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  • 28 Sep 2023
  • 52 min read
Science & Technology

First Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus

For Prelims: Green Hydrogen, Fuel Cell

For Mains: Significance of the Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell for a greener and sustainable future, Government policies and initiatives for green hydrogen

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas flagged off the country's first Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus in New Delhi, marking a revolutionary step in the transition to clean energy.

What is a Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell?

  • About:
    • Green Hydrogen Fuel Cells are a clean, reliable, quiet, and efficient source of high-quality electric power.
    • They use Green Hydrogen as a fuel to drive an electrochemical process that produces electricity, with water and heat as the only by-products.
  • Green Hydrogen:
  • Fuel Cell:
    • A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy (in this case, hydrogen) into electrical energy.
      • It consists of two electrodes (anode and cathode) separated by an electrolyte.
  • The Process of Generating Electricity:
    • Green hydrogen is supplied to the anode side of the fuel cell.
    • At the anode, hydrogen molecules release electrons and become positively charged hydrogen ions (protons).
      • Electrons flow from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, generating an electric current.
    • Oxygen from the air is supplied to the cathode.
    • At the cathode, oxygen molecules combine with electrons and protons to produce water vapor (H2O) as a byproduct.

  • Advantages:
    • The only byproduct of green hydrogen fuel cells is water, making them a zero-emission energy source.
    • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be refueled in a matter of minutes, similar to traditional vehicles.
  • Challenges:
    • Currently, the production of green hydrogen can be expensive, but ongoing research aims to reduce costs.
    • The development of a hydrogen infrastructure, including production, storage, and distribution, is essential for widespread adoption.

What is the Significance of the Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus?

  • The bus uses hydrogen and air to generate electricity, emitting only water as a by-product, making it an eco-friendly mode of transportation.
    • Hydrogen boasts three times the energy density of conventional fuels and zero harmful emissions, making it a cleaner and more efficient choice.
  • Further Plans:
    • IndianOil plans to introduce 15 more hydrogen fuel cell buses in Delhi NCR by the end of 2023.
      • These buses will help gather performance data under Indian operating conditions, assessing efficiency and sustainability.

How Does Green Hydrogen Transform India's Energy Landscape?

  • Hydrogen and biofuels will account for 25% of global incremental energy demand growth over the next two decades.
  • India aims to become a global champion in the production and export of hydrogen and emerge as a hub for green hydrogen.
  • The success of the Green Hydrogen Mission can shoot India from being a net importer of fossil energy to becoming a net exporter of clean hydrogen energy.
  • Hydrogen is poised to be a game changer in India's ambitious quest to achieve Net-Zero emissions by the year 2070.

What are India's Initiatives to Promote Green Energy?

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following heavy industries: (2023)

  1. Fertilizer plants
  2. Oil refineries
  3. Steel plants

Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in decarbonizing how many of the above industries?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
(d) None

Ans: C

Q. With reference to green hydrogen, consider the following statements : (2023)

  1. It can be used directly as a fuel for internal combustion.
  2. It can be blended with natural gas and used as fuel for heat or power generation.
  3. It can be used in the hydrogen fuel cell to run vehicles.

How many of the above statements are correct?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
(d) None

Ans: (c)

Q. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce one of the following as “exhaust” (2010)

(a) NH3
(b) CH4
(c) H2O
(d) H2O2

Ans: (c)


Concerns for Aadhaar In India

For Prelims: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Decentralised ID (DID)

For Mains: Impact of Digital India on Security and Privacy of Citizens.

Source: TH

Why In News?

Recently, In the midst of India's extensive digital infrastructure development, Moody's report “Decentralized Finance and Digital Assets” has underscored that the world's largest digital identification program frequently denies services to users.

  • The report raises concerns about the dependability of biometric technology, while also sounding a warning about potential privacy and security risks.

What are the Key Highlights of Moody's Report?

