Highlights from Newspaper Minority Issues

Shompen PVTGs voted for the first time

  • For the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, seven members of the Shompen tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) of the Great Nicobar Islands, voted for the union territory’s lone Lok Sabha seat.

About the Shompen Tribe:

  • The Shompen tribe lives mostly in the deep interior portions of Great Nicobar Island, the southernmost island in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
  • According to the 2011 Census, their population was expected to be 229. 
  • Their cultural behaviours include traditional hunting, fishing, and harvesting of forest materials.
  • Pandanus (a tropical shrub indigenous on the islands) is the Shompens’ principal diet, with fruits that resemble woody pineapples.
  • The Shompens differ from the four other PVTGs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Onges, and Sentinelese — in that they are the only tribe in the region possessing Mongoloid traits. The other PVTGs have Negroid characteristics.

Society & Culture

  • The Shompen people have their own distinct culture and language, which is related to the Austroasiatic language family.
  • Marriage is one of the Shompen society’s rituals, and it involves collecting women from various tribes and subgroups.
  • They follow a hunter-gatherer subsistence lifestyle.
Highlights from Newspaper

Highlights from the ASER 2023 Survey

  • The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023, themed ‘Beyond Basics,’ provides a thorough overview of the educational situation for 14- to 18-year-olds in rural India.

About ASER

  • Policymakers rely heavily on the ASER report, which has been maintained by the Pratham Education Foundation since 2005.
  • It helps people comprehend the state of education and basic learning in various domains.
  • The report is released every two years and is critical in setting education strategies.
  • ASER 2023 included 34,745 youngsters aged 14 to 18 from 28 districts across 26 states.
  • The survey assessed their reading, math, and English skills, as well as how they apply these skills in everyday life, their capacity to comprehend written instructions, and their proficiency in these disciplines.

Positive outcomes were identified

  • Increased Secondary Education Transition: Despite concerns about economic difficulties as a result of the pandemic, ASER 2023 observes a positive trend of more children in India receiving more years of education than ever before. Many people have successfully transitioned to secondary education.
  • High Overall Enrollment Rate: The survey shows an encouraging 86.8% enrollment rate for 14-18-year-olds in educational institutions. This displays a strong commitment to rural education, raising hopes for the realisation of India’s demographic dividend.

Challenges and Failures

  • Foundational Skill Gaps: Approximately 25% of the questioned youngsters struggle to read Grade 2 material, and more than half struggle with mathematical skills required in Grade 5. This highlights a major gap in basic learning, which has an impact on the quality of the country’s labour force.
  • Underutilization of Digital Technology: Although smartphones are widely available in rural households (95%), their application for educational purposes is restricted. This raises worries about the unrealized potential of technology to improve learning outcomes.
  • Gender disparities: The survey reveals differences in reading, math, and digital skills between men and women. Gender differences remain in task performance and STEM enrolment, underlining the need for targeted interventions.

Reasons for low foundational skill gaps.

  • Inadequate teacher-student ratios and training: Nearly 8% of Indian schools have only one instructor, which has an impact on educational quality. Teachers frequently lack training in modern educational methods, limiting pupils’ understanding of fundamental topics.
  • Insufficient Learning Resources: Students’ capacity to practise and reinforce core abilities suffers from a lack of access to textbooks and learning materials outside of the classroom.
  • Socioeconomic Disparities: Students from low-income families encounter obstacles such as inadequate infrastructure, a lack of educational support at home, and limited access to extracurricular activities.

Various government initiatives.

  • Several government programmes seek to solve these challenges:
  • Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) strives for Universal Elementary Education.
  • NIPUN Bharat aims to achieve universal fundamental literacy and numeracy by 2025.
  • PM-POSHAN Scheme/Mid-Day Meal Scheme: Meets the dietary requirements of school-aged children.
  • The SWAYAM Programme focuses on educational access, equity, and quality.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan: Encourages girls’ education and transition at all levels.

Key Recommendations by ASER 2023

  • Grant devolution: Divide central and state grants among local entities for direct transmission to schools.
  • Community Management of Schools: Encourage community-managed schools, with the private sector taking on schools for reform.
  • Regular School-Parent Interactions: Establish relationships with households to increase parental involvement and learning outcomes.
  • Smartphone Use for Learning: Use cellphones to deliver online modules and interactive examinations to enhance classroom instruction.
  • Indoor and outdoor sports, cultural activities, play-based learning, video films, and sound boxes can all be used as innovative teaching methods.
  • Strengthen public libraries to alleviate the paucity of learning resources.
Highlights from Newspaper

The Selection Process for Republic Day Tableaux and Recent Controversies

  • The idea by the Defence Ministry for a rollover plan for states and UTs to display their tableaux at the Republic Day parade comes amid continuous issues and protests from several states.
  • The strategy intends to ensure that every state and territory has a chance to participate over a three-year period, solving the issue of restricted slots (about 15) available each year.

