[Newsbits] 14-16.03.2024 – PM-SURAJ Portal, PB-SHABD Service & More

newsbits mindmap notes

US Passes Bill to Ban TikTok mind map
Recent News
US House of Representatives
Passes bill to ban TikTok
352 in favor
65 against
President Biden
Pledged to sign
Future uncertain
President's support noted
Published on March 13, 2024
National security concerns
Data privacy
Chinese government's potential control
ByteDance must divest US assets
Six months deadline
Failure to comply
App ban
App stores
Cannot offer TikTok
Web-hosting services
Cannot support ByteDance applications
United States
TikTok's Chinese owner
US Representatives
Bipartisan support
President Joe Biden
Willing to sign the bill
TikTok users
Estimated 170 million in the US
ByteDance given two options
Sell TikTok
Face a ban
Legislation process
Passed by House
Awaiting Senate decision
Addresses national security concerns
Prevents potential data misuse
Freedom of speech concerns
Potential impact on economy
Affects seven million small businesses
Legal challenges anticipated
Way Forward
Senate decision pending
Possible legal battles
ByteDance's response
Potential sale
Legal action to prevent ban

The United States House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at banning TikTok due to national security concerns, relating to the app’s Chinese ownership by ByteDance. The bill received bipartisan support, with a vote of 352 in favor and 65 against, and now awaits a decision in the Senate. President Biden has expressed his willingness to sign the bill into law if it passes. The legislation requires ByteDance to divest its US assets within six months or face a ban on the app. This move has raised concerns about freedom of speech and the potential impact on the US economy and small businesses. TikTok, with an estimated 170 million users in the US, faces an uncertain future as discussions continue in the Senate, with both supporters and critics voicing their perspectives​​​​​​.

/ Elections & Democracy
Model Code of Conduct mind map
Recent News
MCC lacks statutory backing
Strong enforcement by Election Commission of India (ECI)
Some provisions enforceable through IPC 1860, CrPC 1973, RPA 1951
Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice 2013
Recommended making MCC legally binding
Valid from election schedule announcement
Continues through election
Applies throughout country for Parliamentary elections
Applies in poll-bound state for Assembly elections
Ensure free and fair elections
Prevent electoral offenses and malpractices
General Conduct
Avoid activities causing communal tension
Criticism confined to policies, past record
No use of places of worship for propaganda
Respect for every citizen's home life
Inform local police for law & order
Notify local police about details in advance
Polling Day
Collaborate with authorities for peaceful polling
Polling booth
Access limited to authorized individuals
Appointed by ECI to address complaints
Party in power
No misuse of official position for campaigning
Election manifesto
Must not contravene ideals and principles
ECI ensures observance
Applies to all political parties and candidates
ECI's observance
Official machinery not misused for electoral purposes
Ensures free, fair, and peaceful elections
Prevents misuse of official machinery
Lack of awareness about MCC provisions
ECI criticized for timing of MCC application
ECI lacks power to disqualify candidates for malpractices
Allegations of unfairness in handling complaints
Way Forward
Statutory backing recommended for MCC
Special fast-track courts for violation cases
Public awareness campaigns
Code for social media and Internet by stakeholders

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India to ensure free and fair elections in the country. It becomes effective from the date the election schedule is announced and applies throughout the country for Parliamentary elections, and within the poll-bound states for Assembly elections. The MCC covers various aspects, including general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day activities, use of polling booths, and the behavior of the party in power, to prevent any actions that could affect the outcome of the elections. While it lacks statutory backing, some of its provisions are enforceable through other statutes like the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Representation of the People Act (RPA). Challenges include a lack of awareness among stakeholders, criticism regarding the timing of its application, and limitations in ECI’s powers. Experts suggest providing statutory backing to the MCC and establishing special fast-track courts for quicker resolution of violations​​​​​​​​.

