unique status on animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals.
  3. The bench said that to protect and promote the greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person.
  4. The entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic ones, are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.

Guidelines issued by the bench

  1. The court also declared all Uttarakhand natives the guardians of animals and endowed them with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.
  2. The Bench also gave directions ranging from the amount of load allowed to be pulled by various animals in accordance with the kind of carriage being pulled to the number of riders per carriage.
  3. Further banning the use of spike or other sharp tackle or equipment on the animal, the court also directed the State government to ensure that if the temperature exceeds 37°C or drops below 5°C, no person be permitted to keep in harness any animal used for the purpose of drawing vehicles.
  4. The court also went into the aspect of animal safety, highlighting the need for fluorescent reflectors in carriages and animals, certificates of unladen weight of vehicles, compulsory shelter of suitable size for horses, bullocks and stray cattle and a direction to the veterinary doctors of Uttarakhand to treat any stray animals brought to them or by visiting them.
  5. The court said as the carts driven by animals have no mechanical devices, animal-drawn carriages have to be given Right of Way over other vehicles.

Two Types of Persons

  1. In common law jurisprudence, there are two types of persons — natural persons or human beings and artificial person, which are also known as juristic persons, juridical entity or a legal person other than a natural person.
  2. Legal or juristic persons are created by law and recognized as a legal entity, having a distinct identity, legal personality and besides duties and rights.
  3. They include private business firm or entity, non-governmental or government organizations, trusts and societies, besides others.


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

  1. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1960 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.
  2. The Act further recognizes slaughter for food. Section 11 of the Act does not categorize slaughter of animals for food as cruelty.
  3. It makes a specific exemption for “destruction of any animal as food for mankind unless such destruction or preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.
  4. As per the provisions of the law, the government of India formed the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

[pib] Behdienkhlam Festival, Meghalaya


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of Behdienkhlam Festival

Mains level: Not Much 


The famous 4-day Meghalaya Annual Cultural Festival, “Behdienkhlam”, held every year at the small peripheral town of Jowai, Meghalaya.

Behdienkhlam Festival

  1. Behdienkhlam Festival is the most celebrated religious festival among the Pnars Tribals. It is popular at Jowai the District headquarters of Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya.
  2. “Khlam” means plague or pestilence’and “beh dien” means to drive away with sticks.
  3. The festival is also known as the festival for chasing away the Demon of Cholera.
  4. It is celebrated mid-July every year after the sowing is over.
  5. The festival reaches its conclusion with the Dad-lawakor ceremony in which groups of men jostle for the possession of a wooden ball, a game which is remotely similar to football.
  6. The festival ends with a final salutation to the divine powers when the women of the tribe offer sacrificial food to their almighty.
History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] PM meets members of Mission Shaurya Team


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mission Shaurya, Mission Shakti

Mains level: Not Much 


Mission Shaurya

  1. PM met a group of ten tribal students from Maharashtra.
  2. The students were a part of a team of the “Mission Shaurya” initiative of the Adivasi Vikas Vibhag of the Maharashtra State Government.
  3. Under this expedition, 10 tribal students from “ashram shalas” (residential schools) in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra were selected for Mt. Everest summit trek.
  4. Five students out of this group successfully scaled Mt. Everest in May 2018.
  5. Maharashtra government has also announced Mission Shakti to impart special training and prepare tribal students for the Olympics 2024.
Tribal Development

How Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bengaluru, Chennai are tackling water crisis


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Composite Water Management Index

Mains level: The newscard talks about innovative solutions to tackle acute water shortages through community involvement. Best examples discussed below can be surely replicated to other parts of the country.


Community measures for water conservation

  1. NITI Aayog has come up with the Composite Water Management Index as a useful tool to assess and improve the performance in efficient management of water resources.
  2. It has come up with a reality that an estimated 600 million people in the country live in extreme water stress.
  3. While there are, of course, fights that break out along the endless lines that await water tankers, many living through the crisis also mobilize, petition and propose solutions.

How Maharashtra gamed water conservation

  1. A train commissioned by the railways had to be arranged to supply water to Latur city in Marathwada in 2016. This shook the nation.
  2. In the same year, there was a citizens’ response to drought when the Paani Foundation was formed with a mission to make Maharashtra ‘drought-free’.
  3. The foundation selects drought-hit tehsils, trains a group of residents in watershed development and organizes a 45-day ‘water cup’ contest among villages to see who creates the maximum possible rainwater storage capacity, thereby gaming water conservation.
  4. In 2016, the foundation began modestly by selecting only 3 tehsils for the mission but has scaled up this year to as many as 4,032 villages spread over 75 drought-hit tehsils in all regions of Mh.
  5. In 2016 and 2017, the participating villages created an aggregate storage capacity of 10,000 crore liters of water.

