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March 14 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



The Supreme Court’s decision to urgently address a plea regarding the filling of two vacancies for Election Commissioners in the Election Commission of India (ECI) following Arun Goel’s unexpected resignation has sparked significant debate.

The plea, filed by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, raises concerns about the appointment process and the need to maintain the independence and neutrality of the Election Commission.

Change in Process for Appointments of Election Commissioners:

  • Eligibility: The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs) must now be individuals currently holding or previously held a post equivalent to the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Search Committee: A search committee, chaired by the Minister of Law and Justice, is tasked with preparing a panel of five suitable candidates for consideration by the selection committee.
  • Selection Committee: Comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister, this committee recommends candidates for appointment to the President.
  • Appointment: The President appoints the CEC and ECs based on the recommendation of the selection committee.

It is notable that this process deviates from the previous mechanism established in the Anoop Baranwal case by excluding the Chief Justice of India from the selection process.

Importance of Insulating the Election Commission from Political or Executive Interference:

  • Preservation of Democracy: Insulation from political or executive interference ensures the integrity and fairness of electoral processes, fundamental to upholding democracy.
  • Impartiality and Neutrality: Political or executive interference can compromise the impartiality and neutrality of the Election Commission, potentially favoring certain parties or candidates over others.
  • Public Trust and Confidence: Independence fosters public trust and confidence in the electoral system, ensuring citizens believe their votes are counted fairly and accurately.
  • Prevention of Manipulation: Independence reduces the risk of electoral manipulation or fraud by preventing undue influence that could distort election outcomes.
  • Effective Oversight: An independent Election Commission can effectively oversee electoral processes without external pressures or biases, including voter registration, campaigning, polling, and counting.
  • Legal Compliance: Insulation from political interference ensures the Election Commission operates in accordance with the law, upholding constitutional principles and protecting voter and candidate rights.
  • International Reputation: A politically independent Election Commission enhances the country’s international reputation, demonstrating a commitment to democratic principles and fair electoral practices.



The Prime Minister recently observed the tri-service exercise ‘Bharat Shakti’ in Pokhran, Rajasthan.

About Exercise ‘Bharat Shakti’:

  • It is an integrated tri-service firepower and manoeuvre exercise, demonstrating the capabilities of domestically manufactured defense equipment across the three services.
  • Location: Pokhran, Rajasthan.
  • The exercise showcases the tactical deployment of niche technology in a tri-services environment against perceived threats.
  • It displays indigenous weapon systems and platforms as part of the nation’s Aatmanirbharata (self-reliance) initiative.
  • The exercise simulates realistic, synergized, multi-domain operations to exhibit the integrated operational capabilities of the Indian armed forces across land, air, sea, cyber, and space domains.
  • Indigenous weapon systems featured include T-90 (IM) Tanks, Dhanush and Sarang Gun Systems, Akash Weapons System, Logistics Drones, Robotic Mules, ALH, and various unmanned aerial vehicles from the Indian Army.
  • The Indian Navy displays Naval Anti-Ship Missiles, Autonomous Cargo Carrying Aerial Vehicles, and Expendable Aerial Targets.
  • The Indian Air Force showcases indigenous aircraft such as Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Light Utility Helicopters, and Advanced Light Helicopters.



Recent trends indicate a notable shift in India’s arms imports, marked by reduced dependence on Russian arms, increased procurement from France and the U.S., and India’s emergence as the world’s largest arms importer.

Decreased Dependence on Russian Arms:

  • Over the past 15 years, India has significantly reduced its reliance on Russia as its primary arms supplier, with Russia’s share dropping from 76% to 36% in India’s arms imports.
  • This reduction highlights India’s diversification strategy aimed at diminishing dependence on any single supplier, including Russia.
  • Growing efforts to develop the indigenous defense industry also contribute to decreased reliance on foreign imports, including Russian arms.

Increased Imports from France and the U.S.:

  • Arms imports from France and the U.S. have surged in recent years, with France’s share increasing from 0.9% to 33% and the U.S.’s share rising from 8% to 13% during the same period.
  • India’s pursuit of more advanced technology and capabilities, not solely provided by Russian manufacturers, contributes to increased procurement from these countries.
  • Strengthening defense partnerships with the U.S., Israel, and France also plays a significant role in diversifying India’s arms imports.

India Tops Global Arms Imports:

  • India has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest arms importer, with its share in global arms imports rising from 9.1% to 9.8% from 2014-18 to 2019-23.
  • This trend underscores India’s substantial role in global arms trade and the continued significance of arms procurement for its defence needs.

Shifts in Global Arms Trade:

  • Globally, Russia’s role as a major arms exporter has declined, with its share dropping from 21% to 11% from 2014-18 to 2019-23.
  • Conversely, the U.S. has strengthened its position, increasing its share from 34% to 42%, reflecting broader shifts in global arms trade dynamics.

