[Newsbits] 10-13.03.2024 – NAMASTE Scheme, Inflection 2.5, Oscar Awards & More

newsbits mindmap notes
/ Citizenship
Centre Notifies Rules for Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Implementation 
Recent News
Centre Notifies Rules for CAA
March 11, 2024
Granting citizenship
To undocumented non-Muslim migrants
From Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
Aimed at
Providing Indian citizenship
To non-Muslim migrants
Facing religious persecution
December 11, 2019
Parliament passes CAB 2019
December 13, 2019
President's assent
March 11, 2024
Notification of rules
To facilitate Indian citizenship
For persecuted non-Muslim minorities
Response to religious persecution
In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan
Applies across India
Non-Muslim migrants
Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians
Amit Shah
Home Minister
Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister
Opponent of CAA
Government notification
Immediate effect
Modernisation of citizenship process
Online applications
Simplifies citizenship for persecuted minorities
Online application process
Accessibility enhancement
Protests and opposition
Discriminatory concerns
Legal challenges
Constitutional validity questioned
Way Forward
Implementation across all states
Modernising process
Online application capability

The Centre’s notification of rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on March 11, 2024, sets forth the framework for granting Indian citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, facing religious persecution. This move comes after the act’s passage in December 2019 and amidst significant controversy and opposition, particularly regarding its perceived discriminatory nature. The CAA aims to simplify the citizenship process for persecuted non-Muslim minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, and introduces an online application system to modernize and facilitate access to citizenship applications.

Mission Divyastra: Agni-5 Missile Test with MIRV Technology mind map
Recent News:
First user-trial of ICBM Agni-V conducted
When: October 27, 2021
Where: APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha coast
Why: Part of India's credible minimum deterrence policy
Induction into armed forces delayed by Covid-19 pandemic
MIRV Technology:
Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles
Allows hitting multiple targets with one missile
Induction delayed due to pandemic
China's concerns over Agni-V's range
Agni-V Missile:
Developed by: DRDO, Bharat Dynamics Limited
Type: Three-stage solid-fuel missile
Range: 5,500 to 5,800 kilometers
Speed: 29,401 kilometers per hour
Navigation: Ring laser gyroscope inertial system, NavIC
Can carry 1.5 ton nuclear warhead
Equipped with MIRV technology
Launchable from mobile launchers
Heat shield to withstand re-entry temperature
Enhances India's strategic deterrence capabilities
Joins elite group with ICBM capabilities
Increases defense against regional threats
Concerns from neighboring countries, especially China
Technical and logistic challenges in missile development
Diplomatic tensions arising from missile tests
Way Forward:
Further development and testing of Agni-V and other missiles
Strategic incorporation into India's defense arsenal
Diplomatic engagement to address regional security concerns

The recent test of the Agni-5 missile, dubbed Mission Divyastra, is a significant advancement for India’s defense capabilities. It represents the first user-trial of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V, successfully conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. This test is a crucial step toward the likely early induction of the system into the Indian armed forces, a process that was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The missile is equipped with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, allowing it to hit multiple targets with a single launch, making it more challenging to intercept than conventional missiles. With a range of 5,500 to 5,800 kilometers and capable of traveling at speeds 24 times faster than the speed of sound, Agni-V enhances India’s strategic deterrence capabilities and places the country among a select group of nations with advanced ICBM capabilities ​​​​.

/ Awards & Honors
Amitav Ghosh Wins Erasmus Prize 2024 mind map
Recent News
Wins Erasmus Prize
For writings on climate change
Announced on March 7, 2024
Prize amount
150,000 Euros
Award ceremony
In the Netherlands
In November
Announced in March 2024
Award ceremony in November
Passionate contribution
Imagining the unthinkable
Climate change as a global crisis
Cultural crisis due to a lack of imagination
Prize specifics
150,000 Euros
Decorations designed by Bruno Nienaber van Eyben
Previous recipients
Trevor Noah (2023)
Barbara Ehrenreich (2018)
A.S. Byatt (2016)
Charles Chaplin, Ingmar Bergman (1965)
Award ceremony location
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Foundation location
Amitav Ghosh
Kolkata, 1956
Social anthropology at Oxford
Splits time between India and the USA
Recipient of the 2018 Jnanpith Award
Honorary doctorate from Maastricht University (2019)
Major works
The Nutmeg's Curse, The Hungry Tide, The Great Derangement
Ibis trilogy (Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, Flood of Fire)
Selection for Erasmus Prize
For engaging with climate change through literature
Making climate crisis tangible through historical narratives and journalistic essays
Recognition of literary contribution to environmental awareness
Highlighting cultural aspects of the climate crisis
Tackling a global crisis through literature
Challenge of making climate change comprehensible and actionable
Way Forward
Encouragement for literary exploration
Of environmental and cultural crises
Bridging the gap between imagination and reality

