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Current Affairs 29 April 2024

  1. Naxalite Attacks Reported in Chhattisgarh and Assam
  2. 50th Anniversary of Chipko Movement
  3. Supreme Court Rejects 100% VVPAT Verification and Return to Ballot Paper System
  4. India – Oman Bilateral Relationship
  5. Union Government Seeks Administrative Allocation for Spectrum
  6. Nasscom Releases Patenting Trends in India Report on World Intellectual Property Day
  7. Biohacking
  8. Discovery of New Medium-Sized Herbivorous Dinosaur: Chakisaurus nekul


Recently, two separate incidents of Naxalite attacks were reported:

  • In the Kanker area of Chhattisgarh, security forces conducted one of the largest operations, resulting in the killing of 29 Naxalites.
  • In eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district, three vehicles of the paramilitary Assam Rifles were ambushed in another incident.


GS III: Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Naxalism
  2. Causes of Naxalism
  3. Government Initiatives to Combat Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)

Understanding Naxalism

Origin and Name

  • Derives its name from Naxalbari village in West Bengal, where it originated as a rebellion against local landlords over a land dispute.

Spread and Characteristics

  • Spread across Eastern India, particularly in less developed areas of states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Left-wing extremists (LWE), also known as Maoists globally and Naxalites in India, lead the movement.

Ideology and Objectives

  • Advocate for armed revolution to overthrow the Indian government and establish a communist state based on Maoist principles.
  • View the state as oppressive and exploitative, seeking to address socio-economic grievances through armed struggle and people’s war.

Activities and Strategies

  • Engage in guerrilla warfare, attacks on security forces, extortion, intimidation, and propaganda.
  • Aim to capture state power through armed insurgency, mass mobilization, and strategic alliances.
  • Target government institutions, infrastructure, economic interests, collaborators, and informants.
  • Operate parallel governance structures in certain controlled areas, providing basic services and dispensing justice.
Status of LWE in India
  • Trends in Violence
    • 2022 witnessed the lowest number of violent incidents and deaths in Naxal-hit areas in the last four decades.
    • Violent incidents reduced by 77% in 2022 compared to the peak in 2010.
    • Number of affected districts dropped from 90 to 45.
    • Deaths of security forces and civilians in LWE violence decreased by 90% in 2022 compared to 2010.
States Affected by LWE
  • Affected States
    • Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala.
  • Red Corridor
    • Central, eastern, and southern regions of India experiencing severe Naxalism-Maoist insurgency.

Causes of Naxalism

Economic Factors

  • Thrives in underdeveloped regions with high poverty rates.
  • Adivasi and Dalit communities face social exclusion and lack access to basic necessities, fostering resentment and receptiveness to Naxalite ideology.
  • Displacement of Adivasis from traditional lands due to mining and development projects creates anger and a sense of injustice, exploited by Naxalites.

Exploitation and Marginalization

  • Tribal communities vulnerable to exploitation by landlords, moneylenders, and mining companies, positioning Naxalites as protectors against such exploitation.
  • Dalits, facing social and economic marginalization, may find Naxalism appealing as it challenges the existing caste hierarchy.

Weak Governance

  • Flourishes in areas with weak government presence and poor infrastructure, allowing Naxalites to operate with less interference.
  • State governments often neglect addressing Naxalism, considering it a central government issue, leading to a lack of initiatives to combat it.

Perceived Failure of Democratic System

  • Naxalites believe the democratic system has failed to address their needs and grievances, offering a violent alternative path to change.

Impact of Globalization

  • Discontent with the impact of globalization, particularly displacement due to land acquisition for corporations, can contribute to Naxalite support.

Operational Challenges

  • LWE groups operate in remote and inaccessible areas with dense forests and hilly terrains, making it challenging for security forces to track them down.

Government Initiatives to Combat Left-Wing Extremism (LWE):

Operation Octopus:

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has undertaken a significant operation known as ‘Octopus’ in the heavily mined ‘Burha Pahar’ hilly range within the Garhwa district, bordering Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
  • This operation marks a substantial success, marking the first instance where the force successfully eliminated Naxal influence from the area.
  • Operation Double Bull: Launched in the dense jungles of the Bulbul area in Lohardaga and neighboring districts of Jharkhand.
  • Greyhounds: Established in 1989 as an elite anti-Naxal force.
  • Operation Green Hunt: Commenced in 2009-10, entailing a massive deployment of security forces in Naxal-affected regions.
  • Aspirational Districts Programme: Introduced in 2018, with the objective of swiftly transforming districts that have exhibited comparatively slower progress in key social indicators.
  • SAMADHAN doctrine: A comprehensive strategy for addressing the LWE issue, encompassing short-term and long-term policies formulated at various levels. SAMADHAN stands for:
    • S – Smart Leadership,
    • A – Aggressive Strategy,
    • M – Motivation and Training,
    • A – Actionable Intelligence,
    • D – Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),
    • H – Harnessing Technology,
    • A – Action plan for each Theatre,
    • N – No access to Financing.