Gujarat’s attempt to revive water user collectives

  1. When Verghese Kurien was offered to replicate the model to create a network of farmer collectives for the sharing of water flowing through Gujarat’s irrigation canals, he refused due to the “challenge of defaulters”.
  2. The thinking was that water supply could not be cut off for the entire channel just because of one default farmer.
  3. However, staring at a severe water deficit this year due to reduced flow of Narmada water, the state has come full circle on the idea of giving farmers power to manage their own water and is planning to revive water user associations.
  4. The experience from other states, particularly Andhra Pradesh, has shown that granting power to local cooperatives work far better than government mandates.
  5. The state now has ambitious plans to get over 4,400 ‘irrigation cooperatives’ up and running by 2020.

Citizens come together to protect lakes in Bengaluru

  1. In May 2018, a slew of lake preservation groups in Bengaluru came together to create a joint federation, which is perhaps the largest gathering of urban residents anywhere in the country to tackle a water-related concern.
  2. Amidst the recurring water shortages and conflicts over Cauvery, the lakes have emerged as a symbol of one possible way forward.
  3. Friends of Lakes, for example, has grown from trying to conserve one lake in Bengaluru to now offering conservation services for around 22 water bodies in the city.
  4. Whitefield Rising, another citizen’s initiative in the residential hub of IT professionals is trying out a new strategy by getting the local elected legislator to appoint officials who can bring marked improvements.

Chennai’s groundwater turnaround

  1. Chennai is one of the few urbanized zones in the country where the groundwater table has consistently gone up on a number of occasions over the past decade, including last year.
  2. The reason: the city managed to implement the simplest possible solution of installing rainwater harvesting structures in a large proportion of homes and buildings.
  3. Now the city claims the distinction of hosting an estimated half a million buildings with rain-catching devices.

Way Forward

  1. Rain is the predominant source of freshwater on earth.
  2. While some form of natural recharge was hardly possible in cities earlier, artificial recharge is the only way forward.
  3. There should be recharge plans at both the micro level in houses and the macro level led by the government in parks, roads and public buildings.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Suryashakti Kisan Yojna: Gujarat Govt launches solar scheme to double farm income


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Suryashakti Kisan Yojana

Mains level: The newscard discusses the aspiring project of Gujarat govt, which can be taken as a trial for implementing such project at a national level.


Suryashakti Kisan Yojna

  1. The Gujarat government launched Suryashakti Kisan Yojna (SKY) under which grid-connected solar panels will be provided to over 12,000 cultivators who have already taken regular electricity connections for irrigation purpose.
  2. This is for the first time in the country that farmers will be able to produce solar energy, consume as much as they need and sell the remaining.
  3. This is a revolutionary step after Jyoti Gram Yojna that brought round-the-clock electricity in the villages.
  4. Using solar panels, which will be connected to the feeders, farmers would get 12 hours of power supply for their pumps during the daytime.

Easy Credit and Alternate source of income

  1. The biggest advantage of this project is that the farmers, after using required electricity generated from solar panels, can sell additional electricity to the government and earn good income out of it.
  2. The scheme is a step towards realizing PM Modi’s dream of doubling farmer income by 2022.
  3. The state government will bear 60 percent, while farmers will have to shell out only 5 percent cost of setting up solar panels in their fields under the scheme, which will have a duration of 25 years.
  4. For the remaining 35 per cent cost, farmers will be given the option of a low-interest loan, which they have to pay in seven years.
  5. During that period, the government will buy electricity from them at Rs 7 per unit. For the next 18 years, it will buy additional electricity at Rs 3.5 per unit.
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

Celebrating the goddess who bleeds


Mains Paper 1: Arts and Culture | Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ambubachi Mela and some terminologies used in the newscard

Mains level: Popular culture symbolizing awareness about menstrual health


Four-day Ambubachi Mela begins in Guwahati

  1. Ambubachi Mela, a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati has begun.
  2. Ambubachi Mela is also an occasion to promote awareness on menstrual hygiene.
  3. Priests at the temple said doors of the temple were shut for visitors at 4 p.m. to let the goddess go through her period.

About Kamakhya Temple

  1. Kamakhya, atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati, is one of 51 shaktipeeths or seat of Shakti followers, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.
  2. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum (garbhgriha) houses the yoni — female genital — symbolized by a rock.

