February 28, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination





CONTEXT: The country has achieved yet another major milestone under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) with half of the total villages in the country i.e., 50% villages achieving ODF Plus status under phase II of the Mission. The top performing states in terms of percentage of ODF Plus villages are – Telangana (100%), Karnataka (99.5%), Tamil Nadu (97.8%) & Uttar Pradesh (95.2%) among the big states and Goa (95.3%) and Sikkim (69.2%) among small states, are the top performer. Among UTs – Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra Nagar Havelli & Daman Diu and Lakshadweep have 100% ODF Plus Model villages.



  • It is a massive mass movement that seeks to create a Clean India by 2019. It was launched on October 2, 2014, keeping the vision of father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi who always puts the emphasis on swachhta as swachhta leads to healthy and prosperous life.
  • The mission aims to cover all rural and urban areas. The urban component of the mission will be implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development, and the rural component by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.


  • The programme aims elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.


  • It 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. It 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.

This will be a continuation of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), with the following components for funding and implementation across all statutory towns, viz.

  • Sustainable sanitation (construction of toilets)
  • Wastewater treatment, including fecal sludge management in all ULBs with less than 1 lakh population (this is a new component added to SBM-U 2.0)
  • Solid Waste Management
  • Information, Education and Communication, and
  • Capacity building.

 At the end of the Mission, the following outcomes are expected to be achieved:

  • All statutory towns will become ODF+ certified
  • All statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become ODF++ certified
  • 50% of all statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become Water+ certified
  • All statutory towns will be at least 3-star Garbage Free rated as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities
  • Bio-remediation of all legacy dumpsites.


  • The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been restructured into the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin). The SBM(G) was launched on 2nd October 2014 to ensure cleanliness in India and make it Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Five Years.
  • It seeks to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making Gram Panchayats Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.
  • It has been instrumental in improving the health and well-being of millions of people across the country. Several reports in the past few years have exhibited the ground impact of SBM-G programme.
  • Under the mission, all villages, Gram Panchayats, Districts, States and Union Territories in India declared themselves “open-defecation free” (ODF) by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing over 100 million toilets in rural India.


  • To ensure that the open defecation free behaviours are sustained, no one is left behind, and that solid and liquid waste management facilities are accessible, next Phase II of SBMG i.e ODF-Plus was launched. ODF Plus activities under Phase II of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) will reinforce ODF behaviours and focus on providing interventions for the safe management of solid and liquid waste in villages.
  • The programme will be implemented in mission mode from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

Major Components Of Phase-II Of SBM (G) 

  • Sustaining Open Defecation
  • Free Status (ODF-S) Plastic Waste Management
  • Solid (Bio-degradable) Waste Management
  • Liquid Waste Management   I
  • nformation Education and Communication/Behavior Change
  • GOBARdhan
  • Faecal Sludge Management Capacity Building

An ODF Plus village is one which has sustained its Open Defecation Free (ODF) status along with implementing either solid or liquid waste management systems. ODF Plus Model village is one which is sustaining its ODF status and has arrangements for both Solid Waste Management and Liquid Waste Management; observes visual cleanliness, i.e., minimal litter, minimal stagnant wastewater, no plastic waste dump in public places; and displays ODF Plus Information, Education & Communication (IEC) messages.

GOBARdhan, which stands for Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources-dhan, is an initiative to support biodegradable waste recovery, conversion of waste into resources and for creating clean & green village. It is a ‘waste to wealth’ initiative wherein waste generated in villages is used to generate bio-gas/CBG as well as bio-slurry/bio-fertilizer and is in tune with the circular economy and Mission LiFE initiatives of GoI.



CONTEXT: The Allahabad High Court ordered a scientific survey, including carbon dating, of a “Shivling” said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi after setting aside a lower court order on the issue.


Carbon dating:

  • Carbon dating is a widely-used method to establish the age of organic materials, things that were once living as living things have carbon in them in various forms.
  • The dating method is based on the fact that Carbon-14 (C-14), an isotope of carbon with an atomic mass of 14 is radioactive and decays at a well known rate.
  • Though extremely effective, carbon dating cannot be applied in all circumstances. It cannot be used to determine the age of non-living things like rocks.
  • Also, the age of things that are more than 40,000-50,000 years old cannot be arrived at through carbon dating. This is because after 8-10 cycles of half-lives, the amount of C-14 becomes almost very small and is almost undetectable.

How Carbon Dating Works?

  • The most abundant isotope of carbon in the atmosphere is C-12. A very small amount of C-14 is also present. The ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the atmosphere is almost static and is known.
  • Plants get their carbon through photosynthesis; animals get it mainly through food. Because plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire C-12 and C-14 in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere. When they die, their interactions with the atmosphere stops.
  • While C-12 is stable, the radioactive C-14 reduces to one half of itself in about 5,730 years known as its ‘half-life’. The changing ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the remains of a plant or animal after it dies can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.

