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11th May 2023 – Current Affairs

GS 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, Pharma Sector & Health Science

Indian Space Policy 2023 –

India’s new space policy released in 2023 is a promising move towards a flourishing commercial presence in space. However, the policy needs to be accompanied by clear rules and regulations and suitable legislation to create a conducive environment for private sector participation in the Indian space industry.

The Indian Space Policy 2023 –

  1. The Indian Space Policy 2023 is a short 11-page document that includes a vision to enable, encourage and develop a flourishing commercial presence in space.
  2. It recognizes the private sector as a critical stakeholder in the entire value chain of the space economy.
  3. It makes five key points and outlines the roles of various entities, including the Department of Space, ISRO, Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), and the New Space India Limited (NSIL).
  4. The policy lays out a strategy and spells out the roles of the entities mentioned above.

What is mean by The Second Space Age and its features?

  1. The Second Space Age refers to a period in the space industry following the early 1990s when private sector involvement in space technology began to increase.
  2. The Second Space Age is characterized by the following features:
  3. Increased private sector involvement:The Second Space Age has seen private sector companies take a more prominent role in the space industry. This shift has led to innovation and growth, with private companies investing in space tourism, satellite-based services, and other commercial applications of space technology.
  4. Commercial applications of space technology:The Second Space Age is marked by a shift towards commercial applications of space technology. Private sector companies are investing in satellite-based services such as broadband, OTT, and 5G, which promise a double-digit annual growth rate.
  5. Increased global competition:The Second Space Age has led to increased global competition in the space industry. Countries such as China, India, and private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are competing for a share of the space industry’s market.
  6. Increased collaboration: The Second Space Age has seen increased collaboration between government agencies and private sector companies. This collaboration has led to the development of new technologies and innovative solutions to problems faced in space exploration.

Gaps in Indian Space Policy 2023 –

  1. Lack of legislative framework:The policy provides a broad framework for promoting private sector participation in the Indian space industry but lacks a legislative framework to support it. A regulatory body like IN-SPACe needs legislative authority to be effective.
  2. Lack of clear rules and regulations:The policy framework envisaged will need clear rules and regulations pertaining to FDI and licensing, government procurement to sustain the new space start-ups, liability in case of violations, and an appellate framework for dispute settlement.
  3. Ambiguity in IN-SPACe’s position: IN-SPACe currently functions under the purview of the Department of Space, and its position is ambiguous. The Secretary (Space) is also the Chairman of ISRO, the government entity to be regulated by IN-SPACe. This ambiguity could create conflicts of interest and undermine IN-SPACe’s effectiveness.
  4. Lack of timelines:The policy sets out an ambitious role for IN-SPACe but provides no timeline for the necessary steps ahead. There is no indicative timeline for ISRO’s transitioning out of its current practices, nor is there a schedule for IN-SPACe to create the regulatory framework.

Way ahead: Steps to implement the policy effectively –

  1. Enactment of a new Space Activities Bill:The draft Space Activities Bill, which lapsed in 2019 with the outgoing Lok Sabha, needs to be reintroduced and enacted. The Bill will provide a comprehensive legislative framework to support the Indian Space Policy 2023 and regulate space activities carried out by government and non-government entities.
  2. Establishment of a clear regulatory framework:IN-SPACe needs to create a clear regulatory framework that sets out the rules and regulations for private sector participation in the Indian space industry. This will ensure a level playing field and promote the growth and development of the industry.
  3. Timely implementation of the policy:The Indian government needs to work closely with ISRO and other stakeholders to ensure the timely implementation of the policy. This will require setting clear timelines for the necessary steps ahead and ensuring their effective implementation.
  4. Promotion of private sector participation:The Indian government needs to promote private sector participation in the Indian space industry by providing incentives, facilitating technology transfer, and creating a conducive environment for innovation and growth.
  5. Collaboration with international partners:The Indian government needs to collaborate with international partners to share knowledge, expertise, and resources in the space domain. This will help in promoting innovation and growth in the Indian space industry and enhancing India’s global competitiveness.

The Indian Space Policy 2023 is a promising move towards creating a conducive environment for private sector participation in India’s space industry. However, it needs legislative support to create a stable and predictable regulatory framework and ensure a level playing field for the private sector. A vision that needs legislative support to launch India into the Second Space Age.