  • Privacy and Security Concerns:
    • The rating agency termed Aadhaar, and a new crypto-based digital identity token called Worldline, as two digital ID systems in the world that stand out due to their scale and extent of innovation.
    • However, they have “drawn scrutiny, especially concerning privacy and security”.
    • Aadhaar leads to the concentration of sensitive information with specific entities and increases the risks of data breaches.
  • Biometric Authentication Concerns:
    • The Rating Agency remarked in its report about the government's adoption of Aadhaar for routing Direct Benefit Transfers to beneficiaries of welfare schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) etc, which is hindering their effective Implementation.
    • Aadhaar biometric faces hurdles, including the burden of establishing authorization and concerns about biometric reliability.
    • Aadhaar system enables access to public and private services, with verification via fingerprint or iris scans and alternatives like One-Time Passcodes (OTPs).
  • Concerns Related to Service Denials:
    • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) administers Aadhaar, aiming to integrate marginalized groups and expand welfare benefits access.
    • The system often results in service denials, and the reliability of biometric technologies, especially for manual labourers in hot, humid climates, is questionable.
  • Issues Related to Centralisation of Data:
    • Moody’s made a pitch for decentralized ID (DID) systems such as digital wallets, based on blockchain capabilities that give users more control of their private data and can reduce online fraud.

What is the Government's Response to Moody's report?

  • Recognition by International Agencies:
    • Government held that a number of international agencies, including the IMF and the World Bank, have lauded Aadhaar and several nations have also engaged with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to understand how they may deploy similar digital ID systems.
  • Facilitation of Schemes like MGNREGA:
    • Government said that authors of the report are unaware that the seeding of Aadhaar in the MGNREGS database has been done without requiring the worker to authenticate using their biometrics.
  • Advantages of Direct Benefit Transfer:
    • Government stressed that even payment to workers under the scheme is made by directly crediting money into their account and does not require the worker to authenticate using their biometrics.

What are the Decentralized Systems?

  • In a centralized system, a single entity such as a bank, social media platform or government electoral roll controls and manages a user’s identifying credentials and their access to online resources.
    • Managing entity can dispose of the user’s identity data for internal or third-party profiling purposes.
  • However, the adoption of DID — where personal data is saved in a user’s digital wallet and identity verification takes place not via a single, centralized institution but on a decentralized digital ledger such as a blockchain.
    • It increases privacy and reduces the amount of personal information held by intermediaries.
    • It can be stored and managed in a user’s portable and reusable digital wallet, rather than by a government, business, employer, or other entity.

What are the Challenges Related to Decentralised ID Systems?

  • Digital IDs, centralized or not, can have negative social repercussions, since they may strengthen group identities and political divides, particularly if offered by technology and social media companies with significant monopolistic influence.
  • Consolidation of control within these entities could lead to a concentration of power over individual identities, shaping perceptions and interactions in the digital realm.
  • Further polarization of group identities and political affiliations would undermine the goal of a united and diverse digital space.

What is Aadhaar?

  • Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India. The number serves as proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.
    • The Aadhaar number is unique for each individual and will remain valid for life time.
    • Aadhaar number will help the residents to avail various services provided by banking, mobile phone connections and other Govt and Non-Govt services in due course.
    • Establishes identity of individuals on the basis of demographic and biometric information.
    • It is a voluntary service that every resident can avail irrespective of present documentation.

What are Direct Benefit Transfers?

  • Aim:
    • It has been visioned as an aid for simpler/faster flow of information and funds to the beneficiaries and to reduce the fraud in the delivery system.
  • Implementation:
    • It is a mission or an initiative by the government of India started on 1st January 2013 as a way to reform the government delivery system.
  • Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS), the earlier version of the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), of the Office of Controller General of Accounts, was chosen to act as the common platform for routing of the Direct Benefit Transfer.
  • Components of DBT:

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q 1. With reference to “Blockchain Technology”, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. It is a public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls.
  2. The structure and design of the blockchain is such that all the data in it are about cryptocurrency only.
  3. Applications that depend on basic features of blockchain can be developed without anybody’s permission.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1 and 3 only

Ans: (d)


Q 1. Two parallel-run schemes of the Government, viz the Adhaar Card and National Population Register (NPR), one as voluntary and the other as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need to run concurrently. Analyze the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth. (2014)

Indian Polity

OBC Concerns in the Women's Reservation Bill, 2023

For Prelims: Women's Reservation Bill, 2023, Sub-Categorisation of OBCs, Supreme Court, Geeta Mukherjee report, Mandal Commission, Constitutional Status for NCBC,Justice G. Rohini Commission.

