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24th November Current Affairs


  1. Bhutan border village on disputed land
  2. UN Award for Bhutan’s Queen Mother
  3. Discovery of copper Plate Inscriptions at Halebelagola
  4. Bonda tribe sees rise in ‘Distress Migration’
  5. Japanese grant to Maldives Coast Guard
  6. Fourth Global meet on criminal finances
  7. India to launch deep sea mission soon
  8. G-20 Summit 2020 and 2023
  9. Minorities panel NCM has just one member
  10. China prepares probe to bring back lunar rocks


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • Chinese media claimed that a new border village built by China near Bhutan was on Chinese territory, but released images of the village appearing to show its location on territory disputed by the two countries.
  • An image released by the newspaper placed the village in disputed territory, a couple of kilometres inside what Bhutan sees as its territory.

Territorial claims

  • China has in the past sought to bolster its territorial claims in disputed areas by building civilian settlements there, as on disputed South China Sea islands.
  • According to China’s maps, the village is within China’s territory, but China’s border extends further south beyond where India and Bhutan say the border runs.
  • The area is East of the India-Bhutan-China trijunction on the Doklam plateau, which was the site of a 72-day stand-off in 2017 triggered by China’s road-building up to where it sees its border.
  • India moved in to stop the road, which was built a few hundred metres east of India’s border, saying China had entered Bhutanese territory and was unilaterally pushing the trijunction further south.
  • The new village is located farther east, away from the trijunction.
  • Chinese experts blamed India for the unsettled China-Bhutan border and stalled negotiations.

Bhutan–China border dispute

  • The Bhutan–China border runs through the Himalayas between the two tripoints with India.
  • Bhutan’s border with Tibet has never been officially recognised and demarcated.
  • Mao Zedong in his Five Fingers of Tibet policy, he also referred to Bhutan as a part of Tibet and therefore China.
  • In 1998, China and Bhutan signed a bilateral agreement for maintaining peace on the border, in which China affirmed its respect for Bhutan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and both sides sought to build ties based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.

Doklam crisis, 2017

  • In 2017, Bhutan protested to China against the construction of a road in the disputed territory of Doklam, at the meeting point of Bhutan, India and China.
  • A stand-off between China and India has endured in 2017 at the tri-junction adjacent to the Indian state of Sikkim after the Indian army blocked the Chinese construction of a road in what Bhutan and India consider Bhutanese territory.
  • Later in 2017, China claimed that it had a “basic consensus” with Bhutan and there was no dispute between the two countries.
  • China released a map claiming that Doklam belonged to China and told India that former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the Convention of Calcutta, and according to the convention the territory south to Gipmochi belonged to China.
  • Bhutan rejected Beijing’s claim that Doklam belongs to China.

Recently in news: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in eastern Bhutan was claimed by China

  • At a virtual meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Beijing objected to the grant for Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district bordering India and China, claiming that the location was disputed.
  • The majority of the GEF council members supported Bhutan’s view and the draft summary of the chair was approved by the council and despite objection from the Chinese council member, the work programme was adopted.
  • Bhutan and China have a border dispute since 1984. Talks between Thimphu and Beijing have been limited to three areas of dispute (two in North Bhutan — Jakarlung and Pasamlung areas — and one in West Bhutan).
  • Sakteng is not part of any of the three disputed areas

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS)

  • Located in the eastern most part of Bhutan, the SWS consists alpine meadow and temperate and warm broadleaf forests.
  • Three major rivers- Manas Chu, Bada Chu and Dhansiri Chu – have their origin here.
  • Red panda, Himalayan black bear, Wild dog, Snow leopard, barking deer, and Himalayan red fox add to the mammal richness of the park.
  • Avifaunal species like Assamese macaque, Blood pheasant, Grey backed shrike, Grey headed woodpecker, Common hoopoe, Rufous vented tit and Dark breasted rose finch are found here too.
  • Overgrazing by cattle and overexploitation of forest resources are negatively impacting the biodiversity of the park.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

In a first for the Himalayan Kingdom, and a rare honour in the sub-continent, Bhutan’s Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck has been awarded the United Nations Population Award in the individual category for 2020 for her work on sexual health and ending gender violence.

Other winners of the UN Populations Award

  • HelpAge India that works on elder care has won the UN Populations Award in the Organizational Category.
  • HelpAge India is an Indian organization established in 1978, focusing on the concerns of elders.
  • HelpAge advocates for their needs such as, for Universal Pension, quality healthcare, action against Elder Abuse and many more at the national, state and societal level, with the Central and State governments.

Extra Information / Prelims Bit

Only two Indians have been awarded in the past four decades since the award was established in 1981: former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983 and industrialist-philanthropist J.R.D.Tata in 1992.

More about the Bhutan’s Queen Mother’s achievements

  • In particular, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) that announced the award said Gyalyum Sangay Choden, popularly called “Ashi Sangay” (Princess Sangay) has been recognised for creating “an enabling environment to openly discuss sexual reproductive health in the [Bhutanese] kingdom”.
  • She has also founded a volunteer organisation called ‘Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women’ (RENEW).
  • Since its start in 2004, RENEW has been involved in spreading sexual education amongst students, ensuring reproductive healthcare for women and counselling services.
  • India has supported RENEW through the Embassy in Thimphu, and helped construct the RENEW crisis centre as well as Bhutan’s first shelter for victims of gender-based violence, “Gawailing Happy Home”.
  • In 1999, the Queen Mother was appointed UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador.
  • Recounting the beginning of her fieldwork, which she clearly takes beyond celebrity endorsements and photo-ops, Ashi Sangay said sexual and reproductive issues were considered “taboo subjects” in Bhutan.

United Nations Population Award

  • Each year, the Committee for the United Nations Population Award honours an individual and/or institution in recognition of outstanding contributions to population and reproductive health questions and to their solutions.
  • The Award was established by the General Assembly in 1981.
  • The Committee for the United Nations Population Award is comprised of 10 UN Member States, with United Nations Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director serving as ex-officio members.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-I Art and Culture

Why in news?

  • A slew of copper plate inscriptions dated to the 8th and 9th century CE have been discovered in and around Halebelagola in Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district in the recent months.
  • The discovery has been described as significant by scholars as it adds to the corpus of information pertaining to the age and provides additional material evidence for the understanding of the social and economic conditions of the region.
  • Many such set of copper plates have also been discovered during renovation exercise at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and belong to the period of the Vijayanagar rulers and Gajapati kings of Odisha.


  • The inscriptions are reckoned to belong to the period of the Western Ganga king Sripurusha.
  • They are written in Sanskrit and Kananda and have Kannada characters of the 8th century CE. 
  • Another inscription belonged to the Western Ganga king Rajamalla II and is dated to 879 CE.
  • These discoveries are significant and some of the copper plates dates range from 6th century CE to the medieval and late medieval period, including Vijayanagar period and other dynasties who ruled in southern India.

More about Sripurusha

  • Sripurusha was a Western Ganga Dynasty king who ruled from 726 – 788 CE.
  • He had marital relations with the Badami Chalukyas and used titles such as Muttarasa, Rajakesari, Bhimakopa and Ranabhajana.

Western Ganga dynasty

  • Western Ganga was an important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnataka in India which lasted from about 350 to 1000 CE.
  • They are known as ‘Western Gangas’ to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas who in later centuries ruled over Kalinga (modern Odisha).
  • The general belief is that the Western Gangas began their rule during a time when multiple native clans asserted their freedom due to the weakening of the Pallava empire in South India, a geo-political event sometimes attributed to the southern conquests of Samudra Gupta.
  • The Western Ganga sovereignty lasted from about 350 to 550 CE, initially ruling from Kolar and later, moving their capital to Talakadu on the banks of the Kaveri River in modern Mysore district.
  • Though territorially a small kingdom, the Western Ganga contribution to polity, culture and literature of the modern south Karnataka region is considered important.
  • The Western Ganga kings showed benevolent tolerance to all faiths but are most famous for their patronage toward Jainism resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli.
  • The kings of this dynasty encouraged the fine arts due to which literature in Kannada and Sanskrit flourished.