  1. IN-SPACe stands for Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre.
  2. It is a new regulatory body that was set up by the Indian government in 2020 to promote and regulate the activities of non-government entities (NGEs) in the Indian space sector.
  3. The primary objective of IN-SPACe is to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in the Indian space industry.
  4. IN-SPACe will be responsible for granting licenses and permits to private companies for carrying out space-related activities, including the establishment and operation of space objects, ground-based assets, and related services such as communication, remote sensing, and navigation.

New Space India Limited (NSIL) –

  1. NSIL is a public sector company under the Department of Space, Government of India.
  2. It was established in March 2019 as the commercial arm of ISRO to enable commercial exploitation of ISRO’s research and development activities, products, and services.
  3. NSIL’s primary objective is to facilitate the transfer of technologies developed by ISRO to industries for commercial exploitation.
  4. It aims to promote the development of the Indian space industry and create a level playing field for the private sector in the space domain.
  5. NSIL also aims to launch new satellites and provide space-based services such as satellite-based communication, navigation, and remote sensing.
  6. NSIL is also responsible for organizing and coordinating the participation of Indian industries in international exhibitions, symposiums, and workshops related to the space sector.


GS 3 : Achievements Of Indians in Science & Technology

25 Years of India’s Nuclear Test –

On May 11 and 13, 1998, India conducted five nuclear tests that brought about significant changes in the country’s self-esteem and status in the world. The country’s military nuclear policy had been shrouded in ambiguity and opacity for two decades since its first test in 1974. However, with the 1998 tests, India emerged as a nuclear weapons state, which was received with mixed reactions from the international community, resulting in sanctions and isolation. Nonetheless, the tests marked a significant moment for India’s self-confidence and awareness of its potential.

India’s Nuclear Tests –

  1. Smiling Buddha (Pokhran-I):India’s first nuclear test was conducted on May 18, 1974, in Pokhran, Rajasthan. The test was code-named “Smiling Buddha” and was a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”
  2. Pokhran-II:India’s second series of nuclear tests were conducted on May 11 and 13, 1998, in Pokhran, Rajasthan. The tests included three underground nuclear tests on May 11 and two on May 13. These tests were conducted under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and were code-named Operation Shakti.

Nuclear tests dispelled myths that had dominated international opinion –

  1. India’s Isolation:The myth that India would be isolated and its economy would collapse under the weight of sanctions and international opprobrium was dispelled. Instead, the US took the first steps to mainstream India, treating it as an exceptional case, which culminated in the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2005.
  2. India’s Inability to Manage nuclear weapons:The ethnocentric myth perpetuated by non-proliferation absolutists of the West that India and South Asia could not be trusted to manage nuclear weapons was also dispelled.

Advantages of the nuclear tests: From India’s point of view –

  1. Deterrence: The nuclear tests provided India with a credible nuclear deterrence capability, which could potentially deter other nuclear-armed adversaries and prevent them from using nuclear weapons against India.
  2. National pride and self-confidence: The successful nuclear tests were seen as a major achievement and a source of national pride for many Indians. They helped boost India’s self-confidence and reaffirmed its status as a major global power.
  3. Recognition: India’s successful nuclear tests brought it international recognition and established it as a nuclear-armed state. This recognition was particularly important for India’s security and diplomatic interests.
  4. Negotiating power:With its new nuclear status, India gained greater negotiating power in international forums and in its bilateral relationships with other countries.
  5. Technological advancement:The development and testing of nuclear weapons required advanced scientific and technological capabilities, and the successful tests demonstrated India’s progress in these areas.

International Consequences: series of events –

  1. The United States imposed sanctions against India under the Glenn Amendment.
  2. Pakistan conducted a series of nuclear tests in response.
  3. Many other countries, including China, castigated India for what they saw as an outrageous contempt for the common will of the international community.

India’s nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998, marked a significant moment in the country’s history, boosting its self-confidence and changing its status in the world. Despite facing international criticism and sanctions, India’s nuclear program has helped to create a credible nuclear deterrent, making it a vital player in the international system.


GS 3 : Organized Crime & Terrorism

Black listing Terrorists under UN 1267 List –

China objected to India’s proposal to blacklist Abdul Rauf Azhar, a senior terrorist from Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) on the UN Security Council’s 1267 List.