  • A special initiative under the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (formerly Ajeevika Skills), launched in June 2013.
  • ROSHNI focuses on providing training and placement opportunities for rural youth from 27 LWE-affected districts across nine states.
  • Additionally, the government has undertaken measures such as intelligence sharing, and the establishment of separate units like the 66 Indian Reserved Battalion (IRBs), as well as specialized CRPF battalions including the COBRA battalion and Bastariya battalion, aimed at curbing the activities of LWE organizations.
  • Efforts by civil society and peace activists to broker ceasefires and facilitate dialogue between the Maoists and security forces, advocating for the pursuit of tribal causes through democratic channels, have been met with resistance from the insurgents.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently marked the completion of 50 years for the Chipko Movement, a landmark environmental movement initiated in Uttarakhand in 1973.


  1. What Was the Essence of the Chipko Movement?
  2. Key Figures and Leaders

What Was the Essence of the Chipko Movement?

  • Emerged in the 1970s in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, amidst rampant deforestation fueled by external contractors.
  • Originating in the Himalayan villages of Reni and Mandal, local women embraced trees in nearby forests to shield them from commercial loggers.
  • Dubbed “chipko,” signifying “embrace,” villagers encircled and hugged trees, symbolizing the unity of humanity with nature.
  • Through their actions, they conveyed a powerful message: “We, our nature, and us, are One.”
  • It was a peaceful protest aimed at safeguarding nature.
  • Its foremost achievement was raising awareness about forest rights and showcasing how grassroots activism can influence ecological policymaking.
  • This movement ultimately led to a ban on commercial tree felling above 30 degrees slope and above 1,000 msl (mean sea level) in 1981.
Philosophy Behind the Movement:
  • Gandhian Principles: Advocacy for non-violence and coexistence with nature.
  • Community Empowerment: Granting local communities a say in managing their natural resources.
  • Challenging Exploitative Practices: Opposition to external contractors’ exploitative methods, advocating for a more inclusive approach to forest management.
  • Inspiration for Similar Movements: Sparked movements like Narmada Bachao Andolan, Appiko Movement (Karnataka), and Silent Valley Movement in different regions of India.
  • Global Symbol of Resistance: Internationally recognized as a symbol against environmental degradation.
  • Policy Influence: Contributed to policy reforms in India, resulting in stricter regulations against illegal deforestation and protection of indigenous communities’ rights.
  • Empowerment of Women: Highlighted the collective activism of women, reshaping societal perceptions of their role and status.
Relevance of Chipko Movement in 2024:
  • Continued Inspiration: Serves as a timeless inspiration for collective action in addressing environmental issues.
  • Principles of Sustainability: Offers guidance on sustainability, community engagement, and nonviolent protest in combating climate change and preserving ecosystems.
  • Grassroots Inspiration: Encourages grassroots-level activism, women’s participation, and community inclusion in environmental planning.

Key Figures and Leaders:

Chandi Prasad Bhatt: A Gandhian Social Activist and Environmentalist, pivotal in the movement’s early phase, who established the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM), instrumental in shaping the movement and rallying villagers against unsustainable deforestation.

Sundarlal Bahuguna: Inspired by Gandhian principles of nonviolence and socialism, he played a vital role in organizing local communities and raising awareness about the importance of forests, significantly contributing to mobilizing people.

Gaura Devi: A village woman who emerged as a symbol of resistance, leading a group of women in Reni to confront loggers and physically embrace trees, effectively thwarting their cutting. With this, Chipko evolved into a predominantly women-led movement, inspiring women across the country.

-Source: Indian Express, Down To Earth


The Supreme Court dismissed the demand for 100% verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in Indian elections. Additionally, it rejected a return to the earlier ballot paper system, which had been demanded by opposition parties in recent years.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent VVPAT-EVM Tally Case
  2. SC Ruling in the VVPAT-EVM Tally Case
  3. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Machines:

Recent VVPAT-EVM Tally Case:

  • In 2023, ADR filed a petition with the Supreme Court advocating for cross-verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to ensure fair elections.
  • The petition, along with others, called for 100% verification of EVM votes using VVPAT.
  • ADR proposed the use of barcodes on VVPAT slips to expedite the verification process.

