DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th May 2023

  • IASbaba
  • May 16, 2023
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email





  • Prelims – Ancient History

Context: Explorers in Telangana recover artefacts which link Cherial village in Siddipet district to Satavahana period

About the news:

Field researchers have retrieved:

  • several terracotta figurines of dolls, yakshini puppets, etc.
  • pottery shreds of different designs,
  • Colourful stone beads and terracotta beads which were part of ornaments during the Satavahana period.
  • Coin from the Satavahana period. The coin bears the insignia of Ujjain on one side and Brahmi script on the other.
  • Large bricks measuring 14 X 12 X 4 inches and figures of goddesses belong to the Ikshvaku as well as Satavahana periods.

About Satavahanas:

  • The Satavahanas came to power in the Deccan area after the decline of Mauryans in the region.
  • The first king of the Satavahana dynasty was Simuka. Most glorious period under Gautamiputra Satkarni.
  • Territorial spread: The Satavahana kingdom majorly comprised present Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana. At times, their rule also included parts of Gujarat, Karnataka as well as Madhya Pradesh.

  • Matronyms: The Satavahana kings used matronyms like Gautamiputra and Vaishishthiputra. This is a unique feature of Satavahana But this does not indicate that they were matriarchal or matrilineal in any sense.
  • Multiple capitals: Two of the capitals were Amaravati and Pratishthana (Paithan).
  • They assumed the title of Dakshinapatha Pati (Lord of Dakshinapatha).
  • Grants: The Satavahanas started the practice of giving royal grants of land to Brahmans and Buddhist monks.
    • For instance, the Karle inscription mentions the grant of Karajika village, near Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Coins: The Satavahanas were the first native Indian kings to have issued their own coins.
    • Gautamiputra Satakarni started this practice.
    • Nahapana coins: Nahapana was a powerful Western Satraps king and the adversary of Gautamiputra Satkarni. Gautamiputa defeated him and more than 800 Nahapana silver coins (found near Nasik) bear the marks of being restruck by the Satavahana king.
    • They mostly issued coins of lead, which is found on the Deccan and also coins of silver, copper and bronze.
    • The coins had the portraits of rulers on them.
    • These coins sometimes had bilingual legends, one side Prakrit and the other side in Tamil, Telugu or Kannada.
  • Language: They patronised Prakrit more than Sanskrit. Sanskrit was rarely used. They used the Brahmi script.
  • Religion: Even though the rulers were Hindus and claimed Brahmanical status, they supported Buddhism They revived Vedic Brahmanism and the corresponding rituals like the Ashvamedha yajna.
  • Polity:
    • The king was at the apex of the administrative hierarchy and considered the guardian of the established social order.
    • The state was divided into aharas, each being governed by a minister called Amatya.
    • The Satavahana kingdom had three grades of feudatories – Raja (who had the right to strike coins), Mahabhoja and Senapati.
  • Art and architecture: Amravati Stupa was constructed by them. Paintings at Ajanta caves 9 and 10 are from Satavahana period.
  • Major inscriptions:
    • The earliest inscriptions of the Satavahans belong to the first century BCE when they defeated the Kanvas and established their power in parts of Central India.
    • Nashik prashasti inscription by Gautami Balashri: It states that the horses of Gautamiputra drank waters of the “three oceans”(Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean). It gives detailed account of Satavahana administration.
    • Karle inscription: It mentions about donation of land to Buddhist monks.

Source: Indian Express



  • Prelims – Polity and Governance

Context: In Karnataka elections, AAP receives fewer votes than NOTA.

About NOTA:

  • NOTA meaning ‘None of the Above’ options.
  • It was incorporated by the SC through its judgement in People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India
  • It has been an integral part of the Indian voting system for the past decade. The NOTA option was first used in the 2013 assembly elections held in four states — Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory, Delhi.
  • NOTA enables the voter to officially register a vote of rejection for all candidates who are contesting an election without violation of the secrecy of their decision. If a voter chooses to press NOTA on the EVM, it indicates that the voter has not chosen to vote for any party.
  • Pre-NOTA period: Before NOTA option came into being, there was Section 49 (O) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which allowed voters to cast a negative vote. But such a vote was to be verified by the presiding officer. This provision was deemed unconstitutional by the SC as it did not protect the identity and choice of the voter. Under NOTA, the officials cannot find out the reason and the identity of the voter is also protected.
  • In 2018, SC held that the NOTA option is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections. Thus, NOTA is not applicable to Rajya Sabha elections.
  • Issues with NOTA:
    • First past the post system: As per RPA, 1951, the candidate who has polled the largest number of valid votes is to be declared elected by the Returning Officer. Thus, if out of total 10,000 votes, 9999 voters select NOTA option and just one candidate gets a single vote, even then the latter wins from that constituency.
    • No re-election: There has been a debate for re-election to be held in case the total number of NOTA votes crosses a certain percentage. But re-election would lead to wastage of already scarce government resources.
    • No right to recall: Currently, Right To Recall does not exist in the Indian electoral process and this weakens NOTA as the candidates are sure they won’t face any consequences.
    • Limited use: So far, only a small number of Indian voters have come to see NOTA as an instrument of protest.

NOTA has its limitations, but it has provided the voters with democratic means of NOTA to express their resentment rather than boycotting the polls outright. NOTA will become a meaningful means of negative voting only if it becomes a ‘right to reject’ rather than being a symbolic instrument to express resentment as it is now.

Source:  The Hindu

United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)


  • Prelims – International Relations

Context: Discussions on integrated policies on sustainable forest management (SFM) and energy to meet the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) took centre stage at the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF18).

About UNFF:

  • The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was established in 2000 with the primary goal of promoting “the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end” based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) report.
  • It is a subsidiary body created by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • Every Member State of the United Nations as well as specialized agencies make up the Forum’s universal membership.
  • The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a grouping of 15 forest-related international organizations, institutions and convention secretariats, was established in April 2001, to support the work of the UNFF.
  • Because of UNFF, in 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the ‘Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests’, updating it to the ‘United Nations Forest Instrument’ in 2015.

 Source:  DTE

UK to give long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine


  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: The United Kingdom will provide long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine to push back invading Russian forces.

About Storm Shadow cruise missile:

  • Storm Shadow is a long-ranged, air-launched, conventionally armed, deep-strike cruise missile.
  • It is manufactured by the France-based MBDA Missile Systems.
  • Range: More than 250 km.
  • It’s capable of being operated day and night in all weathers.
  • It is designed to destroy high-valued stationary targets.
  • The combination of its long-range, low altitude and supersonic speed makes it a stealthy weapon.
  • It offers high precision deep strike capability as it features a sophisticated navigation system that includes inertial navigation (INS), global positioning system (GPS) and terrain reference navigation for better control over the path.
  • The missile features the BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) warhead — a high-technology warhead, which first cuts the surface of the target, penetrates into it and then explodes.

Source:   Indian Express

Hammerhead sharks


  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: As per study, Hammerhead sharks can hold their breath to survive almost freezing-cold waters during deep dives.

About Hammer Shark heads:

  • Hammerhead Sharks are characterized by a flattened hammer- or shovel-shaped head.
  • These distinctive heads serve multiple purposes, including granting the sharks 360-degree vision as well as better hunting abilities.
  • Distribution:
    • They are widely distributed in tropical and temperate marine waters near the coasts and above the continental shelves.
    • They may migrate seasonally, moving equatorward during the winter and poleward during the summer.
  • Features:
    • They have very impressive triangular, serrated teeth—like the edge of a saw’s blade.
    • The hammerhead also has special sensors across its head that helps it scan for food in the ocean.
    • Unlike many fish, hammerheads do not lay eggs. They are viviparous i.e. the female gives birth to young ones.

Source: The New York Times

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)


  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has embarked on a nationwide capacity building drive to augment thousands of Aadhaar operators across the country.

About UIDAI:

  • UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India.
  • Aadhaar was meant to be a document which is:
    • robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and
    • authenticated and verifiable in an easy, cost-effective way.
  • UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
  • Earlier, UIDAI was functioning as an attached office of the then Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog)
  • Ministry: It comes under the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY)
  • Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for:
    • Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle,
    • Developing the policy, procedure and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals and
    • Perform authentication and
    • To ensure the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.

Source:  Times of India

Milkweed butterflies


  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: A recent study by a team of researchers shed light on the migration patterns of Milkweed butterflies in southern India.

About Milkweed butterflies:

  • Milkweed butterflies are a diverse group of butterflies belonging to the brush-footed butterfly family.
    • Brush-footed butterfly: Their forelegs are reduced in size and covered in fine hairs, giving them a brush-like appearance. These specialized legs are used for various functions, including perching and tasting.
  • Diversity: There are approximately 300 species of milkweed butterflies, including the well-known and iconic Monarch butterfly.
  • Distribution: Most milkweed butterfly species are found in the tropical regions of both the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) and the New World (North America, South America, and the Caribbean). However, some species, such as the monarch butterfly and the queen butterfly, can also be found in temperate regions.
  • Adult milkweed butterflies are typically large and exhibit vibrant colours. Their wings are usually long, with brownish or orange hues and distinctive black-and-white patterns.
  • Flight and Migration: Milkweed butterflies have a slow flight pattern. Some species, like the monarch butterfly, undertake remarkable long-distance migrations to reach their breeding or overwintering grounds. Milkweed butterflies migrate westward from the Eastern Ghats and plains to the Western Ghats. When the summer rain cools southern India, the butterflies migrate eastwards into the Eastern Ghats and the plains.
  • Feeding and defence mechanisms: Milkweed butterflies primarily feed on milkweed plants, hence the name. Milkweed plants contain acrid and milky juices that make the larvae and subsequent stages of milkweed butterflies unappetizing to predators. The combination of these distasteful characteristics and their conspicuous colouration serves as a defence mechanism to protect them.

Source:  The Hindu

U.S. Debt ceiling standoff


  • Prelims – Defence

Context: The United States hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion forcing the Treasury Department to initiate “extraordinary measures” to ensure that the federal government keeps paying its bills and can stave off default until June — when it will run out of funds.

About U.S. Debt ceiling:

  • The debt ceiling is the maximum amount the U.S. government can borrow to fulfil its financial obligations. The US Federal Government borrows money due to the budget deficit where expenditure is greater than revenue.
  • It was introduced in 1917 during World War I.
  • The Government borrows by issuing debt securities like bonds to investors and a large part of the money is kept by the US government for social security schemes, Medicare, federal pensions, etc.
  • The government will default on debt if it runs out of cash, extraordinary measures are exhausted and the debt ceiling is not raised.
  • The stand-off is recurring because Congress does not have the entire amount of funding when it approves programmes and there is a limit on borrowing by the treasury to pay for already borrowed programmes.
    • For example, if Congress approves $100 of spending, then $70 comes in taxes and for the rest of the amount due to the debt ceiling the government can only borrow $15.

What will happen if the debt ceiling is breached?

  • If the Congress failed to raise the debt limit by June, the government would default on its debt, which might trigger an economic catastrophe.
  • Once the debt default happens, the dollar would weaken, the stock markets would collapse, and thousands of people might lose their jobs. T
  • This would also make investors demand much higher interest rates in the future to loan money to the government.

Has the US breached the debt ceiling earlier?

  • No, the US has never breached the debt ceiling so far. However, experts suggest that even approaching debt default might severely impact the economy in the longer run.
  • The US government has faced the threat of breaching the debt limit multiple times and Congress has always acted to either permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit.

Source:  Financial Express

Should India consider phasing out nuclear power?


  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: There are questions on whether nuclear power, with its attendant concerns on cost and safety, remains a relevant option for a future that is fossil-free, particularly in India.

About Nuclear Energy:

  • Nuclear energy is the energy source found in an atom’s nucleus, or core. Once extracted, this energy can be used to produce electricity by creating nuclear fission in a reactor through two kinds of atomic reaction:

The Global Outlook for Nuclear Power:

  • There has been a renaissance of sorts for nuclear power in the last two years, with even Europe and the US looking at it again, especially after the Ukraine war.
  • China has been surging ahead on nuclear power, and South Korea’s new president has changed energy policy to increase the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix to 30% by 2030.
  • Japan, despite having faced the Fukushima accident, has restarted reactors and plans to start ten more.
    • This is because Japan would have had to depend on expensive imported coal or natural gas (LNG) otherwise.
  • Even the UK has said that scaling up nuclear power is essential for decarbonizing the electricity sector.

India’s Nuclear Power:

  • India currently has 22 nuclear reactors with over a dozen more projects planned.
  • All the existing reactors are operated by the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
  • Nuclear power currently comprises 3% of India’s total electricity generation and the current policy targets a three-fold rise in nuclear-installed capacity by 2032.
  • The present installed nuclear power capacity is set to increase from 6,780 MW to 22,480 MW by 2031 on progressive completion of projects under construction and accorded sanction.

Law governing nuclear liability

Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC):

  • The umbrella Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) was adopted in 1997 with the aim of establishing a minimum national compensation amount.
  • The amount can further be increased through public funds, (to be made available by the contracting parties), should the national amount be insufficient to compensate for the damage caused by a nuclear incident.

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA):

  • Even though India was a signatory to the CSC, Parliament ratified the convention only in 2016.
  • To keep in line with the international convention, India enacted the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA) in 2010, to put in place a speedy compensation mechanism for victims of a nuclear accident.
  • The CLNDA provides for strict and no-fault liability on the operator of the nuclear plant, where it will be held liable for damage regardless of any fault on its part.

Advantages of Nuclear Power:

Efficient power supplier:

  • Nuclear power has higher energy density as it requires a lesser quantity of fuel than other sources of power like coal or natural gas based power plants.
  • It is especially suitable for space missions which must not have bulky cargo, making it difficult for them to escape the earth’s gravity.

Co-existence with other power sources:

  • A lot of countries claim that nuclear power would be good to have in the mix because it is firm, dispatchable power, while wind and solar are intermittent or variable.
  • Firm power is the power that can be sent to the electric grid to be supplied whenever needed.

Efficiency of newer machines:

  • Older designs required active cooling pumps, but the world now has systems which, even if the power fails, will gradually and gracefully control temperature, waste-heat, etc.
  • The worst sort of accident in history, Chernobyl, was a design that will never get repeated again.

Challenges Associated with Nuclear Power:

Safety Concerns:

  • The safety of nuclear power plants is a significant concern, mainly due to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear accidents.
  • The accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima are still fresh in people’s minds.
  • Even though nuclear safety has improved since then, the potential for human error, natural disasters, or other incidents leading to nuclear accidents cannot be ignored.

Nuclear Proliferation:

  • The enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel production can also be used to develop nuclear weapons.
  • Therefore, countries that have nuclear power plants must be extremely cautious about the safety and security of their nuclear facilities to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Liability Issues:

  • Nuclear liability is a significant sticking point for many countries. In the event of a nuclear accident, the question of liability arises.
  • This issue has been a stumbling block for India’s deal with France to install European Pressurized Reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

Cost Overruns:

  • The cost of building and operating nuclear power plants is another significant challenge.
  • The cost of nuclear power plants is higher than the cost of alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind power.

Radioactive Waste:

  • Nuclear power plants generate radioactive waste that needs to be safely disposed of to avoid environmental contamination.
  • The disposal of nuclear waste is a contentious issue, with no satisfactory solution found yet.

Way Forward:

While there are concerns about the safety, cost, and waste associated with nuclear power, it remains a low-carbon source of base-load power. India’s energy mix is dominated by coal, which has significant environmental and health impacts. Phasing out nuclear power could result in an increased reliance on coal, which would have severe environmental and health consequences.

Therefore, nuclear power should remain a part of India’s energy mix, at least in the short to medium term. However, India should continue to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels in the long term.

Source: The Hindu

Model Prisons Act 2023


  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs has prepared the ‘Model Prisons Act 2023’ on the recommendations of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).

About Model Prisons Act 2023:

  • Model Prisons Act 2023 has assimilated the relevant provisions of ‘The Prisons Act, 1894’, ‘The Prisoners Act, 1900’ and ‘The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950’.
    • These three acts will be replaced by the Model Prisons Act 2023.
  • It will serve as a “guiding document” for the States, and for adoption in their jurisdiction.
  • It aims to overhaul the prison administration, with focus on the reformation and rehabilitation of inmates.

Some salient features of the new Model Prisons Act are as follows:

  • Security: Provision for security assessment and segregation of prisoners, individual sentence planning, grievance redressal, prison development board, attitudinal change towards prisoners.
  • Accommodation: Provision of separate accommodation for women prisoners, transgender, etc.
  • Technology: Provision for use of technology in prison administration with a view to bring transparency in prison administration.
    • Provision for video conferencing with courts, scientific and technological interventions in prisons, etc.
    • Provision of punishment for prisoners and jail stay for use of prohibited items like mobile phones etc. in jails.
  • Open jail: Provision regarding establishment and management of high security jail, open jail (open and semi open), etc.
  • Protection for society: Provision for protecting the society from the criminal activities of hardened criminals and habitual offenders, etc.
  • Legal aid: Provision for legal aid to prisoners, provision of parole, furlough and premature release etc. to incentivise good conduct.
  • Skill development: Focus on vocational training and skill development of prisoners and their reintegration into the society.

Present Legal Status:

  • Constitution: ‘Prisons’/’persons detained therein’ is a “State-List” subject under Entry 4 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India.
    • Administration and management of prisons and prisoners is the responsibility of respective State Governments.
  • Laws: The Prisons Act of 1894 is a pre-independence era Act and is almost 130-years-old.
    • Two other related laws — The Prisoners Act, 1900 and The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950 are also decades-old.
    • There is also the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003.
  • Types of Jails: The number of jail establishments in India stood over 1,000 which are categorised as Central Jails, District Jails, Sub-Jails, Juvenile and Women Jails as well as open Jails/Camps.

Present issues with Prisons in India:

  • Issues with existing laws: The existing Act mainly focuses on keeping the criminals in custody and enforcement of discipline and order in prisons.
    • There is no provision for reform and rehabilitation of prisoners in the existing Act.
  • Undertrial: Bulk of the inmates comprises undertrial prisoners. These are often people from disadvantaged backgrounds involved in minor and technical violations of the law who are incarcerated due to their inability to pay for bail and/or for good legal representation.
  • Overcrowding: Jails India suffer from serious overcrowding. India’s prison population stood at 331,391 as on 31.12.2004 reflecting a jail population of 30 per hundred thousand Indians and jail occupancy levels stood at 139% of capacity.
  • Poor conditions: The situation in many prisons is appalling enough to be considered a violation of human dignity as well as the basic human rights of the inmates.
    • Convicts are imprisoned for long periods in crumbling buildings with inadequate accommodation and sanitary facilities.
  • Privileges for powerful people: Paradoxically, a few individuals, who are powerful are allowed to enjoy extraordinary facilities not permitted under the rules.
  • Misuse of Parole: The issue of misuse of the provisions for parole and for remission of sentences has significant implications for public order because indiscriminate and reckless grant of parole or remission of sentences can impact public order adversely.

Suggestive Measures:

  • Addressing the issue of prison overcrowding by exploring alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, such as diversion programs and community-based sentencing.
  • Legal Aid and Access to Justice: Ensuring that prisoners have access to legal aid and representation to protect their rights and facilitate fair trials.
    • Promoting awareness among inmates about their legal rights and avenues for seeking redress.
  • Prison Healthcare: Enhancing healthcare services within prisons, including mental health support and substance abuse treatment programs.
  • Women and Children in Prisons: Creating gender-responsive policies and separate accommodations for women prisoners, ensuring their safety, privacy, and access to reproductive health services.
  • Community Reintegration: Collaborating with community-based organizations, NGOs, and vocational training institutes to support the reintegration of released prisoners into society.
  • Technology and Digital Solutions: Leveraging technology to improve prison management, record-keeping, and communication systems.

Source: The Hindu

About Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)

  • Established in: 1970.
  • Headquarters at New Delhi.
  • Comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • It is a multifaceted, consultancy organisation which works for the modernisation of police forces.
  • It has 4 divisions – Research, Development, Training and Correctional Administration.

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1)The Karle and Nashik inscriptions talk about which dynasty?

  1. Satavahana
  2. Rashtrakuta
  3. Chalukya
  4. Chola

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. There was no way to register a negative vote before NOTA.
  2. If NOTA has the highest share of votes in an election, it is mandatory to go for a re-election.
  3. NOTA is applicable only to Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 3 Only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) Consider the following statements about UN Forum on Forests (UNFF):

  1. It was established by UNEP.
  2. It aims to promote the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests.

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 15th May 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 13th May – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – a 

Q.3) – b

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates