Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 20th July 2023

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Today Topics List:

  1. Important Neolithic Sites in India: [Value addition – Pre Historic]

  2. Cerberus and Charon

  3. The Minimum Income Bill : Rajasthan

  4. India : Passport Index

  5. NATO Summit

  6. DPT 3 Immunisation: WHO report.



Important Neolithic Sites in India: [ Value addition – Pre Historic]

    • Neolithic age emerged around c.8000-6000 BCE in northern India is significant in the prehistoric India. It is termed as a Neolithic revolution.
      • It is called a revolution as it introduced a lot of important changes in man’s socio economic life which consequently affected the human life.
    • Some of the important changes were:
      • Beginning of agriculture and Domestication of animals – Sharp polished tools of Neolithic age helped this.
      • Innovation in technology – Stone tools, hand axes etc.,
      • Invention of Pottery – First by hand and then with help of wheel.
      • Emergence of self-sufficient village communities
      • Division of labour based on sex and age.
    • Some of the important sites are as follows:


Site Name



Burzahom (J & K)

Unique rectangular chopper

Domestic dogs buried with their masters


Gufkraal (J&K)

Pit dwellings, stone tools and graveyards in houses


Maski, Brahmagiri, Piklihal and Takkalakota (Karnataka)

Cattle herding proof


Chirand (Bihar)

Bone implements made of antlers (horns of deer)


Belan valley

All three phases of Palaeolithic followed by Mesolithic and Neolithic are found in sequence here.


Chopani – mando(Belan Valley)

Provides earliest evidence of use of pottery.



Earliest Neolithic site

Evidence of houses built of sun dried bricks by Neolithic people

Evidence of cultivation of crops like wheat, Barley and cotton

Earliest example of dentistry, Drilling of tooth.




  • Cerberus and Charon:
    • Europe swelters under two heat storms withing two weeks, the weather phenomena has acquired names from Greek Mythology.
      • The first heatwave that hit the continent on July 10th was named Cerberus
      • The latest ongoing one was named
    • It is to be noted that these names were not given officially by weather agencies, but gained prominence among public.
    • Both the names were derived from Greek mythology, Cerberus, a three headed watch dog (hound of hell) , and Charon – the ferryman who delivered souls into underworld, both signifying bad situations.
    • Why these names:
    • Cerberus became popular as Italian weather website, iLMeteo chose the name for the anti cyclone on July 10th.
      • Anti cyclones are high pressure regions that usually causes a heat wave or drought.
    • Charon is the name given to the latest heatwave, it is not clear as to why it was named so. But, heatwaves, as scientists call them the ‘ silent killer’, the name seems appropriate.




The Minimum Income Bill : Rajasthan


  • The Government of Rajasthan tabled the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023 in the assembly. The bill effectively seeks to cover the entire adult population of the state with guaranteed wages or pension.

What is the Bill:

  • As per the Bill, all families of the state get guaranteed employment of 125 days every year.
  • The aged, disabled and widows and single women get a minimum pension of Rs.1000 per month, which will be increased at a rate of 15% per year.
  • The Bill has three categories, such as
    • Right to minimum guaranteed income,
    • Right to guaranteed employment
    • Right to guaranteed social security pension.
  • The Government anticipates an additional expenditure of Rs. 2500 crore per year for this scheme.

Provisions of the Bill:

  • Minimum Guaranteed Income:
  • Each adult citizen of the state has been guaranteed a minimum income for 125 days a year through Indira Gandhi Shahrirozgar Guarantee yojana for urban areas and through Mahatma Gandhi National rural Employment Guarantee Act in rural areas.
    • of days under urban employment scheme has been increased from 100 days to 125 days.
    • Additional 25 days under MGNREGA’s will be supplemented by the State Government.
  • will provide eligible categories with a minimum pension of Rs.1000.
  • Guaranteed Employment:
  • It states that post the work in urban or rural employment schemes, the minimum wages should be paid weekly or in any case not later than a fortnight.
    • The state will designate a program officer, not below the rank of Block development Officer in Rural areas and executive officer of the Local body in urban areas to implement the Act.
    • The Program officer shall ensure that the work site is within a radius of five kilometres of where the job card is registered in both rural and urban areas.
    • If the program officer fails to provide employment within 15 days from the receipt of the application, the applicant shall be entitled to an unemployment allowance on a weekly basis and in any case not later than a fortnight.
  • Guaranteed Social security pension:
  • Every person under categories, old age, specially abled, widow, single womam within prescribed eligibility criteria shall be entitled to a pension.
    • This will increase over the base in two instalments – 5 % in July and 10 % in January of each Financial year starting from 2024-25.

Need for such a bill:

  • The message of Mahatma Gandhi, that “the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” was stated to be the focal point of the state Government’s policies.
    • Chief Minister says, When Government gives Rs.1000 as a pension is not a favour, but is the moral responsibility of the government to ensure justice to everyone.
    • It is also a measure to provide relief from Inflation.


The Bill contains many firsts in the country and a welcome step and it is different from cash transfer schemes in operation in various other states. While Nobel in intent, effective implementation remains the key in deriving effective outcome.


India : Passport Index


  • India has climbed seven places on the Henley Passport Index, 2023 to 80th rank from 87th last year.

