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July 3 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



The industrial output data for May from India’s eight core infrastructure sectors indicate a slowdown, primarily due to a severe heatwave. This has impacted various sectors differently, highlighting the need for focused policy interventions. 

Core Sectors Performance: 

  • Growth: Coal and electricity generation saw significant growth, expanding by 10.2% and 12.8%, respectively. 
  • Decline: Crude oil, fertilizers, and cement production decreased compared to the previous year. 
  • Deceleration: Natural gas, refinery products, and steel output growth slowed down. 

Heatwave Impact: 

  • Particularly affected northern India, leading to reduced construction activities. 
  • Peak power demand in the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre consistently around or above 75 GW. 
  • Weakened demand for cement and steel due to curbed construction activities. 

Fertilizer Sector Concern 

  • Rural Impact: The persistent decline in fertilizer production for five consecutive months raises concerns about the agriculture sector. 
  • Hopeful Sign: An uptick in the fertilizer index from April to May offers a glimmer of hope for recovery. 

HSBC India Manufacturing PMI: 

  • Rebound: June PMI rose to 58.3 from May’s 57.5, indicating a recovery from the heatwave impact. 
  • Positive Indicators: Increased output, buying, and hiring, with job creation at its fastest pace in over 19 years. 
  • Challenges: Rising staff expenses, material, and transportation costs led to the highest increase in selling charges in more than two years. 


The 7 core industries in India form the backbone of the nation’s economy. Their performance directly impacts the country’s GDP and development.  

  • Coal: A vital source of energy for power generation and industrial processes. 
  • Crude Oil & Natural Gas: Essential resources for transportation fuels, petrochemicals, and fertilizers. 
  • Refinery Products: Processed petroleum products like petrol, diesel, and LPG used for various purposes. 
  • Fertilizers: Crucial for agricultural productivity and food security. 
  • Steel: The basic building block of infrastructure and construction. 
  • Cement: Another critical material for construction activities. 
  • Electricity: Powers homes, industries, and essential services, driving economic activity. 


The industrial sector faces mixed signals, with some areas showing growth while others struggle. Policymakers should leverage the upcoming Union Budget to implement measures that strengthen the momentum in key industrial sectors, addressing inflation and supporting sustained growth. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements about the core industries in India:
  1. The eight core industries are assigned weightage in the Index of Agricultural Production (IAP). 
  1. Steel is the industry with the highest weightage in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 
  1. The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme is aimed at promoting imports of essential raw materials for core industries. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 2 only 
  1. 3 only 
  1. None of the above 



The weightage is assigned in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), not IAP (focuses on agriculture). 

Currently, Refinery Products have the highest weightage in the IIP, not steel. 

PLI aims to incentivize domestic production, not imports. 



Generative AI (GAI) stands as a transformative technology with the potential to revolutionize various sectors. However, existing legal frameworks, designed for a pre-AI era, struggle to effectively govern this rapidly evolving field. This necessitates a revaluation of laws to address the unique challenges posed by GAI. 

Safe Harbour and Liability Fixation 

  • Current Framework: The Shreya Singhal judgment upholds Section 79 of the IT Act, granting intermediaries ‘safe harbour’ protection. 
  • GAI Tools: Debates exist on whether GAI tools should be considered intermediaries or mere conduits, affecting their liability. 
  • Legal Precedents: The Delhi High Court’s ruling in the Christian Louboutin case emphasizes that only “passive” intermediaries get safe harbour protection, complicating liability issues for GAI tools. 

Copyright Conundrum 

  • Existing Law: Section 16 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, does not recognize AI-generated works. 
  • Key Questions: Should copyright laws be revised to accommodate AI? Should AI-generated works require co-authorship with a human? 
  • Current Challenges: Determining liability for copyright infringement by AI remains unclear. ChatGPT’s terms attempt to shift liability to users, but enforceability in India is uncertain. 

Privacy Concerns 

  • Puttaswamy Judgment: Established a strong foundation for privacy laws, leading to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDP). 
  • GAI Impact: Generative AI complicates privacy issues, particularly with the “right to erasure” and “right to be forgotten”, as AI cannot “unlearn” data it has been trained on. 

