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06 Feb, 2024

21 Min Read

Science communication- how to promote


Steps taken by India to promote Science Communication

  • Publications and Information Directorate (PID) - An organisation under Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) established in 1951 for publishing and disseminating scientific information in India.
  • National science magazines- The PID published magazines to popularize science among masses.
    • Vigyan Pragati- In Hindi launched in 1952.
    • Science Reporter- In English launched in 1964.
    • Science Ki Duniya- In Urdu launched in 1975.
  • Birla Industrial and Technological Museum- 1st science museum in India, established in Kolkata in 1959 to showcase India’s scientific heritage and promote science education among the masses.
  • Article 51 A(h)- It was a part of the 42nd amendment to the Constitution in 1976, which added a new section on the fundamental duties of the citizens of India.
  • The article states that it is the duty of every citizen to develop a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC)- It is a scientific programme established in 1982 during 6th five year plan.
  • Vigyan Prasar- It is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science and Technology, set up in 1989 to popularise science at large which was closed in 2023.
  • CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR)- It is a new institute that was established in 2021 by merging two existing institutes of CSIR.
  • National science funding agencies- Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) are responsible for communicating the outcomes and impacts of the funded research projects to the public and the media.


Voice clone-AI

GS-III : S&T Artificial Intelligence

Voice clone fraud has been on the rise in India.

AI voice cloning – It is the process of creating a synthetic replica of a person’s voice through machine learning and speech synthesis technology.It is called as voice deepfakesor audio deepfakes.

Objective – To achieve a high level of naturalness that sounds exactly like a person’s voice.

Usage of Voice Deepfakes

  • Voice assistants – Creation of personalized voice assistants, chatbots, video game characters, animated film avatars, custom call centre voices, and much more.
  • Language translationsMeta’s SeamlessM4T, can understand nearly 100 languages from speech or text and generate translations in real-time.
  • Protecting original voicesApple introduced a voice cloning feature to help people who may be in danger of losing their voice say to a degenerative disease.
  • Creating new songsYouTube’s Dream Track partners with creators in the U.S. to allow them to create song clips featuring AI vocals with permission from pop stars.
  • AI Voice Scams – Easy access to AI voice clones also spawned disinformation.
  • Rallying for votes in Election – A Pakistan based political party used an AI-generated speech from the now imprisoned leader in an attempt to rally for votes virtually.
  • Generating hate speech – Harry Potter actress Emma Watson voice reading out a portion of the Mein Kampf.

How are voice clones done?

  • It is a complex process that involves audio data, an algorithm to train on the data, and finally fine-tuning your cloned AI voice.
  • Requirement – AI model will require audio data for the machine learning process to trigger.
  • Ways to share audio data – Uploading an audio file or recording voice samples in the app.
  • The recorded or uploaded audio data is then analyzed by our model to extract various acoustic features, such as pitch, tone, and rhythm.
  • Speech synthesis – The analysed audio is used to train a speech synthesis model, such as a neural network.
  • The model is trained on this data to pick up on the nuances and acoustic features of the user’s voice.
  • Speech perfection – Once the voice is cloned, the user has the option to continue refining the AI voice with various voice augmenting variables such as prosody, phoneme, and emotions.

A report by Market US has revealed that the global market for these applications stands at $1.2 billion in 2022 and is estimated to touch almost $5 billion in 2032 with a CAGR above 15-40%.

What is the scenario of AI voice clone scams in India?

  • ‘The Artificial Imposter’ Report– India topped the list with the maximum number of victims.
    • 47% of surveyed Indians have either been a victim or knew someone who had fallen prey to the scam.
    • Scam in India is almost twice the global average of 25%.
  • McAfee Report – 66% of Indian participants admitted that they would respond to a voice call or a phone call that appeared to be from a friend or family member in urgent need of money.
    • The most effective excuses used by the sender were that they had been robbed (70%) and involved in a car accident (69%).
    • 86% Indians were prone to sharing their voice data online or via voice notes at least once a week.

What can be done?

