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Current Affairs 30 October 2023


  1. UN General Assembly Passes Resolution on Gaza Conflict
  2. Rashtriya Gokul Mission
  3. 5T Initiative
  4. Talagirishwara temple
  5. Challenges in India’s Transition to Green Hydrogen: Pollution Concerns
  6. Ming Dynasty
  7. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

UN General Assembly Passes Resolution on Gaza Conflict


The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution, with 120 countries in favor, that calls for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas. The resolution also demands aid access to Gaza. Notably, 14 countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against the resolution, while 45 countries, including India, abstained from voting. India’s abstention indicates its diplomatic balancing act concerning the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
  2. UN General Assembly convenes for Gaza resolution
  3. Key Takeaways from the UNGA Proceedings
  4. Main Elements of the Indian Statement at the UNGA

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

  • The UNGA, established in 1945 under the UN Charter, is headquartered in New York City.
  • It is one of the six principal organs of the UN, serving as the primary policy-making body.
  • The UNGA provides a global platform for discussing a wide range of international issues outlined in the UN Charter.
  • All 193 UN Member States possess an equal vote in the UNGA.
  • The UN Charter (Chapter IV, article 20) allows the General Assembly to convene special sessions as needed.
  • These sessions are called by the Secretary-General at the request of either the Security Council or a majority of UN Member States.
Emergency Special Sessions of UNGA
  • An emergency special session is an unscheduled UNGA meeting to provide urgent recommendations on a specific issue.
  • The UN Charter allows the UNGA to hold an emergency special session within 24 hours of the request, even if it’s not in regular session.
  • Procedures for calling such sessions are outlined in the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.
  • Emergency special sessions are initiated by the Security Council with seven member votes or by a majority of UN Members.
  • Since 1950, there have been only 11 emergency special sessions held.
  • Implications
  • Resolutions from these sessions are not legally binding but carry political significance as they represent the collective will of the entire UN membership, reflecting global opinion on crises.

UN General Assembly convenes for Gaza resolution

  • A meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) was held, involving its 193 member states.
  • The gathering took place as part of the 10th Emergency Special Session, which originally focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and began in April 1997.
  • This session marked the continuation of the 10th Emergency Special Session.
  • During this assembly, the attendees voted on a proposed resolution submitted by Jordan, with support from over 40 other nations.

Key Takeaways from the UNGA Proceedings

Resolution on Protection of Civilians:

  • Adopted with 120 nations in favor.
  • India abstained along with Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
  • Israel and the United States were among the 14 members who voted against it.

Amendment Proposed by Canada:

  • Aimed to hold Hamas responsible for the crisis.
  • Condemned Hamas for a terrorist attack on Israel and demanded the release of hostages.
  • India aligned with the majority (87 in favor), 55 member states voted against, and 23 abstained.
  • The amendment was not adopted.

UNGA Resolutions:

  • Non-legally binding; carry moral weight and authority.
  • Israel and the US not legally obliged to act on the resolution.

India’s Diplomatic Position:

  • India’s stance aligns with its approach in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • New Delhi consistently employs a diplomatic toolkit to balance between warring sides.

Main Elements of the Indian Statement at the UNGA

  • Condemned violence, particularly the October 7 attacks by Hamas, expressing support for Israel.
  • Balanced support for Israel with a statement on the plight of the people of Gaza.
  • Welcomed international efforts to de-escalate and provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza, with India’s own contribution.
  • Expressed concern about the security situation, calling for restraint and responsibility from all parties, including Israel, Iran, and groups like Hezbollah.
  • Reiterated India’s principled position on the Israel-Palestine issue.
  • Supported a negotiated Two-State solution for Israel-Palestine, with a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine alongside Israel.
  • Advocated diplomacy and dialogue.
  • Urged parties to de-escalate, avoid violence, and work towards conditions for direct peace negotiations.

