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14 Jul, 2021

45 Min Read

Nepal Political crisis

GS-II : International Relations Nepal

Nepal Political crisis

  • The political crisis triggered by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve Nepal’s Parliament and call fresh elections led to a vertical split in the ruling party, with the rival faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ sacking Mr. Oli from its general membership.
  • The Prachanda faction of the Nepal Communist Party had removed Mr. Oli as the party’s chairman earlier.
  • It had issued a notice to him seeking an explanation for his decision to recommend Parliament’s dissolution, to which he did not respond. Following this, the central committee of the Prachanda bloc met on Sunday and decided to expel Mr. Oli.
  • His aides have rejected this, saying their leader remains the PM. This puts Nepal and its fractious communist movement in limbo.
  • Mr. Oli has claimed that he represents the party, while Mr. Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal, a former PM and leader of Mr. Oli’s erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (UML), have ruled out any future compromise with the PM.
  • The constitutional validity of the decision to dissolve Parliament is being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
  • Also, the Election Commission will decide which faction could retain the party’s name and symbol, the Sun.
  • These decisions will have a lasting impact on which side would emerge stronger.
  • Mr. Oli was elected PM in February 2018 after his CPN-UML fought the 2017 general election in an alliance with the Maoists.
  • Within months of coming to power, the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre of Prachanda merged to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which gave him nearly two-thirds majority in Parliament.
  • But the pre-election unity did not last long. When the government was formed, the tacit understanding between the CPN-UML and the Maoists was that Mr. Oli and Mr. Prachanda would share the five-year term.
  • But Mr. Oli refused to step down after two and a half years, pushing the NCP into a bitter intra-party feud.
  • The widening rift was not along the former UML-Maoist ideological lines.
  • Rather, Mr. Oli’s authoritarian style of governance and refusal to share power led to an erosion of support for the PM in the top echelons of the ruling party.
  • To overcome his own weakness within the party and deny his rivals power, he dissolved Parliament.
  • It is a typical case of greed for power and personality clashes trumping over the greater interests of a party, a government or a nation.
  • When they formed a united front, it was a historic opportunity for Nepal’s otherwise divided communists to script a brighter future for the fledgling republican democracy.
  • But in three years, Nepal is in chaos — Parliament has been dissolved, the PM has been sacked from the ruling party, and the party is split down the middle. Mr. Oli cannot escape responsibility for the crisis Nepal is in today.

Latest Developments

  • Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives for the second time in five months, and directed President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister.
  • A five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Courtissued the verdict stating that President Bhandari’s decision to dissolve the Lower House upon a recommendation of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli was an unconstitutional act.
  • Mr. Deuba, 74, served as the Prime Minister on four occasions & current Leader of the Opposition in the House, will be appointed as PM.

Source: TH

PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

GS-III : Economic Issues Food security

PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY): Critical Analysis

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) is a scheme as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and poor.
  • Under this special scheme (PMGKAY), around 80 Crore NFSA beneficiaries covered under both categories of NFSA, namely Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Householders (PHH), will be provided with an additional quota of free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) at a scale of 5 Kg per person per month, over and above their regular monthly entitlements under NFSA.
  • Government of India will bear all expenditure of over ?26,000 Crore on account of food subsidy and Central assistance to states/UTs on account of intrastate transportation etc.
  • During the period May - November 2021, more than 81.35 crore people will be provided 5 kg free wheat/rice per person / month along with 1 kg free whole chana to each family per month. Wheat has been allocated to 6 States/UTs, - Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi and Gujarat and rice has been provided to the remaining States/UTs. This is over and above the regular monthly entitlements under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).


  • Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
  • PHH are to be identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations as per criteria evolved by them. A families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government:
  • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
  • Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.
  • All primitive tribal households.
  • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitutes and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.
  • All eligible Below Poverty Line families of HIV positive persons.