  • Starting voice cloning challenges – Public can be asked to send in their ideas to detect, evaluate and monitor cloned devices.
  • Adopting impersonation rules – It will help deter deceptive voice cloning
  • Quickening regulators response – The control measures be taken at the pace at which generative AI releases are moving.
  • Digitally signed videos - To verify that content can be trusted.
  • AI voice clone detectors – Advancing their development and promoting its active usage.
  • Cracking down social media platforms to control the spread.
  • 4 dangerous signs to watch out for
    • Unexpected calls
    • Urgent requests
    • Unnatural speech patterns
    • Requests for money or personal information


Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)- NGO 

GS-III : Internal security Internal security

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) registration of two prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and World Vision India (WVI) have been cancelled this month.

What is FCRA?

Key provisions of FCRA, 2010

Key aspects



It regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security


In 1976 during Emergency period amidst the apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money through independent organisations


Ministry of Home Affairs


To all associations, groups and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.

2010 Amendment

Consolidated the law on utilisation of foreign funds, and to prohibit their use for “any activities detrimental to national interest”.

2020 Amendment

Gave the Government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilisation of foreign funds by NGOs.

Filing of annual returns

The annual returns must be filed on the lines of Income Tax.

Foreign contribution

It means the donation, delivery

or transfer made by any foreign source

How foreign funds can be availed by NGOs

All NGOs must receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at SBI’s New Delhi branch.

Utilisation of foreign funds

Utilised only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.

Who can receive foreign contribution?

It must have a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme with prior FCRA registration/ permission from the Central Government.

Who cannot receive foreign contribution?

The candidates for elections, journalists or newspaper and media broadcast companies, judges and Government servants, members of legislature and political parties or their office-bearers, and organisations of a political nature.

Aadhaar provision

It is mandatory for all the office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO.

Administrative expenses

It was capped at 20% of the total foreign funds received, earlier the upper limit was 50%

Bar on sub-granting

It barred sub-granting by NGOs to smaller NGOs who work at the grass roots level.

What is the procedure for FCRA registration?

  • Apply online- NGOs must apply online for FCRA registration with the required documents and information.
  • Role of Intelligence Bureau (IB)- Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) verifies the background and objectives of the applicant through the Intelligence Bureau.
  • Eligibility- The applicant must not be involved in any illegal or anti-national activities, such as religious conversion, communal violence, fund misuse, or sedition.
  • Time frame-The MHA must decide on the application within 90 days, or inform the NGO of the reasons for delay.
  • Validity- 5 years.
  • Renewal- It must be applied for at least 6 months before the expiry date, in case of failure to renew it will amount to expiry of registration.
  • Due date- NGOs can appeal to the MHA within 4 months of the expiry of registration, by giving valid reasons for the delay.

How FCRA registration can be cancelled?

The Government reserves the right to cancel the FCRA registration of any NGO if it finds it to be in violation of the Act.

  • Right to cancel- The Government can cancel the FCRA registration of any NGOs if it finds to be in violation of the Act.
  • Grounds for cancellation- It can happen if the NGO is found to be dishonest, inactive, defunct or harmful to public interest, or if it misuses foreign funds.
  • Right to be heard- As per the act, no order of cancellation of certificate can be made unless the person or NGO concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
  • Right to Appeal- All orders of the Government can be challenged in the High Court.
  • Re-registration- If NGOs registration is cancelled, it can apply for re-registration only after 3 years.
  • Suspend NGOs activities- MHA can suspend or freeze the NGO’s registration and funds for 180 days during inquiry.

Since 2015, the FCRA registration of more than 16,000 NGOs have been cancelled on account of violation.

Centre for Policy Research

  • It is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent institution founded in 1973.
  • It was dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high-quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India.
  • It is a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and is recognised by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • Its funders have included the Government of India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, among many others in India and abroad.

World Vision India (WVI)

  • It is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on children’s issues.
  • The U.S.-based organisation is one of the world’s largest voluntary groups, with a presence in over 100 countries.
  • It has been operational in India for the past 70 years.


Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana

GS-III : Economic Issues Energy

Recently, Prime Minister announced Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana under which 1 crore households will get rooftop solar power systems.

India’s Status of Current Solar Capacity

  • India currently stands at 4th place globally in solar power capacity.
  • As per Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), solar power installed capacity in India has reached around 73.31 GW as of 2023.
  • Solar power has the major share in the country’s current renewable energy capacity, which stands at around 180 GW.
  • In total solar capacity, Rajasthan is at top with 18.7GW followed by Gujarat.
  • As of 2023, Rooftop solar installed capacity is around 11.08 GW.
  • Gujarat (2.8 GW) tops the rooftop solar capacity followed by Maharashtra.