Republic Day Tableaux Selection Process

  • Tableaux may be sent by State Governments/UT Administrations/Central Ministries/Departments.
  • Application Procedure: Interested firms must submit a concept note and design blueprints to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) before a deadline.
  • Evaluation by an Expert Committee: The Ministry of Defence establishes a committee of art, culture, and related subject professionals to review the ideas in two stages:
    • Stage 1: Initial evaluation of concepts and design sketches, with probable rejections or revisions suggested.
    • Stage 2: Three-dimensional model evaluation, leading to final selection or further revisions.

Factor Selection Criteria 

  • Visual appeal, thematic relevancy, detailing, accompanying music, usage of local artists, and conformity to the year’s overarching theme were all taken into account.
  • “Viksit Bharat” (Developed India) and “Bharat: Loktantra ki Matrika” (India: the Mother of Democracy) are the themes for 2024.
  • Guidelines: The Ministry of Defence establishes standards for the use of young designers, electronic displays, robots, 3D printing, augmented/virtual reality, and environmentally friendly materials. Compliance with these criteria is encouraged.

Disagreements and Rejections

  • Concerns of Opposition-Ruled States: States such as Karnataka, Punjab, and West Bengal have voiced discontent with the rejection of their tableaux.
  • The Centre’s Position: The Centre has upheld its decision without elaborating on the basis for its rejection.
  • Possible Rejection Reasons: Misalignment with the wider subject, as stated by MoD sources about the plans from Punjab and West Bengal.
  • Political Allegations: A lawmaker argued that the Delhi government’s exclusion was unjustified, with the intention of highlighting the state’s governance paradigm.

@the end

  • Navigating Difficulties: The revised rollover plan and selection process strive to strike a compromise between equal state representation and respect to thematic and aesthetic requirements.
  • Addressing Dissatisfaction: While the proposal aims to reduce yearly complaints, it also raises concerns about openness and political factors in the selection process.
  • Prospects for the Future: Maintaining the integrity and joyous atmosphere of the Republic Day parade requires an open, inclusive, and theme-compliant selection procedure.
Highlights from Newspaper

Surat and Indore are the cleanest cities in India, according to the Swachh Survekshan Awards 2023

  • Surat in Gujarat and Indore in Madhya Pradesh were named India’s cleanest cities at the Union Urban Affairs Ministry’s annual clean city awards 2023.


  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched Swachh Survekshan in 2016 as a competitive framework to encourage urban sanitation improvements and community engagement.
  • Swachh Survekshan has expanded over time to become the world’s largest urban sanitation survey.
  • The emphasis of the 2023 version (SS 2023) is on waste source segregation, expanding city waste processing capacity, and minimising trash delivered to dumpsites.
  • SS 2023 adds additional indicators with greater significance, concentrating on phased plastic reduction, improved plastic waste management, “waste to wonder” parks, and zero-waste events.
  • SS 2023 encourages the ranking of wards within cities.
  • The survey rates cities based on specific indications such as ‘Open Urination’ (Yellow Spots) and ‘Open Spitting’ (Red Spots).

Highlights from the 2023 Clean City Awards 

  • Top Rankings: Surat and Indore tied for first place, with Navi Mumbai taking third place in the category of cleanest cities.
  • Indore’s Consistent Success: Indore has been named the cleanest city for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Other notable cities include: Greater Visakhapatnam, Bhopal, Vijayawada, New Delhi, Tirupati, Greater Hyderabad, and Pune are also among the top ten cleanest cities in India.

Special Categories and State Rankings

  • Maharashtra has emerged as the top performer in the state rankings, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • Smaller Cities and Cantonment Boards: Sasvad and Lonavala in Maharashtra, and Patan in Chhattisgarh, were the best achievers in cities with a population of less than one lakh. Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow Cantonment Board was named the cleanest cantonment board.
  • Cleanest Ganga Towns: Varanasi and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh were named the cleanest towns on the Ganga.

Themes and Awards

  • Awards for Swachh Survekshan: These awards, launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), have grown to become the world’s largest urban sanitation survey.
  • Themes: The topic of the 2023 poll was “Waste to Wealth,” whereas the forthcoming 2024 survey will emphasise “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.”

Indore’s Ascension to the Top of the Rankings

  • Indore’s extraordinary rise from 25th place in 2016 to regular first place is impressive.
  • Key Success Factors: The success of the city is credited to a sustainable waste collection, processing, and disposal system, as well as community engagement and innovative sanitation initiatives.