For Mains: Arguments in Favour and Against the Reservation of Seats for Women from OBCs, Historical Development of OBC Reservation.

Why in News?

The recent Women's Reservation Bill, 2023 has garnered attention due to its omission of a quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) women. Critics point to the underrepresentation of OBCs individuals in key governmental positions as a related concern.

What are the Concerns Raised Concerning the Representation of Other Backward Classes?

  • Context:
    • The women's reservation bill 2023, which reserves 33% of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, does not include a quota for women from the OBCs.
  • Issues Raised:
    • Critics argue that OBCs who constitute 41% of the population ( National Sample Survey Organisation Survey 2006) are inadequately represented in the Lok Sabha, State Legislatures and Local governments.
      • They have been demanding a separate quota for themselves in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, similar to the reservation for SCs and STs.
      • However, the government has not implemented such a quota, citing legal and constitutional hurdles.
    • Several State Governments like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have provided them representation in Local Body elections.
      • But the Supreme Court has put a cap of 50% on the overall reservations (Vikas Kishanrao Gawali vs State of Maharashtra) which limits OBC reservation to 27%.
        • This 50% upper limit is in line with the Indira Sawhney vs Union of India judgment.
        • This decision has been criticized as 27% reservation is disproportionate to the OBC population in the states.
  • Current Strength of OBCs in Lok Sabha:
    • The 17th Lok Sabha has around 120 MPs from the OBC community, which accounts for approximately 22% of the total Strength of Lok Sabha.

  • Geeta Mukherjee Report:
    • The Geeta Mukherjee report was a comprehensive review of the Women’s Reservation Bill that was first introduced in the Parliament in 1996.
    • The report contained seven recommendations to improve the bill, which aimed to provide 33% reservation for women in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
    • Some of the recommendations are as follows:
      • Reservation for a period of 15 years
      • Including sub-reservation for Anglo Indians
      • Including reservation in cases where the state has less than three seats in Lok Sabha (or less than three seats for SCs/STs)
      • Including reservation for the Delhi assembly
      • Reserving seats in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils
      • Providing sub-reservation for OBC women after the Constitution extends reservation to OBCs

What are the Arguments in Favour and Against the Reservation of Seats for Women from OBCs?

Arguments in Favor Arguments Against
  • They face multiple forms of discrimination and oppression based on their caste, class and gender. They are often denied access to education, health, employment, political representation and social justice.
  • They constitute a large and diverse section of the population, with different cultures, languages, religions and regions. They have different needs and aspirations that may not be adequately represented by women from other categories.
  • They have been historically underrepresented and marginalized in the political sphere, both at the national and state levels. They have faced barriers such as patriarchal norms, caste prejudices, violence and intimidation, lack of resources and awareness, and low self-confidence.
  • The Bill already provides for the reservation of seats for SC/ST women, who are the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the society. Adding another quota for OBC women would reduce the seats available for the general category of women, who also face discrimination and challenges in the male-dominated political system.
  • The idea of having a separate reservation for OBC women would create further divisions and conflicts among the women’s movement. It would also undermine the solidarity and unity of women as a collective force for social change.
  • Separate reservation for OBC women would not address the root causes of their problems, such as poverty, illiteracy, violence, patriarchy, casteism and corruption.
  • It would also not guarantee their effective participation and representation in the political arena, as they may still face obstacles such as tokenism, co-option, manipulation and domination by the male leaders of their parties and communities.

What is the Historical Development of OBC Reservation in India?

