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Current Affairs 23 September 2023


  1. Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface
  2. Global Report on Hypertension
  3. State of Working India 2023 Report: Analyzing the Indian Workforce
  4. Adi Shankaracharya
  5. Indian Skimmer
  6. Introduction of 56 Prizes Under Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar to Honor Scientists

Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface


The Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM WANI) scheme is set to revolutionize public Wi-Fi in India. PM-WANI can be a potential game-changer for India’s digital public infrastructure.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PM-WANI: Empowering Public Wi-Fi in India
  2. Advantages of PM-WANI
  3. Challenges of PM-WANI
  4. How PM-WANI Can Transform India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)
  5. Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) Defined

PM-WANI: Empowering Public Wi-Fi in India

  • PM-WANI was launched by the Department of Telecom (DoT) in December 2020.
  • It’s a significant scheme aimed at expanding the reach of public WiFi hotspots, thereby strengthening digital communication infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
Key Components:
  • Framework for All Entities: PM-WANI allows any entity, including small businesses like tea stalls, Kirana shops, or even individual shop owners, to establish public WiFi hotspots and offer internet services to customers.
  • National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018: PM-WANI aligns with the objectives of NDCP 2018, which seeks to create a robust digital communications infrastructure across India.
  • Simplified Licensing: To promote ease of doing business, last-mile public WiFi providers are exempted from licensing, registration, and fees payable to the DoT.
Four Key Elements:

PM-WANI comprises four core elements to ensure its effectiveness:

  • Public Data Office (PDO): These entities set up and manage WiFi hotspots, providing last-mile connectivity by procuring internet bandwidth.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): PDOAs offer aggregation services, including authorization and accounting, to PDOs, facilitating their services to end users.
  • App Provider: Responsible for developing applications to register users, discover and display PM-WANI compliant WiFi hotspots, and authenticate potential users.
  • Central Registry: Maintained by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), this entity keeps records of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs.
Current Status:
  • As of November 2022, the PM-WANI central registry recorded the presence of 188 PDO aggregators, 109 app providers, and an impressive 11,50,394 public WiFi hotspots across India.

Advantages of PM-WANI:

  • Promoting Internet Access: PM-WANI has the potential to extend internet access to rural and remote regions, bridging the digital divide.
  • Affordable Internet Option: It offers an affordable and convenient alternative for internet access, making it more accessible than technologies like 5G, which require substantial investments and subscription expenses.
  • Stimulating Innovation and Competition: PM-WANI can drive innovation and competition within the internet market, encouraging service providers to offer improved services and competitive pricing.

Challenges of PM-WANI:

  • Ensuring Quality and User Experience: Challenges related to bandwidth availability, managing user volumes, device compatibility, and maintaining data security and privacy must be addressed to guarantee a seamless Wi-Fi experience.
  • Security Concerns: Security threats, such as data breaches, hacking, and malware attacks, pose risks to both users and service providers, necessitating robust security measures.
  • Impact on Mobile Telecom Companies: Mobile telecom firms may encounter challenges like potential market share and revenue losses due to PM-WANI’s affordability and accessibility, requiring them to adapt their business models.
  • Expanding to Remote Areas: Expanding and maintaining PM-WANI services in rural and remote areas with low internet demand and high operational costs can be logistically and economically challenging.

How PM-WANI Can Transform India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)

  • Empowering Internet Access: PM-WANI plays a crucial role within India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) by democratizing internet access, allowing anyone to offer or use Wi-Fi services without the need for licenses or fees. This empowers citizens with digital inclusion.
  • Utilizing Physical and Social Infrastructure: Leveraging existing physical and social infrastructure such as shops, Common Service Centers (CSCs), Schools, and Panchayats, PM-WANI establishes a decentralized network of Wi-Fi hotspots. It also utilizes digital infrastructure like Aadhaar and UPI for secure authentication and payments.
  • Citizen Empowerment: PM-WANI provides citizens and communities access to information, knowledge, and opportunities that enhance their quality of life. It enables active participation in the digital economy and society, contributing to empowerment.

Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI):

  • DPI, or Digital Public Infrastructure, encompasses various platforms and systems such as digital identification, payment infrastructure, and data exchange solutions.
  • These elements are designed to assist countries in providing essential services to their citizens, thereby promoting digital inclusion and enhancing their quality of life.
DPI’s Mediation of Flows:
  • DPI plays a pivotal role in facilitating the flow of three key elements: people, money, and information.
  • Firstly, it manages the flow of individuals through a digital identification system.
  • Secondly, it oversees the flow of funds through a real-time, efficient payment system.
  • Lastly, it governs the flow of personal information via a consent-based data-sharing system. These components are crucial for harnessing the benefits of DPI and giving citizens control over their data.
Building an Effective DPI Ecosystem:
  • DPI forms the foundation of a robust digital infrastructure. It operates under principles of open, transparent, and participatory governance.

