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June 27 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



Prolonged exposure to pollutants from coal mining has severely impacted the health of mine workers and residents in six major coal mining districts in India.  

A survey by the National Foundation for India highlights widespread respiratory and skin diseases among affected populations. 

Key Findings 

  • Affected Districts: Koriya and Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Dhanbad and Ramgarh (Jharkhand), Angul and Jajpur (Odisha). 
  • Health Issues: 65% of surveyed households reported chronic bronchitis, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, and fungal infections. 
  • Monthly medical expenses ranged from ₹300 to ₹1,000 per household. 
  • Highest average annual hospitalisation expenses in Dhanbad at ₹28,461 per household. 
  • Vulnerability: Higher incidence of lung and skin diseases among those living closer to mines, especially in Dhanbad and Ramgarh. 

Economic Impact 

  • Income Disparities: Significant social and economic disparities were noted, with irregular wage patterns and lower incomes in coal-dependent districts like Dhanbad and Koriya compared to diversified industrial districts like Angul. 
  • Job Losses: The global shift away from coal could result in job losses and economic downturns in coal-dependent regions. 

Renewable Energy Shift 

  • India’s Commitment: India aims to source nearly 500 GW of electricity from renewable energy by 2030. 
  • Current Status: Coal remains a primary power source, with 205 GW from coal-powered thermal plants. 
  • Recent Changes: Renewable energy accounted for 71.5% of the 13.6 GW power capacity added in the first quarter of this year, reducing coal’s share to below 50% for the first time since the 1960s. 

Critical Terms 

  • Just Transition: Transitioning workers from coal mining to other sustainable jobs. 
  • Respiratory Diseases: Chronic bronchitis, asthma. 
  • Skin Diseases: Eczema, dermatitis, fungal infections. 

Measures and Way Forward 

  • Health Interventions: Regular medical camps, improved healthcare facilities. 
  • Economic Diversification: Developing alternative industries and job opportunities. 
  • Environmental Policies: Strengthening pollution control measures. 
  • Renewable Energy Projects: Investing in solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. 

Best Practices and Examples 

  • Germany’s Coal Phase-Out: Germany’s structured phase-out plan for coal mining includes retraining programs and financial support for affected workers. 
  • China’s Transition to Renewables: Significant investments in renewable energy and job creation in the green energy sector. 


Prolonged coal exposure has critical health and economic consequences. Transitioning to renewable energy and implementing effective health and economic policies can mitigate these impacts, ensuring a just and sustainable future for affected communities. 

Multiple Choice Question 

  1. Consider the following types of coal:
  1. Anthracite 
  1. Bituminous 
  1. Lignite 
  1. Peat 

Which of the following is the correct ascending order of these types of coal based on their carbon content? 

  1. 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 
  1. 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 
  1. 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 
  1. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 



Peat: The first stage of coal formation, with the lowest carbon content. 

Lignite: A low-grade coal with higher carbon content than peat. 

Bituminous: A commonly used coal with higher carbon content than lignite. 

Anthracite: The highest grade of coal with the highest carbon content. 

Thus, the correct order based on carbon content is Peat (4), Lignite (3), Bituminous (2), and Anthracite (1). 



The Leader of Opposition (LoP) in India plays a crucial role in the parliamentary system.  

The position is officially described in The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, which defines the LoP as the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, recognized by the respective House’s Speaker or Chairman. 

Sources of Authority 

  • The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977: Defines the LoP’s role and entitlements. 
  • Direction 121: Issued by the Speaker for recognizing a party or group for certain facilities in the House. 

Role and Responsibilities 

  • Voice of the Opposition: The LoP serves as the main spokesperson for the opposition in the House. 
  • Shadow Prime Minister: The LoP is considered a shadow Prime Minister with a shadow Cabinet, ready to take over if the Government resigns or is defeated. 
  • Participation in High-Powered Committees: The LoP is a member of key committees chaired by the Prime Minister, responsible for appointing the Director of CBI, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Chief Information Commissioner, and members of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lokpal. 
  • Ceremonial Duties: The LoP enjoys certain privileges, such as escorting the Speaker-elect to the rostrum and occupying a front-row seat during the President’s address to Parliament. 

Benefits and Checks 

  • Privileges and Allowances: The LoP is entitled to specific privileges, including salary and allowances as defined by the 1977 Act. 
  • Checks and Balances: The LoP ensures government accountability by participating in crucial decision-making committees and voicing opposition concerns. 