Other methods to calculate the age of inanimate things:

  • Radiometric dating methods: Instead of carbon, decays of other radioactive elements that might be present in the material become the basis for this dating method.
  • Potassium-argon dating: This method is used for dating rocks. The radioactive isotope of potassium decays into argon, and their ratios can give a clue about the age of rocks.
  • Uranium-thorium-lead dating: This method is used for dating rocks .Uranium and thorium have several radioactive isotopes, and all of them decay into the stable lead atom. The ratios of these elements present in the material can be measured and used to make estimates about age.
  • Cosmogenic nuclide dating: This method is used to determine how long an object has remained exposed to sunlight. It is regularly applied to study the age of ice cores in polar regions.



CONTEXT: Finance Ministry has brought changes to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and brought practicing chartered accountants, company secretaries, and cost and works accountants carrying out financial transactions on behalf of their clients into the ambit of the money laundering law. Lawyers and legal professionals, however, seem to have been kept out in the new definition of entities covered under the PMLA.


  • It is an act to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from, or involved in, money-laundering and for matters connected therewith. It was enacted in January, 2003 and act along with the Rules framed thereunder have come into force with effect from 1st July, 2005.
  • 3 of PMLA defines offence of money laundering as whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering.
  • It prescribes obligation of banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries for verification and maintenance of records of the identity of all its clients and also of all transactions and for furnishing information of such transactions in prescribed form to the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND).

Objectives of the Act:

 The PML Act seeks to combat money laundering in India and has three main objectives:

  • To prevent and control money laundering
  • To confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money
  • To deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India

Salient features of the act include:

  • Special Courts have been set-up in a number of States / UTs by the Central Government to conduct the trial of the offences of money laundering. The authorities under the Act like the Director, Adjudicating Authority and the Appellate Tribunal have been constituted to carry out the proceedings related to attachment and confiscation of any property derived from money laundering.
  • In order to enlarge the scope of this Act and to achieve the desired objectives, the Act provides for bilateral agreements between countries to cooperate with each other and curb the menace of money laundering.
  • In certain cases the Central Government may seek/ provide assistance from/to a contracting State for any investigation or forwarding of evidence collected during the course of such investigation.
  • The Act provides for reciprocal arrangements for processes/assistance with regard to accused persons.

Institutional Framework

  1. Enforcement Directorate:
  • The Directorate of Enforcement was established in the year 1956 with its Headquarters at New Delhi.
  • It is responsible for enforcement of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and certain provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and work relating to investigation and prosecution of cases under the PML has been entrusted to Enforcement Directorate.
  • The Directorate is under the administrative control of Department of Revenue for operational purposes; the policy aspects of the FEMA, its legislation and its amendments are within the purview of the Department of Economic Affairs.
  1. Financial Intelligence Unit- India (FIU-IND):
  • Financial Intelligence Unit – India was set by the Government of India as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
  • FIU-IND is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes.
  • FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the finance minister.

Adjudicating Authority:

  • In terms of sub-section (1) of section 6 of Preventions of Money Laundering Act, 2002, an Adjudicating Authority under PMLA has been constituted to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred by or under the said Act.
  • The Authority comprises three Members, one each from the fields of ‘Law’, ‘Administration’ and ‘Finance or accountancy’. Further, one of the Members is appointed as Chairperson of the Adjudicating Authority.   It functions within the Department of Revenue; M/o Finance of the Central Government with its headquarter at New Delhi.
  • Adjudicating Authority exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred by or under the PMLA. Where the Adjudicating Authority decides that any property is involved in money-laundering, Adjudicating Authority shall, by an order in writing confirm the attachment of the property made or retention of property or record seized.

Appellate Tribunal:

  • Under Section 25 of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002, the Central Government has established an Appellate Tribunal. Section 28(4) of the PMLA provides that “the Chairperson or a Member holding a post as such in any other Tribunal, established under any law for the time being in force, in addition to his being the Chairperson or a member of that Tribunal, may be appointed as the Chairperson or a Member, as the case may be, of the Appellate Tribunal under this Act.
  • The Tribunal consists of a Chairperson and two other Members. The Chairman and one Member of ATFP holds additional charge of the post of Chairman and Member of Tribunal under PMLA.
  • Adjudicating Authority exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred by or under the PMLA. Where the Adjudicating Authority decides that any property is involved in money-laundering, Adjudicating Authority shall, by an order in writing confirm the attachment of the property made or retention of property or record seized (as under sec. 5 of PMLA).



CONTEXT: Seven years after the “in-principle” approval, Prime Minister finally kick started the Rs 2,600 core LIGO India programme as he laid the foundation stone to set up the world’s final gravitational wave observatory in Maharashtra for capturing the elusive cosmic waves whose existence was predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.



