DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st March 2023

  • IASbaba
  • March 21, 2023
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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana( PMUY)


  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas said that there were 7.99 crore beneficiaries under the Phase-I of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana( PMUY).

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana( PMUY):-

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana( PMUY) was launched in May 2016.
  • It is implemented by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
  • Objective: to make clean cooking fuel such as LPG available to the rural and deprived households which were otherwise using traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes etc.
  • Ujjwala 1.0 had a target to provide deposit-free LPG connections to 5 crore women members of BPL households.
  • The scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories (SC/ST, PMAY, AAY, most backward classes, tea garden, forest dwellers etc).
  • EMI facilities were given for stove and refill costs (Interest-free loan).

Ujjwala 2.0:-

  • The Union budget for FY 21-22, announced the provision for an additional one crore LPG connection under the PMUY scheme.
  • Additional allocation of 1.6 Crore LPG Connections under the PMUY Scheme with a special facility to migrant households.
  • It will provide a  deposit-free LPG connection.
  • It will also give the first refill and hotplate (stove) free of cost to the beneficiaries.
  • The migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof.
  • A self-declaration for both a ‘family declaration’ and a ‘proof of address’ will suffice.
  • It will help achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of universal access to LPG.

MUST READ: Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY) – Diversion of LPG



Q.1) Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017? (2019)

  1. Pregnant women are entitled to three months of pre-delivery and three months of post-delivery paid leave.
  2. Enterprises with creches must allow the mother a minimum of six creche visits daily.
  3. Women with two children get reduced entitlements.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) The endeavour of the Janini suraksha yojana programme is (2012)

  1. to promote institutional deliveries
  2. to provide monetary assistance to the mother to meet the cost of delivery
  3. to provide for wage loss due to pregnancy and confinements

Which of the above is correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Jhamarkotra and Zawar


  • Prelims –Art and Culture

Context: Recently, the need for better protection of India’s geo heritage sites of Jhamarkotra and Zawar, in Rajasthan was voiced.

About Jhamarkotra:-

  • Geoheritage are sites that offer insights into the evolution of the earth that can be used for research, reference, and awareness.
  • A fossil park at Jhamarkotra, Rajasthan hosts stromatolites dating back 1.8 billion years.
  • These exhibit a variety of textures and sizes.
  • Stromatolite: a layered sedimentary rock formed by microorganisms.
  • stromatolite fossils preserve the record of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae – the earliest life on the planet.
  • Cyanobacteria developed the ability to photosynthesise and make their food through which they pumped large quantities of oxygen into the atmosphere of primaeval earth, allowing most other life to evolve and flourish.
  • Jhamarkotra’s fossils are phosphate-rich because the trapped sediments were mainly phosphate minerals. 

About Zawar:-

  • It lies in the south of Udaipur.
  • It is the world’s oldest old known zinc-smelting site located in Udaipur.
  • It has had numerous traces of zinc mining and smelting operations since ancient times.
  • These include open stops, trenches, chambers, galleries, shafts, and open-pit mines.
  • The discovery here of earthen retorts – brinjal-shaped, long-necked vessels – is particularly significant as their presence here suggests Zawar had a unique zinc-smelting legacy.
  • Zawar’s zinc-smelting operations date back 2,000 years.

MUST READ: 1st Biodiversity Heritage site in TN



Q.1) The Prime Minister recently inaugurated the new Circuit House near Somnath Temple Veraval. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Somnath Temple? (2022)

  1. Somnath Temple is one of the Jyotirlinga shrines.
  2. A description of the Somnath Temple was given by Al-Biruni.
  3. Pran Pratishtha of Somnath Temple (installation of the present-day temple) was done by President S. Radhakrishnan.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.2) Which one of the following statements is correct? (2021)

  1. Ajanta Caves lie in the gorge of the Waghora river.
  2. Sanchi Stupa lies in the gorge of the Chambal river.
  3. Pandu – lena cave shrines lie in the gorge of the Narmada river.
  4. Amaravati Stupa lies in the gorge of the Godavari river.

Raccoon dogs


  • Prelims –Environment and Ecology

Context: A new analysis of genetic data collected from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, has linked coronavirus to raccoon dogs.