  • Kalelkar Commission (1953): The journey began with the establishment of the Kalelkar Commission in 1953, recognizing backward classes beyond SCs and STs on a national level.
  • Mandal Commission (1980): The Mandal Commission Report estimated the OBC population at 52% and identified 1,257 backward communities. It recommended increasing quotas from 22.5% to 49.5% and extending reservation to OBCs.
    • Following these recommendations, the central government implemented the reservation policy, reserving 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs under Article 16(4).
    • This policy was also enforced in central government educational institutions under Article 15(4).
  • "Creamy Layer" Exclusion (2008): The Supreme Court directed the exclusion of the "creamy layer" among OBCs to ensure reservation benefits reach the most disadvantaged.
  • Constitutional Status for NCBC (2018): The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), elevating its authority and recognition in safeguarding the interests of backward classes, including OBCs.
  • Justice G. Rohini Commission: The Justice G. Rohini Commission, inaugurated on October 2, 2017, in accordance with Article 340 of the Constitution and chaired by Justice G. Rohini, has recently submitted its report following nearly six years of work.
    • The report underscores the imperative for sub-categorization among OBCs.
    • This sub-categorization aims to allocate quotas within the existing 27% reservation to enhance opportunities for historically underrepresented OBC communities.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question:

Q. Consider the following organizations/bodies in India: (2023)

  1. The National Commission for Backward Classes
  2. The National Human Rights Commission
  3. The National Law Commission
  4. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

How many of the above constitutional bodies?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) Only three
(d) All four

Ans: (a)

International Relations

Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights

For Prelims: Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights(APF), UDHR, NHRC

For Mains: Human Rights in India, Issues in the working of NHRC

Source: PIB

Why in News?

President of India inaugurated the annual general meeting and Biennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights in New Delhi celebrating the landmark 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR).

What was the President's Perspective on Human Rights?

  • Balancing Human Rights and Environmental Concerns: The President emphasized on addressing human rights issues while protecting the environment.
  • Concerns Over Man-Made Environmental Destruction: The President expressed concern about human actions' destructive impact on nature.
  • Moral Obligation to Safeguard Human Rights: She highlighted the moral duty of the international community to protect human rights beyond legal frameworks.
  • India's Commitment to Gender Justice: She reiterated India's Constitution has supported universal adult franchise rights, leading to gender justice and dignity protection.
  • Openness to Global Best Practices: She said India is willing to learn from global best practices to improve human rights.
  • Nurturing Mother Nature: She urged not to isolate human rights issues and equally prioritize the protection of the wounded Mother Nature.

What is the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights?

  • Background and Mission:
    • Founded in 1996
    • Unites National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) across the Asia Pacific region
    • Aims to address significant human rights challenges in the region
  • Membership and Growth:
    • The APF has 17 full members and eight associate members.
    • To be admitted as a full member, a National Human Rights Institution must fully comply with the minimum international standards set out in the Paris Principles.
    • National Human Rights Institutions that partially comply with the Paris Principles are granted associate membership.
  • Goals:
    • Promote the establishment of independent NHRIs in the Asia Pacific region
    • Support member NHRIs in their effective functioning
  • Functions and Services:
    • Offers a comprehensive range of programs and services
    • Represent members' collective voice on regional and international human rights issues
    • Form partnerships with various international agencies, governments, and non-government organizations
    • Collaborates with organizations such as OHCHR, UNDP, UN Women, and UNFPA

Why are Human Rights Important?

  • Protection of Individual Dignity: Ensures the preservation of the inherent dignity and worth of every human being.
  • Social Justice and Equality: Promotes social justice and equality by safeguarding the rights of marginalized and vulnerable populations.
  • Rule of Law: Fosters the rule of law by establishing a framework for accountability and justice.
  • Peace and Stability: Contributes to peace and stability within and among nations by addressing grievances and conflicts.
  • Development and Prosperity: Facilitates economic and social development, leading to improved living standards.
  • Global Cooperation: Promotes international cooperation and diplomacy to address human rights abuses on a global scale.
  • Preventing Atrocities: Acts as a deterrent against human rights abuses and atrocities.
  • Human Dignity as a Universal Value: Upholds human dignity as a universal value transcending cultural, religious, and political boundaries.
  • Individual Empowerment: Empowers individuals to claim their rights and participate in decision-making processes.
  • Accountability and Justice: Holds governments and institutions accountable for human rights violations and seeks justice for victims.