Henley passport Index:

  • Henley Passport Index is the ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
    • It includes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.
    • The Index is brought out by Henley and Partners.

How Countries Fared in the Index:

  • Japan, which occupied the top position for five years lost it to Singapore, which is now officially the most powerful passport in the world, with its citizens able to visit 192 travel destinations out of 227 visa free.
    • Germany, Italy and Spain occupy the second place.
    • Japan, Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea and Sweden on third place.
    • The UK climbed two places to occupy 4th spot, while US continued its decade long slide in the Index, dropping two places to 8th
  • In 2014, both UK and US jointly held the first place.

Status of India:

  • In 2014, India ranked 76 with 52 countries allowing Indian passport holders visa free access. But the performance has not been linear.
    • It raked 88 in 2015 with visa free access to 51 countries,
    • 85 in 2016, 87 in 2017, 81 in 2018, 82 in 2019 and 2020 and 81 in 2021.

Henley Openness Index:

  • It measures how many nations does a country allow visa free access to.
    • Here, India was ranked 94 out of a total of 97 ranks for allowing only four countries visa free access.
    • At the bottom of the Index were four countries scoring zero for not permitting Visa free access for any passport – Afghanistan, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, and Turkmenistan



NATO Summit:

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, was questioned for its relevance for quite a few years, however, the war in Eastern Europe has upended these narratives and provided a renewed purpose to the grouping.
      • The latest NATO Summit was held in Vilnius, underscored both necessities of strengthening the alliance as well as expansion.
    • The Vilnius Summit:
    • A standout of the Vilnius Summit was the attendance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
      • It raised anticipation around the possibility of extending NATO membership to Ukraine.
    • The Launch of NATO – Ukraine Council as a forum for crisis consultations and decision making indicates that NATO tried to assuage the feelings of Ukraine not being included in the grouping, by creating a mechanism for its wider engagement, support and future inclusion as a full member.
    • The three priorities outlined by President Zelensky – New Weapons packages, Security guarantees and an invitation to join NATO were unfulfilled.
      • However, UK pledged ammunition support to Ukraine.
    • NATO’s new plans involve maintaining a force of 300,000 troops with air and naval capabilities, levelled up its own defences in urgency to help Ukraine.
    • It also emphasised the importance of a strong Industrial base, leading to the endorsement of a Defence Production Action Plan.

Entry of New Members:

  • Inclusion of Finland and approval of Swede as NATO members indicates a few things,
    • It signals the alliance continue to practice Article 10 of the Washington treaty signed in 1949.
  • It states that member countries can invite other European countries to become members of NATO.
    • It rests Ukraine’s membership on hold and conceptually deters Russia from taking steps against members of NATO.
    • Turkey’s scaling back of its long-standing opposition to Sweden’s inclusion, was a desire to mend relations with US for better economic and bilateral opportunities.

The US Approach:

  • While Mr. Trump has considered withdrawing the US from NATO, Present President Joe Biden extended unwavering support to the cause of Ukraine from the alliance.
  • Challenges and Threats:
  • The Summit stated that NATO faces threat from China’s malicious hybrid cyber operations as well as confrontational rhetoric and dis information which specifically aims at NATO allies and pose a threat to security of the alliance.
  • It emphasised that the developments in the Indo – Pacific have become increasingly consequential for euro- Atlantic security with expanding space for Quad and other regional countries such as New Zealand and South Korea.


But even as the summit was taking place, Russia launched a drone attack on Kyiv, depicting an undeterred approach to NATO’s potential expansion. It is in this contention that is likely to define the future of Eurasian security.



DPT 3 Immunisation: WHO report.

  • World Health organisation (WHO) says, DPT3, the third dose of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines, in India rose to an all time of 93% in 2022, surpassing the previous pre-pandemic best of 91% in 2019, and a sharp increase from 85% recorded in 2021.

South East Asia region:

  • The WHO and UNICEF estimates for national immunisation coverage for 2022, showed that in the WHO South east Asia region, the coverage rate for DPT 3 recovered to the pre pandemic level of 91%, a sharp increase from the 82% recorded in 2021.
    • The region also witnessed a 6% improvement in the coverage of the measles vaccine, rising to 92% in 2022 from 86% in 2021.
  • The Number of Zero dose children, those that have not received even the first dose of DPT vaccine, halved to 2.3 million in 2022 from 4.6 million in 2021.
  • Similarly, the number of partially vaccinated children, those that have received at least one dose of DPT vaccine but did not complete the primary series of three doses, reduced to 6.5 lakhs in 2022 from 1.3 million in 2021.
    • The region has the best recover among all the WHO regions.
    • This can be majorly attributed to the efforts being made by India, Indonesia.
  • Indonesia reported a DTP3 coverage of 85% in 2022, the same as in 2019, but rising sharply from 67 % in 2021.
  • Bhutan surpassed, 98% and Maldives 99% surpassed their pre-Pandemic levels. Bangladesh with 98% and Thailand with 97% have maintained consistency in routine immunisation coverage.


Every Child deserves to be protected against the life threatening diseases with routine immunisation, adding that momentum built with impressive efforts and immunisation service must continue to benefit every child.

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