About Raccoon dogs:-

  • They belong to the canid family and are closely related to foxes.
  • Raccoon dogs are neither dogs nor raccoons.
  • They are the only canids that hibernate during the winter.
  • These animals are omnivores and relish food sources such as rodents and berries.
  • They are monogamous, often living in pairs.


  • Raccoon dogs are originally from East Asia.
  • They are commonly found in parts of China, Korea and Japan, where they are known as tanuki.
  • They are also found in Europe, where they were first brought in by fur traders in the 1920s.
  • As per the experts, there are two species of raccoon dogs:-
    • Nyctereutes procyonoides: the common raccoon dog (the species that was in the Wuhan market) and
    • Nyctereutes p. viverrinus: the Japanese raccoon dog.

IUCN Status: Least Concern




Q.1) Consider the following statements (2021)

  1. Adenoviruses have single-stranded DNA genomes whereas retroviruses have double-stranded DNA genomes.
  2. Common cold is sometimes caused by an adenovirus whereas AIDS is caused by a retrovirus.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Which of the following statements is not correct? (2019)

  1. Hepatitis B virus is transmitted much like HIV.
  2. Hepatitis B, unlike Hepatitis C, does not have a vaccine.
  3. Globally, the number of people infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses is several times more than those infected with HIV.
  4. Some of those infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses do not show the symptoms for many years.

Sangita Kalanidhi award


  •   Prelims –Art and Culture

Context: Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri has been selected for the Sangita Kalanidhi award of the Music Academy for 2023.

About Sangita Kalanidhi award :-

  • It came into existence in 1942.
  • It is considered the highest award in the field of Carnatic music.
  • The award comprises a gold medal and a birudu Patra (citation).
  • In 1942, it was decided that the musician so invited would be conferred the title of Sangita Kalanidhi.
  • Lalgudi Shri GJR Krishnan and Smt Vijayalakshmi received the 2022 award.
  • Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri has been selected for the 2023 award.

About Sangeetha Kala Acharya:-

  • This award was instituted in 1993.
  • It is given to those who have contributed by bringing several disciples to the concert platform.
  • It is awarded to two senior musicians who have contributed by bringing several disciples to the concert platform.

About Natya Kala Acharya:-

  • Instituted in 2012 by Dr Engikollai Krishnan and Dr Leela Krishnan in memory of Smt Meenakshi and Mysore Asthana Vidwan Engikollai Chidambara Ganapatigal.
  • It is conferred each year in January on a senior dancer at the inauguration of the annual dance festival.
  • It is awarded to a senior dancer at the inauguration of the annual dance festival.

About Nritya Kalanidhi Award:-

  • The award for 2023 is awarded to Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari.

About TTK Award:-

  • In 1950, the Music Academy instituted the Certificate of Merit.
  • It is given to senior musicians who had made a mark in the field as icons and gurus.
  • This in the 1980s was named the TTK Award in memory of TT Krishnamachari, former Union Minister and industrialist, who was a great patron of the arts and who as Vice-President of the Music Academy did much to make its auditorium a reality.
  • Two senior performing artists are selected annually for this award.
  • Noted thavil player and teacher Thirunageswaram has been selected for the TTK award 2023.
  • Another musician who will get the award is Sargunanatha Odhuvar of the Kapaleeswarar temple in Myalpore.

About Papa KS Venkataramiah award:-

It is awarded to a Violinist of merit.

This award is named after Papa KS Venkataramiah (a great violinist of the past).

About Musicologist Award:-

  • This was instituted as the Vaggeyakara award in 1999 by Smt R Ranganayaki to recognise outstanding contemporary music composers in the field.
  • In 2008, the scope of this award was changed to include musicologists as well and the award was renamed the Musicologist Award.
  • It is awarded to a musicologist.
  • A scholar who participates in musical research is a musicologist.

About Indira Sivasailam’s endowment concert and medal:-

  • This was instituted in 2010 by the Indira Sivasailam Endowment Fund set up by Ms Mallika Srinivasan, Chairperson, Tafe Limited in the memory of her mother, noted Rasika and patron Smt Indira Sivasailam.
  • It is awarded during Navaratri each year.
  • It is given to the top-ranking performing artist in the concert organised at that time.

MUST READ: Karakattam dance



Q.1) With reference to the cultural history of India consider the following statements (2018)

  1. Most of the Tyagaraja Kritis are devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna
  2. Tyagaraja created several new fits of rage.
  3. Annamacharya and Tyagaraja are contemporaries
  4. Annamacharya kirtans are devotional songs in praise of Lord Venkateshwara

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 2, 3 and 4

Q.2) Consider the following pairs (2018)

Tradition                                            State

  1. Chapchar Kut festival              Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad          Manipur
  3. Thang-Ta dance                      Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3

Sand Battery


  • Prelims – Science and technology

Context: Recently, Finland has installed the world’s first sand battery that can store heat from renewable energy sources for months.

About Sand Battery:-

IMAGE SOURCE: What is a sand battery? — Polar Night Energy

  • A   is a high-temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium.
  • It stores energy in the sand as heat.
  • The sand battery is a battery system that uses sand as a medium to store thermal energy.
  • The battery has a steel container to store recycled sand.
  • Working:-The battery receives electricity from the grid through excess solar and wind power, which is converted to heat and transferred to the sand.
  • The air inside the battery is heated using resistors and the hot air is circulated using a fan through a series of pipes, which releases the heat to the sand where it is preserved.
  • The battery reservoir is so well-insulated from the outer environment that it can retain temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius and prevent heat losses over time.
  • The sand battery helps to ambitiously upscale renewables production by ensuring there’s always a way to benefit from clean energy, even if the surplus is massive.
  • Sand batteries can store a significant extent of thermal energy and can aid Clean Energy Solutions.



Q.1) With reference to street lighting, how do sodium lamps differ from LED lamps? (2021)

  1. Sodium lamps produce light at 360 degrees but it is not so in the case of LED lamps.
  2. As street lights, sodium lamps have a longer life span than LED lamps.
  3. The spectrum of visible light from sodium lamps is almost monochromatic while LED lamps offer significant colour advantages in street lighting.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) With reference to solar water pumps, consider the following statements (2020)

  1. Solar power can be used for running surface pumps and not for submersible pumps,
  2. Solar power can be used for running centrifugal pumps and not the ones with the piston.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Global Terrorism Index (GTI)


  • Prelims –Polity

Context: Recently, the 10th edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has warned that Climate change has provided an opportunity for terrorist groups to raise funds, propagandize and recruit.

About Global Terrorism Index (GTI):-

IMAGE SOURCE: 2022 — A Look At India On The Global Terrorism Index, Global Peace Index And The Positive Peace Index | by NewIndia | INDIAN Link | Medium

  • It is a report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP),
  • The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank.
  • It is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
  • It is based primarily on the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, besides other sources.
  • The index provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism since 2000.
  • GTI scores are directly used in the Global Peace Index, the Global Slavery Report.
  • It is also indirectly used in reports of the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness and Global Competitiveness Indices and compilation of the Safe Cities Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

MUST READ: Terrorism & its financing



Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air’.
  2. The UNCAC is the ever-first legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.
  3. A highlight of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the inclusion of a specific chapter aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners from whom they had been taken illicitly.
  4. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated by its member states to assist in the implementation of both UNCAC and UNTOC.

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Q.2) What is/are the consequence /consequences of a country becoming a member of the ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’?(2018)

  1. It will have access to the latest and most efficient nuclear technologies.
  2. It automatically becomes a member of “The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)”.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA) and Electronic Negotiable Warehousing Receipt


  • Prelims – Economy

Context: Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA) has recently signed an MoU with PNB to facilitate loans to farmers and traders against negotiable warehouse receipts.

About Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA):-

  • The Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) was constituted in 2010.
  • It was constituted under the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, of 2007
  • Objective: to exercise the powers conferred on it and to perform the functions assigned to it under the Act, Rules and Regulations for the development and regulation of warehouses, negotiability of warehouse receipts and promote orderly growth of the warehousing business in the country.
  • The WDRA is a Statutory Authority.
  • It works under the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • Its Headquarters is in New Delhi.
  • The Authority consists of a Chairperson and two Members appointed by the Central Government.