Historical Context 

  • Vacancy Periods: From 2014 to 2024, the LoP position in Lok Sabha was vacant as no party had the required 10% of the House’s strength. 
  • Significant Leaders: Notable past Leaders of Opposition include Sushma Swaraj (2009-2014), LK Advani (2004-2009), Sonia Gandhi (1999-2004), and Sharad Pawar (1998-1999). 


Leader of the Opposition (LoP) isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Indian Constitution. However, its significance is recognized through various practices and legislations: 

House Rules: The LoP enjoys recognition through established practices and conventions of the Houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). There’s no specific mention in the official House rules, but conventions dictate certain privileges and roles for the LoP. 

The Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognized Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998: This act provides statutory recognition to the LoP and outlines some facilities, like a dedicated office space and staff, for effective functioning. 

Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977: This act grants the LoP a salary and allowances at par with a Cabinet Minister, recognizing their crucial role in the parliamentary system. 

Other Statutory References:  In certain acts, like The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, the Lop from the largest opposition party gets included in selection committees even if there’s no officially recognized LoP. 


The Leader of Opposition is pivotal in maintaining the democratic structure of India’s parliamentary system by ensuring robust debate, government accountability, and readiness for administrative transition if required. This position upholds the principle of “mutual forbearance” within the parliamentary framework. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements regarding the Leader of the House and the Leader of Opposition in the Indian Parliament:
  1. The Leader of the House in Lok Sabha is always the Prime Minister of India. 
  1. The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha must be from a party that has at least 10% of the total seats in the House. 
  1. The Leader of Opposition is part of high-powered committees responsible for appointing key officials such as the Director of CBI and the Central Vigilance Commissioner. 

Which of the statements given above are correct? 

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



The Leader of the House in Lok Sabha is usually the Prime Minister, but it can also be any other minister appointed by the Prime Minister. 

The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha must be from a party that has at least 10% of the total seats in the House. 

The Leader of Opposition is part of high-powered committees responsible for appointments of key officials like the Director of CBI and the Central Vigilance Commissioner. 



Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s recent arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on money laundering charges related to the alleged excise policy scam has significant implications.  

This development follows the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) earlier arrest of Kejriwal in March. 

CBI Arrest and Its Impact 

  • Custody: The Delhi court granted the CBI a three-day custody of Kejriwal. 
  • Formal Arrest: Special Judge Amitabh Rawat allowed the CBI to formally arrest Kejriwal. 
  • Evidence Requirement: The CBI must gather plausible evidence directly linking Kejriwal to the alleged scam for his arrest. 

CBI vs. ED Investigations 

  • CBI Focus: The CBI must prove corruption and bribe-taking under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act). 
  • ED Focus: The ED investigates the money trail, charging Kejriwal under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which criminalizes money laundering activities such as possession and use of tainted funds. 

Bail Considerations 

  • PMLA Bail: The PMLA imposes stringent conditions for bail, facilitating prolonged custody. 
  • PC Act Bail: Under the PC Act, anticipatory bail can be sought, and regular bail is granted under the Code of Criminal Procedure with public prosecutor opposition considered. 

Court Guidelines for Bail 

  • Supreme Court Criteria: The court considers the severity of accusations, risk of witness tampering, likelihood of the accused absconding, and larger public interest when granting bail. 


The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal by the CBI highlights the complexity of corruption and money laundering investigations. The distinction between the CBI and ED roles underscores different legal approaches, while bail considerations reflect judicial discretion based on the nature of accusations and public interest. 



Defections in Indian politics undermine the democratic mandate of the people. The recent defection of MLA M. Sanjay Kumar in Telangana is a notable example of this issue. 

Defection and Its Impact 

  • Defection Incident: M. Sanjay Kumar defected from Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) to Congress, reducing the principal Opposition’s strength from 39 to 33 in the Telangana Assembly. 
  • Historical Context: Telangana has witnessed mass defections since its formation in 2014, with BRS’s K. Chandrashekhar Rao engineering defections to secure a majority. 

Anti-Defection Law 

  • 10th Schedule of 1985: This law aims to curb defections but has loopholes. 
  • 2003 Amendment: Allows exceptions if two-thirds of a party merges with another, making the law often ineffective. 
  • Speaker’s Power: The Speaker holds absolute power in deciding disqualifications without a set timeline, often influenced by party interests. 

Specific Incidents 

  • Speaker’s Role: Telangana Assembly Speaker Gaddam Prasad Kumar, aligned with the ruling party, rarely acts impartially. 
  • Past Defections: Telangana CM A. Revanth Reddy has been involved in past defection attempts, undermining democratic principles. 