Amitav Ghosh, an Indian writer, has been awarded the prestigious Erasmus Prize for 2024, thanks to his profound engagement with the topic of climate change through his literary works. His efforts have been particularly noted for their passionate contribution towards “imagining the unthinkable,” where he addresses the unprecedented global crisis of climate change not just as an environmental challenge but also as a cultural one. By intertwining compelling historical narratives with journalistic essays, Ghosh has made significant strides in making the abstract issue of climate change more tangible and understandable. His works, including notable titles like “The Great Derangement” and “The Nutmeg’s Curse,” delve deep into the intricacies of climate change, its impact on humanity, and the urgent need for a collective cultural and imaginative response to this crisis​​​​​​​​​​.

/ Science & Technology
World’s First 3D-Printed Mosque in Saudi Arabia mind map
Recent News
World’s first 3D-printed mosque unveiled
7 March 2024
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Al-Jawhara suburb
Named after Abdulaziz Abdullah Sharbatly
Tribute by his wife, Wajnat Abdulwahed
Leading Forsan Real Estate
Guanli, Chinese 3D printing technology company
Innovation in construction and architecture
Blend tradition with modern technology
Spans 5,600 square metres
Part of National Housing Co.'s portfolio
Completed in six months
Used four cutting-edge printers from Guanli
Reflects Hejazi architectural heritage
Centered within a circle for qibla orientation
Mass and natural light relationship emphasized
Entrances, gates, and facades designed to reflect identity
Minarets with minimalist detailing
Open outdoor area inspired by Hijr Ismail
Spearheaded by Saudi businesswoman Wajnat Abdulwahed
Utilization of 4 Guanli 3D printers
Demonstrates potential of technology in reshaping architecture
Aims for sustainability and technological-driven future
Aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 for economic diversification
Adapting traditional architectural designs to modern 3D printing techniques
Way Forward
Exploration of further innovative projects in construction
Integration of technology with cultural and religious structures

The world’s first 3D-printed mosque, unveiled in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, marks a significant milestone in construction and architectural innovation. Named after Abdulaziz Abdullah Sharbatly, the mosque is a tribute by his wife, Wajnat Abdulwahed, and spans 5,600 square meters in the Al-Jawhara suburb. This project, completed in just six months using cutting-edge 3D printing technology from the Chinese company Guanli, demonstrates the vast potential of modern techniques to reshape traditional architectural practices. The design of the mosque, which reflects Hejazi architectural heritage, is centered within a circle for accurate orientation towards the qibla, with attention to the relationship between the building’s mass and natural light. This innovation aligns with Saudi Vision 2030’s objectives for economic diversification and represents a bold step towards a more sustainable and technologically-driven future​​​​​​​​.

/ Road
Dwarka Expressway mind map
Recent News
India's first access controlled 8-lane expressway
To be ready by April 2024
Completion expected by April 2024
To decongest National Capital Region (NCR)
Reduce pollution levels
29.10 km long project
NH 248-BB designation
Access controlled expressway
Route alignment
Connects Mahipalpur (Shiv Murti) in Delhi
With Kherki Dhaula via New Gurgaon (Gurugram) in Haryana
Planned as Northern Peripheral Road (NPR)
18.9 km in Haryana
10.1 km in Delhi
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
Overseeing construction
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways
Nitin Gadkari
Involved in directives
Constructed on a single pillar
Cost of ₹9,000 crore
India's first elevated urban expressway
Aims to significantly reduce travel time
Between Dwarka in Delhi and Gurugram in Haryana
Expected to alleviate traffic congestion
Way Forward
Continuation of construction towards timely completion
Monitoring by NHAI and related authorities

The Dwarka Expressway, an under-construction 29.10 km long project, is set to become India’s first access-controlled 8-lane expressway, expected to be ready by April 2024. With the primary goal to decongest the National Capital Region (NCR) and reduce pollution levels, this ₹9,000 crore project extends through 18.9 km in Haryana and 10.1 km in Delhi. It’s designed to significantly cut down travel times between Dwarka in Delhi and Gurugram in Haryana, aiming to alleviate traffic congestion and improve overall connectivity. Managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and receiving directives from Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the expressway demonstrates a significant advancement in India’s infrastructure development.