India’s Leading Role in DPI:

India Stack and Foundational DPIs:
  • India, through initiatives like India Stack, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first country to develop all three foundational DPIs: Digital identity (Aadhar), Real-time fast payment (UPI), and Account Aggregator, all built on the Data Empowerment Protection Architecture (DEPA).
Components of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI):

DPI Comprises Three Integral Layers:

  • Market: This layer involves innovative and competitive players who design inclusive products and services to meet the needs of the public.
  • Governance: It encompasses legal and institutional frameworks, public programs, and policies that govern the operation of DPI.
  • Technology Standards: These standards cover identity, payments, and data-sharing, ensuring interoperability and seamless operation within the DPI ecosystem.
Examples of DPI Success:
  • India has witnessed the success of various DPI initiatives, including Aadhaar, Unified Payment Interface (UPI), and CoWin.
  • Additionally, projects like Unified Health Interface (UHI), Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), and Open Network for Digital Commerce are currently underway, further strengthening the digital infrastructure and services in the country.

-Source: Indian Express

Global Report on Hypertension


Recently, during the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 78th session, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report titled “Global report on hypertension: The race against a silent killer.”It is the first-ever report by the WHO on the worldwide implications of hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Report on Hypertension
  2. What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Key Highlights of the Report on Hypertension:

Global Hypertension Prevalence:
  • One in three adults worldwide is affected by hypertension.
  • The number of hypertension cases has doubled from 650 million to a staggering 1.3 billion between 1990 and 2019.
  • Hypertension affects approximately 33% of adults aged 30-79 worldwide.
  • Approximately four out of every five people with hypertension are not adequately treated.
Hypertension in India:
  • India has an estimated 188.3 million adults aged 30–79 years grappling with hypertension.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in India is slightly lower than the global average of 31%.
  • India needs to ensure that an additional 67 million people with hypertension receive effective treatment to reach a 50% control rate.
  • Achieving progress in hypertension treatment could avert 4.6 million deaths due to high blood pressure by 2040.
Global Impact of Effective Hypertension Treatment:
  • About 80% of individuals with hypertension do not receive adequate treatment.
  • Effective hypertension treatment has the potential to prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million cases of heart failure by 2050.
Disparities in Treatment Coverage:
  • Treatment coverage for hypertension exhibits significant disparities among countries, with high-income nations having a more favorable coverage rate.
  • The WHO region of the US leads with a 60% coverage rate, while the African region lags behind at 27%.
  • More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.
Uncontrolled Hypertension and Medication:
  • Nearly 30% of individuals with uncontrolled hypertension exhibit blood pressure measurements above the threshold warranting urgent treatment.
  • Globally, the percentage of adults aged 30–70 taking medication for hypertension has doubled from 22% in 1990 to 42% in 2019.
  • Effective treatment coverage has quadrupled during the same period, reaching 21%.
WHO Recommendations:
  • The WHO emphasizes the need to prioritize the prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension as part of national health benefit packages.
Additional Recommendations:
  • Strengthening hypertension control programs, which are currently under-prioritized and underfunded.
  • Making hypertension control an integral part of every country’s journey toward universal health coverage.

What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure):

  • Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, occurs when the pressure in your blood vessels is too high (140/90 mmHg or higher).
  • It is a common condition but can be serious if left untreated.
Blood Pressure Explanation:

Blood pressure is represented as two numbers:

  • The first number (systolic) measures the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats.
  • The second number (diastolic) measures the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
World Hypertension Day:
  • Celebrated on May 17 every year to raise awareness about hypertension and encourage people to prevent and manage this silent health condition.

Risk Factors:

  • High-salt diets, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and genetics contribute to hypertension.


  • Most individuals with hypertension do not experience symptoms.
  • Very high blood pressure can lead to symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, chest pain, and others.

Complications of Uncontrolled Hypertension:

  • Severe heart issues, including chest pain, heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats.
  • Increased risk of stroke by affecting blood flow to the brain.


