Bills/Act/LawsDOMRExplainedGovt. SchemesHistorical Sites in NewsIOCRMains Onlyop-ed of the dayop-ed snapPIBPlaces in newsPrelims OnlyPriority 1SC JudgementsSpecies in NewsStates in News
February 2020

Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Reservation as right: on Supreme Court judgment


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Reservations in jobs flowing from enabling provisions of the Constitution.

Mains level : Paper 2- Provision for the vulnerable section of the society, Role and importance of affirmative action in the development of the weaker section.


The recent Supreme Court judgment, that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in promotions, has caused some political alarm.

Received wisdom in affirmative action jurisprudence

  • Presence of sound legal framework for a reservation: The received wisdom in affirmative action jurisprudence is that a series of Constitution amendments and judgments have created a sound legal framework for reservation in public employment, subject to the fulfilment of certain constitutional requirements.
  • Solidification of reservation as an entitlement: It is also accepted that the framework has solidified into an entitlement for the backward classes, including the SCs and STs.

What does the judgement mean?

  • Reservations are not rights: The latest judgment is a reminder that affirmative action programmes allowed in the Constitution flow from “enabling provisions” and are not rights as such.
  • Not a new legal position: This legal position is not new. Major judgments- these include those by Constitution Benches-note that Article 16(4), on the reservation in posts, is enabling in nature.
  • The state is not bound to provide reservation: In other words, the state is not bound to provide reservations. But if the state provides reservations, it must satisfy the following two criteria-
    • For the backward class: It must be in favour of sections that are backward.
    • Inadequately represented: And inadequately represented in the services based on quantifiable data.
  • What happened in the Uttarakhand case? The Court set aside the Uttarakhand High Court order directing data collection on the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of SC/ST candidates in the State’s services.
    • What was the reasoning? Its reasoning is that once there is a decision not to extend reservation — in this case, in promotions — to the section, the question whether its representation in the services is inadequate is irrelevant.

Question of government obligation

  • The idea in consonance with the Constitution: The idea that reservation is not a right may be in consonance with the Constitution allowing it as an option.
  • The larger question of the government obligation: But a larger question looms is there no government obligation to continue with affirmative action if-
    • The social situation that keeps some sections backwards.
    • And at the receiving end of discrimination persists?

Why reservation matters for equality?

  • Reservation as a faced of equality-the SC: Reservation is no more seen by the Supreme Court as an exception to the equality rule; rather, it is a facet of equality.
  • Completion of equality norm: The terms “proportionate equality” and “substantive equality” have been used to show that the equality norm acquires completion only when the marginalised are given a legal leg-up.

What may be the consequences of this judgement?

  • Possibility of the unequal system: Some may even read into this an inescapable state obligation to extend reservation to those who need it, lest its absence renders the entire system unequal.
  • Possibility of perceptible imbalance: For instance, if no quotas are implemented and no study on backwardness and extent of representation is done, it may result in a perceptible imbalance in social representation in public services.


Ensuring adequate representation to disadvantaged sections is a state obligation and the state must play its role in ensuring their representation by appropriate legislation.


Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

A mix Indian health care can do without


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- Will allowing participation of private sector in the public healthcare system beneficial for India?


In India, multiple policy pronouncements over the last few years have expressed an implicit intent to emulate certain features of the U.S. health system which is one of the most prodigal health systems, and it is a well-known reality that it is infamously poor-performing.