What is the NHRC?

  • About NHRC:
    • Ensures protection of rights related to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of individuals.
    • Upholds rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and international covenants enforceable by Indian courts.
  • Establishment:
    • Established on 12th October 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
    • Established in accordance with the Paris Principles for promoting and protecting human rights.
  • Role and Function:
    • Possesses powers of a civil court with judicial proceedings.
    • Empowered to use the services of central or state government officers or investigation agencies for probing human rights violations.
    • Can investigate matters within one year of their occurrence.
    • Functions are primarily recommendatory in nature.
  • Limitations:
    • Cannot inquire into any matter after one year from the date of the alleged human rights violation.
    • Limited jurisdiction in cases of human rights violations by armed forces.
    • Lacks authority to act in cases of human rights violations by private parties.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (2021)


Hybrid Seeds

For Prelims: Hybrid Seeds, Open-Pollinated Variety (OPV) Seeds, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Crop Diversity.

For Mains: Hybrid Seeds, their advantages and concerns pertaining to Agriculture.

Source: DTE

Why in News?

Popularity of Hybrid Seeds has been increasing among farmers in India over a decades due to their quicker harvesting as compared to traditional or Open-Pollinated Variety (OPV) seeds.

  • OPV are usually more genetically diverse, causing an amazing variation within plant populations, which ultimately allows them to adapt to local growing conditions and climates every year.

What are the Hybrid Seeds?

  • About:
    • A hybrid seed is produced by controlled Cross-Pollination between different varieties of the same plant.
      • The transfer of pollen grains from the anther of one plant to the stigma of another different plant is called cross-pollination.
    • These are chosen to enhance the characteristics of the resulting plants including – better yield, greater uniformity, and disease resistance.
    • Since all hybrid seeds in a packet have the same parent plants, which means they will all grow into uniform plants.
    • These are often easier and faster to grow than Heirloom Seeds.
      • Heirloom Seeds come from open-pollinated plants, meaning the plants were pollinated by natural mechanisms like wind, insects, or birds, rather than through controlled cross-breeding or hybridization.
  • Benefits:
    • Farmers can improve their yields and predict fruit maturity through its various benefits, such as drought resilience, pests resistance, and rapid improvement in breeding.
    • The advent of hybrid seeds, use of quality seeds, mechanization, and advanced technology have entirely reshaped the agriculture scenario altogether, which resulted in enhanced farmers’ income as well as the production of all sown crops, leading the government to promote hybrid and high yielding varieties of seeds.
  • Need:
    • The rapid increase in population is impelling farmers to adopt hybrid seeds and enhance production.
    • Hybridisation aims to improve the grain qualities, reduce pests incidence and increase the overall crop productivity, contributing to sustainable development goals of food security and nutrition.
    • This potential for adaptation and genetic improvement, driven by plant breeding, can help in addressing the current challenges.
  • Origin:
    • The origin of hybrids can be traced to India’s Green Revolution in the 1960s, when the government’s effort was primarily to increase agricultural productivity. For this, the National Seed Corporation was set up in 1963 to develop, store and distribute high yield variety seeds.
  • Market Status in India:
    • According to a report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture in 2021, the share of the private sector in India's seed market increased from 57.3% in 2017-18 to 64.5% in 2020-21.
    • A 2019 report by Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, the Indian seed market reached a value of USD 4.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a rate of 13.6% from 2019-24, reaching a value of USD 9.1 billion by 2024.
    • Hybrid seeds occupy about 6% of India's 44 million hectares under rice cultivation.
    • Hybrid seeds for paddy (rice) are the primary type of hybrid seeds available in India, occupying about 6% of the rice cultivation area.
    • The majority of India's seed market is occupied by wheat and paddy (rice), accounting for about 85% of the seed market.

What are the Concerns of Adopting Hybrid Seeds?