China’s objection to the proposal –

  1. China is a permanent, veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council.
  2. It has put a hold on proposals to blacklist other Pakistan-based terrorists in the past, including Hafiz Talah Saeed, Shahid Mahmood, and Sajid Mir.

The UNSC 1267 list –

  1. The UNSC resolution 1267 was adopted unanimously on 15 October 1999.
  2. It came to force in 1999, and strengthened after the September 2001 attacks.
  3. It is now known as the Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.

What is UNSC 1267 committee?

  1. It comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  2. The 1267 list of terrorists is a global list, with a UNSC stamp.
  3. It is one of the most important and active UN subsidiary bodies working on efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in relation to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
  4. It discusses UN efforts to limit the movement of terrorists, especially those related to travel bans, the freezing of assets and arms embargoes for terrorism.

How is the listing done?

(1) Submission of Proposal

  • Any member state can submit a proposal for listing an individual, group, or entity.
  • The proposal must include acts or activities indicating the proposed individual/group/entity had participated in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities linked to the said organizations.

(2) Actual decision

  • Decisions on listing and de-listing are adopted by consensus.
  • The proposal is sent to all the members, and if no member objects within five working days, the proposal is adopted.
  • An “objection” means rejection for the proposal.

(3) Putting and resolving ‘Technical Holds’

  • Any member of the Committee may also put a “technical hold” on the proposal and ask for more information from the proposing member state.
  • During this time, other members may also place their own holds.
  • The matter remains on the “pending” list of the Committee.
  • Pending issues must be resolved in six months, but the member state that has placed the hold may ask for an additional three months.
  • At the end of this period, if an objection is not placed, the matter is considered approved.

Here is a timeline of how China disrupts the global efforts against terrorism:

1.2009: After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India moved an independent terror designation proposal against Masood Azhar but China blocked the move.

  1. 2016:After seven years, India proposes listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and is supported by the US, the UK and France. China blocks the move again.
  2. 2017:The trio moves a third proposal only to be blocked by China again.
  3. 2019:After the attacks on the CRPF personnel in J-K’s Pulwama, India calls 25 envoys of different countries to highlight the role Islamabad plays in funding, promoting and strengthening global terrorism. India moves the fourth proposal demanding Masood Azhar’s listing.China lifted its technical hold.
  4. June 2022:China blocked a proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki as a ‘Global Terrorist’
  5. August 2022:China blocks India-US joint proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) deputy chief Abdul Rauf Azhar as UNSC designated terrorist.


GS 1 : Arts & Culture

Santiniketan in tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage list –

The article announces that Santiniketan, the home of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in West Bengal, has been recommended for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List

About Santiniketan –

Santiniketan is a renowned cultural and heritage place located in Birbhum District, West Bengal, India. It holds historical significance and is known for its association with Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Here are key points about Santiniketan:

  1. It was the home of Rabindranath Tagore, where he lived and composed many of his literary works, including songs, poems, and novels.
  2. The Santiniketan campus is adorned with splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings created by renowned artists such as Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay, and others.
  3. The region of Birbhum District, where Santiniketan is located, is also famous for its fairs and festivals. Some notable ones are Poush Mela (December), Joydev Mela (January), Basanta Utsav (Holi) in March, and the famous mystic Baul Singers.
  4. Special cultural events are held during Bengali New Year and Rabindra Janmotsav (birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore) in the Bengali month of Boisakh with great enthusiasm.
  5. Santiniketan celebrates unique festivals like Briksharopan (festival of Planting Saplings) and Halakarshan (festival of Plowing the Fields) on the 22nd and 23rd days of Sravana (August), respectively.
  6. Varshamangal, the festival of rains, is celebrated during August/September.
  7. Poush Mela is an annual fair and festival held in Santiniketan, starting on the 7th day of the month of Poush. The fair officially lasts for three days, but vendors may stay until the end of the month. It is known for live performances of Bengali folk music, particularly by bauls (traditional wandering minstrels), and also features tribal dances like Santali.

Recommendation by ICOMOS –

  1. The recommendation for Santiniketan’s inclusion was made by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is the advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  2. ICOMOS is a France-based international cultural body dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of global architectural and landscape heritage.