30% PMGKAY recipients yet to get grains for May

  • Almost a third of all ration card holders are yet to get their free foodgrains allocation for May under the Centre’s COVID-19 relief scheme, according to the Food Ministry.
  • Out of the 79.25 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), only 55 crores have so far received their 5 kg per person quota of free wheat or rice under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which was announced to mitigate the economic distress caused by the pandemic. Thus, more than 30% have still not got their benefit.
  • However, almost 90% of beneficiaries have received their regular subsidised grain for the month, raising questions over why the free grain has reached fewer beneficiaries.
  • An analysis of NFSA data shows that the only major States which have significant coverage gaps are Himachal Pradesh (23%), Madhya Pradesh (14%) and Gujarat (9%). Most other large States have less than a 5% gap, which can be used to issue new ration cards.
  • In a May 24 order, the Supreme Court had directed that migrant workers and poor people without ration cards should be provided with dry ration under the Atma Nirbhar scheme — which was implemented last year — or any other scheme found suitable by the States and Centre.

National Food Security Act, 2013

  • In PUCL vs Union of India, SC said the Right to food is essential to the Right to Life (Art 21). Hence NFSA has a rights-based approach. The objective is to provide food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach.
  • All the above schemes PDS, RPDS, and TPDS are merged except Antyodaya Anna Yojana which will continue to give 35 kg to poorest of poor.
  • It covers 67% population (75% Rural and 50% Urban). Beneficiaries will be taken from SECC.
  • People will get 5 kgs of foodgrains per person per month upto 5 family members at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains. It uses TPDS mechanism.
  • Special nutritional support to women and children.
    1. It includes meal to Pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and 6 months after child birth. They are entitled to a nutritious "take home ration" of 600 Calories and a maternity benefit of >= Rs 6,000 for 6 months. Hence, PMMVY is merged. 5000 + 1000 rs under Janani Suraksha Yojana.
    2. Children upto 14 years will get nutritious meals.
  • If there is no supply in 15 days, then beneficiaries will get Food Security Allowance.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism at District and State levels. Transparency and Accountability to be ensured.
  • Food fortification = Rice with Protein; Wheat with Zinc and Coarse Cereals with Iron.
  • The utilisation of Dryland area agriculture which is 52% land.
  • Development of Wasteland to generate 250 million tonnes of additional production.
  • In Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, act is implemented in cash transfer mode and they will have the choice to buy food grains from open market.
  • The eldest woman in a household, >= 18 years, shall be the head of the household for the purpose of issuance of a ration card.

Source: PIB

NTPC to set up India’s single largest solar park at Rann of Kutch

GS-III : Economic Issues Renewable energy

NTPC to set up India’s single largest solar park at Rann of Kutch

  • NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of NTPC, has received the go-ahead from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to set up a 4750 MW renewable energy park at Rann of Kutch in Khavada, Gujarat. This will be India’s largest solar park to be built by the largest power producer in the country.
  • NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL), has been given the go-ahead by MNRE on 12th July 2021 under Mode 8 (Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Park) of Solar Park Scheme. NTPC REL has plans to generate green hydrogen on a commercial scale from this park.
  • As a part of its green energy portfolio augmentation, NTPC Ltd, India’s largest energy integrated company aims to build a 60 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2032. Currently, the state-owned power major has an installed capacity of 66 GW across 70 power projects with an additional 18 GW under construction.
  • Recently, NTPC has also commissioned India’s largest Floating Solar of 10 MW (ac) on the reservoir of Simhadri Thermal Power Plant, Andhra Pradesh. An additional 15 MW (ac) would be commissioned by August 2021.
  • Further, a 100 MW Floating Solar Project on the reservoir of Ramagundam Thermal Power Plant, Telangana is in the advanced stage of implementation.
  • Additionally, NTPC RE Ltd. has recently signed an MoU with UT, Ladakh and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) for the generation of green hydrogen and deployment on FCEV buses. The signing of the MoU was also marked by the inauguration of NTPC’s first solar installations in Leh in form of solar trees and a solar carport.
  • NTPC REL, the subsidiary was incorporated on 07.10.2020 to accelerate the RE business of NTPC.