Emulating the U.S. health system in India and problems in this approach

  • Implicit intent to emulate the U.S. system: In India, multiple policy pronouncements over the last few years have expressed an implicit intent to emulate certain features of the U.S. health system like-
    • Enhance private initiative.
    • And uphold the insurance route as the way to go for health care.
  • AB-NHPS scheme: These are being largely envisaged while riding on the back of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS).
    • AB-NHPS aims to provide insurance cover to nearly 50 crores poor Indians.
    • The mechanism to check insurance frauds: The AB-NHPS affirmed strong mechanisms to check insurance fraud which was commonplace in its precursor programme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
    • New of fraud in AB-NHPS: Recently, 171 hospitals were reported to have been de-empanelled from the AB-NHPS on charges of fraud.
  • How are the frauds in AB-NHPS sought to be tackled? The response to these has been envisaged through an unprecedented bolstering of administratively-heavy and technology-driven mechanisms.
    • Anti-fraud units: National- and state anti-fraud units have been established and partnerships with fraud control companies conceived.
    • One would ask this question: what is wrong in all of this?
  • What is wrong with this approach? Let us return to the U.S. once again.
    • Administrative intensive: Multiple layers of complex arrangements and concomitant complex regulatory provisions have made the U.S. system one of the most administratively and technologically intensive systems in the world.
    • 50% spending going for the wages: More than 50% of health-care spending in the U.S. in 2010 went into health worker’s wages, with a large chunk of the growth in health-care labour taking place in the form of non-clinical workers.
    • Very little going into improving health: What this entails is that for every penny spent on health care, very little goes into actually improving health.

What are the concerns in emulating the U.S. system?

  • Sub-satisfactory operations at the large cost: The new system necessitates-
    • A battery of new structures.
    • Personnel cadres.
    • Data systems.
    • And working arrangements only in order to sub-satisfactorily operate an insurance scheme that would cover less than half the population.
    • Disregarding the death spiral that policy-driven over-reliance on private health care could lead to considerable costs which would not primarily contribute to improving health outcomes.
    • Ethical concerns over unnecessary spending: While a besottedness with cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art systems can help garner eyes and promote businesses, each unnecessary penny incurred this way raises significant ethical concerns.
  • Problems of inadequate funding
    • Funding sufficient only for a quarter of beneficiary: Gupta and Roy have shown how the allocation for the AB-NHPS for 2019-20 would have covered less than a quarter of the targeted beneficiaries.
    • Paltry increase in allocations: For 2020-21, there has been a paltry increase in health-care sector allocation (5.7% above 2019-20 RE), while the allocation for the AB-NHPS is unchanged.
    • It is very possible that the AB-NHPS continues to remain insufficiently funded and incapable of extending considerable financial risk protection to the poor.
  • Diversion of limited funds to wasteful areas
    • Attractive on face: Embracing the complexities associated with robust regulation of the insurance programme and making the requisite technological and administrative investments appear attractive and commendable on the face.
    • Diversion of limited fund: However, these complexities entail diverting highly limited resources towards wasteful and dispensable high-end areas.
    • These funds could have been set aside for much more pressing and productive domains, such as public hospitals and health centres.
    • Improvements in these areas would have strongly reflected in terms of tangibly better health outcomes.
    • AB-NHPS reinforcing contradictions: Rather, the AB-NHPS appears attuned to reinforcing a stark contradiction wherein trailblazing but unproductive high-end structures thrive alongside decrepit but potentially fructuos basic structures.


The fanfare with which AB-NHPS was launched, can hide the pressing concerns which lie underneath. The government must ensure that every penny spent on improving healthcare is used in the most optimal way and ensure that India’s AB-NHPS won’t end up the US healthcare way.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

The battle in Beijing


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Coronavirus threat and its implications for India and the rest of the world.


The coronavirus epidemic poses a challenge to China’s place in global affairs, its political leadership.

The possible implications of coronavirus crisis

  • The Chines leadership might not be able to escape the blame: If the epidemic turns into a pandemic, as some analysts bet, China’s all-powerful leader Xi Jinping might not be able to escape the blame.
    • And will likely come under considerable political pressure.
  • It could also turn into a systemic threat: Some also speculate that the backlash against the government’s mishandling of the crisis could turn into a systemic threat against the dominance of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Speculations as perennial hope among China’s critics: Sceptics, however, dismiss above speculation as merely reflecting the perennial hope among Beijing’s harshest critics who can’t wait to see a China without the CCP.
    • Realist’s stand: Realists point to the massive mobilisation of state power by President Xi in limiting the spread of the virus.

