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Focus: GS Paper – 2: Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests, Bilateral Groupings & Agreements

Why in news?

The first meeting of the 2+2 Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers and the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military-Technical Cooperation held in New Delhi on 6 December 2021.

Key Points:

  • The meet signifiesthe sustained progress in the ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ between both countries despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.
  • Several Government-to-Government Agreements and MoUs, as well as those between commercial and other organizations of both countries, were signed in different sectors such as trade, energy, science & technology, intellectual property, outer space, geological exploration, cultural exchange, education, etc

India and Russia Bilateral Relations:

  • During the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union (USSR) had a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship.
  • After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia inherited its close relationship with India which resulted in both nations sharing a Special Relationship.
  • India and Russia term this sustained relationship as a “special and privileged strategic partnership”.

 Investments & Infrastructure:

  • They emphasized on new drivers of growth for long term predictable and sustained economic cooperation.
  • Appreciated the success story of mutual investments and looked forward to greater investments in each others’ countries.
  • The role of connectivity through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the proposed Chennai – Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor.
  • Cooperation in New sectors: New sectors of economic engagement are likely to emerge — mining, agro-industrial, and high technology, including robotics, nanotech, and biotech.
  • India is the second-largest market for the Russian defence industry.
  • Cooperation extended by both the countries during the Covid pandemic in the field of vaccine and humanitarian support.


  • India and Russia agreed that both countries share common perspectives and concerns on Afghanistan and appreciated the bilateral roadmap charted out at the NSA level for consultation and cooperation on Afghanistan.
  • Jointly fight against terrorism, terror funding, and drug trafficking.
  • Balancing China’s aggression: Russia has demonstrated its capabilities in diffusing tensions between India and China.
  • Support At Multilateral Forums: To further strengthen cooperation at multilateral fora, including at the UN Security Council.
    • Additionally, Russia supports India’s candidacy for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council and of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.


Focus: GS Paper – 3: Environmental Pollution & Degradation, International Treaties & Agreements, Government Policies & Interventions

Why in news?

Installed capacity of solar energy in India increased by more than 18 times between March 2014 to October 2021

Key Points:

  • India committed to development along a low-carbon pathway while maintaining its commitment to sustainable development
  • As a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), India periodically submits its National Communications (NCs) and Biennial Update Reports (BURs) to the UNFCCC which includes national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory.

Government Initiatives:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): Installed capacity of solar energy in India has increased by more than 18 times from 2.63 GW in March 2014 to 47.66 GW in October 2021.
    • As a result, India’s current share of non-fossil sources based installed capacity of electricity generation is more than 40%.
  • Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme: A total of 36.78 crores LED bulbs have been distributed to enhance energy efficiency. 
  •  Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme: A scheme for energy efficiency in industries and other energy-intensive sectors.
  • Forest and tree cover has increased by 13031 km2 between the 2015 and 2019 assessments of the Forest Survey of India.
  • India is making every effort to decouple its growth from emissions, by steadily lowering the emissions intensity of its GDP over the years.
  • The Government has also initiated a project across the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha on Enhancing climate resilience of India’s coastal communities.
  • Protecting and restoring India’s natural ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrass.
  • Department of Science and Technology: It has supported various programme for adopting the global practices and accessing transnational research for technology.


Focus: GS Paper – 2: Government Policies & Interventions, Welfare Schemes, Health

Why in news?

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to strengthen the waste management sector in India under the overall ambit of Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban 2.0. 

Key Points:

  • The collaborative journey aims to strengthen collection, segregation, recovery and recycling of all kinds of non-biodegradable waste, and integrated plastic waste management under SBM-U 2.0.
  • It will cover interventions in the areas of capacity building, digital interventions, research and development, monitoring and evaluation, and social and behavior change communication.
  • Through this MoU, UNDP India will also be facilitating setting up of 75 Smart Swachhata Kendras across the country, working with local partners and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). 
  • Focus on integrating informal waste pickers – Safai  Saathis – and linking them to various government welfare schemes. 
  • The model will also make use of digital enablers such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to digitize the waste flow and streamline activities in the Swachhata Kendras.

About Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0

  • SBM-U 2.0 envisions to make all cities ‘Garbage Free’ and ensure grey and black water management in all cities other than those covered under AMRUT, make all urban local bodies as ODF+ and those with a population of less than 1 lakh as ODF++, thereby achieving the vision of safe sanitation in urban areas.
  • The Mission will focus on source segregation of solid waste, utilizing the principles of 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), scientific processing of all types of municipal solid waste and remediation of legacy dumpsites for effective solid waste management.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is the nodal ministry for the scheme.

Swachh Surevkshan: MoHUA launched the Swachh Survekshan 2020 (SS 2020) league, a quarterly cleanliness assessment of cities and towns in India.


Focus: GS Paper – 3: Employment, Growth & Development

Why in news?

Skill India mission is aimed at imparting relevant skills to youth and enabling their employment / micro entrepreneurship.


  • The focus is on improving the employability of the youth so that they get employment and also enhances entrepreneurship among them.
  • The mission offers training, guidance, and support for all traditional types of employment like weavers, cobblers, carpenters, welders, masons, blacksmiths, nurses, etc.
  • New domains will also be emphasised on such as real estate, transportation, construction, gem industry, textiles, banking, jewellery designing, tourism, and other sectors where the level of skill is inadequate.

Government Initiatives:

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
  •  Jan ShikshanSansthan (JSS): The JSSs are imparting vocational skill training programmes at the door step of the beneficiaries with a minimum cost and infrastructure.
  • National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) (Women): The programme aimed at providing a wide range of equitable opportunities for skill training to women so as to bring them into the mainstream of the Nation’s economic activities.
  • Apprenticeship Mela: Organised by government on 4th October 2021. The event  stood as a great opportunity for the participating establishments who got the chance to meet the potential apprentices on a common platform and could select the candidates as per their requirements.

December 2023