  • Impact on Crop Diversity:
    • Hybrid seeds are sensitive to temperature and rain, posing a threat to India's crop diversity.
    • Unlike traditional varieties that adapt to local climates, hybrids require specific conditions for optimal growth.
      • For instance, a hybrid variety of paddy requires rainfall within 15-20 of sowing.
  • Concerns and Crop Failures:
    • Farmers have reported cases of crop failure and reduced yield with hybrid varieties, particularly in maize. Hybrid seeds are also more susceptible to infections, affecting the yield.
      • In 2022, a farmer in Haryana, experienced a significant drop in rice yield due to a Fiji virus infection.
  • Price Hikes and Availability:
    • Manufacturers tend to increase prices of hybrid seeds with rising demand. Farmers sometimes feel forced to buy hybrids due to limited availability of traditional seeds, especially from government seed banks.
    • Manufacturers of hybrid seeds also tend to hike prices when the demand rises.
  • Decline in Traditional Varieties:
    • The dominance of hybrid seeds has led to a decline in traditional and local varieties of crops. This decline threatens the diversity of crops and their resilience to adverse conditions.
  • Genetic Erosion and Crop Replacement:
    • The shift towards hybrid seeds and modern uniform varieties has led to genetic erosion, replacing indigenous crop varieties. This narrow genetic range is focused on profit rather than preserving the extensive diversity of local species.

Way Forward

  • There is a need to Invest in research to develop hybrid seeds that are resilient to varied climates and less susceptible to infections. This ensures a higher yield without compromising on crop diversity.
  • It is imperative to encourage farmers to continue cultivating traditional and local varieties by providing incentives, technical support, and creating markets for these crops.
  • There is a need to facilitate partnerships between the government and private sector to encourage the development of hybrid seeds that align with sustainable agriculture practices and local climate conditions.


Global Debt Trends and Implications

For Prelims: Global Debt Trends and Implications, Debt, Recession, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF).

For Mains: Global Debt Trends and Implications.

Source: TH

Why in News?

According to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), Global Debt rose to an all-time high of USD 307 trillion in the second quarter 2023.

  • Global debt has risen by about USD 100 trillion over the last decade. Further, global debt as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has started to increase once again to hit 336% after dropping quite steeply for seven consecutive quarters.

What is Global Debt?

  • About:
    • Global debt refers to the borrowings of governments as well as private businesses and individuals.
    • Governments borrow to meet various expenditures that they are unable to meet through tax and other revenues.
    • Governments may also borrow to pay interest on the money that they have already borrowed to fund past expenditures.
    • The private sector borrows predominantly to make investments.
  • Regional Contributors to Debt Growth:
    • In the first half of 2023, advanced economies, including the US, U.K, Japan, and France, accounted for over 80% of the rise in global debt.
    • Emerging market economies like China, India, and Brazil also witnessed substantial debt growth during this period.
  • Reasons Behind Rising Global Debt:
    • Economic growth, population expansion, and increased government spending drive the need for borrowing. During economic downturns, governments intensify borrowing to stimulate economic activity and provide financial support.
    • During the first half of 2023, total global debt rose by USD10 trillion. This has happened amid rising interest rates, which was expected to adversely affect demand for loans.
    • But a rise in debt levels over time is to be expected since the total money supply usually steadily rises each year in countries across the globe.

Why is the Growing Global Debt a Cause for Concern?