Source: PIB

Lord Jagannath Temple

GS-I : Art and Culture Religion

Lord Jagannath Temple

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra for Lord Jagannath was commenced recently.

About Jagannath Puri Yatra

  • Jagannath Puri Yatra is held at one of the Char Dhams called Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha.
  • This festival is the most famous Vaishnavite ritual observed in India and abroad.
  • On the occasion, devotees pray to three deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Lordess Subhadra.
  • For this festival, special chariots are built each year.
  • Similar processions or rath yantras are organized at Jagannath temples across the world.
  • During festive public procession of Jagannath, devotees visit Puri to see Lord Jagannath in a chariot.

How did this yatra begin?

  • Images of all the three deities is ceremoniously brought out of the inner sanctum (Garbhagriha) from the chief temple in Jagannath Puri. They are placed in a chariot which is then pulled by volunteers from Jagannath puri temple to Gundicha Temple.

Lord Jagannath Temple

  • The Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu located on the eastern coast of India, in the state of Odisha.
  • The temple is an important pilgrimage destination and one of the four great 'Char Dham' pilgrimage sites.
  • The construction of the Jagannath temple was initiated by King Anantavarma Chodagangadeva in 12th century.
  • The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival.
  • Anantavarma Chodagangadeva is also known for building the Sun temple of Konark and Puri is considered as the cultural capital of Odisha.

The Nagara or North Indian Temple Architecture

  • Nagara is the style of temple architecture which became popular in Northern India.
  • It is common here to build an entire temple on a stone platform with steps leading up to it.
  • Unlike in south India, it doesn’t usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • Earliest temples had only one shikhara (tower), but in the later periods, multiple shikharas came.
  • The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.

Source: AIR

40th Foundation Day of NABARD

GS-III : Economic Issues Banking

40th Foundation Day of NABARD

What is NABARD?

  • NABARD is a development bank focussing primarily on the rural sector of the country. It is the apex banking institution to provide finance for Agriculture and rural development.
  • Its headquarter is located in Mumbai.
  • It is responsible for the development of small industries, cottage industries, and any other such village or rural projects.
  • It is a statutory body established in 1982 under Parliamentary act-National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981.

Functions of NABARD

  • NABARD’s initiatives are aimed at building an empowered and financially inclusive rural India through specific goal-oriented departments which can be categorized broadly into three heads: Financial, Developmental and Supervision.
  • It provides refinance support for building rural infrastructure.
  • It prepares district-level credit plans to guide and motivate the banking industry in achieving these targets.
  • It supervises Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and helps them develop sound banking practices and integrate them to the CBS (Core Banking Solution) platform.
  • Core Banking Solution (CBS) is the networking of branches, which enables Customers to operate their accounts, and avail banking services from any branch of the Bank on CBS network, regardless of where he maintains his account. The customer is no more the customer of a Branch. He becomes the Bank’s Customer.
  • It is involved in designing Union government’s development schemes and their implementation.
  • It provides training to handicraft artisans and helps them in developing a marketing platform for selling these articles.
  • NABARD has various international partnerships including leading global organizations and World Bank-affiliated institutions that are breaking new ground in the fields of rural development as well as agriculture.
  • These international partners play a key consultant’s role in providing advisory services as well as financial assistance designed to ensure uplifting of rural peoples as well as optimization of various agricultural processes.

NABARD (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • The Bill seeks to amend the NABARD Act, 1981 which establishes NABARD by transferring the agricultural credit functions of RBI and refinance functions of the then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
  • The amendment bill seeks to increase the authorised capital of the Bank to 30,000 crore rupees from 5,000 crore rupees.
  • Currently the Central government is holding 99.60% share of the bank and the rest is with RBI (0.40%). The capital can be increased further by the government in consultation with the RBI.
  • NABARD is responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas.
  • It provides both direct finance (lending directly to customers) and refinance (lending to financial institutions to provide loans to customers)

Direct Finance by NABARD

  • Loans for Food Parks and Food Processing Units in Designated Food Parks
  • Loans to Warehouses, Cold Storage and Cold Chain Infrastructure
  • Rural Infrastructure Development Fund
  • Long Term Irrigation Fund
  • Alternative Investment Fund
  • State Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks for providing short term agricultural loans

Refinance by NABARD

  • Cooperative Banks - State, District, Primary Urban;
  • RRB, Commercial Banks, Agriculture Development Finance Companies, NBFC for providing credit for investment activities in agriculture and allied activities.