Steps to Pursue 

  • Learning by Doing: Grant GAI platforms temporary immunity from liability using a sandbox approach to responsibly develop and gather data for future regulations. 
  • Data Rights and Responsibilities: Overhaul data acquisition processes, ensuring legal compliance and proper licensing. Solutions could include revenue-sharing agreements. 
  • Licensing Challenges: Create centralized platforms for licensing data, similar to stock photo websites, to simplify access and ensure data integrity. 


The legal landscape for Generative AI is still evolving. It requires a comprehensive reevaluation of existing laws and a holistic approach from the government and constitutional courts to balance technological benefits with individual rights and protections. 



In his first speech as Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi invoked the Abhaya mudra, a gesture symbolizing reassurance and freedom from fear. This gesture has deep historical and philosophical roots in various religions and traditions, notably Buddhism and Hinduism. 

Abhaya Mudra: Origin and Symbolism 

  • Definition: The term mudra in Sanskrit means a seal, mark, or sign. In Buddhism, it refers to hand and arm gestures used in rituals or depicted in images of Buddhas and other deities. 
  • Early Depictions: For about 500 years after Buddha’s lifetime, his representation was symbolic (e.g., vacant throne, footprint). Physical depictions started around the first millennium in Gandhara art (influenced by Hellenistic art) and later in Gupta period art. 
  • Description: The Abhaya mudra, or “gesture of fearlessness,” is typically formed with the right hand raised to shoulder height, palm outward, fingers pointing up. It conveys security, serenity, and compassion derived from enlightenment. 
  • Legend: According to Buddhist tradition, Buddha used this gesture to calm a wild elephant, symbolizing protection and refuge. 

Mudras in Buddhism 

  • Bhumi Sparsha Mudra: “Earth-touching gesture,” symbolizing Buddha’s enlightenment. 
  • Dharmachakra Mudra: “Gesture of the wheel of dharma,” representing the teaching of Buddha. 
  • Dhyana Mudra: “Gesture of meditation,” associated with concentration and enlightenment. 

Symbols Associated with Buddha 

  • Lotus Flower: Symbolizes purity and spiritual awakening. 
  • Dharma Wheel (Dharmachakra): Represents the teachings of Buddha. 
  • Bodhi Tree: Under which Buddha attained enlightenment. 
  • Lion: Symbolizes Buddha’s royal lineage and strength. 

Examples in Art 

  • Gandhara Art: Depictions of Buddha with Hellenistic influences, found in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
  • Mathura Museum: Buddha sculptures from the Kushana period with various mudras. 

Abhaya Mudra in Hinduism 

  • Adoption by Hinduism: Over time, the abhaya mudra appeared in depictions of Hindu deities, including Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Ganesha. 
  • Buddha as Vishnu Avatar: Between AD 450 and the sixth century, Hindus began to regard Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu. This was first mentioned in the Vishnu Purana (400-500 CE). 

Other Buddhist Mudras 

  • Varada Mudra: Gesture of giving, associated with charity and compassion. 
  • Vitarka Mudra: Gesture of teaching and intellectual discussion. 
  • Anjali Mudra: Gesture of greeting and respect, often seen in prayer and meditation. 


The abhaya mudra, symbolizing fearlessness and protection, has deep roots in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. It, along with other mudras, represents various aspects of spiritual realization and teaching. Through art and sculpture, these gestures convey profound philosophical and religious meanings that transcend cultural boundaries. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

Which of the following statements about mudras in Buddhist art is/are correct? 

  1. The Abhaya mudra symbolizes fearlessness and protection and is formed with the right hand raised to shoulder height, palm outward, and fingers pointing up. 
  1. The earliest depictions of Buddha in physical form, including various mudras, started appearing in the Gandhara art around the turn of the first millennium. 
  1. The dhyana mudra represents the Buddha’s first teaching after enlightenment, symbolizing the turning of the wheel of dharma. 
  1. The bhumisparsha mudra symbolizes the Buddha’s enlightenment and is depicted with one hand touching the earth. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

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



The abhaya mudra does symbolize fearlessness and protection, and it is formed with the right hand raised to shoulder height, palm outward, and fingers pointing up. 