Menstruation – a celebration in Assam 

  1. The ritualistic fair celebrating the goddess’ period is one of the reasons why the taboo associated with menstruation is less in Assam compared with other parts of India.
  2. The attainment of womanhood of girls in Assam is celebrated with a ritual called ‘Tuloni Biya’, meaning small wedding.

Popular Culture

  1. The only ones that avoid the temple are the descendants of the medieval Koch royalty, who had reconstructed the Kamakhya temple in 1565.
  2. This is because the goddess is believed to have cursed the royalty after the king and his brother Chilarai — one of Assam’s revered generals — had secretly watched her dance.
  3. Researchers said there are legends about the goddess dancing when Kendukoli, a priest during Naranarayan’s reign, performed puja with his eyes shut.
Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

The Vaishnav monks of Assam’s Majuli island

Viashnav monks put on their costumes for a village performance on the Majuli island of Assam. Photos: Sankar Sridhar


Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Srimanta Sankardev, Sattriya Nritya, Majuli island, Sangeet Natak Akademi

Mains level: Various art forms prevailing in India and threats posed by them


History of Vaishnavism in Assam

  1. Vaishnava saint Srimanta Sankardev came to Majuli island in the 15th century
  2. He along with his disciples, set up 65 sattras—which is said to translate to “unique monasteries”
  3. Sankardev developed an equally unique way of worship through dance and drama, called the Sattriya Nritya
  4. The neo-Vaishnavite movement, held together by Sankardev, saw a division into four sub-sects after his passing

About Sattriya Nritya

  1. It is a dazzling retelling of the Ramayan and Mahabharat—complete with comedy, action, suspense and make-up to match
  2. Until the 20th century, it was the preserve of male monks but has since brought women into the fold
  3. In the year 2000, the Sangeet Natak Akademi recognized this dance form as classical

Majuli Island

  1. It is the world’s biggest river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam
  2. In 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India
  3. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north
  4. Hidden chars (temporary islands formed by sedimentary deposits) and sandbars are features of this island
Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Why is Telangana’s Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project important?


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, Rivers involved in it.

Mains level:  Read the attached story


What’s the project?

  1. The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
  2. After conducting a highly advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey for a couple of months, the government separated the original component serving the Adilabad area as the Pranahitha project.
  3. The project is designed to irrigate 7,38,851 hectares (over 18.47 lakh acres) uplands in the erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.

Why is it Unique?

  1. Claimed to be the costliest irrigation project to be taken up by any State till date with an estimated cost of ₹80,500 crore.
  2. KLIP has many unique features, including the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir.
  3. The project would also utilize the highest capacity pumps, up to 139 MW, in the country to lift water.
Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Madhya Pradesh’s Kadaknath chicken gets Geographical Indication tag

Image source


Mains Paper 3: issues relating to intellectual property rights

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GI tags, Kadaknath breed

Mains level: India’s IPR regime and related issues


MP gets GI tag for a chicken breed

  1. Madhya Pradesh has received the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Kadaknath, a chicken breed whose black meat is in demand in some quarters
  2. The protein-rich meat of Kadaknath, chicks, and eggs are sold at a much higher rate than other varieties of chicken

About the breed

  1. The breed is native to Jhabua, Alirajpur, and parts of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh
  2. It is also known as “Kali masi”
  3. The Kadaknath is popular mainly for its adaptability, and the good-tasting black meat, which is believed to infuse vigor


Geographical Indications (GI) tag

  1. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country)
  2. GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin
  3. India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003
  4. The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorized users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name
  5. Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004-05
GI(Geographical Indicator) Tags

Odisha: KISS to host ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: British Council, Commonwealth Big Lunch

Mains level: India’s relationship with Britain & commonwealth countries


70 years of inception of British Council

  1. Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, in partnership with British Council, India, is hosting the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’
  2. High Commissioners, Deputy High Commissioners and representatives from High Commissions of 53 Commonwealth countries and delegates from British Council will be in attendance at the event
  3. The lunch is being organized to celebrate 70 years of inception of British Council in Commonwealth countries
  4. KISS is the only organization from Asia to be selected by British Council to host the Commonwealth Big Lunch


Commonwealth Big Lunch

  1. The Commonwealth Big Lunch is an international initiative launched by UK PM Theresa May
  2. The initiative comes as the UK is set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, bringing together up to 52 leaders from across the Commonwealth to London and Windsor from 16-20 April
  3. The motto of the programme is to encourage people to get together to celebrate their Commonwealth connections through food
Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU