DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam –24th July 2023

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  • July 24, 2023
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  • Prelims –Science and Technology

Context: Recently, Union Minister Jitendra Singh expressed satisfaction with the research work conducted on Cannabis Project by CSIR-IIIM.


  • Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh, recently visited the cannabis cultivation field of CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu at its Chatha Farm.

About Cannabis Project:-

IMAGE SOURCE: vecteezy.com

  • It is the first-ever cannabis medicine project in India.
  • Location: Jammu.
  • Implementing Agencies: CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine.
  • CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine
  • International Collaborations: It will be established in collaboration with Canada.
  • This project will be the first major foreign investment in Jammu and Kashmir after it became a Union Territory (UT).
  • Significance: The medicine prepared from Cannabis is used to produce pain-relief medicine.

About CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine:-

  • Established: 1941
  • Historical Background:-
    • It was established as a research and production center, known as the Drug Research Laboratory of J&K State.
    • It was later taken over by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) of Govt. of India in 1957 as Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu.
    • The Mandate of Institute was redefined in 2007 and its name changed to the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM).
  • Mandate: to discover new drugs and therapeutic approaches from Natural Products, both of plant and microbial origin, enabled by biotechnology, to develop technologies, drugs and products of high value for the national and international markets.
  • Function and duties: Discovery of novel pharmacologically active natural products from plants and microbial species and translating them into drug leads and candidates by medicinal chemistry, preclinical pharmacology and clinical development.

About Cannabis:-

  • According to the WHO, cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa. ( UN Decides Cannabis Not A Dangerous Narcotic)
  • Cannabis, weed, pot, and marijuana all refer to the same group of plants known for their relaxing and calming effects.
  • Cannabis is made up of more than 120 components, which are known as cannabinoids.

Medical uses:-

  • The most common uses for medical cannabis are in severe or long-term pain, due to:-
  • Chemotherapy (cancer treatments)
  • Painful muscle spasms.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS-related weight loss or nausea/vomiting
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease

Short-term effects of cannabis:-

  • relaxation
  • giddiness
  • experiencing things around you, such as sights and sounds, more intensely
  • increased appetite
  • altered perception of time and events
  • focus and creativity

Side effects:-

  • coordination issues
  • delayed reaction time
  • nausea
  • lethargy
  • anxiety
  • increased heart rate
  • decreased blood pressure
  • paranoia

Long-term effects of cannabis:-

  • Brain development: According to some research, people who start using cannabis in their teens may have more memory and learning problems than those who don’t use cannabis in their teens.
  • Dependence: Some people can also become dependent on cannabis or even experience withdrawal symptoms when not using cannabis, such as irritability, low appetite, and mood swings.
  • Respiratory problems: Smoking cannabis carries similar risks to smoking tobacco.

Legal Regulations in India:-

  • Under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985, the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and use of cannabis is a punishable offence. (Status of Cannabis)
  • The Act was enacted in 1985 which succeeded the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is vested with the power to charge individuals in cases related to the illegal use and supply of narcotics.
  • The NDPS Act defines:-
    • Ganja: flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant but it clearly excludes the seeds and leaves.
    • Charas: the separated resin extracted from the cannabis plant.
  • The Act illegalizes any mixture with or without any neutral material, of any of the two forms of cannabis, charas and ganja, or any drink prepared from it.
  • The legislature left seeds and leaves of the cannabis plant out of the ambit of the Act because the serrated leaves of the plant have negligible tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
  • ‘Bhang’, which is a paste made out of the leaves of the cannabis plant is hence not outlawed.
  • Similarly, CBD oil, an acronym for cannabidiol derived from the leaves of the cannabis plant, would not come under the NDPS Act.
  • The NDPS Act does not permit the recreational use of cannabis in India.

MUST READ: Drug Addiction



Q.1) Consider the following trees: (2023)

  1. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus.)
  2. Mahua (Madhuca indica)
  3. Teak (Tectona grandis)

How many of the above are deciduous trees?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Q.2) Consider the following statements: (2023)

  1. Some mushrooms have medicinal properties.
  2. Some mushrooms have psychoactive properties.
  3. Some mushrooms have insecticidal properties.
  4. Some mushrooms have bioluminescent properties.

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. Only three
  4. All four

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)


  • Prelims – Defense

Context: Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Aviation Security Control Centre (ASCC) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in New Delhi.

About ASCC:-

  • It will monitor all threats and social media chatter for the 66 civil airports currently under the CISF’s security cover.
  • It will access 24×7 real-time data monitoring and trend analysis of passengers and air traffic.
  • It is equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as a data center, research and development lab and a war room to deal with emergencies.
  • The center will get real-time feed from each of the security operations control centers
  • (SOCCs) operational at these 66 airports.
    • These include the “extremely busy and hyper-sensitive” civil aviation facilities in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jammu, Srinagar and Amritsar among others.
  • The facility will provide “realistic” inputs about passenger traffic at a given point in time.
    • It will help in mobilizing the resources for “optimum utilization.
  • It will also monitor bomb threat calls, VVIP movements, other major incidents, passenger clearance time, and utilization of security gadgets and queue management systems among others at the 66 airports.

About Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

  • Establishment: 1969. (Ayushmaan CAPF)
  • Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • CISF is an armed force of the Union established under the “Central Industrial Security Force Act, of 1968 (50 of 1968)”.
  • It is one of the forces under the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
    • CAPF: the collective name of central police organizations in India under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
    • It includes 7 forces: Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and National Security Guard (NSG).
  • Mandate: CISF provides security to the premises staff along with the security of property and establishments.
  • CISF has 74 other formations including 12 reserve battalions and 08 training institutes.
  • CISF is a compensatory cost force. (Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act)

Functions of CISF:-

Infrastructure protection

  • CISF is providing security to the strategic establishment, including the Department of Space, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Airports, the Delhi Metro, the ports, the historical monuments and the basic areas of the Indian economy such as petroleum and natural gas, electricity, coal, steel and mining.

Security to Private establishments

  • The CISF was primarily established to provide security cover to various public sector organizations such as Infosys, Tata, Reliance Industries, Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Private Limited.

VIP security

  • Presently, CISF is also providing security to the protected persons classified as Z Plus, Z, X, Y.

Disaster management

  • CISF performs a major role in Disaster Management, and its battalions are a part of the National Disaster Response Force.
  • It is the only force with a customized and dedicated fire wing.

MUST READ: Balakot Airstrike



Q.1) Consider the following statements (2023)

  1. Ballistic missiles are jet-propelled at subsonic speeds throughout their flights, while cruise missiles are rocket-powered only in the initial phase of flight.
  2. Agni-V is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile, while BrahMos is a solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile.

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) With reference to Home Guards, consider the following statements: (2023)

  1. Home Guards are raised under the Home Guards Act and Rules of the Central Government.
  2. The role of the Home Guards is to serve as an auxiliary force to the police in the maintenance of internal security.
  3. To prevent infiltration on the international border/ coastal areas, the Border Wing Home Guards Battalions have been raised in some states.

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Hydrogen Fuel


  • Prelims –Environment and Ecology/Economy

Context: G20 energy ministers call for cooperation on low-emission hydrogen fuel in the recently concluded Group of 20 energy ministers’ meeting held in Goa.

Key Highlights of the meeting:-

  • The G20 energy ministers met under India’s presidency.
  • Theme: One Earth, One Family, One Future.
  • The meeting endorsed zero- and low-emission hydrogen.
  • It also pledged support to the acceleration of production, and utilization, as well as the development of transparent and resilient global markets for hydrogen produced from zero and low-emission technologies and its derivatives such as ammonia.
  • This is to be done by developing voluntary and mutually agreed harmonizing standards as well as mutually recognized and interoperable certification schemes.
  • Cooperation among G20 members was said to be crucial to accelerate technology development and large-scale deployment of hydrogen and its derivatives such as ammonia while reducing costs.
  • G20 committed to working towards facilitating access to low-cost finance for existing as well as new and emerging clean and sustainable energy technologies for supporting the energy transitions.

About Hydrogen Fuel:-


  • Hydrogen is considered an alternative to fossil and other types of fuels.
  • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen.
  • Generation:-
  • It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Fuel cells are required to transform Hydrogen into electricity and use it.
    • Fuel Cells: use oxidizing agents through an oxidation-reduction reaction, to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • In the case of Hydrogen, fuel cells combine Hydrogen and Oxygen to generate electricity.
  • A catalyst, usually made from platinum is generally used for this.

Uses of Hydrogen Fuel:-

Benefits of hydrogen as a fuel:-

  • It is readily available.
  • It is environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
  • It doesn’t produce emissions as other fossil fuels.
  • It is three times as powerful as gasoline and other fossil fuels.
  • It is more efficient than diesel or gas.
  • It is renewable and can be produced again and again.

Limitations to Hydrogen production:-

  • It does not occur in deposits or reserves like fossil fuel.
  • It needs to be actually produced using chemical reactions.
  • It is far more expensive to produce.
    • Hydrogen-fueled vehicles are also more expensive than even battery-electric ones.
  • It is highly flammable.
  • It is difficult to store.

About Hydrogen:-

  • Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1.
  • It is the lightest element in the periodic table.
  • It is a non-toxic, nonmetallic, odourless, tasteless, colourless, and highly combustible diatomic gas at standard temperature and pressure.
  • It is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.
  • Its nature is not available freely.
  • It exists only in combination with other elements.
  • Thus, it has to be extracted from natural compounds, like water.
  • Hydrogen is categorized into:-
    • Grey hydrogen: produced from fossil fuels.
    • Blue hydrogen: produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.
    • Green Hydrogen: produced entirely from renewable power sources. ( Green Hydrogen)

MUST READ: National Green Hydrogen Mission



Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2023)


The temperature contrast between continents and oceans is greater during summer than in winter.


The specific heat of water is more than that of the land surface.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I
  2. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I
  3. Statement-I is correct but Statement II is incorrect
  4. Statement-I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Q.2) With reference to coal-based thermal power plants in India, consider the following statements: (2023)

  1. None of them uses seawater.
  2. None of them is set up in a water-stressed district.
  3. None of them is privately owned.

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)


  • Prelims –Polity

Context: Recently, an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that there was a delay of 17-50 months in identifying areas and people affected by mining in Chhattisgarh.

About Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG):-

  • Incumbent CAG of India: Shri Girish Chandra Murmu.
  • CAG is an independent authority under the Constitution of India. (UPSC CSE: CAG)
  • The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in Chapter V under Part V.
  • He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.
  • He is the guardian of the public purse. (UPSC MAINS: Accountability of CAG)
  • Appointment: CAG is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • Tenure: 6 years or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
  • Removal: CAG can be removed by the President only in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the Constitution which is the manner same as the removal of a Supreme Court Judge.
  • He is ineligible to hold any office, either under the Government of India or of any state, once he retires/resigns as a CAG.
  • Salary: His salary and other service conditions cannot be varied to his disadvantage after the appointment.
  • Conditions of service: His administrative powers and the conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department are prescribed by the President only after consulting him.
  • The administrative expenses of the office of CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India that is not subject to vote.

Functions of CAG:-

  • CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditures from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Consolidated Fund of each state and UT’s having a legislative assembly.
  • He audits all expenditures from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
  • He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and the state governments.
  • He audits the receipts and expenditures of all bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or State revenues; government companies; other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
  • He audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governorg. Local bodies.
  • He advises the President with regard to the prescription of the form in which the accounts of the Centre and States shall be kept.
  • He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to the President, who shall, in turn, place them before both houses of Parliament.
  • He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of a State to the Governor, who shall, in turn, place them before the state legislature.
  • CAG also acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

Constitutional Provisions regarding the CAG:-

  • Article 148–151: the appointment, oath and conditions of service, Duties and Powers of CAG.
  • Article 279: The calculation of “net proceeds” is ascertained and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, whose certificate is final.
  • Third Schedule: Section IV of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of India prescribes the form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at the time of assumption of office.
  • Sixth Schedule: According to this schedule, the District Council or Regional Council should be kept in such form as the CAG prescribes with the approval of the President.
    • In addition, these bodies’ accounts are audited in such manner as CAG may think fit, and the reports relating to such accounts shall be submitted to the Governor who shall cause them to be laid before the Council.




Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of the election to the President of India (2023)

  1. The members nominated to either House of the Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States are also eligible to be included in the Electoral College.
  2. Higher the number of elective Assembly seats, the higher the value of the vote of each MLA of that State.
  3. The value of the vote of each MLA of Madhya Pradesh is greater than that of Kerala.
  4. The value of the vote of each MLA of Puducherry is higher than that of Arunachal Pradesh because the ratio of total population to total number of elective seats in Puducherry is greater as compared to Arunachal Pradesh.

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. Only three
  4. All four

Q.2) Consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Attorney General of India and Solicitor General of India are the only officers of the Government who are allowed to participate in the meetings of the Parliament of India.
  2. According to the Constitution of India, the Attorney General of India submits his resignation when the Government which appointed him resigns.

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

Copper Age


  • Prelims –Ancient History

Context: Recent genomic data has shed light on the reasons for demise of the Copper Age.

Key highlights of the data:-

  • Previous analyses of ancient genomic data have suggested that two major genetic turnover events occurred in Western Eurasia.
    • First event: associated with the spread of farming around 7,000-6,000 BC and
    • Second event: resulting from the expansion of pastoralist groups from the Eurasian steppe starting around 3,300 BC.
    • The period between these two events, the Copper Age, was characterized by a new economy based on metallurgy, wheel and wagon transportation, and horse domestication.
  • What happened between the demise of Copper Age settlements (around 4,250 BC) and the expansion of pastoralists is not well understood.
  • According to the recent data, it is found that while there was genetic continuity between the Neolithic and Copper Age groups, from around 4500 BC groups from the northwestern Black Sea region carried varying amounts of ancestry from Copper Age and steppe-zone populations.
  • This finding shows that the groups had cultural contact and mixed nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.
  • The transfer of technology between farmers and transitional hunters from different geographical zones was integral to the rise, formation and expansion of pastoralist groups around 3300 BC.
  • According to the authors, the early admixture during the neolithic appears to be local to the North West Black Sea region of the fourth millennium BC and did not affect the hinterland in southeastern Europe.

About Copper Age:-

  • It is also called the Chalcolithic period.
  • It describes a transitional period in human prehistory between the Neolithic period (New Stone Age) and the Bronze Age. (Bhimbetka cave)
  • The Chalcolithic cultures followed the Bronze Age Harappa culture.
  • Time Period in India: It spanned around 2500 BC to 700 BC.
  • Location: This culture was mainly seen in the Pre-Harappan phase, but in many places, it extended to the Post-Harappan phase too
  • It is characterized by the use of both stone tools and the beginning of metalworking, specifically the utilization of copper.
  • Defining characteristics of this period: the simultaneous use of stone tools and early metal objects, primarily copper. (UPSC CSE: Ratnagiri’s pre-historic rock art)
  • The Chalcolithic culture corresponds to the farming communities, namely Ahar or Banas, Malwa, and Jorwe.
  • Domestication and Agriculture: The people of this age started doing animal husbandry and agriculture.
  • Crops: wheat, rice, millet, lentil, urad and moong etc.
  • Salient Features: The Chalcolithic culture of a region was defined by its ceramics and other cultural equipment like copper artefacts, beads of semi-precious stones, stone tools and terracotta figurines.

MUST READ: Stone Age Paintings in Gurugram



Quantum technology & National Security


  • Mains – GS 3 (Science and Technology)

Context: India must develop its quantum technologies soon, not just to solve the domestic issues but also to guard the nation from foreign security threats.

About Quantum Technology:

  • It is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.
  • Scientists have expanded quantum theory to understand biological phenomena such as smell, consciousness, enzyme catalysis, photosynthesis, avian navigation like that of the Robin, origin of life and effects on coronavirus.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 was awarded jointly to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.
  • It recognizes the groundbreaking work of these three physicists, who have demonstrated the power of entanglement to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.

Significance of Quantum Technologies:

  • Electronics: Many modern electronic devices are designed using quantum mechanics.
    • Examples include the laser, the transistor (and thus the microchip), the electron microscope, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Cryptography: Researchers are currently seeking robust methods of directly manipulating quantum states.
    • Efforts are being made to develop quantum cryptography, which will theoretically allow guaranteed secure transmission of information.
  • Quantum computing: Another goal is the development of quantum computers, which are expected to perform certain computational tasks exponentially faster than classical computers.
    • Instead of using classical bits, quantum computers use qubits, which can be in superpositions of states.
    • Quantum programmers can manipulate the superposition of qubits in order to solve problems that classical computing cannot do effectively, such as searching unsorted databases or integer factorization.
  • Quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cyber security with widespread applications.
    • It is expected that many commercial applications would emerge from theoretical constructs, which are developing in this area.
  • Disaster Management: Tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods may become more predictable with quantum applications.
  • Research: It can help in solving some of the fundamental questions in physics related to gravity, black hole etc.
    • Similarly, the quantum initiative could give a big boost to the Genome India project, a collaborative effort of 20 institutions to enable new efficiencies in life sciences, agriculture and medicine.

National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NMQTA):

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science and Technology will implement it.
  • The mission planned for 2023-2031 aims to seed, nurture, and scale up scientific and industrial R and D and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Quantum Technology (QT).
  • With the launch of this mission, India will be the seventh country to have a dedicated quantum mission after the US, Austria, Finland, France, Canada and China.
  • Four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) will be set up in top academic and National R&D institutes on the domains –
    • Quantum Computing,
    • Quantum Communication,
    • Quantum Sensing and Metrology, and
    • Quantum Materials and Devices.
  • The hubs will focus on the generation of new knowledge through basic and applied research as well as promote R&D in areas that are mandated to them.

Salient features of NQM:

  • It will target developing intermediate scale quantum computers with 50-100 physical qubits in 5 years and 50-1000 physical qubits in 8 years.
  • Just like bits (1 and 0) are the basic units by which computers process information, ‘qubits’ or ‘quantum bits’ are the units of process by quantum computers.
  • The mission will help develop magnetometers with high sensitivity for precision timing (atomic clocks), communications, and navigation.
  • It will also support design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures and topological materials for fabrication of quantum devices.


  • Slow Progress in Legislative Procedures: Although the NM-QTA was announced in the 2020 Budget speech, the mission has still not received any approval and no funds were allocated, disbursed or utilized under NM-QTA during the FY 2020-21.
  • Limited Private Sector Involvement in NM-QTA: The Union Minister of Science & Technology has also claimed that for the NM-QTA, no private sector partners had been identified yet and no one from outside the government had been tapped for consultations for the national mission.
    • The government must recognize the leaps made by these companies.
  • Security related issues: Quantum computing can have a disruptive effect on cryptographic encryption, which secures communications and computers.
    • It might pose a challenge for the government also because if this technology goes into the wrong hands, all the government’s official and confidential data will be at risk of being hacked and misused.
  • Technological Issues: The challenge lies in harnessing the properties of quantum superposition in a highly controlled manner. The qubits tend to be very fragile and lose their “quantumness” if not controlled properly.

Way Forward:

The National Quantum Mission’s focus on quantum materials and devices marks a significant step towards India’s technological advancements. Through strategic investments, collaborative research, and an efficient R and D ecosystem, India can harness the power of quantum technology, propel innovation, and achieve self-reliance across multiple sectors.

Source:  The Hindu

Biofortified foods


  • Mains – GS 3 (Science and Technology)

Context: The Global Market wants biofortified foods to be branded separately, just like “organic” products.

About Biofortified foods:

  • Biofortification is an agricultural nutrition intervention that boosts the concentration of vitamins and minerals in food crops using conventional breeding, agronomic, and transgenic methods.
  • Biofortification is different from fortification as it involves the selection of crops that have high nutrient content.
  • Fortification normally involves the addition of nutrients during processing.

Biofortified foods in India:

  • Scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have been developing biofortified crops in India with a view to eradicating malnutrition amongst the poor sections of the society.
  • As per the ICAR website, they had developed 21 varieties of biofortified staples including wheat, rice, maize, millets, mustard, and groundnut by 2019-20.
  • These biofortified crops have 5 to 3 times higher levels of protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids compared to the traditional varieties.

Techniques of Biofortification:

Conventional Breeding: The aim is to transfer the desired traits, such as increased vitamin or mineral content, to the new crop varieties.

  • Selective Breeding: Researchers identify and select crop varieties with naturally higher nutrient content, known as donor or parent lines.
    • These lines are then crossbred with local varieties to create new hybrids with improved nutritional profiles.
  • Backcrossing: This technique involves crossing a biofortified crop with a locally adapted variety for several generations while selecting for the desired nutrient content.
  • Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS): To speed up the breeding process, genetic markers associated with the desired nutrient traits are identified and used to select and track the presence of these traits in the offspring.

Biotechnology: This approach allows for more precise control over the nutrient content, but it is subject to rigorous regulatory scrutiny.

  • Transgenic Approach: Scientists introduce genes from other organisms into the plant’s genome, which encode enzymes or proteins involved in the synthesis of specific nutrients.
    • This leads to the production of the desired nutrient in the crop itself.
  • Gene Editing (CRISPR-Cas9): This advanced biotechnological tool allows for targeted modifications of specific genes in the crop’s genome to enhance nutrient content.
  • Hybridization: This technique involves crossing two genetically distinct parent lines to produce hybrid seeds with improved nutritional characteristics compared to the original varieties.
  • Mutagenesis: In this approach, plants are exposed to mutagenic agents (e.g., radiation or chemicals) to induce random genetic mutations.
    • These mutations can sometimes lead to beneficial traits, such as increased nutrient content, which are then selected and propagated.