The earliest depictions of Buddha in physical form, including various mudras, did start appearing in the Gandhara art around the turn of the first millennium. 

The dhyana mudra represents meditation, not the Buddha’s first teaching. The dharmachakra mudra symbolizes the turning of the wheel of dharma. 

The bhumisparsha mudra symbolizes the Buddha’s enlightenment and is depicted with one hand touching the earth. 



Until the mid-2010s, banks lent extensively to big industries, leading to a high number of bad loans when businesses failed. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intervened in 2015, revealing a significant portion of bad loans. This led to changes in lending patterns, with a focus shifting towards the retail sector. 

Rise and Fall of Industrial Loans 

  • Industrial Loans: Banks heavily lent to big industries. 
  • Bad Loans: Many loans turned bad, with the bad loan ratio peaking at 10% in 2017. 
  • RBI Review: In 2015, RBI’s review uncovered hidden bad loans. 
  • Debt Recovery: Various channels, including the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, were used to recover bad loans. 
  • Impact on Lending: Banks reduced loans to industries post-debacle. 

Shift to Retail Loans 

  • Retail Loans Growth: Banks increased lending to the retail sector, including personal loans, credit card receivables, and housing loans. 
  • Instant Loan Apps: Proliferation of digital loan apps enticed consumers, leading to potential debt traps. 
  • Sector Dominance: Retail loans surpassed loans to industries and services. 

Financial Health of Banks 

  • Improved Health: By 2024, banks recovered more bad loans, leading to a decadal-low Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA). 
  • GNPA Ratio: Retail loans’ GNPA ratio reached 1.2% in March 2024, the lowest across sectors. 

RBI’s Concerns 

  • Slippages: Fresh bad loans from retail sector are rising. In FY24, 40% of new NPAs were from retail loans (excluding home loans). 
  • Delinquency Levels: High delinquency levels among small borrowers with loans below ₹50,000, mostly sanctioned by NBFC-Fintech lenders. 

Regulatory Measures 

  • RBI’s Actions: Regulatory measures were introduced to curb the rapid growth of retail loans. 
  • Digital Lending Apps: Between April 2021 and July 2022, Google removed/suspended over 2,500 loan apps from its Play Store. 


Loans where borrowers fail to repay interest or principal amount for a certain period (typically 90 days or more). 

Banks classify these loans as Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). 

Impacts of Bad Loans: 

  • Reduced Profitability for Banks: 
  • Banks earn income from interest on loans. 
  • NPAs prevent them from collecting interest, leading to lower profits and impacting their financial health. 

Limited Lending Capacity: 

  • Banks need capital to provide new loans. 
  • NPAs tie up bank capital, restricting their ability to lend to new borrowers, hindering economic growth. 

Increased Borrowing Costs: 

  • To maintain reserves against NPAs, banks may raise interest rates on new loans. 
  • This can discourage businesses and individuals from borrowing, further impacting economic activity. 


While the overall banking system appears healthy, the RBI remains vigilant due to rising slippages and delinquency levels in the retail sector. The focus is now on individuals rather than industries, emphasizing the need for cautious lending and robust regulatory measures to prevent future financial distress. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements about Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector:
  1. NPAs are classified as bad loans only if the borrower defaults for a continuous period of one year. 
  1. A high level of NPAs can lead to a decrease in the credit rating of banks. 
  1. The Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) is a mechanism for resolving bad loans involving Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) only. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

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



The classification period for NPAs is typically 90 days or more, not one year. 

High NPAs indicate a higher risk of losses for banks, potentially leading to a downgraded credit rating. 

S4A is a broader mechanism for resolving bad loans, not limited to PSUs. 



Jeff Bezos-led Blue Origin has teamed up with the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) to allow Indian citizens to travel to space aboard the New Shepard spacecraft. 

About New Shepard Spacecraft 

Suborbital Space Travel: 

  • Offers unique experiences for scientific research and space tourism. 
  • Named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. 

Design and Components: 

  • Fully reusable rocket system. 
  • Comprises two main parts: a reusable booster and a pressurized crew capsule. 

Passenger Experience: 

  • Can carry six passengers. 
  • Each passenger has a window seat for exceptional views of Earth. 
  • Features the largest windows flown in space, enhancing the visual experience. 