Sanitation Initiatives in Indore

  • trash Segregation and Disposal: Indore updated its sanitation and trash collection system, enlisting the help of non-governmental organisations and altering the routes of rubbish disposal trucks.
  • Legacy rubbish Management: The city cleaned and handled a considerable volume of legacy rubbish at the Devguradiya landfill in a timely and effective manner.
  • Infrastructure Development: Funds have been set up for the construction of garbage transfer terminals and treatment plants.
  • Community Engagement: Efforts were made to instill good cleanliness practices in residents, such as the provision of free trash cans and the imposition of fines for littering.
Highlights from Newspaper

Mumbai Trans Harbour Link: The Longest Sea Bridge in India

  • The Prime Minister will officially open the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), also known as the Atal Setu Nhava Sheva Sea Link.
  • This 22-kilometer bridge, which was conceived six decades ago, is a key breakthrough in India’s infrastructure, promising to alter connectivity and economic possibilities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Bridge is known as Atal Setu

  • The MTHL is a 22-kilometer-long, six-lane twin-carriageway bridge that spans Thane Creek in the Arabian Sea. It links Mumbai’s Sewri to Raigad’s Chirle.
  • The construction consists of a 16.5 km maritime connection and 5.5 km of land viaducts at both ends.
  • The MTHL is projected to boost economic growth, cut travel time, and relieve congestion on current routes by improving connectivity within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Historical Context and Evolution

  • The notion of a bay crossing was initially presented by Wilbur Smith Associates in 1963, but it lay dormant for decades.
  • Revival and Obstacles: The project was resurrected in the late 1990s, and the first bids were issued in 2006. Following Reliance Infrastructure’s initial involvement and later withdrawal, the project encountered a number of bidding hurdles.
  • Funding and implementation: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) collaborated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to secure funds, allowing construction to begin in early 2018. The project cost Rs 21,200 crore in total, with a major financing from JICA.

Impact of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link 

  • Travel Time Reduction: According to a study conducted by the MMRDA and JICA, the MTHL would reduce the average travel time between Sewri and Chirle from 61 minutes to less than 16 minutes.
  • Economic and connectivity advantages: The bridge is planned to integrate Navi Mumbai’s economy with that of Mumbai and to increase access to vital areas like as the Navi Mumbai International Airport, the Mumbai Pune Motorway, and the Mumbai-Goa Highway.
  • Vehicle Traffic: 40,000 cars are projected to utilise the route daily during its first year.

Concerns and Difficulties

  • Commuter Accessibility: The bridge’s value for everyday travellers between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai remains in doubt, given the high toll cost and the distance of landing locations from major residential areas.
  • Additional Transportation Costs: The toll rate of Rs 250 for a one-way passage, as well as the bridge’s landing sites being more than 10 km from major residential areas like Vashi and Nerul, may raise commuting costs.
  • There are currently no announcements for public transit infrastructure, such as dedicated bus lanes, on the bridge.
Highlights from Newspaper

Dietary Diversity Is Declining Despite Biodiversity Focus

  • Despite global emphasis on biodiversity, the world’s food has become increasingly homogeneous, with staples such as rice, wheat, maize, and sugar accounting for more than half of global calorie intake.
  • Supermarkets follow suit, with a limited assortment of vegetables, indicating a reduction in “dietary diversity.”

Dietary Issues and Diversity

  • Nutritional Quality: A varied diet that includes a variety of food groups improves nutrition. However, the prevalence of monoculture (the vast cultivation of a single crop) reduces “agricultural biodiversity.”
  • Importing varied food groups from remote locations is costly and environmentally damaging.

Contributors to India’s Nutritional Variety

  • Farming on a Small Scale with Agroforestry: Smallholder farmers, herders, and tribal populations engaged in agroforestry contribute greatly to India’s nutritional variety.
  • Regional Varieties: These small-scale gardeners supply a diverse range of native vegetables and crops that differ by location in India.

Local Varieties with High Nutrient Content

  • South India: Iron and calcium-rich leafy greens such as Green Amaranth (Tamil, kuppi keerai; Hindi, junglee chaulayi) and Leucas (Tamil, thumbai; Sanskrit, Drona pushpi); starchy tubers such as East Indian arrowroot (Tamil, kuva or ararut-kizhargu; Hindi, tikhur).
  • Central India: Madhuca or Indian butter tree edible blossoms and oil-rich seeds (Tamil, illupai; Hindi, mahua); Khejri pods (Tamil, parambai) utilised in local cuisine and preventing desertification.
  • Northeast India: Indigenous Jhum farming, which grows a range of crops on the same soil and provides dietary variety but is disappearing in practice.