/ Manual Scavenging
NAMASTE Scheme mind map
Safety and dignity
of sanitation workers
Sustainable livelihood
and occupational safety enhancement
Mechanized sanitation
Zero fatalities
in sanitation work
Skilled workforce
for sanitation tasks
No direct contact
with human faecal matter
through SHGs
Alternative livelihoods
for workers
Improved supervisory
and monitoring systems
Awareness increase
among citizens
Launch Year
Implementation timeline
To replace SRMS
Address fatalities
and safety issues
in sanitation work
National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE)
Identification and training
of workers
Distribution of PPE Kits
Safety devices assistance
Health Insurance under AB-PMJAY
Livelihood Assistance
IEC Campaigns
Implemented in
4800+ Urban Local Bodies
Rs. 349.70 crore
Key features
Enumeration of workers
Occupational training
Safety device assistance
Insurance benefits
Livelihood support
500 cities under AMRUT
Across India
In all Urban Local Bodies
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
National Safai Karamcharis Finance
& Development Corporation
as implementing agency
National NAMASTE Monitoring Unit
State NAMASTE Management Unit
City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit
Profiling in camp mode
Health Insurance under AB-PMJAY
Safety training and PPE Kits
Capital Subsidy for equipment
Real-time monitoring
via app and website
Enhances safety
Promotes mechanization
Reduces fatalities
Provides dignified livelihoods
Increases awareness
and respect for sanitation workers
Implementation scale
Behavioral change requirement
Monitoring and enforcement
Way Forward
Strengthening implementation
Enhancing awareness programs
Continuous monitoring
and adjustment

The NAMASTE Scheme, officially known as the National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem, aims to ensure the safety and dignity of sanitation workers in India by promoting mechanized cleaning, providing occupational safety training, and enhancing their livelihood. Launched by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in 2022, the scheme intends to cover all urban local bodies across India with an outlay of Rs. 349.70 crore. It addresses the critical need for safer sanitation practices, reducing direct human contact with faecal matter, and aims to achieve zero fatalities in the sector. By equipping workers with necessary skills, protective gear, and offering health insurance, it seeks to transform the sanitation ecosystem into a safer, more dignified, and economically viable sector for its workforce​​​​​​​​​​.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Technology Hub (MATH) mind map
Recent News
Automated math for decision-making under uncertainty
Research by MIT
Addresses trading off risk and reward
Useful across
Fixes deep learning errors
New algorithm aces university math
Developed by MIT and others
Answers university-level math problems
100% accuracy
Enhances machine learning education
Recent advancements
Highlighted in 2023 and 2024
Improve decision-making in uncertain scenarios
Enhance accuracy and efficiency in math education
ADEV tool for probabilistic models
Simplifies work with probabilistic models
Applied in
Climate modeling
Financial modeling
Operations research
e.g., call center queues
Machine-learning model for math problems
Combines text and code
Program synthesis
Few-shot learning
Over 80% accuracy on unseen problems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Researchers and academics
Alex Lew
Lead author, MIT PhD student
Vikash Mansinghka
Co-author, MIT's Probabilistic Computing Project
Iddo Drori
Project lead, MIT and Columbia University
ADEV tool
Automates differentiation of expected values
Probabilistic programming
Machine learning model for math
Pretrained on text and code
Fine-tuned on code (Codex by OpenAI)
Facilitates experimental work with probabilistic models
Opens new possibilities in AI and related fields
Significantly improves learning and automation in education
Perceived complexity of probabilistic models
Machine learning model for math
Limitations in visual components and computational complexity
Way Forward
Expand application areas
Overcome current limitations and challenges
Explore further integration into education and research

The Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Technology Hub (MATH) encompasses groundbreaking research and developments in automating decision-making under uncertainty, as well as enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of solving university-level mathematics problems. Recent advances from MIT have introduced tools like ADEV for simplifying the use of probabilistic models in various fields including climate modeling and financial modeling, and a new machine-learning model capable of solving and generating university math problems with high accuracy. These innovations underscore the potential of machine learning and AI to transform educational methodologies and improve decision-making processes in uncertain scenarios.