What is the news?

  • In the budget of the current financial year, Rs.16 lakh crore lending target has been set up for the sector.
  • NABARD has made available crop loans to farmers at concessional rates through cooperative and regional rural banks and in 7 years this amount reached to Rs.6.5 lakh crore.
  • Government has also reformed agricultural marketing.
  1. There are one thousand Integrated National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) mandis and in the current year one thousand more mandis will be linked to this portal.
  2. The launch of 'Operation Greens' scheme and 'Kisan Rail' are also historic steps in this direction.
  • The losses are being reduced by transporting fruits and vegetables from the fields to the consumer cities.
  • A scheme has also been launched to form 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), which will work on the model of collectivism.
  • Prime Minister has allocated Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the development of agriculture and allied sectors. Rs. 1 Lakh crore has been allocated for special 'Agriculture Infrastructure Fund' with the objective to promote investment.
  • Farmers will now get financial assistance from the government with 3% interest and loan guarantee.
  • NABARD, a participant in the scheme, has set a target to develop 35 thousand primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) as 'one-stop shops'.
  • NABARD has sanctioned Rs. 1,700 crore to 3 thousand PACS for setting up multiple service centres. Shri Tomar said that in the last 7 years, NABARD has given Rs 1.81 lakh crore to the states under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund of which one-third is used for irrigation. This fund has been increased to 40 thousand crores.
  • NABARD and others have also contributed well in 'Per Drop - More Crop' under PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana. In this campaign, the Center has increased the group amount of Micro Irrigation Fund under NABARD to Rs.10 thousand crore.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for private investment to develop Indian agriculture and to promote innovations through investment.
  • In this context, he mentioned that the new farm acts are very important for the development of small and marginal farmers. Commenting on the development of the agriculture sector, Dr. Subramaniam said Credit is very important for small and marginal farmers and institutions like NABARD ensure that proper provision is made to provide credit to these farmers across the country.
  • There is a need to make appropriate investments in green infrastructure, which will be around Rs 18.37 lakh crore by the year 2024-25, out of which Rs.7.35 lakh crore will be kept for agricultural infrastructure.
  • The agricultural eco-system is changing, due to which the life of the farming community will become more convenient than before as farmers will be able to use information technology for farming systems, processing as well as export, which will increase their income. He said that since the last several decades, NABARD has been striving for the upliftment of the agricultural and rural community through various measures.

Source: PIB

Relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan Sent to Georgia

GS-II : International Relations Europe

Relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan Sent to Georgia

After a long-standing request of Georgia, External Affairs Minister handed over the holy relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan nearly 16 years after they were found in Goa.

Who was St. Ketevan?

  • Queen Ketevan was a 17th-century Georgian Queen.
  • From Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia, she was tortured and killed in 1624 in Shiraz during the rule of the Safavid dynasty.
  • Portuguese missionaries were said to have carried the relics to Goa in 1627.
  • In 2005, after years of research and study of medieval Portuguese records, the relics were found at the St. Augustine Church in Old Goa.

Importance of Georgia for India


  • Georgia a strategically important country situated at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • Relations between Georgia and India date back to ancient times.
  • The Panchatantra influenced Georgian folk legends. During the medieval period, Georgian missionaries, travelers, and traders visited India.
  • Some Georgians served in the courts of Mughal emperors, and a few rose to the rank of governor.
  • India was among the first countries to officially recognize Georgia, doing so on 26 December 1991.
  • India is a net exporter to Georgia.
  • The main commodities exported by India to Georgia are cereals, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery and equipment, and aluminium and aluminium articles.

Source: TH

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