Benefits of Biofortification:

  • Reaching the undernourished in rural regions effectively: The biofortification plan aims to incorporate the micronutrient-dense feature in the highest-yielding and most lucrative varieties to benefit farmers and poor people.
  • For Welfare Motto: Under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the micronutrient value of the meals can be greatly increased by incorporating biofortified crops.
    • The nutritional status of those living below the poverty line could be impacted by the inclusion of biofortified crops in the PDS.
  • Sustainability of biofortification: Unlike other techniques of supplementation, once the crop is introduced with a nutritionally better trait, its seeds and products will contain the same genotype and the cycle will continue without much more expenditure
  • Cost-effective: By incorporating some nutritionally better features into their seed variety, biofortified seeds improve the variety of crop.
    • Therefore, for the same cost of seed, farmers can obtain nutritionally better seed for the production.

Challenges for Biofortified foods in India:

  • Consumer Acceptance: One of the significant challenges is the lack of consumer acceptance, particularly when it comes to changes in the appearance, taste, or texture of biofortified foods.
    • For example, the “golden rice,” which is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene (provitamin A), faced resistance due to its yellowish colour, even though it addresses vitamin A deficiency.
  • Last mile reach and accessibility: Ensuring that biofortified foods reach the most vulnerable and nutritionally deficient populations in remote and rural areas can be a logistical challenge.
  • Farmer adoption and cost: Farmers may be hesitant to switch from their traditional crops to new biofortified varieties due to uncertainties about crop performance, market demand, and potential changes in farming practices.
    • Additionally, the initial costs of acquiring biofortified seeds or materials might be a concern for resource-limited farmers.
  • Time and resources for non-GMO methods: While biofortification using non-genetically-modified methods is generally considered safe and more widely accepted by some consumers, it can be a slower and resource-intensive process compared to genetic modification.
  • Risk of excess iron: The segments of the population, such as men and individuals with certain medical conditions like thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia, excessive iron intake through fortified foods may pose health risks.
    • High iron levels have been associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Initiatives of the Government to promote Biofortified food:

  • ICAR has published several biofortified crop types that are high in micronutrients including iron, zinc, and beta-carotene through its various research.
  • Examples include sweet potatoes strong in vitamin A (Bhu Sona), high-zinc wheat (WB 02), and zinc and iron-rich rice cultivars (DRR Dhan 45, CR Dhan 310).
  • Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs): These KVKs, developed by ICAR, act as information and resource hubs for agricultural innovations in biofortification.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) program has been crucial in promoting biofortified crops by providing finance for development, research, and marketing initiatives.

Source:  The Hindu


Q.1) With reference to Indian History, Alexander Rea, A. H. Longhurst, Robert Sewell, James Burgess and Walter Elliot were associated with (2023)

  1. archaeological excavations
  2. establishment of the English Press in Colonial India
  3. establishment of Churches in Princely States
  4. construction of railways in Colonial India

Q.2) Which one of the following ancient towns is well known for its elaborate system of water harvesting and management by building a series of dams and channelizing water into connected reservoirs? (2021).

  1. Dholavira
  2. Kalibangan
  3. Rakhigarhi

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q1) Consider the following pairs:

  1. Grey hydrogen :      produced from fossil fuels.
  2. Blue hydrogen :      produced entirely from renewable power sources.
  3. Green Hydrogen :      produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. Only three
  4. None

Q2) Consider the following statements


Chalcolithic culture was only seen in the Pre-Harappan phase.


The people of this age started doing animal husbandry and agriculture.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I
  2. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I
  3. Statement-I is correct but Statement II is incorrect
  4. Statement-I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Q3) Consider the following statements


CISF is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.


It provides security to Private establishments.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I
  2. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I
  3. Statement-I is correct but Statement II is incorrect
  4. Statement-I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Mains Practice Questions

Q.1) What is the significance of Quantum Technology for India’s defence and security sector? What are the challenges for India’s National Quantum Mission (NQM)? Discuss (250 words)

Q.2) Food fortification is the new panacea for nutritional deficiency in the Indian population. Critically analyze (250 words)

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 24th July 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 24th July – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – b

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