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Current Affairs 02 December 2023

  1. Green Credits Initiative by Prime Minister Modi at COP28
  2. Utilizing Pressmud for Green Energy: India’s Approach to Compressed Biogas (CBG) Production
  3. Political Funding
  4. Decline in Higher Education Enrollment among Muslim Students: UDISE+ and AISHE Data
  5. Historic Appointment in the Indian Navy: First Woman Commanding Officer
  6. Kalbeliya Dance


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an initiative at COP28 in Dubai, focusing on generating Green Credits through plantation on degraded wasteland. The initiative, highlighted during a high-level event, is emphasized to surpass the commercial nature of traditional carbon credits.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Carbon Credits
  2. Green Credit Programme
  3. Significance of the Green Credit Programme
  4. Concerns Regarding the Green Credit Mechanism

Understanding Carbon Credits:

  • Carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, are permits that grant the holder the right to emit a specific amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.


  • Each credit corresponds to the allowance for emitting one ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

Awarding and Limitation:

  • Companies that engage in polluting activities are awarded credits, permitting them to emit up to a certain limit.
  • This emission limit is periodically reduced to encourage emissions reduction.


  • Companies with excess credits can sell them to other companies in need, creating a market for carbon credits.

Incentives for Emission Reduction:

  • Companies have dual incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
    • They must spend money on additional credits if their emissions surpass the set cap.
    • They can generate revenue by reducing emissions and selling surplus allowances.

Financial Incentives:

  • The financial aspect creates a system where companies are motivated to both limit their emissions and trade any unused credits, fostering a market-driven approach to emission reduction.

Green Credit Programme:

  • The Green Credit Programme introduces a system of incentives, known as “Green Credits,” for activities that have a positive impact on the environment.
  • It complements the domestic Carbon Market in India, expanding beyond CO2 emission reductions to incentivize a wider range of sustainable actions.
  • The Green Credit System aims to meet various environmental obligations, encouraging companies, individuals, and local bodies to undertake sustainable initiatives.
  • Unlike the carbon market’s focus on CO2 emissions, the Green Credit Programme promotes broader environmental goals.
Tradable Credits:
  • Green credits earned through sustainable activities will be tradable, allowing participants to sell them on a proposed domestic market platform.
  • This creates a market-based approach to incentivize and reward environmentally beneficial actions.
Program Administrator:
  • The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) will serve as the administrator of the Green Credit Programme.
  • ICFRE will develop guidelines, processes, and procedures for the implementation of the programme, ensuring its effectiveness and integrity.

Green Credit Activities:

The programme promotes a range of activities that contribute to environmental sustainability, including:

  • Increasing Green Cover: Promoting tree plantation and related activities to enhance the green cover across the country.
  • Water Conservation: Encouraging water conservation, water harvesting, and efficient water use, including the treatment and reuse of wastewater.
  • Regenerative Agriculture: Promoting natural and regenerative agricultural practices and land restoration to improve productivity, soil health, and the nutritional value of food produced.
  • Waste Management: Supporting sustainable waste management practices, including collection, segregation, and treatment.
  • Air Pollution Reduction: Encouraging measures to reduce air pollution and other pollution abatement activities.
  • Mangrove Conservation: Promoting the conservation and restoration of mangroves, important ecosystems for coastal areas.
  • Ecomark Label: Encouraging manufacturers to obtain the “Ecomark” label for their goods and services, signifying their environmental sustainability.
  • Sustainable Infrastructure: Encouraging the construction of buildings and infrastructure using sustainable technologies and materials.
  • Setting Thresholds and Benchmarks: The Green Credit Programme will establish thresholds and benchmarks for each specific Green Credit activity, ensuring clear standards and targets for participants to achieve.

Significance of the Green Credit Programme:

Encouraging Compliance and Synergy:

  • The programme incentivizes private sector industries and entities to fulfill their existing obligations by aligning their actions with those generating or purchasing green credits.
  • It promotes convergence between different legal frameworks and encourages a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability.

Support for Ecosystem Services:

  • The guidelines of the programme integrate mechanisms to quantify and support ecosystem services.
  • This benefits organic farmers and Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) by recognizing and rewarding their contributions to ecosystem conservation.

