Daily News Analysis 29 June 2023

Table of Contents


  1. Mahalanobis in the era of Big Data and AI

Facts for Prelims

  1. Autonomous District Councils (ADC)
  2. Congo rainforest
  3. Unicorn Startup

Mahalanobis in the era of Big Data and AI


Professor P.C. Mahalanobis was a renowned scientist who introduced statistics to India. His contributions in advancing statistics and survey culture, founding the Indian Statistical Institute, and nurturing a generation of academics left a lasting legacy. Today, amidst changing socio-economic dynamics, his absence is keenly felt.

The Age of Big Data:

  1. Global Shift: Over the past two decades, there has been a global shift in data and statistics due to the Internet and the Internet of Things.
  2. Big Data Era: The abundance of data, including much irrelevant information, is referred to as the era of Big Data.

Mahalanobis and Big Data:

  1. Mahalanobis\’ Encounter: Mahalanobis faced a Big Data challenge when his large-scale surveys produced a vast amount of data requiring effective analysis.
  2. Embracing Technology: He procured the first two digital computers in India in 1956 and 1958, bringing computers to the country and handling large-scale data.

Problems during COVID-19:

  1. Mahalanobis\’ Expertise: Mahalanobis, with a background in physics and economics, had a unique ability to embrace technology for human welfare.
  2. Potential in AI: He would have effectively utilized AI for Big Data analyses, leading to more accurate projections and better COVID-19 response planning.

AI Regulation:

  1. Mahalanobis\’ Influence: Inspired by Kautilya\’s Arthashastra, Mahalanobis incorporated built-in cross-checks into his surveys, suggesting he could have played a role in regulating AI.
  2. Clipping AI\’s Wings: As the world seeks to regulate AI due to job displacement and disinformation, Mahalanobis\’ statistical instincts could have contributed to the process.


  1. Mahalanobis\’ Vision: Mahalanobis envisioned statistics as a new technology to enhance human effort and welfare.
  2. Need for Expertise: Someone like Mahalanobis, with his dedication, leadership, and understanding of data, would be invaluable in handling large amounts of data and leveraging technology for national development and welfare.

Autonomous District Councils (ADC)


The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) recently flagged the “mass migration” of people from ethnic strife-torn Manipur to the State’s capital Shillong and adjoining areas.

Autonomous District Councils (ADC):

The Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) are governing bodies established in certain tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. These councils have specific functions and responsibilities within their respective districts.

Key points to understand about ADCs:

  1. Tribal Areas: The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution identifies ten tribal areas, with three in Assam, three in Meghalaya, one in Tripura, and three in Mizoram.
  2. Autonomous Districts: Each of these tribal areas is designated as an autonomous district, which means they have a certain degree of self-governance.
  3. Membership: ADCs consist of up to 30 members who serve a term of five years. Among these members, four are nominated by the governor, while the remaining 26 are elected through adult franchise.
  4. Tenure: The District Councils serve a five-year term starting from the date of their establishment.

Functions of ADCs:

ADCs have various functions and powers granted to them under the Sixth Schedule of the constitution. Some of the important functions include:

  1. Making laws on land: ADCs have the authority to create laws related to land within their districts.
  2. Forest management: Except for reserved forests, ADCs are responsible for the management of forests in their districts.
  3. Appointment of traditional chiefs and headmen: ADCs have the power to appoint traditional leaders within their districts.
  4. Regulating social matters: ADCs can make rules governing inheritance of property, marriage, divorce, and the establishment of village courts.
  5. Development initiatives: They can establish, construct, or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads, and other infrastructure within their districts.
  6. Control over non-tribal activities: ADCs can create regulations to control money lending and trading activities by non-tribals, but these regulations require the approval of the governor.

Revenue Sources of ADCs:

ADCs have specific revenue sources outlined in the Sixth Schedule. These include:

  1. Taxes on professions, trades, callings, and employment.
  2. Taxes on animals, vehicles, and boats.
  3. Taxes on goods entering markets and sales within the markets, as well as tolls on passenger and goods transport through ferries.
  4. Taxes for the maintenance of schools, dispensaries, or roads within the districts.

Congo rainforest


Recent reports suggest, that the Congo rainforest continues to vanish with half a million hectares lost in 2022.

Key Findings of the Study:

  1. Loss of Congo Rainforest: Last year, the Congo rainforest experienced a loss of half a million hectares (mha) of forest.
  2. Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Specifically, the DRC lost over 500,000 hectares in 2022, contributing significantly to the overall loss.
  3. Global Tropical Forest Loss: The study revealed that worldwide, 4.1 million hectares of primary tropical forest were lost last year.
  4. Countries with High Forest Loss: Brazil accounted for 43% of the total tropical primary forest loss, followed by the DRC (12.1%) and Bolivia.
  5. Carbon Emissions: The destruction of natural forests resulted in the emission of 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2.
  6. Decrease in DRC\’s Humid Primary Forests: The total area of humid primary forest in the DRC decreased by 6.1% during the study period.
  7. Nature of Forest Loss: Most of the primary forest loss consisted of small clearings near cyclical agricultural areas, where land is cleared temporarily for farming and left fallow to regenerate.
  8. Economic Factors and Deforestation: Economic factors are believed to be driving deforestation in the DRC. The local population relies on forests for food and energy, making it challenging to reduce primary forest loss in the region.
  9. Drivers of Forest Loss in DRC: Slash-and-burn agriculture, uncontrolled bushfires, charcoal production, cattle ranching, and illegal logging are the main drivers of forest loss in the DRC.

About Congo Rainforest:

The Congo rainforest is a significant natural resource with unique characteristics and importance. Here are some key facts about the Congo rainforest:

  1. Second Largest Rainforest: The Congo rainforest is the world\’s second-largest rainforest, with the largest being the Amazon rainforest.
  2. Bordering Countries: The Congo Rainforest spans six African countries, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.
  3. Climate: The region experiences a tropical climate throughout the year, characterized by heavy precipitation, high humidity, and temperatures.
  4. Biodiversity: The Congo rainforest is home to approximately 10,000 tropical plant species, with 30% of them unique to the region. It also houses diverse wildlife, including 400 mammal species, over 600 tree species, 10,000 animal species, 1,000 bird species, and 700 fish species. Endangered species such as forest elephants, chimpanzees, and bonobos can be found in the rainforest.
  5. Economic Significance: The Congo Basin provides essential resources such as food, medicine, water, materials, and shelter for over 75 million people.
  6. Human Inhabitants: More than 150 ethnic groups have inhabited the Congo rainforest area for over 50,000 years. Among these groups, the Ba\’Aka, BaKa, BaMbuti, Efe, and other related groups are often referred to as Pygmies. These communities rely on hunting and gathering for survival within the rainforest.

Unicorn Startup


According to a recent report, new additions to the unicorn list declined sharply in 2023, indicating a slowdown in the Indian startup ecosystem.

About Unicorn Startups:

Unicorn startups are privately held companies that have reached a valuation of over $1 billion. This term is commonly used in the venture capital industry to describe highly successful and valuable startups.

Here are some key points to understand about unicorn startups:

  1. Definition: A unicorn startup is a privately held company that has achieved a valuation of over $1 billion.
  2. Origin of the Term: The term \”unicorn\” was popularized by venture capitalist Aileen Lee. She used the term to refer to the 39 startups that had reached a valuation of over $1 billion at the time.
  3. Valuation and Growth Potential: The valuation of unicorn startups is not solely based on their current financial performance. It is largely determined by their perceived growth potential by investors and venture capitalists who participate in funding rounds.
  4. Global Presence: As of March 2022, there are more than 1,000 unicorn companies worldwide. These companies span various industries and are located in different countries.

Gazelles and Cheetahs in the Startup Ecosystem: Overview

Apart from unicorns, there are other terms used to describe startups based on their growth potential in the startup ecosystem. Here are the distinctions between gazelles and cheetahs:


  1. Gazelles are startups founded after the year 2000 that have the potential to become unicorns within two years.
  2. Their valuation typically ranges from US$500 million to US$1 billion.
  3. Once a gazelle surpasses the $1 billion valuation mark, it becomes a unicorn.


  1. Cheetahs are startups founded after the year 2000 that have the potential to become unicorns within the next four years.
  2. Their estimated valuation falls between US$200 million to US$500 million.
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