  • After the rise of the imperial Chalukyas of Badami, the Gangas accepted Chalukya overlordship and fought for the cause of their overlords against the Pallavas of Kanchi.
  • The Chalukyas were replaced by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta in 753 CE as the dominant power in the Deccan.
  • After a century of struggle for autonomy, the Western Gangas finally accepted Rashtrakuta overlordship and successfully fought alongside them against their foes, the Chola Dynasty of Tanjavur.
  • In the late 10th century, north of Tungabhadra river, the Rashtrakutas were replaced by the emerging Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola Dynasty saw renewed power south of the Kaveri river.
  • The defeat of the Western Gangas by Cholas around 1000 resulted in the end of the Ganga influence over the region.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-I Indian Society 

Why in news?

  • The Bondas, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), known for their secluded lives away from the mainstream are being forced leave their pristine hamlets for low-paid jobs in distant towns of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and States even farther.
  • The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic appears to have quickened the ‘distress’ migration.


  • The disturbing trend of distress migration has also caught up with Bonda students who were studying in residential schools before COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Though the pandemic did not have much impact on Bondas as they mostly depend on government food subsidies, many were not able to sell their farm and forest produce as the weekly markets remained closed for months during lockdown period.

Steps taken so far

  • Given that the highland tribal community are extremely vulnerable, the Odisha government had set up a micro project to ensure focused development of Bondas as early as 1976-77.
  • The Bonda Development Agency (BDA) covers 32 habitations (21 under Mudulipada, 9 under Andrahal, and one habitation each from Rasabeda and Baddural gram panchayats) in total from 4 panchayats.
  • There are 1,919 Bonda households living in high reaches of Malkangiri.
  • However, despite years of government intervention, there has not been much visible development among Bondas.

Current Situation

  • As per latest an evaluation conducted by Odisha’s Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), although Rs. 18.23 crore have been allotted to the BDA in last five years over 35% remains unused.
  • One of the major reasons has been the lack of coordination with other departments to improve the life and livelihood of the group.
  • If migration is taken as the single largest indicator to assess the livelihood status of a community, it is seen that the incidence of migration has increased over the years amongst the Bonda households.

Bonda people

  • The Bonda (also known as the Bondo, Bondo Poraja, Bhonda, or Remo) are a Munda ethnic group who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha, near the junction of the three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • There are two different Bonda tribes: The Upper Bondas who are the most isolated from mainstream Indian society, and the Lower Bonda.
  • The Bonda are also known as the Remo, and is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India; their culture has changed little for more than a thousand years.
  • They are one of the 75 Primitive Tribal Groups identified by the Government of India.
  • Realizing that the Bonda people were in a cultural decline, the Government of Orissa brought to life the Bonda Development Agency (BDA) in 1977.
  • Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), live in settlements comprising small hutments in the hills of the Khairaput block.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)

  • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
  • Some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy, which are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
  • Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
  • In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • The Maldives and Japan signed an agreement for a Japanese grant to be extended to the Maldives Coast Guard and the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center.
  • Recently the ‘Framework for U.S. Department of Defence-Maldives Ministry of Defence Defence and Security Relationship’ was signed.
  • Hence, the agreement with Japan is the Maldives’s second major pact with a member of the ‘Quad’.
  • The member countries of the Quad met in Tokyo recently and held discussions, including on ways to counter Chinese presence and influence in the region.