Valuing Multiple Ecosystem Services:

  • The Green Credit Programme introduces a unique instrument that values and rewards multiple ecosystem services.
  • It goes beyond carbon mitigation and allows green projects to achieve optimal returns by considering a broader range of environmental benefits.

Concerns Regarding the Green Credit Mechanism:

Risk of Greenwashing:

  • Experts express concerns that the market-based nature of green credits may lead to greenwashing practices.
  • There is a risk of entities making false or exaggerated claims about environmental sustainability without delivering substantial environmental benefits.

Tokenistic Activities:

  • Some fear that companies or entities may engage in superficial activities solely to generate green credits, without making meaningful efforts to address environmental issues.
  • This raises concerns about the genuineness and effectiveness of the actions taken.

Need for Urgent Emissions Reductions:

  • Critics question the effectiveness of market mechanisms, such as green credits, in achieving the necessary and urgent emissions reductions required to combat climate change.
  • They argue that more transformative efforts guided by government policies and regulations are essential.

Resource Allocation and Fraud Prevention:

  • There are concerns about the allocation of resources for monitoring and preventing fraud within the green credit mechanism.
  • Critics argue that these resources could be better directed towards initiatives with more significant transformative impacts on sustainability.

-Source: The Hindu


India is exploring the potential of Pressmud, a residual byproduct of sugar production, as a valuable resource for generating green energy. The focus is on creating Compressed Biogas (CBG) from Pressmud, aligning with sustainable energy practices and contributing to India’s efforts in renewable energy production.


GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)
  2. Pressmud: A Valuable Resource for CBG Production
  3. India’s Pressmud Production Landscape: Fiscal Year 2022-23

Understanding Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)

Renewable and Environmentally Friendly Fuel:
  • CBG is a gaseous fuel derived from the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials.
  • It is produced through Biomethanation or anaerobic digestion, breaking down various organic sources like agricultural waste, animal manure, food waste, sewage sludge, and other biomass materials.
Composition of Biogas:
  • The resulting biogas consists mainly of methane (usually exceeding 90%), along with carbon dioxide, traces of hydrogen sulfide, and moisture.
Conversion to Compressed Biogas:
  • Purification steps are employed to eliminate impurities like carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and moisture from the biogas.
  • The purified methane gas is then compressed to a high pressure, typically around 250 bar or higher.
Significance of “Compressed” in CBG:
  • The term “Compressed Biogas” reflects the compression of purified methane to high pressures, enhancing its energy density and making it a more practical and efficient fuel source.

Pressmud: A Valuable Resource for CBG Production

  • Pressmud, also known as filter cake or press cake, is a residual byproduct in the sugar industry.

Recognition in Green Energy Production:

  • Acknowledged as a valuable resource for generating green energy, particularly through the production of Compressed Biogas (CBG).

Production Process:

  • Generated through anaerobic digestion, a process where bacteria break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen.
  • Yield of pressmud typically ranges from 3-4% by weight, based on the sugarcane processed in a unit.
Advantages of Pressmud Utilization for CBG:
  • Consistent Quality and Simplicity: Offers consistent quality and is simpler to source compared to other feedstocks.
  • Supply Chain Simplification: Eliminates complexities associated with feedstock supply chains, particularly in comparison to agricultural residue.
  • Lower Feedstock Quantity and Cost: Requires less feedstock quantity for higher conversion efficiency, and the cost is lower (Rs 0.4-0.6 per kilogramme) compared to alternatives like agricultural residue and cattle dung.
Challenges in Pressmud Utilization:
  • Escalating Prices and Competition: Faces challenges such as rising prices and competition for usage in various industries.
  • Storage Complexities: Gradual decomposition poses storage challenges, necessitating innovative solutions.
  • Competition in Other Sectors: Sought after in sectors like animal feed, bioenergy production, and agricultural soil amendments, leading to availability constraints or increased costs for specific applications.

India’s Pressmud Production Landscape: Fiscal Year 2022-23

Total Sugar Production:

  • In the fiscal year 2022-23, India’s sugar production amounted to 32.74 million tonnes.

Pressmud Generation:

  • This sugar production resulted in the generation of approximately 11.4 million tonnes of pressmud.

Sugarcane Growing States:

  • Major Contributors: Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra stand out as the primary sugarcane-growing states, collectively contributing around 65% of India’s total sugarcane cultivation area.
  • Key States: Other significant sugarcane-producing states include Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar, all playing a vital role in shaping India’s sugarcane production landscape.

Geographic Distribution:

  • Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, with their substantial sugarcane cultivation, play a pivotal role in the overall sugar and pressmud production scenario, reflecting the geographical concentration of these industries.

-Source: Down To Earth


In light of the current political circumstances and concerns regarding donations, the conclusion of the Supreme Court hearings on the challenge to electoral bonds prompts a critical examination of the potential impact this challenge’s resolution may have on democracy and the rule of law in India.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Political Funding
  2. Importance of Disclosure in Political Funding
  3. Reforms Needed in Political Funding

Political Funding

  • Political funding encompasses financial contributions provided to political parties or candidates, supporting their activities, campaigns, and overall functioning.
Statutory Provisions in India:
  • Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA Act):
    • Outlines rules regarding elections, including provisions on election expenses, contributions, and account maintenance.
  • Income Tax Act, 1961:
    • Governs tax treatment of political parties and donors, with compliance requirements and potential tax benefits for contributors.
  • Companies Act, 2013:
    • Regulates corporate donations to political parties, specifying contribution limits and mandating disclosure in financial statements.
Methods of Raising Political Funding:
  • Section 29B of RPA:
    • Allows political parties to receive individual donations with taxpayers eligible for a 100% deduction.
  • State Funding:
    • Direct Funding: Prohibited; government funds provided directly to political parties.
    • Indirect Funding: Permitted in a regulated manner, including media access, public places for rallies, and subsidized transport.
  • Corporate Funding:
    • Governed by section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013.
Electoral Bonds Scheme:
  • Introduced in 2017, implemented in 2018, allowing anonymous donations to registered political parties.
Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013:
  • Notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
  • Electoral Trusts distribute contributions from companies and individuals to political parties.

Importance of Disclosure in Political Funding

Amendments to Representation of the People Act 1951:

  • The introduction of electoral bonds in India has brought complete anonymity for political donors.

Contrast with International Practices:

  • Internationally, full disclosure of political donations is a prevailing requirement.
  • In the United States, regulations mandate transparency in political funding dating back to 1910.
  • The European Union, in 2014, enacted regulations on funding European political parties, emphasizing limits, disclosure mandates, and immediate reporting for large contributions.

Global Convergence on Fundamental Requirements:

  • Worldwide, legal regulations converge on two fundamental requirements:
    • Comprehensive disclosure of donors above specific minimal amounts.
    • Imposition of limits or caps on donations.
  • These measures aim to ensure transparency, prevent corruption, and maintain public confidence in the political system and democracy.

Foundation of Representative Democracy:

  • Political parties serve as the foundation of representative democracy.
  • Public disclosure of political funding is imperative for upholding citizens’ trust in parties and politicians.

Role in Safeguarding Democracy:

  • Transparent financial accounts play a crucial role in safeguarding the rule of law and combating corruption within electoral and political processes.
  • This transparency ensures accountability, reinforcing democratic principles based on openness and fairness.

Preventing Undue Influence:

  • Without disclosure, money can become a tool for unduly influencing the political process.
  • Disclosure helps prevent the co-optation of politics by business interests and widespread vote buying.

Ensuring Equitable Playing Field:

  • Disclosure is essential for maintaining an equitable playing field, preventing one party from having indomitable access to excess campaign finance.
  • It ensures that all parties have equal opportunities, reinforcing democratic ideals.