Handling of the crisis by China

  • Initial faltering response: To be sure, there were major failures in the initial faltering response to the crisis.
    • Cover-up attempts from the lower level: The attempts at the lower levels to cover-up or underplays the crisis and the inadequate appreciation at the higher levels of the potential consequences are common to all large bureaucracies. The party-state in China is not an exception.
  • Praise for handling the crisis: China’s handling of the crisis had drawn much respect, grudging or otherwise, from the international community.
    • Whether it is the lockdown of Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, from where the virus began to spread.
    • Or in deploying thousands of doctors and health workers in the province and building massive hospitals for treating the infected.
  • Possibility of some political impact: Yet, there is no question that a crisis of this magnitude -will have some political impact.
    • The party-state is certainly having some difficulty in containing the public outrage against the initial failures.
  • Efforts to shield top leadership from blame: The CCP, however, is bound to shield the supreme leader from any damaging criticism and in fact, celebrate a triumph in containing the spread through a determined effort.
    • Responsibility will be affixed on provincial officials in Hubei and a purge of some kind may have already begun.

Addressing the economic consequences of the crisis

  • International dimension: Nearly two decades after the SARS epidemic -China is now a much larger economy and its interdependence with the world has only deepened.
    • This interdependence, in turn, lends a strong international dimension to China’s crisis.
  • Optimist’s hope of future uptick: Optimists hope that a sharp drop in economic activity in the current quarter will be followed by a steep uptick in growth in the next when the virus is contained and normalcy returns.
  • Pessimist’s fear of economic disruption: Pessimists suggest that the economic disruption — in terms of the impact on internal and external trade and the breakdown of the global supply chains- could have lasting effects.
    • Reinforcing the disruption: Some suspect that the disruption could reinforce the slowdown driven by a number of other internal and external factors including the trade war with the US.

China’s response to the rest of the world

  • Channelling of resentment against the West: Some in the West hope that a prolonged economic crisis might turn the people against the CCP. For now, though, Beijing is channelling the resentment against the West.
  • Terming evacuation as an over-reaction: Beijing has criticised the advisories from various countries against travel to China and the cancellation of flights as over-reaction.
    • Lukewarm response to evacuation efforts: China has also been lukewarm to efforts of various countries to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan and Hubei.
    • India evacuated students: India has managed to convince Beijing to let India airlift its students from Wuhan.
    • Pakistan has declared that it will not evacuate its students as a gesture of political solidarity with China in a time of crisis.
    • South Asian neighbour’s response: Many of India’s other South Asian neighbours are torn between the reluctance to offend Chinese sentiment and the mounting domestic pressures to bring students back.
    • Cooperation with the US: While being critical of the US travel restrictions against China, Beijing has certainly been open to cooperation with the US in dealing with the crisis.
  • India’s offer to help other countries in evacuation: The external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said last week that India has been willing to bring back students from all the neighbouring countries.
    • Balancing between Delhi and Beijing: The logic of balancing between Delhi and Beijing has prevented most of the smaller neighbours from requesting Indian assistance.
    • The Maldives has been the only exception.
  • The response of the East and Southeast Asia: Beyond South Asia, many countries in East and Southeast Asia have been hesitant to be seen as rushing to cut themselves from China.
    • What is making these countries hesitant: Deep economic interdependence and massive flows of Chinese tourists led to much dithering among the East Asian countries in their early responses to the crisis.


India must explore all potential cooperative engagement with Beijing as well as its other international partners on pandemics-an important but the under-addressed challenge for national, regional and international security.

Uniform Civil Code: Triple Talaq debate, Polygamy issue, etc.

Explained: Uniform Civil Code — the debate, the status


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various articles mentioned in the newsward

Mains level : Uniform Civil Code

Last week, while hearing a matter relating to properties of a Goan, the Supreme Court described Goa as a “shining example” with a Uniform Civil Code, observed that the founders of the Constitution had “hoped and expected” a UCC for India but there has been no attempt at framing one.