About Electronic Negotiable Warehousing Receipt:-

  • The negotiable warehouse receipt (NWR) system was launched in 2011.
  • It allows the transfer of ownership of a commodity stored in a warehouse without having to deliver it physically.
  • The Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) regulates the entire operation under NWR.
  • An e-NWR is available only in electronic form.
  • The single source of information for the e-NWR is the repository system where e-NWR is issued by registered warehouses.
  • All e-NWRS can be traded through off-market or on-market Commodity Exchanges platforms.
  • An e-NWR can be auctioned under certain conditions such as loan not repaid, on expiry and delivery not taken, and on likely damage or spoilage of the commodity in the warehouse.
  • These can be transferred fully or in part.

MUST READ: National Stock Exchange of India Limited



Q.1) Which of the following activities constitute a real sector in the economy? (2022)

  1. Farmers harvesting their crops
  2. Textile mills converting raw cotton into fabrics
  3. A commercial bank lending money to a trading company
  4. A corporate body issuing Rupee Denominated Bonds overseas
  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Q.2) With reference to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. They enable the digital representation of physical assets.
  2. They are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain.
  3. They can be traded or exchanged at equivalency and therefore can be used as a medium transaction. of commercial

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Important passes in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir


  • Prelims –Geography

Context: Recently, the Zojila Pass connecting Kashmir with Ladakh opened in a record 68 days.

About important passes in Ladakh and Jammu and  Kashmir:-

IMAGE SOURCE: Image result for bara acha pass | Mountain pass, Ias study material, Study materials (pinterest.com)

Mintaka Pass:-

  • It is located near Kashmir and China.
  • It is the trijunction of India-China and Afghanistan border.

Parpik Pass:-

  • It is located near Kashmir and China.
  • It is at East of Mintaka pass on the Indo-China border

Khunjerab Pass:-

  • Kashmir and China.   
  • It is located at the Indo-China border.

Aghil Pass:-

  • It is near the Ladakh region of India with the Xinjiang (Sinkiang) Province of China 
  • It is 5000 m above sea level.
  • It is north of K2 Peak (the highest peak in India and the second-highest heat peak in the world)

Banihal Pass:-

  • It is in Jammu and Srinagar,  
  • It is at 2832 m.
  • It is located across the Pir-Panjal Range.
  • The road from Jammu to Srinagar transversed Banihal Pass until 1956 when Jawahar Tunnel was constructed under the pass.
  • The road now passes through the tunnel and the Banihal Pass is no longer used for road transport.
  • Another 11 km long tunnel provides a railway link between Banihal and Kazigund.
  • It was thrown open to railway transport in July 2013.


  • It connects Ladakh with Tibet.         
  • It is at an altitude of 5360 m.
  • This has a temple dedicated to Chang-La Baba after whom the temple has been named.

Khardung La:-

  • It is near Leh in the Ladakh range.
  • It is at 5602 m.
  • The world’s highest motorable road passes through this pass.
  • It remains closed in winter due to heavy snowfall.

Lanak La:-

  • It is located in India and China (Akasai-Chin area of Jammu and Kashmir) region.
  • This pass provides a passage between Ladakh and Lhasa.
  • A road to connect Xinjiang Province with Tibet has been constructed by the Chinese

Pir-Panjal pass:-

  • It is across the Pir Panjal range.
  • It provides the shortest and the easiest metal road between Jammu and Kashmir Valley.
  • But this route had to be closed down as a result of the partition of the subcontinent.

Qara Tag La:-

  • It is at the Indo-China borer across the Karakoram Range.
  • It is located at an elevation of over six thousand metres.

Imis La:-

  • Ladakh region of India and Tibet in China.

Pensi La:-

  • It is a vital link between the Kashmir Valley and Kargil.      
  • It remains closed to traffic from November to mid-May due to heavy snowfall.

Zoji La:-

  • It is an important road link between Srinagar on one side and Kargil and Leh on the other side.
  • The road passing through this pass has been designated as the National Highway (NH-1D).
  • Border Road Organisation (BRO) is responsible for maintaining the road and cleaning it off the snow during winter.
  • In spite of all these efforts, the road through this pass remains closed from December to mid-May.




Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Peak                                              Mountains

  1. Namcha Barwa                     Garhwal Himalaya
  2. Nanda Devi                            Kumaon Himalaya
  3. Nokrek                                    Sikkim Himalaya

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 3 only

Q.2) Siachen Glacier is situated on the (2020)

  1. East of Aksai Chin
  2. East of Leh
  3. North of Gilgit
  4. North of Nubra Valley

India Japan Relations


  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: Amid increasing concern over China’s aggressive behaviour in the region, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently emphasised that India is “indispensable” in Tokyo’s plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

India- Japan Relations


  • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilization ties dating back to the visit of Indian monk Bodhisena in 752 AD.
  • Ancient records from the now-destroyed library at Nalanda University in India describe scholars and pupils who attended the school from Japan.
    • One of the most famous Japanese travellers to the Indian subcontinent was Tenjiku Tokubei.
  • In contemporary times, among prominent Indians associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore,  JRD Tata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Judge Radha Binod Pal.

Bilateral Trade and economic

  • India and Japan have signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in 2011.
  • Some of the Mega Projects with Japanese investments are:
    • Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor
    • Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail
    • Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor
  • Trade between India and Japan stood at $ 16.95 billion in the FY 2019-20. The key merchandise includes Petroleum products, textiles, Iron ore, Fish and fish products.
  • India’s primary exports to Japan are petroleum products, chemicals, elements, compounds, non-metallic mineral ware, fish and fish preparations, metalliferous ores & scrap, clothing & accessories, iron & steel products, textile yarn, fabrics and machinery, etc.
  • India’s primary imports from Japan are machinery, transport equipment, iron and steel, electronic goods, organic chemicals, machine tools, etc.
  • Recently India, Australia and Japan formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.
    • The initiative was launched to counter the dominance of China in the Global Supply Chain.
  • The Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) between India and Japan also has potential to deepen economic relations between the two.

Defense cooperation

  • India and Japan held their first bilateral exercises, ‘Dharma Guardian’ and ‘Shinyuu Maitri’, in 2018.
    • It was held between the Armies and Air Forces of both the countries.
  • Japan participates in the annual India-US Malabar naval exercises on a regular basis.
  • Japan also joined the India-US Air Force exercise ‘Cope India’ as an observer for the first time.
  • Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA): Negotiations are going on for the agreement through which Japan could gain access to Indian facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India could have access to Japan’s naval facility in Djibouti.
  • Both India and Japan have been expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region bilaterally as well as under the framework of the Quad grouping.
  • Quad is an informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

Science & Technology:

  • Bilateral S&T cooperation was formalised through an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 1985.
  • India-Japan Digital Partnership (IJDP) was launched during the visit of PM Modi to Japan in October 2018 furthering existing areas of cooperation as well as new initiatives within the scope of cooperation in S&T/ICT, focusing more on “Digital ICT Technologies”
  • Recent initiatives include the establishment of three India-Japan Joint Laboratories in the area of ICT (AI, IoT and Big Data); Initiation of the DST-JSPS Fellowship Programme for young researchers.


  • In view of the similarities and synergies between the goals and objectives of India’s AYUSHMAN Bharat Programme and Japan’s AHWIN, both sides consulted with each other to identify projects to build the narrative of AHWIN for AYUSHMAN Bharat.
  • Japan supported India to contain COVID-19 and mitigate its adverse socioeconomic impacts by extending budgetary support.

Indian Community in Japan:

  • In recent years, there has been a change in the composition of the Indian community with the arrival of a large number of professionals, including IT professionals and engineers working for Indian and Japanese firms as well as professionals in management, finance, education, and S&T research.

Source: Indian Express

The return of the Net Neutrality debate in India


  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The telecom operators have gone from demanding payment to manage scarce resources on their networks to demanding payment for enormous usage on their networks.

About Net Neutrality:

  • The principle of net neutrality states that internet users should be able to access all content on the internet without being discriminated by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
  • This means that –
    • All websites or applications should be treated equally by TSPs,
    • All applications should be allowed to be accessed at the same internet speed, and
    • All applications should be accessible for the same cost.
    • Net neutrality argues that the internet should be accessible to everyone and requires all ISPs to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic.
    • Traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.