SC Ruling in the VVPAT-EVM Tally Case:

  • The Supreme Court rejected the demand for 100% VVPAT verification but upheld confidence in the electoral process, rejecting a return to the ballot paper system.
  • However, the court issued two directions and suggestions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to enhance electoral integrity.

First Direction:

  • Directed the ECI to seal and store symbol loading units (SLUs) for 45 days post results declaration.
  • SLUs are memory units used to load candidate symbols onto VVPAT machines.

Second Direction:

  • Allowed candidates to request EVM verification post-election, a first-time provision.
  • Engineers must inspect the EVM microcontroller’s burnt memory upon request from second and third-place candidates within 7 days of results declaration.
  • Candidates bear expenses, refundable if tampering is confirmed.

Suggestion on VVPAT:

  • Proposed examining the possibility of machine counting VVPAT slips using barcodes for efficiency.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Machines:

  • VVPAT is an independent verification printer that is attached to electronic voting machines (EVMs).
  • Its purpose is to allow voters to verify that their votes have been recorded accurately.
  • As soon as a voter presses the button on the EVM, the VVPAT machine prints a slip containing the name and symbol of the party they voted for, which is visible to the voter for around 7 seconds.
  • VVPAT Machines were first introduced in India during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to increase transparency and eliminate doubts about the accuracy of EVMs.
  • Only polling officers have access to the VVPAT machines.
  • According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), EVMs and VVPATs are separate entities and are not connected to any network.

Challenges with VVPAT machines:

Technical malfunctions:

  • Possibility of technical malfunctions is a primary concern with VVPAT machines.
  • Malfunctions can result in inaccurate printing or no printing of the paper receipt of the vote cast by the voter.

Verification of paper trails:

  • Verification of paper trails generated by the VVPAT machines is another challenge.
  • It is not always clear how this record can be verified, especially in cases of discrepancies between electronic and paper records.

Public confidence:

  • Recent reports of defective VVPAT machines have eroded public confidence in the electoral process.
  • Lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the EC has raised questions about the fairness and accuracy of elections.

Legal mandate:

  • The Supreme Court in Dr. Subramanian Swamy v ECI (2013) held that VVPAT is an “indispensable requirement of free and fair elections”.

How has the Performance of EVMs been?

  • Despite dire warnings regarding malpractices and EVM hacking, there has been no concrete evidence of any actual tampering with EVMs thus far.
  • While EVMs, like any machinery, have experienced glitches and have been promptly replaced in case of malfunctions, the assertion that they are susceptible to hacking or manipulation, despite the presence of existing technical and administrative safeguards, has been made without substantiated proof.
  • Sample counting of VVPATs, conducted during both the general election in 2019 and various Assembly elections, has indicated that the discrepancy between the VVPAT recount and the EVM count has been negligible.
  • Such discrepancies often stem from minor errors such as failure to delete mock polls from the machine before the voting process or inaccuracies in manually recording the final cou

-Source: Indian Express


India and Oman will sign a trade deal in the coming months, two Indian government officials said, as New Delhi seeks to expand its ties in the Middle East, where rising tensions are putting major shipping routes at risk.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India-Oman Trade Deal Highlights
  2. India-Oman Bilateral Relationship

India-Oman Trade Deal Highlights:

  • Upcoming Trade Deal: India and Oman are set to sign a trade deal in the coming months to strengthen ties in the Middle East.
  • Key Trade Terms: Oman will waive duties on Indian exports totaling $3 billion annually, covering various sectors including agriculture, gems and jewelry, automobiles, and medical devices.
  • Reciprocal Concessions: India will reciprocate by reducing duties on select petrochemicals, aluminum, and copper from Oman, while also imposing import caps on these goods.
  • Pending Approval: The trade deal awaits approval from the winning government of India’s ongoing general elections, with results expected on June 4.
  • Shift in Strategy: India’s focus has shifted from broader agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to bilateral accords with individual GCC member states like Oman and the UAE.
  • Strategic Significance: India places importance on its relationship with Oman due to its geographical location as a gateway to the crucial Strait of Hormuz, facilitating global oil shipments between Oman and Iran.