-Source: The Hindu

Rashtriya Gokul Mission


After nearly a decade of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, it has become evident that the scheme, initially aimed at enhancing the quality of various indigenous cattle breeds, has primarily focused on promoting a single breed, the Gir cow, throughout the country.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Rashtriya Gokul Mission
  2. Issues with Rashtriya Gokul Mission
  3. Issues with Indigenous Gir Cow Breed
  4. Possible Solutions

About the Rashtriya Gokul Mission

  • The Rashtriya Gokul Mission was launched in December 2014.
  • It has been extended as part of the Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojana from 2021 to 2026.
Mission Objectives:
  • Enhancing Productivity: The mission aims to boost the productivity of indigenous bovine breeds while ensuring sustainability. It leverages advanced technologies for this purpose.
  • Increased Milk Production: One of its goals is to facilitate a significant increase in milk production through efficient bovine management practices.
  • High-Quality Breeding: The mission advocates the use of high genetic merit bulls for breeding, contributing to the improvement of cattle genetics.
  • Widening Insemination Coverage: Strengthening the breeding network and making artificial insemination services easily accessible to farmers is a key objective.
  • Holistic Conservation: The mission is dedicated to the scientific and comprehensive conservation of indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds.

Issues with Rashtriya Gokul Mission:

  • Established in 2014, the Rashtriya Gokul Mission was intended to enhance the quality of semen for various indigenous cattle breeds in India.
  • However, the mission has largely prioritized the Gir cow, primarily due to its milk production and adaptability to different regions.
  • This preference for Gir cows is evident from the 2019 livestock census, which showed a substantial increase in purebred Gir cows since 2013, while other indigenous breeds like Sahiwal and Hariana have not seen similar growth and, in some cases, have experienced a decline.
  • This trend has raised concerns about the diminishing diversity of indigenous cattle breeds in India.

Issues with Indigenous Gir Cow Breed:

  • Despite the growing focus on Gir cows, research indicates that graded Gir cows (a crossbreed of Gir and other nondescript varieties) do not consistently outperform indigenous breeds in many Indian states.
  • For example, in Haryana, there is no substantial evidence of increased milk production in graded Gir cows.
  • East Rajasthan reports lower milk production in graded Gir cows compared to indigenous breeds, leading to farmer complaints about shorter lactation periods and reduced daily milk yields.
  • However, in west Rajasthan, graded Gir cows perform better due to favorable climatic conditions.
  • The performance of graded Gir cows is influenced by factors beyond their adaptability to microclimatic conditions. For instance, Gir cows thrive in herds, and their milk production decreases when raised in isolation.
  • Without adequate resources and support, these cows can become a liability for farmers, as previously seen in Vidarbha.

Possible Solutions:

  • Experts recommend a shift from the current focus on a limited number of high-yielding bovine varieties to identifying and selectively breeding genetically superior cows within indigenous breeds.
  • Successful experiments conducted by Maharashtra’s animal husbandry department in 2012-14, delivering semen from genetically superior indigenous breeds to farms, demonstrate the potential of this approach.
  • India possesses a diverse cow population, each adapted to specific regions. Promoting continuous crossbreeding may risk the extinction of region-specific traits in graded varieties.
  • Crossbreeding indigenous Badri cows from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with Gir cows, for example, could enhance milk production but may alter their physiology, which should be avoided.
  • Experts emphasize the importance of not repeating the mistakes of the White Revolution, which introduced exotic breeds like Jersey for crossbreeding with Indian varieties.
  • Although this increased milk production, it did not necessarily lead to higher income for livestock rearers, as crossbred cows were more vulnerable to diseases and required greater care.

-Source: The Hindu

5T Initiative


The 5T initiative in Odisha is a governance model that stands for Teamwork, Transparency, Technology, Time, and Transformation, launched with the aim of improving governance and ensuring efficient delivery of public services.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. 5T Initiative Overview
  2. Mo Sarkar Initiative
  3. Agenda for Implementing Niti Aayog-like Bodies in States
  4. Need for Setting up NITI Aayog-like Bodies in States

5T Initiative Overview:


  • Emphasizes inter-departmental collaboration within the government for effective problem-solving.
  • Promotes cooperation and coordination among different government agencies.


