Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Current Affairs 23 March 2024

  1. Increase in Complaints Under RBI’s Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS)
  2. Low Carbon Action Plan
  3. Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2024
  4. Ebola Virus Disease
  5. Tactical Nuclear Weapons
  6. PIB’s Fact Check Unit


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has observed a significant surge in complaints registered under its Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS) for the financial year 2023. The reported complaints have seen a remarkable rise of 68.2%, totaling to 703,000.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Reasons Behind the Rise in Complaints
  2. Understanding Ombudsman

Reasons Behind the Rise in Complaints

Enhanced Public Awareness:

  • The central bank’s proactive public awareness campaigns have empowered people to report concerns and grievances regarding banks and non-bank payment systems.
  • Increased awareness of rights and complaint-resolution avenues has prompted more individuals to report encountered issues.

Simplified Complaint Process:

  • The introduction of a more straightforward and streamlined process for lodging complaints has facilitated easier reporting for the public.
  • Accessibility and simplicity in the complaint process have encouraged greater engagement and consequently, a surge in complaints.

Digital Transaction Challenges:

  • The surge in digital transactions, especially in mobile and electronic banking, has led to more frequent issues like unauthorized or fraudulent transactions.
  • System glitches or disruptions in digital banking can impact a vast number of users at once, resulting in a rise in reported complaints.

Understanding Ombudsman

Definition and Origin:

  • An Ombudsman is a government-appointed official who addresses complaints from the public against public organizations.
  • The concept of the Ombudsman originated from Sweden.
  • In India, Ombudsmen are appointed to handle grievances in various sectors, including Insurance, Income Tax, and Banking.

RBI Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS)

  • RB-IOS consolidates three existing ombudsman schemes of RBI: the 2006 banking ombudsman scheme, the 2018 NBFC ombudsman scheme, and the 2019 digital transactions ombudsman scheme.
  • The unified scheme aims to address customer complaints regarding services offered by RBI-regulated entities like banks, NBFCs, and prepaid instrument players. If grievances are not resolved satisfactorily within 30 days, they can be escalated.
  • The scheme also covers non-scheduled primary co-operative banks with deposits of Rs 50 crore and above, promoting a “One Nation One Ombudsman” approach.
Need for Integration:
  • Initial ombudsman schemes from the 1990s were seen as problematic by consumers due to technical rejections and extended redressal timelines.
  • Integrating the systems and broadening the complaint grounds aims to address these concerns and improve consumer satisfaction.
Key Features:
  • The scheme recognizes ‘deficiency in service’ as a valid complaint ground, with clear exclusions to avoid arbitrary rejections.
  • A centralized complaint-handling center has been established in Chandigarh, capable of processing complaints in any language.
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence tools facilitates faster coordination between banks and investigating agencies.
  • Customers can file complaints, track their status, and provide feedback through a single email address and a multilingual toll-free number.
  • Regulated entities cannot appeal against an ombudsman’s decision if found lacking in providing satisfactory and timely information.
Appellate Authority:
  • The Appellate Authority for the integrated scheme is the RBI’s Executive Director responsible for the Consumer Education and Protection Department.
  • The scheme aims to enhance the grievance redress mechanism for customer complaints against RBI-regulated entities.
  • It promises uniformity, streamlined processes, and user-friendly mechanisms, ultimately leading to customer satisfaction and financial inclusion.

-Source: The Hindu


Bihar has initiated a well-designed work plan to strengthen its waste management profile by formulating a Low-Carbon Action Plan (LCAP) for the waste and domestic wastewater sector.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Low Carbon Action Plan (LCAP)
  2. Benefits and Challenges of Low Carbon Action Plans (LCAPs)

Low Carbon Action Plan (LCAP)

  • The LCAP is a strategic framework designed to tackle Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and advance sustainable waste management practices.
  • Specifically crafted for Bihar, the LCAP offers a detailed blueprint to curtail emissions from waste and domestic wastewater sectors. The ultimate aim is to help Bihar achieve carbon neutrality by 2070.
Key Components:
  • Assessment: The LCAP commences with a detailed evaluation of Bihar’s existing waste management infrastructure, encompassing both solid waste and domestic wastewater management.
  • Data Collection: This involves gathering data on the volume of waste generated, prevailing treatment methodologies, and associated GHG emissions.
  • Identifying Challenges: The LCAP highlights primary challenges in waste management in Bihar. These encompass issues like insufficient sewage collection and treatment, inadequate waste segregation, and unregulated solid waste disposal.
  • Setting Targets: Based on the evaluation, the LCAP sets ambitious goals for reducing emissions and enhancing waste management by specific milestones: 2030, 2050, and the ultimate target of 2070.
  • Strategies and Recommendations: The LCAP introduces a suite of low-carbon strategies to tackle identified challenges. These strategies encompass:
    • Source-level waste segregation improvements.
    • Upgrades to waste collection and transportation systems.
    • Adoption of efficient treatment technologies.
    • Promotion of methane recovery from wastewater.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Success of the LCAP hinges on the involvement of diverse stakeholders, including governmental bodies, local communities, and private sector players.
  • Policy Enforcement: For effective implementation and adherence to waste management regulations and sustainable practices, the LCAP underscores the importance of robust policy-driven enforcement mechanisms.