/ Elections & Democracy
ECI releases Electoral Bonds Data mind map
Recent News
ECI publishes data online
Following Supreme Court order
Data covers April 12, 2019, to February 15, 2024
Details uploaded on ECI's website
Supreme Court's order dated
February 15, 2024
March 11, 2024
SBI provided data on March 12, 2024
Data uploaded on March 13, 2024
To ensure transparency in political funding
Supreme Court invalidated Electoral Bonds Scheme
On February 15, 2024
Electoral Bonds Scheme
Introduced in 2017
For anonymous donations to political parties
Purchased from authorized banks
Donated to political parties for encashment
Unencashed within 15 days
Donated to Prime Minister's Relief Fund
Details SBI provided
Purchase date
Name of purchaser
Encashment details by political parties
Date of encashment
Denominations of encashed bonds
Transfer method to ECI
Pen drive with password-protected PDFs
Envelope with passwords and a letter to CEC
Data available on ECI's website
Access URL provided by ECI
Supreme Court of India
Directed ECI and SBI
State Bank of India (SBI)
Provided the data
Election Commission of India (ECI)
Published the data online
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar
Received the data
SBI complied with Supreme Court's directive
Data transferred on a pen drive
Details enclosed in password-protected PDFs
Enhances transparency and disclosure in political funding
Reflects ECI's stance in favor of disclosure
Original scheme allowed anonymous donations
Raised concerns over transparency
Way Forward
Continued scrutiny and public disclosure of political funding mechanisms

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has released data on electoral bonds following directives from the Supreme Court of India. This initiative aims to enhance transparency in political funding by disclosing details of electoral bonds purchased and redeemed between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024. The data, which includes information such as the date of purchase, denomination, name of the buyer, and details of each electoral bond redeemed by political parties, was provided by the State Bank of India (SBI) and uploaded to the ECI’s website. This move comes after the Supreme Court invalidated the Electoral Bonds Scheme, initially introduced in 2017 to allow anonymous donations to political parties​​​​.

/ Elections & Democracy
Panel Recommends Roadmap for Simultaneous Elections in India mind map
Recent News
Law Commission shares roadmap
With Ram Nath Kovind-led panel
Timeline hinted
2024 and 2029 for rollout
Discussions ongoing
As of 2023
Electoral reforms
For efficiency and reduced costs
Law Commission's recommendations
Constitutional amendments needed
Changes in tenure provisions
Dissolution of legislative bodies
Significant consultations
With Election Commission of India
Historical perspective
Simultaneous elections till 1967
Cost-effectiveness highlighted
Indian context
Aim for synchronization
Lok Sabha, State Assemblies, Local Bodies
Nationwide implementation
Law Commission of India
Chairman Rituraj Awasthi
High-level committee
Led by former President Ram Nath Kovind
Central Government's involvement
Extensive consultations
With stakeholders
Anticipated legal and logistical challenges
Resource efficiency
Substantial cost savings
Optimized administration
Streamlined security forces
Enhanced voter turnout
Combat voter fatigue
Increased accountability

The initiative for simultaneous elections in India, led by a panel with the Law Commission sharing a comprehensive roadmap, aims at the synchronization of Lok Sabha, State Assemblies, and Local Body elections nationwide. This move is driven by the intent to enhance electoral efficiency, reduce the substantial costs associated with separate elections, and minimize administrative and security disruptions. Despite its historical precedent up to 1967, the proposal faces hurdles, including opposition from various parties fearing an erosion of federalism and the substantial legal challenges of amending the Constitution to align election cycles. The proposal suggests significant benefits such as cost savings, increased voter turnout, and streamlined governance, yet faces criticism for potentially centralizing power and overshadowing local issues with national narratives​​​​​​.