  • Focuses on enhancing the openness and accountability of government processes and decisions.
  • Aims to provide easier public access to information and reduce bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Encourages ethical and accountable behavior within the government.


  • Advocates the adoption of modern technology and digital solutions to streamline government operations.
  • Aims to improve service delivery and operational efficiency.


  • Highlights the importance of delivering government services promptly and reducing delays.


  • Seeks to revolutionize the functioning of government departments.
  • Aims to create a government that is more responsive, citizen-centered, and results-driven.
Achievements of the 5T Initiative:
  • As of March 2023, 6,872 high schools have been transformed under the 5T initiative.
  • Private schools had 1,605,000 students in the 2019-20 academic year, but this number decreased to 1,462,000 in 2021-22. This suggests an increase in the enrollment of students in government schools.

Mo Sarkar Initiative:

  • A governance program focused on transforming government service delivery and enhancing transparency and accountability.
  • “Mo Sarkar” translates to “My Government” in the local language.
  • Features real-time feedback mechanisms allowing citizens who interact with government offices to provide feedback.
  • Citizen phone numbers are made available to top officials, including the Chief Minister, to facilitate feedback.
  • Aims to shift power from bureaucracy to citizens, making governance more evidence-based, efficient, and equitable.

Agenda for Implementing Niti Aayog-like Bodies in States:

  • NITI Aayog will assist states in setting up similar bodies to replace planning boards, with the goal of achieving faster and more inclusive economic growth and becoming a developed nation by 2047.
  • The plan initially targets 8-10 states to establish such bodies before reaching out to all states by March 2023.
  • States like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam have already initiated work in this direction, while Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat are expected to follow suit.
  • NITI Aayog will support the creation of teams to examine existing state planning board structures.
  • The formation of State Institutions for Transformation (SITs) will be conceptualized over the next 4-6 months.
  • Lateral entry of professionals will be encouraged in SITs to undertake high-quality analytical work and provide policy recommendations.
  • SITs will assist in policy formulation, policy and program evaluation, and suggest improved technology or delivery models.

Need for Setting up NITI Aayog-like Bodies in States:

  • States are the drivers of the Indian economy, contributing significantly to the national GDP.
  • Many critical areas like health, education, and skilling fall under state governments’ purview.
  • State governments play a crucial role in improving ease of doing business, land reforms, infrastructure development, credit flow, and urbanization.
  • Most state planning departments or boards have become nonfunctional and lack clarity regarding their roles and responsibilities.
  • The move is essential for the economic growth and development of states and the country as a whole.

-Source: The Hindu

Talagirishwara Temple


Neglect has taken a heavy toll on the 1,300-year-old Pallava period paintings at Talagirishwara temple at Panamalai in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Talagirishwara Temple
  2. Paintings in Talagirishwara Temple

About Talagirishwara Temple


  • Located in Panamalai village of Viluppuram district in Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Situated on a small hill overlooking the Panamalai Lake.


  • Constructed by Pallava king Narasimhavarman II, also known as Rajasimha.
  • Dating back to the Seventh Century.
  • The temple’s Vimana resembles that of the Kailasanatha temple in Kanchipuram.
  • The garbhagriha houses a Dharalingam.
  • Features a Somaskanda section on the hindmost wall of the shrine, typical of Pallava temples from that period.
  • Includes an Ardhamandapam (partial Mandapam).
  • The walls of the Ardhamandapam display panels of divinities, such as Brahma with Saraswati and Vishnu with Lakshmi on either flank.
  • The temple faces east, and the garbhagriha is enclosed on all three sides by sub shrines.
  • Additional sub shrines and a Mahamandapam (massive Mandapam) have been added at a later date.
  • The Vimana is three-layered, with the high tier rebuilt.
  • Features typical Pallava pillars with crouching lions.