  • Debt Sustainability and Fiscal Imbalance:
    • Rising debt can lead to concerns about its sustainability. If a country's debt grows faster than its economy, it may become increasingly challenging to service the debt in the long term without resorting to extreme measures.
    • High levels of debt can strain a nation's fiscal health, diverting significant portions of revenue towards interest payments. This reduces the funds available for essential public services, infrastructure, and social welfare programs.
  • Reduced Economic Flexibility:
    • High debt levels can limit a government's ability to respond to economic downturns effectively. It constrains fiscal policy options, making it difficult to implement stimulus measures during recessions.
    • Excessive debt may lead to a Recession if the government's debt burden becomes unmanageable. This could result in reduced consumer spending, business investments, and overall economic growth.
  • Financial System Risks:
    • A high concentration of debt in the financial system can pose systemic risks, particularly if the debt is held by a few major institutions. If a significant borrower defaults, it could trigger a chain reaction affecting the stability of the entire financial system.
    • Global financial markets are interconnected, and a debt crisis in one region can quickly spread to others. The interconnectedness increases the potential for a global financial crisis if a major economy faces a severe debt issue.
      • The 2008 global financial crisis, which followed an economic boom fueled by easy credit policies. Excessive private debt levels often precede economic crises, highlighting the importance of prudent borrowing practices and genuine savings to avert future crises.
  • Impact on Interest Rates:
    • As debt levels rise, governments may face higher interest rates on new borrowings, which can exacerbate debt burdens.
    • Elevated interest rates can also lead to increased borrowing costs for businesses and individuals, hindering investment and consumption.
  • Potential for Defaults and Inflation:
    • In extreme cases, a government burdened by high debt levels may default on its obligations, creating a loss of confidence in financial markets and affecting global economic stability.
    • In an attempt to manage debt, governments may resort to inflationary measures, devaluing their currencies and eroding the real value of debt. However, this approach can lead to higher prices for goods and services, impacting consumers and businesses negatively.

What can be Done to Tackle Debt Growth?

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors potential actions and methods to enhance the Global Debt Architecture.
    • Debt Resolution and Restructuring:
      • Conducting a fair, objective, and in-depth analysis of global debt issues is crucial. This analysis should guide debt restructuring decisions, including potential debt haircuts or accepting losses on loans to ensure sustainability and fairness.
    • Strengthening Financial Architecture:
      • Implement urgent reforms to strengthen the international financial architecture, especially in the area of debt resolution.
      • This includes enhancing frameworks for debt restructuring, promoting transparency in debt-related transactions, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of debt resolution mechanisms.
    • Support for Vulnerable Economies:
      • Focus on developing and low-income countries facing acute economic stress and limited policy space.
      • Provide targeted financial support, debt relief, or restructuring mechanisms tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
    • Global Financial Safety Net:
      • Strengthen and improve the global financial safety net to respond effectively to economic shocks and crises. This involves optimizing lending mechanisms, ensuring rapid disbursement of funds, and increasing access to financial assistance for countries in need.
    • International Collaboration and Cooperation:
      • Encourage collaboration and cooperation among nations, international organizations, and financial institutions to develop comprehensive solutions. Multilateral efforts can foster coordinated action, knowledge sharing, and the pooling of resources to address debt challenges effectively.


  • A balanced approach to managing global debt is imperative to ensure economic stability and sustainable growth.
  • Monitoring debt levels, implementing prudent fiscal and monetary policies, and fortifying international financial systems are vital steps in mitigating risks associated with burgeoning global debt.
  • Striking the right balance between debt accumulation and economic growth remains essential for long-term economic prosperity.

Important Facts For Prelims

World Coffee Conference 2023

Source: IE

Why in News?

The World Coffee Conference(WCC) & Expo 2023 arrived for the first time in Asia in the Indian city of Bengaluru.

  • The 5th edition of the WCC was organized by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Government of India, and the Government of Karnataka.

What are the Highlights of the World Coffee Conference 2023?

  • About:
    • The WCC is a biennial event organized by the ICO, a United Nation-affiliated body that represents the global coffee sector.
    • The WCC unites coffee stakeholders worldwide for dialogue, knowledge exchange, networking, and collaboration on industry challenges and opportunities.
  • Theme for 2023:
    • Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture.
  • Biodiversity Ambassadors of the WCC 2023:
    • From the coffee farms of India, 5 flora and 5 fauna ambassadors for the conference and expo.

  • The Mascot for WCC 2023:
    • Coffee Swami, the official mascot of the 5th WCC, seamlessly connects Indian tradition with contemporary appeal.