/ Crimes/Deaths
Central Panel Recommends Ban on ‘Ferocious’ Dog Breeds mind map
Recent News
Centre imposes ban
On import, sale, and breeding
Of 23 "ferocious" dog breeds
Directive issued on March 12
Rising cases of dog bites
Deaths due to pet dog attacks
Ban includes
Pitbull Terrier
American Bulldog
And 19 other breeds
Existing pets
Should be sterilized
Central government
Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying
States and Union Territories
Letter to chief secretaries
Of all states and UTs
Aimed at
Preventing further attacks
Ensuring public safety
Enforcement across states
Public reaction
Potential backlash from pet owners
Animal rights concerns
Sterilization of existing pets
Way Forward
Developing clear guidelines
For enforcement
Public awareness campaigns
Consideration of
Animal welfare aspects

The central government of India, recognizing the rising incidents of dog attacks and fatalities, has taken a decisive step by directing states to ban the import, sale, and breeding of 23 dog breeds deemed “ferocious”. This move is aimed at safeguarding public safety by controlling the population of breeds that have been identified as a significant threat to human lives. The directive, issued to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, also advises that pets of these breeds already in possession be sterilized to prevent further breeding. This decision underscores the government’s commitment to public safety while also raising questions about the implementation challenges and the implications for animal rights and welfare.

India's New Semiconductor Projects mind map
Recent News
Approval for three semiconductor plants
Total worth: $15.2 billion
Construction begins within 100 days from announcement
First 'Made in India' chip by December 2024
Achieve technological self-reliance
Address domestic semiconductor demand
Reduce import reliance
Spur indigenous innovation
Tata Group and Taiwan's Powerchip
Chipmaking plant
Location: Dholera, Gujarat
Investment: 910 billion rupees
CG Power, Renesas Electronics Corp, Stars Microelectronics
Chip packaging plant
Location: Gujarat
Investment: 76 billion rupees
Tata Semiconductor Assembly and Test Pvt Ltd
Chip packaging plant
Location: Assam
Investment: 270 billion rupees
Micron Technology
Assembly and test facility
Location: Gujarat
Investment: $2.75 billion
First chip by late 2024
Semiconductor fabs
Applications received: 45
Semiconductor fabs: 5
Display fabs: 2
Compound and ATMP facilities: 9
Design-linked incentive scheme: 29
Sanand, near Ahmedabad
Tata Group
Taiwan's Powerchip and PSMC
CG Power
Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp
Thailand's Stars Microelectronics
Micron Technology
Government approval and investments
Partnerships with foreign companies
Technological self-reliance
Job creation
Direct and indirect jobs: 80,000 (2023)
Target by 2030: 250,000 jobs
Enhance domestic innovation
Skilled workforce shortage
Global economic slowdown risks
Supply chain disruptions
Geopolitical tensions
Way Forward
Focus on niche markets for startups
Leverage government support
Address skilled workforce shortage

India’s new semiconductor projects are a significant step towards achieving technological self-reliance and enhancing domestic innovation. The government has approved three semiconductor plants worth $15.2 billion, which include chipmaking and packaging facilities in Gujarat and Assam. Partnerships with foreign companies like Taiwan’s Powerchip and Micron Technology are central to these projects. The initiative is expected to create a substantial number of jobs and boost indigenous innovation across vital sectors. However, challenges such as the skilled workforce shortage, potential global economic slowdown, and supply chain disruptions need to be addressed. The focus on niche markets for startups and leveraging government support are seen as ways forward​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.

PM-SURAJ Portal mind map
Recent News
Launch Date
March 14, 2024
Launched by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Launch Date
March 14, 2024
Uplift and empower marginalized
Prioritize underprivileged
Credit support
For marginalized segments
1 lakh entrepreneurs
From disadvantaged communities
Related Schemes
National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem
Eradicate unsafe sewer and septic-tank cleaning
Identification and training of workers
Health insurance and livelihood assistance
Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes
Venture Capital Fund for Backward Classes
Ambedkar Social Innovation & Incubation Mission
Nationwide initiative
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
With banks, NBFC-MFIs
Of disadvantaged communities
Promotion of entrepreneurship
Nationwide reach and effective execution
Way Forward
Monitoring and Evaluation
To assess impact and adapt strategies