Paintings in Talagirishwara Temple

  • The temple’s paintings are highly reminiscent of those found in Ajantha and Chithannavasal.
  • These paintings are located on the walls of a sub-temple situated on the northern side of the Talagirishwara (Siva) temple.
  • Notably, there is a painting depicting Lord Shiva with eight hands, in a dance known as Latathilagabhani. In the painting, Goddess Parvathi is shown watching Shiva, wearing a crown and a well-decorated umbrella.
  • It’s worth mentioning that these paintings predate the Chithannavasal paintings, indicating their historical significance.
  • The process of creating these paintings involved covering the stonewalls with a paste made of limestone and sand, showcasing the artistic and technical skills of the time.

-Source: The Hindu

Challenges in India’s Transition to Green Hydrogen: Pollution Concerns


A study by the environmental think-tank Climate Risk Horizons (CRH) warns that India’s shift to green hydrogen production could lead to increased pollution unless measures are taken to control fossil fuel emissions during the process.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Green Hydrogen?
  2. Current Challenges in Green Hydrogen Production
  3. Implications of Green Hydrogen Production

What is Green Hydrogen?

  • A colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic and highly combustible gaseous substance, hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant member of the family of chemical elements in the universe.
  • But a colour — green — prefixed to it makes hydrogen the “fuel of the future”.
  • The ‘green’ depends on how the electricity is generated to obtain the hydrogen, which does not emit greenhouse gas when burned.
  • Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or hydel power.
  • Hydrogen can be ‘grey’ and ‘blue’ too.
    • Grey hydrogen is generated through fossil fuels such as coal and gas and currently accounts for 95% of the total production in South Asia.
    • Blue hydrogen, too, is produced using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels but with technologies to prevent the carbon released in the process from entering the atmosphere.
Green Hydrogen Importance
  • Hydrogen is being used across the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany. Countries like Japan desire to become a hydrogen economy in future.
  • Green hydrogen can in future be used for
    • Electricity and drinking water generation, energy storage, transportation etc. 
    • Green hydrogen can be used to provide water to the crew members in space stations.
    • Energy storage- Compressed hydrogen tanks can store the energy longer and are easier to handle than lithium-ion batteries as they are lighter.
    • Transport and mobility- Hydrogen can be used in heavy transport, aviation and maritime transport.

Current Challenges in Green Hydrogen Production

Defining Green Hydrogen:

  • The MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) has established a definition of green hydrogen, setting a limit of 2 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per kg of hydrogen.
  • However, this definition remains open to interpretation, raising concerns about its practical implementation.

Intermittent Electrolysis:

  • The production of green hydrogen relies on electrolysers, which are essential components.
  • Electrolysers need to operate continuously, even during nighttime when solar power is unavailable.
  • Operating them at night may necessitate drawing electricity from conventional coal-fired grids, potentially increasing carbon emissions.

Uncertain Electricity Sources:

  • A significant number of green hydrogen projects have not disclosed the sources of their electricity.
  • It is unclear whether projects that have made commitments are using 100% renewable energy sources to meet their electricity requirements.

Implications of Green Hydrogen Production

Biomass Inclusion and Emissions:

  • India’s green hydrogen standards allow the use of biomass, which, when burned, can produce carbon emissions.
  • This inclusion of biomass introduces a challenge in achieving truly clean green hydrogen, raising environmental concerns.

Renewable Energy Diversion:

  • Green hydrogen production demands a substantial amount of renewable energy (RE) capacity.
  • Diverting a significant portion of this capacity to green hydrogen may lead to a shortage of clean electricity for consumers, affecting energy availability.

Large Renewable Capacity Requirement:

  • Meeting the demand for green hydrogen would necessitate the installation of renewable energy capacity of about 125 GW.
  • This capacity is approximately 13% of India’s existing electricity generation, signifying a significant investment in renewable energy infrastructure.