Jhum Cultivation

  • Contrary to modern agriculture, jhum cultivation is a diverse agricultural practice. Jhum farming, which is used in Northeast India, includes producing numerous food crops at the same time, providing dietary diversity but declining in popularity.
  • Decline in Practice: According to research, there has been a considerable decrease in Jhum cultivation areas, with a shift towards monoculture crops such as areca nut, black pepper, and rubber.

Consumer Choices and Influence

  • Consumer Preferences: Consumer preferences have a considerable impact on the availability and production of varied wild food species.
  • Incorporating lesser-known fruits such as wood apples (velam pazham) and jamuns (nagai) into diets can improve nutritional quality while also supporting local growers.


  • Recognition of the value of Dietary Diversity: Recognising the value of dietary diversity is critical for nutrition, environmental sustainability, and sustaining small-scale agriculture.
  • Embracing Local Varieties: Embracing local, diversified food options can improve diets while also contributing to agricultural biodiversity preservation, harmonising with global initiatives to emphasise biodiversity.
Highlights from Newspaper

Vandalism and Kannada Signboard Controversy in Bengaluru

  • Activists in Bengaluru staged a protest against non-Kannada signboards, resulting in destruction throughout the city.

Kannada Signboards Issue 

  • Kannada Signboards Demand: The problem began in the early 2000s, when Bengaluru established as a global IT hub. In 2002, then-Chief Minister S.M. Krishna issued a directive for Kannada billboards that lacked legal backing.
  • Legal Obstacles: Attempts to compel Kannada signboards were thwarted by the High Court, which stayed and overturned similar rules in 2009 and 2014.

Legislation and Protests: Recent Developments

  • Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Act, 2022: The Act, passed by the State Legislature in 2022, requires Kannada to be used on 60% of all signboards.
  • KRV’s Campaign: KRV advocated for the introduction of this standard, which sparked the protest and subsequent damage.
  • Ordinance of the State Government: The state government intends to issue an ordinance clarifying the 60:40 regulation for signboards, with a compliance deadline of February 28.

The Effect on Commercial Establishments

  • Businesses are concerned about the new legislation, fearing increasing vigilante actions and financial difficulties as a result of signboard alterations.
  • Retailers’ opposition: The Retailers Association of India and other industry groups have spoken out against the mandate, noting its impact on Bengaluru’s cosmopolitan nature and brand image.

Political Changes

  • The topic has gained political relevance ahead of the legislative elections, with both the Congress and the BJP adopting views on it.
  • Kannada as a Political Plank: Despite political agreement on the language’s promotion, Kannada has not been a successful political issue in the state.

Concerns about Bengaluru’s Image 

  • Bengaluru is in jeopardy: Bengaluru’s reputation as a worldwide investment destination may suffer as a result of the vandalism and linguistic debate.
  • Requests for Government Action: Industry executives and civic groups have asked the government to take steps to repair trust and protect the city’s welcoming character.


  • Sensible Policy: The government must promote Kannada while keeping Bengaluru’s cosmopolitan and investor-friendly image.
  • Addressing Vandalism: To prevent additional harm to Bengaluru’s brand and social cohesion, strong action against vandalism and a balanced approach to language policy are required.
Highlights from Newspaper

Important articles @ The IndianExpress— 12 June, 2023

Important articles for UPSC

Front Page

  • Alert sounded as Cyclone changes its path, heads to Gujarat coast
  • Home names 51 to Manipur peace panel : Kukis object : No consent
  • In South, more women availed loan scheme for street vendors


  • Maximum support
  • A stealthy spread
  • No textbook conspiracy
  • The caring city

Ideas Page

  • To find a lost child

Govt & Politics

  • At meet with officers PM stresses capacity building ending silos
  • EAM : Major powers left stranded citizen bhagwan bharose, not us

Front Page

  • Alert sounded as Cyclone changes its path, heads to Gujarat coast
  • Home names 51 to Manipur peace panel : Kukis object : No consent
  • In South, more women availed loan scheme for street vendors


  • Maximum support
  • A stealthy spread
  • No textbook conspiracy
  • The caring city

Ideas Page

  • To find a lost child

Govt & Politics

  • At meet with officers PM stresses capacity building ending silos
  • EAM : Major powers left stranded citizen bhagwan bharose, not us

Highlights from Newspaper

Important articles @ The Hindu—12 June, 2023

Front Page






Highlights from Newspaper

Important articles @ The Hindu—06 June, 2023

Important articles for UPSC

Front Page





Text & Context



And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.