What is a Uniform Civil Code?

  • A UCC is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
  • Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
  • Article 44 is one of the directive principles. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
  • Fundamental rights are enforceable in a court of law. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.
  • Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation” while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44.
  • All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

What are more important — fundamental rights or directive principles?

  • There is no doubt that fundamental rights are more important.
  • The Supreme Court held in Minerva Mills (1980): “Indian Constitution is founded on the bed-rock of the balance between Parts III (Fundamental Rights) and IV (Directive Principles).
  • To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution”.
  • Article 31C inserted by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, however, lays down that if a law is made to implement any directive principle, it cannot be challenged on the ground of being violative of the fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 19.

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws.
  • Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List.
  • But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List. Last year, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

Is there one common personal law for any religious community governing all its members?

  • All Hindus of the country are not governed by one law, nor are all Muslims or all Christians.
  • Not only British legal traditions, even those of the Portuguese and the French remain operative in some parts.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir until August 5, 2019, local Hindu law statutes differed from central enactments.
  • The Shariat Act of 1937 was extended to J&K a few years ago but has now been repealed.
  • Muslims of Kashmir were thus governed by a customary law, which in many ways was at variance with Muslim Personal Law in the rest of the country and was, in fact, closer to Hindu law.
  • Even on registration of marriage among Muslims, laws differ from place to place. It was compulsory in J&K (1981 Act), and is optional in Bengal, Bihar (both under 1876 Act), Assam (1935 Act) and Odisha (1949 Act).
  • In the Northeast, there are more than 200 tribes with their own varied customary laws.
  • The Constitution itself protects local customs in Nagaland. Similar protections are enjoyed by Meghalaya and Mizoram. Even reformed Hindu law, in spite of codification, protects customary practices.

How does the idea of a UCC relate to the fundamental right to religion?

  • Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture.
  • An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights
  • In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter.
  • The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of fundamental rights and therefore the UCC was made less important than freedom of religion.

What was the view of Muslim members in the Constituent Assembly?

  • Some members sought to immunise Muslim Personal Law from state regulation.
  • Mohammed Ismail, who thrice tried unsuccessfully to get Muslim Personal Law exempted from Article 44, said a secular state should not interfere with the personal law of people.
  • B Pocker Saheb said he had received representations against a common civil code from various organisations, including Hindu organisations.
  • Hussain Imam questioned whether there could ever be uniformity of personal laws in a diverse country like India.
  • B R Ambedkar said “no government can use its provisions in a way that would force the Muslims to revolt”.
  • Alladi Krishnaswami, who was in favour of a Uniform Civil Code, conceded that it would be unwise to enact Uniform Civil Code ignoring strong opposition from any community.
  • Gender justice was not mentioned in these debates.

How did the debate on a common code for Hindus play out?

  • In June 1948, Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, warned Jawaharlal Nehru that to introduce “basic changes” in personal law was to impose “progressive ideas” of a “microscopic minority” on the Hindu community as a whole.
  • Others opposed to reforms in Hindu law included Sardar Patel, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, M A Ayyangar, M M Malaviya and Kailash Nath Katju.
  • When the debate on the Hindu Code Bill took place in December 1949, 23 of 28 speakers opposed it.
  • On September 15, 1951, President Prasad threatened to use his powers of returning the Bill to Parliament or vetoing it.
  • Ambedkar eventually had to resign. Nehru agreed to trifurcation of the Code into separate Acts and diluted several provisions.

Surrogacy in India

Fine-tuning the Surrogacy Bill


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ART, Surrogacy

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • In a recent report, a Select Committee of Parliament has recommended that the contentious clause limiting surrogacy only to “close relatives” to be removed from the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019.
  • These recommendations aim to make the benefits of modern technology more easily available to infertile couples.
  • A look at the genesis of the Bill, its provisions and why the current report could signal some progressive amendments in the Bill:

What are the provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill?