Inflection 2.5: New Powerful Large Language Model mind map
Recent News
Newest version of large language model
Named Inflection 2.5
Powers Pi chatbot
Announced by
Inflection AI
On March 7, 2024
Announcement Date
March 7, 2024
Enhance Pi chatbot's capabilities
Compete with leading LLMs like GPT-4
Improve STEM performance
Integrate real-time web search
Achieves 94% of GPT-4's performance
Utilizes only 40% of GPT-4's training compute
Real-time web search capabilities
Empathetic, useful, safe AI
Enhanced coding and mathematics capabilities
User Engagement
Over 1 million daily active users
6 million monthly active users
Significant improvement in user sentiment, engagement, and retention
iOS, Android, new desktop app
Mustafa Suleyman (DeepMind co-founder)
Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder)
Target Users
General public
Utilized advanced algorithms and optimizations
Trained on 5,000 Nvidia’s H100 GPUs
Monetization Plans
Paid subscription-based version
Possible productivity milestone-based pricing
High efficiency and performance
Competitive with top LLMs
Broader accessibility due to reduced computational resource usage
From other LLMs like ChatGPT, Gemini
Startups like Anthropic LLC
Way Forward
Continue enhancing capabilities
Expand market traction
Explore new monetization strategies

Inflection 2.5 is the latest version of the large language model developed by Inflection AI, aimed at powering the Pi chatbot to enhance its capabilities significantly. Announced on March 7, 2024, this model seeks to provide a highly efficient, versatile, and personal AI assistant capable of engaging users across a wide range of topics, from STEM subjects to casual conversations. It achieves nearly 94% of GPT-4’s performance while utilizing only 40% of the computational resources required for GPT-4’s training. With over one million daily and six million monthly active users, Inflection 2.5 has shown a marked improvement in user engagement and retention, signaling its potential to become a strong competitor in the AI space. It combines advanced algorithms and optimizations in model architecture with unique empathetic fine-tuning, setting a new standard for personal AI assistants​​​​​​​​​​.

/ Awards & Honors
96th Academy Awards: Oscars 2024 Winners mind map
Recent News
Cultural phenomenon "Barbenheimer"
21 nominations
8 wins
7 wins
1 win
Notable Nominees
Steven Spielberg
13 Best Picture nominations
Martin Scorsese
10th Best Director nomination
Thelma Schoonmaker
9th Best Film Editing nomination
John Williams
54th nomination
Willie D. Burton
8th nomination as below-the-line crew member
First Time Nominees
Ten actors
LGBTQ+ Nominees
Colman Domingo, Jodie Foster, Lily Gladstone
Lily Gladstone
First Native American actress nominated
Scott George
First Osage Nation member nominated
Female Directors
Greta Gerwig, Celine Song, Justine Triet
Best Picture nominees
Justine Triet
8th woman nominated for Best Director
Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
Best Original Song winners
Youngest two-time Oscar winners
Killers of the Flower Moon
Third Scorsese film nominated in ten categories without a win
The Zone of Interest
First non-English language British film
Wins for International Feature and Sound
Godzilla Minus One
First Godzilla film nominated and winning Best Visual Effects
The Boy and the Heron
Second hand-drawn, anime, non-English language animation to win Best Animated Feature
Director Hayao Miyazaki wins twice
Winners announced on March 10, 2024
To honor films released in 2023
Best Picture
Best Director
Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer
Best Actor
Cillian Murphy - Oppenheimer
Best Actress
Emma Stone - Poor Things
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer
Best Supporting Actress
Da'Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers
International Feature Film
The Zone of Interest - United Kingdom
Animated Feature Film
The Boy and the Heron
Adapted Screenplay
American Fiction
Original Screenplay
Anatomy of a Fall
Visual Effects
Godzilla Minus One
Original Score
Ludwig Göransson - Oppenheimer
Original Song
"What Was I Made For?" from Barbie
Documentary Feature Film
20 Days in Mariupol
Costume Design
Poor Things
Animated Short Film
WAR IS OVER! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko
Live Action Short Film
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Documentary Short Film
The Last Repair Shop
Film Editing
The Zone of Interest
Production Design
Poor Things
Makeup and Hairstyling
Poor Things
Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
Ceremony televised in the United States by ABC
Recognition of diversity and inclusion
LGBTQ+ actors nominated
First Native American actress nominated
Highlighting technical achievements
First Godzilla film winning Best Visual Effects
Celebrating female directors
At least one female-directed Best Picture nominee for five consecutive years
Some films and talents overlooked
Way Forward
Continue to diversify and include underrepresented groups in all categories