Benefits and Challenges of Low Carbon Action Plans (LCAPs)

Benefits of LCAPs:

Combatting Climate Change:

  • LCAPs play a pivotal role in addressing climate change by curtailing emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect. This proactive approach can mitigate the adverse effects of global warming, such as extreme climatic events, elevated sea levels, and ecological damage.

Improving Air Quality:

  • By reducing dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal, LCAPs can significantly enhance air quality. Cleaner air translates to fewer respiratory ailments and improved public health.

Promoting Sustainable Transportation:

  • LCAPs often advocate for eco-friendly transportation alternatives like walking, cycling, and public transit. Such initiatives not only reduce carbon footprint but also promote physical activity, benefiting public health.

Economic Opportunities:

  • Embracing renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies can stimulate job growth in these burgeoning sectors. Furthermore, reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels can lead to substantial long-term savings.
Challenges of LCAPs:

Initial Investment Requirements:

  • Transitioning to renewable energy and adopting energy-efficient technologies often necessitates significant initial capital outlay, which can be a deterrent for some stakeholders.

Resistance to Lifestyle Changes:

  • Implementing low carbon plans might necessitate alterations in lifestyle choices, such as increased reliance on public transport or reduced vehicular usage. Such changes can meet resistance from individuals accustomed to existing norms.

Time and Persistence:

  • Realizing tangible outcomes from LCAPs demands sustained effort and patience. Moreover, political opposition, especially from industries likely to be impacted, can impede progress.

Equitable Transition:

  • It is imperative to manage the shift towards a low carbon economy equitably to ensure that the benefits are evenly distributed and vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are not disproportionately burdened.

-Source: The Hindu


The Environment Ministry has rolled out the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2024, amending the existing Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016. Under these revised regulations, stricter guidelines have been put in place for manufacturers of disposable plastic items. Notably, the rules tighten the criteria for labeling products as ‘biodegradable’, aiming to prevent misleading environmental claims. Additionally, manufacturers are now mandated to ensure that their disposable plastic products do not leave behind any microplastics, emphasizing the government’s commitment to addressing the pervasive issue of plastic pollution.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Microplastics
  2. Objectives of the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016
  3. Need for Amendments to Plastic Waste Management Rules
  4. Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2024: Key Highlights



  • Microplastics are minute solid plastic particles that are insoluble in water.
  • They typically range in size from 1 µm to 1,000 µm (1 µm is equivalent to one-thousandth of a millimetre).

Environmental Impact:

  • Over recent years, microplastics have emerged as a significant source of pollution, posing threats to rivers and oceans globally.

Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016: Objectives and Amendments

Objectives of the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016:

Enhanced Thickness Standards:

  • Increase the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 to 50 microns.
  • Mandate a minimum thickness of 50 microns for plastic sheets to facilitate effective collection and recycling of plastic waste.

Expanded Applicability:

  • Extend the rules’ jurisdiction from municipal to rural areas due to the pervasive spread of plastic waste in rural regions.

Producers and Generators Responsibilities:

  • Introduce obligations for both producers and waste generators within the plastic waste management system.

Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR):

  • Implement a collect-back system for plastic waste by producers and brand owners as part of their extended responsibility.

Promotion of Recycling:

  • Encourage the utilization of plastic waste in road construction as per Indian Road Congress guidelines, energy recovery, waste-to-oil processes, and other environmentally-friendly methods.

Need for Amendments to Plastic Waste Management Rules:

Biodegradable vs. Compostable Plastics:
  • Biodegradable plastic involves pre-treatment of plastic products before sale.
    • Upon disposal, it is anticipated to degrade naturally over time. However, there aren’t definitive tests to ascertain the complete degradation of such plastics.
  • Compostable plastics, on the contrary, do degrade but necessitate specialized industrial or large municipal waste management facilities.
Ambiguity in Biodegradable Definitions:
  • In 2022, the Union government prohibited the use of single-use plastic and endorsed the adoption of biodegradable alternatives.
    • The term “biodegradable plastic” remained undefined, creating confusion and challenges for manufacturers.
    • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) declined to issue ‘provisional certificates’ for products labeled as biodegradable, citing the absence of clear criteria for degradation levels required for certification.

Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2024: Key Highlights

Definition of Biodegradable Plastics:

  • Biodegradable plastics are defined as materials that can degrade through biological processes in specific environments such as soil and landfills.
  • These plastics should not leave any microplastics behind after degradation.

Ambiguity in Microplastics Criteria:

  • While the amendment mentions the absence of microplastics, it lacks clarity on:
    • The specific chemical tests to determine the absence of microplastics.
    • The threshold for microplastic reduction in a sample to be deemed eliminated.