Democratic Principles 

  • Strong Opposition: A strong Opposition is vital for balanced governance and acts as a check on the ruling party’s decisions. 
  • Brute Majorities: Past experiences in New Delhi and Hyderabad highlight the dangers of unchecked majorities. 

Proposed Reforms 

  • Amendments Needed: The anti-defection law needs further amendments. 
  • Independent Authority: Vesting disqualification power in an independent Election Commission could ensure impartiality and strengthen democratic practices. 


Defection, in the Indian context of the House, refers to a legislator switching their allegiance from the political party they were elected under to another party. To discourage this practice and ensure party discipline, the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lays out the Anti-Defection Law. 

Criteria for Disqualification: 

  • A member of the House can be disqualified on grounds of defection under two main scenarios: 
  • Voluntarily Giving Up Membership: If a member formally resigns from their original political party, it’s considered defection. 
  • Voting Against Party Line: If a member votes in the House or deliberately abstains from voting, going against the official directive (whip) issued by their party, it can be considered defection. There are some exceptions: 
  • Prior permission: If the member obtains permission from the party leadership before voting differently. 
  • Condonation: If the party forgives the member’s action within 15 days of the vote. 
  • Exceptions to Disqualification: 

The law recognizes some situations where a member can change parties without penalty: 

  • Merger: If two or more parties merge with a two-thirds majority of their respective members agreeing, it’s not considered defection. 
  • Procedure for Disqualification: 
  • Petition: Any member of the House can file a petition with the Speaker (Lok Sabha) or Chairman (Rajya Sabha) accusing another member of defection. 
  • Decision by Presiding Officer: The presiding officer examines the petition and evidence. They have the final say on whether the member is disqualified. 
  • Judicial Review: Though the presiding officer’s decision is final, it can be challenged in the High Court and Supreme Court. 


To preserve democratic integrity, it is crucial to address the flaws in the anti-defection law and ensure independent oversight, preventing the erosion of the people’s mandate through engineered defections. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements regarding the Anti-Defection Law in India:
  1. The Anti-Defection Law is contained in the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. 
  1. A member of the House incurs disqualification if they voluntarily give up the membership of their party. 
  1. The decision on disqualification of a member on grounds of defection is taken by the President of India. 
  1. The law allows exceptions if two-thirds of the members of a party decide to merge with another party. 

Which of the statements given above are correct? 

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



The Anti-Defection Law is indeed contained in the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. 

A member incurs disqualification if they voluntarily give up the membership of their party or disobey the directives of the party leadership on a vote. 

The decision on disqualification of a member on grounds of defection is taken by the Speaker of the House (for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies) or the Chairman (for Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils), not the President of India. 

The law provides an exception to disqualification if two-thirds of the members of a party decide to merge with another party. 



India’s external debt has shown a significant increase, reaching $663.8 billion by the end of March 2024, as reported by the Reserve Bank of India. This increase highlights the economic dynamics and valuation effects impacting India’s financial obligations. 

External Debt Overview 

  • Current Level: As of end-March 2024, India’s external debt stood at $663.8 billion, an increase of $39.7 billion from March 2023. 
  • Debt-to-GDP Ratio: Declined to 18.7% in March 2024 from 19.0% in March 2023. 

Valuation Effects 

  • Impact of US Dollar: The appreciation of the US dollar against the Indian rupee and other major currencies resulted in a valuation effect of $8.7 billion. 
  • Excluding Valuation: Without the valuation effect, the increase in external debt would have been $48.4 billion. 

Long-term vs. Short-term Debt 

  • Long-term Debt: Increased to $541.2 billion by March 2024, a rise of $45.6 billion from March 2023. 
  • Short-term Debt: Declined to 18.5% of total external debt, down from 20.6% the previous year. 
  • Forex Reserves Ratio: The ratio of short-term debt to foreign exchange reserves fell to 19.0% from 22.2%. 

Currency Composition 

  • Dominant Currency: US dollar-denominated debt remains the largest component at 53.8%, followed by Indian rupee (31.5%), yen (5.8%), SDR (5.4%), and euro (2.8%). 

Sectoral Distribution 

  • Government and Non-Government Debt: Both sectors saw an increase in outstanding debt. 
  • Major Contributors: Non-financial corporations (37.4%), deposit-taking corporations (28.1%), general government (22.4%), and other financial corporations (7.3%). 

Debt Components 

  • Major Components: Loans (33.4%), currency and deposits (23.3%), trade credit and advances (17.9%), and debt securities (17.3%). 
  • Debt Service: Increase in Debt Service: Debt service ratio rose to 6.7% of current receipts by March 2024, up from 5.3% in March 2023. 