The 96th Academy Awards, celebrated for films released in 2023, took place on March 10, 2024. The event was marked by the dominance of “Oppenheimer,” which won seven awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Christopher Nolan. This year highlighted the inclusion and recognition of diverse talents, with notable firsts such as the first Native American actress nominee, Lily Gladstone, and the first Osage Nation member nominated, Scott George. It also recognized female directors and celebrated the achievements of young talents Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, who won Best Original Song. The awards underscored the film industry’s ongoing efforts toward diversity, inclusion, and recognition of outstanding achievements in cinema.

/ Water Management
Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain Campaign 2024 mind map
Recent News
Launch date
9th March 2024
End date
30th November 2024
Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti
Pre-monsoon and monsoon period
To conserve water
To ensure sustainable management of water resources
Water conservation and rainwater harvesting
Enumerating, geo-tagging
Making inventory of all water bodies
Preparation of scientific plans for water conservation
Setting up of Jal Shakti Kendras in all districts
Intensive afforestation
Awareness generation among the masses
Distinctive emphasis on key aspects
De-silting and cleaning of water bodies
Revitalizing Abandoned/Defunct Borewells for groundwater recharge
Geo-tagging of water bodies
Meticulous mapping
Regular updates in the State's revenue records
Intensified afforestation efforts in catchment areas
Snow harvesting in hilly areas like stupas in Ladakh
Rejuvenation of Small Rivers
Both urban and rural areas
Across all districts
Union Minister for Jal Shakti
Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
National Water Mission
Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
Women Water Champions
Launch event in New Delhi
Involvement of Central Ministries Nodal Officers, State Nodal Officers
Sustainable management of water resources
Enhancing water security
Role of women in water conservation highlighted
Ensuring widespread participation and implementation
Sustaining efforts beyond the campaign period
Way Forward
Continued emphasis on water conservation
Building on successes of previous campaigns
Greater involvement of community and stakeholders

The Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain Campaign 2024 is a nationwide initiative launched by the Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, focusing on water conservation and sustainable management of water resources. Running from March to November, this campaign encompasses both urban and rural areas across all districts, highlighting the role of women in water conservation with the theme “Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti”. It aims to involve a wide array of activities such as water conservation, rainwater harvesting, rejuvenation of water bodies, and afforestation, among others. The initiative seeks to engage community stakeholders, including Women Water Champions, in these efforts, emphasizing the significant role of women in this domain​​​​.

/ Diseases
India Receives Prestigious Measles and Rubella Champion Award mind map
Recent News
India bestowed with Measles and Rubella Champion Award
By The Measles and Rubella Partnership
On March 6, 2024
Award ceremony at American Red Cross Headquarters, Washington D.C., USA
Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan received the award
Measles and Rubella Partnership
American Red Cross
Significance of the award
Celebrates India's commitment to public health
Recognizes India's leadership in combating measles and rubella
Acknowledges innovative strategies and effective public-awareness initiatives
Highlights successful vaccination campaigns in high-risk areas
50 districts reported no measles cases
226 districts reported no rubella cases in the past 12 months
Measles and Rubella in India
Measles case reduction by 62% (2017-2021)
Rubella case reduction by 48% (2017-2021)
Over 348 million children vaccinated (2017-March 2023)
MR Vaccine part of Universal Immunization Programme since 2017
Government aims for measles and rubella elimination
Challenges and Way Forward
Strengthening routine immunization under UIP
Expanding MR Laboratory network
Implementing Roadmap plan for MR Elimination
Continuing proactive vaccination campaigns
Maintaining robust surveillance systems
Enhancing public awareness
Collaboration with international partners essential for achieving elimination goals

