• A New report published by United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) has warned that India is close to reach its groundwater depletion tipping point.
  • The report ‘Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023’, looks at six environmental tipping points.
  1. Accelerating extinctions,
  2. Groundwater depletion,
  3. Mountain glacier melting,
  4. space debris,
  5. Unbearable heat and,
  6. An uninsurable future.
  • It has also found that 27 of the world’s 31 major aquifers are depleting faster than they can be replenished.
  • 78% of wells in Punjab are considered overexploited, and the north-western region as a whole is predicted to experience critically low groundwater availability by 2025.
  • Around 30% of the world’s fresh water is stored as groundwater.
  • Groundwater depletion rates worldwide have accelerated since the mid-20th century.
  • The excessive pumping of groundwater has also caused the Earth’s axis to tilt 4.36 cm per year.
  • The regions where groundwater depletion is most severe include parts of India, north-eastern China, western United States, Mexico, Iran, Saudi Arabia and parts of northern Africa.
  • Some regions, like Saudi Arabia, have already surpassed this groundwater risk tipping point.
  • Other countries, like India, are not far from approaching the tipping point.
  • Agricultural intensification is a major factor pushing us towards a groundwater depletion risk tipping point.
  • India is the world’s largest user of groundwater, exceeding the use of the United States and China combined.


Purpose of APAAR:

  • APAAR stands for Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry.
  • It is envisioned as a special ID system for all students in India, starting from childhood. Under the initiative, each student would get a lifelong APAAR ID.
  • It is to make easy for the learners, schools, and governments to track academic progress from pre-primary education to higher education.
  • APAAR would also serve as a gateway to Digilocker.
  • It is a digital system where students can store their important documents and achievements, such as exam results and report cards, digitally.
  • It is easier to access and use them in the future.
  • The goal behind introducing APAAR is to make education hassle-free and reduce the need for students to carry physical documents.
  • This initiative was launched as part of the National Education Policy 2020.
  • It will allow state governments to track literacy rates, dropout rates and helping them make improvements.
  • APAAR also aims to reduce fraud and duplicate educational certificates

How does the government envision APAAR ID to work?

  • Every individual will have a unique APAAR ID.
  • It will be linked to the Academic Bank Credit (ABC). It is a digital storehouse that contains information of the credits earned by students throughout their learning journey.

What do students have to do to get their single ID created?

  • Students have to provide basic information such as name, age, date of birth, gender, and a photograph. This information will be verified using their Aadhar number.
  • Students will need to sign a consent form.
  • They can choose to either accept or decline sharing their Aadhar number.
  • APAAR ID is voluntary and not mandatory.


  • Eight former Indian Navy personnel have been sentenced to death by a court in Qatar.
  • They were arrested by Qatari authorities.
  • Their trial began on March 29, 2022.
  • The eight former Navy personnel were working at Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services.
  • It is a defence services provider company.
  • The men were picked up by the State Security Bureau, the Qatari intelligence agency. The Indian Embassy first.

Nature of the relationship between India and Qatar:

  • The two countries have had friendly relations for decades.
  • In 2021, India was among the top four export destinations for Qatar.
  • It is also among the top three sources of Qatar’s imports. The bilateral trade is valued at $15 billion.
  • Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India.
  • It accounts for over 48% of India’s global LNG imports. India also imports ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea, and polyethylene from Qatar.


  • The Supreme Court has protected the right of parenthood of a woman suffering from a rare medical condition.
  • The woman has the Mayer RokitanskyKuster Hauser syndrome.
  • Medical board records showed she has absent ovaries and absent uterus.
  • Hence she cannot produce her own eggs/oocytes.
  • A government notification amended the law banning the use of donor gametes.
  • It said “intending couples” must use their own gametes for surrogacy.
  • SC allowed surrogacy and striked down rule banning use of donor gametes


  • World Polio Day is celebrated on October 24th every year.
  • It is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk.
  • He was the first person who led the first team to develop the inactivated (killed) Polio Vaccine (IPV).
  • On 27th march 2014, India was certified as a polio free nation.
  • The theme for World Polio Day 2023 is “A healthier future for mothers and children.”

About Polio

  • The WHO defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
  • It is caused by poliovirus.
  • It is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system.
  • Polio may cause disability and also is a life-threatening disease.


  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person and spread mainly through the faecal-oral route (contaminated water or food).
  • The virus multiplies in the intestine and then invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis.


First Backward class Commission:

  • The First BC Commission (1969-70) was led by A.N. Sattanathan.
  • It suggested raising BC reservations.
  • It suggested the idea of a creamy layer.
  • But it hasn’t gained political backing.

Second Backward class Commission:

  • In January 1980, M.G. Ramachandran, announced the hike in the share of reservation for BCs from 31% to 50%.
  • The total quantum of reservation went to 68%.
  • It included 18% for Scheduled Castes (SC) & Scheduled Tribes (ST). (After STs got one per cent exclusive reservation in June 1990, the overall tally went up to 69%). Two months later,  The second BC Commission was gormed with J.A. Ambasankar, as the head.
  • The BC panel submitted its report to the government in February 1985.

Highlight of the Commission’s work:

  • The Second BC panel drew up a list of 298 communities, classified under main groups such as BCs, Most BCs, Denotified Communities (DNCs), SCs, STs and others. The panel confined itself essentially to the BCs.

What were the recommendations of the Commission?

  • Differences erupted between a majority of members and the Chairman, Ambasankar. While the Chairman wanted the quantum of reservation for BCs to be brought down to 32% so that the overall figure did not exceed the 50% ceiling.
  • The members had argued that as the population of BCs was about 67%, the quantum should be at least 50%.
  • The Chairman had insisted that all those found eligible for quota under Article 15(4) (which deals with special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the SCs and STs) “will not be automatically entitled” to reservation in appointments under Article 16 (4) (which talks of making reservation in jobs for any backward class that is “not adequately represented” in public services).
  • So, the Chairman was for two separate lists of BCs, one under Article 15(4) and another under Article 16(4). But, the members had all favoured only one list.
  • They asserted that “social backwardness and educational backwardness are inseparable and intertwined.
  • Despite these differences, the government chose to maintain the 50% reservation quota for BCs and included some new communities while rejecting the exclusion of others.

How did the 1992 Supreme Court judgment affect State reservations?

  • After the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Mandal Commission case in 1992, the State was forced to enact a law to safeguard the 69% quota and have it placed under the Ninth Schedule.