The PM-SURAJ Portal, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2024, is a transformative initiative aimed at uplifting and empowering the most marginalized or backward segments of society. This nationwide initiative, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, offers credit support to eligible individuals, particularly targeting 1 lakh entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities. The portal aligns with related schemes such as NAMASTE, focusing on eradicating unsafe sewer and septic-tank cleaning practices, and others like VCF-SC, VCF-BC, and ASIIM, all designed to support various marginalized groups through financial assistance and empowerment projects​​​​.

/ Drugs/Pharmaceuticals
Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024 mind map
Recent News
Centre notifies UCPMP 2024
Notified on 2024-03-13
To ensure transparency, integrity, and accountability in pharmaceutical marketing
To emphasize ethical practices within the sector
Prohibits gifts for personal benefit to healthcare professionals
Limits pecuniary benefits from pharmaceutical companies
Restricts provision of travel facilities and paid vacations
Details on
Conduct of pharmaceutical companies
Relationships with healthcare professionals
Mode of operation
Responsibilities of Pharmaceutical Associations
Constituting Ethics Committee for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (ECPMP)
Apex Ethics Committee for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (AECPMP)
Procedure for lodging and handling complaints
Penalty provisions
Promotion of drugs
Must be consistent with marketing approval
Information about drugs must be balanced, verifiable, and not misleading
Medical representatives
High standard of ethical conduct required
Prohibitions on inducements for access to healthcare professionals
Free samples
Restrictions on who can receive
Limitations on quantity and value
Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers
Department of Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical Associations
Healthcare Professionals
Pharmaceutical Companies
Including agents, distributors, wholesalers, retailers
Implementation through the Department of Pharmaceuticals
Enforcement by ECPMP within each association
Compliance responsibility lies with CEOs of pharmaceutical companies
Aims to curb unethical practices in pharma industry
Promotes ethical conduct and transparency
Protects interests of patients and healthcare professionals
Voluntary nature may impact effectiveness
Enforcement and compliance monitoring challenges
Way Forward
Consideration for legal backing to ensure compliance
Enhanced monitoring and enforcement mechanisms

The Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024, introduced by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Department of Pharmaceuticals, is a regulatory framework designed to ensure transparency, integrity, and accountability in the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry in India. The UCPMP 2024 lays down stringent guidelines for the conduct of pharmaceutical companies and their representatives, prohibiting the provision of gifts, travel facilities, and other financial benefits to healthcare professionals for personal gain. It aims to safeguard the interests of patients and healthcare professionals by promoting ethical practices and curbing unethical behavior within the sector. The code outlines the responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies and associations in enforcing these guidelines, including the establishment of ethics committees for handling complaints and ensuring compliance​​​​​​​​.

/ Aviation
FLY91: India's Newest Regional Airline mind map
Recent News
FLY91 inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Steel, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia
March 12, 2024
Maiden flight between Manohar International Airport, Goa and Agatti Islands, Lakshadweep
Enhance tourism, trade, and commerce
Promote affordable, on-time, safe, and hassle-free travel
Operates with ATR-72 aircraft
Focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 city connections
Backed by
Aviation veteran Manoj Chacko
Convergent Finance LLP
To connect over 50 cities across India in five years
Induct 30 aircraft into fleet
Fleet based at multiple hubs across the country
Received Air Operator Certificate from DGCA
Airline code 'IC', same as former state-run carrier Indian Airlines
Manoj Chacko
Industry veteran with extensive experience in airline and travel sectors
Convergent Finance LLP
Co-founding partner
Supports in operations, capital allocation, and long-term business strategy
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE)
Leased ATR72-600 aircraft provider
Recognized aviation services corporation
Basic, no-frills model
Supremely digital airline
Lean organization and cost-effective operations
Buy-on-board products
Market competitive pricing
Enhances last-mile air connectivity
Promotes regional development through UDAN scheme
Expected to boost tourism and commerce in smaller cities
Operating in a traditionally loss-making airline business
Financial and operational stability concerns
Way Forward
Aims for financial and operational stability
Growth beyond five metros to cities with population over one million
Focus on digital and cost-effective operations