India has received the prestigious Measles and Rubella Champion Award in recognition of its exemplary efforts to combat these infectious diseases. The award was presented by The Measles and Rubella Partnership, a coalition of global health organizations, including the American Red Cross, BMGF, GAVI, US CDC, UNF, UNICEF, and WHO. This recognition comes as a result of India’s unwavering commitment to public health, demonstrated through a series of comprehensive interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of measles and rubella, including a nationwide vaccination campaign that has reached over 348 million children. These efforts have led to significant reductions in cases of both diseases and have been instrumental in preventing outbreaks, showcasing India’s leadership in global health and vaccination initiatives​​​​​​.

Following this achievement, it’s crucial for India to continue its proactive vaccination campaigns, surveillance efforts, and public awareness initiatives. Strengthening routine immunization under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), expanding the MR Laboratory network, and implementing the Roadmap plan for MR Elimination are key strategies moving forward. Collaboration with international partners will remain vital in the quest to achieve a world free from measles and rubella​​.

/ Elections & Democracy
Multi-member Election Commission mind map
Multi-member Commission since
16 October 1989
Prompted by
Supreme Court observations
Controversial decisions
Serious confrontation
Between the Commission
And the Government
Constitution of India
Article 324
Superintendence, direction, control
Of elections to
Parliament, State Legislatures
Office of President
Office of Vice-President
Article 326
Adult suffrage basis
Article 327
Parliament power
Federal and State Legislatures elections
Article 328
State Legislature power
Elections laws
Article 329
Bars court interference
Electoral matters
Representation of People Act
Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989
Established multi-member body
All-India body
Secretariat in New Delhi
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commissioners
Appointed by President
Fixed tenure
Six years or until age 65
Assisted by
Deputy Election Commissioners
Chief Electoral Officer at state level
Decisions made by majority vote
Administers elections
Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha
State Legislative Assemblies, Councils
President and Vice-President offices
Ensures free and fair elections
Independency safeguarded by Constitution
Qualifications of commissioners not prescribed
Administrative expenses not charged on Consolidated Fund of India

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional body established in 1950, responsible for conducting and regulating elections throughout India. A significant change occurred in 1989 when the Election Commissioner Amendment Act was adopted, transforming the ECI into a multi-member commission to ensure more democratic decision-making and mitigate controversies and confrontations with the government. The commission operates under the authority of the Constitution, particularly Article 324, and the Representation of the People Act, to administer elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice-President. It is served by a secretariat in New Delhi, with commissioners appointed by the President having a fixed tenure. While the commission plays a crucial role in maintaining electoral integrity, challenges such as the lack of prescribed qualifications for commissioners and the non-charge of administrative expenses on the Consolidated Fund of India have been identified​​​​​​​​.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) mind map
Recent News:
Textile industry welcomes economic pact
India signs free trade pact with 4 European countries
India signs trade pact worth $100 billion with EFTA
Convention signed: 4 January 1960
Established: 3 May 1960
To promote free trade and economic integration
Not a customs union
Members have full rights to bilateral third-country trade arrangements
Coordinated trade policy
Free trade agreements with EU and other countries
Headquarters: Geneva
Members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland
Secretary General: Henri Gétaz
Council Chair: Iceland
Operates parallel to the EU
Participates in European Single Market and Schengen Area
Agreement on European Economic Area for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
Multilateral agreements with EU for Switzerland
Promotes liberalization of trade
$1.0 trillion GDP (PPP, 2020 estimate)
$1.1 trillion GDP (nominal, 2020 estimate)
Smaller and closely associated with EU
Way Forward:
Continued expansion and liberalization of trade
Indian Context:
Recent agreement with India

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organization composed of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. It was established in 1960 to promote free trade and economic cooperation among its members, within Europe and globally. EFTA is not a customs union, which means its member states retain full autonomy over their trade policies and can negotiate bilateral trade agreements with third countries. However, EFTA countries coordinate their trade policies and have concluded joint free trade agreements with the EU and other nations. While EFTA operates in parallel with the European Union, participating in the European Single Market and part of the Schengen Area, its members are not part of the EU Customs Union. The Association is significant for promoting the liberalization of trade, with its members having a combined GDP of around $1.0 trillion (PPP) or $1.1 trillion (nominal) as of 2020. EFTA has recently been in the news for signing a significant trade pact with India, showcasing its ongoing relevance and efforts to expand trade relations globally​​​​​​​​​​​​.

