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12 Jan, 2023

20 Min Read

Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

GS-I : Modern History Personalities

Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Every year on January 12th, Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary is commemorated as National Youth Day.

About Swami Vivekananda:

  • On January 12, 1863, he was born in Calcutta to a Bengali family and was given the name Narendranath Datta.
  • In his honor, the Indian government designated his birthday National Youth Day in 1984.
  • He had an early interest in Western philosophy, history, religion, spirituality, and theology.
  • He was well-versed in a variety of disciplines and would meditate in front of representations of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
  • He encountered the religious leader Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who became his Guru and to whom he remained committed until his death in 1886.
  • After Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested it, he changed his name to 'Vivekananda' in 1893, from 'Sachidananda' previously.
  • Raja Yoga (1896), Karma Yoga (1896), Bhakti Yoga (1896), Jnana Yoga, My Master (1901), Lectures from Colombo to Almora(1897).
  • He was instrumental in reviving Hindu spiritualism and establishing Hinduism as a revered religion on a global scale.
  • His message of international brotherhood and self-awakening remains pertinent, especially in light of the current global political crisis.
  • The Ramakrishna Mission engaged in different forms of social services, such as establishing and operating schools, colleges, and hospitals, disseminating practical Vedanta doctrines through conferences, seminars, and workshops, and launching relief and rehabilitation work throughout the country.
  • In 1893, he introduced Hinduism to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago.

Contributions and Importance:

  • He was one of India's greatest spiritual leaders, inspiring the country's youth to be better by living a pure life and setting an example for the rest of the world.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had named him the "Maker of Modern India".

Emphasis on Indian Philosophies:

  • He was instrumental in bringing the philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.
  • Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that originated in India. The term "yoga" is taken from Sanskrit and means "joining" or "uniting," indicating the unity of body and consciousness.
  • Swami Vivekananda proposed that education was the key means of empowering the people in order to restore Indian society.
  • Vivekananda advocated for a national transformation based on the concepts of 'tyaga' or sacrifice and 'seva' or selfless service, which he saw as the most important parts of shaping the lives of young people.
  • Swami made the point that this manner of living is what might be called a 'spiritual quest'.
  • His vision of India was of a reformed society built in strength, love, and service and motivated by dignity, freedom, and uniqueness.

New Theory of Ethics:

  • He presented a new theory of ethics and a new moral standard based on the inherent purity and oneness of the Atman.
  • He defines ethics as a system of behaviour that enables a person to be a good citizen.
  • On the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence, he worked to promote peace and universal brotherhood.
  • One of his most significant contributions is his concept of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality shared by all humanity.
  • This universal perspective liberates religion from superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft, and intolerance.
  • The specific kind of devotion he proposed for the Indians was service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead.

Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga are all forms of yoga.

  • In his works, Swami Vivekananda discussed the four paths to liberation from worldly pleasure and attachment.

Karma Yoga:

  • Emphasizing the value of work, Swami Vivekananda stated that God can be achieved via work. Karma-Yoga teaches how to work for work’s sake, unattached to the results. A Karma Yogin works out of her nature as she feels it is the right thing for her to do and that is the sole objective of her work. “Whatever you do, let that be your worship for the time being.

Bhakti Yoga:

  • According to Bhakti Yoga, love is a necessary component of all human beings. It teaches how to love without hidden motivations. It teaches how to love bereft of any ulterior motives. “All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying,” said Swami Vivekananda.

Raja Yoga:

  • Raja Yoga provides a psychological pathway to oneness with God. This Yoga emphasises that in order to get information, we must adopt a technique known as focus. “The more this power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired. The stronger the power of concentration, the better will that thing be done.”

Faith in oneself:

  • He emphasises that the ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us as whatever “you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.” One has to know that all knowledge, power, purity, and freedom are in oneself.


  • He emphasised the importance of education in the regeneration of India and called for character-building education.
  • According to him, a nation advances in proportion to the diffusion of education among the populace.
  • He was adamant about educating women and the lower classes.

Role of Swami Vivekananda in Social Reforms:

Swami Vivekananda, worked in different fields as he was very much inclined to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of selfless work for mankind and humanity.

Social Reforms for women Upliftment:

  • Swami Vivekananda held high for the rights of women and gloried them. He promoted women’s Upliftment and was deeply concerned about the right of women and the oppression against them.
  • According to Swami Vivekananda women had the power to build a nation and shape the Future thus should be given proper education.
  • He considered women as “Shakti” the ultimate power.

Social Reforms on Religion:

  • Swami Vivekananda was highly influenced by Vedantic philosophy and was one of its great admirers. Though he considered Hinduism as the mother of all Religions, he also believes in monotheism- the concept of all God. He believed that all religions teach “PEACE, HARMONY, HUMANITY, through different ways but with one common goal”.

• Social Reforms on Education:

  • Swami Vivekananda’s educational aspect was based on inculcating education as the fundamental right of all masses and believed in mass education.
  • He was a modern thinker and tried instilling modern and western Education in women, rights of education for lower sections of society and all.
  • He paid more attention and focus on instilling Technical and industrial training as considering the economical prospect of the masses.