  • Management involves lifestyle changes like adopting a low-salt diet, weight loss, physical activity, and quitting tobacco.
  • Medications may also be prescribed.
Global Initiatives:
  • The WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative in 2016 to reduce the global prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025.
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
India-Specific Initiatives:
  • India Hypertension Control Initiative Program (IHCI) aims to provide standard care to 75 million patients with hypertension or diabetes by 2025.
  • The government emphasizes non-communicable disease screening and treatment at the primary healthcare level.

-Source: Down To Earth

State of Working India 2023 Report: Analyzing the Indian Workforce


Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment has published the “State of Working India 2023” report, providing insights into the Indian workforce. The report analyzes unemployment rates, women’s participation, intergenerational mobility, and caste-based workforce dynamics. Data from sources like the National Statistical Office’s surveys, including Employment-Unemployment Surveys and Periodic Labour Force Surveys, as well as the India Working Survey, were used in the report.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Changing Workforce Dynamics
  2. Intergenerational Mobility and Caste Dynamics
  3. Challenges in Job Creation and Salaried Employment

Changing Workforce Dynamics

Shift Towards Regular Wage Jobs

  • Share of regular wage or salaried workers increased from 18% to 25% for men and 10% to 25% for women between 2004 and 2019.
  • Creation of around 5 million regular wage jobs annually between 2017 and 2019.

Gender Pay Gap

  • In 2004, salaried women earned 70% of what men earned.
  • By 2017, the gap reduced to women earning 76% of men’s earnings.
  • Gap remained constant from 2017 to 2021-22.

Unemployment Rates

  • Overall unemployment rate decreased to 6.6% in 2021-22 from 8.7% in 2017-18.
  • Graduates under 25 had a high unemployment rate of 42.3%.
  • Higher secondary graduates had a lower unemployment rate of 21.4%.

Post-Pandemic Workforce

  • 60% of women were self-employed post-Covid, compared to 50% before.
  • Increase in workforce participation was accompanied by reduced self-employment earnings.

Intergenerational Mobility and Caste Dynamics

Upward Mobility

  • Intergenerational upward mobility increased, indicating socio-economic progress.
  • Weaker trend for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes compared to general castes.
  • Sons of SC/ST casual wage workers shifted to other employment, including informal regular wage work.

Caste-wise Workforce

  • Share of SC workers in casual wage work reduced, more pronounced in the general caste category.
  • In 2021, 40% of SC workers in casual employment vs. 13% of general caste workers.
  • Around 22% of SC workers in regular wage work vs. 32% of general caste workers.

Challenges in Job Creation and Salaried Employment

Job Creation

  • Economic growth doesn’t proportionately create jobs; job-generating capacity decreases with GDP growth.
  • Transition from agriculture to other sectors doesn’t guarantee salaried employment.

Informal Salaried Jobs

  • Majority of salaried work is informal, lacking contracts and benefits.
  • Quality salaried jobs with proper benefits becoming less common.

Graduate Unemployment

  • High aspirations and wage demands may contribute to graduate unemployment.
  • Graduates from well-off households might choose unemployment due to economic security.

-Source: Indian Express

Adi Shankaracharya


The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister recently unveiled a 108-feet statue of Adi Shankaracharya, an 8th-century Vedic scholar and teacher, in Omkareshwar.


GS I- Ancient History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Life and Works of Adi Sankaracharya:
  2. What is Advaita Vedanta?

Life and Works of Adi Sankaracharya:

Birth and Background

  • Adi Sankaracharya was born in Kaladi, Kerala in 788 CE.

Philosophy and Writings

  • He propounded the Doctrine of Advaita (Monism).
  • He wrote many commentaries on the Vedic canon (Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita) in Sanskrit.
  • His major work is Brahmasutrabhasya (Bhashya or commentary on the Brahma Sutra).

Travels and Contributions

  • He travelled the length and breadth of India spreading Advaita Vedanta.
  • He was responsible for reviving Hinduism in India to a great extent when Buddhism was gaining popularity.
  • He was a devotee of Shiva.
  • He criticised the Mimamsa School of philosophy and explained a major point of deviance between Hinduism and Buddhism.


  • Shankaracharya established four Mathas in the four corners of India and the tradition continues to this day.
  • He preached renunciation and adoption of the knowledge path to realize Brahman.

What is Advaita Vedanta?

  • Advaita Vedanta articulates a philosophical position of radical nondualism, a revisionary worldview which it derives from the ancient Upanishadic texts.
  • According to Advaita Vedantins, the Upanishads reveal a fundamental principle of nonduality termed ‘brahman’, which is the reality of all things.
  • The basic theme of Advaita is that the one unchanging entity (Brahman) alone is real while changing entities do not have absolute existence. The world is Maya or illusion and only the Self is real. A person who realises this attains moksha (liberation of the soul).
  • The doctrine says that there is no difference between the Atman and the Brahman. The individual soul is not different from Brahman. Hence, its name Advaita meaning non-duality.