  • The Surrogacy Bill proposes to allow altruistic ethical surrogacy to intend infertile Indian married couples in the age groups 23-50 years (women) and 26-55 years (men).
  • It was first mooted in 2016 in the wake of repeated reports of exploitation of women who were confined to hostels, not provided adequate post-pregnancy medical care and paid a pittance.
  • The couple should have been legally married for at least five years and should be Indian citizens.
  • They cannot have a surviving child, either biological or adopted, except when they have a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from a life-threatening disorder with no permanent cure.
  • It requires surrogacy clinics to be registered, and national and state surrogacy boards to be formed.
  • It makes commercial surrogacy, and abandoning or disowning a surrogate child punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to Rs 10 lakh.

What changes has the Select Committee suggested?

  • The Select Committee recommended that the “close relatives” clause should be removed, and any “willing” woman should be allowed to become a surrogate mothe.
  • It has strongly backed the ban on commercial surrogacy.
  • It has also recommended that divorced and widowed women aged between 35 and 45 years should be able to be a single commissioning parent.
  • It has emphasised the need for a five-year waiting period for childless married couples could be waived if there is a medical certificate that shows that they cannot possibly conceive.
  • It has recommended that persons of Indian origin should be allowed to avail surrogacy services.
  • It has not, however, recommended expanding the definition of commissioning parent to include singles, either men or women.
  • It also recommended that the ART Bill (which deals with assisted reproductive technologies) should be brought before the Surrogacy bill so that all the highly technical and medical aspects could be properly addressed.

What is the ART Bill?

  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill has been in the making since 2008.
  • It aims to regulate the field through registration of all IVF clinics and sperm banks, segregation of ART clinics and gamete banks etc.
  • It also requires national and state boards to be established for the purpose of regulation of the fertility market.
  • The Select Committee report says: “Surrogacy is a part and parcel of ART and hence the Surrogacy Bill should come into force only after the enactment of ART Bill.
  • Bringing Surrogacy Bill before the ART will be irrelevant and also create duplication of Boards.
  • The Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, too has “strongly recommended” to the government that the two Bills should be brought together and not in isolation.

How big is India’s surrogacy market?

  • Estimations by the ICMR put it around 2,000-odd babies per year through commercial surrogacy — when a woman is paid an agreed sum for renting her womb.
  • CII figures say surrogacy is a $2.3-billion industry fed by a lack of regulations and poverty.

What happened the last time the Bill was scrutinized by a parliamentary panel?

  • The Bill was earlier scrutinized by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.
  • That committee had recommended that compensation should be the norm and the word “altruistic” should be replaced with “compensated”.
  • Couples — including those in live-in relationships — should be allowed to choose surrogates from both within and outside the family. Altruistic surrogacy, it observed, is tantamount to exploitation.
  • The “close relative” condition is open to misuse in a patriarchal setup, the committee had observed.
  • Given the patriarchal familial structure and power equations within families, not every member of a family has the ability to resist a demand that she be a surrogate for another family member.
  • A close relative of the intending couple may be forced to become a surrogate which might become even more exploitative than commercial surrogacy.
  • These recommendations were not accepted by the government.

International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Solar Orbiter (SolO) Probe


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SolO Mission

Mains level : Significance of the Mission


Yesterday, the Solar Orbiter, a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency and NASA to study the Sun, took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

What is the Solar Orbiter?

  • Carrying four in situ instruments and six remote-sensing imagers, the Solar Orbiter (called SolO) will face the sun at approximately 42 million kilometres from its surface.
  • Before SolO, all solar imaging instruments have been within the ecliptic plane, in which all planets orbit and which is aligned with the sun’s equator.
  • The new spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane, passing inside the orbit of Mercury, and will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the sun’s poles for the first time.