Reforms Needed in Political Funding

  • Importance of Electoral Justice:
    • Electoral justice is crucial for upholding democracy, ensuring that all aspects of the electoral process align with the law and protect the enjoyment of electoral rights.
  • Challenges with Electoral Bonds:
    • Electoral bonds, allowing for undisclosed donor details, pose a threat to democratic transparency and the integrity of free and fair elections.
  • Comprehensive Approach for Reform:
    • Reforms need to go beyond legality and focus on preserving the democratic essence of transparency in the electoral process.
Key Components of Reform:
  • Donor Identification:
    • Identify donors above a specified nominal limit.
  • Immediate Reporting:
    • Mandate immediate reporting of significant donations to the election commission.
  • Publicizing Political Party Accounts:
    • Ensure transparency by publicizing political party accounts.
  • Independent Auditing:
    • Implement independent auditing of party accounts to ensure financial integrity.
  • Establishing Limits:
    • Set limits on funding and expenditure to prevent disproportionate influence.
State Funding of Elections:
  • State funding involves the government providing financial support to political parties and candidates, derived from public resources.
  • Aims to reduce reliance on private donations, minimizing potential influence from vested interests in political campaigns.
Holistic Approach:
  • Reforms should not only address legal aspects but also focus on preserving democratic values, ensuring fair elections, and minimizing the impact of money on the political process.

-Source: The Hindu


A report based on the analysis of data from the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) and the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) reveals a notable decline in the enrollment of Muslim students in higher education.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Findings on Dropout Among Muslims: A Report Analysis
  2. Recommendations for Addressing Dropout Among Muslim Students
  3. UDISE Plus Report
  4. All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE)

Key Findings on Dropout Among Muslims: A Report Analysis

Overall Enrollment Trends:
  • Significant drop of over 8.5% in the enrollment of Muslim students (age group 18-23) in higher education for the academic year 2020-21.
  • Enrollment decreased from 21 lakh students in 2019-20 to 19.21 lakh in 2020-21.
  • Despite an overall increase in enrollment from 2016-17 to 2020-21, there was a decline in the latest year, marking a decrease of 1,79,147 students from 2019-20 to 2020-21.
Percentage Comparison:
  • The percentage of Muslim students enrolled in higher education compared to the total student population slightly decreased from 4.87% in 2016-17 to 4.64% in 2020-21.
Educational Stage Trends:
  • Across States and Union Territories, a consistent trend is observed where Muslim student representation gradually declines from Class 6 onwards, reaching its lowest in Classes 11 and 12.
  • Enrollment percentage of Muslim students drops from 14.42% in upper primary (Class 6-8) to 10.76% in higher secondary (Class 11-12).
State-wise Disparities:
  • States like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh exhibit relatively low Gross Enrolment Ratio for Muslim students, indicating that many Muslim children in these States are still out of the education system.
  • Assam (29.52%) and West Bengal (23.22%) record high dropout rates among Muslim students, while Jammu and Kashmir records 5.1%, and Kerala records 11.91%.

Recommendations for Addressing Dropout Among Muslim Students

  • Enhance Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid:
    • Increase the availability of scholarships, grants, and financial aid specifically designed for Muslim students.
    • Alleviate financial burdens to enhance access to higher education.
  • Tailored Support for Low-Income Families:
    • Recognize the financial challenges faced by many Muslim students from low-income families.
    • Tailor support programs to address the unique economic circumstances of these students.
  • Inclusive Policies for Equal Opportunities:
    • Implement inclusive policies that ensure equal opportunities for all students, regardless of religious background or economic status.
    • Bridge the education gap by fostering an environment that promotes diversity and inclusivity.
  • Targeted Support Programs:
    • Develop targeted support programs to address the specific needs of Muslim students in higher education.
    • Focus on creating a supportive ecosystem that fosters academic success and overall well-being.

UDISE Plus Report:

  • Comprehensive Study:
    • A comprehensive study providing information on enrollment and dropout rates of school students, number of teachers, and other infrastructural facilities like toilets, buildings, and electricity.
  • Initiation and Launch:
    • Launched in the academic year 2018-2019.
    • Aims to speed up data entry, reduce errors, improve data quality, and ease the verification process.
  • Data Collection Application:
    • An application designed to collect school details, focusing on factors related to a school and its resources.
    • An updated and improved version of UDISE, which was initiated in 2012-13 by the Ministry of Education.