Potential Reasons for Decline of Russian Dominance in India’s Imports:

  • Diversification Strategy: India seeks to reduce dependence on any single supplier, driving the diversification of its arms imports.
  • Growing Defense Industry: Efforts to bolster the indigenous defense industry contribute to reduced reliance on foreign imports, including Russian arms.
  • Technological Requirements: India’s quest for more advanced technology prompts exploration of arms deals with a broader range of countries.
  • Geopolitical Realignment: Changes in geopolitical dynamics prompt India to explore arms deals with diverse partners.
  • Quality and Cost Considerations: Prioritization of quality and cost-effectiveness over historical ties influences procurement decisions.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Strengthening defence partnerships with other countries diminishes reliance on Russian arms.
  • Increasing Self-Reliance: Emphasis on self-reliance in defence production leads to decreased imports overall.
  • Diplomatic Relations: Shifts in diplomatic ties between India and Russia influence defence procurement decisions.



Understanding the theoretical concept of the Shockley-Queisser limit in photovoltaics is crucial for maximizing the efficiency of solar cells, which convert light energy into electrical energy.

Photovoltaics Overview:

  • Photovoltaics involves the conversion of light energy into electrical energy using devices like solar cells, typically made of semiconducting materials such as silicon.
  • Sunlight excites electrons from the valence band to the conduction band within the semiconductor material, creating electron-hole pairs, which serve as charge carriers.

Shockley-Queisser Limit:

  • The Shockley-Queisser limit represents the maximum efficiency of a solar cell, accounting for transparency loss (approximately 25%) and thermalization (approximately 30%).
  • Named after physicists William Shockley and Hans-Joachim Queisser, this limit currently restricts the maximum efficiency of conventional solar cells to around one-third of incident solar energy.

Efficiency Constraints and Research:

  • Solar cells cannot utilize photons with insufficient energy to excite electrons or those with excess energy, leading to heating rather than electron excitation.
  • Research efforts aimed at surpassing the Shockley-Queisser limit include strategies such as carrier multiplication, which enables a photon to generate multiple electron-hole pairs, and hot carrier extraction, capturing high-energy photons before they dissipate as heat.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

  • Despite ongoing research into surpassing the Shockley-Queisser limit, practical implementation remains challenging due to various technical and material constraints.
  • Physicist Young Hee Lee identifies carrier multiplication and hot carrier extraction as promising pathways for improving the efficiency of solar cells, suggesting continued research in these areas for future advancements.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM-SURAJ portal virtually.

  • The portal provides credit support to entrepreneurs from disadvantaged sections of society.
  • It reflects the government’s commitment to providing dignity and justice to the underprivileged.
  • Approximately ₹720 crore worth of credit was disbursed to one lakh beneficiaries from Scheduled Castes, Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Safai Karamcharis.
  • The portal serves as a one-stop point for applying for and monitoring the progress of all loan and credit schemes available to disadvantaged sections.
  • This initiative aims to empower marginalized communities and facilitate their participation in India’s economic growth and development.



The South Korean government deployed around 7,000 Hyodol dolls to provide companionship to senior citizens and remind them to take medications, addressing the growing social issue of loneliness among the elderly in South Korea.

About Hyodol Robot:

  • These AI care robots resemble cuddly soft toys but possess advanced language processing and emotion recognition capabilities, enabling them to engage with seniors through conversation and music.
  • They offer customized care for seniors by collecting data through conversations and interactions with them.
  • The robots come with a companion app and web monitoring platform for caretakers to remotely monitor seniors’ well-being.
  • Safety features include alerts for prolonged inactivity and touch interaction capabilities.
  • Additional features include health coaching, voice messages, 24-hour reminders, music, quizzes, exercise suggestions, and more.

Technology Used:

  • The AI robot utilizes a large language model for holding conversations and provides convenient intelligent services.
  • It can be linked to smart home devices and offers an easy-to-use interface for all users, including caregivers.



The UCPMP (Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices) for the Pharma industry was initially issued in 2014 on a voluntary basis.

Key Highlights of UCPMP 2024:

  • Drug information must be balanced, up-to-date, verifiable, and should not mislead directly or indirectly.
  • Brand names of products from other companies cannot be used without prior consent.
  • Comparisons between drugs must be factual, fair, and substantiated.
  • Promotional materials like mailings and journal advertisements should not disguise their true nature.
  • Continuing Medical Education should adhere to transparent guidelines.
  • No gifts or monetary advantages should be offered to healthcare professionals.
  • Each association must have an Ethics Committee to handle complaints about pharma marketing practices.
  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals may issue standing orders to address operational difficulties in implementing UCPMP.

Need for UCPMP:

  • Ensures patient safety by preventing unethical marketing that downplays risks or misrepresents benefits.
  • Directs resources towards medications addressing genuine medical needs, promoting responsible innovation.
  • Upholds professional integrity by ensuring prescriptions are based on unbiased and accurate information.


March 14
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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