India-Oman Bilateral Relationship:

  • Strategic Partnership: Oman is a key strategic partner for India, engaging closely in various international forums such as the GCC, Arab League, and IORA.
  • Historical and Cultural Ties: The relationship between India and Oman is deeply rooted in shared geography, history, and culture, fostering warm and friendly relations.
  • Diplomatic Relations: Established in 1955, the diplomatic ties were elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2008, signifying their mutual commitment.
  • High-Level Visits: Both countries frequently exchange visits at the highest levels, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman in February 2018 being a notable example.
Economic & Commercial Relations:
  • Mutual Priority: Strengthening economic and commercial ties is a top priority for both India and Oman.
  • Institutional Mechanism: Economic cooperation is facilitated through the Indo-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
  • Trade Figures: Bilateral trade for 2021-2022 amounted to US$ 9.9 billion.
  • Major Exports from India: Includes mineral fuels, textiles, machinery, chemicals, and agricultural products.
  • Major Imports to India: Comprise urea, LNG, polypropylene, lubricating oil, and dates, among others.
  • Joint Investment Fund: The Oman-India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a 50-50 Joint Venture between State Bank of India and the erstwhile State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, promotes investment cooperation.
  • Indian Investments in Oman: Indian firms have made substantial investments in sectors like iron and steel, cement, textiles, automotive, and more.
Indian Community in Oman:
  • Population: As of 2023, Oman hosts approximately 900,000 Indian residents.
  • Recognition of Religious Freedom: Oman’s Basic Law recognizes the right to practice various forms of worship.
  • Hindu Community Facilities: The Hindu merchant community in Oman has access to two temples, one of which is over a century old, as well as dedicated cremation grounds.

-Source: The Hindu


The Union government has filed an application for a specific class of spectrum to be allocated through administrative processes rather than competitive auctions. This move follows the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision to cancel 122 telecom licenses due to the 2G spectrum scam, emphasizing the need for fair and impartial allocation of the scarce natural resource through auctions. Administrative allocation would grant the government authority to determine the selection procedure for operators.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Airwaves/Spectrum?
  2. Centre’s Plea: Arguments in Favor of Allocating Spectrum Through Administrative Processes
  3. The Telecommunications Act, 2023

What is Airwaves/Spectrum?

  • Airwaves, also known as spectrum, are radio frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum used for wireless communication services.
  • The government manages and allocates airwaves to companies or sectors for their use.
  • Spectrum is auctioned by the government to telecom operators for providing communication services to consumers.
2G Spectrum Scam Verdict
  • In 2008, the government sold 122 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve (FCFS) basis to specific telecom operators.
  • Allegations arose regarding a ₹30,984 crore loss to the exchequer due to discrepancies in the allocation process.
  • Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court alleging a ₹70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licenses in 2008.
  • In February 2012, the Supreme Court cancelled the licenses, advocating for competitive auctions as the only route to allocate spectrum.

Centre’s Plea: Arguments in Favor of Allocating Spectrum Through Administrative Processes

Assignment for Various Purposes:

  • Spectrum assignment is required not only for commercial telecom services but also for sovereign and public interest functions such as security, safety, and disaster preparedness.
  • Certain spectrum categories have unique uses where auctions may not be the best choice, such as for captive, backhaul, or sporadic use.

Situation of Lower Demand Than Supply:

  • Administrative allocation is necessary when demand is lower than supply or for space communication, where sharing spectrum among multiple players is more efficient.
  • Since the 2012 decision, non-commercial spectrum allocation has been temporary, and the government seeks to establish a solid framework for assigning spectrum, including methods other than auctions.

2012 Presidential Reference:

  • Referring to a previous Constitution Bench’s remarks on a Presidential reference about the 2012 verdict, the government highlights that the auction method is not a constitutional mandate for the alienation of natural resources excluding spectrum.
  • However, spectrum, as per the law declared in the 2G case, is to be alienated only by auction and no other method.

The Telecommunications Act, 2023

  • Empowers Government to Use Administrative Route:
  • The Telecommunications Act, 2023, passed by the Parliament, grants the government authority to assign spectrum for telecommunication through administrative processes other than auctions.
  • This provision applies to entities listed in the First Schedule, which includes those engaged in national security, defence, and law enforcement, as well as Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellites (GMPCS) providers like Space X and Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb.