FLY91 marks a significant step in India’s aviation sector, focusing on enhancing regional connectivity, especially between Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Founded by industry veterans, including Manoj Chacko, and backed by Convergent Finance LLP, FLY91 aims to promote affordable, safe, and hassle-free travel. Its operations started with ATR-72 aircraft, focusing on a no-frills, digitally enhanced service model. The airline’s strategy includes a significant expansion plan, aiming to connect over 50 cities across India within five years and induct 30 aircraft into its fleet, supported by multiple hubs across the country. This initiative aligns with the government’s UDAN scheme to boost regional development and air connectivity. Despite the challenges of operating in a traditionally loss-making business, FLY91’s lean, cost-effective approach and focus on underserved markets present a hopeful outlook for the future of regional aviation in India​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.

/ International Issues
India Remains World’s Largest Arms Importer: SIPRI Report mind map
Recent News
India tops global arms imports
Accounts for 9.8% of global arms sales
Report covers 2019-2023 period
Strategic vulnerabilities
Defense-industrial base development efforts
Main Suppliers
Supplies 36%
Supplies 33%
Supplies 13%
Decrease from 11% (2018-22) to 9.8%
Global context
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
European think tank
Tracks global arms sales
Arms Import Figures
India's significant importation despite decline
Strategic partnerships
Diversification of sources
Not among top 25 arms exporters
Reliance on imports for defense capabilities
Way Forward
Building stronger defense-industrial base
Decreasing strategic vulnerabilities

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report reveals that India remains the world’s top arms importer, holding 9.8% of global arms sales. Russia, France, and the US are the leading suppliers to India, contributing to 36%, 33%, and 13% of India’s arms imports, respectively. Despite a slight decline in imports from 11% (2018-22) to 9.8% (2019-23) of global sales, India’s significant arms importation reflects its strategic vulnerabilities and efforts towards building a defense-industrial base, yet it’s not among the top 25 arms exporters​​.

India’s Retail Inflation Eases to 5.09% in February 2024 mind map
Recent News
February 2024
CPI inflation at 5.09%
Decrease in cooking oil prices
Dropped by 11.67%
Decrease in price increase rate for spices
Slowed down to 13.28% from 16.36%
India's retail inflation
Eased to a four-month low of 5.09%
Pulses turned costlier
By 20.47%
Cereals price increase
By 7.83%
Vegetable prices increase
By as much as 31.38% in January
Core inflation comforting
Eased to 3.3%
Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation
Released data
Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Maintained repo rate at 6.5%
Data collection
From 1114 urban markets
From 1181 villages
Price data collection
Through personal visits by NSO field staff
Potential easing of financial burdens for consumers
Signaling relief to household budgets
No relief in pulses and cereals prices
Vegetable prices shot up significantly
Way Forward
RBI's approach to upcoming April 2024 monetary policy
Focused on maintaining inflation within target range

India’s retail inflation for February 2024 showed a slight easing to 5.09%, marking a four-month low. This minor adjustment from January’s 5.10% suggests a nuanced change in the economic landscape, influenced by factors such as a significant decrease in cooking oil prices and a slight reduction in the rate of price increase for spices. Despite this, the cost for essentials like pulses and cereals continued to rise, highlighting ongoing challenges in managing the cost of living. Core inflation has shown some comforting signs of easing, which might hint at future economic policy directions as the Reserve Bank of India continues to aim for inflation control within its target range. This period also reflected changes in consumer price indexes across rural and urban regions, indicating nuanced impacts across different demographics​​​​​​​​​​.