Swami Vivekananda On India’s Cultural History:

  • Swamiji took great pride in India’s cultural history in the past. For him, Ideal India would be one that is for the masses. It means an India free of poverty, removal of illiteracy, dignity for all, human liberty, and freedom from all monopolies with a socially strong and culturally sound country. These were all inspired by his Vedantic ideas. He stood against feudal and colonial oppression.

Foundation of Ramakrishna Mission – Its Purpose and Objectives:

  • The Ramakrishna Mission was established with the main goal of serving Mankind by Swami Vivekananda. It was established in 1897 in Belur.
  • The ultimate goal of the Ramakrishna Mission is “Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitaya Cha” which means soul salvation can be attained by serving Mankind selflessly and unconditionally.
  • The Ramakrishna mission taught and encouraged the Vedantic philosophy and worked for instilling the spiritual aspect in society.
  • It worked towards carrying the philanthropic work at the time of natural disasters/calamities such as famine, earthquake, flood, epidemics, pandemics, etc., and other natural calamities.
  • Swami Vivekananda has worked with sheer sincerity and got success in establishing this mission not only in India but also setting up its branches out of India as in England, Germany, Switzerland, and other European countries.
  • To propagate the harmony of all religions as Sri Ramakrishna’s preachings taught that all religions through different pathways but ultimately lead to the same goal of serving mankind and Humanity.
  • To impart the Gurukul system of Education where the Educational Institutions serve as Home to the Gurus and students and build a harmonious relationship between them.

Way Forward

  • Swami Vivekananda’s teachings of Vedantism and Philanthropic ideas not only inculcated the Indian youth to work for the welfare of society but also instill in them feelings of sacrifice, and love for the country.
  • Swami Vivekananda’s representative figure in Chicago gave him immense popularity as a monk and open the gates of India to the western world and made India find its presence in the world.
  • In his life journey he traveled from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, mixed up with all classes of people, and treated them with humility and love, thus making a great place in their hearts and leaving a great mark and footprint in human history.

Source: The Indian Express

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

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

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

  • The new integrated food security system, which will provide free food grains to Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) and Primary Household (PHH) recipients, will be implemented on January 1, 2023.
  • The Union government has dubbed its new free foodgrain scheme, established under the National Food Security Act of 2013, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).
  • The integrated system is expected to reinforce the provisions of the NFSA, 2013 in terms of foodgrain access, affordability, and availability for the poor.

What exactly is PM-GKAY?

  • PMGKAY is a component of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) designed to assist the underprivileged in their fight against Covid-19.
  • The initiative aims to give an additional 5 kilogram grains (wheat or rice) for free to each person covered by the National Food Security Act 2013, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidized foodgrain already provided under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • It was previously announced to cover 80 crore ration cardholders for three months (April, May, and June 2020). It was later extended to September 2022 and then to December.
  • The Ministry of Finance is its nodal Ministry.

The new scheme's name is similar to that of the free foodgrain scheme announced as part of the Centre's Covid-19 package in 2020.

Previous plan:

  • The distinction between the two schemes is that around 81 crore NFSA beneficiaries were entitled to free 5 kg of foodgrain per person per month in addition to their monthly benefits.
  • They were, however, had to pay the subsidized rate of foodgrains (Rs 3 per kg rice, Rs 2 per kg wheat, and Rs 1 per kg coarse grains) in order to acquire the amount to which they were entitled-35 kilograms each Antyoday Anna Yojana Household and 5kg per person in a Priority Household per month.

New Program:

  • Under the new scheme, the government has eliminated subsidized prices and is giving food grains for free for a year.
  • However, the excess quantity that was available during the Covid epidemic will no longer be made available to these people.
  • They will be given the amount of food grain they are entitled to under the NFSA.


  • Expensive: It is exceedingly costly for the government to support, which raises the demand for a plentiful supply of cheap grains. In 2022, India was forced to limit wheat and rice exports due to irregular weather, which pushed up food costs and shook global agricultural markets.
  • Increased Fiscal Deficit: This could jeopardize the government's goal of reducing the fiscal deficit to 6.4% of GDP.
  • Inflation: The program's choice may have an impact on inflation. Rice and wheat prices are rising due to poor production during a heatwave and spotty monsoon, which account for around 10% of India's retail inflation.

About National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

  • It was passed in July 2013.
  • It grants legal entitlement to highly subsidized food grains to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Foodgrains were sold at heavily subsidized prices of Rs. 1/-, Rs. 2/-, and Rs. 3/- per kg under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for nutri-cereals, wheat, and rice, respectively.
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution's Department of Food and Public Distribution is the nodal ministry for executing this Act.
  • Eligibility: According to Section 3 of the Act, the word "eligible households" refers to two types of households.
  • Priority households are entitled to 5 kg of food per person each month.
  • Families eligible for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) receive 35 kilograms each month.


Census data and population figures:

  • The NFSA coverage is still based on the population figures from the 2011 census.
  • In its affidavit, the Union stated in court that the Act required coverage to be updated based on the most recent reported census statistics.
  • The NFSA coverage, however, cannot be estimated because the 2021 census has been postponed indefinitely and no date has been announced.