West Bengal’s Representation in World Heritage List –

  1. If selected, Santiniketan would be the second cultural symbol from West Bengal to be included in the UNESCO list.
  2. In 2021, UNESCO included ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Landmarks or areas selected by UNESCO for their cultural, historical, scientific, or other significant value, legally protected by international treaties.

Importance – World Heritage Sites represent collective and preservative interests of humanity, signifying remarkable accomplishments and intellectual history.

Selection Criteria – Sites must be already-classified landmarks, unique and significant culturally or physically, such as ancient ruins, historical structures, cities, monuments, etc.

Conservation – World Heritage Sites require practical conservation to protect them from risks like trespassing, uncontrolled access, or administrative negligence.

World Heritage Committee – Selects and monitors World Heritage Sites, manages the World Heritage Fund, and provides financial assistance. Composed of 21 states parties elected for a four-year term.

Membership – India is not a member of the World Heritage Committee.


GS3 : Indian Economy – Investment Models

Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)

The ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) is gradually challenging the dominance of Zomato and Swiggy by offering users cheaper prices for the same food items.

What is the ONDC Project?

  1. Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is an initiative aiming at promoting open networks for all aspects of exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.
  2. ONDC is to be based on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform.
  3. It is a non-profit initiative of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce.
  4. Currently, grocery and food items merchants are mostly part of it, but beauty, fashion, personal care products, and electronics, among others, are gradually joining in
  5. Currently, there are partners like Paytm, Meesho, Magicpin, Mystore, Craftsvilla, and Spice Money, which act as online storefronts, allowing users to order food or any other product from a business listed on the ONDC platform.

Need of the ONDC –

  1. India’s e-commerce landscape:Despite the high internet speeds and widespread smartphone usage, the majority of participants in e-commerce are unable to reap the benefits of this digital revolution.
  2. India has the 3rd-largest online shoppers base only behind China and the USA. Yet e-retail penetration in India is only 4.3% as compared to 25% in China and 26% in South Korea.
  3. Platform-centric challenges:A single entity has full control over managing all operations in the e-commerce value chain.
  • Sellers face challenges including high margin costs and a need to maintain presence at various platforms.
  • Buyers and sellers can only transact only if they are part of the same platform.
  • The rise of monopolies creates barriers to the entry for the population scale adoption of e-commerce.

Significance of ONDC –

  1. Suitable Platform for small businesses:ONDC protocols would standardize operations like cataloging, inventory management, order management and order fulfillment. Thus, small businesses would be able to use any ONDC compatible applications instead of being governed by specific platform centric policies.
  • This will provide multiple options to small businesses to be discoverable over network and conduct business. It would also encourage easy adoption of digital means by those currently not on digital commerce networks.
  1. Inclusivity for e-Commerce: ONDC is expected to make e-Commerce more inclusive and accessible for consumers. Consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service by using any compatible application or platform, thus increasing freedom of choice for consumers.
  • Growth of startups:By facilitating scalable and cost-effective e-commerce through the open protocol, ONDC will empower startups to grow collaboratively.

Indian e-commerce Industry –

  1. Growth:The Indian e-commerce industry has been on an upward growth trajectory. The Indian e-commerce market was estimated to be worth over $55 Bn in Gross Merchandise Value in 2021.
  • By 2030, it is expected to have an annual gross merchandise value of $350 Bn.
  1. Factors of Growth:Fuelling e-commerce growth, India is expected to have over 907 million internet users by 2023, which accounts for ~64% of the total population of the country.
  • The e-commerce industry in India is growing on levers such as increased smartphone penetration, increased affluence and low data prices, providing impetus for e-retail growth. India is the 2nd largest internet market in the world with ~62 billion UPI transactions in 2022.
  • Electronics and apparel make up nearly 70 per cent of the e-commerce market, when evaluated against transaction value. Other new upcoming categories within e-commerce include ed-tech, hyperlocal and food-tech.
  1. Gaining Popularity in tier-2 and tier-3 cities:The e-commerce trend is gaining major popularity even in tier-2 and tier– 3 cities as they now make up nearly half of all shoppers and contribute three of every five orders for leading e-retail platforms.
  • The average selling price (ASP) in tier-2 and smaller towns is only marginally lower than in tier-1/metro cities.
  1. ONDC:A network launched by the Government of India in 2022, aims to provide equal opportunities to MSMEs to thrive in digital commerce and democratize e-commerce.