India Signs Free Trade Agreement with EFTA Bloc mind map
Recent News
India and EFTA sign TEPA
Signed on March 10, 2024
Negotiations began in January 2008
To boost bilateral trade
Enhance economic cooperation
Trade in goods
Lower or eliminate tariffs
Boost trade
Enhance investments
Intellectual property rights (IPRs)
Rules of origin
Government procurement
Investment promotion and cooperation
Trade barriers
Trade facilitation
Indian Context
9th largest trading partner
2.5% of India's total merchandise trade in 2020-21
Textiles, chemicals, gems, jewelry, machinery, pharmaceuticals
Machinery, chemicals, precious metals, medical instruments
Includes India and EFTA nations (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland)
Not part of EU
Intergovernmental organization
Exports to EFTA (2022-23)
$1.92 billion
Imports from EFTA (2022-23)
$16.74 billion
29 FTAs with 40 partner nations by EFTA
Boost in trade and investment
Economic ties enhancement
Market access improvement
Investment flows promotion
Global economic challenges
Trade environment issues
Way Forward
Address bilateral issues constructively
Promote social development with economic growth

The free trade agreement between India and the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) bloc, specifically with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, marks a significant step towards enhancing bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and these European countries. This agreement, officially known as the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA), aims to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers, promote investments, and increase market access for goods and services. The agreement covers a wide range of sectors including trade in goods and services, investment promotion, intellectual property rights, and more, aiming to boost economic ties and mutual investments. EFTA, while not part of the EU, serves as an important trade bloc, and the agreement is seen as a way to enhance India’s trade relations with these countries, ultimately fostering economic growth and job creation in both regions ​​.

/ Species
Cheetah Population in Kuno National Park mind map
Recent News:
South African cheetah ‘Gamini’ has given birth to five cubs
at Kuno National Park
Initial import:
Date: September 2022
From: Namibia
Number: 8 cheetahs
Second import:
Date: February 2023
From: South Africa
Number: 12 cheetahs
To replace native population extinct in 1948
Project Cheetah:
Initiated: 2022
Goal: Restore ecological balance
Adults and cubs:
Cause: Various, including heat, dehydration, maggot infestation
Success criterion:
50% mortality in first year considered short-term success
Location: Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
Role: Received the animals
Bhupender Yadav:
Role: Environment Minister, announced births
Method: Flown from Namibia and South Africa
Adaptation: Humidity, weather, captivity
Deaths: Linked to environmental and health issues
Ecological balance restoration
Grassland and open ecosystem conservation
Mortality rate
Captivity versus wild adaptation issues
Way Forward:
Behaviour and health
Continued importation:
Agreement with South Africa for 100 cheetahs over next decade

South African cheetah ‘Gamini’ has given birth to five cubs at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India, marks a significant effort to restore the native cheetah population that became extinct in 1948. The project, initiated in 2022, has seen the importation of cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa. Despite challenges such as adaptation to local weather conditions and a notable mortality rate among the introduced cheetahs, the project aims to establish a self-sustaining wild cheetah population to aid in the conservation of grasslands and open ecosystems. The birth of three new cubs to the Namibian cheetah Aasha in December is a positive sign of the project’s potential success​​​​​​.