Features of net neutrality:

  • Non-discrimination: All data should be treated equally, and internet service providers (ISPs) should not discriminate or prioritize any type of content, application, service, or device based on its source, destination, or ownership.
  • Transparency: ISPs should provide customers with clear and accurate information about their internet services, including their network management practices, terms of service, and fees.
  • No blocking: ISPs should not block or censor lawful content, applications, services, or devices that customers want to access, use, send, receive, or offer on the internet.
  • No throttling: ISPs should not intentionally slow down or degrade the quality of any lawful content, application, service, or device that customers want to access, use, send, receive, or offer on the internet.
  • No paid prioritization: ISPs should not offer faster or better access to any content, application, service, or device in exchange for payment or other consideration from content providers, developers, or users.
  • Competition: Net neutrality promotes competition among ISPs by preventing them from using their control over access to the internet to favour their own content, applications, services, or devices or those of their partners, affiliates, or subsidiaries over those of their competitors.

Arguments in favour of the demand:

  • Paying for the infrastructure: This concept of paying for the use of infrastructure is an excellent concept wherein any entity that uses another entity’s infrastructure should pay for it.
  • Sharing revenues: However, the revenues earned by the infra provider [telecom operators] should also be shared with the entity using it in the same proportion.
  • No infrastructure with content providers: The apparent claim by the telecom operators is that content providers don’t build any of this infrastructure on their own.
  • The infrastructure for any communication network includes data centres, undersea cables, content hosting centres, content delivery networks (CDNs), etc — all of which are built by the OTT platforms.
  • In 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ruled in favour of Net neutrality, the concept that all traffic on an Internet network has to be treated equally.
    • The telecom regulator concluded that programmes such as Free Basics by Facebook (now Meta) and telecom operators’ plans to charge extra for data calls using apps like Viber would be prohibited, as all Internet access had to be priced equally.
  • The Department of Telecommunications in 2018 embedded the net neutrality concept into the Unified Licence, whose conditions all telecom operators and Internet providers are bound by the govt rules.

Arguments against the demand:

  • Co-existence: Telecom operators and platforms support “each other’s growth, and neither can exist without the other”.
  • No open Internet: According to the critics, charging a network fee will break the core essence of an open Internet.
    • Net neutrality activists (as well as content providers) have argued that imposing such a fee, even on a limited number of large players, was a distortion of the Internet’s architecture, where content providers and telecom operators enjoy a symbiotic relationship without charging each other, and users pay both, in the form of fees or advertisements, or both.
  • Universal Service Obligation Fund: According to critics, instead of providing for this demand, the government could reduce spectrum fees and support telecom companies with the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
  • Democratic exchange of content: Net neutrality supporters believe that the internet should remain free, open and non-discriminatory and that this is essential for a democratic exchange of ideas and knowledge, ethical business practices, fair competition and ongoing innovation.

Worldwide operations

  • USA: The U.S. had, and continues to have, programmes like T-Mobile Binge On, where traffic from certain content providers is ‘zero-rated’, which means it would not be counted in users’ data limits.
  • European Union: Telecom operators in the European Union are also demanding similar usage fees from content providers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a prominent Internet rights advocacy group in the U.S., warned against such moves.
    • The EU is holding consultations on the issue this year before it finalises its stand.

Way Forward:

  • Net neutrality has been the foundation on which the success of several smartphone applications has been built.
    • Although rich telecom and social media services MNCs like Bharti Airtel and Meta (earlier Facebook) attempted so-called affordable services stakeholders deemed acceptable like Airtel zero, Internet.org and Free Basics – a case of violation of net neutrality.
  • Affordable data charges have been the key to the spread of the internet and digital literacy in India and other developing countries globally.
  • In the years since, the Indian telecom industry has far outpaced the U.S. in terms of data consumed per month on mobile Internet connections, a result of the sharp drop in tariffs after Reliance Jio launched 4G services.
  • Now, Indian telecom operators are emulating the approach that American carriers had aggressively pursued a decade ago.

Source:  The Hindu

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following:

  1. Banihal Pass
  2. Khardung La
  3. Qara Tag La

Which of the above passes is/are come across the pir Panjal range?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 only
  4. 1 and 3 only

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding the Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA):

  1. The WDRA is a Statutory Authority
  2. It works under the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  3. Its Headquarters is in Kolkata.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1 2 and 3

Q.3) Recently, the 10th edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) was released by

  1. World Bank
  2. Institute for Economics and Peace
  3. Peterson Institute for International Economics
  4. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’ 21st March 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 20th March – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – c

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