/ Media
PB-SHABD Service mind map
Recent News
Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur, launched PB-SHABD
March 13, 2024
National Media Centre in New Delhi
Full Name
Prasar Bharti - Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination
Designed to
Provide daily news feeds
Formats include
For subscribers from media landscape
Powered by
Prasar Bharati reporters, correspondents, and stringers
Free of cost for the first year
News stories
In all major Indian languages
Across fifty categories
Clean feeds of news content
Devoid of Doordarshan’s logo
Customized storytelling across different platforms
Prasar Bharti
Public Service Broadcaster of India
Established in 1997 under the Prasar Bharati Act
Doordarshan Television Network
All India Radio
Headquarters in New Delhi
Anurag Singh Thakur
Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Sanjay Jaju
Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Gaurav Dwivedi
CEO of Prasar Bharti
Available on
Websites of DD News
Akashvani News
News on Air mobile app
For outlets registered with the I&B ministry
Democratization of news distribution
Supports smaller news organizations
Enhances media synergy
Facilitates accurate and meaningful news dissemination
Personalized news feeds
Multimedia content integration
Offline reading capability
Live streaming for real-time coverage
Managing the vast and diverse content
Ensuring real-time updates and accuracy
Way Forward
Continual enhancement of platform features
Expanding reach to more languages and regions

The PB-SHABD service, launched by Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, is a pioneering news sharing platform from Prasar Bharati, set to redefine India’s news broadcasting landscape. It offers news feeds in various formats such as video, audio, text, and photos, catering to the diverse needs of media organizations across the country. This service is powered by Prasar Bharati’s extensive network of reporters, correspondents, and stringers, aiming to provide clean feeds of news content devoid of Doordarshan’s logo, across various languages and fifty categories, and it’s available free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer. This initiative is particularly beneficial for smaller news organizations that lack extensive content gathering networks, enhancing media synergy and facilitating the accurate and meaningful dissemination of news content throughout India​​​​​​​​​​​​.

France Law to Legalize "Aid in Dying" mind map
Recent News
France to become the 10th country to legalize "aid in dying"
Macron set no specific date for legislation application
Monthslong legislative process starts in May
Draft end of life bill by end of 2023
Following strong public support for end-of-life options
Address intractable physical or psychological pain
Adults facing end-of-life illness can take lethal medication
Covers both euthanasia and medically assisted suicide
If unable to take lethal pills alone, assistance from someone or by healthcare professionals is allowed
Prior law from 2016 allows for terminal sedation but not assisted suicide or euthanasia
Following several other countries and localities that have legalized forms of assisted dying
President Emmanuel Macron announced the legislation
French citizens showed strong support in a report last year
Legislative process to be initiated, followed by drafting of the bill
Provides a humane option for those suffering
Follows trends in other countries acknowledging the right to die with dignity
Controversial, seen by some as inhumane
Debate on the morality and ethical implications
Way Forward
Educate on the details and processes involved in "aid in dying" to reduce controversy

The recent announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron to legalize “aid in dying” in France marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to end-of-life care. This legislation aims to allow adults facing intractable physical or psychological pain from terminal illnesses the option to take lethal medication, either by themselves or with assistance if they’re unable. The move follows strong public support for such options and places France alongside other countries that have legalized forms of assisted dying. The legislation seeks to provide a humane way out for those suffering from terminal conditions, balancing the ethical considerations involved in such a deeply personal decision. The process to bring this law into effect will start with a legislative procedure in May, aiming to draft an “end of life” bill by the end of 2023. As this development unfolds, it’s anticipated to spark discussions on the moral and ethical implications of assisted dying, highlighting the importance of educating the public and healthcare professionals about the processes and criteria involved​​​​.