/ Taxation
Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) Scheme mind map
Recent News:
Extension to additional sectors:
Date: 8 March 2024
Announced by: Union Minister Piyush Goyal
Sectors: Advance Authorisation holders, Export Oriented Units, Special Economic Zones units
Recognition: Contribution of these sectors to 25% of India's exports
Support provided: ₹42,000 Crores to more than 10,500 export items
Budget: ₹15,070 Crore for current financial year, 10% increase in FY 2024-25
Extension duration: Till 30.09.2024
Key sectors benefiting: Engineering, Textiles, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Food Processing
Vision: Enhance export competitiveness, employment opportunities, economic growth, Aatmanirbhar Bharat
Government's confidence: Negotiate new FTAs, accelerate towards USD One trillion merchandise export levels
Inception: January 2021
Recent Extension Announced: 8 March 2024
Purpose: Refund various embedded taxes and duties on exported products
Aim: Enhance India's export competitiveness in international markets
Rebate mechanism:
Notified percentage of FOB value
Cap on value per unit where required
Fixed quantum for rebate amount per unit notified for some products
Implementation: Department of Revenue, end to end digitization, transferable Duty Credit Scrip/electronic scrip
Coverage: 8555 tariff lines
Exports composition: Agricultural goods account for 13.6% of total exports
Rebate examples:
Diamond, Basmati rice, Frozen shrimps, Motor cars, Turbo-jets, Ingots
Exclusions: Certain exports and products based on RoDTEP committee's recommendation
Applicability: Export goods from India
Implementing body: Department of Revenue, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
Beneficiaries: Exporters of more than 10,500 items at 8-digit ITC HS Code level
Process: Automated system for issuance of transferable Duty Credit Scrip/electronic scrip
Record Keeping: Electronic ledger in CBIC
Compliance with WTO trade norms
Inclusion of certain taxes not covered in other schemes
Enhances competitiveness in foreign markets
Ineligibility criteria for certain exports and products
With MEIS and RoSCTL:
MEIS: Incentive in form of transferable scrips, dispute on WTO compliance
RoSCTL: Rebate of certain taxes, compliant with WTO norms, issued in paperless mode
RoDTEP: Refund of indirect taxes, compliant with WTO norms, issued in electronic form

The Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) Scheme, introduced by the Government of India in January 2021, aims to enhance India’s export competitiveness by refunding various embedded taxes and duties on exported products. Recently, it was extended to additional sectors such as Advance Authorisation holders, Export Oriented Units, and Special Economic Zones units, acknowledging their significant contribution to India’s exports. The scheme operates through an automated system, providing rebates on more than 10,500 export items at the 8-digit ITC HS Code level, and is in compliance with WTO trade norms, aiming to provide a level playing field for domestic players in the international market​​​​​​.

/ Industries/Sectors
National Cooperative Database mind map
Recent News:
Launch date: 08-03-2024
Launched by: Amit Shah
Initiative by: Ministry of Cooperation
Ministry of Cooperation established: 6th July, 2021
Phase I completed: February, 2023
Phase II completed: After Phase I
Phase III initiated: May, 2023
Total cooperative societies as on 24.11.2023: 7,94,866
Total members as on 24.11.2023: 29,07,60,537
Strengthen cooperative movement
Reach up to grassroots
Develop policy, legal & institutional framework
Single point access to:
8 lakh Cooperative Societies
Comprehensive, Authentic and Updated data
Identifying gaps in geographical spread
Vertical and horizontal linkages among cooperatives
Facilitate planning, policy making & implementation
Data Captured:
Identification-Related Data
Society Particulars
Area of Operation
Published Financial Data
Operative Details
Infrastructure and Membership Details
Products, Services and Schemes
Across India
Major states/UTs listed with cooperative and member counts
Launched by: Amit Shah
Managed by: Ministry of Cooperation
State/UT Governments
National Cooperative/Federations
Central line Ministries
Development Phases:
Phase I: 2.64 lakh primary cooperative societies mapped
Phase II: National Federations, State Federations, banks, and more
Phase III: Remaining >5 lakh societies in various sectors
Source of Data: State and District Registrar Offices
Efficiency in cooperative sector
Empowering individuals
Addressing economic, social, and community challenges
AtmaNirbhar Bharat vision support
Excludes specific mentions but implies:
Data collection and validation process complexity
Ensuring up-to-date information
Way Forward:
Utilization for policy and decision making
Bridging sectoral gaps
Promoting transparency and collaboration

The National Cooperative Database (NCD) was launched by Amit Shah on March 8, 2024, as a key initiative by the Ministry of Cooperation established in July 2021. This comprehensive database aims to strengthen the cooperative movement in India by providing single-point access to information on about 8 lakh cooperative societies across various sectors, facilitating better planning, policy-making, and implementation. Developed in a phased manner, it encompasses data on society particulars, operation areas, financial data, and more, gathered from State and District Registrar Offices. The database serves as a crucial tool for enhancing the efficiency of the cooperative sector, promoting expansion, and addressing community challenges towards realizing the vision of an ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’​​​​​​​​.

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