  • LIGO-India was one of the mega-science projects proposed by the Planning Commission in 2011. A year later, the National Science Board in the USA gave its nod for shifting one of the US gravitational wave detectors to an Indian site.
  • The green signal from NSB came after the National Science Foundation, which funds the US detectors, asked the board to look at the Indian proposal.
  • At the Indian end, however, the project gathered dust for several years till the news of the first detection of the gravitational wave took the world by storm, following which the Centre gave an “in-principle” approval in 2016

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO):

  • LIGO is a network of laboratories, spread around the world, designed to detect gravitational waves. These waves are incredibly weak, making their detection very challenging.
  • The LIGO detectors are sensitive to distance changes that are several orders of magnitude smaller than the length of a proton.
  • Currently, there are three operational gravitational wave observatories around the world – two in the United States (Hanford and Livingston), one in Italy (Virgo), and one in Japan (Kagra).
  • It is the world’s most powerful observatory that exploits the physical properties of light and of space itself to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves.

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) -India

  • The LIGO-India project is an initiative aimed at detecting gravitational waves from the universe waves traveling in the vastness of space from some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe and hitting Earth.
  • It involves the construction of two vacuum chambers that are perpendicular to each other and 4 kilometres long each, making them the most sensitive interferometers in the world.
  • The project is to commence scientific runs from 2030 and will be located in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra, approximately 450 km east of Mumbai.
  • The LIGO-India project will be built by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Science Foundation (NSF), USA, along with several national and international research and academic institutions.
  • The LIGO-India project is significant as it will be the fifth node of the planned network, thereby bringing India into a prestigious international scientific experiment.
  • It has the potential to provide unprecedented insights into the mysteries of the universe, including the nature of black holes, neutron stars, and other celestial phenomena.

Gravitational waves

  • Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. He said that when two massive objects collide they create a ripple in space and time in such a way that “waves of undulating space-time would propagate in all directions away from the source.”
  • Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe. These cosmic ripples would travel at the speed of light, carrying with them information about their origins, as well as clues to the nature of gravity itself.
  • The strongest gravitational waves are produced by cataclysmic events such as colliding black holes, supernovae (massive stars exploding at the end of their lifetimes), and colliding neutron stars. Other gravitational waves are predicted to be caused by the rotation of neutron stars that are not perfect spheres, and possibly even the remnants of gravitational radiation created by the Big Bang.



CONTEXT: India conducted five nuclear tests of advanced weapon designs between May 11 and 13 at Rajasthan’s Pokhran desert that propelled the country into a select group of nations having capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. These tests displayed India’s capability to build fission and thermonuclear weapons with yields up to 200 kilotons, helping India enter the highly guarded club of countries with capability to deploy nuclear weapons.


Background of India’s nuclear programme:

  • India’s nuclear programme can be traced to the work of physicist Homi J Bhaba.
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research: In 1945, after Bhaba’s successful lobbying of India’s biggest industrial family, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was opened in Bombay. TIFR was India’s first research institution dedicated to the study of nuclear physics.
  • Department of Atomic Energy (DAE): Post independence, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was founded, with Bhabha as director to allocate resources for its development.
  • Physicist Raja Ramanna expanded and supervised scientific research on nuclear weapons and was the first directing officer of a small team of scientists that supervised and carried out the tests.
  • A team of 75 scientists and engineers, led by Raja Ramanna, PK Iyengar, Rajagopala Chidambaram and others had worked on it from 1967 to 1974.


  • A pivotal moment in India’s nuclear journey came after it suffered a crushing defeat in the 1962 Sino-Indian Warand China’s subsequent nuclear bomb test at Lop Nor in 1964.
  • Concerned about India’s sovereignty and the looming might of an unfriendly China, the mood in the political establishment towards nuclear weapons was slowly shifting.

Pokhran I

  • On May 18, 1974, India carried out its first nuclear test at the Pokhran test site. Pokhran-I, codenamed Operation Smiling Buddha, would be billed as a “peaceful nuclear explosion”, with “few military implications”. The name was chosen because the test was conducted on Buddha Purnima that year.
  • There was near-universal condemnation and countries like the US and Canada imposed significant international sanctions on India. These sanctions was major setback for India’s nuclear journey, and majorly decelerate its progress.
  • It was the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation that was not a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • With the Smiling Buddha, India became the world’s sixth nuclear power after the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China to successfully test out a nuclear bomb.

Pokhran II

  • On May 11, 1998, Pokhran-II which is codenamed Operation Shakti(literally, “strength”) conducted three nuclear bomb test explosions at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range
  • These tests displayed India’s capability to build fission and thermonuclear weapons with yields up to 200 kilotons, helping India enter the highly guarded club of countries with capability to deploy nuclear weapons.
  • While the tests in 1998 also invited sanctions from some countries (like the US), the condemnation was far from universal like in 1974. In context of India’s fast-growing economy and market potential, India was able to stand its ground and thus cement its status as a dominant nation state.
  • In March 1998, Pakistan launched the Ghauri missile built with assistance from China. Two months later, India responded with Operation Shakti. While the 1974 tests were ostensibly done for peaceful purposes, the 1998 tests were the culmination of India’s nuclear weaponisation process. Consequently, the Indian Government declared itself as a state possessing nuclear weapons following Pokhran-II.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • In 1968, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) came into existence. The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before January 1, 1967 – the US, Russia (formerly USSR), the UK, France and China – and effectively disallows any other state from acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • While the treaty has been signed by almost every country in the world, India is one of the few non-signatories.
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