Green Climate Fund Project mind map
Recent News:
U.S. Pledge:
Date: December 2, 2023
Pledged Amount: $3 billion
Period: 2024-2027
Significance: Shows U.S. commitment at COP28
Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions
Adapt to a changing climate
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen's Statement:
Focus on making GCF more effective
Partnering with the private sector
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry's Statement:
Accelerate the energy transition
Building resilience to climate impacts
Mobilizing private capital for climate action
Green Climate Fund Activities:
Press Release (March 12, 2024):
Partnership with Somalia
Investment: Accelerated USD 100 million
Press Release (March 8, 2024):
Funding: USD 1.26 billion for climate action
Beneficiaries: Developing countries
Update (March 7, 2024):
Project: FP146 - Bio-CLIMA
Focus: Reduce deforestation, strengthen resilience
Areas: BOSAWÁS and Rio San Juan Biospheres
March 2024
Address climate change
Support developing countries
Financial Support:
U.S. Pledge
Investments in Somalia
Funding for climate action
Project Support:
Bio-CLIMA project
Global focus
Specific Projects: Somalia, BOSAWÁS and Rio San Juan Biospheres
U.S. Biden-Harris Administration
Green Climate Fund
Developing Countries
Janet L. Yellen
John Kerry
Investment in projects
Acceleration of energy transition
Building resilience to climate impacts
Mobilization of private capital
Way Forward:
Effective and responsive GCF operations
Maximizing impact through private sector partnerships

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), a pivotal initiative in combating climate change, has made headlines in March 2024 for several significant developments. The Biden-Harris Administration announced a substantial pledge of $3 billion to GCF for its Second Replenishment (2024-2027), marking a commitment to leading global efforts in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate changes. This pledge is expected to bolster the GCF’s capabilities in supporting developing countries through the energy transition and resilience building against climate impacts. Additionally, the GCF disclosed a series of investments and partnerships aimed at fostering climate action in developing nations, including a notable USD 100 million investment partnership with Somalia and a USD 1.26 billion allocation for broader climate action across the developing world. Projects like Bio-CLIMA further illustrate GCF’s targeted efforts to address deforestation and enhance resilience in critical biospheres. These moves represent a multifaceted approach to climate finance, emphasizing both immediate investments and long-term commitments to environmental sustainability and resilience ​​.

V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024 mind map
Recent News
Democracy Winning and Losing at the Ballot
Main Findings
42 countries undergoing autocratization
35% of world's population in autocratizing countries
71% living in autocracies, up from 48% a decade ago
Declines in Eastern Europe, South Asia, Central Asia
Freedom of expression, clean elections, association most affected
31 out of 60 countries with elections experiencing decline
Released in March 2024
To assess state of democracy worldwide
Classification of Regimes
Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy
Electoral Autocracy, Closed Autocracy
Liberal Democratic Index (LDI)
Based on 71 indicators
Includes Liberal Component Index, Electoral Democracy Index
Egalitarian, Participatory, Deliberative Component Indices
Key Points
Democracy levels decreased globally
Autocratization increased
Focus on democratization and autocratization trends
Indian Context
India as Electoral Autocracy
Since 2018
Among top 10 worst autocratizers
Decline in democracy scores
Freedom of expression
Media independence
Social media crackdowns
Opposition intimidation
Government Actions
Use of laws on sedition, defamation, counterterrorism
Amendment to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2019
Global focus with specifics on India, Eastern Europe, others
V-Dem Institute
Varieties of Democracy
Founded by Staffan Lindberg
Based at University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Countries Mentioned
India, Greece, Poland, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia
Analysis of 31 million datasets
Involvement of 4,200 scholars
Comprehensive assessment of democracy
Identifies trends and challenges in democratization
Rising autocratization
Decline in democratic freedoms
Way Forward
Not explicitly mentioned but implies need for global democratic resilience

The V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024 provides an extensive overview of the global state of democracy, highlighting a worrying trend of autocratization affecting 42 countries, which represents 35% of the world’s population. This year’s report, titled “Democracy Winning and Losing at the Ballot,” categorizes nations into four types of regimes based on their democracy scores and emphasizes a global decline in democratic values, particularly freedom of expression, election integrity, and freedom of association. India, which has been categorized as an electoral autocracy since 2018, is among the top 10 countries experiencing significant autocratization, facing declines in various democracy components. This comprehensive analysis draws on data from over 31 million datasets and contributions from 4,200 scholars worldwide, offering a grim view of democracy’s state and suggesting an urgent need for actions to bolster democratic practices and values globally​​​​​​​​.