All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE):

  • Initiative by the Ministry of Education:
    • AISHE is an initiative by the Ministry of Education in India.
  • Annual Web-Based Survey:
    • Conducted annually, the survey is web-based and aims to assess the state of higher educational institutions in India.
  • Objectives:
    • Determine the overall condition of higher education institutions.
    • Identify areas for improvement in the higher education sector.
  • Student Involvement:
    • Students enrolled in higher educational institutions actively participate in the AISHE survey.
  • Rating System:
    • Allows students to rate their colleges on various categories such as teachers, exam results, education finance, programs, student enrollment, and infrastructure.
  • Utilization of Data:
    • The data collected in the AISHE survey is used to make informed policy decisions and conduct research in higher education.
    • Contributes to enhancing the quality and efficiency of higher education in India.

-Source: The Hindu


In a groundbreaking move aligning with the Indian Navy’s philosophy of “all roles-all ranks,” Lieutenant Commander Shaliza Dhami has been appointed as the first woman commanding officer in a naval ship. She will lead INS Trinkat, a fast attack craft stationed in the western seaboard, marking a significant step in deploying women in various roles within the naval service.


GS III: Defence and Security

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About INS Trinkat
  2. About Shaliza Dhami
  3. Women in the Indian Armed Forces

About INS Trinkat:

Design and Construction:

  • INS Trinkat is a patrol vessel of the Indian Navy.
  • It was designed and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Operational Roles:

  • The patrol vessel is dedicated to various operational roles, including fisheries protection, anti-poaching, counter-insurgency, and search-and-rescue operations.
  • Its operational area covers coastal regions and the exclusive economic zone.

Naming Convention:

  • Vessels of this class are named after Trinkat Island, one of the 24 islands constituting the Nicobar Islands chain in the northeast Indian Ocean.

About Shaliza Dhami:

  • Group Captain Shaliza Dhami is an officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Pioneer Achievements:

  • She is the first woman officer in the IAF to receive a permanent commission.
  • Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the first woman to become a Flight Commander in the IAF.
  • Shaliza Dhami is the first woman IAF officer to be selected in a front-line combat unit.

Navigation Expertise:

  • She is a qualified navigation instructor.
  • Her role has involved training observers inducted into the Navy.

Maritime Experience:

  • Shaliza Dhami is noted as the first woman officer who served as an observer in the Navy’s Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft.
  • Her appointment as the commanding officer of INS Trinkat marks a historic moment as the first woman to assume command of a naval ship.

Women in the Indian Armed Forces:

  • Total Women Officers:
    • There are 10,493 women officers serving in the Indian Armed Forces, which includes its medical services.
  • Distribution Across Services:
    • The Army, being the largest of the three services, has the highest number of women officers at 1,705.
    • The Indian Air Force (IAF) follows with 1,640 women officers, and the Navy has 559 women officers.
  • Commanding Positions:
    • Several women officers in the Army hold commanding positions, leading various units across the country.
  • Inclusion in the Navy’s Submarine Arm:
    • The Navy’s submarine arm is open to women, allowing them to volunteer, clear an aptitude test, and undergo rigorous training before deployment.
  • Growing Strength:
    • The overall strength of women in the armed forces, referred to as Agniveers, has surpassed the 1,000 mark.
    • These statistics reflect the commitment to the philosophy of ‘all roles, all ranks,’ emphasizing the inclusive deployment of women in various capacities within the service.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, during the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, artists performed the Kalbeliya dance.


GS I: Art and Culture

Kalbeliya Dance:

  • Origin:
    • Folk dance originating from Rajasthan, India.
  • Alternate Names:
    • Also known as ‘Sapera Dance’ or ‘Snake Charmer Dance.’
  • Performed by Kalbelia Tribe:
    • Particularly performed by the Kalbelia tribe, a Rajasthani community.
  • UNESCO Recognition:
    • Included in UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010.
  • Performance Dynamics:
    • Features male musicians playing traditional instruments.
    • Female dancers are the main performers, showcasing one of the most sensuous dances in Rajasthan.
  • Mimicking Serpent Movements:
    • Female dancers replicate the movements of a serpent through their dance and swirling.
  • Costumes and Jewellery:
    • Dancers wear brightly colored skirts, blouses, and heavy traditional jewellery.
  • Instruments:
    • Male musicians play various instruments, including the dhol (drum), pungi (snake charmer’s pipe), and khanjari (tambourine).

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024