Flight Details: 

  • The journey lasts 11 minutes and crosses the Karman line. 
  • Passengers experience a few minutes of weightlessness. 
  • Returns to Earth with a controlled descent aided by parachutes. 

Research Potential: 

  • Useful for various scientific experiments. 

Karman Line 

An imaginary line located 100 km (62 miles) above sea level, which marks the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. 

History and Naming 

  • Created in the 1960s by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). 
  • Named in honor of aerospace pioneer Theodore von Kármán. 


  • Widely accepted by many countries and space organizations. 
  • Some organizations, like NASA, place the boundary at 80 km (50 miles). 


  • Beyond this line, propulsion systems can’t rely on atmospheric lift due to the thin air. 



Using the LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR), astronomers have identified a new radio galaxy. 

About LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR) 

  • Highly innovative, pan-European distributed radio interferometer. 
  • Observes the Universe at low radio frequencies (90 to 200 MHz). 


  • Created by the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). 
  • Aims to explore the early Universe, solar activity, and terrestrial atmosphere. 


  • Can observe in multiple directions simultaneously. 
  • Unlike traditional telescopes, LOFAR can view the entire sky at once. 


  • No moving parts; uses advanced digital beam-forming techniques. 
  • Allows rapid repointing and multiple simultaneous observations. 


  • Main core in the north of the Netherlands. 
  • Additional stations in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. 

What are Radio Galaxies? 

  • Also known as radio-luminous or radio-loud galaxies. 
  • Emit more light at radio wavelengths than visible wavelengths. 


  • Interactions between charged particles and strong magnetic fields. 
  • Related to supermassive black holes at their centres. 
  • Driven by non-thermal emissions. 

Size and Discovery: 

  • Larger than most other galaxies in the Universe. 
  • Cygnus A is the first and brightest radio galaxy discovered. 



With the south-west monsoon setting in, the traditional nouka baich boat races will soon begin in various rural areas of West Bengal 

About Nouka Baich Boat Race 


  • Nouka Baich is a traditional boat race in West Bengal. 


  • Occurs in September, when rivers are swollen from monsoon rains. 
  • Continues until September, sometimes extending to October or November. 


  • Historically dominated by men. 
  • Recent years have seen increased participation from women. 

Cultural Significance: 

  • Linked to the worship of Manasa, the Hindu goddess of snakes. 
  • Manasa worship is common in agrarian communities of rural south Bengal. 

Type of Boats Used: 

  • Four to five kinds of traditional boats are used in the races. 
  • Common types include Chhip, Kaile Bachhhari, Chande Bachhari, Chitoi, and Sorpi. 
  • Special boat called Sorengi, about 90 ft long, imitates nature and is also used. 



Scientists have identified the desert moss species Syntrichia caninervis as a potential game-changer for future space exploration and colonization efforts. 

About Syntrichia caninervis 


  • One of the most abundant desert mosses globally. 

Environmental Tolerance: 

  • Remarkable tolerance to drought, cold, and radiation. 
  • Can recover within seconds after losing more than 98% of its water. 
  • Withstands ultra-low temperatures down to −196°C. 
  • Highly resistant to gamma radiation, with a half-lethal dose of about 5,000 Gy. 


  • Found in dryland regions like the Gurbantunggut and Tengger Deserts in China and the Mojave Desert in the USA. 
  • Also present in mountainous regions such as the Pamir, Tibet, the Middle East, Antarctica, and circumpolar regions. 

Unique Adaptation: 

  • Uses a tiny hair (awn) on the end of each leaf to collect water, supplementing the water collected by the leaves themselves. 

What is a Moss? 


  • Flowerless, spore-producing plants with spores produced in small capsules. 
  • Distributed worldwide except in salt water, commonly found in moist shady locations. 

Ecological Role: 

  • They are renowned for covering the floors of woodlands and forests. 
  • They decompose exposed substrates, releasing nutrients for more advanced plants. 
  • They assist in controlling soil erosion by offering ground cover and soaking up water. 
  • They play a crucial role in the nutrient and water cycles of certain types of vegetation. 

Economic Importance: 

  • Species in the genus Sphagnum are important for forming peat. 


July 3
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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