International Coffee Organization (ICO)

  • The ICO, founded in 1963 with the support of the United Nations and following the approval of the first International Coffee Agreement in 1962, serves as a pivotal intergovernmental entity for coffee exporting and importing.
    • The ICO proudly represents 93% of the world's coffee production and 63% of its consumption.
    • The organisation seeks to fortify and foster the global coffee sector's sustainable growth within a market-based framework, ensuring benefits for all stakeholders along the Global Coffee Value Chain (G-CVC).

The Coffee Board of India

  • It is a statutory organization that was constituted under the Coffee Act, 1942.
  • It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • The Board comprises 33 Members including the Chairperson, who is the Chief Executive and it functions from Bangalore.
  • The Board mainly focuses its activities in the areas of research, extension, development, market intelligence, external & internal promotion for coffee.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. 1 Match List-I with List-II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists: (2008)

List-I (Board) List-II (Headquarters)
A. Coffee Board 1. Bengaluru
B. Rubber Board 2. Guntur
C. Tea Board 3. Kottayam
D. Tobacco Board 4. Kolkata

Code: A B C D

(a) 2 4 3 1
(b) 1 3 4 2
(c) 2 3 4 1
(d) 1 4 3 2

Ans: (b)

Q.2 Though coffee and tea both are cultivated on hill slopes, there is some difference between them regarding their cultivation. In this context, consider the following statements: (2010)

  1. Coffee plant requires a hot and humid climate of tropical areas whereas tea can be cultivated in both tropical and subtropical areas.
  2. Coffee is propagated by seeds but tea is propagated by stem cuttings only.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Rapid Fire

Rapid Fire Current Affairs

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Birth Anniversary

Recently, the Prime Minister of India has paid tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary

  • Bhagat Singh, born on September 26, 1907 in the Jullundur Doab district of Punjab, played a crucial role in India's freedom struggle.
  • He was a member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), later renamed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
  • He started a militant youth organization called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
  • In their quest for revenge for Lala Lajpat Rai's death, Bhagat Singh and his comrades mistakenly killed Police Officer J.P. Saunders, leading to their involvement in the Lahore Conspiracy Case.
    • Bhagat Singh was later re-arrested, found guilty, and hanged on March 23, 1931, for Saunders' murder and a Central Legislative Assembly bombing protest.
  • March 23 is observed as Martyrs' Day in their honor.
  • Notable Works: "Why I Am an Atheist: An Autobiographical Discourse" and "The Jail Notebook and Other Writings."

Read more: Bhagat Singh's Birth Anniversary

Bolson Tortoise

  • Biologists are engaged in a slow but determined effort to protect North America's Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus).
  • Bolson Tortoise are North America's largest and rarest tortoise species.
    • They spend about 85% of their time in earthen burrows.
  • Their habitat is a semi-hot desert climate with winter temperatures around 2.8°C and summer temperatures ranging to 36.3°C.
  • The base color of the plastron is yellowish, and that of the carapace ranges from darker shades of straw yellow to brown.
    • Bolson tortoises spend about 85% of their time in earthen burrows.
  • Conservation Status:

Read more: The Impact of Climate Change on Wildlife

Leander Paes in International Hall of Fame

Recently, Leander Paes, a multiple Grand Slam winner, is the first Asian man nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) in the player category for the Class of 2024.

  • Li Na, a Chinese player, was the first Asian player nominated to the ITHF in 2019.
  • Vijay Amritraj, a former Indian player, was also nominated in the contributor category.
  • Leander Paes has won 18 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles and was a former doubles world No. 1.
  • The International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) is a prestigious institution and museum dedicated to the sport of tennis. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States, it serves as the official hall of fame for tennis and celebrates the history, achievements, and contributions of outstanding individuals and organizations to the sport of tennis.

Read More: Grand Slam, Laureus World Sports Awards

Ministry of Tourism Launched ‘Travel for Life’

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, organized the Global Launch of ‘Travel for LiFE’ program on World Tourism Day 2023 (27th September). The program is a part of Mission LiFE and aims to promote sustainable tourism.

Read More: Tourism In India, National Tourism Day

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