What Related Initiatives Has the Government Launched?

    • National Food Security Mission
    • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
    • Integrated Schemes on Oilseeds, Pulses, Palm oil and Maize (ISOPOM)
    • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

Source: The Indian express

Digital Payment In India

GS-III : Economic Issues Government policies and interventions

Digital Payment In India

  • The Union Government has set aside 2,600 crores as an incentive for banks to promote digital payments.

About UPI:

  • The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) provides a simple way to move money from one bank account to another. It has grown in popularity since its debut in 2016.
  • UPI now accounts for more than 40% of all retail digital payments (non-cash and non-paper payments) in India.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) operates the UPI, which was established in 2016. It's a solution that integrates various bank accounts into a single mobile app. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) established the NPCI in 2009 with the purpose of developing a strong payment and settlement infrastructure.
  • Covid-19 Impact: During Covid-19, digital payments facilitated the operation of enterprises, even tiny merchants, and aided in the maintenance of social distance.
  • Growth in Digital Transactions: As a result of a previous incentive plan for digital payments implemented in the previous fiscal year, total digital payments transactions increased by 59% year on year, rising from Rs 5,554 crores in FY 2020-21 to Rs 8,840 crore in FY 2021-22.

What are the state of UPI and digital transactions right now?

According to the 'Prime Time For Real Time 2022' research, India's real-time payments comprise the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Both have witnessed an upsurge in usage in recent years.

  • In 2021, India had the most number of real-time transactions (48.6 billion). China had the second-largest number of transactions (18 billion transactions). As a result, transactions in India were 2.7 times those in China.
  • When compared to other nations, the size is even more striking; for example, the number of transactions in India was about seven times more than the total real-time payments volume of the world's leading economies: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany (7.5 billion).

The Importance of Digital Payments:

  • There are no Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) fees for merchants on card-based transactions. This encourages merchants to accept UPI payments.
  • The UPI is supported by a rich ecosystem that allows for seamless and quick fund transfers. This includes the availability of high-speed internet in many regions of the country, smartphone-powered technology, cloud computing, and modern software engineering technologies that complete a transaction in a matter of seconds.
  • Friendly to the user: It will offer cost-effective and user-friendly digital payment solutions. It will provide consumers with cheap payment choices that are accessible at any time and from any location.
  • It will lessen the pressure on banking networks for modest transactions.
  • It will allow payments via older feature phones.
  • Digital society: It is a path toward a less-cash and less-card society that will allow the country to progressively develop its digital payments.
  • Leader of the world: This will cement India's status as the global leader in digital payments.

Problems and difficulties:

  • Geopolitical hazards: In light of rising geopolitical dangers, the text also discusses ring-fencing domestic payment networks, particularly the necessity to compel domestic processing of payment transactions.
  • Frauds: As more people use digital payment methods, there will be an increase in digital payment fraud.
  • Domestic payment data storage: Banks and non-bank PSOs are permitted to process payment transactions abroad under specific conditions.

Way Forward

  • India is the poster child for real-time payments, demonstrating how a concerted, collaborative, nationwide effort can unlock enormous economic and social possibilities. Keeping this in mind, UPI's reach and acceptance must be expanded further in order to generate additional economic potential.
  • The Indian digital payment ecosystem has been revolutionized, and India has emerged as a pioneer in the creation of digital assets that can serve as a model for many other countries.
  • The Indian government must make greater efforts to assist India to become one of the world's most efficient payment markets.

Source: The Hindu

VSHORAD Missile System

GS-III : S&T Defense system

VSHORAD Missile System

  • Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) was granted by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) to acquire the Very Short Range Air Defence System VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system.

About the VSHORAD missile system:

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed and produced it, along with other weapon systems for the Army and Navy, at a cost of Rs 4,276 crore.
  • Since 2018, India has been in talks with Russia to purchase Igla-S air defence missiles for $1.5 billion through the VSHORAD program, in order to replace the Russian Igla-M systems currently in use by the Army.
  • Specifications: It is a man-portable Air Defence System (MANPAD) designed to kill low-altitude aerial threats at short ranges.
  • The VSHORADS missile features a number of unique technologies, including as a miniaturised Reaction Control System (RCS) and integrated avionics, which have been successfully tested.
  • A dual-thrust solid motor propels the missile, which is designed to counter low-altitude aerial threats at short ranges.
  • The missile's design, including the launcher, has been significantly optimised for mobility.

Relevance for India:

  • Because it is man-portable and lightweight compared to other missile systems in the Army's arsenal, it can be quickly deployed in the highlands near the LAC.
  • They will be a crucial air defence missile for the forces, even for an all-equipped infantry unit, and the finest option for mountain combat after they are integrated.
  • The acquisition of VSHORAD, a robust and readily deployable system, will improve India's air defence capabilities.
  • The AoN is expected to be inducted as the first phase in the lengthy capital procurement procedure in defence.
  • If orders are placed on time, defence officials believe that the missile systems will be deployed to the forces in three to four years with industrial backing.

Source: The Indian Express

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