Significance of Maldives from India’s Perspective

  • Maldives – the Indian Ocean archipelago assumes geopolitical significance due to its strategic location.
  • Located at the southern and northern parts of this island chain lies the two important sea lanes of communication (SLOCs).
  • These SLOCs are critical for maritime trade flow between the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Hormuz in West Asia and the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia.
  • The SLOCs are of vital importance for India since nearly 50% of India’s external trade and 80% of her energy imports transit these westward SLOCs in the Arabian Sea.
  • Maldives plays an integral role in realising the potential of Indian Ocean blue economy as a contributor to the security and sustainable development of sea resources.
  • The growing Chinese presence in the archipelago could have serious security implications.
  • The crucial oil supply coming from Gulf nations to India pass through this area.
  • There are about 25,000 Indian expatriates in Maldives who are engaged in a number of professional pursuits and their security is also of prime concern for India.

India – Maldives relations

  • India and Maldives are neighbors sharing a maritime border and relations between the two countries have been friendly and close in strategic, economic and military cooperation.
  • Maldives is located south of India’s Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian Ocean.
  • Both nations established diplomatic relations after the independence of Maldives from British rule in 1966.
  • India has supported Maldives’ policy of keeping regional issues and struggles away from itself, and the latter has seen friendship with India as a source of aid as well as a counterbalance to Sri Lanka, which is in proximity to the island nation and its largest trading partner.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Over 2,000 representatives from 132 countries attended the virtual 4th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies organised by the Interpol, Europol and the Basel Institute on Governance.

Details regarding the Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies

  • The Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies is an annual Conference –an initiative of the Working Group on Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering established in 2016 by the three organisations (Interpol, Europol and the Basel Institute on Governance).
  • The aim is to strengthen knowledge, expertise and best practices for investigations into financial crimes and intelligence on virtual assets and cryptocurrencies.
  • The conference served as an opportunity to underline the need for countries and jurisdictions to increase the exchange of tactical information and best practices.
  • A multi-agency and multidisciplinary approach involving both the private and public sectors is a key to tackling criminal finances and the misuse of cryptocurrencies.
  • By combining the expertise and data on financial crime held by the private sector with the investigative capabilities of law enforcement, collective capabilities can be enhanced.

Click Here to read more about the INTERPOL

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

India will soon launch an ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ that envisages exploration of minerals, energy and marine diversity of the underwater world, a vast part of which still remains unexplored.

Details about the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’

  • Deep Ocean mission is the Government of India mission to study the various aspects of ocean in an integrated frame work as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been studying the space.
  • It focuses on giving a boost to exploration of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.
  • The study of the ocean in India has begun when the Government sponsored the program on polymetallic nodules (PMN) initiated at CSIR-NIO with the collection of the first nodule sample from Arabian sea on board the first research vessel Gaveshani in 1981.
  • India was the first country in the world to have been given the pioneer Area for exploration of deep-sea mineral viz polymetallic nodules in the central Indian ocean Basin in 1987.
  • This was based on the extensive survey carried out by the scientists of CSIR-NIO on several research ships leading to the allocation of an area of 150,000 km2 (58,000 sq mi) to the country with exclusive right under the UN law of the sea.
  • One of the main aspects of the mission will be design, development and demonstration of human submersibles.
  • In 2016, India signed a 15-year contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of Poly-Metallic Sulphides (PMS) in the Indian Ocean.
  • The 15-year contract formalised India’s exclusive rights for exploration of PMS in the allotted area in the Indian Ocean.

Poly Metallic Sulphides (PMS)

  • Poly Metallic Sulphides (PMS) are formed by precipitation of metals leached by hydrothermal fluid as it interacts with the cooler ambient seawater at or beneath the seafloor at hydrothermal vent sites.
  • PMS are typically composed of iron pyrite but contain varying proportions of pyrrhotite, pyrite/marcasite, sphalerite/wurtzite, chalcopyrite, bornite, isocubanite, and galena.
  • Copper and zinc are the most likely metals to be recovered, but some deposits exhibit significant gold (0–20ppm) and silver (0–1200 ppm) grades as well.
  • Submarine massive polymetallic sulphide bodies are principally found along the Earth’s major tectonic belts.