Financial Diversions and Investment Risk:

  • Diverting finances from projects aimed at decarbonizing the electricity grid to prioritize green hydrogen production presents a risk.
  • Major Indian power utilities, including Reliance Industries, the Adani Group, and the National Thermal Power Corporation, have ambitious plans for green hydrogen production.
  • Concerns regarding potential investment diversions may impact further commitments to green hydrogen initiatives.

-Source: The Hindu

Ming Dynasty


A book that drew comparisons between an inept Chinese emperor of the Ming dynasty and President Xi Jinping was recently recalled in China.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Ming Dynasty
  2. Achievements

Ming Dynasty

  • The Ming Dynasty governed China from A.D. 1368 to 1644.
  • Trade and Cultural Exchange: Known for expanding trade and establishing cultural ties with the West. Renowned for its drama, literature, and porcelain.
Founding and Capital
  • Founder and Capital: Established by commoner Zhu Yuanzhang (1328–1398), with Nanjing as the initial capital.
  • Capital Relocation: The third emperor moved the capital to Beijing, which has remained China’s main seat of government.
Governmental Structure
  • Continuing Legacy: The Ming’s basic governmental structure persisted through the Qing dynasty until its abolition in 1911/12.
  • Civil Service System: Perfected the civil service examination system, with top officials entering the bureaucracy through examinations.
  • Provincial Affairs: Handled by three agencies, each reporting to separate central government bureaus.
  • Prime Minister’s Abolition: The position of prime minister was eliminated, and the emperor ruled with the aid of the specially appointed Neige, or Grand Secretariat.


  • Economic and Cultural Expansion: Witnessed remarkable economic and cultural growth, including a significant population increase.
  • Notable Achievements: Refurbished the Great Wall, large naval expeditions, vibrant maritime trade, and the rise of a monetized economy.
  • Cultural Achievements: Produced exceptional porcelain, paintings, lacquers, textiles, and a publishing boom with affordable books for commoners.
  • Troubled Last Century: The last century of the Ming Dynasty was marked by border conflicts, crop failures, fiscal instability, and court corruption.
  • Manchu Invasion: Overthrown by Manchu invaders from the north, who captured Beijing in 1644.
  • Succession by Qing Dynasty: The Ming Dynasty was succeeded by the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1644-1911).

-Source: Hindustan Times

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)


The ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar’ (NISAR) is poised to facilitate the exploration of how shifts in Earth’s forest and wetland ecosystems impact the global carbon cycle and influence climate change.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)
  2. Mission Objectives

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

NISAR’s Unique Specifications
  • Joint Development: Developed collaboratively by NASA and ISRO in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  • Size and Weight: Approximately the size of an SUV, weighing 2,800 kilograms.
  • Dual-Frequency Radar: Equipped with L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments.
  • Dual-Frequency Imaging: First satellite to utilize both L-band and S-band radar frequencies to monitor Earth’s surface.
  • All-Weather Capability: SAR can operate in cloudy conditions and collect data day and night, regardless of weather.

NASA and ISRO’s Involvement

  • NASA’s Contributions: L-band radar, GPS, solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem.
  • ISRO’s Contributions: S-band radar, GSLV launch system, and spacecraft.
  • Prominent Antenna: Features a large 39-foot stationary gold-plated wire mesh antenna reflector to focus radar signals.

Mission Objectives

Earth Monitoring
  • Ecosystems and Surfaces: Measure changes in Earth’s ecosystems and dynamic surfaces.
  • Ice Masses: Provide data on ice masses, aiding in the understanding of ice-related phenomena.
  • Varied Applications: Offer insights into biomass, natural hazards, sea level rise, and groundwater.
Global Observations
  • Regularity: Observe land and ice-covered surfaces worldwide with a 12-day cycle on ascending and descending passes.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023