Objectives of the mission

  • The Orbiter will take pictures using telescopes through a heat shield that is partly made of baked animal bones, to help it withstand temperatures of up to 600 degree Celsius.
  • By understanding the behaviour of the sun, the Orbiter aims to provide information on how the former would affect technology such as satellites, navigation systems, power grids, and telecommunication services.
  • The Orbiter will help scientists understand the sun’s dynamic behaviour, and solve mysteries such as the sunspot cycle, or why the star spews out high velocity charged particles through the solar system.
  • With more data on the global magnetic field of the star, scientists would be able to forecast space weather events.

Earlier missions

  • In 1990, NASA and ESA had sent the Ulysses mission, which also passed over the sun’s poles but at much farther distances, and did not carry a camera.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

[pib] 13th COP of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CMS, Central Asian Flyway

Mains level : Conservation of migratory species


The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is going to be hosted by India at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

13th COP of CMS

  • The theme of CMS COP13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home.
  • The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional artform from southern India.
  • In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles.
  • The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species which has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

About CMS

  • CMS is an international treaty concluded under aegis of UN Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
  • It is commonly abbreviated as Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention.
  • It aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • It was signed in 1979 in Bonn (hence the name), Germany and entered into force in 1983.
  • Its headquarters are in Bonn, Germany.
  • CMS is only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.

Prospects for India

  • As the host, India shall be designated the President for the next three years.
  • India is Signatory to the CMS since 1983.
  • India has been taking necessary actions to protect and conserve migratory marine species.
  • Seven species that include Dugong, Whale Shark, Marine Turtle (two species), have been identified for preparation of Conservation and Recovery Action Plan.

Other facts

  • The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory water bird species, including 29 globally threatened species.
  • India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar headed Geese, black necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs, humpbacked whales, etc.
  • It has signed non legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mains level : Cultural heritage of India and its intergration

Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is preparing the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • SNA is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture is the nodal agency for the Scheme for ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’.
  • As of now, SNA is collaborating with Zonal Cultural Centers of Ministry, collating and preparing a list of ICH elements for National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • List of ICH elements is being compiled and at least 100 elements will be documented by March, 2020 and the aim is to document at least 20 new elements in ICH list every year.
  • Along with this establishment of an ‘Indian Institute for Culture’ is at conceptual stage and a mission called National Culture Mapping portal is being conceptualized for aggregating art forms and artists. It is in pilot phase.

River Interlinking

[pib] Godavari and Cauvery River Linking Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Godavari– Cauvery Link Project

Mains level : Interlinking of rivers


The draft Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Godavari and Cauvery River Linking Project has been completed by National Water Development Agency (NWDA).

Godavari– Cauvery Link Project

  • The project consists of 3 links viz., Godavari (Inchampalli/Janampet) – Krishna (Nagarjunasagar), Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) – Pennar (Somasila) and Pennar (Somasila) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut).
  • This proposal to link Godavari, which is prone to flooding, and Krishna, which doesn’t have enough water, has been around for several decades.
  • While river-interlinking for the purposes of navigation as an idea was mooted by the British in India, in 1972, engineer and Union Minister KL Rao proposed the linking of Godavari and Krishna for irrigation.
  • The decades-old proposal finally took shape in the 2000s, and in 2016, the Andhra government linked the two rivers with the Pattiseema-Polavaram Lift Irrigation project, in Andhra’s West Godavari district.

Indian Army Updates

[pib] Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex. AJEYA WARRIOR

Mains level : Not Much

Fifth edition of Joint Military Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020 between India and United Kingdom will be conducted at Salisbury Plains, United Kingdom.


  • Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR with United Kingdom is an important exercise in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the realm of changing facets of global terrorism.
  • The exercise will comprise of 120 soldiers each from Indian and United Kingdom Army who would be sharing their experiences gained during conduct of various counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in the past.
  • The aim of this exercise is to conduct company level joint training with emphasis on counter terrorists operation in Urban and Semi Urban areas.
  • The exercise is conducted alternatively in United Kingdom and India.