Polymetallic Manganese nodules (PMN)

  • Polymetallic manganese nodules (PMN) are small potato-sized (from millimetres to tens of centimetres in diameter) lumps of material precipitated from seawater and sediment pore water at slow rates over millions of years and occur mainly on the deep-seafloor.
  • They contain approximately 24% manganese, compared to 35 to 55% manganese in land ore bodies, so they do not offer solid economics as a manganese source, but they also contain iron (14%), copper (>1%), nickel (>1%), and cobalt (0.25%).

International Seabed Authority (ISA)

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an intergovernmental body based in Jamaica, that was established to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans.
  • It is an organization established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • Currently, the Authority has 167 members and the European Union, composed of all parties to the UNCLOS.
  • The Authority’s main legislative accomplishment to date has been the adoption, in the year 2000, of regulations governing exploration for polymetallic nodules.

Click Here to read more about UNCLOS and ITLOS

-Source: The Hindu

G-20 SUMMIT 2020 AND 2023

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a “New Global Index” based on transparency in governance and the creation of a vast talent pool at the G20 virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2020.
  • India is set to host the G-20 summit in 2023, instead of 2022 — the 75th year of Independence; Indonesia will assume G-20 presidency in 2022 after a swap with India.

More about the call for “New Global Index”

The New Global Index will be based on the 4 pillars of: Talent, Technology, Transparency and Trusteeship towards the planet.


  • The focus must shift to multi-skilling and reskilling from capital and finance to create a vast human talent pool.
  • Indian initiatives such as the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) which aims to create convergence across sectors and States in terms of skill training activities is already in direction of creating a vast human talent pool.
  • India’s New Education policy and programmes such as Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Program (DHRUV) are well aligned with this element.


  • Ensuring that technology reaches all segments of the society and the value of new technologies should be measured by their benefit to humanity.
  • India suggested that as follow-up action and creation of a G20 virtual secretariat as a repository of documentation.
  • Digitial India and E-governance campaigns of India have increased people’s access to technology and other government services.


  • Reforms such as Right to Information and Ease of Doing Business promote transparency in governance in India.


  • The world should deal with the environment and nature as trustees rather than owners which would inspire us towards a holistic and healthy lifestyle.
  • Climate change must be fought not in silos but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way.
  • A principle whose benchmark could be a per capita carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases primarily carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity.

Click Here to read more about G-20


Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) is now down to just one member.
  • While five posts were lying vacant since May 2020, the vice-chairperson retired recently – bringing the seven-member commission’s strength down to one member.

National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

  • The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Hence, the NCM is a Statutory Body.
  • Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.
  • The NCM adheres to the United Nations Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that “States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”

Functions of the NCM

  1. Evaluate the progress of the development of Minorities under the Union and States.
  2. Monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures.
  3. Make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of Minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments.
  4. Look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities.
  5. Cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against Minorities and recommend measures for their removal.
  6. Conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of Minorities.
  7. Suggest appropriate measures in respect of any Minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments.
  8. Make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to Minorities and in particular the difficulties confronted by them.
  9. Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

Composition of the NCM

  • The NCM is mandated to have seven members, including a chairperson and vice-chairperson, with a member each from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jain communities.
  • Total of 7 persons to be nominated by the Central Government should be from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity. The Ministry for Minority Affairs recommends the names to the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Each Member holds office for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office.

-Source: Indian Express


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

China is preparing to launch an unmanned spacecraft to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.

Details of Chang’e-5 probe

  • The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, aims to shovel up lunar rocks and soil to help scientists learn about the moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.
  • If successful, China will be only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and of eventually sending humans to the moon.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023