Permitted Materials for Manufacturing:

  • Manufacturers are allowed to produce carry bags and commodities using compostable or biodegradable plastics.
  • Such products must adhere to mandatory marking and labelling requirements set by the rules and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), especially for items intended for food contact.

Certification Requirement:

  • Manufacturers of compostable or biodegradable plastic carry bags or commodities must obtain a certification from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) prior to marketing or selling their products.

Responsibilities of Manufacturers:

  • Manufacturers are mandated to:
    • Process pre-consumer plastic waste, such as reject or discard material, generated during the manufacturing stage.
    • Report these processes and related activities to the respective State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.

-Source: The Hindu


Scientists recently found a new way in which Ebola reproduces in the human body, identifying a potential target for drugs to prevent the viral disease.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Ebola Virus Disease
  2. How does it spread?
  3. What are the symptoms?
  4. How can it be diagnosed?
  5. Treatment

About Ebola Virus Disease

  • The first instances of the disease, formerly known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, were discovered in Guinea in December 2013.
  • Later, the illness spread to the nearby countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  • Bundibugyo, Sudan, and Zaire are three of the six strains that have historically caused significant outbreaks.
How does it spread?
  • The Pteropodidae family of fruit bats is regarded to be a natural host for the Ebola virus.
  • The virus travels from human to human and is acquired by people from wild animals (through broken skin or mucous membranes).
What are the symptoms?
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

This is followed by:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rash

How can it be diagnosed?

  • Clinically separating EVD from other infectious disorders such malaria, typhoid fever, and meningitis can be challenging.
  • Numerous pregnancy symptoms and Ebola disease symptoms are remarkably similar.
  • The following diagnostic techniques are used to confirm that symptoms are brought on by Ebola virus infection:
    • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibody capture (ELISA)
    • RT-PCR assay (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction)


  • The Ervebo vaccine has been shown to be effective in protecting people from the species Zaire ebolavirus
  • Two monoclonal antibodies (Inmazeb and Ebanga) were approved for the treatment of Zaire ebolavirus (Ebolavirus) infection in adults
  • Remdesivir was also tested as an Ebola treatment.

-Source: Indian Express


Western officials recently confirmed that Russia has moved tactical nuclear weapons from its own borders into neighboring Belarus, several hundred miles closer to NATO territory.


GS III: Security challenges

Tactical Nuclear Weapons: An Overview

Types of Nuclear Weapons:
  • Strategic Nuclear Weapons:
    • Designed for larger objectives like destroying cities or larger enemy targets.
    • Aimed at fulfilling larger war-waging objectives.
  • Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs):
    • Designed for specific tactical gains on the battlefield.
    • Aimed at devastating specific enemy targets without causing extensive destruction or radioactive fallout.
    • Used in conjunction with conventional weapon forces during battle.
    • Delivery Methods:
      • Can be deployed via missiles, torpedoes, gravity bombs, or even manually driven and detonated.
    • Explosive Yield:
      • Typically ranges from less than one kiloton to about 100 kilotons.
      • In contrast, strategic nuclear weapons can yield up to one thousand kilotons.
    • Range of Delivery Systems:
      • Generally under 310 miles (500 kilometres).
      • Strategic nuclear weapons are designed for longer-range missions, potentially spanning continents.
    • Regulation:
      • Least-regulated category among nuclear weapons under arms control agreements.
Countries with Tactical Nuclear Weapons:
  • According to the Federation of American Scientists, nine countries possess TNWs:
    • Russia
    • United States
    • China
    • France
    • United Kingdom
    • Pakistan
    • India
    • Israel
    • North Korea
Stockpile Estimates:
  • Russia:
    • Holds an estimated 2,000 tactical nuclear missiles.
  • United States:
    • Possesses an estimated 200 tactical nuclear bombs, with approximately half stationed at bases in Europe.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified the Press Information Bureau’s Fact Check Unit under IT Rules of 2021.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

PIB’s Fact Check Unit: An Overview


  • The Fact Check Unit (FCU) was set up in November 2019.


  • The primary goal is to deter the spread of fake news and misinformation.
  • It offers a platform for people to report dubious information related to the Government of India.


  • The FCU is tasked with debunking misinformation concerning Government policies, initiatives, and schemes.
  • It can initiate fact-checking either proactively (suo motu) or based on complaints received.

Operational Functions:

  • The FCU actively monitors, detects, and counters disinformation campaigns to ensure the timely exposure and correction of false narratives about the Government.

Organisational Structure:

  • Headed by a senior DG/ADG level officer from the Indian Information Service (IIS).
  • Day-to-day activities are managed by IIS officers at various hierarchical levels.
  • The FCU reports to the Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), who also serves as the Principal Spokesperson for the Government of India.

Fact-Checking Process:

  • Requests can be submitted via WhatsApp, email, or a dedicated web portal.
  • Each received request is termed as a ‘Query’ and is categorized based on its relevance to the Government of India.
  • Only queries directly related to the Government of India are processed and treated as actionable, while others are considered non-actionable.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024