/ Space
IIT Madras Mini Space Lab mind map
Recent News
IIT-Madras collaborates with Vellon Space
To launch 'AsteriX Lab' in orbit by 2025
Collaboration announced in March 2024
Launch targeted by 2025
To conduct biological experiments in microgravity
Advance extra-terrestrial manufacturing research
'AsteriX Lab'
Miniature space laboratory
Focus areas
Microgravity research
Biomanufacturing in space
In-orbit demonstration
Showcasing capabilities for experiments
Long-duration cell culture in low-earth microgravity
Low-earth orbit
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Founded in 1959
At forefront of technological innovation
Vellon Space
Indian space startup
Extra-Terrestrial Manufacturing Center (ExTeM-IITM)
Collaborating with Vellon Space
Lab to stay in orbit for nearly a week
Remotely controlled
Equipped with sensors and data measurement systems
Revolutionizing cell culture and drug development processes
Understanding microgravity’s effects on biological systems
Creating commercial opportunities in space technology sector
Technological and logistical challenges in deploying and operating mini space lab in orbit
Way Forward
Preparation for orbital journey
Eager anticipation for groundbreaking insights and advancements

The IIT Madras Mini Space Lab, a collaboration between the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the space startup Vellon Space, aims to launch the ‘AsteriX Lab’ in orbit by 2025. This mini space lab is designed to conduct biological experiments in microgravity, focusing on advancing extra-terrestrial manufacturing research, particularly in biomanufacturing in space. This project represents a significant step in utilizing low-earth orbit for scientific research, with the potential to revolutionize cell culture and drug development processes, while also presenting new commercial opportunities in the space technology sector.

Namo Drone Didi Scheme mind map
Launched by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Sashakt Nari-Viksit Bharat programme
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi
March 11, 2024
Empower rural women
Providing agricultural drones
To become drone pilots
Recent News
On 77th Independence Day
Renamed from
Drone Didi to Namo Drone Didi
Aims to
Provide drones for rental services to farmers
Enhance economic empowerment among rural women
Implementation Period
2024-25 to 2025-2026
15,000 women-led self-help groups (SHG)
15 days
5 days for drone operation
10 days for nutrient and pesticide application
Financial Assistance
Central Financial Assistance
Up to 80% of the drone cost
Maximum of Rs. 8 Lakh
Additional support
Interest subvention @ 3% on loans for balance amount
Under National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF)
Selection Criteria
Well-qualified women
18 and above
Additional training
For a member or family member in drone repair and maintenance
Expected Outcome
Sustainable business and livelihood support for SHGs
Additional income
At least Rs. One lakh per annum for SHGs
Enhanced efficiency in agriculture
Improved crop yield
Reduced cost of operation for farmers
Government Departments Involved
Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW)
Department of Rural Development (DoRD)
Department of Fertilizers (DoF)
Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs)
Role of LFCs
Bridge between drone suppliers and SHGs
Promote use of Nano Fertilizers
Like Nano Urea and Nano DAP

The Namo Drone Didi Scheme is a visionary initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Sashakt Nari-Viksit Bharat programme, aimed at empowering rural women by providing them with agricultural drones and the necessary training to operate them. This scheme not only seeks to enhance the economic empowerment and financial autonomy among rural women, particularly in rural areas, but also aims to modernize agriculture with new technologies, thereby benefiting the agriculture sector as a whole through improved efficiency and productivity.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Home Courses Plans Account