What is Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana?

  • Aim- To equip 1 crore poor to middle-class households with rooftop solar panels in a bit to provide electricity from solar energy.

Significance of the Scheme

  • Cost effective- It will reduce the electricity bill for poor and middle class.
  • In a solar rooftop system, there is only an upfront capital investment and minimal cost for maintenance.
  • Aatmanirbar Bharat- It will push India’s goal of becoming self-reliant in the energy sector.
  • Additional income- It will provide income to generate surplus electricity generation.
  • Massive national campaign- It will mobilize residential segment consumers to adopt rooftop solar in large numbers.
  • Reaching the targets- It could help India achieve net zerotarget by 2070.
  • India aims to reach 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030, hence expanding solar energy is crucial to achieve this target.
  • It seems to be a new attempt to help reach the target of 40 GW rooftop solar capacity.
  • Saves electricity cost - It reduces the consumption of the grid-connected electricity and saves electricity cost for the consumer.

As per the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) report, the residential sector currently accounts for just 20% of the installations of rooftop solar capacity.

What is the Rooftop Solar Program?

  • Launch year- 2014
  • About- To promote the installation of solar panels on the roofs of residential, community, institutional, industrial and commercial buildings.
  • Aim- To achieve a cumulative capacity of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2022.
  • Implementation- By Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in collaboration with the State Government and distribution companies (DISCOMs)
  • Scheme extension- 2022 to 2026
  • Central financial assistance- Given to eligible projects and DISCOMs that facilitate the installation and operation of rooftop solar systems.

At the end of 2023, the total solar installed capacity in the country had reached only 73.3 GW, of which grid-connected rooftop solar contributed just about 11 GW.

What steps were taken to promote solar energy?

  • Solar park scheme- Aims to facilitate the setting up of large-scale solar power projects in solar parks, which are zones of land with suitable infrastructure and access to the grid.
  • National Solar Mission- One of the 8 key National Mission’s which comprise India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • Viability Gap Funding scheme (VGF)- One-time grant implemented through Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • Central Public Sector Undertaking Scheme (CPSU) - Aims to achieve 12 GW of solar power capacity from CPSUs by 2023.
  • Defence Scheme- Aims to promote the installation of solar power plants by the defence sector and the para-military forces.
  • Canal bank and Canal top Scheme- Aims to promote the installation of solar power plants on the banks and tops of the canals.
  • Bundling scheme- Aims to promote the installation of solar power plants by bundling the solar power with the thermal power from the unallocated quota of the central generating stations (CGS).
  • PM KUSUM scheme- Aimed at ensuring energy security for farmers in India, along with honouring India’s commitment to increase the share of installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil-fuel sources to 40% by 2030 as part of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) - Scheme for high efficiency solar aims to enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports in the solar sector.
  • Green Energy Corridors- Established to create intra-state transmission system for renewable energy projects.
  • International Solar Alliance- A joint effort by India and France to mobilize efforts against climate change through deployment of solar energy solutions with an aim of One Sun, One World, One Grid.


Mukhyamantri Gramin Solar Street Light Scheme

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

  • The Mukhyamantri Gramin Solar Street Light Yojana is a scheme that aims to provide street lights in villages and cities in Bihar.

The scheme is expected to be completed by March 2023 but not implemented in some areas till now.


Syndiniales & Corallicolids


  • The international team of researchers collected samples of corals from across the Mediterranean Sea and analysed the bacteria that live with the corals.
  • The researchers found that the presence of a group of parasitic single-celled organisms called Syndiniales made it more likely that a coral could survive heat stress.

The presence of Corallicolids, a group of single-celled organism related to the parasite that causes malaria, was more common in corals that die from heat stress.


India's stock market

GS-III : Economic Issues Stock market

  • India overtakes Hong Kong to become 4th-largest stock market recently.
  • India's stock market capitalization crossed USD 4 trillion for the first time, with about half of that reportedly coming in the past 4 years.

The top 3 stock markets are the U.S., China, and Japan.


Naiyandi Melam

GS-I : Art and Culture Art and Culture

  • A naiyandi melam is a type of percussion instrument that is unique to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of South India.
  • It is performed by artistes of different communities. The word, naiyandi, means making fun.

Naiyandi melam follows a set of tunes, beginning with ‘thooku’.


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