Assignment of Part of Assigned Spectrum:

  • Additionally, the government has the discretion to assign part of a spectrum that has already been allocated to one or more additional entities, referred to as secondary assignees.
  • Furthermore, the Act empowers the government to terminate assignments where a spectrum or a part of it has remained underutilized for insufficient reasons.

-Source: The Hindu


Nasscom recently unveiled the Patenting Trends in India report on World Intellectual Property Day.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. World Intellectual Property Day
  2. Patenting Trends in India Report

World Intellectual Property Day

  • Date: Celebrated annually on April 26.
  • Objective: Raise awareness about intellectual property (IP) rights and their role in fostering innovation and creativity for global betterment.
  • Balanced Approach: Advocates for a balanced approach to IP protection, considering the rights of creators, copyright holders, and the public interest.
  • Establishment: Instituted in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
  • Theme 2024: ‘IP and the SDGs: Building Our Common Future with Innovation and Creativity’.
Historical Background:
  • 1883: Signing of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, aimed at safeguarding inventions, trademarks, and industrial designs.
  • 1970: Convention establishing WIPO came into force, making WIPO a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • 1974: WIPO became a self-funding agency of the UN, with 193 member states, promoting global intellectual property protection and advancement.

Patenting Trends in India Report

  • Release: Nasscom released the report on World Intellectual Property Day.


  • In FY2023, India witnessed 83,000 patents filed, with an annual growth rate of 24.6%, the highest in two decades.
  • Patents granted also saw significant growth, doubling between FY2019 and FY2023.
  • Share of patents filed by Indian residents doubled over the last decade, exceeding 50% in FY2023.

Key Areas:

  • Healthcare: Dominated patent applications, particularly in medical imaging, diagnosis, report generation, and testing.
  • Other Areas: Significant filings in Automation/Software Development and Retail/e-commerce.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

  • Maximum patents filed in image processing, Natural Language Processing, and Predictive modeling.
  • Emerging Areas: Gen AI, Medical Data Processing, and Cognitive computing witnessed notable filings.

-Source: The Hindu


Biohacking is picking up in India especially in metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai and also slowly making inroads into Tier II and III cities too.


Facts for Prelims

About Biohacking

  • Definition: Biohacking refers to the practice of employing methods from biology, genetics, neuroscience, and nutrition to enhance physical or mental performance, improve overall health and well-being, or achieve specific health outcomes.
  • Objective: Enhance the body’s ability to function at peak performance and potentially extend lifespan.
Categories of Biohacking:
  • Lifestyle: Focuses on making positive health and behavioral choices, including dietary shifts, breathwork, meditation, and exercise.
  • Molecular: Involves the use of natural and synthetic molecules to shift one’s biology, such as taking supplements.
  • Biologics: Utilizes biological products like cells or exosomes (biological bundles of DNA, mRNA proteins, and growth factors) to improve or enhance biology, typically administered through ingestion, injection (e.g., stem cells), or intravenous delivery.
  • Technology: Incorporates devices like wearables (e.g., smartwatches) and diagnostics (e.g., blood sugar monitors) to gather data about the body’s functioning, enabling individuals to adjust their health for improved performance.
  • Legal Status in India: Currently, there are no specific laws in India addressing biohacking.

-Source: The Hindu


Palaeontologists from Argentina have announced the discovery of a new medium-sized herbivorous dinosaur, which they have named Chakisaurus nekul.


Facts for Prelims

About Chakisaurus nekul:

  • Etymology: The name “Chakisaurus” originates from the Aonikenk language of the Tehuelche people, meaning “old guanaco,” referencing a local medium-sized herbivore mammal. “Nekul” comes from the Mapudungún language of the Mapuche people, signifying “fast” or “agile.”
  • Temporal Existence: Chakisaurus nekul inhabited present-day Patagonia approximately 90 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.
  • Discovery Location: Fossils of Chakisaurus nekul were unearthed in the Pueblo Blanco Natural Reserve, situated in the southern province of Río Negro. This region is renowned for its fossil-rich deposits, housing various mammals, turtles, fish, and other dinosaur species.
  • Physical Characteristics: Studies on Chakisaurus revealed unique traits, including its exceptional speed as a runner and an unusually downward-curved tail. Unlike many other dinosaurs, which had horizontal tails, Chakisaurus’ tail displayed this distinctive curvature.
  • Behavior and Diet: This newly discovered species is believed to have been a bipedal herbivore, relying on plant-based diet sources for sustenance. Its rapid locomotion suggests adaptations for evading predators or efficiently foraging for food.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024