India’s external debt landscape reflects complex financial interactions influenced by currency valuations and economic activities. The increase in both long-term and short-term debt, along with the dominant role of the US dollar, underscores the need for strategic financial management to maintain economic stability. 



The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Mizoram since February has led to the death of over 3,350 pigs, as reported by officials. ASF is a highly contagious viral disease affecting pigs with a potential mortality rate of 100%, posing severe threats to pig populations and the farming economy. 

About African Swine Fever (ASF) 

  • Virus Characteristics: ASF is caused by a large, enveloped, double-stranded DNA virus, the sole member of the genus Asfivirus within the family Asfarviridae. 
  • Symptoms: Clinical symptoms resemble those of classical swine fever, including fever, weakness, lack of appetite, inflamed eye mucous membranes, red skin, (bloody) diarrhea, and vomiting. 


  • Direct Contact: Infected animals can spread ASF through direct contact. 
  • Indirect Contact: Transmission can occur through the ingestion of products from infected animals or contact with contaminated clothing, vehicles, or equipment. 
  • Vector: Bites by infectious soft ticks can also spread the virus. 
  • Survival: The ASF virus can survive for long periods in pork and pork meat products. 

Geographical Spread 

  • Endemic Regions: ASF is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • Global Spread: The disease has spread to regions including Asia and Europe. 
  • In India, ASF was first detected in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam during February and March of 2020. 


  • Human Health: ASF is not a danger to human health. Meat and other products derived from pigs do not pose any food safety risks for humans. 
  • Economic Impact: The disease has devastating effects on pig populations and the farming economy. 

Control Measures 

  • No Cure or Vaccine: There is no cure or approved vaccine for ASF. 
  • Prevention: The only way to prevent the spread of ASF is by culling infected animals. 


The outbreak of African Swine Fever in Mizoram underscores the critical need for stringent biosecurity measures and effective disease management practices to protect pig populations and mitigate economic losses. 



The Indian Army recently launched a skin bank facility to treat severe burns and other skin conditions for service members and their families. 

This pioneering initiative within the Armed Forces Medical Services marks a significant advancement in military healthcare. 



About Indian Army’s Skin Bank 

  • Purpose: To treat severe skin burns and other skin-related conditions for service personnel and their families. 
  • Staff: Includes trained medical professionals such as plastic surgeons, tissue engineers, and specialised technicians. 
  • Function: A centralized hub for collecting, processing, storing, and distributing skin grafts to military medical centers across the nation. 

What is a Skin Bank? 

  • Function: A facility where skin is taken from eligible donors, processed, and stored for up to five years. 
  • Donation: Skin can be donated within six hours after death, irrespective of sex and blood group, with a minimum donor age of 18 years. 
  • Exclusions: Persons with AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, STDs, skin cancer, active skin disease, and septicemia are unfit for donation. 
  • Preservation: Donated skin is processed over five to six weeks, preserved in 85% glycerol solution, and stored at 4-5°C. 

Skin Grafting 

Procedure: Healthy skin is transplanted to an area where the skin is damaged or missing. 


  • Autograft: Skin taken from the patient’s own body. 
  • Allograft: Skin from a donor, often sourced from a skin bank. 
  • Outcome: Doctors can determine acceptance of the graft within two to three weeks post-grafting. 


The Indian Army’s skin bank facility represents a critical resource in enhancing the treatment of severe skin injuries, improving the quality of care for military personnel and their families. 



To provide safe and adequate drinking water through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) by 2024 to all rural households in India. 

  • Launch Date: August 15, 2019 
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Jal Shakti 


  • Infrastructure Development: In-village piped water supply to every rural household. 
  • Community Engagement: Bottom-up planning involving the community in planning, implementation, and O&M. 
  • Women Empowerment: Women’s involvement in planning, decision-making, implementation, monitoring, and O&M. 
  • Focus on Future Generations: Tap water supply to schools, tribal hostels, and anganwadi centers. 
  • Skill Development and Employment: Local people skilled for building and maintaining water supply structures. 
  • Greywater Management: Reuse and recycle wastewater. 
  • Source Sustainability: Groundwater recharge and water conservation. 
  • Water Quality: Ensure safe drinking water to reduce water-borne ailments. 

Funding Pattern 

  • Centre and States: 50:50 
  • Himalayan and North-Eastern States: 90:10 
  • Union Territories: 100% by the Central Government 


The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide sustainable and safe drinking water to rural households through extensive community engagement, women empowerment, and effective resource management, ensuring a healthier future for rural India. 


June 27
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