-Source: Times of India

Indian Skimmer


The endangered Indian Skimmer was recently spotted along the Ghaghra River at Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Indian Skimmer
  2. About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

Indian Skimmer

Family and Scientific Name

  • Belongs to the family Rynchopidae.
  • Scientific Name: Rynchops albicollis.

Feeding Behavior and Nickname

  • Feeds by flying close to the water surface and skimming for fish.
  • Commonly known as the Indian scissors-bill.


  • Primarily found in larger sandy lowland rivers, lakes, adjacent marshes, and estuaries and coasts during the non-breeding season.


  • Originally distributed in North Indian rivers, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
  • Currently, the majority of the population is restricted to North Indian River systems and Pakistan.
  • Approximately 20% of the total population nests along the Chambal River.

Physical Characteristics

  • Measures 40 to 43 cm in length with a wingspan of 110 cm.
  • White plumage on the underside, black on the upper side.
  • White forehead and collar, black crown.
  • Short, forked tail with central black feathers.
  • Long and thick bill, bright orange with a yellow tip.


  • Consumes small fish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and insect larvae.

Conservation Status

  • Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve


  • Located on the Indo-Nepal border in the district of Lakhimpur-Kheri in Uttar Pradesh.


  • Includes the Dudhwa National Park and two nearby Sanctuaries: Kishanpur and Katerniaghat.
  • Encompasses forest areas of North Kheri, South Kheri, and Shahjahanpur forest divisions in its buffer.


  • The Sharda River flows by the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Geruwa River flows through the Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Suheli and Mohana streams flow in the Dudhwa National Park, all of which are tributaries of the Ghagra River.


  • Features North Indian Moist Deciduous vegetation.
  • Contains some of the finest examples of Sal forests (Shorea robusta) in India.


  • Predominantly consists of Sal forest along with associate tree species like Terminalia alata (Asna), Lagerstroemia parviflora (Asidha), Adina cordifolia (Haldu), Mitragyna parviflora (Faldu), Gmelina arborea (Gahmhar), Holoptelea intgrifolia (Kanju), and more.


  • Major mammal species include Tiger, Fishing cat, Monkey, Langur, Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, Jackal, and others.
  • Rich avian diversity with both migratory and resident species like Dabchick, Spot-billed Pelican, Large Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Grey Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, White Ibis, and more.
  • Diverse reptile population, including Mugger and Ghariyal (crocodiles), Python, Sandboa, Banded Krait, Russell’s Viper, Rat Snake, among others.

-Source: Indian Express

Introduction of 56 Prizes Under Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar to Honor Scientists


The Central Government plans to introduce 56 prizes as part of the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar to honor scientists. These awards will include 3 Vigyan Ratna, 25 Vigyan Shri, 25 Yuva Vigyan Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, and 3 Vigyan Team Awards. The announcement of these awards will take place every year on National Technology Day, May 11, and the awards ceremony will be held on National Space Day, August 23, starting from 2024.


Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights About the Awards
  2. National Technology Day

Key Highlights About the Awards

Included Awards:
  • Vigyan Ratna Awards:
    • Recognize lifetime achievements and contributions in any field of science and technology.
  • Vigyan Shri Awards:
    • Recognize distinguished contributions to any field of science and technology.
  • Vigyan Team Awards:
    • Given to a team comprising three or more scientists/researchers/innovators with exceptional contributions in any field of science and technology.
  • Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (VY-SSB) Awards:
    • Highest multidisciplinary science awards in India for young scientists (maximum 45 years).
    • Named after Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, founder and director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
Awards Open to PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin):
  • PIOs are now eligible for these new awards.
  • Only one PIO may receive the Vigyan Ratna.
  • Three PIOs each can be selected for the Vigyan Shri and the VY-SSB.
  • PIOs are not eligible for the Vigyan Team awards.

National Technology Day

  • First observed in 1999 to commemorate the scientific and technological achievements of Indian scientists and engineers.
  • Named by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Celebrated annually by the Technology Development Board of India under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Awards individuals with the National Award for their significant contributions to science and technology.
  • Marks the day of India’s successful nuclear bomb tests in Pokhran on May 11, 1998.
  • Included the successful test-firing of the Shakti-1 nuclear missile in Operation Pokhran-II, also codenamed Operation Shakti.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023